Monday Link & List Love [01.21.2013]

I have found some interesting links lately that I wanted to share:

Monday Link Love

  • The Nitrate & Nitrite Myth: Another Reason not to Fear Bacon: This article “debunks” the idea that nitrates and nitrites can cause serious health problems (cancer, heart disease). Honestly – I want to believe it; I just don’t know if I can. Apparently nitrates and nitrites are found in much higher amounts in natural foods like celery and even in our own saliva than they are in hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats. Even if they are – aren’t they different? Wouldn’t our bodies treat “natural” (whatever that means) nitrates/nitrites differently than artificial ones? I have no idea. I’m not a food scientist but I would really like to know the truth behind processed meats. (Because I love bacon. Who doesn’t?)
  • Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Eating: Just some goods tips for leading a happy, healthy life. I especially like #5 – Unleash Your Creativity and Do Something You Love Every Single Day.
  • Homemade Lotion Recipe: I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks like it really couldn’t be simpler.
  • Slow-Cooker Squash Stew: Butternut squash, chard, and parmesan? Count me in.
  • 7 Ways You Might Be Inadvertently Sabotaging a Good Night’s Sleep: I may not always agree with him, but Mark Sisson just about always has an intelligent, well-thought-out response to just about every question or problem anyone could possibly have. In this case I do agree with him. The article is from November but particularly applicable now that I’m trying to sleep earlier. He makes good points – 1) are you getting natural light during the day? 2) are you eating too late? 6) do you have a nighttime ritual? and 7) are you simply staying up too late? –> These 4 all right true for me.
  • Vow to Get More Sleep in 2013: Another sleep article. Tips include 3) turn the heat down, 4) unplug (what I should be doing now!), 5) meditate, 6) do yoga (OK!), and 7) stop puttering! (That means no chores after 9pm, yes I am talking to you my fellow type A’s.)

And I also just wanted to share some other random things…

Monday List Love

  • Wanted to share this pic of dinner the other night. I was out of the city all day Saturday and when I got home, Bobby had prepared this beautiful meal! It’s a salad with hard boiled egg, bacon, onion, and homemade dressing. I had no idea he could cook – he totally outdid himself. He also made butternut squash ravioli (from TJ’s) with sauteed veggies and he cooked up a cheesy mushroom flatbread (also courtesy of TJ’s). The salad is served in a really beautiful dish from my mom.
  • Bobby used this salad recipe for the dinner salad and dressing. It was supposed to be spinach but I prefer romaine as a salad base.

That’s all I have… I’m off to do some reading and relax before I go to sleep (early). Hope your week is off to a good start.

Simple Lunch Stirfry Recipe and Siggi’s Probiotic Breakfast Review

i made this stir-fry for lunch yesterday (Tuesday, 1/24):

I decided to bring my lunch to work this week. We do have a cafeteria at the office, but it’s not that healthy. This stirfry is made up of:

  • broccoli + broccoli stalk (you don’t have to throw that part out – it’s great sauteed)
  • red pepper
  • can of tuna
  • frozen corn
  • fresh cilantro
  • garlic + chili powder
  • cooked in bacon fat (I save this each time I make bacon)

I had a sesame bagel alongside the stirfry.

I also vowed to bring breakfast. I normally shy away from drinking my calories, but I have found several drinks to be quite delicious as of late, in particular:

This is Siggi’s probiotic drinkable non-fat yogurt in plain (it also comes in strawberry). I don’t like siggi’s greek yogurt (too thick) but I did find this drinkable yogurt to have a good consistency (not too thick, not too thin — just right!) and flavor. I added some cinnamon to mine before drinking up. Only 45 calories in this small bottle which leaves plenty of room for other breakfast goodies like no-sugar scones.

What do you put in stirfrys? Do you drink your calories or save them for chewing?

8 Foods I Couldn’t Live Without

Ages ago, MDA did a post with almost the same title. ^^ (He did 10 foods.)

So, being the copycat that I am, here are my 8 foods! (They change all the time, but really, these ones are here to stay for good.)

1. Kabocha Squash (you knew that was coming)

Kabocha, also known as Japanese Pumpkin, has been a favorite of mine for several years now. I even turned orange at one point because I was eating so much of it. It’s high in beta carotene and vitamins C, B1, and B2. For more on kabocha, read my kabocha FAQ.

2. Bacon

Bacon is the food that always keeps me from being a vegetarian. At the moment I am assuredly not a veg-head, but I’ve flirted with vegetarianism, veganism, and macrobiotics in the past. And then I remember bacon, and it’s all over. One important thing to note about bacon though, is that you have to eat the kind without nitrates and nitrites, and preferably organic/hormone-free/antibiotic-free. The nitrates and nitrites especially can contribute to stomach cancer later on in life (something I am genetically predisposed to).

