Seeing the Potential {recipe}

Everyone is different, ergo, we each bring something unique to a relationship, be it a platonic, romantic or work relationship.  I am calm, patient and passionate.  Doug is strategic, factual and artistic.  We joke often about the "ying and the yang." I tend to see things for what they are; he sees the potential. The other day, he opened the pantry and stated that there was nothing to eat. I, on the other hand, was the one who saw the potential in a pantry full of raw supplies and ingredients.  Doug was right, in that there was nothing prepared, waiting for consumption, but it was I who saw the many possabilities the pantry had to offer!

I revisited a cookbook that I hadn't picked up in a while, called The Kind Diet by: Alicia Silverstone.  The "Clueless" girl penned a book in 2009 about her decision to eat vegan, but primarily, the book is full of great, healthy recipes. And yes, they are all vegan.

I had been vegan/vegetarian (When I cooked, I ate vegan, but would eat dairy when eating away from my home) for years, and picked up the book at that time.   I like the way she writes, not at all formal, and her recipes are delicious.  While some ingredients require a trip to Whole Foods or another health food outlet, she eliminates processed sugar, dairy and meat in a way that makes the consumer not miss them one bit!

After rooting through the book, I found a recipe that I had not yet made, but had all of the ingredients to pull off.  As a side note, I have to say that it is such a sense of accomplishment when I pull a recipe and notice that all of the necessities are stocked away in my kitchen.  Odd? Maybe.  But I've noticed how my cooking and kitchen skills have evolved over the years, and this is one example of how far I've come.  I used to take the cookbook to the grocery store with me, spread it out in the grocery cart and shop for what was needed.  Oh, the times they are a changin'!

The recipe I went with was "Mom's Granola." It took 30 minutes, most of which was hands-off and is perfect for breakfast, as a snack or on top of a dessert.  It makes 2 quarts, but I promise you, it will disappear quickly!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used raw, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup sesame or sunflower seeds (I omitted the seeds)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts or raisins (I did 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped and 1/2 cup raisins)
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup (I used maple)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, wheat germ, coconut, seeds and nuts/raisins.
  4. Stir to mix well.  Then, add the oil, syrup and vanilla extract.  Mix until everything is moistened.
  5. Spread half the mixture on each of 2 rimmed baking sheets (Or back in 2 batches) and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir after 5 minutes to brown evenly.
  6. Let the baked granola cool on the pans, then transfer to a bowl and stir until crumbly.  Store in an airtight container.
  7. Enjoy!

PM P.S. for Monday, August 22

Here is what I'm reading today:

  • Flavorwire: While I look forward to spending time in London next summer, I really look forward to spending time here! At the end of the article, it talks about a comparison between this pool and the famed Beijing Water Cube, one which I'm happy to give in approximately one year from now.
  • Saveur: As we out of transition summer and into fall, these recipes are sure to please. With a hearty and substantial offering, they are suited for carnivores and vegetarians alike.
  • New York Times: Back to school! Are you sending a child off to college? (I know that some of you readers are taking your children to college and for the first time!)  Check out one parents perspective.
  • Huffington Post: Looking for a new job? Or maybe a career change? If you're interested in moving to London, this might just be the job you're looking for... and with excellent pay!
  • Women's Health Magazine: Which yoga poses are most helpful for runners?

Lady Chic for Fall

On Saturday, I  joined a handful of Media Mavens for a brunch held at the Tyson's Corner Neiman Marcus store, just outside of Washington, DC. During the brunch, we were shown what the store would carry for Fall, as well as the debut of a few items exclusive to their stores. There were eight Mavens at the brunch, and were invited to enter the store before it's scheduled 10am opening. I was met at the entrance and escorted to the room, in which the breakfast was to be held, making the event feel uber luxurious and exclusive. The items ranged from beauty to shoes, clothes to housewares and ended with jewelry and furs. Whilst sipping coffee, I dutifully took notes to capture all of the little details, to which I bring directly to you. So, grab your coffee and let's take a look at the Fashions for the Fall.

Snapshot and tips:

  • Color: deep red, bordeaux, jade, teal, royal blue, sapphire, winter white and  marigold
  • Lady Chic: wear an ensemble, a dress with a coat, a long-sleeved sheath dress, fluidity in dress with a nod to the 70's, boxy jackets with cigarette pants, wide leg trousers and velvet
  • Shoes: knee-high boots are here to stay, but booties are front and center, pumps in a T-strap, and a single sole pump in lieu of the platform (although platforms are still on the radar for Fall)
  • Bags: hand-held bags, use tips from the runways (check out www.style.com for full runway shows and photos) and mimic the ways in which they carry bags, whether it be a shoulder bag or hand-held.
  • Embellishment: Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing says "More is more and less is a bore" so layer necklaces, add bracelets and stack the rings.  Sparkle is always chic, but this fall look for large sequins.
  • Fur & leather: Both are strong this season, but let's be honest, do either really ever go out of fashion?  Fur and leather are statement pieces, a standalone item or as an added touch on a shoe (fur), jacket or a dress. Fur is seen in a vest, a chubby jacket or a full length coat. Leather as outerwear or as a separate, such as a skirt, were seen in colors other than black.
  • Colorblocking: The popularity of this trend from this spring carries it into the fall. Not sure how to wear it? The colors you think don't quite go together are the ones that actually do! You can wear the look in a bold way, as a bright pink shirt with a royal blue skirt, or something more toned down as in a green shirt and jeans, with a bright orange handbag. Some single pieces contain colorblocking, making it uber easy for the wearer.

Stay tuned, as there is still more to come!

What's in a Chinese American Name?

While in Shanghai, I met many people who lived in the city and other parts of Asia and during the customary introduction process, a few would give their Chinese name, some their American name, and most individuals would provide both.

Obviously, their Chinese name was their name, given to them by their parents at birth, but I wondered if the same was true for their American name.

Some spoke very little English, but their efforts were to be applauded.  With their welcoming smile and warm nature, a man would extend his hand and say "Hello, my name is Nicolas" or a little girl would point to herself and simply say "Mary."

Talking to a Chinese man, whose English was very good, I asked him how their American names were assigned. The answer was simple.  In our generation, as he was about the same age as I, it was one chosen by the individual and was a name that could be changed as often as desired. For example, he told me he had once gone by Michael, but had recently changed it to Nicolas, to reflect his admiration for the American actor Nicolas Cage. The younger generation, like the little girl named Mary, often had their names given to them by their parents.

Chinese children are introduced to English at a very early age. While in our equivalent of elementary school, they begin taking English language classes, where their American names are used. Do you remember taking a language class in grade school? I took French for years, where my name was Bridgette, said with a French accent and different from the American version of Bridget.  It's the same principle, however the name is carried out into their lives and used when they are speaking the English language.

For days, I had wondered just what goes into a Chinese American name.  This was the perfect example of sometimes, it just helps to ask!