Motivational Mondays…Life, What a Ride!!

joie de vivre

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!….
Hunter S. Thompson

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Food Porn and Chef’s Table

Food Porn….Wright Cooking

closet cooking

Closet Cooking

Okay…I put “Food Porn” in the title to get your attention, but I do have an insatiable appetite for pics of well photographed and styled food.  I love the “still life” feeling of them and the desire to either make the dish being photographed or immediately get on a plane to go to a restaurant in a distant city…and maybe one just down the road.  Some of my favorite Instagram-ers of food porn are Wright Kitchen (pic above), Closet cooking (amazing recipes on this site) and S.Gurrity, one of my favorites!…check them out!

chefs table

Speaking of food, I just stumbled upon an awesome new series on Netflix called Chef’s Table!  It was created by David Gelb, most notable for producing Jiro Dreams of Sushi…another must see documentary.  At first I just thought I’d like it because they were talking about food, chef’s, recipes and restaurants.  Wow, was I wrong!  My plan was to binge watch the six one-hour episodes, but I’ve only watched two of them, because now I kind of want to savor the experience.  The first in the series is focused on Chef Massimo Botturamossimothe chef/owner of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin star restaurant in Modena, Italy.  Osteria Francescana was named one of the S. Pellegrino 50 best restaurants in the world in 2014.  It was interesting to hear about his life and the history of how he became a chef from watching his mother cook and hiding under his grandmother’s kitchen table to escape his brother.  But the most fascinating part of this episode, to me, was how he created a recipe that saved the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where he grew up, from financial ruin after a devastating earthquake in May 2012.  The earthquake destroyed millions of pounds/wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  The President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium (who knew there was such a title?) came to Massimo asking for help.  Massimo created a recipe titled “Risotto Cacio e Pepe” using a unique method of simmering the cheese in water to make parmesan broth, separating it into layers and then using the different layers to cook risotto into a unique, creamy, one-of-a kind, irresistible dish (it’s quite a process.)  He publicized the recipe and every noteworthy restaurant around the world wanted to make it. The restaurants bought up all of the wheels of cheese, no jobs were lost and no cheese-maker went out of business in Modena.  What a great story about the power of food and how it can unify people and save a whole city/region in the process.  I loved hearing the rest of his family story too, but you’ll just have to watch it for yourself.

Osteria Francescana

Dan Barber, the Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Dan Barber, the Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

The second episode is about Dan Barberthe chef at Blue Hill Restaurant in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the Hudson Valley.  This guy is PASSIONATE about bringing back farming and eating to it’s roots…now, fashionably, known as farm-to-table.  He takes it to new heights!  He supports good agriculture and good farming…meaning that a farm (he works with many) should work as a small self-sustaining, or inter-connected, unit that can sell their pure product to him, and other, restaurants.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but, for instance, they feed some of their free roaming chickens a kind of red pepper puree and the result is a “red pepper egg,” red yolkwhich is quite a unique item to offer to restaurants.  The farms rotate crops, raise animals humanely and offer the milks, cheeses and crops from their farms to restaurants.  Barber also has an interesting story and ponders whether being a restaurateur and inviting people to eat at the table is his attempt to fill the void left by the death of his mother when he was only four.  Again, you’ll have to watch to hear the rest of his very focused, obsessive relationship with food.  I like this quote from him after a big catering mishap in his early years as a chef, “Failure is very important.  It introduces you to an idea that you never want to return to.”

blue hill restaurant

 

blue hill stone barn

Blue Hill at Stone Barn

Bon Appetit!!

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays…Your relationship with YOU

Photograph by Yu Tsai Diane Von Furstenberg
“The most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself.  If you figure that out, every other relationship is a plus and not a must.”….Diane von Furstenberg

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Rowing…get in on the action!

amy yao quote

 I love this quote, taken from this article by Amy Yao on the sport of rowing

Do I have you hooked yet?!  Our team is having two upcoming sweep rowing camps (sweep rowing is what we do in 4+ & 8+…only holding one oar, usually with a coxswain, as opposed to sculling, which is with two oars each).  Here are the specifics….

  • Intro to Sweep Rowing is a two day event…Saturday, 6/27, 7:30-9:30 am & Sunday, 6/28, 8:30-10:30 am
  • 8 week Sweep Camp for Novices (7/11, 7/18, 7/25, 8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22, 9/5 – 8:45 am to 10:15 am)

Both take place at Newport Aquatic Center in Newport Beach.  If you’re interested just email me and I’ll put you in contact with the team member that is coordinating it.

