The Perfect Healthy Summer Snack http://ift.tt/1JiNf9H
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I’m just back from my latest trip to Africa. I wish that I could post relatively live from Tanzania and Kenya, but it turns out that WIFI there is short for “Works In-Frequently and Intermittently”. I have some souvenirs: Maasai beadwork and some impressive bug bites. Despite rough roads, lukewarm trickles of “showers”, and no
Kenya, as seen from the backseat going 80 kilometers an hour.
My first trip to Africa, with the jewelry documentary Sharing the Rough, felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the gem trade at the source in Tanzania and Kenya. It turned out to be life-changing. Maybe life-affirming? It opened my eyes–and heart–to a part of the jewelry business I didn’t know much about, despite over 20 years working in many facets of the industry. I’ve since made two more trips, meeting the people in the gem business: mine owners, gem dealers, and the miners themselves. With the help of an experienced gem buyer and faceter Roger Dery, and Gichuchu Okeno, an excellent guide from Kenya, I literally crawl into mines, dig in the dirt, and shake the hands that find the gems.
This trip, my third trip to Africa in 16 months, I went almost directly from Las Vegas Jewelry Week to three degrees south of the Equator. The distance is more than the 9,000 miles each way suggests–it’s a big leap going from the glitz of Vegas to nascent East Africa. So what makes me trade cocktail dresses for cargo pants (stuffed with toilet paper)?
This world in East Africa connects me to meaning in jewelry. It’s easy to take beauty for granted, to get a little jaded. The realities of THIS world of jewelry–dirt, unyielding rock, rifts, hard stones that don’t reveal themselves easily, remote rawness, lack of comforts–all combine to make me realize that this is where jewelry begins. And that there are a million small ways to measure happiness, progress, success. It gets in your blood; this red, red dirt.
I took about 5000 pictures of elephants this trip. It was a great wildlife spotting trip, most of it on bush roads, not in wildlife parks.
East Africa, and other source communities like it, is the very beginning of the journey a piece of jewelry makes to market. Making, buying, collecting jewelry is all about the story. Seeing the origin of jewelry like this means that I see the WHOLE story. I see the faces and souls involved. It is an essential anecdote, and one that the ultimate consumers of fine gemstone jewelry want to hear, particularly millennials.
A crazy gorgeous piece of Kenyan Tsavorite garnet rough: this is “green gold”, fetching very high prices right now in East Africa.
Before my first trip, I was a little concerned about what I would find, to be brutally honest. The diamond trade, particularly artisanal mining by individuals, has been plagued by smuggling and major conflict over the past couple of decades. Countries like Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are still struggling and fragile, climbing out of the darkness of the recent past. Organizations like the Diamond Development Initiative are helping to register, educate, and generally help the people who mine alluvial (surface) diamonds, but there is a long way to go.
Would there be parallels in the artisanal gemstone trade in Kenya and Tanzania to the diamond miners elsewhere in Africa? What are the miner’s living and working conditions like? And the big, looming question: are Africans being left out of the value equation for gemstones found and mined in their own countries? Is everyone else who touches that stone making substantially more than the one who discovered it?
The answers I found are, as in a lot of thing in life, complicated. East Africans are still navigating the road to receiving more value from their indigenous treasures. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a vibrant ecosystem at work in Tanzania and Kenya where I visited. From the landowners that lease their dirt, to mine owners who prospect and take the risk, the mine managers who take care of the daily exigencies of the mine, the miners themselves, and the gem dealers who broker the deals, they all get some portion of the per gram price that international gem cutters and resellers lay down. This community of gem miners and dealers work together more symbiotically than you would think. Sure, there is healthy competition, but I also personally witnessed an example of one dealer helping another who was having a dry spell.
There is a huge need for more education in gemology and gem cutting that can take East Africa to the next level. If a Kenyan gem dealer knows what the market should bear in the US or Asian markets for their goods, he won’t sell for too little. If a skilled local lapidary can facet a Tanzanite gemstone with the same skill as a gem cutter in Thailand, Africans net more of the value from their own natural resource.
