Food Blogger of the Month: March 2013

Hello everyone! Sorry for no updates last week, I had to prepare my house for a new roommate!

Julianna & NatashaExcuses aside, I am very excited for this installment of Food Blogger of the Month, and can’t wait to introduce you to a fantastic team of foodies. Julianna Strickland & Natasha Feldman of Cinema & Spice are just too fabulous for words.

Their channel on YouTube was one of the first channels I subscribed to, and I’m very glad I did. It focuses on dishes inspired by movies, and it also shows you how to throw awesome dinner parties for a wide range of films.

They are also focused on organic and healthy eating, which makes their meals just out of this world. What could be better?

I hope you enjoy Julianna and Natasha as much as I have, and try out their recipes. You won’t be disappointed.

When did your passion for food begin?:

Julianna: I always have loved food!  I learned to cook with my mom and sisters growing up.  During the holidays we would spend hours making these elaborately decorated sugar cookies, and I loved being able to make something that was both edible and beautiful.   I also love trying food from all around the world, it’s my favorite reason to travel!

Natasha: My real passion for food began when I entered college. Before that moment, it hadn’t occurred to me that food out in the world was not as good, or as healthy as the food I grew up eating. I slowly started playing with different flavors and ideas and discovered how much fun and creativity lies in the kitchen… I really haven’t left since.

What inspires you to create recipes?:

Peppers Stuffed with Turkey and Brown RiceJulianna: I get my inspiration from the movies we choose!  I was a film major in college, and I love the way movies transport you to a specific time and place.  I like to create recipes to pair with my favorite movies because it just immerses you more, and in researching and testing the recipes we learn a lot about the period or country in which each movie is set.

Natasha: I am always inspired by things I don’t know well. When we pick a movie with a cuisine outside of my comfort zone I am the most excited to dive in, figure it out, and in turn help our viewers learn something new!

When did you create your channel?:

Julianna: Natasha and I started C&S a couple of years ago.  We had just moved into the same apartment and we wanted to combine our mutual love of food into a project together.  We were cooking all the time anyway, why not share our creations with the Internet!

Natasha:  I think Julianna summed it up pretty well.  Before we started working together I had another food blog, which I really enjoyed, but I missed the energy of another person. It is so much more fun to cook with a friend!  It just seemed to click and we haven’t stopped since we started!

What is one of your favorite go to recipes on your channel?:

Gluten Free French ToastJulianna: One of my favorite recipes we’ve ever made is our Creamy Chicken Korma that we made to go along with this adorable Bollywood film, Taare Zameen Par. We had never attempted Indian food before, so it took several tries before we got the recipe just right.  But wow, was the recipe testing fun, and now we have a chicken recipe that was love to make for friends!

Natasha: I believe that this is such a hard question to answer because we make all of our recipes based on the things we love to eat!  One of my favorite go to winter recipes is our Tortilla Soup, it’s easy to make, satisfying and a fan favorite.

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use? Why?:

Julianna:  I like to use ingredients that are fresh and in season.  I’m pretty obsessed with farmer’s markets, and I love to find new fruits and vegetables there that I never knew existed!  I also read this amazing book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” a few years ago that is about a family that only eats what they grow themselves for a year, and that inspired me to eat more seasonally and locally.

Natasha: Olive oil and salt!  They enhance every savory dish and can transform a mediocre dish to awesome.  That being said, I like to use a really high quality olive oil for finishing dishes and a less expensive one for cooking.  The same goes for salt.

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in your kitchen? Why?:

Cinema and Spice 3Julianna:  The Vitamix!  It’s seriously the best.  I make soups, smoothies, shakes, sauces, dressings, pudding, cake batter, literally endless things.  Natasha and I even have a dairy free ice cream we make in our Vitamix.

Natasha;  Touché!  I can’t tell you how often we use our Vitamix!  Sometimes we rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to use it first!

