Archive | February, 2015

Recipe: Spinach, Chick-Pea and Olive Pasta

27 Feb

photo (12)Time: 10 minutes to prepare; 20 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried radiatore or rotini pasta
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach (about 2 ounces)
  • 15-ounce can no-salt-added chick-peas, rinsed if desired and drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained (about 6.5 ounces)
  • 12 kalamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Procedure

  1. Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Drain in a colander and run under cold water until completely cooled. Drain well.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients except feta.
  3. Add pasta to the spinach mixture, tossing gently yet thoroughly to coat. Add feta and toss gently.

Verdict

I love this pasta salad. It’s colorful, tasty and super easy to make. It’s a great summer salad, but occasionally I’ll whip it out in colder months because it’s so damn easy to make. Definitely eat it in the first few days of preparing it, as the spinach will wilt pretty quickly.

Courtesy of Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Third Edition

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Why I’m not a winter warrior

25 Feb
Well, it bothers me! Courtesy of Tumblr

Well, it bothers me!
Courtesy of Tumblr

I live five blocks from the subway. In Manhattan, that’s an OK deal. Compared to other boroughs, that’s a luxury. Five blocks may not seem like much. You’d think it’s about five minutes from the train to my door. And you’d be right.

What you’re not considering is the elements. The elements are wind (I live right by the river) and water (mother-effin’ snow). In case you live in California or Hawaii, you’re likely aware that it is cold as a penguin’s nose out right now. For some reason Mother Nature raised her hater-ation game to a new level. Boston has had so much snow MIT students are actually climbing a mountain to class. There are icicles hanging in the underground subways stations. Schools in Texas—Texas of all places!—are getting snow days because the world is just too damn hot.

And with all of this, my favorite activity has fallen by the wayside. That’s right, skinny people, I haven’t run outside in more than a month. I did a quick run while visiting family and friends last month, but it was 50 degrees out. I had to leave my jacket in the car.

I’ve said before that I’m getting better about lowering my degree threshold for a run. I’ve got it down to 37 degrees. But that’s above freezing. You know why? Because I am not a winter warrior.

Winter Warriors are the people who say eff it when the thermostat drops below 20 degrees. Their endorphines and sweat will keep them warm. That’s beautiful. Do you, boo. I am not one of those people.

I don’t like going outside when the wind is whipping my hair back and forth like Willow Smith. I hate when it feels like I’m being smacked in the face with icicles. Running with my hands in balls makes them hurt even worse. So now instead of focusing on my breathing and my pace, I’m focusing on the pain in my hands and if my nose will fall off from being so cold.

That’s too much stress. I run to clear my head. Running is simple: you just need good shoes. The winter requires much more thought and effort: thermal-lined pants (possibly two pair), knee-high socks to keep your calves warm, shoe spikes in case you run into a patch of ice, a beanie to keep your head warm, gloves, and a jacket. It’s just all too much.

I applaud anyone who can look outside, see Elsa’s playground and think it’s the best time to get in a run. It takes true dedication not just to your health but to your sport to continue on in these conditions. Get in a couple of miles for me. Runners are my people. But on this, we take separate paths.

I’ll be hanging out at the gym, putting in my time on the elliptical.

Would you consider yourself a winter warrior? How do you keep warm on winter runs?

#AskHerMore

23 Feb

Show time! ❤️ #Oscars (dress @TomFord; jewels @TiffanyAndCo; styling @lesliefremar; hair by @hairbyadir; glow @mrsbymrs )

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on

I’ve been a fan of Reese Witherspoon’s for a while. Most people fell in love with her in “Cruel Intentions.” But my adoration began with “Man in the Moon.” It’s a coming-of-age where she plays a spunky and smart 14-year-old who doesn’t conform to what people think she should be. She likes a boy, so she makes that fact known to him. She likes to run and swim, so she goes running and swimming. Her parents suggest being a little more feminine, but they don’t push it on her. There’s more to her than her femininity.

I’m reminded of this because before last night’s ridonculously long Oscar ceremony, Reese put a photo up on Instagram with the hashtag #AskHerMore. For years, questions posed to women on the red carpet have centered on “Who are you wearing?” “How long did it take you to get ready?” “What’s in your purse?” “Did you diet before the coming here?” On one hand, I want to know who the designer of the dress is out of curiosity. On the other, what someone has in their purse crosses a line of invasion. How long it took a woman to get ready is such a misogynistic question that I can’t even. If there’s more to put on, it takes longer to get ready. That’s just facts; no need to dwell on it.

Worst of all is the diet question. We live in an image-obsessed society that places too much emphasis on how much weight a person has lost or gained in any given amount of time. Not only that, but no one asks the men if they’ve been dieting or working out before coming on the show. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. These ceremonies are supposed to be a celebration of work, not a celebration of image.

Focusing on the image only hammers home the belief that it’s all that matters. Taking care of your health is different from taking care of your image. Diet and exercise are the keys to good health. Your image is something that is personal to you. How you look and how you want others to see you is the internal struggle you’ll forever deal with. Discussing the inner workings of that process in front of the E! red carpet cameras probably isn’t the best platform to be hashing out something so personal.

That’s why I am such a fan of Reese and others who pushed the #AskHerMore hashtag. Instead of focusing on her appearance, reporters were encouraged to ask about the work. Instead of diving into a stranger’s handbag, interviewers were pressed to ask about an actor’s relationship to the role. And instead of asking about the work it took to prepare for the night, reporters were requested to ask about the work it took to prepare for a scene.

