Sunday, November 24, 2013


My Amazon suggested reading list suggested a variety of cookbooks this afternoon; one of them being Nom Nom Paleo. I don't have much exposure to the Paleo Diet other than overhearing my roommates talk and watching them clarify butter. "Nuts aren't suggested in Paleo," I heard one of them say. I had thought the Paleo diet included any food around/eaten prior to the Agricultural Revolution. However, (duh) it seems to be a diet that is most beneficial to the body. In looking at the Paleo Diet, I have noticed that nuts and seeds tend to be "yellow light" foods which can be good but one may not want to eat in abandon. Ever since I purchased a juicer back in the spring, I noticed my tastes changed to a more vegetable/meat direction and I was happy to see these kinds of foods fall within the green light district. Mainly, I've noticed my predilection for green vegetables have increased. It's funny to think of cravings for food based on color but that has seemed to be the case. This weekend, I stumbled upon a copy of the book Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. In the book, Madison seems to group vegetables by taxonomy groups more or less, explaining why some veggies pair well together and some don't. Such a book was helpful in explaining why, perhaps, I've been attracted to green, leafy vegetables mostly of the Brassicaceae family or Cruciferae family which, interestingly enough is name for it's four leaves which look like a Greek cross. As I have a small penchant for taxonomy (mainly organization) I decided to create a list of my own within:

Brassicaceae Family
Otherwise known as the mustard family (generally known for it's peppery-flavored leaves).
Brussels Sprouts
Mustard Seed
Collard Greens

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sprouts and Stuff

I came across a book this weekend entitled, L.A.'s Son (or something like that). It was about the experience of a Korean-American with immigrant parents who exposed him to the gastronomic varieties of Korean food while raising him on the west coast. The book was interesting for a variety of reasons but I think the main one (for me) is that one can make their own tofu. This concept hit me like a ton of bricks. Tofu had played a large part in my life ever since my father became a vegetarian but I never thought you could make your own. To start, it is indicated that one starts grinding soybeans with a mortar and pestle. The rest of the recipe was somewhat lost on me but you can believe that when I went to the grocery store tonight, soybeans were the first thing I picked up.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


"Winter is coming." So goes the ubiquitous phrase from Game of Thrones which now seems tossed around as it can refer to a variety of situations. However, winter is quite literally coming, and with it, shortened days. Our clocks reset, both ex- and internally and I find myself thinking: if we eat more in tune with the season, does it affect us more? For me, winter does not conjure up images of bounty. Instead, a unique austerity prevails, the grace of pale root vegetable and clear soup. It can be a dismal time but one that prepares our bodies for renewal and new life in spring. I keep thinking, however, that with a move towards more natural ingredients, our bodies may feel the change more heavily. Ever since we set our clocks back this week, my body has seemed to be hit hard as has my mind with my internal schedule freaking out (is the dry cleaner's closing soon?) and my mood turning darker. I believe that our internal states reflect what we see and vice versa, so I ask with this post: have other's on the East Coast been affected by the change in season? This is the first time my body has seemed to shift with the cold weather and I'm thinking some part of me is preparing for the austerity of the season. However beautiful it can be.

Oregano Sauce

Based on my previous post regarding the use of different herbs (and their benefits) I have been thinking of ways to incorporate them into my diet. I'm not big on dried herbs. While convenient (and perhaps less expensive) they never seemed to carry much nutritional value. I'm also not too big on using herbs in cooking as I don't cook too much food... slicing vegetables is my specialty. Ergo, when browsing 101 Cookbooks, the godsend of a website by +heidi swanson, I came across a recipe for an oregano sauce which was used in a larger dish. The sauce could incorporate either dried or fresh herbs and I intend to go to my farmer's market on Saturday to search for some fresh ones. Here within is the website containing the recipe for oregano sauce:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lukewarm Water

I am writing this blog during the colder months and, frankly, as I get older (31 this month!) my attention starts turning to my skin. My goal this year is to use lukewarm water in the shower, however, at night (when I tend to rinse off-always have) the ultimate luxury is a steaming stream of water. I remember reading a book when I was younger with a picture of a steam bath and ever since, I guess I've equated bathing with steaming water. Speaking of showers, however, my new weapon in this department is vinegar. I may have mentioned in my last post to that rosemary can be used to relieve dandruff. In addition, during a head-and-shoulderless trip to my grandparents, I found that vinegar can be used, essentially, to eat up any fungus on the skin. Ergo, each night I shampoo my hair (I choose Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo for it's seemingly natural quality) and afterwards, run some apple cider vinegar through my hair and rinse. Like a dandruff shampoo, I can feel the tingling sensation of the vinegar as it makes contact with my scalp. The bonus, however, is the satiny feel of my hair after it is rinsed out. My hair has never felt so soft and I have never gotten such a feeling from any shampoo or conditioner (and at $1.30 a bottle). I would recommend a vinegar rinse to anyone. Just be sure not to have any prior cuts on the scalp or body if you wish to proceed. Vinegar can cause a stinging sensation on any such openings. As with the vinegar in the shower, I feel it is an addition in my quest to use more natural ingredients in my beauty routine. Now if only I can stick to that lukewarm water...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The title of my blog is: Eating for the Ego. Ergo, I once thought of food as a pleasurable experience... which it still is! But for me, I have toned down the pleasure scale, discontinuing to eat everything in sight and have begun to think of food as a means of healing. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to begin reading Diana Gabaldon's series in which a wily and adventurous female enters a portal which transports her back to the distant past. Formerly a nurse, the woman begins to use her medical skills in eighteenth-century to heal members of a Scottish tribe using mostly herbs, the only remedies at her fingers in a pre-industrial era. For the first time, my mind opened to a new use for food. Here within, a list of useful herbs:

Rosemary: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." Apparently Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in that rosemary is thought to improve one's memory and concentration. It also contains calcium, vitamins A, B and C as well as iron. It can also be used to treat dandruff. I'm not sure how but I'd love to get the procedure for concocting this remedy.

Saffron: While expensive, saffron can be used in treating stomach disorders. I cite a remedy for stomach disorders because I believe that some of these disorders arise from the use of heavily processed foods in our society. Many herbs, such as ginger, ease our digestive issues and I haven't heard too much of natural, whole foods (besides beans perhaps) leaving us hunched over a toilet. The use of herbs, in my mind, not only relieve our gastrointestinal stress they also provide an avenue away from foods that are heavily processed.

Turmeric: On, I read an interesting post on creating turmeric tea. Heidi Swanson, the author, was mentioning pain in her back which she wished to ease. Remembering  turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, she whipped together a tea based on the above spice and honey (with added pepper). I cannot wait to try this recipe as I am always intrigued by an anti-inflammatory.

Parsley: Parsley, luckily, carries vitamins A, B, K and loads of vitamin C. Vitamin A is great for your skin and vitamin C is great for protection from immune deficiencies. Parsley, can also freshen your breath, help strengthen your teeth and reduce joint pain. I'm not sure how quite to increase my intake but plan on bring out recipes soon.

Paprika: Somewhat related to the topic of anti-inflammatories, paprika helps in maintaining the health of one's veins and capillaries. It also contains vitamins A, C, E and K. Impressively, paprika has also been claimed to aid with depression and lethargy. 

Oregano: Oregano contains vitamins A, C and K as well as calcium and iron. Thankfully, it has been known to help with migraines; good news for anyone that has suffered from one.

These are only some of the herbs/spices that carry medicinal qualities. Oftentimes, herbs and their list of remedies are organized alphabetically as I did in reverse order. Coming soon, herbs M-A. Looking forward to writing.