In Okeno’s Tsavorite mine, seeing the progress he’s made since my last trip to this corner of the bush.
But the most compelling story comes from the miners—the ones with a flashlight and bare feet—who extract the gems from their rocky matrix. I was able to witness interviews that the Sharing the Rough movie conducted for the film. I was standing just outside the periphery of the camera and crew, and could literally look into their eyes as they shared their stories.
The miners in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya are determined, tough, and choose to live a life of promise and expectation. They are passionate and dogged in their pursuit of something precious. It’s funny: they should see those pretty rocks as dollar signs, a means to an end. But instead, they value the gems for their rarity and beauty, every bit as much as an American customer buying at a retail jeweler. They LOVE the gems they find. Tanzanian and Kenyan miners know the geology, the science behind the stones. It’s in their bones. Their anticipation, when they discover the indicator mineral that tells them they are on track to hit something good, is palpable. They are happy to be miners, and choose to do it over farming or other choices. They are proud–fiercely so–for being able to send their children to school.
In my journeys, I have seen progress in small ways. Safety vests and hard hats at the Tsavorite garnet mine owned by my friend, Okeno. Vegetables planted in the tailings piled around a Community Based Organization mine, providing slope stability and helping to feed the 1700 miners that make up the cooperative. A new library at the Maasai Kitarini primary school near a ruby mine. The beginnings of a jewelry trade school, the first of its kind in Kenya. Increases in the prices of certain gems–mainly tsavorite, spinel, zircon, and green grossular garnet–even since last November. Mostly I see generous, friendly, gentle people that just want a good life for their family. It’s an honor to meet and know them.
If you look closely, you will see the green of vegetables growing in this pile of tailings at a Kenyan CBO mine.
So yes, I love to travel to Africa for the wildlife, the wind in my hair as we pass the flash of red and blue of the Maasai in impossibly beautiful scenery. But ultimately, I travel to Africa to find not where these gemstones come from, but whom they come from. When I look at a gem now, instead of hue, tone and saturation, I see faces, and geologic wonder, and the herculean effort to get it into my waiting hands. It turns out that this is just the beginning of my journey. It has opened my eyes to the possibility of making a difference in these communities I am getting to know. There is much more to come.
View this post on idazzle.com: #idazzletravels: Gem Hunting or Why I Go To Africa
Hello my friends! As I mentioned, Matt and I ended up being in town unexpectedly this weekend after the canoe camping trip we were planning with some friends was cancelled due to gross weather. Boo! We were both planning to take Friday off for the trip, but since we were home, figured we’d work instead. I ended up getting a lot of recipe development projects done, so that was awesome!
One of the recipe development projects involved alcohol, so we had my mom over on Friday night for a little cocktail tasting and grilling. She did not object. Stay tuned for the recipes!
As for dinner, my friend Karen had told me about these tasty turkey burgers she made recently involving feta, spinach, and olives, so I decided a variation of those was in order! I decided to go with ground lamb, and we mixed feta, chopped baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, and olives into the meat before grilling them. They were AMAZING. I wish I had taken more photos and had a real recipe to share – will have to make them again soon so I can measure things out!
Topped with some tomato, a mixture of chopped spinach and basil, and a side of kale chips. Delicious!
We have leftovers, too – even better.
On Saturday, we kept things low key – it was pouring rain all day, so I met my friend Karen for a little Urban Athletic Club action in the morning (awesome workout, as always), and then Matt and I both spent the rest of the day working. Lame, but I got my emails under control, wrote up a couple recipe posts that will be coming down the pipeline soon, etc. But before lame work, we had a delicious brunch. Hit the spot! A leftover pancake with berries + banana plus one of Matt’s famous egg scrambles, packed with mushrooms, baby spinach, and goat cheese. Yummm!
I wasn’t feeling the coffee on Saturday (I know, weird), so I made myself a homemade iced green tea by brewing some green tea (I used Celestial Seasoning’s organic/fair trade Pure Green Estate Tea, which I love), then removing the bag and pouring it over ice. Worked quite well!
