Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Truly Open Pantry!

Above, you can see what's available for all to eat in my Pantry! When David Wolfe came to speak at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition he said something that really resonated with me..."take the doors of your pantries, put everything in glass, let people who visit you see what you are choosing to feed yourself."

Well since Tim and I rent not own our apartment in Sunnyside that's not really an option but I thought I'd take some photos so you can get a good idea of how we store our food and what we food we choose to spend our mula on!

Above is the left side of our Pantry where we keep all of our nuts (awesome trail mix on the left there), oils, sweeteners (several options- raw agave, raw honey, and sugar in the raw) teas and coffee, and other goodies. You may notice that we keep a lot of stuff in glass.

It's important for us to keep the food that we get in glass containers if possible for several reasons:
1. Depending on the food (if it's something like nuts or popcorn for example) it stores for a longer amount of time without going stale in glass as opposed to plastic bags.
2. We can actually see what we're eating and how much of it! You'd be surprised how many people don't know how much of something they're eating because they can't see it!
3. It's just more aesthetically pleasing. When I open my pantry and see glass containers full of tea bags or colorful nuts and dried food or a basket full of all of our pastas, rices and grains it just makes me want to eat them!

As you can see, the right side of our pantry is where all the grains, beans and goodies live. Some that you may notice are flax seed, whole wheat linguine, organic buckwheat and millet. Once we brought in that basket for our pastas and rices the whole place got so much more manageable and organized which is mandatory when you have a small space with limited storage.

The last picture is kind of cheat and a major plug for farmer's markets everywhere. This picture obviously isn't taken in our pantry but just outside of it is our table with all of our goodies from the Sunnyside farmer's market! The last bit of summer local Long Island corn, some prunes, apples and pears from New Jersey and some horseradish cheese from Lancaster, PA. The guy told me he makes the cheese himself and has to literally where a compression mask because of all the horseradish! Now that's dedication.

If you are in NYC please check out to find out where your local farmer's market is. If you are outside the NY area check out to find a place near you to get fresh food!

Friday, September 3, 2010

And the other thing....

So I think I mentioned on here a few times that I'm getting married! Woohoo! So I did a wedding website for Tim and I that you all can check out. I think it's great! Leave us little notes in the guest book to let us know what leads to awesome marriages!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh My God, Omega!

A few weekends ago I had the amazing good fortune to attend the Being Yoga conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. As a yoga instructor this has always been a dream of mine! I couldn't believe my luck when last Wednesday, Daniel Sullivan owner of Tumeric,- a rawbeverage company that I have been consulting for this summer, invited me to represent Tumeric and give away free samples to all the yogis in attendance! I of course graciously accepted his offer and come Saturday morning was waiting on the corner of Madison and 57th street to get picked up!

Tumeric is a raw, non-pasteurized, incredibly anti-inflammatory, good for you, tastes good, drink! I have been helping the company get their finances and accounts in order and in the mean time getting to drink this delicious stuff.
Being Yoga at Omega was a whole conference dedicated to bringing your yoga practice and the calming essence of it to every other aspect of your life. Being yoga is a truly difficult thing to do but while being in a beautiful surrounding like Omega it becomes a little easier to do!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Month of July and of course...Fruit Flies

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post! Lots has happened in the interim and I'll give you the brief overview: 4th of July was spent in CT with Tim, my fantastic fiance, my wonderful parents and great family friends celebrating my mother's birthday. The next weekend Tim and I celebrated our engagement with some sincerely amazingfriends and family and I was surprised by an engagement ring to wow all engagement rings by Tim.

Then I went to one of my favorite cities in the US of A Detroit to see some great friends like Jamie, Greg and their newest addition Lucy, Lauren and Ryan (above with their amazing backyard garden that wows all other backyard gardens!) and to celebrate the fantastic union of Amber and Josh.

After that I achieved one of my greatest goals. Graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! I am now a CERTIFIED HolisticWellness Coach and am so happy and feel so accomplished.

