Monday, April 30, 2012

Dirt Candy - a Vegetarian Culinary Experience

My husband and I had a random date night last Tuesday just because ;) We went to a place I've been meaning to check out ever since I read about them in VegNews, Dirt Candy! This place is now one of my favorite spots in NYC. Great food! Beautiful presentation! Be warned though, it’s very popular and extremely small so reservations are a must.

"What is dirt candy? Vegetables, of course. When you eat a vegetable you’re eating little more than dirt that’s been transformed by plenty of sunshine and rain into something that’s full of flavor: Dirt Candy" ~ Amanda Cohen

 All their food is vegetarian but a few things on their menu include diary. The first question they ask you when you sit down is “Are you a vegan?” because they can make 95% of the menu options vegan by request. We started with the sweet and spicy Jalapeno Hush Puppies. Then my husband ordered Cucumber (coconut poached tofu, shiso, galangal sauce, salsify & hearts of palm) and I had Chard  (chard gnocchi, grilled chard, garlic granola & drunken fig jam).  I would have never guessed gnocchi made of chard would taste so delicious.

Dirt Candy
(t) 212.228.7732
430 East 9th Street
NY, NY 10009

Thursday, April 26, 2012

African Men. Hollywood Stereotypes.

Great ~3 min video featuring Kenyan men poking fun at the way African men are portrayed in Hollywood films. There are so many stereotypes that continue to be reinforced in popular movies. Yes, there are a few Hollywood movies featuring Africans that are based on a true story. However, we only see the negative truths and often through the eyes of a Western. As one of my favorite author once said:

"The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete."
~ Chimamanda Adichie (from TED talk The Danger of a Single Story)

This is for all the students I taught while at Tukuyu Secondary in Tanzania who will be our future doctors and lawyers :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Omega VRT350 Juicer over Breville, lettuce over carrots

Omega VRT350
After a year of debating if it made sense to purchase a juicer and as my love of Blue Print Cleanse's Green Juice (at $10 a pop) grew, I decided to buy an Omega VRT350 Juicer.

I posted "What juicer should I buy?" on Facebook and 2 teams quickly emerged: Team Breville (centrifugal juicers) and Team Omega (masticating juicers). After reading tons of reviews and speaking to my friends/relatives here's the recap:

Team Breville: Juices 2-3x faster (65,000 - 125,000 RPM), $100 cheaper, awesome for fruit based juice, can handle leafy greens but you need to ball them up, wastes more pulp, fast speed causes the juice to oxidize (not a problem if you drink the juice right away, but not good it you want to refrigerate leftover).

Team Omega: Much slower but also much quieter, gets more juice out (less and drier pulp), more expensive but longer warranty, handles leafy greens better, slow speed (80 RPM) means no oxidation allowing juice to be stored for up to 72 hours without degradation.

My husband and I decided we prefer quality juice over speed. The first juice we made I went a little kale crazy and ended up with bitter tasting juice. Note to self: do not put more kale then carrot & celery. The second time I learned my lesson and made a delicious lettuce-kale-apple blend (1 head of lettuce, 1/2 bunch of kale, 2 golden apples). The whole process (set-up, juicing and cleaning) takes about 20 minutes and makes 20oz. Next time I'll probably double the ingredients to have some for storage. I also learned that carrots produce tons of pulp/waste whereas lettuce is extremely efficient for a base.
the Omega VRT350 makes 24 oz with little waste

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dogs experience a runner’s high too

More scientific research to explain why I’m addicted to running :) Plus it turns out my dog experiences a runner’s high too.

Click here to read the entire The Economist article

  • Running triggers the release of brain chemicals called endocannabinoids that create a potent feeling of pleasure in the same way as the active ingredient of marijuana
  • The surge of endocannabinoids aka “runner’s high” is an evolutionary benefit that was used to encourage humans to remain fit enough to run after game and away from predators and enemies for survival.
  • A study led by David Raichlen of the University of Arizona has revealed that the runner’s high exists in other species who gain an evolutionary benefit from being fast on their feet
  • After running the average human’s endocannabinoid levels rose from 2.4 picomoles per millilitre (pmol/ml) to 6.1. Dogs showed a similar trend, with levels rising from 2.4 pmol/ml to 8.0
  • Ferrets did not show a statistically significant rise because running consumes a lot of energy, may cause injury, and is not crucial to the stealthy hunting technique of sneaking down burrows and killing rabbits in their sleep

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Williamsburg Bridge - Manhattan Bridge run

Running tours are a favorite of mine. I love being able to run around exploring a city, pausing to take pictures if I want, enjoying the views.

Sunday's 13-mile run was Prospect Park - Williamsburg Bridge - Manhattan Bridge - Prospect Park. Sunny and a sweaty 75*F but clear blue skies and great sites.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Commemoration of Abdul-Baha's talk at Church of the Ascension - April 14, 1912

Church of the Ascension
Yesterday we attended a beautiful commemoration to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the first public address Abdu'l-Baha gave in America on April 14, 1912. The Reverend at the Church of the Ascension warmly welcomed 100+ Baha'is into his church in the loving spirit of interfaith & unity. It was amazing to be sitting in the same place that Abdu'l-Baha stood in and on the same exact day 100 years ago.

A century later His words are still applicable to the issues going on in the world today:
"Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material mean........For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore, no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization." ~ Abdu'l-Baha (to read the entire April 14, 1912 talk click here)  

NY Times article from 1912 covering Abdu'l-Baha's visit

You can read more about Abdu'l-Baha's visit to the church here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 210 = combining my love of running and data

I used part of my tax return to purchase a Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart monitor at JackRabbit Sports (my favorite sports store). And I'm very happy with my purchase :). As someone who is obsessed with Excel (I have spreadsheets for everything) and loves running this watch was made for me.

I've wanted a GPS watch for 2+ years but $250 - 500 price tag always scared me off. Last year I used Nike+ Sensor, a $19 small device you put inside your Nike shoes (or if like me you're not a Nike shoe wearer, attached to your shoe laces). The device was ok, it gave me a general idea of my pace and ball park estimate of my distance. However, anytime I changed my running route I had to use an online map to make sure the mileage was correct. Switching the device between my sneakers and vibrams was cumbersome and threw its stats off. Plus, you can't replace the battery and its lifespan is so short I had to replace it 2x to get through my marathon training.

After 1 month of researching numerous GPS watches and talking to JackRabbit Sports' salesreps, I decided on the Garmin Forerunner 210. I wanted a watch that didn't require a foot pod. After reading numerous negative reviews, I decided against a watch that uses a touch bezel around the edge. The newest Garmin 610 watch with the fancy touchscreen was too much money for me. Also a touchscreen would mean removing my gloves to operate it during the winter. The Virtual Racer and vibration features on the Garmin 610 are very cool but were not enough to sway me.

Garmin Connect (their online database) is brilliant! Below is a screen shot from my 10-mile run around Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery yesterday. The GPS automatically maps my route for me. I can view charts of my pace, heart rate and elevation. It also displays my splits (avg pace for every mile). You can export reports into excel or set goals and workouts.  The most amusing/flashy feature is the "player" mode. Watch a video of my run here. It "plays" out my route so you can watch how my heart rate, pace and elevation climb changes over time.