Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bucket List

Biscuits?? Those aren't no stinking biscuits!!! A failed attempt at using up the almond meal left over from making almond milk last weekend. These, dear reader, are CRACKERS. New challenge: find a better way to use almond meal.

Just an FYI: Stars in the Universe far outnumber all sounds & words ever uttered by all humans who ever lived.

Does that put things in perspective? The stars in the universe outnumber every single word that we as a human race have ever said - ever. Incredible. And I talk a lot. This makes me feel like the size of an atom on the spec of time that is my life in the context of the life of the universe. I feel pretty amazing! Why? Shouldn’t I feel like nothing compared to the rest of the universe? Nope. Because I’m alive. Because I’m here.

N sent me this incredible story to give me a kick in the ass to quit my job. It worked. It made me think. What is my bucket list? Just to clarify - I hate the words “bucket list.” But, how do I accomplish the things in life that I want to do before I die? What I love about this story is the fact that 4 college boys probably had a few beers (my speculation), were bored and wanted to do something extraordinary. Like play basketball with the president. You know what? They did play basketball with the president. Why? Because they threw themselves out there with no agenda, no expectations and a desire to live life. It made me think about the things that I want to do in my life and I was struck by a few things - how most of what I want to accomplish in my life revolves around travel and adventure and how I’m really happy with my life. Then why do I dwell so much on the fact that I’m bored and hate my job? No longer I say!!! Time to change this negative outlook and live life. I’m facing this right now and it’s a bit scary. But that’s great! It should be scary!

The six steps are:
1. Stop and think about it. Really think about it. [check]
2. Write it down. [see below]
3. Talk about it. [I’m starting to]
4. Be persistent. [gotta start this]
5. Be ballsy. [gotta start this too]
6. Help others. [keep reading my blog and I’ll answer this later!]

So, cheers to the 6 steps of crossing things off my bucket list!

-Quit my job
-Have kids
-Get a master’s degree
-Bike a Gran Fondo
-Backcountry ski the “Haute Route” in France
-Go white water rafting
-Do a yoga retreat
-Do a bike/wine tour of Tuscany or Provence
-Go to Asia: Thailand, Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Japan, Tibet, Himalaya’s
-Hike in Patagonia
-Go to Australia
-Ski in New Zealand
-Go to Antarctica
-See the pyramids in Egypt
-Go to Russia
-Grow a real garden

Lastly - a healing recipe. N (who is gluten intolerant like me) accidentally ate gluten this week. The poor thing. She got pretty sick from it and all I wanted to do was fly up to Seattle and make miso soup for her. Instead, I’ll dedicate this blog post to you N!

Anyway, here’s a tutorial on how to properly make living miso soup.
Sauteed 1 carrot, 1/2 leek and 5 shiitake mushrooms (double if making this for two) - be sure to add in the garlic at the very end and only saute for 1-2 minutes max
Miso paste with chopped kale on the left, scallions and green garlic on the right
Add near boiling water (NOT boiling water) to the miso paste and make a watered down paste
I added cooked brown rice here, then the raw veggies - I then added near boiling water to make the soup and topped with the rest of the yummy stuff
The finished product! I added the sauteed veggies, torn up toasted nori, some micro greens and then a splash of tamari - DELICIOUS!
Anytime you feel crappy, tired or just plain don’t want to cook and need an easy meal, I suggest this. It’s amazing. I made miso soup last night for dinner as R is at a bachelor party all weekend in Big Sur. A lovely evening relaxing by myself, eating dinner and watching stupid girly movies. It was wonderful. You can always mix this up to what’s ever in season or how you’re feeling. For example:

If you’re feeling ill: garlic and ginger
If you’re feeling cold: ginger - lots! I promise you’ll start sweating
If you have a stomach ache: ginger again
If you feel hot: tofu (it drives out heat)
If you want protein: tofu (baked/fried/fresh), cubed or shredded chicken
If you want a light meal: just add scallions and nori
If you want a big meal: brown rice or soba noodles, a protein and load it up with veggies
I always add: organic, toasted nori and scallions
Other options to add: shiitakes (SO good for your heart!), toasted sesame seeds, spring garlic, chile oil (for spiciness), tamari (or soy sauce), micro greens, peas, asparagus, spinach, etc, etc...

The possibilities are endless!

The *key* here is to find living miso. Miso is a probiotic - it’s full of fantastic for you bacteria. Think of yogurt, but in a soup! Thus, you have to treat it right. You cannot boil miso soup. How do you know if you’re purchasing living miso? It will be in a refrigerated area of the store. I’m in love with South River miso that I can find at Rainbow. They’re pricey ($15-20 each) but are organic, made in the US and have an indefinite shelf life when stored in the fridge. One jar lasts me 6-12 months. And I LOVE it.

Enjoy and be well!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012


What a fantastic weekend of projects! Things I’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t... for the past year or so. It’s such a great feeling.

