Martini Kitchen: Lazy Protein Salad

quinoa arugula salad

I’m a lazy cook. And by that I mean I don’t ever cook things. But what I do on occasion is put two or three ingredients in the same place together, and that’s like cooking in a way.

This is why salads are awesome. Several ingredients, no real cooking, still feels like food as long as it’s not all lettuce. Adding protein to a meal turns it into something hearty that will help you survive the Hungarian winter. I imagine. So here’s my easy, lazy protein salad. It involves eggs, arugula, red quinoa and a dressing of your choice – or consider a lemon squeeze if you’re feeling cosmopolitan.

I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Now that we all know how to be fancy and poach an egg in the microwave (Because, here.), let’s go back to the original foolproof egg prep – hard boiling. I’m not going to tell you how to do this. (Okay, except 12 is the answer in case you were thinking of looking it up.)

– Boil some eggs. Did you know that peeling a hard boiled egg is easier if you run it under cold water? It’s real.

– Make quinoa. The best thing about quinoa is that it feels like a grain but it’s gluten free and protein packed. Shazam. Also, it’s hard to ruin. Simmer, sit. Swiffer the floor or something for 10 minutes. When it’s cooked it will pop a little bit in your mouth, which sounds scary but is awesome.

– Arugula. Buy some.

Okay, this is really the whole thing. It’s a salad so mix those things together. With a lemon vinagrete I actually really like this for breakfast. It’s protein-y and filling without being heavy and gross. In the summer slice up one of those precious $3 avocados in there and then just weep with joy because avocados will do that.

Bagel Friday


Every Friday at my office is bagel Friday. Piles of freshly baked bagels make their way into toasters and knives-full of butter and cream cheese coat the toast. I like this ritual. Can you tell?

Here’s the thing though: My body does not. I think.

I talked here recently about my latest juice fest. I felt completely awake and vibrant. And as I started getting back to my normal diet, I tried to be aware of how different foods made me feel. Which ones kept my eyes bright and which made me overfull. And I can tell you after my first bagel (even with the insides scooped out!) this is how I feel: Foggy and weighed down. Not just in my body, but in my head.

Now, I could wake up tomorrow with a head cold and then this bagel conspiracy is all just a coincidence. But for now, I’m just watching. Staying aware.

Cleaning Up My Act

clean foods

Oh, people. It’s time. It’s for serious time to clean up my act. In terms of food, I mean. At least it’s a place to start.

We eschewed Turkey this year and made pasta from scratch together – along with all sorts of other sides. Everything was delicious, but there was way too much bread – for me, at least. I’m pretty sure that it’s the bread that puts me way over the top. When it comes to this kind of eating, my belly grows three times its normal size (I’m not exaggerating) and it’s silly and uncomfortable.

So, now it’s time. I might not do a full-on juice cleanse. But it’s certainly time for some dedicated clean eating. Green stuff. Lots of green stuff. Maybe the old juicer comes out to live on the counter. And laying off the wheat and dairy for a while is certainly in order. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How about you guys? Can you keep your food balance over the holidays or are you more like me?

High Fructose Gross

I know that high fructose corn syrup has a new ‘it’s not so bad for you’ ad campaign but I can’t help but think it might be part of what is making me feel gross right now.

In part, I’m writing this to remember to bring healthy snacks to work, because I’m always starving around 4pm. Today I hit the vending machine and this is what I just ate:

Enriched wheat flour, riboflavin, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil with TBHQ for freshness (what?), contains two percent or less of soy lecithin, leavening, salt, natural flavor with other natural flavors.

Someone give me some kale, pronto.

Hiding Behind the Mat

I feel like it’s important to share this no-dairy journey, but I’ll spare you the play-by-play action. It’s only day deux and I’m not facing any particularly interesting challenges or feeling any special magic vegan fairy dust. I am happy to be on this path knowing I will feel better in the long run, and I’m really looking forward to feeling clearer.

In the meantime, life goes on. I’m currently looking for new health insurance (again!). I’m working with my daily practice and am considering taking this show on the road – adding some classes into the mix and considering taking up the teaching mantle once again.

It’s intimidating to think about going back out there. I’m afraid of rejection, of putting myself “out there” and it seems so much safer to practice at home and pontificate online.

I wonder, too, if I’m waiting to be “better” before I go out there. Waiting to have it all figured out – I have a perfect daily practice, I eat like a superhero! – to build myself up before I step out on the ledge. Even though I know damn well there is no perfect and that I just need to get out there.

Oh, man. Sometimes I hate those kinds of realizations. Because once you get there, there’s really no excuse to stay where you are without moving forward. Anyone want to come with me?

