Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Geek Painter -- Beautiful Landscaped Paintings for Sale

Today, I'm going off my usual topics in order to promote an extremely talented, starving artist.  Janine Klotz is a talented painter and mother of 3 boys who lives in rural Pennsylvania.  She learned how to paint from her artistic grandmother, Pauline Molignoni.  Janine puts endless amounts of time & effort into her paintings.  It is a great love of hers.  She paints landscapes.  She can also paint a landscape from photograph your produce for her.

She has painted beautiful murals.  And, her rates are extremely competitive compared to NYC.  Her paintings are $50 each.  She can frame as well.  Also, her children's murals are inexpensive as well.  She charges $300 for a mural which she can complete in a day.  She will travel from PA to paint your wall.  She will travel to NYC, NJ, and PA.  Basically, anywhere that is within a 2.5 hour drive from her home.

Please contact her or me if you would like more information or would like to purchase a painting, commission a painting, or have a mural painted in your home.  Her email is

Saturday, November 27, 2010

After 27 Days of Primal Eating, I gossip less...

As you can probably imagine, I have not been perfect in my attempt to eat a purely "hunter-gatherer" diet for the month of November.  Although I did not achieve 100%, I believe I hover somewhere around 90%, which I'm pretty darn proud of.

12 things I learned:
  1. Choose your misgivings and enjoy them wholeheartedly -- without one iota of guilt or self-loathing.  That would totally defeat the point of a true misgiving!
  2. Once you have your misgiving, get right back on track.  Forget about it, move one, this moment is a completely new one.
  3. Know the sources of your food! I'm really, really proud of the efforts I put in to researching and ensuring the food I'm eating and feeding my family is from humanely treated, grass-fed animals from pastured farms with knowledgable dedicated farmers.
  4. Fat is not your enemy.  In fact, recent studies show that eating saturated fats (from grass-fed animals) does NOT have an impact on future heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or obesity.  What's the catch? The people studied also ate a diet with little to no grains. (More to post on this later). My farmer Judy loves the fat on her animals and proudly calls herself a "fat girl".  Judy is by no means fat or even heavy. In fact, she is quite trim.  She just finds fat to be a delicious source of fuel for her.  She needs it too -- she works full time, has 5 kids and runs a farm.  Go Judy!
  5. When you are only eating a few types of foods (i.e., meats, veggies, fruit, & minimal dairy), it is very easy to see the impact what you eat has on you.  For example, I enjoyed some transgressions on Thanksgiving in the form of stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, whipped mashed potatoes, and pecan pie.  My gut expanded a few sizes and I was in a food coma for the rest of the day. It has taken two days for my gut to get back down to normal size.
  6. Alcohol, even a delicious red pinot noir, should be drunk slowly, in small amounts, on more rare occasions.  My sleep has improved dramatically since I stopped drinking a glass of wine a few nights a week.  I reserve wine for special occasions like a date with my husband or a special meal cooked at home (like Thanksgiving or something really special that I want to savor).  Red wine helps to slow down your eating and savor every bite!
  7. 19 days in, I had my annual obgyn appointment.  I weighed myself for the first time and saw that I weighed 5 pounds less even with shoes & clothes on.  I'm not ready to post my before/after pictures, but there has been some weight loss with little effort.  Plus, I've been sticking to my regular workout routines of running 3x/week, playing with my kids for hours a day, and lifting 2x week. 
  8. Sugars and grains tend to put me in a sleepy coma.  The insulin surge I get from sweets and higher carb foods really decrease my productivity.  It prevents my body from burning fat for energy.  I really need to re-think how I will fuel during my next half-Ironman!
  9. Sleep, sleep, sleep.  Sleep is your friend.  Get as much as possible.  Go to bed earlier, get up later, and nap when needed. 
  10. Play, play, play.  Play with your kids, play with your friends, play with your husband.  Find fun things to do.  I just made plans to do a trampoline class with my sister and two childhood friends over Christmas break.  Don't hesitate.  Do things to put yourself outside the box.  Join a friend at a dog park instead of at a diner.  
  11. Use your extra energy to do things to pay it forward.  I've had more energy and mental clarity lately.  I've used that to help out friends who need a hand (watch their kids so they can run errands).  I've used it to pay closer attention to what my kids need from me -- and how my relationships can flourish from more of my positive attention.
  12. In a sense of communal spirit, I was inspired to work on a habit that is damaging to all communities and relationships, GOSSIP!  Of course we all do it, but we are also hurt from it.  One thing that often upsets me is when people compare my 3 year old to my 4 year old niece.  There are 13 months between them and their mothers (me & my older sister) are complete polar opposites.  So, obviously, some of our parenting objectives and methods vary significantly.  Besides, my 3 year old is so much like me and my niece is so much like my sister -- so of course they are going to be significantly different.  My mom started to say something in comparison the other day (not malicious in any way -- she just was going to say how they both do the same thing very differently).  I simply said, "Mom, please try not to compare them".  If I want to see how my niece is doing, I can call my sister and ask -- I don't want to get second hand information that will give me a false sense of superiority or conversely, make me feel inadequate.  Abstaining felt really good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My baby eating a porkchop from the Meatshare!