With the dismal year of skiing, R and I decided to stay in SF, do taxes and our respective projects. Throw in a dinner party and it was a busy weekend!

Chickpea snacks! With the first strawberries of the year.
He needs to start training for the Lake Tahoe Death Ride (crazy mofo - 135 miles at altitude, 5 passes, 15,000 feet elevation gain/loss) so he had to fix his bike. He had to also build up his commuter bike so our bedroom once again turned into the bike shop. Then he had to do the 50K maintenance on the car. I love it when he works on the car - he’s so cute! 

For me, here’s a rundown:

Project 1
Chickpea snacks.
Heirloom snowcap beans - yum! With water kefir fermenting in the background and the ever present cup of nettle tea for allergies.
Lunch! With leftover roasted potatoes, sauteed spring onions and oyster mushrooms topped with pea microgreens (they really taste like peas!) and green garlic. *mouth waters*
Project 2
Plastic purge! I spent part of both Saturday and Sunday purging plastic and putting all the foodstuffs in glass (easier said than done).
Cleaning of the plethora of glass jars
Project 3
Dinner party with lavendar grilled lamb loin, heirloom snowcap beans, roasted potatoes with thyme, roasted asparagus (throw the usual cleaning of house before guests arrive in there, too).

Project 4
Chocolate souffles for dessert! These needed their own project... even though they weren’t too much work. I’m just sorry I didn’t take a picture of them.

Project 5
Plant herbs and lettuce! 
Herbs! Lettuce! (been meaning to plant these for a year)
Project 6
GLUTEN FREE HO-HO’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ah, the labor of love: Ho-Ho's (before they were dipped in chocolate)
Project 7
Almond Milk.

Project 8
Feeding us breakfast, lunch and dinner and taking care of all associated dishes - I made every meal for the weekend at home (only R indulged in a roast beef sandwich from Avedano’s on Saturday - lucky him).

I feel like Martha effing Stuart. It was a brilliant weekend but I think next weekend will be spent outdoors (and throw a bachelorette party in there).

And the finished product - they don't look as delicious as they taste. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012


It took 5 1/2 days to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro - through altitude sickness and all. It was AMAZING. Taken in August 2011 on our honeymoon in Tanzania.

In my last post, I mentioned that it’s been a roller coaster of a few weeks. Sadly, this trend has continued into this week.

Life is tough. Sometimes I think I’m so weak - but then I remember that I have such amazing friends and family (and of course, the most supportive husband ever). Sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball and shut the world out. Or lose myself in a movie, bottle of wine or a workout. But that's not going to help much.

I think part of being strong is recognizing when you’re weak, when things are tough and realizing that reaching out for help when you need it makes you stronger. And wow, have I needed strength.

It’s funny how life brings a rash of patterns at times. The pattern that I’m going through right now is mortality. Heavy topic, I know. I mentioned in my last post that my niece was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week (not cancerous! yay!) and she starts radiation therapy next week. She has a 1% chance of a relapse. Incredible. The founder of the company that I work for passed away over the weekend at a wonderful age of 88. Last weekend, there were avalanches at Kirkwood and I faced the horrible thoughts of the worst. *Thankfully* only 1 person was injured and everyone else was just fine. After taking a Level 1 AIARE Avalanche safety course last year, I am extraordinarily paranoid about avalanche safety. I also learned this week that a marketing manager who so kindly shared Meyer lemons with me from his lemon tree was diagnosed with a brain tumor as well. It breaks my heart to say that he doesn’t share the same prognosis as my adorable little niece.

I don’t want to make this a sad post, just a reflective one. One to vent my anger and one to celebrate life and enjoy every moment. If anything, this struggle just solidifies my decision for a new direction in my life. I’ll probably share these directions in a month, I just have a few things to figure out and finalize.

A got me to sign up for a online food course through Beauty That Moves. I’ve been enjoying the class, but in reality already live and eat the way that Heather talks about each week. I’m so happy to support her, however, because I think that everyone should consider everything that she’s talking about. Her module this week, however, really hit me hard and has made me be more reflective than ever. Her module discussed a holistic approach to a happy and healthy life. I couldn’t agree more. It’s not enough just to eat well. You need to feed your body in other ways:

-Healthy Relationships
-Meaningful work

I’m currently doing pretty ok in most of these areas except: spiritually, intellectually and meaningful work. This has taken quite a huge toll on me over the past few months. Take it seriously! Otherwise, I promise, it will bite you in the ass - take it from me! Spiritually, I need to meditate more and get into back into yoga (that yoga mat is my church), intellectually - well, let’s just say I have plans, and meaningful work - again, I’ve got plans. To my strengths: physically I enjoy exercise or just getting outdoors for a walk, creatively I love to cook and write this blog and I have great relationships and will start volunteering at 18 Reasons soon!

I’ve never thought about my health and vitality as much as I have in the past 3 months. I feel like this current module is the culmination - the peak - of reflecting on this.
To my friends and family - I love you guys. You are my rock. You’re appreciated and celebrated by me in so many ways that I could never express. I do my best to tell you how much I love you, care about you and want only the best for you - but if I forget to tell you, just know, ok? You bring me so much joy and happiness. My life would be so empty without each and everyone of you.

