Monday, February 23, 2009

gwyneth and me, lifestyle gurus

when i decided to start this blog WAY back in november 2008, i specifically chose a vague sort of name so that i could write about whatever i wanted to. i didn't simply want it to be a food blog; i didn't simply want it to be a blog about being a nurse practitioner; i wanted it to be able to grow with me and my changing interests. as my readers know jenner's mind is usually on food, but maybe it won't always be like that.
then i read an article about gwyneth paltrow in the style section of the new york times yesterday and i finally realized what this blog really is. just like gp i am trying to sell my lifestyle brand! i talk about food, i talk about eating out, i talk about health, i talk about the environment -- it's a lifestyle people!!! gwyneth's got goop, and i've got wijm (if you didn't figure it out -- where is jenner's mind).
so while martha and oprah might be watching out for gwyneth, gwyneth better watch out for me! if you haven't already, check out goop. its, um ... interesting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

7 to 10 days

think of this posting as a public service announcement.

the average cold lasts seven to ten days. "colds", which in health care we call upper respiratory infections or rhinosinusitis, are caused by viruses. viruses can make you very sick. influenza, or the flu, is a virus and people are made very sick by this virus. viruses do not respond to antibiotics, only bacterial infections do. you are not less sick just because you don't need a antibiotic. you need to take care of your self. rest and fluids will do more for you then all the over the counter cold medicines combined. yes you are contagious and if i give you antibiotics you will not be less contagious, because as i just said, viruses do not respond to antibiotics.

save yourself money, save your health care provider time, and save many people from being exposed to your illness by not going to 'the doctor' when you have a cold. if you find yourself sick after 10 days or getting sicker after about 7, then you can head to your 'doctor' because you may now have a bacterial infection. this sometimes happens because your immune system gets run down from fighting a virus and all that snot in your head is the perfect breading ground for bacteria and wham you have a bacterial infection on top of your virus. this happens more often in people who smoke or have depressed immune systems. so quit smoking, eat well, and get eight hours of sleep a night!

the best thing to do for a cold is to not get one in the first place!!!! so again, take care of yourself! wash your hands like crazy in the winter, especially if you are around kid cuz they are little germ vectors. take more vitamin c -- i swear by emergen-c. i truely believe that one of the reasons i rarely get sick is that i eat garlic and onions in just about everything. they are both in the allium family and contain antiseptic, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial chemicals.

when i feel something coming on i drink a lot of tea and water. many 'hippy' brands of teas (traditional medicinals, yogi tea) make great concoctions for respiratory health and to sooth sore throats. peppermint tea is very good for respiratory health. to clear out those stuffed sinuses do a facial steam: pour near boiling water into a big glass bowl and tent your head over it with a towel and breath in the steam. if you have it, put five drops of a menthol-y essential oil (tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus) and benefit from their antiseptic properties.

i know this is a little different from my usual food-obsessed posts but i'm pretty passionate about health too and i'm a little sick of seeing my patients for colds! and its not even march.

the perfect bagel

i have to start this entry by stating that i am not from new york city and so i'm a little more flexible than some about bagels. as mentioned before, i grew up in calfornia eating A LOT of bagel, almost all from marin bagel co. or noah's bagels. in santa cruz, where i went to college the bagelry put out some amazing combinations of toppings and flavored cream cheese that make my mouth water just thinking about them. with this said i love new york bagels and a trip to the big apple is incomplete without indulging in a chewy poppy seed bagel from one of the thousands of delis that puts out great bagels. and while my standards may be more lax than others, i still would rather not eat than have one of those pieces of bread in the shape of a bagel that many supermarket have in their bakery section and call bagels.
so after driving by many times and seeing an ad in the bollard for 158 pickett street cafe, claiming to be the home of the best bagels in the world, seth and i finally stopped in. its a super cute little cafe that has sort of a cabin-y feel to it. i was a little annoyed that their menu on the wall had no description of the items. am i just suppose to guess what is in or on each bagel and sandwich? i scanned the counter area looking for a printed menu with more detail but to now avail. so i decided to just go with the standby, poppy seed bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, and red onion, but they were out of poppy. onion was a fine substitution.
in my mind i was wondering how this bagel would come out: open face or sandwich style? seth and i found a tiny little table, i got a cup of water in one of their reusable water cups, and i checked the place and the people out while we waited for our bagel. a few minutes later a very good looking guy with piercing blue eyes came over to our table with our bagel, served open face. first point in their favor as this is the way i think a bagel should be served. each bagel half was topped with a perfect schmear of cream cheese -- not too little not too much. two thinly sliced tomato slices and thin slivers of red onion sat on top of the cheese. the bagel was finished off with fresh cracked black pepper and big crystals of salt. after a couple of bites i realized there was also a drizzle of olive oil.
in my mind it was perfection. the bagel was light yet chewy with a good flavor all its own. the toppings were dispersed over the top of the bagel perfectly as to allow one to get a little of everything in each bite. but not overwhelming like when some places cut the onions too thick and all you taste is onion. it would have all been complete with just the salt and pepper but the olive oil really pushed it over the top.
all in all, i don't know if this was the best bagel in the world or even the best bagel i have ever had. but it was a great bagel and may be the best bagel in the portland area if not maine. and yes i have been to mr. bagels, a good bagel but not a great bagel.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a little peruvian beach action in maine

