Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rain and Wellies!

Rain, rain, rain. Thanks to you, rain boots, my pants are saved from the depths of flooded subway entrances and 6-inch puddles. Rushing water on the street is no match to your impenetrable rubber soles as I plow across the crosswalk with confidence.

But Winter, well that's another story. No matter how beautiful the snow looks as it's falling to the ground in New York, it inevitably ends up as dirty, sloppy slush. Puddles of sloppy slush. Which is why this season, I'm calling in the troops. On my wish-list: Hunter Wellies. Not only are they incredibly durable, stylish, and colorful (who says the rain can't be fun?), but one ALSO has the option of purchasing a cozy fleece Wellie Sock lining for cold weather! For the time being, my $15.00 boots from Target do their job, but come freezing rain this Winter...I'll be opting for a little extra reinforcement, better fit, and warmth. Hunter boots are available on-line from Zappos for $114.95.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Food, Inc.

"Food, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights....our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health..." The global food crisis. Cloning. Nutritional labels. Genetic engineering. Pesticides. Foodborne illness. Obesity. Farm worker protection. Organic and local foods. My, oh my. Delicious topics. What's not to love?

Which is why...I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY! I have my bag of organic corn kernels on the stand-by for stovetop popping and shhh, smuggling into the theater. Since a large segment of this film is supposedly devoted to exposing the evils of corn in our food chain, I think it would be an oxymoron if I were to order up a bucket of movie buttered popcorn.

I find the issue of what we eat, (or don't eat), incredibly fascinating. Just get me started, and I could talk on and on...and on. Needless to say, I'm a frequent farmer's market shopper in Union Square, and Michael Pollan's
Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food (this one I'm currently reading) are both well-worn paperbacks warmly snuggled into my bookshelf. Since I give high praise to these two masterpieces, (and can't get enough of local market goodies this time of year), I'm quite certain I'll be enamored with this film. It promises, "You'll never look at dinner the same way again." I just hope it doesn't scare me off from eating a hamburger ever again...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Something Shiny

I've never been a girl to wear many necklaces, and I really don't know why. I completely love the way they look! I think necklaces can evoke a sense of individuality, creativity, and can really stand for something quite special. Plus, who doesn't love adding a little shine to an outfit? True, with long hair, I've encountered many a tangle after a long run. But in any case, I'm going to make more of a necklace-wearing effort here because I was recently introduced to Satya Jewelry after my sister gave me a necklace as a gift. So, I actually need to to give HER credit for discovering this company and getting me hooked: thank you little sister!

Using earthy, natural materials, gemstones, gold and silver, Satya Jewelry is not only created with global consciousness, but is yoga-inspired. Every piece blends spiritual symbols and sacred meanings. But whether you seek comfort in the meaning a piece represents or not, one thing is for certain: they're just so pretty!

The necklace above is a new design whose pendants symbolize the following: "Two lotus flowers hang side by side symbolizing the beauty and support in all relationships. This exotic blossom rises from the mud every day to face the sun with a clean and lovely cluster of fresh petals, and has been adopted by Asian cultures as a symbol of regeneration and personal growth...a day-to-day totem to remind you of the potential within."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shallot Risotto

Oh, how I do enjoy a well-prepared risotto. Arborio rice has a naturally creamy texture, and it can be crafted into a very healthful and well-rounded meal. Risotto leftovers also reheat wonderfully for lunch the next day! This week, my culinary goal is to tackle this new risotto recipe. It's adapted from a fabulous cookbook calledFarm Food by Chef Daniel Orr, which I purchased after dining in his delectable restaurant Farm Bloomington, in Bloomington, IN.

In anticipation, I've typed up the recipe below and will post a photo of the completed dish later this week, (let's keep our fingers crossed!). This recipe is dairy-free. Note: while I can tolerate goat cheese, (it's a different protein than dairy), be sure to omit it if you can not.

Happy feasting!