I have come a long way. Not only since the beginning of the program but since I was just a wee thing of 5. My mother's first Meet the Teacher night with my 1st grade teacher Mrs. French she was greeted by a very hilarious and slightly grotesque site when she
walked over to my desk...a swarm of fruit flies.

After overcoming her embarrassment she reached into my desk and pulled out every piece of fruit that she had given me since the start of the school year. Mrs. French walked over to her with a spray bottle and paper towels and requested that she not send me with fruit for a snack as I was clearly not eating it!

As I had my last lunch with my amazing IIN friends in Central Park I shared this story and we all had a chuckle about how ironic it was that the little girl who couldn't even stand to have a grape for snack now decided to make her work making sure everyone knows how to take care of themselves nutritionally.

Til next time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stay Cool, Man!

As I am sitting gazing out at my amazing fire escape garden I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in the amazing city of New York. While these next few months can be really H-O-T in the city I am looking forward to getting used to using natural ways to cooling down.

Here are my TOP 5 tips on how to keep cool when the temperature is rising
Up! Up! Up!
1. Hydration- Keeping hydrated is super important when you are sweating like crazy in those all too comfortable un-air-condtioned subway cars!
Best ways to keep hydrated? Water! Drink water first thing in the morning before you even eat anything- for an extra bonus, even on hot days, heat it up in a kettle and put some lemon in it to really kick start the digestive system.
If you are really exerting yourself by doing awesome things like playing outside and find yourself dehydrated, forget reaching for Gatorade (tooooo much sugar!) and instead reach for the Coconut Water.

2. Air Conditioner- keep it running on low fan to keep the air circulating. No air conditioner? Keep the windows open and get a fan to again, keep the air circulating!

3. Eat what's in season- what's in season is in season for a reason! Those juicy peaches and plums and strawberries are great sweet treats and deliciously refreshing!

4. Clothing- Wear light breathable clothes like in a cotton or hemp so you can get a nice breeze right through your clothes.

5. Bandana- (This one is from my amazing fiance, Tim!) Take a bandana or a wash cloth dip it in the coldest water you got and place it on an area of your body that has major arteries: i.e.: the back of your neck, top of your spine, your chest or your forehead.

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yoga and Raw Food Expo 2010

Classmates and Amazing Health Coaches Liz Hall, Lisa Chin, Bettina Ridley and Me

I had the incredible delight to attend this year's Yoga and Raw Food Expo hosted at the Hotel New Yorker. This is something that as a yoga practitioner I have dreamed about for years! This was my year though to be thoroughly immersed in the amazing efforts and products that people have been creating to further the wellness industry.

I attended the Saturday afternoon/evening of the 3-day expo and must say that I was impressed with the amount of information and vendors they had there! I came across a few fantastic companies that I feel the need to plug here as I support their efforts and believe that they are the key people to catapult wellness to the forefront of the media and people's minds.


Davina Reeves, Miss New York USA & Consultant for Tumeric...and me!

Excerpt from their Story:

"Each bottle is artisanally crafted with a purpose and a destination. We strongly believe that our vision, guided by great passion and Love for our product, will manifest change and improve the lives of many. Our goal is to enable people to realize and activate their fullest health potential through awareness, education, and experience. Tumeric- is committed to offering the very best in natural, sustainable health resources and practices."

How do you get this fantastic elixir?

Visit one of their locations in the New York Area

Zen Bottle

Founder Lindsay Noel Kemp, her colleague and me holding up just a few of the great Zen Bottle designs


Providing superior products for optimal health and to encourage the general public to take responsibility for their health and environment by making conscious choices.

Enlighten Your Bottle Mind & Spirit - Not only for health and vitality, but expansion, transformation of consciousness, and eventually, transcendence.

Enlightened Bottle - the superior water bottle is a reusable glass bottle. Glass is the only known material not to leach. Reusable helps heal the body & the environment.

