WIAW: Juicy-J

 

 

There I was strolling down the Whole Foods eating food of the shelves. I mean actually meandering through aisles with my hand in a large bag of pita chips, the other hand fingering a container of fresh guacamole.

Then I woke up. To realize I had two more days of my juice cleanse. @#$%

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Let’s rewind to Sunday night, which involved ten avid hands in the kitchen and five too many eclectic dishes. To complement the burgers (salmon burger for me), Japchae (Korean vermicelli), shrimp cocktail, Kimchi, and wine, some homemade frying techniques demanded testing. Lots and lots of testing.

Japchae:

Katie's twin, the vermicelli noodle bag

Katie’s twin, the vermicelli noodle bag

Zucchs for the Japchae

Zucchs for the Japchae

and chves

and chives

oh and finely diced mushrooms

oh and finely diced mushrooms

voila

voila

 

Burgers:

tomatoes <3

tomatoes ❤

rave reviews

rave reviews

 

And then these happened:

dutch oven versions

dutch oven versions

sweet potots. of course, my favorite

sweet potots. of course, my favorite

getting fancy

getting fancy

two styles of white potatoes

two styles of white potatoes

bigger cuts

bigger cuts

matchstick, mcee-d's

matchstick, mcee-d’s

 

 

And here we are now. As I coddle my final juice of the evening, reliving the aroma of sweet potatoes experiencing rebirth in peanut oil.

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It is Thanksgiving next week, and I will soon be wrecking havoc on my digestive system to next Thanksgiving week. Seven layer carrot cake, anyone?

I’ve never tried an official cleanse. I’ve juiced my own green juices throughout the day, I’ve watched friends suffer through their expensive concoctions, and I’ve cast a very very very skeptical gaze over the whole trend. But I had yet to experience it first hand until Monday. I’ll let you know my closing thoughts on my experience, the process, my energy, and the product!

 

Have you juice cleansed before?

Growing Up

How can something be so exhilarating, momentous, and painful all at the same time? A time that we can feel utterly jaded and bitter while still having so many niceties and lessons to come. During this confusing time the best years of our lives, there’s a constant learning curve. We begin to grow up regardless of if we really want to. A new realization every step along the way

 

-I’ve yet to see the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so dad’s shoulders still might be the highest place in the world. Even if they’re not, his arms are always open, welcoming a hug and cry.

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-Being employed in the real world is a little different than that summer job at the ice cream parlor you use to have. You’ll have a cry session in the office bathroom and get papercuts and see an optometrist three times in a month because you forget to blink at your computer screen (true story). But you will also befriend coworkers, stifle uncontrollable laughter during your Monday meeting, and have more than three digits in your bank account–at least until you pay rent. And as many keyboard shortcuts and impressive Excel outputs as you’ll learn, you’ll still be more perplexed by that coworker, the sole person on the planet who manages to not gain a pound at her desk job.

 

-There’s no longer any excuse to be on, at, or near the floor. Ergo, my taking up yoga and training for five months. Sitting in sukasana on my mat is now socially acceptable, who knew? The days of cart wheels and handstands and tumbling around the grass are gone. Though if you learn to do handstand pushups you can have some fun while looking super hardcore at the gym. And then of course, you’ll instagram it…

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-Doing taxes for the first, second, or fourth time will not make the process more inherently clear. I guess keying away at Turbotax is a right of passage. A right I look forward to delegating to my accountant.

 

-You’re going to dislike things you shouldn’t, love people who are wrong for you, and miss opportunities you should have valued. Understand the mistake, the frustration, the loss. And move on from it. Work to be happy and feel it in every cell and fiber of your being. Remember that life will go on.

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-Proclaim you’re going through a quarter-life crisis. To multiple people, on a myriad of occasions. It happens.IMG_3100

 

-Choose comfort over style. I’d like to be advising you that pain is beauty but come on. As many times as mom told you to wear sneakers with your jeans and tennies with your dress for those long walks, you may argue that she was institutionally insane or just plain pragmatic. That barefoot walk through the Meatpacking District may just be the smartest decision of your life after a night of too high a heel and too close of a fractured toe.

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-Unless you hire a sous chef, you will not have the bountiful, fresh fruit salads of your childhood. Ones in which you picked out the ripest of blackberries as your dad and mom chopped away. Instead you will rely on the simplicity of biting into an apple or finding diced mangoes on extreme sale. It’s a sad truth right here.