Caramelized Shallot Risotto with Toasted Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Pears.


1 cup uncooked arborio rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

2 caramelized shallots, roughly chopped

1 pinch lemon zest

2 tablespoons toasted walnuts

Garnishes: sautéed pears, black pepper, goat cheese


  1. Sauté onions in olive oil until they are translucent, but not colored, over medium heat.
  2. Add the arborio rice and toast; stir with a wooden spoon, so all the rice gets toasted.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of broth. Continue cooking and stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Gradually stir in remaining broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.
  5. Fold in the sautéed shallots, zest, and walnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with some sautéed pears, black pepper, and large crumbles of goat cheese.

...and voilà! The finished risotto as per this past Saturday night. It was really quite yummy: walnuts, goat cheese, and pears are a perfect match made in heaven. Plus...plenty of leftovers for lunch the following day.

Weekend in Washington D.C.

What fun! Here are several photographs I took this past weekend in Washington D.C. Below: my brief photo montage of the Nation's Capital.

I might have seen the movie Independence Day too many times, but doesn't this sky appear slightly alien-esque to you?

I love the stark contrast of this statue against the cloudy pre-sunset sky backdrop.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dairy-Free Indulgence

With the holidays quickly approaching, soon will come the onslaught of homemade chocolate fudge, hot chocolate with whipped cream, apple pie, mashed potatoes, and the cookies, oh, the cookies. For an individual allergic to dairy such as myself, it takes a great deal of willpower to resist the temptation to try "just a little bite because it's vacation, after all." Well. I've had the pleasure of learning my lesson several times over the hard way, so I'm fairly strict now about maintaining a dairy-free diet. And what a difference it makes! (duh).

I'll admit it's not easy eating entirely dairy-free. Temptations abound. And sometimes, it's just downright cruel when I catch a mouth-watering whiff of my roommates' pizza slices on any given night. So, to all my fellow eaters out there who follow a dairy-free diet, a significant portion of The Printed Thought blog will be devoted to some tasty specialized recipes.

With my arsenal of Allergy Self-Help cookbooks by my side, I've actually rather enjoyed the challenge of taste-testing and substituting ingredients to create 100% dairy-free meals and desserts without sacrificing taste. My ultimate life-saver: coconut. Instead of soy, soy, and more soy, coconut milk is not only a fantastic substitute for cream, but it is also available in yogurt, milk, and ICE CREAM form! Likewise, coconut oil (deodorized or not) is an excellent substitute for butter in baked goods. And the best part? Coconut, though high in saturated fat (but the good fat like in nuts and avocados), helps make your skin and hair luminous. Please don't be scared by the nutrition label. This plant fat is metabolized by the body at an astounding rate.

Speaking of coconut, the company
Turtle Mountain is an absolute gem. Since 1987, they have specialized in the creation and production of all-natural and organic dairy-free products. I'll highlight all of their Coconut Milk offerings in a following post, but in the meantime, run to your local health food store and grab a pint of their Coconut Milk Ice Cream. It is by far THE BEST ice cream substitute on the market. In fact, I would argue MUCH more tastier and healthier than real dairy ice cream. It would fool even the most die hard ice cream connoisseur. Try the flavor Cookie Dough and you will not be disappointed.

Pasta Pasta!

This past weekend, in a whirlwind of cooking ambition, my boyfriend {EK} and I decided to take on an authentic pasta dinner entirely from scratch. There we are! Prepping semolina dough for the pasta machine. Following a recipe for egg noodles, we opted for the elegant linguine shape. Since we happened to be short one pasta drying rack, we improvised with a laundry drying rack instead...and it worked surprisingly well!

Our first attempt at making linguine pasta was incredibly time consuming (as in 3 hours of being hungry for dinner time consuming). BUT nonetheless, it was (and always is) incredibly rewarding to coax simple ingredients together into something genuinly homemade and more complex. It gives one humble appreciation for the hard work, knowledge, and skill that goes into gourmet food preparation...not to mention, it's an enjoyable learning experience that rewards you with something delicious at the end.