Enlightened Mind - making a conscious choice to take responsibility for your choices… even down to your water bottle

Enlightened Spirit. - feel connected and enlightened as your intentions reflect in the water you drink

How do you get these great bottles?

Order off the website or in person at shows- call 888-ZEN BOTTLE for more info

Natural Nourishment

Founder Mike Monaco

Excerpt from their website:

Our goal is to provide the best quality food for you dog. We make our food every week. Quality assurance comes from the simple fact that my two dogs are eating the same food that we make for your dogs. All our ingredients are human grade and many are organic. Even the bones come from chicken backs that restaurants use to make stock. The meat is from a local butcher and the vegetables are from local markets. I believe that commercial grade dry and wet dog food is the worst thing we can feed our dogs. If we didn't believe this, we would have never spent the hours involved to start making raw food for our dogs.

How do you make sure your pups are getting the best food they can?

Contact the founder and chef himself, Mike Monaco at or 631-


Scale Down Cookware

Excerpt from their website:

ScaleDown LLC offers the best in non-stick titanium cookware. Each pot and pan has exceeded rigorous German quality-control standards and won the prestigious German TUV independent Technical Control Association Product Safety stamp of approval for durability. This cookware offers even heat distribution and requires little or no oil, grease or water to cook your foods perfectly—what could be healthier or easier?

How can you get the supplies to literally bake a cake on the top of a burner?

Call or email them to put in your order: 518-587-6130, 888-905-1122,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beating the NYC Heat Wave

Whew! NYC in the summer time can sure get ridiculously warm. The best thing to do when the going gets hot around here is to cool down with some seriously seriously delicious bring your core temp down foods. In the photo above there is a delicious cooling meal. Shrimp with artichokes fresh basil and olive oil (really- that's all that is!) and some cool cool Gazpacho topped with grapes and almonds! The tea is part of the Twinings of London line of Iced Teas where you can actually brew the tea bags in cool water instead of hot and then icing it. My fridge will not be without pitcher after pitcher of this delicious stuff.
In other news- while camping this weekend at a music festival in Hunter Mountain, NY I proposed to my now future husband. Talk about making your intentions a reality- it's all happening!

White Gazpacho with Grapes and Toasted Almonds
Recipe by: Ellie Krieger of the Food Network show Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger
Prepared by Cara and Tim: June 1, 2010
  • 2 large English cucumbers (or 3 large regular cucumbers), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 scallions, whites only, divided
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar, plus more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup green grapes, halved


Set aside 1 cup of chopped cucumber for a garnish. Soak the bread in water until soft, about 2 minutes. Place soaked bread, the rest of the cucumber, garlic, 3 of the scallions, vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the almonds, salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process until cucumbers are completely blended and liquid and almonds are almost completely invisible, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and vinegar, if desired.

To serve, ladle 1 cup gazpacho into a bowl. Mound 1/4 cup reserved chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon scallions, 2 tablespoons grapes and 1 teaspoon almonds in the center of the soup

Enjoy with all of your summer sisters and brothers out there!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Intention is a Goal Your Heart Makes, When You're Fully Conscious

This past weekend was my 5th class at The Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I am officially half way through my program.

This is alarming on many accounts...mainly two:
1. Oh My Gosh! I'm half way through, that means there's so little time left and so much more to do!
2. Oh My Gosh! I'm half way through and let me just pause and take a look back at what intentions I made on my first class weekend. (Pause, Reflect) Wow. They have happened. Now what else do I want to happen?

Intentions are tricky little devils. When you make them, it's best to be as specific as possible but also to be realistic. Because, if you truly set an intention and start believing it will come true- you will make it so.

When writing this post, the song from Cinderella "a dream is a wish your heart makes" comes to mind. Remember that one?....I believe the last thing she says prior to singing to those cute little blue birds is "well perhaps, someday..." and then the first line of the song is "a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep."

