Monthly Archives: March 2013

wednesday wisdom: the rising

via pinterest.

via pinterest.

One day
your soul will call to you
with a holy rage.
“Rise up!” it will say …
“Stand up inside your own skin.”
Unmask your unlived life …
feast on your animal heart.
Unfasten your fist …
let loose the medicine
in your own hand.
Show me the lines …
I will show you the spoor
of the ancestors.
Show me the creases …
I will show you
the way to water.
Show me the folds …
I will show you the furrows
for your healing.
“Look!” it will say …
the line of life has four paths –
one with a mirror
one with a mask,
one with a fist,
one with a heart.
One day,
your soul will call to you
with a holy rage.

Ian McCallum, English guitarist & poet


meatless monday: grilled cheese is a dangerous kind of meatless

murray's cheese bar did it up right with a "secret cheese blend" (buttery) and smoky tomato soup

murray’s cheese bar did it up right with a “secret cheese blend” (buttery) and smoky tomato soup (image via serious eats).

This weekend was The Big Cheesy, an annual competition of local restaurants, food trucks, and cheese mongers, to create the world’s best grilled cheese. The ever-humble sandwich of childhood lunches (who doesn’t remember sliced cheddar on buttered bread served with a side of Campbell’s tomato soup?) has come a long, long way. And yes, taste-testing grilled cheese sandwiches for an hour was as amazing as it sounds.

A few of the meatless standouts from the lively throwdown: Sons of Essex did a version with gruyere, goat cheese, and parmesan blend, and added some sautéed mushrooms and arugula. Say Cheese busted out a clever concoction of Swiss, gruyere and parmesan on sourdough, with a schmear of homemade French onion soup compote (they also did a dessert grilled cheese: S’mores on a sweet brioche). Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft did a simple, unassuming fontina and mushroom number that was so perfectly crunchy and gooey that I had to go back for a second sample. See all the competitors’ here.

Looking outside at our wickedly nasty Northeast “spring” (whipping winds and, natch, snow), a little grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch sounds about right for today. Here’s to recreating a classic. xx


wednesday wisdom: old wisdom & new wisdom

sara little yoga blog nyc do no harm

spring to-do list

It’s almost here. Almost. Occupy thyself with spring to-dos, in preparation for warmer, longer, brighter days:



Obsess over brackets.
It’s a late-March tradish, and the only time of year that my entire nuclear family gets on one group text and trash talks the crap out of each other. Sometimes, to tears. March Madness is the great neutralizer in my clan, and is celebrated the way other families might celebrate a birthday, a First Communion, Thanksgiving. If it weren’t for college basketball, I wouldn’t hear from them until Easter.



Wear orange lipstick.
Hands down, my favorite color. I’ve been convinced that anyone and everyone can wear orange lipstick. This is the season. Do it.



Catch up (again) on Game of Thrones.
If I was, say, a staff writer at the New Yorker, or an undergrad taking a film course called something like “Characters in Film & Television” (an easy A, duh), I would write a 5-page essay on the women of Game of Thrones. This series is a porny, bloodier Lord of the Rings, also as dramatic and shocking and soul-sucking as any other great show on TV right now. It’s simply the best. And while it’s certainly about fantasy families feuding and power struggles and betrayal and war, I think it’s really about women: if you peel away at all the plots and subplots, behind it all are these women,  quiet women, often deceptive and manipulative, women who control every move made, every manly, warlord-ish action, the whole thing. The third season starts next Sunday. If nothing else, watch for Cercei’s amazing outfits: in Season 2 this queen slips a gold-plated armor bustier over an amazing velvet gown while her city is under siege. I mean.



Rock a crop top bustier and high-waisted circle skirt.
Speaking of bustiers. A longtime supporter of cropped tops (since Alicia Silverstone wore the bejeezus out of them in the 90’s), I was sad  to see them go in the 00’s during the advent of the ultra low-rise waist (and subsequent muffin top). No one looks good in low-rise and midriffs. So glad this look is back. 



Plan a trip.
To Thailand, specifically. My baby sister is moving there in less than a month! Seems like once something gets in your mind, you see signs everywhere: all I’m seeing on Instagram  and elsewhere are Thai beaches and markets and temples and sunsets. Let’s go.

Spring starts tomorrow. Hang in there, peeps. xx

meatless monday: quinoa and spring vegetable pilaf



In the words of Frank Costanza: “I’m back, baby!” Welcome to the freshly anointed MM column, in which I try (try!) to post recipes more frequently on said Mondays. This one comes from my friend and longtime student Alli, whose devotion to quinoa and sheer enthusiasm for this recipe convinced me quickly that it’s a total winner. It’s seasonal. It’s green. It’s stand-at-your-open-fridge-and-snack-on-it-right-out-of-the-tupperware good. It’s adapted from Bon Appétit.