A few encouraging words to other food lovers:

Julianna: If you love to cook, don’t be afraid to try new things!  Everyone (even the best chefs) fail sometimes, but more often than not, you will surprise yourself with how tasty the new recipe you’re trying is.  I feel like the food you make at home always tastes a little better (and usually is healthier) than the food you buy when you go out, so roll your sleeves up and experiment!

Natasha: The better and fresher your ingredients are, the more likely you are to succeed.  If you can use fresh items your dish will be terrific.  Fresh and local makes all the difference.  Don’t be afraid to let the ingredients shine and serve simple dishes.

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Cinema and Spice 2Be sure to check out these wonderful ladies on YouTube, Tumblr, and even Pinterest.

All photographs are from
Cinema & Spice

숙주나물 (Sukjunamul) Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish

Sukjunamul안녕하세요(Anyeonghaseyo) everyone! Today I am sharing a traditional Korean 반찬 (Banchan), or side dish.

It is savory, crisp and delicious. I tend to make it in relatively large batches and include it in lunches and dinners over a few days.

This dish is pretty filling while having relatively few calories, and is a good way to incorporate bean sprouts into your diet if you’re unfamiliar with them.

숙주나물 (Sukjunamul) Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish

Ingredients:

  • Washed Mung Bean Sprouts with Roots Removed
  • Chopped Green Onion
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds

For Dressing (In Proportion):

  • 1 tsp Korean Soy Sauce (Others can be substituted, but they will have a slightly different flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 minced Garlic Clove
  • 1 pinch Sugar

Instructions:

  1. Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water for no more than 30 seconds.
  2. Remove and immediately rinse with cold water until they are chilled. An ice bath works well for this.
  3. Drain the sprouts well.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and sugar in a bowl.
  5. Combine the green onions with the sprouts.
  6. Pour on the dressing and mix well.
  7. Top with sesame seeds.

Sukjunamul 2A pinch of 고추가루 (Gochugaru) Korean red pepper flakes can add a lovely kick to this dish.

Also remember that the dressing is listed in proportions, and any size batch can be prepared from these proportions.

Recipe is adapted from MM’s Kitchen Bites.

First image is from MM’s Kitchen Bites second image was found on Google.

Using Essential Oils in the Laundry

There’s nothing new about giving the laundry the aromatic treatment. Our Elizabethan ancestors dried their clothes and bed linen on rosemary or lavender bushes to infuse them with the smell, and scented the water with orris root.

ClotheslineWe have many more possibilities, because although most of us haven’t seen a rosemary bush big enough to hang our double sheets over, we do have a multitude of essential oils which can be used in the washer, the dryer, or drawers and wardrobes where we keep our clothes. And it’s not just about making our clothes smell sweet, as we shall discover.

If you have a washing machine put 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil into the softener compartment. If hand-washing, put 2 drops in the final rinse water and swish it around. Avoid the resinous oils, and some of the heavier oils such as Rose which tend to cling to the clothes in the wash but are fine when drying or storing clothes.

WasherTo add a delicious fragrance to your wash try Lemongrass or Lavender. If you prefer a more exotic perfume, try Ylang-Ylang or Neroli. If winter colds have struck the household, put Eucalyptus Rosemary, or Pine in the wash. These oils are especially beneficial on bed linen to relieve coughs and catarrh throughout the night. If whooping cough is in the house, use Hyssop and Peppermint. If insomnia is the problem, Marjoram, Chamomile, and Orange Blossom will help to aid sleep if used when rinsing the bed linen or nightware.

To infuse clothes with an essential oil when putting them through the tumble dryer, simply add 2 drops onto a piece of fabric no larger than 4 inches square and pop it in with the clothes. Here are some oils you might try.

Fresh

Lavender; Bergamot
Rosemary; Pettigraine

Floral

Geranium; Neroli
Palma Rosa; Bois de Rose

Romantic

Ylang-Ylang; Jasmine
Rose; Vervaine

Ironing BoardYou may also like to utilize the essential oils when ironing. You can either put 1 drop of essential oil in a plant mister and spray the clothes before ironing, or put a drop on a damp linen cloth and place between the iron and the material. You could also put the essential oils directly into the water compartment of your steam iron, but essential oils are not water soluble and could leave a residue in your iron.

