Monday, February 29, 2016

Poke' is worth leaving your desk for

Usually, when I have a healthy discovery I cannot wait to spread the word. But there are certain instances where I hesitate, there’s an inclination to be greedy. I had that “I’m not sure if I should spread the word” thought as I ate my lunch on Friday.
For weeks Carolyn has been talking about poke’, poke’ poke” but I didn’t get it. I thought it looked like tartare. What was all the fuss about? Carolyn said, “it’s like a sashimi bowl”.  I looked Wisefish Poke’ up online and grew increasingly curious. The concept originated in Hawaii and seemed to be some hybrid of a make your own salad and the rice/quinoa bowl craze. There’s raw fish, a choice of sauces and other add-ins. I hear poke’ (poh-kay) is already “the thing” in LA.

I was in Chelsea on Friday and decided to hit Wisefish poke’ for lunch. My favorite nutritionist (the RD formerly known as One Smart Brownie,) couldn’t meet so I poke’-ed solo.  Wisefish had some suggestion combinations, the “Heat Wave” sounded good but given the choice I always make my own. My poke’ consisted of:
Zucchini noodles (brown or white rice are also options)
Spicy shoyu (all sauces are GF)
Sesame seeds
After I paid ($16 this included an unsweetened matcha ginger tea), I made my way to the window seating and of course snapped some pics of my poke’ It was definitely pretty but I still didn’t know what I was in for. Sometimes I make my own salad and it’s fantastic, other times it's too spicy or contains combinations that taste weird together.
Not this time. This was mind-blowingly good. It was super flavorful but not overpowering.  I was fantasizing about eating this lunch every day. Part of me didn’t want this dream lunch it to end but when it did I was surprisingly satisfied.

I’m not sure if you caught (pun…) this article on lunch in the New York Times yesterday. “Failure to Lunch” revealed that 62% of professionals eat lunch at their desks. This statistic sounds a little sad but there’s an upside. When we eat lunch alone, we tend to eat less. I’m curious if this holds true for meals consumed alone at home or dinnertime. My guess would be alone is not always a good thing.  The article disputed the notion that having a “desk lunch” leads to more productivity. Just because you’re not getting up doesn’t mean you’re working (Facebook trolling isn’t work).  I strongly believe, when possible, get yourself outside. This is important for your mood and energy.  Maybe, now that you have the lure of something new for lunch, you’ll step away from your desk.
Have you heard of or tried poke’? What’s your typical lunch? Do you eat it at your desk?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Have you Shakshuka-ed? With this giveaway you will.

There are only so many ways to reinvent breakfast. Smoothies, yogurts and toasts are great but I end up returning to eggs. We always have (omega 3) eggs in the house and they keep me satisfied. I’ve had Shakshuka a few times out for brunch but never made it at home. It seemed like it had to be more labor intensive than a scramble or omelet. Well, it isn’t.

We used Mina’s harissa in our super bowl #coocoo4cruditevideo. Some corrected my pronunciation telling me it was “hah-riss-ah” not “hah-ree-sah”. Mina emailed after she saw the video, I apologized for botching things and she said,  “don’t listen to anyone… you’re absolutely saying it right! That is the way we pronounce it in Morocco. Ha-ris-sah, is the American way, which is OK, but keep saying it the way you are.” OK then.
In the same email Mina mentioned their new Shakshuka sauce. She graciously sent a jar over. I was intimidated or assumed this wasn’t something I could make for a weekday breakfast…this time I was wrong.

Yesterday, I finally read the Shakshuka instructions that basically said I should pour the sauce in a pan, heat it up, crack eggs on the top, cover and cook for five minutes. No oven (I think some recipes involve baking), 10 minutes start to Shakshuka. I was a little disappointed in my presentation but the taste didn’t disappoint.
You could use as little as ¼ of the jar and two eggs for a single portion breakfast.