On Saturday night, the rain had finally stopped, which was great because we had a big adventure planned: Escape Room!!!
A bunch of us that were supposed to go on the canoe trip decided this would be a fun thing to do, especially since Saturday’s weather was going to be so gross. The DC Escape Room is in Glover Park (although apparently they are opening an Alexandria, VA location soon), so we grabbed dinner at nearby Sprig & Sprout beforehand.
And then it was time for the big adventure! Escape Room is exactly as it sounds: you are locked in a room and, by working together to figure out a series of hidden puzzles/clues/codes for locks/etc., you try to escape! We ended up needing to ask for a hint with 10 minutes left because we were totally stuck, but after that we were on a roll and figured out the remaining clues and made it out with 2 minutes to spare! Whew! They have a few room options – we did Room 3: Double Crossed – in which you are secret agents trying to figure out what happened to your fellow agent. It was hard but super fun! I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to ruin it for those who go.
On Sunday, I got ALL the exercise. My friend Karen is going out of town for a couple weeks so we decided to meet up for another fun workout adventure, this time CorePower Yoga in Georgetown via ClassPass. Our fave class is the Sunday morning 10 a.m. Sculpt class taught by Mandy, and we hadn’t been in AGES. It was as sweaty and amazing as I remembered – an a$$-kicking in the best way possible. Also, it’s time for a pedicure.
It was supposed to be kind of overcast and not that nice on Sunday, hence the morning heated power yoga class, but it turned out to be lovely, so Matt and I decided to take advantage! Part 1: bike over to Cassatt’s Kiwi Café for brunch.
I had a latte, obviously.
Plus the mushroom, cheese, and egg quesadilla. It comes with a side tomato/avocado salad. So good!
From there, we headed off on a biking adventure! Matt and I haven’t gone biking together in over a year because we’ve been so busy, so it was fun to get back out there. We headed to the Custis Trail and then met up with the W&OD trail, biking towards/through Falls Church.
Halfway through, we stopped for ice cream, although this wasn’t as delicious as I’d hoped – I got the maple walnut flavor and it was so overly sweet/fake tasting. Boo! Next time, I’ll stick with my standard fave coffee ice cream.
Our final weekend adventure was meeting friends at Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle last night for dinner/drinks. I LOVE this place, and the weather was so perfect for hanging outside! After a weekend of a fair amount of beer/cocktails and eating out, I was excited for some healthy food. I hit their prepared foods bar and put together this beautiful and colorful plate, and during happy hour I enjoyed a ginger kombucha instead of a beer. Perfect!
I’ll leave you all with some luck – on a walking break last week I found this four leaf clover! I used to always look for these when I was little, and once when I was in middle school my friend and I found an ENTIRE YARD full of only four leaf clovers. Epic, right? They always remind me of childhood.
Have a nice day, friends! I enjoyed sleeping in a bit this morning and am going to go SUP (stand up paddleboard)-ing with Chelsea this evening. Perfect weather for it!
How was your weekend? Any fun fitness adventures to report?
Weekend Adventures originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on June 29, 2015.
The post Weekend Adventures appeared first on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness.
SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://www.fannetasticfood.com/2015/06/29/weekend-adventures-16/
This is a roundup of recent items on the effects of bird flu on egg producers: (1) the toll of the epidemic, (2) the politics, (3) the effects on restaurants, (4) the potential for a vaccine, and (5) a Food-Navigator-USA special edition.
1. The toll: According to the USDA’s Chicken and Eggs report, the number of chickens laying table eggs declined by 33.5 million since April 1, a loss of 11%, and the number of eggs is down by 5%. In May alone, 31.4 million layers were “rendered, died, destroyed, composted or disappeared,” four times the usual mortality rate. No surprise, but egg prices went up by 46 cents in the last couple of weeks and now average $2.05 a dozen for Large white eggs Grade A or better (see USDA’s National Retail Report). Since December, USDA says there have been 223 outbreaks of bird flu that have affected 48.1 million chickens and turkeys.
