Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Canary's Birthday

"Happy Birthday" in shorthand

For those who didn't know, my birthday was just over a week ago on July 20th.  I turned 33, offically entering my 34th year of life.  Now, I know several people who put a lot of pressure on their birthday, as if it should be somehow more special than every other day, or perhaps it should be especially indulgent, spontaneous, or memorable.  And while there's nothing wrong with that, that just isn't for me.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gifts of Summer: Fruit Salad

Herbed Fruit Salad with Cucumbers

One of my favorite parts of summer is going to the farmer's market or grocery and seeing all the beautiful fruits and vegetables as they come into season.  From plump peaches, succulent figs, the rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, to melons perfect for chilling and getting us through the daily grind of triple digit Texas temperatures, it's a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coconut Stew: Made With Love

Coconut Stew with Squash, Green Beans, and Shrimp

Today I'll be sharing with you one of my all time favorite recipes.  It's a traditional Filipino dish called Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw, which translates to Coconut Stew with Squash and Green Beans.  The instant the taste of rich coconut milk infused with garlic and ginger hits my palate, I'm transported back to wonderful childhood memories of cooking with my grandmother, prepping vegetables while she quietly sang church hymns.  Closing my eyes and thinking about it I can't help but smile.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Canary Tip: Letting Go

Black & White Mandala

As many of you already know, I am a server at The Steeping Room.  Through working there and eating there almost daily over the past 4 years, I have been shown how beautiful and delicious gluten-free and vegan dining can be.  Apparently I'm not the only one who's taken notice, as I've also witnessed the percentage of food-sensitive foodies balloon in that same time period.  And with that group also came an entire spectrum of emotions surrounding food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Salsa Lovin'

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa

When I first moved to Austin to attend grad school in the blazing hot summer of 2002, I didn't know a soul.  For the first 6 months, my best friends were my DVD player and the A/C unit.  Eventually, I started meeting people in school and I started to form a network of friends.  Beyond studying together, we would have movie nights and frequent informal gatherings to help all of us relax and decompress.  And every time we would get together, we would all bring food to share.  I don't think it was ever explicitly stated, but all of us were foodies, and it seemed to make everyone happy to feed each other.  That was something I sorely missed - the communal and social aspect of eating. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Canary Tip: Bending With the Wind

In becoming gluten-free and dairy free, the last four years has presented an extremely steep learning curve.  I used to think that I knew what a healthy, balanced diet consisted of.  But in hindsight, I now understand that healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for everyone else and that the foods you love are not necessarily the foods that love you back.

Around 2006, I really tried to reform my diet and my life from its "grad school ways."  At that time, it was all "whole wheat this," and "whole wheat that," so that became the focus of my grocery shopping and cooking.  Everybody else was doing it, so why not me?  Imagine my confusion when the "right thing for my body" felt painfully wrong.  But not knowing any better, I persisted on that path for the better part of 2 years, complacent with the escalating discomfort of both my body and mind.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'll Drink to That...

"La Palma" Shandy with berries

What would Recipe Monday on the 4th of July be without something red, white, and blue and semi-patriotic?  Well, it would be just fine, but knowing how obsessed I am with eating your colors, I just couldn't pass up this opportunity.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blinders Off

As the week approaches its end, I find myself at a new beginning.
Through the course of writing this blog, I'm discovering a new sense of self.  For the last four years, I was very focused on healing and elevating my quality of living, which was a good thing.  But the more I went inward, the more difficult it became to look outside myself.  And being so hyper-aware of my own life journey, I temporarily lost sense of how I fit into other people's lives.  But as more and more people share with me that their resolutions to change their diet were inspired in part by me, it is both a surprising and humbling revelation.  Without thinking about it or intending it, I am touching people's lives.

So now, more than ever, I am reminded of the importance of community.  We do not simply exist.  We exist in the context of others, how we are the same and how we are different.  As one of us changes, so do we all.  And by being who we are and aspiring to live our lives to the fullest, we can perpetuate that "ripple," clearing the path for others to do the same.  Learning through sharing ideas, philosophies, values and life practices.  

Creating, defining, and enlivening our "canary culture."

 Have a wonderful weekend and a safe and memorable 4th. 

Carpe diem, my friends.  :)