This is the opposite of an intention. An intention is a set goal with realistic outcomes and even with a schedule. While it worked out lovely for Cinderella and she actually didn't have to wait all that long for what she wanted, this is not the same experience others have with dreaming verses setting intentions. Now please believe that I have nothing against this movie and actually enjoy it but it does paint a bit of an unreachable picture.

I have actually re-written the lyrics for defining an intention, "An intention is a goal your heart makes, when you're fully conscious." Ha, ha- not as romantic perhaps but the truth indeed.

How does one make an intention? Well, this is what I was talking about earlier when I said that they are tricky little devils. The key to intention setting is to really picture yourself behind the wheel so to speak of what you want. At class this weekend Annemarie Colbin founder of Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts told a great story about this guy who really wanted a silver mercedes. He put post its up all over his apartment and pictures of it everywhere, then one day he was driving in his chevy escalade and wouldn't you know a silver mercedes plowed right into him.

Lesson learned- you must set an intention and see yourself "behind the wheel"....sometimes literally.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Living Simply

Wow- this month has been a whirlwind and I am so sad to say that the blog took a back seat for a few weeks there to packing, working, health coaching and transitions galore. But now as I start to settle into my new place which has no more boxes (yay!) and just a little bit more dog hair than usual (living with 2 dogs instead of 1 during springtime shed season is making me sneeze a bit) I am ready to get back to living....with just a few changes.
Spring is a great time to cleanse the body. It is na
ture's time in which we introduce cleansing foods like sprouts and when animals start to lose their excess hair (case and point above) to prepare for the warm summer months ahead. I had a unique opportunity as I was already in the state of cleansing by moving. I thought why just stop with the basics like clothes I don't wear regularly anymore.
I decided to widen the scope a bit and check out what else I should be shedding from my life. It started with cleaning products. I started to check out the labels (I am now a chronic label reader in every sense!) of the cleaning products that I have been using for years and realized that I have been cleaning with very toxic chemicals that I actually want no where near my pets, family or myself for that matter. So when moving in I started to check out what was in other products I realized that I felt better about spending the little extra cash and not having to worry about ever calling poison control.

Some of the companies that I've been investing in are:

So while this blog had originally started out to conquer my fear of foods that were unfamiliar to me I have actually learned a lot more about how to make myself and most importantly KEEP myself and others around me healthy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Love, Love, Love

The Beatles were onto something kids. Love, Love, Love.

This weekend I was in class and we had some incredibly inspirational speakers but the one message that I got above all was love. Love for the sake of loving and not for the sake of getting anything back.

Dr. John Douillard who founded Life Spa Ayurveda was our speaker on Saturday and I was so enamored with how he spoke on the subject of love. He told stories of how Love Really Saved the Day.

How when you love without expectations, limitations or conditions that, that is when you truly get loved in return...but in honestly, it doesn't matter. Dr. Douillard quoted the following saying often, "I love you, but it's no concern of yours."
This doesn't mean that you don't care about the other person but instead that you love them so much that, that is what you get your love from, loving alone. Nothing in return.
When there are no expectations for anything return, that is when real love is displayed. That is where the phrase "Unconditional Love" comes from. There are no conditions to your love.

How many times have I heard others or even myself saying, I love him/her but if only they....(fill in the blank- didn't smoke, drank less, made the bed, put down the toilet seat, cleaned the dishes, what have

you....)? Countless.

So in the spirit of love, I assign you the challenge of loving unconditionally. Just love. Because.

Love like hell, love 'til it seems like you can't love anymore and love wholely for you and then as a consequence I'm sure you will receive love a plenty.

In this blog there are photos of people that I am going to be loving unconditionally- it is a challenge to trust love and love alone, so know that I'm in this with you, but I'm willing to make the people I love feel amazing without expecting anything in return....Are you?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Garlic Soup - As good as 10 mothers!

Last week I felt that awful cold coming on that I always get during the season change. I had absolutely no time for this though as I had a friend from Detroit coming in town whom I hadn't seen in almost 2 years and I had just started my new job. I had remembered reading the below recipe when I started this blog and wanted to really give it a shot.