Mangoes on saleee

Mangoes on saleee

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-You’ll learn to wake up on your own. Without the pour of water over your head or the slight touch of a head rub. You’ll wake up to the garbage truck terrorizing your street at the same hour before dusk every day. You’ll wake up with the approximate 19 minutes you need to commute to work without breaking into a frantic run. You’ll wake up early (gaaaasp) because you’ve come to adore the quiet, reflective time the morning allows you.

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-Take the time to see beauty. Subjective beauty at that. It’s never too late and you’re never too inexperienced to just create. To pour your thoughts out onto paper, to imagine colors that were never “meant” to be paired together, to fulfill your dream regardless if it fits the mold. We did it in our coloring books on the floor of our bedrooms, so why not now?

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-Host a dinner party just because. Because you have your own kitchen, because you no longer have a curfew, because you have a semi-functional albeit rusty cutting knife, and because you need your wine cabinet restocked. They’re the dinner parties of your parents that we you watched from your bedroom. But with a few more paper plates and liquor bottles.

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-Call in sick to work, so that you can fly home just to have waffles and sit by the pool. There’s more validity in that than you know.

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Spring Renewal

I hope you all had a happy weekend or Passover or Easter depending on your beliefs. I experienced some poignant reminders in between the beautiful spring weather and the dismal rain. I often feel that my time on my yoga mat is my church, my spiritual time. To set an intention for myself at that moment no matter the challenges my day brought–it’s my chance to move forward from the stress and tears that came before I stepped on my mat. To move without thought in harmony with my breath. To rejuvenate. To renew. To be. Yoga means union. The union of the body, the mind, the breath, and God. Yoga philosophy teaches us that everything is God, you are an image of God, you are one with God and grow as God.

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Following my beautiful time on the mat next to wonderful friends and a unison of breath, I attended an Easter service near the White House. The reverend spoke about the resurrection and moving away from “Befores” and “If onlys.” His words truly resonated with me. How often do I spend my time in that frame of mind? Thinking about when I was in college and things were easier, when my parents were still together, if only I had taken those prerequisite courses, if only I had done a language immersion, if only I had lived closer to my grandmother.  Easter is about renewal and change and moving forward. A new dawn with beginnings and opportunities. What is different and uncomfortable and hard allows us to grow and to begin.

 

In between my poignant lessons on renewal, I spent time enjoying the cherry blossoms (only one tree, don’t be misled), maneuvering around tourists invading DC, hunting for eggs and tiny vodka bottles, consuming too many chocolates after 40 days, and hosting a cramped (I need a real living room) but festive and joyful Easter dinner for twelve.

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Any lessons for you this weekend?

A French Feat

It’s a feat I had not endeavored since high school in AP French. One that transplants you back to the country d’amour. And envelops you in flavors teeming with richness and simplicity. One that heightens your appreciation for a perfect, buttery crust.

The Galette. For those of you to have yet been transfixed by this rustic dessert, it’s a freeform, French tart replete with the fruits of summer and the essence of Provence.

For a dinner party a few weeks back, I endeavored to prepare a galette. Nothing embodies celebration like a beautiful, caramelized fruit tart. Right? You can always go buy one too, but where’s the fun in that? Fewer stories about the struggles of finding a few sticks of butter on a Sunday evening, or fiddling with oven knobs that are devoid of any printed temperature value.

 

Apricot and Strawberry Galette

(Adapted from Katie)

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks very cold butter
  • 12-16 TBS ice cold water
  • 1 1/2 lb ripe apricots, thickly sliced
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 4 TBS cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. Grand Marnier
  1. I doubled the recipe– it’s still more of an adequate serving size this way.
  2. Make the pie crust: whisk together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the cold butter, and blend  until the mixture is coarse with small lumps.  Add the water 1 TBS at a time, stirring with a fork between additions, until the dough comes loosely together.  Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.  In a large bowl, mix the apricots, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch,  and Grand Marnier.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Roll out the dough into a large oval on a well-floured surface, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Pile the fruit filling into the middle of the galette, leaving at least an inch around the edges on all sides.  Fold the edges of the dough over the filling and press down.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes longer, until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  4.  Don’t be alarmed if the filling bubbles out somewhat – it’s that kind of dessert. Note: If you use frozen fruit it will definitely bubble over.
  5. Et voila! Enjoy

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What have you baked recently?