One of the excellent benefits of being a food stylist is that I get to work with all sorts of talented photographers. This past year I have gotten to work with photographer Erica Allen several times. Even after shooting with her for one day, I knew we’d become good friends. She has two amazingly beautiful daughters, and we have such a great time inside and out of the photo studio. She moved up here from NYC and has quickly made herself happily at home in Vermont. Her background is in underwater and beauty photography and has shot for Victoria’s Secret and MAC Cosmetics. Now she has transitioned into food photography.
Recently she was doing some photos for NatureBox and she asked me to model. Above is a photo from that shoot we did. I had never heard of NatureBox. She explained NatureBox is a monthly snack delivery service. As the name implies these snacks are not any old snack. These are super tasty, all natural and nutritionist-approved snacks. Think Dried Pineapple Rings, Whole-Wheat Raspberry Figgy Bars, Banana Bread Granola, Honey Mesquite Almonds, and (my favorite so far) Taj Mahal Snack Mix. My daughters inhaled the Lemon Meringue Waffles so I never got to try those!
Sunglasses, barbeques, thunder storms, sunscreen and lots of weeds in the garden have arrived here in Vermont. And with it, my mood has shifted from making-over cold-weather comfort food to whipping up light easy summer fare. You know the type of dishes you can put together relatively easily, take to a pot-luck or just have on hand in the fridge for a quick healthy bite to eat? Yeah, that’s what kinda mood I’m in.
Today I have this five bean salad with edamame, curry, mint and cilantro, a.k.a. crazy bean salad. It doesn’t take long to make, and is flavor forward. Perfect for serving with grilled meat or chicken. My friend David just posted a healthy black bean salad recipe last week, and like his, this one tastes better the next day.
Back in April, I filled out an application for consideration for a spot for the Cabot Fit Team for the Beach to Beacon 10K road race this summer. The contest, sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative was open to health and/or fitness conscious bloggers only. And guess what? I got in and I was asked to be team captain. Fainting a bit here! Wooo! I am so excited to be included in such an exciting event. I am just pinching myself. I am completely humbled to be included in the ranks with fellow Fit Team members including a handful of Registered Dietitians, 50k runners and all around uber bloggers as well as two Cabot farmer runners. We are all getting to know each other online, and will get to meet face to face in Maine for the race in early August.
Here are links to the rest of the Fit Team:
One of the best parts of being a part of the Cabot Fit Team is that it brings together my love of healthy food, blogging and fitness. Though I tend to focus mainly on healthy recipes here on my blog, healthy cooking is only a part of my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Another huge component is that I make time for excersise (and a lot of it) every week. As for running, last week I mentioned that I haven’t been running much in the last six months or so. But generally, I have been running for fitness since I was in college. Now more than 15 years later, I still love it, and mix it in with Les Mills group fitness classes, Training for Warriors sessions and I also coach Les Mills GRIT too.
Here is a little about Cabot Creamery Cooperative. They are 1,200+ farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate NY producing all natural, award-winning cheeses, including the “World’s Best Cheddar”, as well as Greek-style yogurt, butter and other great dairy products. The founding members of the Co-op in 1919 started Cabot by pledging 5 cords of wood and a lot of determination.
Afternoon sports, graduation parties, spring concerts oh my. This time of year is busier than can be. And all I want to do is play in my garden. The pea tendrils are pushing up out of the earth and reaching for the trellis just above them. The first row of mesclun mix is almost ready for the salad bowl. And the chives are budding up. Though I have a long list of chores to tend to in the garden, I haven’t been dividing clumps of daylilies and filling my planters. I have been off doing other things.
I feel torn in a million directions. If you read the Healthy Seasonal Recipes newsletter, you know we are very busy around the house these days. And now suddenly, I am adding a new activity to my schedule. Running.
I haven’t run very much since I ran a half marathon last spring. And since I took on becoming a Les Mills GRIT coach in January, I think I have gone for about three runs. Total. That is, until last week, when a new friend asked me to run a leg of the Vermont City Marathon Relay on the 26th. Of this month! Even though I knew it was crazy, I said yes. Yikes! What was I thinking?! So suddenly I have been running like mad. I am sore.
I have always been a soft pretzel lover. Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, I was lucky enough to get my hands on good hot soft pretzels all over the place, from vendors on the street to Phillies games. They were everywhere really. But, probably the most formative experiences in my journey of pretzel appreciation occurred in one place in particular: Reading Terminal Market.
On weekends, my parents regularly took my sister and me on the one hour drive down to Market Street in Philly. On our visits, we’d wind our way through the hundreds of food stalls to the Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel vendor. We never missed it. We’d order up a batch and the bonnet-clad Misses would pass over the screamin’ hot pretzels in parchment, brushed with sweet melted butter. Then we’d walk through the market, butter soaking through the paper and dripping down our hands, knowing there was nothing better. I’d tear off bites, dipping each in good mustard. And before you knew it, I’d devour the whole thing. It was blissful.
So knowing that, you may not find it hard to believe that the first recipe I ever developed was for soft pretzels. I asked my mom to dig up the recipe card I’d written so I could show you. I’m not sure how old I was, but judging by the handwriting and inventive spelling, I wasn’t very old. And from the looks of the recipe, the resulting pretzels were probably was pretty dense.
It was with all of this in mind that I recently decided to tackle soft pretzels again, this time with a more informed approach.