Food For Thought

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Food For Thought

Basic rules from one developing foodie to another.

1) Just add cheese.

2) Be adventurous.  The other night I tried skate for the first time, and it tasted like the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  For those of you who don’t know, and I didn’t, but luckily I had a very educated bartender, who explained skate as similar to a sting ray, but with a texture similar to scallops.  I loooove scallops, so I was all in, and it was served with this delicious sea urchin sauce, veggies, and salmon roe to top it off.  Every bite was great.  By the way, I had no idea that another wing of skate was hidden under all those beautiful veggies…such a delicious surprise to have more of it.  I hate to sound cheesy, but it was really like an orchestra of flavors accenting each other.  The salmon roe was the icing on the cake, and isn’t that portion impressive for a $24 dollar meal?  Color me very impressed.  And well fed.  Thanks to Owen and Engine, and much thanks to the bartender who suggested it.

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Also, take chances in the kitchen.  It’s fun to try new recipes, even if they flop.  And it’s fun just to follow your instincts and throw ingredients together.  Last night I walked through the organic goods aisle in my grocery store and came across this bag of dark chocolate covered pretzel thins, for $5.99.  I picked it up off the shelf.  I examined the bag, checked the calories and the amount of servings in the bag…3. I thought, “If I go home and eat this six dollar bag of pretzel thins I will not be happy with myself.  And I guarantee I’ll still be hungry.”  So I moseyed over to the baking aisle and picked up a bag of dark chocolate chips, and snagged a bag of pretzels from the snack aisle.  I went home and winged it, to end up with this amazing salted caramel, dark chocolate pretzel bark.  It’s messy and imperfect, but damn it tastes good.  And I have enough to feed all of my coworkers! Seriously, I made enough for like 1o people, and it cost less than six bucks.  I got creative with the crust – it’s pretzels, crushed walnuts, graham cracker crumbs, and chia seeds covered in caramel, dark and semisweet chocolate, and topped with pink Himalayan sea salt.  Yum!  You get the point.

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3) Try it more than once.  I read something once about how your taste buds change as you get older, and it must be true because I’m living proof.  Growing up my diet consisted of chicken fingers, mac ‘n cheese, and Reese’s.  There was no debating about it, and I would cry and gag at the thought of eating vegetables.  Gasp! I know.  Anyone who knows me now knows how excited I get about trying new foods (cue my rant about skate above).  Even with things I still have a distaste for, like avocados weirdly, I still keep trying to eat them in different dishes to learn to acquire a liking for them.  It works, I promise.  The more you try something the more you like it.  Or you just hate it and there’s no fixing that.  But generally it works.

4) Treat yo’ self.  Go out and try fancy places and order nice, maybe pricey dishes that you want to try.  Justify it in the budget as necessary culinary experience.  It tastes so good.  Food sustains your life and provides you with energy and happiness.  You deserve the best.  Repeat mantra.

5) Share it with others.  This is my favorite thing to do!! Finding the best food, or making it, and sharing it with people so they can experience the same amazing flavor feels so good.  I love watching a smile and wide eyes spread across someone’s face who appreciates my baking.  And it’s so fun to go to cool, new restaurants with friends and try things together.  Cue a consensus of phones taking foodie pics before devouring.

On that note, check out my instagram @sunnysdelight for my recommended restaurants and recipes (#alliteration).

Eat happy,

Chelsea

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Find a Silver Lining

I love many, many things in this world.  I love ice cream, I love romcoms, I love Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (I mean, who doesn’t?), and I love Ernest Hemingway.  That last one may not seem to fit with the rest, but I came across this hilarious scene in the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper that had me laughing out loud the other day.  So I want to share it.  If you have two minutes free and want a good laugh at the expense of Ernest Hemingway, enjoy.

He gives a great little synopsis of A Farewell to Arms, but he’s obviously very upset about the tragic ending.

“I will apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemingway because that’s who’s to blame here.”  He’s angry it doesn’t have a happy ending because he says it’s hard enough in the world.  How cute is his mom’s reaction?  And to top off the scene, his father is Robert De Niro.  What’s not to love here?

Real talk:  He’s mad at the book because he’s trying so hard to find a silver lining in everything.  I love the positive mindset he’s working towards with his “excelsior” mantra that he mentions in the beginning of the clip.  I completely agree and I find it so peaceful and useful to be able to take anything negative and turn it into a positive.  Optimism is a lens you can choose to view things through…or you can complain and bitch and feel unhappy.  But your attitude and your experience is what you make it.  I think when I figured this out it became a fun game for me to try to make my own fun out of any little negative daily annoyance.  Try it out sometime when you’re stuck in a long line, or when a coworker’s bugging you, or you get caught walking in the rain.  Choose to be happy and spread it!

“You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna take all this negativity and I’m gonna use it as fuel and I’m gonna find a silver lining, that’s what I’m gonna do.  And that’s no bullshit, that’s no bullshit.  That takes work, and that’s the truth.”

Choosing to be happy in any situation is hard work and it takes a lot of practice.  A nice reminder for me are these emails I get once a day called The Daily Motivator.  My uncle subscribed me to this awesome motivational service that sends encouraging emails out every day.  Gotta love a little positive reinforcement!  It was created by Ralph Marston in 1995 and “the site has become one of the most popular and enduring destinations for daily positivity.”  Check it out, and if you’ve never seen the movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” I highly recommend you pull it up on Netflix. Fun fact: the word “excelsior,” as J Law points out in the movie, is the motto of New York and it means “ever upward.”

“Whatever happens, decide that good will come of it. Decide that good will come of it, and you’re well on your way to making that goodness a reality.” — Ralph Marston
Chelsea

How To Be Happy

I’m no expert, and I know that, but I’ve found that certain things make me feel so much lighter and happier every day while I’m going through my routine, so I thought it might help to share them.

During yoga one morning, my instructor told us to lift the corners of our mouths into a smile and to find a peaceful happiness in our practice, and she said that yoga isn’t about straining or forcing your body into results.  My face was clenched and we were twisting in a pose, so when I started to smile, I relaxed completely and I was able to enjoy the moment.  Now, whenever I’m feeling tense at work, or any time I get stressed, I remind myself to smile.  The act of smiling changes my attitude and my demeanor so positively that I think it’s one of the best ways to turn a bad day around.  Yoga is also one of the best ways.  It teaches you to let things go and live in the present.  Breathing deeply and being attentive to your body and mind is the best care for yourself.  I think it also helps you focus on what is important by clearing your mind of all your daily troubles.

People post yoga videos on Youtube and people without a gym membership, like me, can watch them for free and follow the videos in their own homes.  I stumbled upon an awesome Youtube yoga video by a girl named Adriene, and she shared something insightful that I think about all the time.  The pose is lying on your back with your knees in towards your armpits, holding on to your feet in “happy baby” pose.  She told us to roll forward and backward, and she laughed and said this part of the practice reminds her to have a sense of humor in life because it makes you look and feel like a ridiculous child.  I’ve ruminated over it many times when something small happens during the day that I would have normally overlooked, but instead I laugh out loud and enjoy it.  I think about it again later and laugh again at some of the small, funny things that happen, but usually get passed by.  Instead of getting frustrated at people’s quirkiness or stressed about little problems, I feel entertained and much more pleasant.  Finding humor in little things is freeing.  Like getting stuck walking home in the rain, or noticing someone furiously picking their nose on the train.  Just laugh and think, “Isn’t life interesting, and aren’t I so lucky to have a front row seat?” Be lighthearted and be compassionate towards others and you’ll be happy with yourself, or at least that’s what I’m discovering.

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Finding happiness and working towards inner peace together,

Chelsea