Kimchi? Kimchi! Cucumbers? YES!

Earlier this year, I mentioned how much I missed making pickles. Before you turn your nose up, there’s more to life than just fermented cabbage. It’s a wonderful way to add spice to your diet, and the benefits to your health is an added bonus. While I love cabbage, many don’t. There’s a delicious variation on kimchi, and that’s using the one of the most bounteous of summer gardens – the cucumber.

Not only do they lend themselves to low-calorie snacking, but:

  • a zesty addition to an antipasto platter or backyard BBQ sides
  • Finely dice one and toss into gazpacho or salsa
  • a garnish for Bloody Mary

The true beauty is this can be adjusted for heat, saltiness, and like (or dislike) of garlic. I want to them to be as crunchy, spicy and stinky as possible, but that’s just me and I love the burn! The recipe below is courtesy of David Chang for Food & Wine:

INGREDIENTS

1 pound cucumbers, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch spears

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons Korean red chile flakes or 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced strips of peeled fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp (optional), minced

1 small carrot and 1 scallion, thinly sliced into 2-inch matchsticks

1/4 small onion, thinly sliced

  1. In a colander, toss the cucumbers with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar with the chile flakes, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce and dried shrimp. Toss in the carrot, scallion, onion and cucumbers. Arrange the cucumbers in a shallow dish, spooning the shredded vegetables and liquid on top. Let stand for 15 minutes, turning once or twice, then serve.

Serenity, For Now

I love walking. Who loves walking even more is my doggie, Lola. Since summer is in full swing in New Orleans, we get up pretty early to beat the heat. We head to Audubon Park, where there’s a great paved, shady track designed for walkers, runners and cyclists. It’s one-and-a-third miles with water stations at each halfway point, so one loop is perfect for my older pooch. For more advanced exercisers, there’s workout stations posted around the track for a full body regimen.

The only thing I’m armed with (besides sunscreen) is a leash for Lola. Phone and music-free, I love listening to the sounds of the frogs, birds, and ducks. I love seeing others workout and their reactions to the widlife, especially when they encounter one of the large turles. Walking allows me great visualization therapy, and focusing on breathing. Lola loves being outside and all the compliments from the other walkers. By the time we’ve finished, the tension is gone from my shoulders and I can feel my stomach tighten.

I do post pics on my Instagram – please give a follow!

Review: Living Proof

Living Proof created a 3-step curly hair regimen. I had hoped it was created in response to customer feedback for products only for stick-straight hair. After trying it twice (all the trial sizes offered), I’m not convinced curly girls of any tpe would benefit from these products.

I purchased the travel kit. The travel kit contains:

  • Curl Conditioning Wash (60 mL e 2 fl oz): A sulfate-free, non-lathering conditioning wash that gently cleans hair of dirt, oil & build-up while conditioning and nourishing curls.
  • Curl Detangling Rinse (6o mL e 2 fl oz): A water activated formula that defines, detangles and preps natural curls in the shower for frizz-free styles.
  • Curl Defining Styling Cream (60 mL e 2 fl oz): A silicone-free styling cream that controls and defines curls with light hold and extra conditioning.

As a bonus, there was a tiny (and I do mean tiny) sample of No-Frizz Leave-In conditioner. I followed all instructions, even though the shampoo looks like it sould be the conditioner, and vice versa:

The shampoo.
The shampoo.

 

 

The detangling rinse.
The detangling rinse.

 

I used the products solo, and didn’t like the dry, chunchy once my hair dried. Strangely, it offers a better look for 2nd and 3rd-hair:

 

First-day, still-damp hair with Living Proof.
First-day, still-damp hair with Living Proof.

 

Third-day hair with Living Proof
Third-day hair with Living Proof

The last time I used it, I incorporated the LOC (leave-in, oil, cream) method in order to have softer hair without the crunchinness once it dries.

Living Proof, using LOC method.
Living Proof, using LOC method.

 

That’s too many pics of myself for comfort, but I hope you get the drift. If your hair is fine and not pourous, you might like the results. This product line did nothing for me, and too expensive to use on a regular basis if it did work ($15 a wash?)

 

Headed to JazzFest? Don’t Forget Beauty!

Beauty is in your heart; you love music, the main reason to attend JazzFest! What always happens is while we are enjoying the food, friends and fun, we leave essentials at home that can keep us looking great all day. Here’s a quick list:

  • sunscreen
  • rain pocho (or two – someone always forgets one!)
  • hat/hair ties
  • lip balm
  • trail sandals/rain boots

By having these items in your bag, you’ll make it though the festival looking like a champ!

 

Coming Up For Air

Sorry, but I have been boobs deep in taxes! Managing an office all day; when I come home, I’m just wiped out. Too tired to write and too tired to appropriately love my doggie. She, in turn, is boycotting me. It’s a fractured home ,y’all. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m too scared to walk towards it!!

Seriously, I made a promise to change my health for the better (d’oh!), so I joined Janell Stewart’s DietBet Challenge.  Wish me luck!

The Joy of Pickles

Finding joy is a big goal in 2015. One way will be to make pickles! I love pickled foods and it’s easy to do. I always thought it was an arduous chore and frankly, a lost art. I didn’t make any last year and I was kind of sad about it.

Veggies are the easiest, as the spices/cooking time offers more flexibilty. Fruit (as in preserves) should stick to the letter unless you’re a pro at canning. Seasonality will help you in selecting the best options for picking your items to pickle.

Here’s a recipe, courtesy of Saveur:

Pickled Cranberries
MAKES 5-6 HALF PINTS

INGREDIENTS
3 cups sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
3 sticks cinnamon, broken in half
1 teaspoon whole allspice
½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon juniper berries
1 ½ lbs. fresh cranberries,  rinsed
½ tsp. Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Bring sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat; cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Tie allspice, cloves, peppercorns, and juniper berries in cheesecloth and add to saucepan with cranberries; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop open, 4-6 minutes; discard spice packet. Divide cranberries and cinnamon stick halves between 6 sanitized 8-oz. glass jars with resealable lids and follow “Canning with a Boiling Water Bath” procedure.