Quinoa & Spring Vegetable Pilaf
Serves 4

1 1/2 c. quinoa, well rinsed
1 c. vegetable broth
2 c. frozen petite peas, thawed, divided
5 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 lg. leek (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced (about 1 c.)
3/4 c. sliced shallots
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-in. pieces

Bring 2 1/2 c. water to boil in small saucepan. Add quinoa and 1 tsp. salt; return to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, simmer until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed, 15 – 17 min. Drain if necessary.

Puree broth, 1 c. peas, 4 tbsp. mint, and garlic in food processor until smooth. Melt butter (or add olive oil) in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and shallots; sauté until soft and light brown, about 4 min. Stir in mushrooms, then asparagus; sauté until mushrooms are tender and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in puree and 1 c. peas; stir until heated through, about 2 min. Add quinoa; stir to coat.

Divide pilaf among bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. mint, serve.

wednesday wisdom: a hard battle

via pinterest.

via pinterest.

*SARA LITTLE, CUB REPORTER, FOOTNOTE: Who said this? Was it Plato? Philo of Alexandria? John Watson? It’s frequently attributed to Plato (at least on Pinterest), so I’m tempted to credit the great Greek. But the awesome blog Quote Investigator says otherwise. Fellow word-slingers and amateur etymologists, add to your blog rolls now.

feast & famine: alternate day fasting

sara little yoga blog nyc feast famine
A burger and fries one day, sucking on a piece of lettuce the next. This is dieting in 2013. The latest (and greatest?) new trend/controversy in waist-line management is ADF, Alternate Day Fasting, which sounds like it has potential as the perfect weight loss plan for lazy girls and guys. Exactly how safe (and effective) is it?

ADF is all the rage, the weight loss approach that takes yo-yo dieting to the extreme. Basically, ADF (the British version is the 5:2 diet) involves a 24-hour cycle of eating normal amounts of foods (2,000 calories), followed by 24 hours of serious calorie restriction, with no more than 500 total on fasting days. The theory goes that all the misery of fasting becomes more bearable, knowing that after a day spent starving yourself (literally), you get to eat whatever you want. And that includes a milkshake. In other words, you’re only on a “diet” half of the time, while the other half hardly feels, or looks like, a diet at all.

Proponents suggest ADF makes the ever-popular fasting/cleansing approach more sustainable for long-term benefits. It also gives you some power over your social calendar, since you’re only “dieting” every other day (ever been the Bummer Buddy on a juice cleanse and gone out with your friends? Not. Fun.). Other possible benefits, according to Ariane Hundt, a nutritionist, personal trainer, and founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp: on fasting days, the digestive system gets a rest, blood sugar levels balance out, and energy levels can be regulated without an onslaught of sugar and starches. “With fasting, you can teach your body to become more sensitive to calories from sugar and starches, so that when you do eat them, you’ll have a more negative response,” says Hundt. “You learn to dislike those foods and create an aversion rather than seeing them as a treat.”

And further evidence shows weight loss has occurred in ADF participants, as is the case whenever you restrict caloric intake, say most experts.

But what are the long-term effects of this binge/deprive approach to food? And can someone even diet this way as a lifestyle? Studies are inconclusive at the moment, and experts who weigh in tend to agree that this type of eating only reinforces an extreme relationship with food, an “all or nothing” approach. “If you were to eat a lot of sugary calories one day and then none the next, you would simply undo a bad day of eating without making any true progress. Hence, fasting for a day would be a wasted effort,” Hundt says.

With no focus on nutrition, ADF disregards any guidelines for replenishing those essential nutrients on your “eating days” that are clearly not taken in on your “fasting days.” “This approach simply doesn’t teach you about the impact of foods on your body,” adds Hundt. “You don’t learn anything about food and health, and you don’t learn how to eat properly to create a healthy body and mind. It simply perpetuates the diet model, which isn’t working in the long run.”

My take? I’m certainly not an anti-fasting fascist, and have fasted a number of times, for different reasons. But this diet not only bolsters an unhealthy, extreme relationship to food through a punishment/reward mentality, it also fails to teach anything about good nutrition, or the actual effects of food on the body. I’m all about finding balance, and there’s nothing balanced about starving yourself one day… and gorging on a large meat lover’s pizza the next.