Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

My Memorial Day weekend, as with many American holidays, involves a lot of food. How grilling hamburgers and steaks relates to remembering our fallen soldiers, I will never understand.

I began my Memorial day eating fest Friday evening while having dinner with my husband's uncle who flew all the way from Egypt. We enjoyed great conversation and company while eating italian fare.

I joined in on the grilling festivities Saturday evening. After my conference in Malibu, I have made a more conscious effort to eat more "whole foods" and less processed foods. I managed to find hot dogs and sausages made organically, from cows being fed grass only (no hormones). While it is still processed, I felt a little better knowing that I was eating foods that were "all natural." It was a huge hit, and everyone commended the sausage. Who knew that organic foods did taste better?

The next evening, my sister and I threw a surprise birthday party for our dad. We invited family and held it at a popular chinese seafood restaurant- Fung's Kitchen. The food was great. We ordered from a banquet menu, that offered 10 dishes plus a soup. By the time the 5th dish was on the table, I was already stuffed, but the food was so good, that I couldn't stop. I later regretted this decision since my stomach was starting to hurt. We also had cake from 3 Brothers Bakery, a local bakery that offers dairy free treats since my nephew is allergic. Finally, we offered party favors for all that attended, and for a food lover like myself, you can probably guess that the favor involved food. Indeed, we gave away chinese longevity buns. These individually wrapped buns are colored with a little pink to celebrate someone's birthday and are typically a sweet treat.

Chinese Longevity Bun

Overall, I enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend, never once forgetting our fallen soldiers. Thank you for all that you do for our country.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Love Malibu!

This past week I attended a nutrition workshop in beautiful Malibu, CA. In the past, I have attended nutrition conferences with hundreds of people, typically getting lost in the crowd. This time, I attended a Field to Plate workshop, hosted by Amanda Archibald. This was a WONDERFUL conference. There were less than 20 of us and we were each able to speak with presenters one-on-one. I learned so much!

I flew in Tuesday afternoon, with just enough time to enjoy dinner with a fellow attendee. The next day the conference started. Getting to the Malibu House was a feat in itself. It was a beautiful drive on Pacific Coast Highway and traveling up the mountain. The difficult part was making sure my stomach was able to make it.

It was definitely worth the motion sickness- the view was beautiful! Here are a couple of pictures of the view and the wonderful house. We were told that the empty lot next door was Jeff Bridges!

View of Malibu Beach

View of the Malibu House

The conference taught me all about supplement use and benefits of whole foods. I never knew that soaking beans prior to cooking would not only speed up the cooking time, but also release many valuable vitamins and minerals that would otherwise not be readily taken up by my body. I will also definitely start incorporating more probiotics into my diet. While I try to avoid taking a lot of supplements, there are plenty of foods (ie yogurt) that will help with probiotics. Taking it everyday will help with your digestive system.
Lastly, food and cooking can be as simple as adding spices to your meal. I will definitely be purchasing The Flavor Bible, as recommended by Amanda, in order to learn how to add spices and variety to my cooking. Hopefully, I will produce both nutritious and tasty foods. I no longer will just be focusing on low fat and salt. Herbs and spices will add more flavor and health benefits than anything else! Check out the wonderful food from the conference.

Hors d'oeuvres (fresh watermelon, grilled asparagus, and barley)

Radish with Sea Salt and Thyme

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mamma Mia!!

Another busy weekend and no rest for the weary. It was a weekend full of celebrating "Mamma" a week after Mother's Day. Saturday morning was my last nutrition class. The girls had worked hard for 7 weeks, culminating what they learned with a dance recital for their moms. It was such a great ending!! There was music, fun, and a quick review of nutrition facts. One of the dance instructors said she learned something new during the review:  regardless of the type of milk (whole, 2%, 1%, or nonfat), they all have the same amount of calcium and Vitamin D. The only difference is the amount of fat--so choosing 1% or nonfat milk is the best option. I was so proud of the girls and their parents. They knew all of the answers and were able to teach others!

In the afternoon, I treated my mom to a late mother's day present: a facial. It was fun, relaxing, and something that everyone should take time to do at least a couple of times a year. My facialist (is that what they are called?) recommends it once a month, but I'm not sure my skin can take all of the cleansers. My dad insists that he can tell that my mom and I have much cleaner skin; I can only feel the benefits.

Saturday evening entailed of a broadway show and a fabulous dinner. We visited a local restaurant, Gravitas, which is fine dining at its best. The food was excellent and I HAD to try the dessert: a chooclate bomb served with fresh berries. While the calories and fat were probably more than I needed in a lifetime, the chocolate mousse delight was definitely worth the splurge. As everyone always in moderation! Afterwards, we headed towards the show: Mamma Mia! It was a birthday present I waited more than 6 months for. What a treat! The performers did a great job dancing and singing, and even included an encore of popular ABBA songs. What a great ending to a busy week.

I will be traveling to Malibu, CA for a nutrition conference this week. I am super excited and I will share my travels and learning experiences next week. Until then, enjoy a fabulous meal, in moderation of course.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Supermarket Saturday

It was a busy weekend, and I'm sad to see that it is over! For the past few weeks, I have spent my Saturday morning teaching nutrition to parents of young girls. My favorite class was this week- the supermarket tour! Personally, I love shopping at the store, finding the best deals and learning about new products.

This tour was not an exception! I always start the tour covering food on the outer perimeter of the store because this is usually where all of your basic grocery needs are stocked. In reality, you never need to venture down the aisles because it is usually junk food: cookies, chips, sodas, etc. However, there are exceptions to this rule if you prefer frozen vegetables, cereal, or snacks. There are healthy snacks besides fruit and vegetables.

Parents asked great questions throughout the tour, pausing to look at specific brands within the yogurt, cheese, and juice realm. I always learn something new at each tour. This week I found out that Nabisco Nilla Wafers now offer a reduced fat version. What a bonus! These tasty treats are now healthier snack options!
I can't wait until the next supermarket tour where I hope to find even more new products!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Treats at The Royal Wedding

Since November, when Prince William announced that he was engaged to Kate Middleton, I have been working on launching my own blog. Why not choose the weekend of the Royal Wedding to commemorate my first post?

Watching the wedding of a lifetime has made me envious of a "common" girl I will never meet. Her dress was beautiful. The wedding was something people around the world will never forget. She is living the dream that every girl fantasizes about: becoming a princess, and in Kate Middleton's case, the future Queen of England.

However, what I am most envious of is the food that was served at the Queen's lunch reception. According to the Royal Wedding website, the luncheon consisted of various hors d'Ĺ“uvres that included seafood, gourmet cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and desserts (my weakness). The variety of choices would please almost any palette, with even plenty of options for vegetarians. Some foods were foreign to me such as the "Scottish Langoustine," which after researching, I discovered is a type of lobster. I would have tried it all!
While I'm sure everything tasted great, some may have had additional health benefits than others. All of the foods that contained fish had the benefit of omega-3 fats which are good for your heart. Fruits and vegetables seemed to be prepared so uniquely that even children would find one of those treats tasty.

What was most intriguing to me were the desserts. WIth so many options, I'm sure it would have been hard to choose. Most probably made a beeline for the beautiful 8-tiered wedding cake, usually one of my favorite moments of the wedding reception. In this case, the bride chose all 8 layers to be made out of fruit cake. I love chocolate, however, and I would have chosen the "chocolate biscuit cake" which was a special request of the Prince, supposedly his mother's favorite.

With the weekend winding down, and people returning to their normal lives, I will embark on my own journey in writing this blog while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoy wedded bliss. A toast to the happy couple: Congratulations! 

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