Lesson Learned. Again.

I’ve been pining lately – for a version of myself with clear eyes and skin, open breathing and open body. It’s the no dairy version of me. Remember when I stopped eating dairy and eggs? And I kind of complained that the changes were too subtle. I wanted SHAZAM! kind of changes. And eventually, the holidays came and I dove into a sugary vat of butter and eggs.

Well, guess what? SHAZAM! I feel like crap. I could go into all the seamy details, but for now let’s just say all that too-subtle opening and energy seems like a dream state and a good starting point. So here we go again. Day 1, no dairy. Again.

UPDATE: To keep myself honest, I plan on tweeting some of my yummy vegan food choices with the tags #febislovemonth and #veganlunch. Follow along if you like! I could use the encouragement.

tiny vacation

After a little bit of family-time visiting and one nephew’s sixth birthday party, I’m packing up the dog for a pets-only sleepover and heading out to sunny (with a chance of rain) San Francisco for a couple of days. I’m looking forward to walking the hills, eating good food, not having to bundle up in hat and gloves and scarf or dodge slush-flinging taxi cabs.

I’m hoping it will be like a teensy peek at what Spring time might be like, because I think that’s exactly what I need.

Have a lovely weekend!

Update: Chicken Dog

The universe is laughing at how dramatic I was about that whole thing. I thanked the chicken. I almost gagged. But when it was done, the house smelled like chicken soup, and I was really very proud of myself. And SO excited to feed Kaylee.

Well, kids, guess what? My dog don’t like chicken.

She ate the rice, she ate the vegetables, she spit the chicken on the floor and looked at me like I was nuts.

Seriously? Did I create a vegetarian dog? We’ll try again tomorrow. But if this dog doesn’t even like chicken, I may have to get her checked out.

The Dog Food Dilemma

When I was a little girl, and I wanted to help my mom in the kitchen, she pulled up a chair for me, pointed at a pile of raw chicken cutlets and told me to first dunk it in the egg flour, then the flour egg, then the breadcrumbs.

I remember the slimy chicken threatening to slip through my fingers, the cloying egg – I don’t think I could take a deep breath until it was floured and breaded. Then the next piece. And the next.

Nothing much has changed; I haven’t eaten meat in ten years, nor have I ever prepared my own.

So why was I picking out chicken at the grocery store this morning?

When Kaylee first came to us, we fed her dry, “healthy” (read: expensive) dog food. If she ever grabbed a pizza crust off the curb during a walk and upset her stomach, we’d phone in an extra order of rice when we got take out, and that was about it.

And when I moved back to NY with her, I was on a strict budget. One of the things I sacrificed was her pricey dog food. But after reading a little bit more about what’s in dog food, I was completely turned off. I re-budgeted, switched her back to the natural stuff – slowly, over a period of a week. For some reason, it wasn’t sitting well with her.

To cut this potentially long story a bit shorter, I’ve been cooking her food for about a month now. Rice, carrots, sweet potatoes and whatever veggies I had on hand that she liked.

The girl was hungry. Really hungry. At first I chalked up her dinner-time enthusiasm to sheer enjoyment. But then I started to worry about her protein intake.

After much reading, I’m still not sure what I believe. Some sources say that dogs can thrive on a completely vegetarian diet. But others disagree. I’m still not sure I want to turn my dog into a guinea pig. But I don’t want to feed her one, either.

Here’s where the chicken comes in. If I am going to feed my animal another animal, I want to be completely comfortable with it. If it’s a natural process, I want to be in on it. I don’t want to repudiate factory meat for myself, but feed my dog canned, cubed, disguised meat product. If I’m feeding her meat, I’m going to have to touch it.

So, tonight, I’m pouring myself a glass of wine, turning on the boiling water, and putting my hands on a store-bought carcass. I’ll pick around the bones and give her some meat – along with her now-usual rice, carrots and veggies. I’ll save the broth (on the recommendation of a friend), and pour it over the dry food I’m still mixing in to her diet. And I will try to remember to breathe while I do it.

Now, Sandwiches

Sometimes sandwich lover and fellow M&Mer just sent me a link to the 101 Best Sandwiches in New York, ten of which are actually vegetarian [via Grub Street] Unfortunately all the veggie options seem to include eggs and/or cheese, so the vegans will have to look elsewhere, or simply use these items as inspiration for their own creations.

UPDATE: Hello, falafel! See number 76

This article also contains a link to the best sammy’s in Boston, Chicago, San Fran and more. It’s official, now I’m starving.