When all had been mixed, rolled, chilled, cut, dried, boiled, sauteed, and garnished, every bite of that painstakingly crafted pasta (and sauce), bursted not only with incredible flavor, but the effort and pride of having succeeded in cooking a from-scratch Italian meal.

Several tips to make pasta:
  1. Roll pasta dough into flat circle before chilling so it's easier to roll out before cutting for machine.
  2. Flour dough and run a few "test strips" through the machine to remove any oil residue.
  3. Flour dough before cranking through machine. Flour generously afterwards so pieces don't stick together.
  4. Ideally, let pasta dry for at least an hour before boiling.
  5. Keep an eye on the boiling pasta. Fresh pasta will cook within a few minutes.

Bon appétit!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Key Travel Accessory

My tried and true Longchamp Le Pliage handbag is my number one travel item...not to mention my everyday handbag. Reasons I absolutely adore it:

  1. Folds up into a neat little square.
  2. Zipper top.
  3. Incredibly easy to pack. Barely takes up any space in suitcase.
  4. Weighs virtually nothing by itself (no heavy hardware).
  5. Classic, stylish, compliments almost any outfit.
  6. Perfect size for wallet, camera, water bottle, phone, keys, light sweater, etc.
  7. Made of durable materials and very easy to clean.

CON: can sometimes turn into "the bottomless pit," (only one small internal pocket), but really only a minor inconvenience; the PROS make this handbag a great investment!

I currently own the color "Taupe" pictured above, and also have my eye on the lovely colors "Graphite" or "Chocolate" to add to my collection someday.

Available for $125 at Longchamp online, and fine department and luggage stores.

Cell Phones in the Stratosphere

On recent flights between NYC and Chicago, I soaked up the few fleeting hours of being out-of-touch with the world below. No internet. No cell phone. No Twitter or Facebook. I caught up on work, did some reading, attempted a couple crossword puzzles, slept, and thoroughly enjoyed the gentle hum of the engines and soft conversations among fellow passengers.

Flying this past weekend made me reflect on a recent article I came across in the Times two weeks ago; the possibility of in-flight cell-phone usage. Already, some foreign carriers have permitted passengers to use cellular and other personal devices to make and receive calls at 37,000 feet, (so far, there have been surprisingly few complaints). However, it doesn't seem as if domestic flights will hop on the bandwagon anytime soon. On-board domestic flight surveys regularly show that the majority of passengers would be opposed to in-flight cell phone calls. Likewise, legislation is currently pending in Congress that would ban voice communication using wireless devices on commercial flights. Domestic carriers ARE, however, rapidly installing on-board WiFi (usage available for a nominal fee).

As someone who witnesses poor cell phone etiquette on a daily basis, I'd rather not spend 5 hours flying cross-country being forced to listen to Joe Schmo in the seat behind me, joining in on his office's hour-long conference call. I'm an optimistic individual and believe in the genuine empathy of the human race, but a plane provides one with very limited personal space...and with that, limited ways of shielding oneself from unwanted disturbances. Sometimes, it's hard enough as is.

I do believe the majority of passengers would take the extra effort to be quiet and respectful. However, phones will undoubtedly ring out because they weren't initially turned to "silent," and that select few, whether due to poor hearing, aggression, or lack of manners, will conduct their personal conversations without consideration of the person helplessly trapped next to them. That's enough to make this frequent flyer perfectly content with being off-the-grid for a while when in the Stratosphere.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

That's a Wrap

One of the greatest conveniences about living in New York is the surplus of street corner vendors (and their bargain prices). On the 7 minute walk between my apartment and closest subway stop, I routinely pass several fruit stands, a handful of pastry and coffee carts, one "designer" handbag display, and a man selling the ideal outfit-coordinating essential: the Pashmina scarf.