Essential oils can be left to infuse the clothes while they are in the drawer or the closet. Put a drop on little pieces of natural material or cotton-wool balls and place them between the clothes. Here is a lovely synergistic blend:

Clothes Sweetener

4 drops Bois de Rose
2 drops Geranium
3 drops Lemon

Mix in these proportions.

To keep moths away from your clothes use 2-3 drops of one of the following oils. These are particularly useful when coats and woolens are stored away during the summer months.

Moth Repellants

Lavender; Rosemary
Lemongrass; Citronella
Camphor

WardrobeSmall cotton balls with essential oils on them can also be put between the clothes in drawers. Drawer liners made with the essential oils are much nicer than their chemical aroma counterparts and are very simple to make. Cut paper to the size of the drawer –blotting paper or other types of absorbent paper are best- and dot with the essential oils. Then brush over orris root powder, which acts like a fixative, shake off and place in the bottom of the drawer.

Rose in the ladies’ underwear drawer would be appropriate, for example, and a relaxing, calming oil like Chamomile in the children’s nightwear drawer, and a stimulating one such as Grapefruit or Basil for the school clothes drawer. When colds are around, get your family to use handkerchiefs that have been left in a drawer with an antibacterial or disinfectant oil.

Shoe RackShoes should not be neglected. To freshen them up inside, put 2 teaspoons of baking soda into an egg cup and add 2 drops of Lemon, Lavender, or Rosemary. Mix this as well as you can, sprinkle into the shoes and leave overnight. Tap it out in the morning and your shoes will be fresh as new.

Sneakers and athletic shoes can get pretty pungent even if you don’t have a foot odor problem. Follow the method above, but use 2 drops of the following synergistic blends of oils to each teaspoonful of baking soda. By morning they won’t be the same wild things you left there.

Sneaker Tamer Synergistic Blend

2 drops Sage
5 drops Rosemary
3 drops Lavender

Mix in these proportions.

This Article was Adapted from:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All images from Google.com

Naturally Dyeing Eggs for Ostara or Easter

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing another YouTube gem.

This video will show you how to dye eggs using natural dyes in the three primary colors.

With Ostara and Easter approaching, I thought this would be very appropriate, and really fun whether you have little ones or not.

I personally prefer this method to the artificial dye kits that sell by the thousands around this time of year. I always felt uncomfortable eating the eggs after having soaked them in those bright artificial dyes; especially when they leeched through the shell and into the egg itself.

With this method I don’t have to worry about anything harmful being ingested, although I do not enjoy beets whatsoever. I highly doubt that the flavors of the dye will reach the egg whites; and if they do, I doubt it will be very strong.

If you enjoyed this video check out the lovely Emmy’s channel on YouTube at emmymadeinjapan. She has fun videos where she tries food from all over the world, showcases Japanese candies, and even shows off her cooking skills with recipe videos.

Most of all enjoy your holiday and have fun finding eggs!

Food Blogger of the Month: February 2013

Hello everyone! I apologize for February’s Food Blogger of the Month being so late. I lined up an interview only to not receive word back for this month.

I was scrambling to find someone to replace the interview, until I made an obvious realization: I had a wonderful food blogger in my news feed who posted wonderful vegan food, and seemed fun and very passionate. I yelled at myself for not asking her sooner and sent a message right away.

Alexis from Sugar Coated VeganI was very excited when I received a prompt reply, and everything was set into motion very quickly.

This month I am interviewing Alexis of Sugar Coated Vegan, and I’m pretty excited about this one. Her blog not only looks amazing, but it actually is.

Her sweet recipes are simply amazing, and very inventive. Have you ever thought you could have vegan cherry cordials, because I certainly never have. She has proved to me that you can make almost anything into a vegan treat, and never have to sacrifice flavor to eat better.

Enjoy this month’s interview, and definitely check out Alexis and her lovely recipes.