Garlic Lovers Soup
Originally Prepared by Cara: April 10, 2010


2 heads garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable stock
2 bunches spinach, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Slice off the top of each head of garlic, exposing the top of each clove.
  • Pour a teaspoon of oil on each head.
  • Place in a casserole dish with a lid or wrap in foil.
  • Roast for 45 minutes or until cloves are completely soft.
  • Let the garlic cool for a few minutes and squeeze cloves into a pot.
  • Add stock and stir to break up the garlic and combine.
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Just at the end, add in the spinach to wilt, stir well and serve right away.

Breath Deep | Sleep Well | Revel in the Loveliness of Spring

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Living in Savasana

I have recently done a whole lot of lifestyle changes as many of you know. A big part of it is of course how I have been eating - going from processed to non-processed foods and cooking a lot, quitting a job that was making me miserable, and most recently trading in an apartment which while in the heart of Park Slope, is no longer in my price range for a beautiful apartment in Sunnyside, Queens which is much more affordable and I get to live with my boyfriend Tim. It is crazy how many changes have occurred in the last month and a half.
While in a yoga class last week at Dharma Yoga Brooklyn, the instructor said to us while we were in savasana, "notice how you feel right now, that peaceful awareness is where you want to be. when living in savasana you will not be nearly as stressed and will be much happier"

Since simplifying my life I am enjoying it so much more!

I have a few recipes to share with you this post.

Last Friday I made Portobella Mushrooms stuffed with shrimp, spinach and sundried tomatoes with twice baked potatoes.

Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps
Originally made by Cara: Friday, April 2, 2010
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time 15-20 minutes

4 portabella mushroom caps
3 cloves of garlic
16 large shrimp
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

  • Remove stems and fins of mushroom tops with damp paper towel and a spoon.
  • Place mushroom top down in oiled baking pan. Brush balsamic vinegar over the top.
  • Defrost and peel about 16 large shrimp, chop 3 cloves garlic.
  • Divide the garlic in 2 piles.
  • In fry pan heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and saute first pile for about 30 seconds
  • Add shrimp
  • With tongs turn after 1 minute. when they are slightly pink and curled remove to a dish.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil and saute second pile of garlic. Then saute 1 bag of baby spinach until wilted
  • Add about 5 sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of Marsala or wine
  • Add shrimp back to the pan
  • Season with pepper, about 1-2 stalks of fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • Fill mushrooms and sprinkle with parmasian cheese
  • In same pan heat 1 Tablespoon balsamic and 1 Tablespoon marsala until it bubbles slightly.
  • Pour over edges of mushrooms.
  • Baked 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until softened
Twice Baked Potatoes
Originally prepared by Cara: Friday, April 2, 2010
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes (bake) 20-30 minutes (twice bake)

2 potatoes
2 T Butter
1/4 C of milk
2 T Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper
  • Scrub 2 baked potatoes, pierce with a fork
  • Bake 425 degrees for 50-60 minutes until it's soft in center
  • Cook about 20 minutes, cut in half horizontally
  • Using a spoon carefully remove pulp without breaking the skin and place in large bowl

  • Beat with an electric mixer until it's smooth
  • Melt 2 T butter, add 1/4 C milk to heat
  • Slowly add to potato and blend until creamy
  • Add 2 T sour cream and salt & pepper.
  • Using kitchen shears (best kitchen tool ever!) snip 2-3 chives into mixer.
  • Fill potato skins and top with cheddar cheese
  • Bake 375 degrees 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and the potato looks a little brown.
Enjoy these recipes and Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I wouldn't have even thought to make this from scratch...

Such a staple in my everyday foods- I eat it as a spread on toast, as a dip with pita chips or my favorite veggie- cucumbers (shout out here to my former Roomie with whom I'd eat copious amounts of this for dinner...with nothing else!) I certainly have my favorite brands and flavors but it never occurred to me to try and make it myself...until now.