Authentic Pashmina scarves can be fairly expensive. They are coveted for their soft feel and warmth, a result of their fine wool fibers of pashmina goat hair woven together with silk. The threads in a NYC Pashmina street shawl may be a mystery, but what's not to love? They're clean, colorful, warm, and yours for only $5.00 a piece. They're also offered in a variety of patterns, but you may have to shell out $10-15 for a more intricate design.

Best location in Manhattan to purchase a bargain Pashmina of your very own? Outside the New York Public Library on the corner of 40th Street and 5th Avenue. There is usually a vendor stationed there in the Fall who offers the largest color and pattern selection of Pashminas I've ever encountered.

Tip: Pashmina vendors usually have all available scarves hanging on display. It's much more polite to refer to these when making your selection, rather than pawing through his or her carefully organized and color-coordinated pile.

Happy hunting!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Proud To Be Wearing Pink

October: the season of pumpkins, apple picking, fall foliage, wood-burning fireplaces, trick-or-treating, marathons, and crisp autumn weather. Have you also been seeing shades of pink? It's officially National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

The NBCAM organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies that work together to promote breast cancer awareness, advocate the importance of early detection, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. Pretty important stuff, considering current statistics reveal 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime. These statistics are real: a few years ago, my Mother found herself in this approximate 13th percentile. Thanks to the amazing advancements in research, medicine, and technology, she is now radiant and cancer-free.

Although leaps and bounds have been made in the fight against breast cancer, (especially within the past decade), there is no cure. This is why October stands as a reminder: there is still a long road ahead and raising funds for research is a top priority.

The most responsible way to support breast cancer research is to make a donation directly to an organization that concentrates more on providing support than they do on administrative costs, marketing, or fund-raising. Susan G. Komen For the Cure, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation are four venerable organizations that combined, have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.

Many manufacturers are also donating a portion of their proceeds to a cure. Below are several companies whose affordable products make noteworthy contributions:

Aveda Hand Relief / $21.00

Animal-cruelty free, super-rich lotion soothes chapped hands and offers incredible aromatherapy. $4.00 from each purchase goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Wacoal bras from the Wacoal Awareness Collection.

These specially labeled collection of Wacoal bras is available at major department stores, specialty lingerie shops, and via online retailers. Also be on the lookout for nationwide Fit for the Cure events where Wacoal conducts complimentary fittings and donates $2.00 every time someone gets fitted. For each Awareness product purchased, an additional $2.00 goes to Susan G. Komen.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer Cover / $29.99

Does someone you know own a classic KitchenAid Artisan Series mixer? Here's the perfect gift: an adorable pink Stand Mixer Cover. Purchased and registered, it yields a $3.00 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. That makes baking cookies even sweeter.

Ford's Warriors in Pink 2009 Woven Scarf / $38.00

Help Ford reach its $1 million donation commitment to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. One hundred percent of net proceeds ($30.50) from the sale of this warm and autumn-chic scarf get donated to the cause. Check out Ford's Warriors in Pink website for other great ways to support their contribution.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Running in Manhattan

Phew, I am spent! Every Thursday evening, I meet up with a running group at New York Running Company's Columbus Circle retail location (in the Time Warner Building). The workout plan is typically a 4-5 mile run in Central Park; tonight was a brisk 8-9 minute-mile pace. Five miles, a roll of veggie sushi, and a hot shower later, this girl is ready for bed!

However, before I hit the hay I'll share with you my favorite running loop in Manhattan…which consequentially, happens to be in Central Park: The Central Park Reservoir, (officially named the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir). This 1.58 mile level track offers breathtaking views of the New York City skyline, cooling cross breezes, and a path free of cyclists, stoplights, crosswalks, horse carriages, and taxis. Located between 86th and 96th streets, the reservoir covers approximately one eighth of the park's surface. Best time to run? Sunrise or sunset.