Monday, January 22, 2007

Oy It's Soy

I had an idea for a book a few years ago called Oy It's Soy. Being the vigilant researcher I am, I began to research the jewbu market segment and found just a few products in this niche product category, Soy Vay (the kosher terriyaki sauce), being the most popular. While I have yet to manifest my cookbook idea (probably because I don't cook), the spark still ignites when I discover a dish the blends any combination of cultures together in the spirit of health. So when I came across the "kasha ball" recipe from Laughing Sage Wellness, I had to share. While she compares it to a meatball, I prefer the matzah ball comparison. This is rare opportunity to see an actual recipe on The Sunshine Chronicles, so feel free to spread the kasha ball love and share with others.

Kasha Balls with Shiitake Mushrooms

* Prepare basic kasha ( 2 cups water to 1 cup toasted kasha, bring water to boil, add kasha, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes).
* Sautée a bit of finely minced onion, garlic and fresh parsley in olive oil , with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
* Mix the sautéed seasonings into the cooked kasha.
* Add 1 beaten egg into the kasha mixture, and combine well
* Form mixture into "meatballs".
* Place the kasha balls back into the sautée pan, and sautée evenly on all sides until the egg cooks and binds them into your desired shape.
* Remove kasha balls from pan and set aside.

* To prepare the sauce, start with 1 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms in the same sautée pan.
* Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
* Cook until wilted, then add all of the following at the same time: 1 TB soy sauce , 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/4 cup of water.
* Let this light sauce come together for about 3 minutes, then pour over the kasha balls and serve!

Or for an even easier option:

*Make the basic kasha as above, but add all the veggies (including the mushrooms) at the same time you're adding the uncooked kasha to the boiling water. It'll all cook together!
* Once cooked, drizzle with toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.
* For a tastier treat, serve it with a romaine lettuce and sliced radish salad, topped with a mustard/lemon juice/olive oil dressing

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stress Relief for the Stir Crazy

During my senior year in high school, I took an SAT preparation course. While my scores did not necessarily reflect my desired expectation, one and only one specific detail stood out: "The ominous clouds could be a harbinger of inclement weather." I get alot of joy whenever I can articulate this sentence in context with an actual event, frankly it makes me feel smart. But after three days of being couped up because of a central texas winter storm I have heard these key SAT words far too many times than one person should have to endure.

When I first moved to Austin, everyone complained about two things: the traffic and the weather. Now coming from San Francisco, I simply laughed at what these people deemed "traffic problems." And as far as the weather, well, I support the misery of the oppressive summer heat, but the winters in general are fabulous. It didn't take but a couple of years and I caught myself in a conversation with a friend complaining about the traffic and the weather in the same sentence. It was in that moment I knew I was an Austinite.

Central Texas is kind of the orphan child of drama as it relates to the drastic weather that often accompanies coastal cities, which is why so many people love living here. So when an ice storm arrives and we only have 9 sand trucks, the city pretty much shuts down. It is humbling and a good sign for everyone to slow down and embrace the "snow days" of our childhood. Moving into day three it is obvious people are going a bit stir crazy. In an effort to take advantage of everyone's "chilled" state, what better time to introduce some natural tips from on stress reduction. Here are just a few, stay tuned for more once goes live with its alpha product!

Tips for Stress Relief
Dietary adjustments along with exercises form the simplest of all remedies to relieve stress. The things to be avoided are:
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Junk foods
  • Excess salt
  • Tobacco
The things to be included are:
  • Plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Plenty of water
  • B complex vitamins - Is particularly relevant to nervous tissue, depression and stress susceptibility
  • Vitamin C - It maintains good immunity and is useful in post stress disorders and infections
  • Minerals including magnesium, selenium and zinc

Lifestyle changes include the following in addition to the above mentioned remedies;
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Identify and understand the stress inducer and share your worries with an optimistic friend. Try to find a remedy with his/her help
  • Take a hot bath with epsom salts!
  • Have a sound sleep everyday
  • Meditate
And for those who were curious, despite the icy conditions, Katz's still never Kloses. Stay warm!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Can I get an Amen!

