Wednesday, February 2, 2011

rant of the day

Hello my beautiful friends, it's Jessica! As of now it seems like I’ll have a lot more time on my hands. So, I decided to use my college “free-time to write! The reason for all of this time is due to not driving nor having a car. To avoid your confusion I’ll explain why I am currently in this situation. Well you see, I am kind of an absent minded person and each road test I’ve taken ended tragically.

The first time I took my road test was kind of embarrassing. Somehow I allowed my nerves to take over my body and I didn’t get on the left lane and turned left… while still on the right lane. Although it was stupid and an automatic fail, I remained positive and told myself “I’ll get it next time!”

Boy, was I wrong…I failed the second time due to my anxiety and nerves. Perhaps I would’ve been less nervous if my inspector wasn’t so haughty and rude. Before I even started the test he sat in the passenger side with such a dirty look on his face. He criticized my driving every step of the way, which made it very distracting for me. I failed because I wasn’t prepared. He actually told my father he was doing us a favor by failing me.

Okay, I will admit the third time I took the test was completely avoidable and I am still sensitive about it. I managed to do everything (including parallel parking) impeccably. I was so confident throughout and started daydreaming of me waiting patiently for my license in the DMV line. While this was happening in my brain, I managed to drive past a stop sign. Oh. My. GOD. My very silent inspector just looked at me and told me to park the car. After a few moments he said, “Well you just need to come back.” Apparently my excellent parallel parking was not enough and not stopping at a sign is just unacceptable.

In case you're wondering, my next road test and hopefully my last is in March. I’ve probably managed to make all the dumb and possibly dangerous mistakes possible, so I just need to go in there and know that it’s only what I’ve been doing for these past 12 months. Whoa, I totally bored you with my life right there. You’re probably thinking, “What does this have to do with health, fashion, or fitness?” It doesn’t. I just wanted to clarify with the world why I am so dependent on everyone for rides. Thank you drivers, I appreciate, and love you all! <3 -Jess

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Commit To Working Out On A Busy Schedule

Hello everyone! So as well all know it is now mid-January and some of you have already given up on your new years resolutions, one popular one being to loose weight. We all do this, year after year, tell ourselves this year will be different and I WILL stick to my diet/weight loss goal. Well I am not going to lie, I've been down this road before and trust me it's very easy to give up on a good goal. It really takes a lot of determination and motivation to really carry through. One thing that it is important to remember is that diets rarely work, in a way they set you up for failure because you give yourself unrealistic limitations on food intake and then whenever your "two week cleanse" or whatever diet you do is over and done with, you go back to your old ways and your diet didn't really benefit you now did it? Anther common mistake with diets is people think they are miracle workers in which you don't need to work out, just eat less, WRONG! If you would really like to succeed in losing weight you have to exercise and you HAVE to eat healthy, no questions about it, and has to become something you adapt to your lifestyle. Before I get off topic let me continue with what this post is all about. One challenge people often face when trying to lose weight is lack of time, this is something I too struggle with and it can become very disheartening. About a year ago I discovered an On Demand feature on my TV called Exercise TV. This channel is literally a Godsend to working people, stay at home mothers, and anyone who has a busy/active lifestyle and still would like to make time to workout. It's great because it features anywhere from 10-60 minute workouts from top trainers that really know what they are talking about, and they are very encouraging. So I would like to tell you a little about my new workout commitment. Last week I started doing the 10 Pound Slimdown with trainer Chris Freytag. It's a fun, fast paced workout system designed to give you results in a month by mixing up 20 minute workouts five times a week. Now I'm not neccessarily looking to lose weight and be skinny because I'm happy with my body, however I just wanna tone up, escpecially in the tummy area ( I'm sure most of you can feel me on that one!) So i'm just gonna stick to this and really see where it takes me by the end of the month! I will definately be posting some updates on here as well!! If you'd like to check out all Excercise TV has to offer check out: here you will find down loadable workout plans and much more. Also keep in mind that there are many other great resources for working out on a restricted time schedule. When keeping up with my yoga practice I turn to the internet:
  • this website they offer a weekly free class, down loadable classes for $3.99 with an account and you also have the option of doing a yearly registration for unlimited classes which will cost you about $89.95.
  • OK so obviously we all know that today youtube is one of the most commonly used resources/sources of entertainment on the Web. You can use it for practically anything so why not use it to find free yoga/workout videos. I especially enjoy it because it's free, and there are plenty of yoga gurus with videos that you can use for your practice. Yoga Today has a page with a few selections, most are the lite versions of the longer practices which you have to pay for. I also like to visit Tara Stiles' page because she has many quick effective plans and practices, along with Sadie Nardini, among others. All you really have to do is type in yoga and see which videos and instructors work best for your current practice and pace.