Don’t you want to start your day with this beautiful scene???

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“the early morning hours just as the sun conducts the opening stanzas of the day”…from this article on how Rutgers is betraying their rowing tradition.

Lastly…good luck to my team as we travel to Sacramento to race in the Gold Rush Masters Regatta.

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Sundays, Menopause, & Forgetfulness

breakfast in bed

I love Sunday mornings when I sit for hours reading the NY Times, while enjoying too much coffee and bacon.  The reason it takes me hours to finish is due to my newly self-diagnosed A.D.D. (not really, but it sometimes seems that way!)  Every time I read an article that I find really interesting, a book that I should read, or a movie that warrants a view of the trailer, I go over to my desktop computer (no, I don’t have a laptop) to do a bit more research.  So, this past weekend I was doing my usual back and forth…my place is probably less than 200 sf so it’s not much of a walk… and I look at emails, click on various links, and get sucked in.  I went back over to resume my paper reading and realized I never looked up the movie or the article I went over to the computer to “research” in the first place! (by the way, the movie was Saint Laurent, coming out this Friday, about the designer Yves St. Laurent…can’t wait!)

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Anyway, this leads me to a dilemma that plagues those of us in middle age (please don’t tell me it’s just me!)  Your doing something….working, cooking, reading or just sitting at your computer…and you suddenly realize you forgot to do something, or you need to get something from the other room.  By the time you get to the other room, or sit down to do that something you forgot, you have totally forgotten what it is you were looking for or needed to do…WTF!!!  I used to be such a list-maker when my kids were young just to make sure everything got done…their schedules, housework, meals, shopping, etc…and it usually did.  At what point did I think it was a good idea to just try to remember all those things?….because there were less people in the house or there was less to remember?menopause2

I was also reading an article in MORE magazine….a magazine “for women of style or substance” which, when they first published, meant women OVER 40, but this month they have 34 year old Jessica Alba on the cover…whatever, I still love it and the relevant information it provides women.  They had a whole section titled “New Health Rules at 30,40, 50 & 60.”  So, I jumped to the “50’s” section and found the following information….”go easy on the salt to preserve your calcium; limit added sugars to 100 calories a day (6 tsp) to avoid high blood pressure; eat 2 or more servings of fish a week to maintain your hearing; my favorite, do eight squats three days a week to protect your knees (to my team-mates…ONLY eight squats…really??..YAY!!…although we’d never get faster!); and lastly, you don’t have to take iron any more assuming menopause has kicked in.  That’s the synopsis….you’re welcome.

AAN3PY

Speaking of menopause, my friend Barrie sent a group of us this NY Times article giving us the news that hot flashes can last up to 14 years.  I could have told you that!  “The median length of time women endured symptoms was 7.4 years” according to researchers in the largest examination to date of the menopausal symptom.  The amount of years women “suffered”…that’s my word….varied depending on ethnic background and how early the symptoms began.  Unfortunately for those who started having hot flashes early, they continued longer than for those that didn’t start having them until after their periods stopped (they didn’t include hysterectomy patients in their findings, whose symptoms do start earlier than others, so this study doesn’t really apply to me, but I feel like I’ve had them forever!)  A word of wisdom…just invest in a lot of tank tops and be ready to shed layers as need be….and personal fans work wonders…in the car, on your desk, in your purse…ugh!  It’s gonna happen, you just have to go with it!  Acupuncture and herbs have helped some.

So, I guess all this is to say that shit happens as you get older that you may not have control over…but you have control over the way you respond to them.  I’m going to go back to making lists instead of relying on my feeble memory so much, and invest in more of those tank tops!  …and never stop eating bacon, drinking coffee and reading the Sunday NY Times!

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays…Sunrises

IMAG4136Every sunrise is a new opportunity to decide your fate and your future.  It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, learn from it and make the choices today to move in the direction you want your life to go.  Be grateful for the opportunity to try again…and savor the beauty that is in every sunrise and sunset….JR

Another “Shots of Awe” moment…The Power of Sunsets

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

See the Iris Apfel movie this weekend!

