Tuesday, January 31, 2012
But it's not his acolades that draw me to him. From the first time I saw his very first series, The Naked Chef, I fell in love with his personality and character. He wasn't a camera teacher. He was simply a friend sharing a passion and enjoying the company. He is a chef, a musician, a dad, and a man with a mission. Simply put, he's fresh and real.
And that's what makes his inspiration so captivating for me. Because it isn't his recipes that have caught my attention. It is what he has brought his life to stand for -- the health of our children. My serious endorsement of Jamie Oliver came when I watched his show, Back To School Dinners, his initial reality series located in the UK about bringing reform to the food fed to children in school cafeterias. On the heels of that series, Jamie launched a campaign with the founding of Feed Me Better that called for signatures to petition the British government. His efforts resulted in a 450 million dollar grant from the government to improve school cafeteria food. When I saw him take the same mission to the US, even to the huge city of Los Angeles with his show, Jamie's Food Revolution, I saw it was just an extension of what came before, but in a much bigger way.
Now with the establishment of the Jamie Oliver Foundation, Jamie consistently launches similar initatives. His latest initiative, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, is a similar petition to his UK initiative to endorse the reform of school cafeteria food in America to conform to the standard nutrition needed to help children think and learn better in school.
Research shows that our diets are a vital part of learning. What we feed our bodies directly affects our mood, our ability to concentrate, and our ability to deal with stress. Along with exericise, diet can make a dramatic difference in our ability to recall information that we have learned and absorb new information accurately and meaningfully. In the formative years of children, proper nutrition and exercise can save their lives.
But it's not just about petitioning governments and school dinners that Jamie wants to see. It's the simple desire he has for everyone to take ownership and teach their children about food from the earliest age. His 2010 Jamie's Family Christmas Special gave me a small glimpse into his heart as a dad to ensure his children not only understand what they eat, but involve them in the cooking in the kitchen with "dad" and learn the basics of raw ingredients. It's just endearing and ever so inspiring.
(for a local reform of school food in New Westminster, Canada, read the news article here.)
Friday, January 27, 2012
The majority of courses in iTunes there are raw recordings of class lectures, where there is an assumed audience, and often writing on the whiteboard which you can't see.
However Dr. Vernick recorded these 15 minute clips specifically for the ipod listener to teach you about the grassroots of almost every aspect of jazz that you can probably think of. The quality of the recording is crystal clear, and he intersperses his comments with examples of music to demonstrate styles and techniques. Vernick's voice manner has the wonderful laid back "jazzy" quality to it that gets you in the mood. mmmmmm!
However, be forewarned that these are lectures recorded intentionally for the ipod. There's no really dumbing down of the terms used. But the language is accessible enough for anyone to understand, so don't worry. If you are a good student, and listen intently, I guarantee, you will KNOW JAZZ!
My favorites so far is the early years of Bill Evans, and his 4 part discussion on Oscar Peterson -- my all-time favorite jazz pianist. After all, I'm a pianist too! Thanks to Dr. Vernick for efforts in sharing his wealth of knowledge! I'm a fan!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
But I finally came to my senses and started searching around for a new hair salon where my pocketbook wouldn't hurt as much. And I stumbled upon Hive Hair Spa. I took my first trip there a few years back and now make it my regular stop for my hair needs. Surprisingly, when they first started, they received some coaching on running their own salon from my friend who used to cut my hair. Good reference already!
The things I love about this place:
Paying $35-40 for professional Japanese cut and style was a very welcome change to the typical $75-80 that I was accustomed to paying. The quality of cut is definintely comparable to what I used to get. So there are zero complaints from my end. The hairdressers will work closely with you to get the cut you want, and even advise you if your not sure what works, or just want something different. It's everything that I used to get with half the cost. Woot!
No Nonsense Work Ethic
I'm not the kind of person who likes a lot of chatter, and feel pressured to have to tell my hair stylist all the elements of my personal resume. I really just want to go to in and get my hair done. They really don't chatter it up with you unless you are clearly in the mood to chat. And for me, that's a good thing.
Asian Hair Specialists
The majority (maybe all?) of the hair dressers are Japanese. This is good news for me since getting a cut to suit my asian black hair can be a challenge if you don't want to pay the high price for it.So they are used to thicker black long hair, and, from what I can tell, are up to speed with the latest trends.
Oh baby, yes! You get the full head and neck massage with your hair wash. Just close your eyes and enjoy!
You will get a discount off your first trip there. If you "like" their facebook page, you are graced with a permanent 20% off (looking forward to figuring out how they know I've done that on my next trip). You are also provided with your choice of drinks and some pocky to munch on! (I think they used to offer some champagne, but maybe not... I can't recall now). I usually get hot green tea. And you can't beat free parking!