seth did it again. he made an amazing creation utilizing sweet maine shrimp. this time it came in the form of cebiche (also known as ceviche). seth and i fell in love with cebiche while traveling along the pacific coast of peru and one bite of his maine shirmp cebiche brought my right back to an open air restaurant in huanchaco. a good cibeche can't be simpler with lime juice, cilantro, red onions, and salt as your only seasonings. this dish warmed me up on a cold february night in portland, maine.

i heart mark bittman

in honor of valentine's day, i will admit i love mark bittman. if you happened to catch any of the episodes of the disappointingly boring spain: on the road again, then you know that mario batali, gwyneth paltrow, and that hot spanish chick all call him 'bitty.' oh bitty, you have such a way with food.
i have owned his cook book how to cook everything for a good 8 years now but i have only recently truly embraced it. it so amazing to think about something you want to cook, check the index, and there you find the perfect recipe for your meal.
this happened tonight actually. in a recent post on his blog, bitten, bitty shamed me into giving up canned beans for dried beans. so with a bag of dried cannellini beans calling my name from my pantry, i decided i wanted to make something with sausage. i checked out how to cook everything and before i knew it i was eating tuscan white beans and italian sausage. the dish was as simple as it sounds but in truth this is bitty's MO. simple food cooked simply and deliciously.
the cookbook has even converted seth who usually refuses to cook from a recipe. now i have come home on numerous occasions to find one of bittty's dishes waiting for me to consume. so if you don't already own it, go out right now and buy the tenth anniversary edition of how to cook everything.
(no i was not paid by the mark bittman omnimedia corporation to write this.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

bag lady

i know it may be cliched to say but californians care more about the environment. and as i was born and raised in that state i have had a consciousness about the environment almost as long as i can remember. so when this new craze of going green popped up a few years ago, i was both excited and a little scared that it was just a fad. i also decided to challenge myself to find ways that i could be more green. this is when i decided to be more diligent about plastic bags.

no, i'm not talking about plastic shopping bags, i've been on the tip for years. i have used reusable bags grocery shopping since i started shopping for myself. i remember just a mere seven years ago, as i purchased a cloth bag in stop and shop, being told by the checker that i was the first person he had ever sold a bag to. seth has had a shtick for year where he tells the bagger his girlfriend is trying to save the world. i also have an obscene collection of reusable bags, and seth in fact calls me a bag lady, though my bag problem has grown significantly.

any person who is diligent about using reusable shopping bags knows that you still end up with a shit load of them because you forget to bring one into target or you don't speak up quick enough when they bag your one item at the convenience store. so that is one of my other ever growing collections of bags.

what i am talking about being more diligent about are all the plastic bags that everything we buy comes in. the plastic bags for produce at the supermarket, the plastic bag for my loaf of bread, the plastic bag for my frozen fruit, the plastic bag for my ball of pizza dough, the plastic bag for my slivered almonds.... the list just keeps going. and then there is the plastic wrapping and the plastic containers, and the plastic bottles, and the plastic forks. our world is fucking plastic and what is a girl who is a hippy at heart suppose to do?

i rinse them all out, dry them on my large aloe plant, recycle them, reuse them, or repurpose them. this creates another collection of bags. there is the collection of bags that are still strong enough and clean enough to be reused. and then there is the collection of bags that need to be recycled. portland is amazing about recycling (another reason why i love this city) but they don't recycle plastic bags at the curb. so every month or so, i bring my mammoth collection of need-to-be-recycled bags into hannafords or whole foods to recycle them.

of note i actually went to grad school with a woman whose father invented the plastic soda bottle. as you can imagine her family is super rich. she is a sweet person and i wouldn't want to wish ill will on her family, but maybe daddy should have to pay for some of the mess he has made.

one of my other new environmental challenges has been to get rid of all toxic house hold cleaners. the garden of eating blog has a great section on this if you want to take this challenge.