When did your passion for food begin?

My passion for food began funnily enough when I become a vegetarian because I was forced to make meals for myself which gave me the chance to explore all various types of ingredients and spices. That step of independence brought me to this point of having to create something new because as a vegan you don’t want to just eat salads seven days a week.

What inspires you to create recipes?

Vegan Cinnamon Roll PancakesI love being able to bring all these different recipes to the public and being able to help convey the tools needed so they can create the dishes themselves. Also, personally a lot of my recipes come about when I’m craving something that I haven’t yet veganized so I like to look at the traditional components of the dish and use that base of the recipe to create something completely vegan out of it.

When did you begin blogging about food?

I started fairly recently, January 1st 2013. The beginning of the New Year!

What is one of your favorite go to recipes on your blog?

Vegan Marzipan TrufflesI love, love, love making the marzipan truffles and the cherry cordials! I can’t pick which is better because I adore both, haha. The marzipan truffles just remind me of my childhood and my mom who pronounced marzipan as “matzipan” and I absolutely loved cherry cordials before becoming a vegan so I jumped at the chance to veganize them.

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use?

For sweets, definitely almond extract the aroma is amazing and you need just little bit of it to add something special to your sweets. For savory dishes, garlic tastes good in just about everything! The smell of garlic and onion frying in a pan is one you can’t miss!

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in your kitchen?

Vegan Cherry CordialsFOOD PROCESSOR! 100% my food processor! I couldn’t live without it, haha. There are just so many versatile things you can do with it and it saves you so much in prep time. When I first looked at this question it was a toss up between a mixer and a food processor and there’s no way I could do half of my recipes without a food processor.

What are some encouraging words you’d like to share with other food lovers?

Don’t be afraid to explore and step outside of your comfort zone. Try recipes from every single part of the world! If you find your daily meals becoming monotonous just look up a dish from another place and play with it, test it out! Buy ingredients you’ve never bought before and try fruits you can’t even pronounce the name too!

As vegetarian, vegans and even meat lovers we have this amazing world that is so culturally diverse so why should we set ourselves up in these little food bubbles? Try everything, explore every flavor.

All images belong to Sugar Coated Vegan.

Please show her some support, you will not be disappointed.

An Overview of Jin Shin

Healing TouchJin Shin is an ancient method of looking after our body (entire body including that which we cannot see). The High Touch Network supports the study and practice of this ancient knowledge in new ways for our modern times. Betsy Dayton, the founder of the High Touch Network, has put this system into a series of books so it is easy to learn and use.

Our true ‘bodies’ are larger than the body we can actually see. An electrical system or force permeates this ‘etheric body’ as well as our physical body. It

is the force that gives and sustains life. Our ‘life-force’. Jin Shin works with this.

The core of the system works with three main currents. When we release these circuits –you can do this on yourself, for yourself- we allow the electricity to travel in its optimum way. Doing this regularly allows the body to be in a harmonious and balanced condition more frequently. When the body is in this condition it is able to heal itself. Using this power over a period of time, many problems will right themselves as the body spends more and more time in this optimum state and is free to rebalance in its own way.

The body’s own wisdom here is phenomenal. The points on the body that we hold are recognized places that we seem to have circuit breakers (fuses). These were identified thousands of years ago. The flows of Jin Shin work by ‘jump starting’ these fuses. We use two hands just like a positive and negative jump lead to re-start the battery of a car. Therefore, we kick start the body’s own system of action. How quickly we notice the changes often depend on the level of congestion –although sometimes remarkable shifts occur very swiftly.

Jin ShinTherapies such as Acupuncture and Shiatsu come from Jin Shin. They are specializations if you like. Jin Shin works with the same meridian structure –though in a simpler manner, making this accessible to everyone and using simple holds to clear the meridians or pathways. Anyone can utilize these simple holds to deal with everyday problems such as headaches etc. on a symptomatic level, also you may utilize the longer flows to work with the core of your being.