Hive Hair Spa
8257 Oak Street (at 67th Ave), Vancouver BC (map)
Open M, W-F, 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-6pm
Have you tried this place? What are your thoughts?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Now I never order fettuccini alfredo in a restaurant anymore. There's no need. hehe.
Just one warning. This is not a "healthed-up" version. These are authentic ingredients. I've tried at times to replace ingredients to lower the calories, using yogurt & skim milk instead of cream, trying to reduce the butter, etc. But you gotta try it the authentic way and treat yourself on a saturday after a week of being good with your diet and workouts.
1 lb of asparagus
3/4 lb of dried fettuccini
4 tablespoons of butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 cup heavy cream (i just use whipping cream)
pinch of nutmeg (do NOT skip this spice)
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (use the real stuff, not the cheap Kraft container stuff)
Boil the water for the fettuccini. Meanwhile, break off the woody part of the asparagus, and then cut it into 1/2" pieces. leave the heads longer and intact.
When the water is boiling. Add pasta and set the timer for about 9 minutes. While you are waiting, get your butter, cream, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper ready.
At 9 minutes, add the asparagus pieces and then boil for 3 more minutes.
Once it's done, drain, and then return it to the pot right away. Don't run it under cold water. Keep it hot. yum yum!
Add the butter, cream, cheese, nutmet, salt and pepper, and stir it around until the cream is all combined. Add a pinch of flour to thicken the sauce to your liking. Usually needs a couple of pinches.
Serve right away.
If you want to add chicken like in the picture, you can do it while the water is boiling and/or the pasta is cooking.
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1/8 cup olive oil
2 skinless chicken breast
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then add the chicken and coat thoroughtly.Fry in pan covered for about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, add about 1/8 cup of water, and then cover. The steam will help cook the chicken through faster so you dont have to over fry the outside of the chicken. Rest on a plate for about 2 minutes before you start slicing it.
Other options are to flash fry shrimp, or top with skewered roasted veggies if you don't want meat. Honestly, you can just eat it as is without anything added. It's so delicious, i promise! :)
Friday, January 20, 2012
You can listen or even view full semester courses like biology, languages, literature, business, fine art, history -- any subject that you can think of. These come from reputable institutions such as Yale, Harvard, USC, Stanford, to name a few, and even some Canadian and international institutions.
So far, my focus has to be on the few NYU Open Education courses, which are videos with high quality teaching which include Calculus I, Introduction to Sociology, and Statistics (which I'm doing as a refresher to help me in my job).
I've also found a full biblical Hebrew and Greek course from Concordia Seminary that is highly effective for any theologian who feels their languages are rusty and need a refresher. Brand new learners may probably need to go slower and get the textbook to keep up.
But there is a lot more than university courses available in iTunes U. There are numerous current issues lectures and presentations, along with inspirational commencement speeches by notable speakers and celebrities. If you have not checked out the Steve Jobs commencement speech in 2005 at Stanford University, well, you're just letting the best pass you by.
I'm a huge fan of iTunes U. I used to waste hours of time educating myself on the tens of thousands of hours of information. I took a break for a while (personal life issues), but the release of this app may pull me back in.
What is your favorite course in iTunes U? Share it! I'd love to know!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
One of my must haves for the iPhone is this metronome for practicing my music. Easy to set, beautiful to look at, and absolutely essential for the practicing musician.
Note that you can tap your beat to get the metronome to set itself to the tempo that you need. After all, everyone doesn't play Mozart at the exact same speed.
The only problem now is... I need my piano. Renting a practice piano can only last for so long. But it's also great to do sit ups to just to keep my pace up.
The Steinway Metronome is a free app. Go get it.
The trick is to have all the ingredients ready in bulk so you can just throw it together in the morning. The following is one serving.
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
pinch of raw sea salt (or regular salt ok too)
Bring to a boil. Then immediately lower heat to a slow simmer and set your timer to 20-25 minutes. You might want to just check the consistency the first time with what works with your stove.
When it's thoroughly cooked, it will initially look like there's still liquid on the top. Just stir it and it will look like typical oatmeal. It will continue to cook and thicken even after you remove it from the heat.
Put in a bowl and top it with the following:
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2-3 table spoons of maple syrup
2/3 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup skim milk
1 fistful of nuts. Mine has (all unsalted):
roasted pumpkin seeds
- roasted almond slices
- roasted cashews
- dried figs
- raw walnuts
I've modified mom's power oatmeal and used steel cut oats instead of rolled oats (she uses a combination of both), organic maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and added the dried figs for some extra fruit. Oh, and I cook it in an earthenware bowl straight on the stove. My new favorite thing.
I love to grocery shop in the bulk food section. I browse and look at what kind of nuts I want in my morning breakfast. I stay away from high calorie nuts like pistachios, but a very small amount once in a while doesn't hurt anyone, right? *giggle*
Did you try this recipe? Send me a photo of your version of this power breakfast with your modifications and I'll post the best ones here!