Monday, September 3, 2012

Doing Things I'm Not Good At and Loving It

The last time I went to the chiropractor she stood there while I was sulking and spouting excuses from my lips about how, "I wished I liked yoga and pilates, but I'm just not that great at it… blah blah blah."

She looked at me and with very kind eyes and proceeded to talk wisdom at me; "Danielle, A-types like you and me need to do things we're not good at. Just put your yoga mat in the back and be proud that you're not good at something."

Which led me to thinking…Maybe I could be OK at it if I actually did it? So, my Labor Day weekend has been centered around the "DO IT!" philosophy. Doing whatever I want, even things I'm bad at. For example:

I took a nap. Usually I fight it. I'm horrible at napping. But on Saturday I couldn't help myself.

I went to yoga. I realized it was hot yoga when I was sat down in the studio (whoops!) and ended up loving every second of it. Even when the teacher gave me a yoga block in front of 30 people. It's cool (it was actually really hot). I'm going back tomorrow.

I went to the driving range by myself. Which is a big deal because it was the 5th time in my life that I had swung a golf club. That and because there are no women. Where are the women? I was the only female there and wearing a bright pink skirt. I totally whiffed and just started laughing out loud, which payed off because a man dropped off an entire FREE basket of golf balls and said "I'm not going to use them." I replied, "Thank you!" But was thinking, I need all the help I can get, you know it and I know it.

I decided to start painting and to use oil paints (OMG!). A first for me and my love of pencil/watercolor. Last week I stocked up on a 30x40 canvas then proceeded to mentally vacillate between subjects. Flowers? No. Food? No. A tree? Maybe. I do love trees. While everyone else was drawing pink hearts on their books in middle school I was inevitably drawing trees. Not the illegal kind - just for the record.  But ultimately, no. I tried to find inspiration while running and walking around Portland. Bike tires? Eh, no.

This morning I woke up and just started painting. I clicked on iTunes and bam! "Blackbird singing in the dead of night…" So simple. I decided to add the bird. Then I bought the new Jason Mraz and painted for the remainder of the morning.

Step 1: Place the canvas in a walking path so that you have to paint.
Step 2: Use tape to your advantage.
Go with your gut. I had an entire thing in the right hand corner. It was bad so I took it off. 
Step 3: Let it dry. Don't touch anything.
 Wash your hands with Olive Oil. 

I hope your Labor Day weekend has been full of relaxing, fun and adventurous new things. And if it has not been all that you had hoped for, try again tomorrow.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Purely Entertaining: Pure Vegan Cookbook

When the Old Port is filled with tourists in Portland, Maine, I usually try to avoid every part of commercial street.  This time, however, I was leisurely walking up and down the grid with my very on tourist in tow…  Sarah, my friend from Massachusetts. 

We perused through the merchandise at one of the shops. You know the "shops" I'm talking about -- lots of white linens and Maine beach give-me-a-canvas-bag-with-a-starfish gear. I think there was also lots of hand-stitched merchandise and scenic Maine coasters. 

Anyway, that's where I saw the Pure Vegan cookbook and convinced myself, "Yes, it's your birthday (in 2 weeks) you deserve it!" My birthday I Deserve Things barometer usually extends the entire month of July. 

So I bought it. The photos are fantastic. The recipes are a mix complexity and curiosity. I just tried the cover photo recipe, Tomato and Three-Bean Salad and it was wonderful. We paired it with Trader Joe's vegetable pasta and seitan, dressed with organic red sauce. Needless to say it was a filling meal with promising leftovers. 

Baked Ratatouille is on my list when the chill of fall hits and Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Soup will also be in the line-up of MMs (must-makes). 

I think the book is really for the Vegan Martha Stewart's of the world. The sub title does state: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living. 

So here's the deal. 

If you're looking for something functional, everyday cuisine, this isn't your book. It only really highlights two major protein sources (beans and tofu) without any recommendations for some of other hearty staples we vegans love. For instance, seitan, tempeh and quinoa are nowhere to be found. Lentils do get a shout out in the Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, Hazelnuts and Figs recipe, which will be a hard sell to those meat-eaters in my life. 

What I'm saying is even if your life is like the book trailer and seems to be filled with shiny, young, my-closet-is-only-filled-with-flowing-dresses and seagulls and tofu and reminders of morning, noon and night and beautiful people and rice. It only really highlights 2 major protein sources.

My recommendation is buy it off Amazon at half-price. It makes a good entertaining / statement coffee table book.