Overlaid on this meridian system is the number system. No other physical therapy I know of has anything like this. The number system relates directly to our core. It also relates to mathematics. It relates to the Qabbalah, to numerology. This system totally reflects our body as part of the universe. We can access ourselves through the number flows.

If we want to, when we look at the meaning of the numbers we can begin to learn about our own patterns –physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. They are reflected in our bodies. We can begin to ‘know ourselves’. This is a fascinating and revealing process and is why Jin Shin has been termed ‘the art of happiness’. Through this we learn to accept ourselves and have a greater understanding of our being.

So this beautiful tool, Jin Shin, we may use to alleviate symptoms, achieve a greater degree of health or as part of our journey through life, to achieve greater awareness and understanding of ourselves.

The Jin Shin Treatment

Jin Shin is a holistic therapy in that it truly heals at levels of body, mind, and spirit.

Jin Shin is a treatment which can be done on oneself, or for another. It is a treatment that balances the human energies to promote health and well being and has great benefits from the point if prevention, maintenance, and remedial care.

Jin Shin TreatmentThe client will lie on a table, face up and fully clothed. The therapist uses light touch on the client’s body over particular points along energy pathways. Jin Shin works through clothing, blankets, boots and even casts.

Two particular points are held simultaneously until the tension or congestion is released, signaled by the synchronous pulsation felt at the point, then one of the hands is moved to another point and another etc. until a particular ‘flow’ has been completed.

Each point can take seconds to minutes to release and re-energize. Treatments generally take 45 minutes to an hour, with a short rest period for rest and teaching self-help techniques. The client is encouraged to carry out these self-help techniques regularly on themselves to aid with stress reduction and to move towards their optimal state of health.

Repeated treatments depend on the individual and the particular situation. You can have treatments for specific health issues, as a preventative ‘tune up’ or just to have a nurturing, relaxing hour. After several treatments, a person can really feel the difference and has a sense of balance and vitality, so they are better able to distinguish when they are out of balance.

Who Can Benefit from Jin Shin?

Jin Shin Many kinds of people come for treatments: infants, geriatric clients, pregnant ladies, those in acute health situations (asthma, back pain), those who will be undergoing surgery and those with chronic problems who are referred by other health professionals.

Jin Shin releases tension, so healthy people who just want to stay fit and balanced use Jin Shin on a regular basis. It is extremely helpful for sports people who demand a great deal of their bodies and can make a dramatic impact on the healing of injuries.

Jin Shin is a special gift to give yourself. Early release of tension is good preventative healthcare. When stress is held and repressed in the body over long periods of time imbalances and disease may result.

What Can You Expect?

Jin Shin is a pleasurable experience. As mentioned above, you remain fully clothed, lie on a massage table and the therapist uses their hands over points on your body. The general experience is one of deep relaxation. After treatment, symptoms may or may not be relieved. They often are, but it can take 8-24 hours to notice changes as this therapy initiates the flow of energy. Afterwards, the energy cycles for another 24 hours clearing blockages, releasing tension, and rebalancing. People may feel relaxed or invigorated depending on the individual and that particular time.

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As a practitioner of Jin Shin, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a beautiful healing art, and if you have the opportunity definitely give it a try.

To locate a practitioner in your area get in contact with the High Touch Network here.

This overview was written by the lovely Kay Evans

All images are pulled from Google.com

Being Nice on the Internet by Stephen Vlog

Another awesome video I found on YouTube. I have been subscribed to Stephen for a while now, and enjoy his daily vlogs and Let’s Plays; but every once in a while he makes an amazing video with really good messages.

This is one of those videos. It discusses how the non face-to-face interaction of the internet helps bring out the worst in people, and how we all need to take a step back and realize what we’re doing.

I find this message very, very true. Being a past member of online religious groups has shown me how nasty people can be to each other, and how much I don’t like it.

I hope everyone can find it in their hearts to remember that we aren’t speaking to robots over the internet. Everyone you talk to is a living breathing human being just like you, and you should treat them as such.

Love and compassion,
~SilverThorn