2. The politics: According to an article in Fortune magazine, the flu epidemic is a consequence of industrial egg production, in which many thousands of birds are packed together.
But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the crisis is its implications for the viability of industrial-scale farming. The egg industry’s huge “layer operations”…are designed to protect birds from contamination, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota at the University of Minnesota. The animals’ environment is tightly controlled…But when a virus pierces such defenses, or when defenses lapse, having all of one’s eggs in one basket (so to speak) can make the impact more devastating.
3. Restaurants: The Des Moines Register reports that restaurants will be raising prices as a result of the egg shortage.
4. Bird Flu Vaccine: According to PoliticoPro Morning Agriculture, a small company in Iowa says it’s got a vaccine that needs USDA approval before it can be used. But people in the poultry industry think it might be “a non-starter for foreign buyers of U.S. poultry products.”
5. Food Navigator-USA’s Special Edition is called Avian flu in focus: Navigating the egg shortage crisis. As Food Navigator explains, “manufacturers that rely on egg products face some big challenges in the weeks and months ahead.”
GEMOLOGUE – I’ve got exciting news about the launch of a new, cutting-edge website dedicated to exquisite lifestyle watches from …
SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://gem-a-porter.com/2015/06/29/watch-the-space/
It’s week 3 of the Summer SWEAT Series?! Yah, we can’t believe it either! This week, Fit Foodie Finds will be hosting the fitness plan and Ambitious Kitchen will be hosting the nutrition plan. Who’s ready for all things FULL BODY? Uh, I am. Full body workouts are definitely my favorite. I especially like it when…
Podcast: Play in new window (right click to download the episode)
Episode 10: Essential Cooking Tools
up your kitchen for the very first time? Or just sick and tired of
your cruddy old culinary tools, like that sad-looking plastic spatula with the melted
front edge? Well, it’s time to level up!
Having the right cooking implements on hand
can mean the difference between having dinner ready in a flash and being
frustrated and defeated in the kitchen. In this episode we tell you all about our favorite culinary essentials. And don’t you worry your pretty little head—we won’t recommend anything crazy-expensive or
any one-trick ponies that’ll clutter your countertop. We won’t even suggest any
items that need to be plugged into an electrical socket. So listen in, and I’ll let you know which kitchen
tools this luddite can’t live without!
Notes & Links for Episode 10:
returning home from our Maui vacation, one of the first things on my to-do list
was to stock up our fridge and pantry. I started by heading over to Belcampo
Meat Company—our local butcher shop—to stock up on meat.
My order included
short ribs, a big pork butt, pastured eggs, and lots of ground beef. Although
well-raised meat can be expensive, I try to stick to stuff that costs less than ten bucks a pound. Cheap cuts and ground beef definitely help to stretch our food
budget. And after splurging on a lot of restaurant meals while on vacation, we definitely
scaled back this week.
Because I was
just getting back into the groove of things, I cooked a lot of garbage stir fries this week with
the ground beef from Belcampo. In fact, for four days in a row, I made garbage
stir fry for our garbage-loving family. Yes, I know that the name of the dish sounds grody and terrible, but the kids can
attest that it’s trash-tastically delicious. Besides, isn’t it always better to under-promise with a yucky name, and then over-deliver with a yummy dinner?
favorite local butcher shop is Belcampo Meat Co.
There are tons of different ways to make a garbage stir fry, and here’s a version my family
loves to eat.
out Podcast Episode 5: Desperation Dinners to see what I keep stocked in my pantry so I can make meals in a flash.
years, I was a kitchen gadget hoarder. If you have our cookbook or read my old
Paleo Eats posts, you probably know that I often use a number of appliances and
tools to get dinner ready, including an Instant Pot, a slow cooker, a food
processor, a super-charged Vitamix blender, a stick blender, and even our
trusty countertop toaster oven. Sometimes, I use all of those things to
prep a single meal.
