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It’s all About the Dough

We are well past the 1/2 way mark and it has been an amazing month so far. This October #unprocessed is fun and exciting, but definitely better with a partner. Yes, I get hangry when I have to roll out my own pizza dough and can’t just order delivery, but it’s so much better when I have a boyfriend who can pop a grape in my mouth to keep me calm.
I have to thank that boyfriend for loving to cook and finding great recipes. I have never had so much pie & pizza in my life while looking so good.
Last year we were all about big batches of granola, still doing that – which is awesome, but this year we are all about the dough. We make a lot of it and have it on hand ready to go. We start with whole wheat unbleached flour and then add accordingly.
Tortillas= flour +water +touch of salt +oil
Pie crust = flour + butter + touch of salt + water
Pizza crust = flour + water + yeast + touch of salt
 Notice anything processed? me neither. Once we have the foundation – it’s very simple: use whatever is in the kitchen. Ripe peaches? Great for a pie, just add some honey. Goat cheese? Goes well with the peach or on a pizza with chicken and tomato. And tortillas go with everything.
Of course I’m still loving my chocolate. It goes great with peach & honey in a pie. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I make an exception for chocolate that is over the  70% cacao mark. Just like high school: If I get over 70% I deserve chocolate.(I don’t think my parents shared my sentiment).
Of course, it hasn’t been all pizza and pie, or even all unprocessed. We took a hit one weekend. I thought one wedding can’t be too bad so we ate too much, drank too much and “cheated” way too much. By the time the cake came out, I was feeling pretty sick to my stomach. I couldn’t even take a bite. And then the next morning I continued my binge with a donut at the brunch, some turkey jerky sticks, and other pastries and eventually went to bed at 7pm with a migraine. I still believe it was too much refined sugar and not enough cleaneats.
But I’ve learned my lesson and I keep my cheating to a minimum, besides – why cheat when I have pie?

Follow me on instagram:@obisaacson!

5 Tips & Tricks for Going #Unprocessed

It’s the 2nd of October – have you joined the October Unprocessed challenge yet? If you’re having trouble, here are some tips and tricks to help you get started.

1. Figure out what to look for & what things mean.

Most breads have bleached flour & sugar. Both are totally processed. Look for these and immediately put it down. Also, “enriched” flour is a no-go, so keep an eye out for that.
Once you start noticing a few of the ingredients that are red flags, make sure to put down the processed item.
If you simply don’t know what it means, look it up. You can make a decision only once you have the knowledge to do so. And you can always ask the unprocessed community.

2. Find your go-to pre-made unprocessed favorites.

No way are we are giving up bread and pasta. Last year we even made our own of both. It was difficult, the food came out denser than desired, and I got very hangry.

So – I kept my eye out for unprocessed bread and pasta.

We’ve found two breads that are completely unprocessed and our favorite pasta comes from Trader Joe’s. It has 3 ingredients in it – three types of whole wheat flour.

We will probably try to make bread again – but at least we have a couple of options to stave of the hanger.

3. Find a few good recipes
I am already cooking clean and bookmarking recipes left and right. I don’t cook, but if I plan to try 3 new recipes this week, maybe i’ll make at least one. I have already found a cookie recipe that I love, but I want to find another. I need variety. Plus – we really stocked up on whole wheat flour, oats, dark chocolate, and honey – so we’re set!

I’ve been following some pretty amazing instagrams. And yes it burns that they’re all 19 in “Uni” (University) and have so much time on their hands to look great and eat right. But I swallow my pride so that I can soon swallow the deliciousness that comes from their recipes.

And usually it’s super simple, like their version of ice cream aka “nice cream” or “nana ice cream” is really just blended frozen banana with some cacao nibs or some other fruit, nut, or cacao powder. My favorite is banana, cacao powder, and honey. yum. How simple is that?!

Once we find a recipe, like amazing 3 ingredient pizza dough that the boyfriend makes, we make it once a week. It gets so easy and common that you forget it’s completely unprocessed.

4. Cheat (a bit)

There are just some things that I can’t give up. Chocolate being one of them. If I tried to give it up, I would end up sitting alone in the dark, face covered in chocolate cake. mmm…cake.

