We are in the midst of week two of summer vacation, and I’m still trying to figure out the summer. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that it takes a bit of time to switch gears from the end-of-the-school year mayhem into summer mode. I’ve yet to crack the code on how to slow down while driving one kid to soccer camp and the other to golf practice—and then trying to do something useful with the free hour or two I end up with in between. One thing I do almost immediately, however, is punt the whole meal-planning routine and let our full-on sit-down family dinners take a hiatus for a couple months.
Photo by Laura Hobbs
Since moving to Boulder, my life has become an all-out yoga fest. I’m the managing editor for the yoga-heavy Elephant Journal, I’m the social media ambassador to one of the hippest yoga studios in town, I’m connecting and networking with amazing yogis from all over the country (Seane Corn kissed me on the cheek—I can die now), I’m going to yoga class every day, and I even got the chance to check out the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park a few weekends ago. I’m living and breathing the yoga life, and I’m loving every second of it.
When I got married, my sister gave me an herb garden planted in a giant galvanized metal tub. At that time in my life, the only plants I’d ever kept alive were a couple scrawny succulents on my dorm room windowsill, and while I already loved to cook, I had no idea what to do with nine varieties of fresh herbs. Needless to say, I was intimidated. The plants died a slow, neglected death, which I rationalized as okay because all the herbs I ever needed were available at the grocery store.
Sixteen years later, I’ve come full circle on the idea of growing my own herbs (although that tub is usually used for keeping beer cold at parties). Now I grow herbs in pots, and here are some good reasons why you should, too.
- Cooking with fresh herbs is fun; it feels very “chef-y” to do things like chiffonade.
Whether it’s trying a new food or attempting a new recipe, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve urged my kids to try a new food—a food they claimed to “know its disgusting”—only to hear them say, “Wow mom, I didn’t know delicata squash (or kale, pomegranate, clams) was so not gross! Can I have some more?” Sure, sometimes (as with the pureed broccoli-and parsley salad I foisted on them last night), they confirm it to be disgusting. But they don’t gag, vomit, or die.
Learning to love—no, crave—the only non-controversial food group.
I was cooking up some turkey bacon for my kids’ breakfast when my husband read me the headline about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to designate processed meat as a “Group 1 carcinogen” (that’s the same category as cigarettes). Up until that moment, I’d been pretty proud of the recent addition of bacon to our morning repertoire and was pleased to cut out carbs and replace them with “healthy” protein. Now I was throwing my hands up in frustration. Was I poisoning my children?
When Andrine Nichols decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle nearly 20 years ago, she admits that it was quite a challenge at first.
“Whenever I went out to eat, I’d have to order a pasta entrée or salad and tell them to hold the meat, and it really bothered me to have to pay for meat that I wasn’t even eating,” says Nichols, who lives in Maryland. “These days, it’s a lot easier; most restaurants, even steakhouses, have at least a few vegetarian dishes on the menu.”
Quick—which one fruit most reminds you of summer?
Did you say watermelon? If you didn’t say watermelon, I suspect the beautiful photo gave it away. Anyway, if you did say watermelon, you’re not alone; I conducted an informal poll at a recent get-together, and every single person I asked (all 8 of them) said watermelon too.
Besides practicing poses and breathing, yogis also need to nourish their bodies. Since there’s been so much talk lately about clean eating, I decided to talk to an expert about all that it entails. Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN, the spokesperson for the California Dietetic Association, agreed to answer my questions.
What exactly is clean eating?
My grandfather, not one given to understatement, frequently declared many modern-day foods to be “poison” and dismissed them with a wave of his hand. Among the offenders? Margarine (“anything that doesn’t freeze at freezing temperatures isn’t right…”). Pam cooking spray (“work of the devil!”). Whipped cream in an aerosol (“Unnatural!”).
I can only imagine his response to today’s offerings.
I had an interesting realization last month when I joined my sisters-in-laws on their annual pilgrimage to the mall for some Black Friday consumerism. We all left the mall pretty much empty-handed, and I realized that I just don’t really shop at malls and chain stores anymore, particularly for gifts. Instead, I am trolling the cute indie boutiques for the perfect, unique gift, and searching online for interesting options from fun online retailers. Luckily, when it comes to foodies on my list, there are plenty of options, so shopping’s a breeze. Here are some places to look online for some wonderful cooking-related gifts that have an environmentally friendly focus.