I recently participated in a Meat Share hosted and planned by Melissa McEwen.  Melissa developed a relationship with B&Y Farms up in the Finger Lakes.  We met in Secaucus, NJ early in November to meet the farmers and pick up our meats. I came home with 3 pastured chickens, 20 pounds of pork and 2 pounds of lamb. 

Judy, our farmer, showed us pictures of the animals where they were raised and educated us on the breeds (Tamworth  for the pigs; Tunis for the lambs).  Our meats were butchered by a Mennonite butcher and we were able to enjoy some Mennonite Sausage Recipes (Pork Apple Butter Cinnamon Sausage is heaven on Earth).

Shares with farmers are a very important part of supporting humane farming practices and ensuring we get to eat the best quality foods.  Industrial farms feed their animals lots of grain, corn and other cheap products in order to fatten them up for the lowest dollar.  Hey, this is America and industrial farms want to make a profit too, right?

Small farms, like Judy's B&Y farms, treat their animals with respect and allow them to graze in the environment they were intended to.  The Tamworths spend most of their youth grazing in the woods. They ate tons of apples, pumpkin, and whatever other sustenance they could find on their land (i.e., no grain, they were not stuck in a pen with hundreds of other pigs).

Their farm is located near Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region.  I'm hoping to visit their farm this summer to see the animals that we will get to eat next harvest. 

If you would like to see a take of "Stealing a porkchop from a baby" please go to

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Baby Eats Pig for Breakfast!

I'm just starting Day 7 of my 30 Day Paleolithic Eating Experiment.  I've learned some crucial things:
My 1 year old Aurora, chowing down on chicken & salad!
This girl has a very healthy palate!

  1. The Paleolithic Era was really about 2 million years ago vs. the 30,000 I previously posted (Thanks Rob).
  2. Dairy is still my mistress.  Every day I've put ~2 tablespoons of milk in my coffee or tea.
  3. Pursuing absolute perfection is an exercise in failure, deprecation, and should never be pursued when related to eating in our modern world (i.e. I made cookies with my 3 year old today -- and ate 3 of them).  Desserts really make me crave more desserts.  This was an experiment to see the effect that an isolated sweet consumption will have on my body. 
  4. One can exist without sugar and honey (for at least 7 days anyway...see #3).
  5. I can make an amazing chicken, carrot, sweet potato curry with no recipe at all. 
  6. If I don't consume alcohol (even just a small glass of red wine), I fall asleep quicker and earlier, sleep sounder, sleep longer, and wake up easier.
  7. My 1 year old daughter prefers a paleo diet as well. Notice the pix.
  8. I remember why I stopped eating sausage about a decade ago (see phallic photo below).
So it has been almost a week since I decided to go eat completely paleo for 30 days. I have not been perfect.  I tried coconut milk in my coffee. I tried black coffee.  At this point, I really prefer milk or creme in my coffee or tea.  So I decided to allow myself that concession.  This concession makes it easier for me to succeed in my pursuit.  I'm finally applying the good management techniques I learned in the Navy to my own "self-management".  Go me!

I wanted to make curry one night, but I could not find my vegetarian cookbook that has an awesome sweet potato chickpea curry recipe.  My plan was to substitute  chicken for chickpeas.
Sweet potato, Carrot, Chicken Curry
1 pound Chicken
2 yams diced
1 can diced tomatoes (15oz) or diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 pound sliced or diced carrots
1 tablespoon red curry
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom
Cayenne, as desired
1 cup coconut milk
Cook the chicken diced chicken in olive oil.  Once chicken is mostly cooked add yams, diced tomatoes, 1 cup water, carrots and spices.  Bring to boil.  Turn down heat to light simmer, add coconut milk, and allow to simmer for 30 min.  This is a super sweet dish!
Sausage is just such a phallic food!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Primal Day 1: Dairy is my mistress

I would count Day 1 as a successful first day.  I ate completely "paleo" all day.  I even put coconut milk in my coffee & didn't enjoy it too much.  So, I drank less coffee -- probably a very good thing.