In fact, I would but special equipment just to be able to make each ingredient in my kitchen. I don’t have the time or money for that. So the next best thing is to get as unprocessed as possible. I know chocolate, the way we know it, can never be sugar-free. So I try to get a certain amount of pure cacao – there’s a 73% from trader joe’s that I love. I have made it a rule to get over 70% cacao so that there’s little room for sugar and additives.

Though I have made my own chocolate with powder (ground cacao) honey & coconut oil sans special equipment (does a mini food processor count?), I still need the real stuff.

I cheat a bit on the weekends. My favorite Mexican joint one night, a wedding cake another night, and maybe a $5 organic donut from our local cafe. But, the very next day we’re back at it and finding a clean donut recipe to help our health…and our wallets.

5. Don’t give up

Ok there was free lunch in the conference room today. And though I stuck to eating my unprocessed bread, cheese & grapes – I still grabbed some salad. The dressing was delicious, but I assume there was sugar in it. (There’s sugar in most condiments)

That doesn’t mean I’m done for the day. “Welp, I messed up, let’s eat a bag of cheetos…” No. Not going to happen. I’m going to just do my best at every instance. And if you do end up eating a bag cheetos, enjoy it, really savor that bright orange, fake, processed “cheese” product. Because tomorrow, you won’t be eating it.

So head over to eatingrules.com and get signed up! It’s never too late.

redwagon

It’s Almost October – let’s get #Unprocessed!

I am so excited about the October Unprocessed Challenge. Never heard of it? Head over to eatingrules.com and get signed up!

Basically – if you can’t make it in your kitchen – it doesn’t belong in your mouth. So this means that you have to read your labels!  Don’t know how they make “natural flavoring”? Me neither. So put that item down and make it yourself – with real flavors. Just search #cleaneats on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of recipes.

For more motivation – check out my slide show from last year: 7 reasons to go unprocessed!

One of the big issues I always face is: SUGAR. I have a crazy sweet tooth! And most sugar is very bleached and processed. Last year, I got very familiar with honey, maple syrup, & 70% + dark chocolate. I make an exception for dark chocolate. Raw cacao is too bitter for me, so I try to stay above a certain percent of cacao.

Based on my results from last year (dropped 7 lbs and learned to bake bread: win-win) – I want to focus on:

  • Clean desserts (following a lot of people on Instagram for this)
  • Clean weekends – last year, we got pretty lackadaisical on the weekends
  • Cooking more. Right now, my boyfriend is a great cook, but if I can buy raw/unprocessed items – I opt for that instead of experimenting and making it from scratch. It’s time to get messy!

So I hope you’ll join me on this challenge. And if you invite me over for brunch, expect me  to bring something unprocessed!  Or a lot of fruit.

5 Ways to Be A Green Fashionista

We live in a consumerist society. It’s who we are. Everything is so readily available at a low cost that once worn or used a few times, we can easily justify trashing it. Sounds great – but it’s becoming a huge problem for Mother Earth. From the factories to the trash heaps – we have a problem.
 
However the green fashionista has a few tricks up her sleeve to make sure she doesn’t become part of the problem. 
 
1. Purchase from second hand shops. 2nd hand shops are the best place to purchase last season’s high end items. Each store & neighborhood is different – it takes some time to find your store, but once you do, it’s great! I usually hit the Crossroads in San Francisco’s Pac Heights neighborhood & the Santa Monica Wasteland because I can always find something I love. We’re talking Coach, Kate Spade, Theory, Frye, and Prada. You’ll find these items at a fraction of the price & in great condition. But I also find awesome every-day pieces like a super cute denim jacket for $10, A beautiful deep purple Guess coat for $35, and 3 pairs of Joe’s jeans, each $50 or less. Like new! (Sometimes the tags are still on!) 
 
2. Donate/Sell. The 2nd hand shops I love are pretty picky about what they take, but you can always try to sell to them. They’ll give you cash or credit. But, consider donating. You know how you get that confidence strut when you slip into a slim power suit & and pumps? Pay it forward by donating your old, yet still stylish suits to Dress for Success. You’re old power suit will give a woman the confidence she needs to land a job. And for your non-suits, there’s always one of these awesome charities
 
3. Rent your clothes. Using a service like Le Tote allows me to stay up on the latest fashions, without having to constantly buy new pieces. It’s the sharing economy at its most fashionable. 
 