 <3 Aria

Thursday, November 18, 2010

cooking with jess :)

Ever since I knew how to read, I've developed such an interest in cooking. I am currently taking a food preparation class in college and find it extremely enlightening. I love to cook for my closest friends and family because it's my own way of showing them that I care for them. Good, nutritious, and fresh food is what brings families together. I make my family dinner most days of the week, because my mom now works full time. So, in a way I am giving my mom a break and also sharpening up my cooking skills. Who can argue with that?
Well, last night I made my own rendition of Shepherds pie. A much healthier and animal-friendly version of course!

(these are blurry cellphone quality pictures, my apologies! but thank-you aria) 

Vegan Shepherd's Pie 

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked lentils (you can prepare them ahead of time or use canned)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted!) 
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • a few fresh basil leaves cut into strips 
  • salt & pepper to taste 
Mashed Potato Crust:
  •  5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, and cubed 
  • 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees!

1. If using dried lentils, cook them and drain them thoroughly. 
2. Heat the olive oil in large saucepan and toss in onion and garlic in it, allowing it to cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the eggplant and allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes. 
3. Mix in the carrots, mushrooms, corn, rosemary, and basil and cook for 2 minutes, and then add tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cover the sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Boil or steam the potatoes until they are soft. Drain and mash them, then add non-dairy milk and onion powder, and beat until smooth. 
5. Uncover the pan of vegetables and cook more briskly for 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. Stir in the cooked lentils, vegetable stock, and season with salt and pepper. 
6. Smooth out a thin layer of the mashed potatoes onto an ovenproof dish, making sure you cover the bottom of the dish with potatoes. Layer it with the vegetable and lentil mixture, then spread the rest of the potatoes, covering the mixture, and mark with a fork. Sprinkle some dried basil or maybe even grated cheese on top. Cook in the heated oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

This shepherds pie will certainly warm you up on a cold day! I guarantee it :) 

For dessert I opted to Dreena's "Triple Layer Chocolate Cream Cake" from her cookbook The Everyday Vegan.
 Holy... this cake was probably the most moist vegan cake I've ever eaten! I normally don't like chocolate frosting, but this one was so much different than the others, it wasn't sugary and artificial at all. The cake was seriously rich and chocolately. Being the berry-fiend that I am, I, of course topped it off with some very juicy strawberries. I definitely recommend you indulge in this animal friendly dessert, ASAP!
well.. my work here is done....peace!

- Jess

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Good Karma Cafe

This evening Jess and I hit up this artsy little vegan restaurant in Redbank, Good Karma Cafe. It was a very nice little area surrounded by tons of  shops and cozy little restaurants. Once inside there was interesting artwork decorating the walls, intimate table settings, and the indie background music fit the scene perfectly. It was as healthy as it was delicious, here are some highlights of our lovely dinner date :)
awaiting the meal to come...
Our appetizer, queso dip and nachos! The dip was not necessarily reminiscent of a true queso dip however the pico on top made it fresh and it was an interesting spin on traditional cheesy dips.
Now onto the main courses! I had pineapple and mango tempeh. This meal was everything I had hoped and more! It consisted of coconut crusted tempeh, jasmine rice and sauteed veggies then topped off with Thai coconut sauce and pineapple mango chutney. The creamy Thai coconut sauce was my absolute favorite part of this dish, so rich and flavorful. Then you have tender tempeh, veggies and warm fruit which when all mixed together created a delicious flavor explosion in my mouth! Super tasty!

Now here is Jess's meal, a Cajun seitan wrap. Which was a tortilla filled with Cajun spiced seitan, sauteed greens, caramelized onions, crisp carrots and a drizzle of sweet mustard sauce. This was also equally delicious (of course I had to try some). The seitan was crunchy and the Cajun seasoning added just the right touch of spice while the onions and vegetables complemented the seitan wonderfully!
This beverage right here is Live Lemonade, Good Karma's most popular freshly made beverage. It is made with fresh apple and lemon with a pinch of ginger over ice. It was soo fresh and delish! It tasted like freshly squeezed lemony goodness!

