Entries from February 2013

A Bloody Valentine’s

February 14, 2013

Gameofthrones

I’ve had multiple friends tell me that I must watch Game of Thrones. Probably because they know my love for fur, leather, badass women, and post-apocalyptic fashion. So in just one week, Jeremy and I tore through the first season (we just started on the second season last night). I can’t help but do a fist pump in the air, a mannerism I picked up as a teenager, when all the viewer discretion codes like V for Violence, BN for Brief Nudity, and AC for Adult Content every time we start a new episode. A fair warning promise that we’re in for some action. As we’re watching the show I say stuff like “OH, damn! They were just chopping heads off people and horses alike, all willy nilly like it’s no big deal, back then!” That’s when Jeremy reminds me it’s not “back then.” That Game of Thrones is a whole world that has little to do with our own accounts of medieval times.

But here’s the deal. Either I have zero room in my head for complex lineage and subtle backstory and completely lack comprehension skills for understanding what’s going on or I’m just totally distracted by all the boobies. So the other morning – in the middle of our work day – I asked Tara (who’s not only seen the show already but has read the series of Game of Thrones books twice) to explain it to me. My sister is especially gifted at telling stories and recapping movies, and TV shows, in a way that makes it almost more compelling than the actual film itself. She always “has a theory” about what’s going on before she knows the ending and she’s always right. But if she’s wrong it would’ve been a better story if she had been right. So Tara spend a good hour excitedly explaining to me the family history, crests, and world that is Game of Thrones (without any significant spoilers, of course).

So what are Jeremy and I doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day? We’ll probably do some yoga, cook some good food, watch Game of Thrones, eat some super dark chocolate and sip on a lil’ bit of Bourbon. Yup… sounds like a Thursday.

Paleo (and Vegan) Cauliflower Rice

February 11, 2013

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Most people think of bacon and bloody steaks when they contemplate what it means to eat paleo. But while meat is a fundamental staple of the paleo diet, other than fish, it’s not something I eat. “Wait! What!? Then what do you eat?!” is the typical response to that. In short, I eat lots of vegetables, eggs, some fish, and lots of healthy fats like avocado, coconut and nuts.

Here is an example of what I eat – a bowl full of delicious vegetables. This recipe is modified from the Cauliflower “rice” pilaf that appears in Mel’s cookbook Well Fed. You can also refer to this recipe on her blog.

Vegan / Paleo Cauliflower “Rice” 
1 head of cauliflower
2 delicata squash (or 1 butternut squash)
1 onion
1 bunch of kale
1/2 cup sliced almonds 
1/2 cup raisins 
4 cloves garlic 
1″ fresh ginger 
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs cinnamon 
1 tsp fenugreek 
salt & pepper
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs olive oil 
1 bunch of cilantro
1-2 limes 

1. First you’ll want to roast your squash. Preheat your oven to 425F. Slice or dice your winter squash and in a large bowl toss the squash with 1 tbs of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread evenly over a baking pan and let it roast for 40-50 minutes (until it can easily be speared with a fork).

2. In the bowl of a food processor using your S blade mince the garlic cloves and ginger. Remove the garlic and ginger, set aside.

3. Now dice your onion – you can do this in the same food processor.

4. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan (I use my wok). Throw your onions, almonds and raisins together.

5. In the meantime, mix all your spices together, including the ginger and garlic. Once the onions are translucent in the wok shove everything to one side of the wok. Heat another tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan – once melted throw all your spices on that patch of oil. In about 30 seconds, or once the spices become fragrant, mix everything together.

6. Wash your cauliflower and cut the florets off the stem. (If you’re ever confused on how to cut or prep a certain veggie do a video search for it online. Jeremy and I are constantly learning new tricks on how to efficiently prep & cook by doing this). In the bowl of your food processor pulse the cauliflower until it has the consistency of rice. You may need to do this in two batches.

7. Add the cauliflower to the pan or wok and stir until the onion / spice mixture is thoroughly incorporated into the cauliflower. Stir occasionally (like once a minute). At this point you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar if you dig it.

8. This is a good time to wash and dry your kale. You can remove the leaves from the stems and rip or chop the leaves into smaller bit sized pieces. But don’t add it to the pan too soon!

9. After the cauliflower has been cooking for about 5 minutes add the roasted squash to the mix. And just before everything is good to go add your kale. You’ll need to add bits at a time until it’s wilted enough to all fit.

10. Wash and chop your cilantro. In a small bowl squeeze your limes on to the cilantro. Stir and incorporate it into your cauliflower “rice”.

Serves 6-8 as a side, or 4 as a main course.

Bad Girls

February 9, 2013

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You know those girls that don’t really like other girls and often prefer the company of guys instead? Yeah. I get it, but I’m not one of those girls (but funny enough, I always befriend the girls who prefer boys). I love girls. In fact, I had a brief stint at 13 where I came out to my closest friends and family as a lesbian. (It turns out I just hadn’t hit puberty yet. Once the hormonal floodgates were unleashed I couldn’t help but fall in love with inarticulate boys with broad shoulders and flannels.) But even still, I’ve always preferred working, creating, and collaborating with women. There are layers of connection, understanding and gear-turning with women that I’ve rarely experienced with men.

And to be more specific I like bad girls. The liberated lady who lives out loud. 

Here are some characteristics of a bad girl (and what I aspire to be): 
• Isn’t afraid of redefining and embracing what it means to be both “feminine” and a “feminist”
• Loves whiskey and whisky – and knows the difference
• Speaks her mind with an open heart and clear throat – no matter the company
• Won’t stand for bullying – from others or herself
• Sees beauty in the most unsuspecting places
• Is a creative force to be reckoned with
• Dresses to impress herself (and sometimes other women)
• Choose mates who wholeheartedly support her bad girl self

Are you a bad girl? What other traits or values would you add to the list? Let’s be friends. 