What would you ask your favorite actress at the Oscars? #askhermore

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on

These ceremonies are just big parties where people want to ask fun questions. But it’s a party honoring work, so don’t forget to ask about that, too.

Did you make it to the end of the three-and-a-a-half hours of the Oscars? Wasn’t Common and John Legend’s performance Glorious?

 

Let’s Talk About Health, Baby

19 Feb
This will be a much less stressful conversation. Promise. Courtesy of Tublr

This will be a much less stressful conversation. Promise.
Courtesy of Tumblr

I’m a bit of a night owl. As I type this, the clock is nearing 3 a.m. “What are you doing up so late?” you’re probably asking. Well, getting this handy-dandy post up, for one. But for another, I just like being up late. I love the quiet. But when I need a little noise, I’ll channel surf.

Do you know what’s on basic cable at 2:30 in the morning? Reruns and infomercials. There are only so many times you can watch the Evanses have “Good Times” before you switch to something else. That’s when the infomercials and regular late-night commercials become some of the most interesting television you’ve ever seen. My first workout DVD was bought from an infomercial. And it sat in the box for more than a year before I actually put it to use.

The late-night commercials are something else, though. There was one that aired in the days leading up to Valentine’s. It was an ad selling a giant bear that measured up to six feet. One of the taglines was, “You could buy her chocolate, but she’ll just ask you if she looks fat?”

The ad was meant to entice men to spend hundreds of dollars on stuffed polyester that, honestly, looked like something out of a nightmare. But that line is what irked me the most. It played into the fear that people can’t handle the truth and are only looking for  a quick fix. Why buy her the health club membership she’s been talking about when you can buy her an atrocious stuffed animal no woman over the age of 13 would ever want? Forget having an honest conversation about what she really wants and needs. Get her a doll that’s sure to collect dust and fulfill nightmares for years to come.

The weight-loss journey is traveled alone. I’ve said this many times before. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people about it. Joking about a woman asking if she looks fat is old, tiresome and trite. Beyond that, it halts the conversation about health. Sure, it’s an ad for a ridiculous bear (and if your boyfriend bought that for you, there are bigger issues to discuss than weight). The ad and that line rely on the idea that discussions about appearance and health are too much for any relationship to handle.

I call bullshit. Your first discussion is usually with your doctor who will notice fluctuations in your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol with your annual physical. Next comes your boo thang, who may have added a little around the middle with you as you two have grown more comfortable with one another. Then comes my favorite: your grandparents, aunts and uncles, who will never, ever forsake the opportunity to comment on how you look—good or bad.

You can take these comments and observations as insults, or you can take them as jumping off points to a bigger discussion about what your weight and body image mean to you. No one’s saying to go on a crash diet. But I believe that opening the dialog to the future of your own health is a great way to charter the path for your weight-loss journey.

What does it hurt to say, “I’m going to start eating lighter to take better care of my weight”? Or, “Why don’t we go for a walk after dinner some nights to burn some of these calories”? Observing that a shirt or a pair of pants don’t fit the way they used to doesn’t mean you’re being critical. It means you want the person you’re with to look their best. Discussing what you’ve seen and what you’re concerned about can only open up your conversations to other things, like past history with weight or even family health issues. It’s all for the greater good.

What kinds of conversations have you had with people about your weight and body image? How do you feel about discussing these things with people? Did you have a good Valentine’s Day?

On Amber Rose

17 Feb


(Includes NSFW language)

Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa’s estranged wife/Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend, made a few headlines yesterday. The main one I’ll get to shortly, but there are a couple of points I want to make first.

1. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Amber Rose. I’m familiar with her work as a model and being rapper’s arm candy. I think she’s beautiful with an amazing body. She also thinks she’s beautiful with an amazing body. In the beginning, that’s all we had in common.

2. In interviews, she gives some of the rawest answers you’ll ever hear. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and her unfiltered views on things, you’ll love Amber’s openness and honesty about her sexuality, her dating life, motherhood and the people she wants to surround herself with.

3. That openness and honesty takes me to the link she has with this blog. Like many women, Amber gained quite a bit of weight after having her child. Like most women, she didn’t lose the weight immediately. The human body is not an animal balloon that you can just twist and turn in any shape you want. You have to work hard to mold it. Amber had her son two years ago and it was last month that she debuted the fruits of her labor.

“I’ve really been trying to work on my body and do it the natural way… I wanted to put in the work,” she told Hot97 radio last week

Werk 🍀

A post shared by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

The subject came up because the host questioned if she’d had plastic surgery. Two things: none of his business and him saying he didn’t care about the answer to his question made him look ri-damn-diculous.

Losing weight through diet and exercise takes time. It took Amber nearly two years to get her body the way she wanted. Note that she said she’s not the size and weight she used to be, but that she’s at the size she wants to be. On your weight-loss journey, you’ll learn more about yourself than you thought possible. One of the things you’ll have to contend with is rectifying your ideal weight with what is best for you. Amber found that the pre-baby weight of 120 pounds was neither feasible nor was it practical. To be honest, she looks amazing at this size.

*FYI: This will be a departure from usual weight-loss fare*

4. She’s right about Tyga. He should be ashamed of himself if he’s really is dating an underage teenager. At 25, he’s way old enough to know better that he is setting himself up to catch a case. Her comments on The Breakfast club to defend her friend and shame her friend’s ex are standard in girl code. Khloe Kardashian’s attempts to clap back were useless and embarrassing for her.

I have to admit the side of me that loves gossip was distracted by this back and forth for hours. And it made me an Amber Rose fan. She made a couple of harmless digs at the Kardashian clan in her radio interviews. But her comments about Tyga were strictly that. He has no business dating a teenager.