I did stray from perfect paleo eating all day.

My 3 transgressions:

1.  I was at the playground and my friend brought me a decaf tall cappuccino from Starbucks.  My former Starbucks drink (after I weaned myself off cafe lattes, of course).   She said I was kind of in a bad mood (I was) and she wanted to cheer me up (it did). So, I'm acknowledging my lack of perfection -- but I actually feel really good about this transgression.  I will take a great friend over perfect eating any day.

2 & 3.  While at the playground, my husband went ahead and cooked dinner.  I was going to make burgers and potatoes.  He made burgers and mashed potatoes.  The burger was fantastic -- it was infused with goat cheese and barbecue sauce.  My husband is a great cook -- and was very thoughtful to have taken the initiative so I wouldn't have to wait to eat.  He made the mashed potatoes with a few tablespoons of milk, but no butter. Again, I'll take an awesome meal from my husband over perfect eating any day as well.

I'm turning over a new leaf.  My former self would either excuse away the transgressions, find someone to blame, and verbally berate myself for it.  Oh, and spend so much time on my Catholic guilt, that I can't continue the challenge.

Instead, I acknowledge that on Day 1 -- I won't get a 100% -- but that isn't my goal.  My goal is to try again tomorrow and be really proud of the choices I made today.  Oh, and, I'm kind of on Cloud 9 to have such great people in my life.  Good friends and life partners are probably the best gift life can give -- I'M CHERISHING THEM!

Today's meals:
Breakfast:  2 eggs, 3pieces of Canadian Bacon, coffee with coconut milk
Lunch:  Left over pork loin
Snack:  Plain Tea (no honey or milk)
Dinner:  Grass fed burgers & mashed potatoes

150 Pound Barefoot Goddess GOES PRIMAL

Since I started barefoot running, I've been exposed to an unusual amount of people that eat what is called a "paleolithic diet".  I've been trying to figure out what this diet or lifestyle is for several months.  I've read some books/blogs/articles on it...but it seems really complicated for something that "in theory" should be really simple.

The basic premise, as I understand it, is to eat as closely to those that lived in the paleolithic era (circa 30,000 years ago).  This appears to be primarily a hunter-gatherer diet.  There appear to be several benefits to this diet -- especially the ones who are benefiting from it and thus continue to eat this way.

My understanding of paleolithic eating:
1.  Mostly vegetable based diet with meats that were raised in their natural state (i.e., grass fed beef, free range chickens, duck, lamb).
2.  Try to eat as local as possible (i.e., the locavore).
3.  No grains (no bread, pretzels, tortillas, pizza, spaghetti -- yikes).
4.  No beans (so long yummy mexican food)
5.  No Dairy -- well, you can take or leave this -- but it is recommended to use coconut milk as a substitute for curries or in your coffee.  The belief is that cavemen/women didn't have milking cows (I have to research this further before I can comment).

There are also some other philosophies that I don't understand yet -- which I am not going to discuss until I do.

My goal is to attempt a paleolithic diet (with the help & support of meetup group eating paleo in NYC) for 30 days -- basically the month of November.

My challenge begins today.  (Day 1 of coconut milk in my coffee.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nasty looks from old Men

Tuesday afternoon I was walking with a gaggle of kids and parents to one of the many outstanding NYC playgrounds.  Lily jumped into a puddle & got her shoes all wet --- she saturated them to the extent that the rubbing was hurting her feet.  So, I did what any rational Mom would do and said, "Lily would you like to walk with your piggies out?"

The kids were all a little crazy on their school Halloween high -- so I don't think the other parents noticed much.  Or, maybe I'm getting so comfortable with barefooting that I didn't feel as self-conscious as I would have in the past.

We passed by an outdoor cafe on York Avenue and an older man -- sixties or seventies with a shock of white and brown frame glasses was reading the WSJ.  He pointedly looked down at Lily's feet and up at the gaggle of parents to undoubtedly express his displeasure at the sight of a beautiful young girl joyously running barefoot down a NYC street.

I looked straight at him and smiled.  He continued his disapproving stare.  At this point it was a  standoff.  I kept smiling...neither one of us backed down until I passed the cafe.