Oh and P.S. I made a playlist on Spotify to celebrate the bad girls. I like to make my co-workers (and Jeremy, who also loves bad girls) listen to it every morning as we begin our day. I think Gaga and Beyonce are the ultimate badasses – and I’m seeing them both in concert in the next few months!

Branding for Kitchen No. 324

February 5, 2013

Tara and I were hired last spring by A Good Egg Dining Group to help them brand their newest restaurant concept – Kitchen No. 324. We even got to help them name it! Kitchen is a seasonally inspired cafe, craft bakery and coffee curator located in the historical Braniff building in downtown OKC. I’m proud of the work we did for Kitchen but I’m even more proud of the restaurant itself. Keith and Heather, the creative entrepreneurs and visionaries behind A Good Egg, elevate Oklahoma City and make it a cooler place to live with each of their restaurant concepts.

Tara and I felt really cool when we got to tour the restaurant while it was still under construction. In hard hats, we were given a walk-thru of the the super swank on-site kitchen while pastry chefs from France trained the local staff on how it’s done. We watched the marble subway tile go up and the amazing crown moulding go in. I even got to taste test a few sweet treats just before starting my second Whole30.

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The first time we ate breakfast here the place was slammed. The staff was bustling around in their matching aprons and caps. Jeremy was so sweet when he told me he wanted to tell every person there that I designed the logo and had a hand in bringing this super popular place to life. I care deeply about every project I work on at Braid but there is something about getting to really experience a living and breathing brand my business had a hand in. And the food. You guys. Amazing.

Check out the (temporary) site for Kitchen No. 324 – the full site is still under construction. My buddy James (yeah, the same one who taught me how to shoot a shotgun) at Studio FJ designed and developed it (as well as our Braid Creative site). 

Another Whole30

February 4, 2013

Whole30

First, for those of you who are unfamiliar with The Whole30 it is strict 30-day paleo “reboot” that reduces inflammation in your body, promotes a healthy immune system and improved digestion, kicks cravings, levels out your energy, balances your hormones, and makes your skin look like that of a baby. Or a glittery vampire in the sun. Eating a paleo diet typically means that you’re eating meat (Jeremy and I are pescatarians, so we only eat fish during our Whole30), vegetables, fruits, eggs, healthy fats like avocado and coconut, nuts and seeds. It means that you are not eating sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes. You can read more about paleo and my personal history with it here.

Jeremy and I did our first Whole30 after a month abroad of eating nothing but bread, cheese, sugar, butter and beer. It was quite a journey and I learned a lot. Afterwards, we continued to eat paleo about 85% of the time. I never anticipated doing another Whole30 but after a sugar-laden Christmas I was feeling it. On January 1st we started our second Whole30.

Here’s what I learned on my second Whole30 – and some ways in which it was different from our first:
• If the first time was all about ditching grains, the second time was about ditching sugar. Wine, caramel popcorn, dark chocolate, cookies, pies… it was a good holiday but it was time to put a halt to the sugar monsters.
• Eating Whole30 isn’t just about paleo ingredients / Sugar is hard to kick. You can make lots of cookies, cakes and even ice cream using technically paleo & Whole30 approved ingredients. But if you’re eating coconut & cayenne truffles after every meal you’re doing yourself a disservice by feeding unhealthy cravings and addictions. So here’s where I’ll admit that I made these a few times on our Whole30. We also eat smoothies a lot at lunch – for us there aren’t any unhealthy connotations here (meaning, it wasn’t replacing any sort of milkshake habit).
• The second time is a lot easier than the first. I suppose because we were already eating strict paleo 85% of the time we already had a routine in place. There was a lot less mental drama about what I couldn’t eat this time around.
• Eating seasonally will affect your Whole30 experience. Jeremy and I try to eat seasonally. So while our first Whole30 was all about fish, summer squash and fruit our second Whole30 was all about leafy greens and starchy root veggies.
• Ditching coffee for tea helped. During this Whole30 we weren’t drinking coffee. I think it may have made me a bit more emotionally stable and less anxious, in general, especially around my food choices. There was a bit of confusion in my post about quitting coffee. So just to clarify I have not quit drinking caffeine. I still enjoy black and green tea which have significantly less caffeine than coffee.
• We ate a lot less fish this time around. That means a lot more vegetarian meals with eggs or vegan meals using more avocado or coconut oil for adequate calories to fuel our lifestyle.
• We eat a lot of coconut. I think 50% of my caloric intake comes in the form of coconut. Coconut chips, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut butter. I probably overdid it on coconut and other nuts during this Whole30.
• Hydrate. One of my four words for 2013 was “hydrate”. Doing this Whole30 made me feel so hydrated, in a literal sense – which is rare in the cold and dry winter months.
• We were a lot easier on ourselves. I was slightly less concerned about what kinds of oil my food had been cooked in the couple times we went out to eat. And I had a few drinks while at Alt Summit. So this wasn’t even a Whole30. Melissa and Dallas of Whole9Life say: “You’re either doing a Whole30 or you’re not. It’s kind of like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t.” The competitive perfectionist in me would feel terrible for not making it a legitimate Whole30 but guess what – I feel great and I look great with a 95% Whole30. I feel more balanced, especially socially & mentally, when I’m a little easier on myself and not completely preoccupied (or unhealthily obsessed) with my food.

Moving forward I will continue to strive towards optimal health by consuming things that aren’t just “not bad for me” but by fueling my body with flavorful foods that nourish my body and mind.

I’ll often take snaps of what I eat on Instagram. You can follow me here. 

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