The other night I spoke with C from NYC and she was so adorable in saying "wow, it sounds like you're really listening to the universe!" Hahaha!! As corny as it is, it's so true.

With much love, gratitude, and happy thoughts to those in my life who need a little love in their life.

If ever there’s a need to watch the afternoon just roll into
The evening sky
Find comfort in the finer things that keep you close that keep you safe
Within this room

When it comes down to me
And I grit my teeth
And I start to stall
When it comes down to me
-”If Ever There’s a Reason” by Derby

Sunday, April 1, 2012


The steepest street in North America
The previous few weeks have been a roller coaster ride. I think I’m getting near the end (I *hope*) of the toughest 12 months that I have faced in a long time.

Note: The photos here were taken between rainstorms on my lunch break when I worked from home this week.

The Eye of Mordor (Sutro Tower)

First an update on my spring “detox.” I did a pretty good job on most things, but haven’t 100% followed my initiatives. I ended my detox on Friday, but here’s how I did:

-No sugar!
I cannot believe how much this has helped! I feel pretty amazing cutting out sugar. I didn’t realize what a toll it takes on your body. I’ve had a bit of processed sugar, and felt kind of crappy, but 95% of the sugar I have consumed has come from fruits
-No alcohol! (ok, I might bend the rules on this one a scoatch)
I’ve pretty much avoided alcohol, but have still indulged in a glass here or there
-No meat (but will allow for eggs if I feel the need for some protein, and I will include fish in my diet)
I had meat last weekend, and that’s ok by me :)

 -Incorporate bitter greens into at least one meal per day
No problem here - it’s pretty easy when the CSA box keeps giving us a plethora of spinach
-Have a food that is probiotic at least once per day (a couple of ounces of kombucha or water kefir, live miso, homemade sauerkraut, kimchee)
This one I haven’t followed so well - but have tried; I even made homemade water kefir! Yum
-Cook mostly at home to ensure I’m eating organic foods that are plant based
-Have beans/legumes 2-3 times each week
-No dairy (at all, zip, zero - no cheating!)
Check - errrr... ok. You got me! I cheated. Do you know how hard it is to cut out dairy? OMFG. But I’ve barely had any and I seem to be just fine with goats milk
-Sleep 8+ hours per night
Check - except for one night

-Write more (this blog is kind of therapeutic - apologies if I rant too much)
Our weekly CSA box
Well, this is my second post in one week! :)
-Meditate 3-4 times per week for 5 minutes
Along with the absence of sugar, this has been incredible! I cannot believe how much better I sleep after meditating for just a few minutes
-Exercise at least 4 times per week
-Drink about 2 liters of water and herbal tea per day

In the middle of the week, I burst out of bed with the energy that I have been lacking. I think my “detox” has been quite successful! AND I’ve lost those few minor icky feeling pounds that I put on. I want to hug my acupuncturist and tell her: “J! My chi is back!” hehehehe... yeah, I know... I’m a hippie.

So my suggestion to you is that if you’re feeling pretty crappy, low on energy or just plain “ugh” try this for 1-2 weeks:
-Eat a mostly plant based diet (ideally one that you cook and uses local, organic and seasonal foods)
-Sleep 8+ hours per day
-Exercise 3-5 times per week (this only needs to be 20 minutes!)
-Meditate 3-5 times per week
-Cut out sugar and alcohol

That’s it!

I am so excited for spring.... I am so happy to have my energy back.

This takes me back to the title of this post. Plans are in the making. Plans are being thought about, discussed and molded into a new and different future - one that gets me out of this box of a cubicle that I work in. Once I have everything sorted out, I’ll be happy to discuss in detail! Until then - stay tuned.

California Poppy 
Plans! (over lunch w/ water kefir)
  Lastly, an overview of the amazing, life changing and challenging twelve months that I’ve had (which could partly explain my chi deficiency): let’s start with wedding planning, I tore my MCL skiing, then my Dad had surgery (he’s fully recovered), my Aunt was in a car accident (she’s perfectly fine), I shared an incredible and stressful wedding with my husband R, spent an incredible time with all of my friends from around the world (who visited for our wedding), we went on the most epic vacation to Tanzania where we summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, went on safari and saw Zanzibar to celebrate our honeymoon, I traveled to Tunisia and New Zealand for work, I completed a 65 mile Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa on my bike, I’ve struggled for six long months to define my future (which has been strenuous on me, R and my poor friends who have amazingly supported me throughout), a few weeks ago my six year old niece was diagnosed with a brain tumor - the happy news is that it is the lowest grade tumor and completely treatable!, and finally plans. Plans to round out this time in my life. Plans to move forward and grow. Plans to transition out of my Saturn Returns. I feel a huge sigh of relief. I feel happy.

Muffins for skiing