Iris 1

I just saw the Iris Apfel movie and I loved it!  She is an eccentric woman who loves fashion and has mostly become famous in her later years for her sense of style and the energy she brings when she walks into a room.  Her trademark large round glasses are such a statement piece and her vintage costume jewelry collection are legendary.  Some of the scenes of her apartment look like an episode of hoarder at first glance, but although it’s crowded she and her husband love every piece and each has a story to go along with it.  I wanna be her when I grow up…what am I saying…I wanna be her now!  I have some round black glasses…I need to go bigger!

iris 2

Here are a couple of other movie reviews that I saw this past week….

scientology

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Wow, is all I can say!  I totally get how people are sometimes looking for meaning in their lives and how believing in something can help steer you in the right direction.  Organized religion does that for many people.  What I don’t get is saluting someone (L. Ron Hubbard, known as LRH) and practically making him a God…which is one of the scenes in this documentary.  That man had quite the ego!! Former members are interviewed and some of the information is quite shocking.  …and coincidentally I’ve scene numerous commercials lately promoting L. Ron Hubbard and his website www.lronhubbard.orgcoincidence?…I don’t think so!  I’d recommend it…you can watch it on HBO GO.  More reviews here…and here

recovery

The Business of Recovery
I went with a friend to see this movie premier at the Newport Beach Film Festival.  The basic gist of the movie is that there is an exorbitant amount of money being made in recovery treatment centers across the nation.  It quotes and interviews many directors of these treatment centers and at the end of the movie gives you their salaries, which are astronomical….most of them over $400,000/yr.  ….and these are non-profits?!  I thought all of this information was very interesting….and sad at the same time.  What I didn’t like was their bashing of the 12 step program… and specifically Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)  I know many people who have been helped by it…without the high price of these expensive treatment centers.  The producers of this movie didn’t give a salary quote for the head of A.A…because it’s probably not that big.  A.A. makes most of it’s money on donations and sale of their books. They didn’t interview AA members, just those who had been in those expensive treatment centers and didn’t agree with the 12 step program in general….why??…because it’s Alcoholics Anonymous.  A thought on the movie from an AA member I know…”Some strongly object to the AA position that alcoholism is an illness.  This concept, they feel, removes moral responsibility from alcoholics.  As any A.A. knows, this is far from true.  We do not use the concept of sickness to absolve our members from responsibility.  On the contrary, we use the fact of fatal illness to clamp the heaviest kind of moral obligation onto the sufferer, the obligation to use A.A.’s Twelve Steps to get well….Bill W”  So, go ahead and bash those big expensive treatment centers for preying on those in need (…and I’m sure they’ve helped some people too), but don’t drag A.A. and their policies into it, they’re just trying to help people.  Hell, I go to Weight Watchers and pay to lose weight…groups getting together working toward a common goal seems to work.  Hopefully it’s coming to a screen near you…or you can rent it sometime in the future.  Here’s their FB page for more info.

Jeanine Egan Raab

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Sear Roasting, Roasted Veggies with Bacon…and anything from Trader Joe’s!

sear roast

Let me start by saying that I completely stole, with permission, the following sear roasting info from my sister JoAnn’s blog DailyCupofJo.com.  She’s an amazing cook!  Have you ever done sear-roasting?  Do you even know what it is?  I didn’t until she posted the following and now it is my fool-proof way to make any meat, chicken or fish dinner (yes, I still cook steak, chicken, fish, Chinese food, roasted veggies, etc…a real dinner, even though I live alone!)  So…without further adieu, here’s Jo’s impeccable instructions….

You know when you order salmon at a restaurant and it has a nice crust?  It’s been sear-roasted.  Once you get the hang of it, you’ll feel like the chef at your favorite eatery.  It’s fast and you can decide on a multitude of sauces whipped up afterward in the pan – or you can use something you find at Trader Joe’s, spooned over the top.

You’ll need a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet for this.  I have Calphalon, non-stick. (my note: I have a large cast-iron pan that’s perfect!)
Also: 4 boneless chicken breasts, or salmon fillets, beef steaks or boneless porkchops
1 T. olive oil
Course salt and fresh ground pepper
Ingredients for sauce (see below)

First, preheat the oven to 425°.  Pat the meat or fish dry with paper towels.  This is essential for browning.  Generously salt and pepper each one.  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat for about a minute.  (If you flick a droplet of water in the pan and it vaporizes in 1 second, you’re good to go.  Getting the pan hot enough, but not too hot, is important.  Again, it takes about a minute or so.)  Pour the olive oil in the pan and swirl it around.  Evenly space the meat or fish in the pan and allow it to cook for two minutes WITHOUT TOUCHING IT.  Lift a corner of the meat or fish to see that it’s both well-browned and easy to lift.  If not, cook for a minute more.  Flip it over and cook for another minute.  Transfer the skillet to the oven.