And now for the best part...desert!
Tiramisu! It was fun to try a new take on one of my favorite non vegan deserts. It was spongy and creamy and the chocolate crumbles topped it off very nicely.
And here's a little treat we brought home for the parent's, a hemp seed chocolate chip cookie, no word on how this tasted yet so we'll get back to that later.
Overall, our experience at Good Karma Cafe was delicious and delightful, the staff was friendly and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. It is definitely a place I will recommend and I'm hoping to be back there soon to try some more vegan deliciousness. Check out their website for menu information, and add visiting Good Karma Cafe to your to-do list! 

Be back soon, <3Aria

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pancakes :)

These pancakes are lovely! I am going to share with you my favorite pancake recipe. I got the recipe from Tina's blog, "Carrots 'n' Cake." They're filling, doughy, and deeeelicioussss! They certainly give Aunt Jemima a run for her money.

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  •  1 1/2 non dairy milk (ie: soy, rice, almond, or simply cow's milk)
  • 3 oz Greek yogurt *
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp canola oil

  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat pan (or griddle) over medium heat; coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Drop 1/4 cup cupfuls of batter onto the pan/griddle.
  • Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Cook on the other side for about 1 minute.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings. (before cooking them, I like to add 1/2 cup blueberries and 1 tsp ground cinnamon!)
*(I normally use two heaping tablespoons of chobani greek yogurt. sour cream and cottage cheese works well too)


What is yoga?

Yoga is the practice of physical postures and poses. It means "union" in Sanskirt and the unity occurs through the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga was first originated in India, over 26,000 years ago, and believed to be during the period of the Golden Age. It surfaced during the discovery of the largest valley of civilization, Indus.

Firstly, yoga doesn't have to be a religion. I think of it as a way to reach towards greater potential. It builds an awareness of your bodies mobility giving you concentration, flexibility, and stamina. If Yoga is a great stress reliever and melts away unhealthy feelings that captivate your mind and body. It's both freeing and limitless. I'll cultivate mindfulness and bring positive energy into your body which allows you to shine. Yoga is truly emotionally and physically healing and it's actually been scientifically proven.

Health Benefits:
  • decrease in high blood pressure
  • increase in circulation and oxygen throughout the body
  • stronger immunity
  • higher metabolism
  • detoxifies organs   

I only know this from personal experience! My first encounter with yoga was a little over a year ago; sounds like a short amount of time, right? It's crazy because it feels like I've been doing it a life time. Yoga has provided me with strength, motivation, and confidence. Being already flexible was definitely an advantage, but now I can do poses I never knew were even possible. My horrible posture is now noticeably impeccable! My yoga practice has brought me an awareness and abundance to try my best in everything. You really can't give up on your first try, like life, yoga can be a challenge, and practice only makes you stronger. 

There's hundreds of different ways to do yoga and it's probably the most wide ranged physical activity out there. So please don't hesitate to try something new and I am positive you'll receive only positive results. I really hope this post inspires you to give yoga a chance and I encourage that you'll stick with it! :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Via Vita :)

Firstly, I am going to profess my love for hole in the wall cafes. Something about their coziness and simplicity makes the place so intimidate and charming. They always have the kindest staff and very fresh tasting foods :)

Last week Aria, David, and I went to Via Vita. It's a very small and cozy French cafe in New Brunswick. They serve sandwiches, savory and sweet crepes, and a variety of coffees. The atmosphere was very romantic and comfortable.
I, of course started things right with an espresso!

I ordered the Frais Naturale. Which was a mozzarella, spinach, and artichoke crepe with a very fresh spinach salad...Did I enjoy it?

             the answer was yes! the crepe itself was crispy, light, and airy. The filling wasn't bombarded by cheese which I liked and it contained the perfect amount of warm spinach and artichoke. But the deliciousness wasn't quite finalized... 
 Everyone meet Kassandra. She's a crepe served with a single scoop of french vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and strawberries. The outside does not compare to the inside. On the inside was sweet bananas, smothered in a generous amount of WARM nutella. I think I died and went to heaven while devouring this. Don't worry I shared!!! ;)
After Via Vita, we went to "The Closet." It's a consignment store with affordable clothing and accessories. I spotted an adorable maxi dress from Free People, but didn't take a picture... besides it was too big. I didn't really find anything of my liking that visit. So, we left and watched Cop Out. I fell asleep.. all was fuzzy that day and all I remember is the nutella and banana bliss.