I have a confession. I tend to be an early riser and on weekends I have been known to stumble out of a sleepy slumber to turn on the TV to 90210 reruns. Well recently, I stumbled onto something or shall I say someone much more enlightening - Joel Osteen. Now I realize my grandparents are probably turning in their graves that their nice jewish grandaughter who they so beautifully instilled typical jewish values would listen to this born again preacher, but as I have said before, I am a sucker for a good brand. And when it comes to branding, it doesn't get better than Joel Osteen. He is charismatic, humble, gracious and has an amazing positive message without shoving it in your face. He talks from personal experiences as his book, video, and dvd payment info fades in and out of the bottom of the screen. He subtly quotes the scripture as his tour dates roll across the upper part of the screen. And most importantly, he speaks in humble graciousness of his own struggles while the camera pans in and out of his beautiful wife and perfect children.

But his message is clear, and despite religious lines and politics it is about stepping into faith, however you wish to define it. It is about embracing our lives with the positive know-how that we deserve all that we desire, and moving forward with full accountability and integrity as our compass.

Don't worry, I usually pry myself away at the end of the 30 minute broadcast before he asks the audience to recite their commitment to Jesus Christ as their Savior. That is usually when I go refill on a cup of coffee, look at my Buddha in the south window, and roll my chinese coins (or three nickles which works equally well) for my I Ching reading of the day:-)

Note: This blog entry was in no way endorsed by Joel Osteen as a person, Joel Osteen events, or Joel Osteen products.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Yin/Yang of a Sinus Cold

Whether aware of it or not, my life has embodied the yin and yang of relationships, situations, and experiences. It is the conflict of living in the moment while simultaneously planning for the future. It is the inspiration to think outside the box while not abandoning the linear thought processes of logic. More specifically and literally, yin and yang is east meets west. So when my annual arrival of the sniffles so eloquently kicked me on my a_s as it usually does this time of year, I thought I would share the inner workings of an alternative health advocate raised in a western medical society in the midst of sinus misery.

  • Day 1 morning- feel a tickle in the throat and pressure on my left sinus, but quickly attribute it to texas allergies/cedar fever, afterall despite living here for 5 years and never suffering, everyone else is complaining; calmly refer to my Lousie Hay book of healing and manically cite the healing mantras to myself
  • Day 1 night - wake up in the middle of the night with pounding sinus headache and congestion; in act of desperation while still reciting my mantras grab the benadryl allergy
  • Day 2 morning- wake up with benadryl hangover and am reminded why I don't take benadryl
  • Day 2 mid morning - drive to whole foods and load up on all the homeopathic remedies (oscillo, B12 drops, and a neti pot)
  • Day 2 noon - convince myself I am feeling better and go about my day/evening which happens to be New Year's Eve (oops)
  • Day 3 morning- wake up miserable, justify using sudafed while still maintaining my homeopathic regime
  • Day 4 early morning - totally give in and admit I am sick and have to work; take sudafed, oscillo, drops and my green food drink; fake it to my best ability to be the charming pilates teacher adding extra sets of leg springs so I can subtley blow my nose and counter with the hand sanitizer
  • Day 4 mid morning - call my acupuncturist and make appointment for next day (unrelated - call for a haircut appt as well, it usually helps), stay on the sudafed and homeopathy and struggle whether to go to walgreens and get the good stuff - "the nightime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so you can rest medicine" of Nyquil - I opt out
  • Day 4 evening - finally give in; I am sick, miserable, and crying; call mom/dad who offer nothing concrete, but feel better anyways; have some vegan soup; take a hot bath with epson salts and fall asleep to my subliminal "get healthy" meditation playing on my ipod
  • Day 5 - still pretty sniffly in the morning; eyes puffy from crying, but make it through the day; feel better after acupuncture and am on the up and up, even manage to train my evening clients with my usual pilates charm:)

Anyone who knows me can attest that I never take things at face value and am always looking for "lessons learned." I know I am quick to preach to others the benefits of alternative therapies, so it is quite humbling to share my sinus woes. No matter what, I stick to my roots in my belief that any illness no matter how minor or major has something to teach us. While I am sure there is some deeper meaning, if nothing else, this minor health set back reminded me I am human and sometimes you just have to stop fighting the illness (yang) and let go and be sick (yin). Regardless, it is about blending eastern and western remedies (acupuncture with sudafed:-), and the artful negotiation of yin/yang to achieve balance - a lesson I will take with me into the New Year. In health and happiness - Happy New Year!