Chicken and pork should cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness.  Salmon and beef for 4-7 minutes.  I’m pretty good at pressing on the meat to check for doneness, but you can use a quick-read thermometer if necessary.  Chicken, 165°.  Salmon, 135°.  Beef, 130°.  Pork, 145°.  Keep in mind that the meat or fish will continue to cook on the inside for fifteen minutes after you take it out of the oven.  In other words, if you cut your chicken breast open and see it’s just slightly pink, you don’t have to continue cooking.  Remove it from the pan and tent it with foil while you prepare a sauce.  It should be perfect by the time you serve.  Overcooked anything is just a big, fat bummer.

After removing the chicken, I put the skillet back on the burner on high and add about 1/3 cup red wine, scraping the tasty chicken bits that may still be lurking.  After reducing (about three minutes), throw a can of petite diced tomatoes in, along with some oregano and parmesan, cook for another three minutes and spoon it over the top of the chicken.

For salmon, add white wine to the pan after, along with chopped shallots and rosemary.  After reducing, remove from heat and add cubed butter, about half a stick for a tasty beurre blanc.

For beef, add red wine and beef broth to the pan, along with sliced mushrooms (on high) and cook for five minutes.  Add 2 T. heavy cream and some chives.  Yum.

For pork, and I’ve never made this, I’m sending you to a guy named Kevin at Closet Cooking for a balsamic-fig sauce.

Practice this sear-roasting technique and you may never cook another way again. (I’ll vouch for that!!)

So, I used this technique the other night to make steak and really wanted some roasted veggies with it too.  I love bacon…who doesn’t?!  It gets a bit messy to make it on the stove and I’m not very patient with the slow cooking process to make the bacon just right, like my brother-in-law, so I’ve been cooking it in the oven lately (around 350°)  and it comes out perfectly every time.  I thought to myself, what if I put bacon on the bottom of the pan and put the veggies (very lightly coated in olive oil) on top of the bacon and cook them all together (I set the oven to 400° to compromise between my usual bacon temp & the sear roasting temp and it worked out fine.)  Well….AMAZING!!  The bacon cooks, the veggies get a little bacon fat marinade and it’s a win, win!!  …and speaking of bacon, have you had the new bacon jerky with sriracha from Trader Joe’s? (Thank you Amy!)  That store has the best, most interesting, & yummy, new items every month…try the marinated lamb.  I was going to add a few more recommendations but just look at the monthly TJ Fearless Flyer for all of their wonderful offerings (…great inexpensive flowers and greeting cards too!)

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I actually put the bacon underneath the veggies, but you couldn’t see it in my original pic…the aluminum foil makes clean up so easy….have I mentioned I don’t have a dishwasher!

IMAG4127perfectly roasted veggies with bacon..yummy!!

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spinach, mushrooms and bacon jerky with sriracha

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 baked sweet potato with garlic marinated spinach and sriracha bacon jerky

I’m on a bacon kick at the moment…can you tell??!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays….Forgive

forgive

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”…from Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience by Steve Maraboli Ph.D

Just re-discovered this guy…Steve Maraboli Ph.D
author of The Power of One, Unapologetically You
and Life, Truth and Being Free….SO MOTIVATIONAL & INSPIRATIONAL!!

  You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

A Couple of Books!….and some notes

old books

I just finished two books and I always find it interesting to go back and see what I’ve highlighted/underlined…and reflect & wonder why I did so.

girl on trainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller with depth and twisted love triangles that will keep you voraciously reading until the end.  Rachel is “the girl on the train” with a vivid imagination and a somewhat depressing existence.  I was hooked from the first page and really enjoyed envisioning Rachel’s view from the train as she traveled….I love traveling by train!

The Girl on the Train marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You’ll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.” —USA Today

My highlights….hmmmmm

  • “I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.  Who was it said that following your heart is a good thing?  It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.”
  • “It’s impossible to resist the kindness of strangers.”
  • “Kamal says I have to find a way of making myself happy, I have to stop looking for happiness elsewhere.”

BIG LITTLE LIES jacket.JPG

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies weaves the story of the draaaama that takes place at a preschool in an upwardly mobile Australian suburb…and the cattiness, lies, and not-in-my-backyard mentalities that ensue.  Moriarty explores the lives of the families, their brilliant, perfect worlds, and the struggle to keep up their facades….even as their world is unraveling.  Kept me interested from beginning to end.

“Moriarty demonstrates an excellent talent for exposing the dark, seedy side of the otherwise “perfect” family unit…. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal

My highlight…so true!

  • “You need to be friends with other mothers,” her mother said.  “You support one another! You understand what you’re going through.”

…and lastly, another bit of Jason Silva’s passion. This time on the power of stories…
Shots of Awe…The Power of a Story

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!