3. Broccoli / Brussels Sprouts (it’s a tie)

Apples and Brussels Sprouts

Apples with Brussels Sprouts

I love cruciferous veggies! They’ve been linked to cancer and heart disease prevention and they’re filled with vitamins and nutrients. Plus, they taste really, really good. When Bobby and I first started dating I turned him onto Brussels sprouts. After hating them his whole life, it turns out that he just didn’t like the mushy kind. When I cook them now I steam or saute them so the inside is barely cooked – no mush.

4. Sunflower Seeds (and sunflower seed butter)

Ahh, sunflower seeds. Growing up I would eat these at my dad’s softball games so they always conjure up that image for me – sitting on the bleachers, reading, but staying alert enough to avoid stray foul balls. Sunflower seed butter is a more recent discovery of mine, but it ranks up there as well. (Aside: I would have put peanuts up here until a week ago, but after keeping a food log for a week – doctor’s orders – it looks like some of my stomach issues come from eating peanut butter alllll the time. Oops.)

5. Apples

Maggie picks and eats an apple

My favorite fruit. Should have in moderation because I break out from eating too much fruit (or sugar in general). However, bad at moderation = lots of apples (wah, skin).

6. Dark, dark chocolate.

My favorite dessert. Also should have in moderation because I break out from eating too much chocolate (unless it’s 99% dark – which probably just means I break out from the sugar in it). Lots of antioxidants, lots of deliciousness. You know what’s really good? Bacon chocolate.

7. Eggs


I also like them fried, hard-boiled, and in a salad.

8. Butter!

Of course I need something to cook all of the above in. Love butter! Hooray for healthy fats.


I am now off to a yoga class.

What are your top 8 foods?

Weekend Link Love – 08.28.2011

It’s been a while since I did one of these… But first an update: NYC is recovering from the hurricane (Irene) that passed through last night. To be honest, not much happened in Manhattan. I think the major damage occurred in the outer boroughs (poor Staten Island) and New Jersey (my mom is without power and water). Our power didn’t even flicker. On the plus side, I did have a mini Reese’s cup yesterday that I got at the hardware store. I love these things.

Our weekend went well. We mostly hung out with our neighbors (friends) and ate good food together. A few of us like to cook and all of us like to eat. This morning I went for a run (a little over 3 miles) after not having run for ages (at least 1.5 years?). It felt great. The subways are still not running so we can only get to places on foot (…or taxi). They probably won’t be running for the morning commute tomorrow so I plan on walking.

After my run this morning (err, afternoon) I did some yoga stretching and took a nice shower. Then we ate brunch together (6 of us) – bacon, eggs with homegrown jalapeno, homemade bread, and some various pastries. (If I didn’t mention it already, we moved into a building where our friends live – so we hang out a lot. Just like college, and it’s great.)

Weekend Link Love – Health & Food

Totally Random Link Love

How was your weekend? I hope anyone who was in Irene’s path is okay!

Potluck BBQ RECIPE: Mexican Couscous and Bean Salad + How to Cut an Avocado

I took this salad to a potluck last weekend. While that particular event wasn’t a barbecue, this dish would be perfect for any kind of summer party – barbecues, pool parties, potlucks, Sunday brunches, maybe even the beach. The large bowl of salad I brought was gone in a jiffy. I was pleased because there was another couscous salad there as well, and I think mine tasted better.

The recipe is based off of a Whole Foods flyer recipe, but I also got inspiration from this fiesta salad that I linked to on Sunday.

Mexican Couscous and Bean Salad


  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (dry measurement)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1/2 an apple, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup nuts (I used soy nuts and pepitas)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (add more if this is not enough)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (or to taste)


  1. Cook the couscous by heating 1 cup of water to a boil and adding the butter and salt, then mixing in the couscous. Stir the couscous and remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare your veggies while the couscous cools. See below for how I chop my avocado.
  3. Mix everything together. Add more lime juice, chili powder, and salt, to taste.
  4. Enjoy outside in the shade.


How to Cut an Avocado

Cut the avocado in half around the pit from top to bottom. Twist it with your hands. One half will keep the pit. Whack the pit with a knife. Holding the avocado, twist the knife so the pit comes out on the blade.

While the meat is still in the skin, slice the avocado into a bunch of rectangles. Push the middle of the skin so like you’re turning the avocado inside out. Then just scrape the avocado cubes into the salad!

It’s so simple. Best way to cut an avocado that I have found.



  • If you are vegan, feel free to omit the butter and substitute olive oil instead. (For cooking the couscous.)
  • I almost used bacon fat instead of butter, but didn’t want to trick unsuspecting vegetarians. But bacon fat is one of my favorite fats to cook with. Try it – just reserve the fat each time you cook bacon. I keep mine in the fridge in a little bowl.
  • If you are feeling spunky, try adding some chopped bacon (nitrate and nitrite free of course). I may do that next time.

Have a great long weekend!