Good Stuff – March

Hohensalzburg Castle, Austrai

I’ve be heading to Salzburg, Austria, in just a few weeks. So, I’ve been up to my ears in guide books, luggage shopping, and German websites that I can’t technically read.

1. Becoming a Seattleite has above all else taught me how to gawk at real estate. (See picture above.) This best-of slideshow on HGTV FrontDoor’s site is the perfect place to go for real-estate bingeing.

2. I’ve lived in Lower Queen Anne for almost 5 years now, but only just learned (thanks to friends Engel and Iliana) that Blue Water Taco Grill is not only adequate, but amazing. I’ve been getting the grilled tilapia burrito bowl. YUM.

3. It isn’t much of a secret that I’m not big into makeup–that stuff gets expensive! That said, the stylish, airy website Into the Gloss has been a huge help these last few months for all things beauty, many things wellness, and the occasional thing makeup.

4. I had never cooked with a plantain ever until reading about their benefits on Purely Twins. So glad I did! Plantains have become a staple in my kitchen these last couple weeks and their versatility comes in especially handy when you’re searching for meal inspiration. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple years now, and am always impressed by their posts’ upbeat tone and usefulness.

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3 hours in Portland

Lil' Mamas from Two Tarts bakery in Portland

Lil’ Mamas & friends from Two Tarts Bakery in Portland.

On Sunday, Eric and I somewhat unexpectedly found ourselves in Portland for a few hours. We had already headed as far south as Olympia and, after lunch at The Spar Cafe, decided why not?

There’s so much to do in Portland–and so many one-way streets to get caught on–for an afternoon you’ve got to narrow it down to a few choice locations. One of my favorites down there is Two Tarts Bakery, whose Lil’ Mama Oreo-esque cookie sandwiches get me every time. Or, I get them every time. Whatever.

We were also witness to a tremendous bicycle (front) whose owner carried arrows in a plastic crate. One Bing search later, I see this is none other than the Cargo Bullitt TNT, which I hadn’t known existed.

Cargo Bullitt TNT - The fastest cargo bike in the world.

Cargo Bullitt TNT – The fastest cargo bike in the world. Especially for carrying arrows.

Mind you, all of these bikes came from the same dining party–the feat of locking them together takes about five minutes, which was not uninteresting to watch.

Seattle Underground Market – Jan. 19 edition

Seattle Underground Market - Pork Slider with slaw

Chomp chomp chomp.

I hit the most recent Seattle Underground Food Market, and this time I took *so many* more pictures than before. I totally remembered cash. What else is there to say, the stars were aligned!

I’m not going to lie; there was a lot of pork. My favorite dish was far and away Sweet Caroline’s Cherry-Stuffed Pork Loin with mashed potatoes. Just the right amount, too.

Sweet Caroline's Cherry-Stuffed Pork Loin with mashed potatoes

Sweet Caroline’s Cherry-Stuffed Pork Loin with mashed potatoes.

Other honorable mentions include the Za’a Tar Seattle Pork Sliders pictured above, delectable Hilary Brown Chocolates, and this Nutella baby cake.

Seattle Underground Market - Nutella Baby Cupcakes

Nutella baby cupcakes.

So good, I’m glad these things happen once every 4-6 weeks.

Can’t get enough? Take a look at the B-Roll photos too!

I, too, am juicing

Chard, pear, lemon, and cilantro juice

Chard, pear, lemon, and cilantro juice.

Fad diets, what?

Let’s preface this by saying that, yes, juicing does seem poised to be very 2013. But, since it’s 2013, why not give juicing a try?

I first got clued into the popularity of raw vegetable and fruit juices during a trip to Whole Foods, where I noticed a pretty bottle with Helvetica font could cost $9.99. (I believe people use the BluePrint brand pictured for cleansing.)

$9.99 juices at Whole Foods

$9.99 BluePrint juices at Whole Foods. (Granted, the Lemon juice is $6.99.)

My curiosity grew still when watching the Hungry for Change documentary. They didn’t explicitly say juicing could cure all your life’s woes, but you and I both know that was totally the subtext. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead further underlined this point, if also in a propaganda-like way.

So, I got a juicer with an Amazon gift card and have been sipping on these babies for a couple weeks now (along with my regular meals).

Breville juicer

My Breville juicer.

Juicing, of course, isn’t a totally foreign concept–especially if you’ve ever read an issue of Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Still, it’s taken its time getting to the Northwest. Hanna Raskin recently gave some more background on raw juicing’s popularity–and notable lack of Seattle presence–in this Seattle Weekly article.

In case you’d like even more star power, Luke on TBTL did this for a couple weeks to hilarious effect.

I never plan to embark on a full-on cleanse, but I like how juicing serves as a colorful way to add more nutrients into your diet. To decrease the hassle of washing the appliance, sip on a champagne flute of cucumber-pear tonic in the process. With chia seeds, if the fancy should strike.

Most importantly, each time I use the juicer I feel like I’m recreating the tornado from The Wizard of Oz, but with fresh produce. Fresh, tasty beverages truly are a force to be reckoned with.

Sweet-potato chips with guacamole and hot sauce

Sweet-potato chips with guacamole and hot sauce

Palate and palette goodness.

The wise may stress all things in moderation, but I’ve started 2013 with such a binge: I’m hooked on health-food blogs. Not necessarily health-food cooking, but definitely the blogs.

Gluten-free, raw, vegan… None of these restrictions even apply to my diet. Then again, “restriction” seems like a rather inappropriate word when you’re scrolling through, say, a page dedicated to Almond Flour Donuts.

One of my recent finds was this simple sweet-potato chip recipe from Glow Kitchen. Once they hit the oven, it occurred to me I had two avocados sitting aimlessly in the fridge, and eccola! A splendid lunch.

Let the browsing continue.

Hungry for Change

Before making any drastic lifestyle changes in the name of 2013, Hungry for Change is a terrific documentary to watch and digest.

One highlight of my 2011 was reading the book Why We Get Fat. Even though I already felt healthy (Michael Pollan had set me in the right direction), the book answered larger questions I’d been struggling with my entire life. They amounted to: “How can you do everything ‘right’ but still get the wrong results?”

Available on Netflix streaming, Hungry for Change does a great job of answering this question. As hard-hitting as its trailer may look, the film’s surprisingly huggable. Many of the experts interviewed have themselves lost hundreds of pounds, and they devote an entire chapter to the importance of self-love. In fact, I think the daily affirmation they suggest is a perfect way to start a new year:

I accept myself unconditionally, right now.”