Want to try this? Mina actually sent two jars, as she knows we like to share.
To enter, please tweet
Bored with #breakfast? Say Shakshuka..@Foodtrainers has a  Mina @harissa jar with your name on it . Details here

AND comment below.
Enter by February 29th (leap year)
Have you tried Shakshuka? What are your go-to breakfasts? Would you email if you thought someone was pronouncing something wrong?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Check out the "Feel Good " Story before it closes

Dreaming of owning one of these 
Tell me you’ve heard of Story. I thought the word is out but I still come across many people who don’t know about it. I describe story as a rotating pop-up but it isn’t a pop up in that it doesn’t pop down (that made no sense).  Every month or so the entire inventory of the shop changes based on a theme. If you haven’t been, you really should check it out before the Feel Good Story closes on February 28th.

Story teamed up with Cigna to help New Year’s resolutions come to life. Carolyn and I were lucky enough to attend a breakfast at the store. The store is divided into sections. There was a food section with curated snacks and cookbooks.
I spy moon juice goodies

Technology also figures prominently in the offerings. The piece de resistance was clearly Cigna’s meditation pod. And I must apologize to Cigna. Prior to the event, I hadn’t given Cigna much thought. However, as we chatted up the Cigna folks, we learned how cutting edge (yup Cigna is cool!) the company is when it comes to health and wellness. I mean….

It’s very random found this noteworthy candle that I’ve been enjoying ever since. If you like smoky scents this one is for you. I like the black surface too.

We weren't there to shop but I couldn't resist, see candle?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lent feels sort of like an anniversary for me at Foodtrainers; Lauren had posted a great blog years (omg .. many years) ago on Non-Religious Lent that introduced us. The rest is Foodtrainers history (appropriate that it’s Valentines day too L, xx).

There’s something really powerful about fully committing and giving something up for a period of time. I’m reading this book The Power of Habit (one of my new years resolutions: read more, insta less) and it turns out you really can rewire your brain but you have to start with a single thing. Don’t try to tackle on 15 changes at once.

I tried Dry January and in total honesty I failed (not miserably!).  So for our annual non-religious lent, I’d rather give up something a little outside the box— in the past it has been giving up elevators, plastic water bottles, and dating loser boys. This year I am giving up COMPLAINING, going on Instagram more than once a day, and snacking after dinner. I realize I said to start with one thing but I couldn’t decide.

Lauren is giving up staying up late (or late for her). As our Foodstalkees know, she’s up with the birds. To get her 7 hours she needs to skip the extra Shark Tank episode and hit the sack at 10:30. 

SO here’s your challenge: give up one thing starting this weekend through 3/27. Six weeks to better habits.
What’s it gonna be for #nonreligious lent? Leave us a comment and tweet us @Foodtrainers @carolynbrownRD and we will have your back. Happy #NRL
We’ll circle back when #NRL ends and let you know how we did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My favorite new (bite-sized) chocolate

I am such a chocolate person that I don’t understand how vanilla people exist.  Vanilla is a mistake. I like chocolate in all its forms though it’s probably no surprise I lean toward dark chocolate now. I’m not hardcore with the percentages; 85% is still too intense for my liking. However, sometimes dark chocolate that’s less than 70% is too sweet and too easy to overdo (the lower the percentage the higher the sugar). I tend to like a little flavor excitement with my chocolate. Mint, some spice, salt or even oddball flavors do it for me. I even fall for superfoods in my chocolate: matcha chocolate, reishi mushroom chocolate etc.

I found a new company that checks all my chocolate boxes.
Zenbunni, made in Venice California, isn’t just chocolate that I love; it’s chocolate made with love. Their mini or “microcosmic” bars contain organic, wild and foraged ingredients.
My two favorites for now are:
Lost Salt of Atlantis and Shiva Rose

We have a sweet giveaway and an assortment of Zenbunni minis coming your way provided you swear you’ve never chosen vanilla over chocolate. We also have a "bundle of love" with three terrific new sweets in the Foodtrainers' store.
Are you a chocolate person? What’s your favorite chocolate? Do you like your chocolate straight up or jazzed up?