blog readers know that several years ago, in the middle of the night, a pipe
burst under the kitchen sink and covered the entire house with a couple of inches
of water. While the water damage was being repaired, we were displaced to a cramped
residence inn for several months and I learned that we could get by in life
with much, much less. And this includes kitchen tools. I won’t lie – there are
plenty of “nice-to-have” items that
greatly streamline and enhance my cooking. I’ll admit it: they’re great
time-savers. But when push comes to shove, people only need a few items to cook
up nourishing and tasty meals.
recently, I started reading Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing
Magic of Tidying Up—and it’s totally reinforced the need to purge stuff I
don’t really need or that don’t spark joy anymore. With this in mind, I consulted
my favorite review sites and came up with a pared down list of indispensible
Chef’s Knife: The best rated inexpensive
one is the Victorinox
Forschner Fibrox, which costs under $40. If you’re considering a
carbon-steel chef’s knife and money is no object, this $300 one by
J.A. Henckels designed by Bob Kramer, an American Master
Bladesmith, is considered one of the best. America’s Test Kitchen also
recommends a $100
Japanese knife by Togiharu that is
considered a best-buy. But if you’re going to spend this kind of money, you
should really try out these knives yourself. If you’re in NYC, go visit Korin in Lower
Manhattan, which is home to one of the most amazing and extensive collection of
Japanese chef’s knives (a.k.a. gyuto) in the world.
Paring Knife: The one I use at home is
Henckels International Classic 4-inch paring knife, but
Cook’s Illustrated recommends
one from Victorinox that only costs about $7.
Knife Sharpener: The best manual
sharpener is a cheap-o Accu-Sharp
Knife & Tool Sharpener. For less
than ten dollars, you can sharpen your own knives in just a few strokes. Recently, I’ve been tempted to buy an electric knife sharpener, and the one
recommended by everybody is The Chef’s
Choice Trizor XV ($160). It sharpens European, American, and
Japanese knives—both serrated and straight!—and it can convert a 20
degree factory edge to a 15 degree edge, which means you’re getting an even
Peelers: I keep three vegetable peelers
in the kitchen: One with a regular blade (an OXO Good
Grips Pro Swivel Peeler), one with a serrated edge for grabbing onto
smooth-skinned ripe fruits and vegetables (a Kuhn Rikon
Piranha Serrated Peeler), and one that makes quick work of julienning
zucchini into “zoodles” (a Kuhn Rikon
Kitchen Shears: To be perfectly honest,
you don’t really need shears if you’ve got a great knife, but a sharp pair of scissors
can help handle a host of tasks in the kitchen, from trimming herbs to spatchcocking
a chicken. I’ve tried a bunch of shears and my new favorite pair is the Kershaw
Taskmaster, which I learned about from America’s Test
Kitchen. I’ve used them to debone my Cracklin’
Chicken for a couple of years now, and they haven’t
dulled on me yet!
Cutting Board: If you want a great
wooden board, a John Boos
Maple Cutting Board is a fantastic option. Plastic is also a much
more cost-friendly option, and some folks like it better because you can toss
plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher. The Oxo Good
Grips Cutting Board is a polypropylene board with rubber strips on
both sides. It’s lightweight, non-slip, and fabulous.
Cast iron skillets: In our kitchen, I have a Lodge Logic pre-seasoned 12-inch cast iron skillet, as well as an 8-inch version (the one I use to fry crispy eggs). I love ‘em, but don’t presume that the company’s “pre-seasoning” is sufficient. You’ll still need to season the skillets, so follow the instructions in this post. To maintain
your cast iron skillets, just make sure you clean them after each use,
wipe them dry and also put them on a hot burner to dry, before rubbing a bit of
melted fat onto all surfaces. I used to think you couldn’t use soap to clean
them, but J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats debunked this myth a few months
ago in an article titled, “The Truth
About Cast Iron: 7 Myths That Need to Go Away.
Heat-Resistant Oven Mitts: Choose a
glove made of Kevlar or Nomex – they’ll allow you to handle items that are hundreds
of degrees in temperature. I used to have Ove Glove branded gloves, but a lot
of reviewers on Amazon say that the new ones don’t work as well. As a result,
I’ve done some digging, and my newest recommendation is to buy gloves from the
brand Grill Heat
Aid. They’ve gotten over A THOUSAND great
reviews on Amazon, and it has a no-hassle 100% money back guarantee.