While at my mother's house last week we were discussing what we would prepare together for dinner, our first since I started writing the blog, and we got so hungry just talking about food that we decided to embark on my newest food adventure- making hummus from scratch.

What goes into hummus you may ask? It's so simple!

Parsley & Lemon Hummus

Recipe from: My mother- Marie Kossman (above!)
Originally made by Cara: Monday, March 29, 2010
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

1 can of rinsed white or garbanzo beans
1 cup of fresh flat parsley (fresh from the garden!)
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves chopped garlic
salt & pepper to taste

  • In food processor chop garlic, then beans, then parsley

  • Add oil and lemon by drizzling in as processor is on
  • Seriously. That's it folks.

Voila! Enjoy with friends and moms alike.

So as you see it's super easy to make and we had a feast before the rest of our feast which I'll write about next time- oooo, it was delicious!

In other news I am proud to announce that I have launched my new website

Please visit it and share with friends. I am doing free health consultations at this time so if you are interested please leave a comment here or fill out the form on the website. It's only an hour and so far the people who have participated have had wonderful things to say- check out the Testimonials on the website.

I'm also going to be hosting a workshop on wholesome nutrition entitled, "Eat More, Weigh Less" on Long Island on May 5th. If you are interested in registering for that please check out the Events page on the website.

With transitioning from full time to part time I just assumed that I'd have a bit of down time but to my absolute shock I am busier than I ever was! It's the best! I hope that you enjoy this beautiful weather and of course...

Be well | Drink Water | Sleep Often | Breathe Deep

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pesto Pizza- My, Oh, My!

On Sunday, Tim and I spent our day like this:

The good news is we both aced our tests and got a lot of work done however we were starving by the end so we decided to make a delicious pesto pizza with mushrooms and prosciutto (on his half) . We also had the Trader Joe's Power House Salad (a complete salad with spinach, walnuts, dried edamame, dried blueberries, dried cherries.)
I haven't really plugged any brands to much on this blog yet but I have to say that the Trader Joe's garlic pizza dough was fantastic!
We made our own pesto kind of on a whim but I looked up the ingredients after which are:

Pesto Sauce:

Originally made by Cara: Sunday, March 21, 2010
Recipe from: our heads! (the one below is from Simply

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (oh we used a lot more than that!)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced (Tim and I used 6!!!)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Combine the basil in with the walnuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  • Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Makes 1 cup.
So first we had to roll out the dough- this is actually the hardest part of the whole thing!

(Left: Tim kneading the dough)
(Right: Me spreading/kneading the dough)

Then we spread out our freshly made Pesto:

It's so green!!

Then we plopped on our fixings and also put some delicious slices of Mozzarella cheese on it- Trader Joe's has these perfectly sliced mozzarella pieces pre-packaged:

After about 18-20 minutes at 425 degrees take it out and it will look like this:

This was delicious and very fun! It lasted a long time as well- I just had my last 2 pieces today for lunch. Delicious!

I have my 3rd class this weekend and am very excited. I've been asked by IIN to be interviewed as a testimonial! I found out that my health counselor recommended me and I'm just so honored to do so, I was told to dress to impress. I will and I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...

Be well | Cook often | Sleep A Lot | Breath Deep

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Histories, Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Recipes from You!

Happy Tuesday! While I am winding down my last few days at my non-profit arts management job I look forward to really diving into my next adventure!

I am going to be working with clients as of next week so if anyone would like to have a free health history with me please let me know! You can either post your interest here or email me at

What is a health history you may ask. Well a health history takes no more than an hour and is a conversation between you and me about your lifestyle- things that it will include are what you eat, how you sleep and your work schedule as well as other things. After the consultation we can talk about setting up a personal program for you if you are interested in continuing to work with me.