4. Know your designers. If you want to buy a brand new shirt, guilt free – consider how your clothes are being produced. Is the factory it comes from making so much pollution that the nearby residents have lung cancer? Or, are they finding ways to use less resoures? Even big brands like Levi’s are jumping on the green wagon. They realize that our resources are limited. Here’s the “waterless” denim that they unveiled a few years ago.  Do some research. You may have to pay a little more, but when you vote with your dollar, companies will listen. 
5. Upcycle. Search “up cycle clothing” on Pinterest for hundreds of ideas. My fave? Taking a sweater that has a hole in the middle front – then cut right straight through the hole from bottom to top. so now it’s an open-front sweater, sew up the side and it’s like a brand new piece. If it’s not repairable – you can always find a completely new use for it. Turn a soft shirt into a pillowcase or a rag for cleaning. Get crafty. Consider all the packaging. I receive a Le Tote box about once a week. And I’ve been a member for 6 months – that’s over 25 boxes. Now we use them for storage bins and compost bins (more durable than paper bags).
 
Be green, gorgeous, and fashionable!
One of the 7 sisters

From Russia With Love

I just returned from Moscow! It was amazing, and yes it did help to get my creativity flowing again.

The first thing I noticed: the beautiful architecture. Every building in the town center has intricate detailing from centuries past, but they look as if they were just built. Apparently, once a building begins to look run-down, the city immediately starts working to repair it. I heard that the new mayor of Moscow has made it his mission to clean up Moscow. Literally. They wash the streets many times a day. They’re even out during the rain. (Send your water to CA!) They’ve opened many walking streets with beautiful, yet expensive, shops, and the parks are gorgeous with a lot of fun activities (ping pong or bocce ball, anyone?). We were visiting my boyfriend’s parents who have lived there for 3 years. They told us how much the city has changed since they first arrived. There’s always something new: beautiful lights during the winter, festivities year-round, and people out and about at all times. (I can’t imagine that in the dead of winter)

Check out some of the scenic photos:

The Mall    One of the 7 sisters  Russian Architecture

The next thing I noticed: I looked like a tourist. Yep, I brought comfortable walking shoes, some boots, and flats. I am so glad I did! However, the women of Moscow don’t seem to care for flat shoes. Sure they have their ballet flats, but they seem to prefer the 5 inch heels. Even in the park! Even in the rain! Yep, in the rain, on cobblestone. And I’ve heard that they’re masters at wearing them in the ice and snow. I love my heels – but since I rarely walking in them in SF, I will definitely not be walking in them in Moscow!

We went to the Ritz for drinks (and of course we walked there) So I wore my boots, if only my heels folded up nicely to fit in my Kate Spade Clutch…

In an egg at the Ritz

 

And finally, I realized, I really don’t know Moscow at all. On the one hand, the unemployment rate is next to nothing (1%, I think) but on the other – everybody talked about the tiny one-room apartments that houses an entire family.  But of course – that’s the issue with being a tourist – you see everything from the outside and never really understand what it’s like to live there.

One day we wandered into a Russian exhibit where nobody spoke English. A young man who had wandered in behind us helped translate for us. We invited him to spend the rest of the day with us, at which he jumped at the chance. We hadn’t met anybody so friendly and outgoing. He wanted to practice his english & we welcomed the interaction. (I had tried on a few occasions to engage with people, must didn’t speak english or didn’t want to)  He then spent the rest of the day with us wandering the park & space museum. We also met up with him the next day at the Kremlin. He noted, “I’ve never done any of these things before.” He told us some stories about growing up in Russia, living, dating, and working in Moscow. However, between my attempt to be polite by not asking too many questions and his english skills, I left Moscow wanting to know so much more. Next time. 

Yes, there will definitely be a next time. 

 

IMG_0340

Creativity Unstuck

Hello! I know it has been such a long time since my last post. Over two months! I have hit a wall. The creative juices aren’t flowing. Sure there are some reasons: long hours, some summer blues, and traveling. But I can usually snap myself out of my rut – I think I’ve just gotten lazy. So no more. I’m snapping out of it. It’s silly – I have so many 1/2 written posts but just can’t figure out how to finish them. Or even worse – when I re-read them, I’m so unenthused by my own work that I scrap the whole thing.

