Sunday Detox: Organic Easter Egg Dyeing!

image1 (2)

A few weeks back, Taryn and I took my mother out to lunch for her birthday.  We went to Tom Colicchio’s “low key” restaurant Craft Bar, and I ordered a salad.  When it arrived it had a pink hard-boiled egg on it.  Curious.  It was pickled, the waiter told me.  I was intrigued.

A few days later – and because she’s particularly in tune with the universe – my dear friend Rebecca send me this.  A recipe to make pickled eggs of every color, just in time for Easter.

So, today, in an ongoing journey to reduce the chemicals in my cooking, I took a stab at making organically dyed Easter eggs.  It was super easy, with one minor (but fun) bump in the road in the form of a baking powder-induced dye explosion (see video below).

I know Easter is winding down, and your egg dyeing is coming to an end – but if you find yourself with a few extra hard boiled eggs this week, try this.  I am now riding the pickled egg train, and I want you to hop on.

You can check out the recipe for detail on the process and colors, but essentially you boil water, vinegar, salt and sugar, and then add the veggies and spices that create the dye color of your choice (beets for pink, purple cabbage for…you guessed it, tamarind for yellow, and so on).  Pour that mixture over hard boiled, peeled eggs placed in heat proof jars, and let them sit for a few hours.

image1 (1)

And the result…

image1 (3)

I’m going to throw them back in the dye overnight to make the colors a little deeper. Process improvement:  I’ll do this the night before next time…!

Now that I’ve got the base down, I’m going to try to get creative and make different colors.  If you’ve got any bright ideas on how to turn these eggs teal or lime, let me know.  Happy Easter to all who celebrated today!

&d

Sunday Detox: Oatmeal Pancakes

IMG_3653

If you’re anywhere on the east coast today, you’re probably snowed in thanks to the weekend blizzard Jonas.  Brooklyn got more than 30 inches of snow, and I broke out my snow pants and Ben’s snow goggles and trounced around in it yesterday.  I looked super cool.

All this snow put me in the mood for a hearty homemade breakfast.  I decided to pull out my recipe for oatmeal pancakes and blueberry syrup.  I know that pancakes and syrup don’t really sound like detox – and they’re not – but this recipe does take out all the refined, processed ingredients, and packs in much more fiber and nutrients than the classic white flour version.

Also, I promise that not all my recipes for detox involve oats, but that last bag of oats I bought was just so damn big…

Oatmeal Pancakes:
4-6 servings

4 cups of classic oats
3 cups of buttermilk (low or full fat)
1/2 cup skim or low fat milk
4 eggs + 1 more egg white whipped
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of melted butter

(If you have a sweet tooth you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar, but I like to keep them on the savory side to balance the blueberry syrup coming up….)

Place the oats in a food processer, and grind them down (to a flour consistency if you want pancakes that are classically smooth, or slightly coarser if you want a thicker nuttier pancake). Pour in the buttermilk and let them soak for 45 minutes – 1 hour.  If you’re going with the coarser version, I tend to throw in a little extra skim milk to make sure the consistency is griddle-ready.

Preheat your griddle or skillet.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together.  I use a mixer to get really smooth batter, but old fashioned-elbow grease works well here too.  Throw them on the griddle and cook them for about 2 minutes on each side, if that.

 

Blueberry or ANY-berry Syrup

4 servings

 

2 cups of Blueberries (or your berry of choice)
1 cup pure maple syrup

 

In a small saucepan, heat 1.5 cups of the berries and the maple syrup until the blueberries have burst (about 4 minutes).  Strain the syrup to remove all the solid berries, and stir in the uncooked berries.  I like to throw blue poppy seeds in for a little crunch.  This is a tart and sweet syrup, so you just need a drizzle…

 

Nutty, sweet goodness that’s perfect for a snowy day. Or any day, really…

 

Happy snowstorm, friends!

 

&d

Sunday Detox: Single Tasking

multi6

Our culture – particularly work culture – tends to fetishize multitasking.  In this always ON world, I hear a lot of people proudly tout their ability to multitask and name it as one of the reasons for their professional success or a reason they’d hire one person over another.

But, as most of us know, it’s actually physically impossible to do more than one activity at once.  There’s a ton of research on this, but if you want a quick snapshot check out this quick video.  Your brain and body are just shifting their focus from one task to the next more frequently – from email, to messaging, to reading an article, or whatever set of activities you fill your day with.  And we end up paying less attention to each task, make more mistakes, and come out of the whole situation less accomplished and fulfilled.

Sounds dumb.

But it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of demands for your time, at the same time – the pings, email notifications, phone calls, chores and obligations.  And over time, it starts to erode our ability to actually deeply focus on any one thing because we become so programmed to shifting in between different activities so quickly.  I’ve definitely felt myself in these places, where I am impatient and furiously swiping on my phone in search of…nothing.  Not good.

I try to build practices into the weekdays that help me fight the tidal wave, to varied success.  One thing that I’ve found helpful is to train, or re-train, my mind to stay in one place, on one activity, during the weekend – where my time is much more my own.

  • Half-techie shut down:  Sometimes I need to completely unplug and just shut down all technology (see Taryn’s Screenless Saturday for the benefits of that approach).  But, more often, I just need to shut down all the crap that comes my way without me asking for it – particularly email and social media.  I still want to be able to look up who Aziz Ansari’s girlfriend is after reading all about her in Modern Romance.  I still want to use Google Maps to help me find my friend’s place in Jersey.  I still want to be able to take an instantenous picture of my husband’s sudden urge to wear a bandana and run around the house screaming “I am a ninja!” But I don’t want to be hit with all the things I wasn’t planning on seeing.  So, shutting down inbound technology for a day has been my go-to reset on Sundays.
  • Marathon reading:  Sitting down with a book and reading for 2-3 straight hours is the ultimate indulgence and is a great re-training in focus.  No picking up your phone to quickly check in with your “phone world” between chapters.  No turning on the TV to see if there’s anything interesting on instead.  Just plowing through chapters of a good read.  This is a tougher one for me, so I’ve set an ambitious reading goal for the year to keep me honest.
  • Cooking cooking cooking!  If I’m feeling up for something a little more active, cooking achieves the same benefits for me.  I’ve often used Sunday as a day to cook a few good meals for the week.  The attention, coordination and creativity that it takes to make multiple meals at once is a challenge – aside from the actual space challenge presented by a small Brooklyn kitchen.  Last week it was a vat of red lentils and freekeh + granola + chocolate chip cookies.  The week before cranberry muffins + fish tacos + turkey chili.  Random combinations, but that’s where the beauty and the focus comes in.

This is definitely the winter version of this list.  Or maybe that’s the newly minted homebody in me feeling some queasiness.  Regardless, when it’s a little warmer or you have little ones running around, I’m sure there’s a different set of possibilities to help folks focus.  But for now, I’m digging these.

&d