I wanted to also thank all of you for your amazing support as I embark on this new career. From those of you who know me I have continued to hear how this makes perfect sense and you are so excited for me! Well I know quite a few of you out there who this training would make perfect sense for as well. If you have any interest in finding out the specifics of the program that I am currently attending or would like to enroll they are now taking registrations for the 2010/2011 class. Also a bonus is that you don't even have to be in New York as you can be a part of the Distance Learning program. Again if you are interested talk to me! Below is the Nutrition Guide created by the Institute. As you can see a lot plays into your general wellness and nutrition not just the food you are eating.

Since starting this blog I have received a lot of recipe suggestions so I would like to propose a new activity: If you post it, I'll try it! I am really trying to build up my culinary skills and cabinet supplies so give me a challenge- you'll get the credit for the recipe. Also more importantly make sure to post it on here so other people can try it as well!

Be well | Sleep often | Breathe deep | Drink water

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Burning the Rice, Kale Chips & Plantains

One thing that I learned during my second weekend at IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) was how to make a healthy breakfast. This is crazy to me. I have been eating "healthy" breakfasts my whole life but really I came to realize that my breakfasts have been overly sugary cereals/cereal bars which were "whole grain"(in reality any nutrients that was originally part of that whole grain gets completely disintegrated when the grains are cooked at a temperature over 500 degrees), potato products and lots of bagels. What I ended up making almost every day last week was this:

This recipe was found in handouts provided by IIN graduate, health coach and Top Chef Season 1 contestant Andrea Beaman. For more awesome recipes like this visit her website She is a great speaker, and has a really fantastic story.

Breakfast Porridge
Recipe from: Andrea Beaman
Originally prepared by Cara: Monday, March 8, 2010

1 cup leftover brown rice
2 tbsp. rolled oats
1 cup water
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
1 shake of cinnamon
raw honey (I've been using Agave Nectar!)

Bring rice, oats, water, raisins, and cinnamon to
a boil. Lower the flame to simmer and cook for
5-7 minutes, or until creamy. Add raw honey to
sweeten. Serves two.

Another tip that Andrea had given me (and the rest of my 1,000 classmates) was to "Burn the Rice" meaning to cook a lot of food in the beginning of the week that way you can quickly put together recipes like the one above during the weekday. I have tried it now for 2 weeks in a row and it's working out!

Something has changed recently and I looked crazy to my coworkers the other day when I opted to not take home a bagel but instead take the beautiful Kale that was used as decoration under the bagel platter. Kale Chips- I was almost as nervous about these as I was the Bok Choy (something about those dark leafy greens make me nervous). Turns out they are not actually as intimidating as I thought!

Kale Chips:
Recipe from:
Originally prepared by Cara: Wednesday, March 10, 2010


1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper/foil.
  • With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  • Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Tonight I had a predicament...I had invited my good friend Melissa over for a feast but once I got home I had no interest in cooking and since it was the first night that it was still light out when I got home and Melissa wasn't coming over until at least 845 I took my pup, Travis Bean for a walk in Prospect Park. By the time I got back to the apartment I had passed hungry and had arrived at cranky/whiny/starving. Bad.News.Bears.
After stomping around the kitchen complaining to Travis Bean about how I didn't even want to cook for myself let alone Melissa I finally got it together, ate some cucumbers and hummus to tide me over and just started cooking rice. A very good place to start. I then took super ripe plantains and started to fry them. Then sauteed red and black beans along with Broccoli in onions and garlic and created the feast I promised. I actually had so much fun with it that I didn't even hear the phone buzzing the first FOUR times Melissa called!

Here are the Plantains starting to Fry and the Beans and Broccoli sauteing:

Fried Plantains:
Recipe from:
Originally Prepared by Cara: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Super Ripe Plantains
2 Cups of Oil

  • Heat Oil over Medium Heat
  • Peel plantains
  • Slice them in Half and then into small thin Strips (as you may see I only read as far as half and then made it up as I went along)
  • Fry until they are a golden brown. Pat generously with paper towels

(Left) Dinner is Served!

(Right) One satisfied dinner guest!