So, from here on out – I’m just going to write. Tomorrow we leave for Russia. Yep – a week in Moscow. Still wrapping my head around it, but I’m really excited. I’m hoping that the 15 hour flight will give me time to write in my journal and get the brainstorming going. And the trip itself will get me out of my comfort zone, experience new things, and give me the push I need. I’ll come back energized and ready to write.

Yes I have high expectations for this trip, but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it. And if nothing does – I’ll be right back where I started. So why not, right?

father's day

15 Thank Yous to my Father on Father’s Day (6/15)

As my mom likes to remind me, she would have never had kids if it weren’t for my father; he’s “different than the rest of them.” My father the mustachioed, loving, supportive husband with a big heart, deep values, a penchant for tweed, and a sarcastic wit. So in honor of father’s day, here are 15 thank yous:

 

1. Thank you for reading to me. From The Seven Voyages of Sinbad by my hospital bed, to your great British accent as you read the 1st chapter of Harry Potter out loud in an attempt to start family reading night which didn’t stick.  I cherish the memories.

 

2. Thank you for your medical expertise. When you ran in to my room after I woke up screaming with a Charlie horse, massaged my calf, and then handed me a banana in the morning. Or the time I cut myself and you took matters into your own hand (so to speak): “Daddy, my thumb is bleeding” “Lick it off” “Eww” “I’m trying to watch your brother’s soccer game” “Daddy…” And you swiftly grabbed my thumb and popped it in your mouth. “There it’s not bleeding now.”

 

3. Thank you for letting me sleep with you and mom after a scary dream. Even more, thanks for taking my tiny twin-sized bed once your bed got too crowded.

 

4. Thank you for feeding me. It must have been annoying to hear, “we’re starvin’ Marvin” often. I didn’t know mom could even cook until I promised a home cooked meal to my high school boyfriend that she ended up cooking.

 

5. Thank you for teaching me to cook. From a “how to brine a turkey” lesson 3,000 miles away to the hands-on matzoh brie class in our kitchen. They both stuck!

 

6. Thank you for teaching me how to make a decision. I learned the hard way during one of driving lessons; backing up straight into the hill rather than picking a direction to turn the wheel.

 

7. Thank you for telling me “I’m nice and pretty” is not an acceptable answer to, “if you don’t get your grades up, what will you do?” I still think those factors got me this far, but maybe the MBA helps.

 

8. Thank you for teaching me that passion can speak louder than money. Your dedication to the public defender’s office of Los Angeles has been inspiring. More so, thank you for teaching me your passion for equality: everybody deserves a chance. Your fight for people who can’t afford lawyers breaks all public defender stereotypes.

 

9. Thank you for letting me know it’s OK to make more money than my partner. I can be my own knight in shining armor.

 

10. Thank you for all the uncomfortable conversations. Telling me things I may not have wanted to hear but had to. Thanks for letting mom handle a few of them too.

 

11. Thank you for telling me that my first boyfriend was a tool. Even if you only wanted him gone because he was “geographically undesirable” and you were stuck driving us around. He was a tool. He made out with some girl under the bleachers. What a cliché.

 

12. Thank you for the forbidden McDonald’s runs while mom was out of town. It was a fun way to break the rules every now and again.

 

13. Thank you for being involved and hands-on. Packing lunches, driving carpool, daily conversations and of course various activities (Girl Scouts, father-daughter events, watching every recital etc.). But, thank you, especially for stepping in as a flying monkey in the school play. I couldn’t be the best Wicked Witch of the West without a great flying monkey!

 

14. Thank you for showing me what a strong partnership looks like. Every marriage has its tests, but it your marriage always seemed like a loving friendship in which you and mom worked together as a team. It helped that you both had your own interests, called each other by first names, showed affection, had lives outside of your kids, and collaborated, like a jury, when planning a sentence punishment.

 

15. Thank you for my curls & big personality. I’ve learned to love and embrace them both. I am definitely my father’s daughter.