Tongs: You don’t need anything fancy
here; just get a basic pair of locking tongs with wide-scalloped pincers, and
you’ll be all set. I have a few pairs of OXO Good
Grips locking tongs of differing lengths in the kitchen,
but when we’re doing high-heat grilling in the backyard, we use a set of 16-inch
tongs by Progressive International. And yes, I am aware that many famous chefs (e.g. David Chang and Thomas Keller) hate tongs with a searing passion, but who cares? (Not this home cook.)
Instant-Read, In-Oven Thermometer: These
thermometers aren’t super pricey, so don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish:
Invest in a good one so you don’t screw up your expensive meat. I have a ChefAlarm
by ThermoWorks and it works like a charm. I also have a Thermapen which is
super accurate, but more expensive and you have to keep opening the oven to
check the temperature.
Rimmed Baking Sheet: Even though most
people use them as cookie sheets, you don’t have to use them to bake cookies. I
use them instead to roast meats and vegetables or to crisp up batches of kale
chips. A kitchen supply store is a great place to stock up on rimmed
baking sheets, but you can also find them online.
Personally, I recommend getting sheets that are no smaller than 13” by 18” — otherwise
known as half-sheets. You might be tempted to get a full baking sheet, but
they’re too big for most home ovens.
Wire Cooling Racks: I use wire racks to keep my roasted meats from sitting in a
puddle of grease in the oven, to elevate the proteins I’m about to set ablaze
with my kitchen torch, or to keep my crispy sweet potato fries from going limp and
soggy. Trust me –
wire racks will come in handy in a number of kitchen situations. My favorite
racks are made of stainless steel ‘cause
they’re practically indestructible, unlike the chrome-lined ones that can flake
off with use.
(If you’re curious about how I came up with my recommendations, I pored over these trusted resources: The Cook’s Illustrated website, Consumer Search, and The Sweet Home. I also have an older post about my essential cooking tools that you can read here.)
Crush of the Week:
chat about how much I love Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of
Tidying Up, Big-O tells us how toothpicks aren’t just for stabbing food, and
Lil-O fills us in on the awesomness of stainless steel drinking straws.
Question of the week:
asked in an email: I have to ask you if you can talk about cheat days when
you do Paleo. I eat Paleo-, Whole30-approved foods everyday, but sometimes I
schedule a cheat day on the weekend. I would appreciate it if you can have
an episode about cheat days. Is it healthy?
If you want to know my answer, you’ll have to listen to my podcast!
it for this week! If you have questions for future podcasts, please leave them
in the comments below. Like what you heard? Subscribe to our podcast and leave
us a review by clicking here! And don’t forget, you can get 2 months free membership and 20% off your first order at Thrive Market by clicking here!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times_ bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013)._
SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://nomnompaleo.com/post/122650969673
Over the past month and a half, I have mastered the art of eating one handed. I joked with M that when I broke my wrist snowboarding last winter, it was in some way preparing me for only having one hand with which to do anything (thanks to having a baby in the other arm). I’ve also found a unique dance of preparing food with either a baby attached (for non-cooking activities) or for prepping as much as I can during a nap time. Because of all of this, you will most likely see an increase in easy, quick meals.
This salad has become one of my favorites. The cool crunch of the cucumber is amazing when paired with a hefty hand of cilantro and a nice extra crunch from peanuts. I’ve actually had a bit of luck growing cucumbers this year (the first time in three years) and so it’s easy for me to pick a cucumber and make this salad.
The recipe comes from Anna Jones’ book, A Modern Way to Eat. To say that I’m in love with this book seems like not enough umph behind my words. It’s all vegetarian with over 200 recipes spanning every meal and every season. The book is packed full of inspiration and if you’re only looking to add a couple books to your shelf this summer, I’d highly recommend picking this one up.