Things I did that I never had done before:
1. Cooked with Plantains
2. Fried something
3. cooked 2 kinds of beans together (red AND black)
4. baked my own chips (3 times in a week!)
5. cooked rice

I hope you try these recipes out for your soon to be satisfied dinner guests!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You want me to chew HOW much exactly?

One of the main things that we talk about in school is about food- surprising I know. But not just about what food we're eating, but how it is actually fueling us. As Americans, we generally....ok, let's clarify that- I generally am always looking to the next thing and don't ever leave time to savor...this applies to almost every aspect of my life- my job, my living situation, and especially my food.

I certainly love to eat don't get me wrong but what I recently realized was that I'm a "scarfer." Pretty much I scarf down my food so fast that I couldn't tell you when I'm done whether what I just ate tasted good or bad. This could be one reason that I always put hot sauce on EVERYTHING!!! You can even see it my last post- right next to the bok choy and quinoa is a nice squirt of Siracha- an asian hot sauce which some people may actually know better as cock sauce - this is of course because of the picture of the rooster on the bottle--ha ha. I love to laugh at food.

So I came to a realization for me which is:
1) everything tastes bland because I don't actually chew my food enough (in the macrobiotic diet people chew each bite 100 times.....seriously-what dedication)
2) because everything tastes bland, I smother it in hot sauce, red pepper, what have you
3) because I scarf everything down that is smothered in hot sauce it irritates my stomach and I often feel like I'm choking when I eat

With this new idea I had I proposed myself a challenge:
1) Eat food with out initially smothering it with hot sauce-- Those of you who know me know that this is a sincere challenge!
2) Chew food consciously, slowly, and really taste the flavor of what I'm eating.
3) Let food gradually swallow down the throat this way I don't have to immediately chug water to help it.

And I'll tell you- this past week has been challenging! But my new recipe that I cooked was another one from the Integrative Nutrition book and then I actually got experimental myself a bit and tried something of my own creation!

Carrot Ginger Soup and Tomato Salad with Gouda Cheese

This was especially a fun one to make as my roommate Jess was there helping me literally every step of the way while supporting my insecurities around cooking and photographing the whole process- yeah she's the best! After all the giggling and spilling and having the blender top have a hole in it and therefore shoot carrot, ginger, onion water pretty much all over me, we had a really lovely meal. Jess even thought to bring the candle that was in the living room into the kitchen so we could fully celebrate our accomplishment!

Tomato Salad with Gouda-
I had just been in Ft. Myers visiting my parents the weekend prior and went tomato picking! It was so much fun and my mom and I were stepping in rotten tomatoes like crazy but in the end I brought home about 6 beautiful, organic, picked off the vine by me tomatoes. And honestly Jess and I can always agree that everyone loves a good gouda (shout out to John Fasulo here!) so it was a pretty easy match up.

Things I did for this meal that I never had done before:
1) peel carrots
2) use a tomato knife- I've literally had this for years but have never ever used it- go figure!
3) simmer something in a pot
4) Peel and grate fresh ginger/cook with fresh was kind of scary looking but man was it worth it- the meal was so amazing because of it

So yeah, we had a feast and it was delicious and we had really great conversation as well. So again, I just hope these little anecdotes about my cooking experiments inspire some of you to just give it a try- it's really more fun and a hell of a lot easier than I ever imagined.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 (although actually it lasted me 6)
Originally prepared by Cara: March 1, 2010

6 carrots
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4 cups water
6-inch piece fresh ginger
Fresh parsley to garnish

  • Wash, peel and cut carrots and onion into chunks.
  • Place vegetables and salt in a pot.
  • Add water. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid.
  • Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes
  • Transfer soup into blender, adding water if necessary to achieve desired consistency
  • When blending is done, squeeze juice from grated ginger and add to soup.
  • Garnish with parsley
Tip: For extra flavor, saute vegetables before cooking.
Tip: Substitute carrots with squash, parsnip or beets. Squash and beets need 35 to 40 minutes to cook.

After it's all done eat and enjoy with friends!