To be Eligible
Tweet: The best chocolate in the world? @Foodtrainers has a @zenbunni #giveaway 
Comment below
*Enter by midnight on Valentines Day

Friday, February 5, 2016

Superbowl Challenge and Recipe

Most years, I have more interest in the food than the football on Super Bowl Sunday. But we love the Broncos; our dog is named Bronco so I’ll be watching. And according to statistics, so will most of you. This concerns me, I have heartburn just thinking about Super Bowl food where team healthy is the biggest underdog around.
Instead of suggesting what to skip, Carolyn and I decided to make a crudité plate that could compete. No sad, wet baby carrots and a hummus container can do that.

If you need some crudité coaching, check out our #CooCoo4crudite video
Crudite Starting Lineup

Here is the recipe for the dip we mention in the video
Super bowl Spicy Tahini
¼ cup Tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. Sunny Bang probiotic hot sauce
¼ tsp. Wakaya turmeric
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.

Complicated Instructions: mix/whisk together & amp up spice, salt & pepper if needed.
*I’ve made with coconut oil but you need to increase the heat if you do so.
*Any hot sauce or salt will do, we used our MVP incredients.

I think our crudité can compete but can you beat us? We’re veggie voyeurs, please post your plates with the hashtag #coocoo4crudite on Instagram or Twitter. If you’re not that social, email us your cool creations and we’ll see who wins this crudité competition (and the game).

Will you be watching the game? Which football foods do you plan on eating? What do you think is the secret for crudité that can compete/interesting veggie plates?
And of course some pregame

Monday, February 1, 2016

When Barbie’s body is on the cover of Time magazine

Off the bat, I’ll say I wasn’t a doll girl growing up. I did have a Cabbage Patch but that was more of a stuffed animal and 80s status symbol (among the 4th graders). I spent time with Speak & Math the way some of my friends played dolls. I recall some limited Barbie play at two friend’s houses but I was much more interested in Barbie’s dream house. So, I don’t have any sentimental connection to the iconic doll.

If you haven’t heard, there are three new Barbies on the block. They’re all named Barbie but there are petite, curvy and tall versions. There are new skin tones and hair colors and textures as well. Mattel, who makes Barbie, says they hope the new dolls will be a reflection of the young owner’s world. They also hope to save Barbie from decreasing sales.

Barbie is on the cover of Time this week. The Time article mentions Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Lena Dunham as examples of changing beauty ideals and thus the need for newly shaped Barbies. I could be wrong but I wouldn’t peg Lena the Barbie-playing type. No matter what the body type, the message is still it’s all about Barbie’s body. It’s superficial and judgmental to say “curvy is the new thin”.  

If we trace Barbie’s roots, her body is based on a German doll called Lilli. Lilli was a “prostitute gag gift handed out at bachelor parties.” I am not sure how the doll made the leap from hooker to toy aisle but we can’t blame Barbie for that.  Barbie has quite a checkered past, there was a teen Barbie grasping a diet book with the advice “don’t eat”. I can only imagine what the parents, who send Mattel’s COO death treats, would have to say about eating disorder Barbie.

I’m not entirely convinced that a doll’s body affects what young girls think about their bodies. After all, I felt no surge in desire to have the Cabbage Patch body. Time references a 2006 study and reports “girls exposed to Barbie at a young age expressed greater concern with being thin.” I looked at this study and this wasn’t necessarily conducted on Barbie lovers, rather girls were shown images of various dolls. So I don’t know if Barbie is harmful.

And who am I to pass judgment on Barbie or parents who are up in arms about Barbie’s body? Look what’s going on in my house.

What do you think of the new Barbies? Is this an indicator of inclusivity or a marketing ploy? Do you think Barbie affects the way young girls (or boys) think about their bodies?

*And the winner of our Four Sigma giveaway is Erica Sara.