Tag Archives: food

Searching Seattle’s Neighborhoods

IMG_7406Living in a new city is incredibly exciting, and something that comes with time is getting the feel of that new city. Seattle is a place with a very well-defined neighborhood structure. Tons has been written about what separates each of these little enclaves, but getting there and seeing it for yourself is really the only way to understand it.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography... and infographics.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography… and infographics.

A couple weeks ago, Seattle’s International District (ID) was having their annual Dragon Fest. For $2 at each participating restaurant in the neighborhood, patrons get a generous sample of their fare and a chance to breathe in all the sights and smells of the ID. Having never been to this section of town, it was a lot of fun.

Multicolored dragons adorn the streets, Shimmering Chinese characters line the sides of buildings and archways over intersections. It’s amazing to feel so transported only a 20 minute bus ride away from our home.

After a few bites of steamed pork buns, dumplings, dim sum, and gelato, we found ourselves in a garden. Rows of ripening vegetables twisted around gravel pathways. We made our way up higher, past a pig roasting spit and beautiful flowers, to a Japanese garden. Above all the festivities below, with the gentle hum of the nearby I-5, we enjoyed some down time before hopping the bus back home.

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Lazy Cakes: From One Extreme to Another

We’re all familiar with energy drinks. They’re marketed to every personality type imaginable and appear to cater to any activity. There are literally dozens upon dozens of them out there made for the athletes, the insomniacs, the bodybuilders, the students, and the coffee drinkers. I’ve never been a huge fan of them generally. I drink my fair share of coffee, but that’s about as crazy as I get.

Recently another type of sketchy, potentially harmful “dietary aid” came to my attention. If energy drinks are the uppers, we’ve gotta have downers, right? What on earth does one do when they’ve had too many energy drinks? What if you’re too hyped up? You take Lazy Cakes.

Lazy Cakes are designed for, “adults who lead a stressful energy drink fueled lifestyle,” according to their site. The packaging is strange and is full of warnings. They’re not for children, and you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery (whatever that might entail). The cover has the Lazy Cakes mascot, Larry, looking pretty stoned and happy. He sits with droopy eyelids above the phrase, “Relaxation Brownies.” They’re definitely targeting the stoner kids with this one.

Despite the small size of one brownie, the serving size is half of what comes in a single wrapped package. You’re suggested to take the other half later that day… to keep you relaxed all day, I guess. The package doesn’t give you much indication as to what might cause such an onset of lethargy, but a closer examination of the Nutritional Information shows 4 grams of melatonin in half the snack. There’s also passion flower extract, rose hips extract, and valerian root extract.

These additives plus the expected onslaught of nasty preservatives left me expecting a pretty disgusting brownie, but I must admit, it wasn’t bad.

So after all this hype, did it actually do anything? No. I got a little tired, but that might have also been due to the fact that I was at work. I noticed nothing and quickly had the whole bar. Nothing. I was just glad I hadn’t paid for it. The warning labels were a let down.

Despite my experience being incredibly lackluster, there is still a backlash rising against Lazy Cakes. According to this article the mayor of Fall River, Mass. wants them banned based on their harmful ingredient, melatonin – a sleep aid. Okay, I’ll agree that it’s probably not the best idea for people to get into the habit of taking sleep aid-laced brownies, but if Mr. Flanagan is going to get behind an ordinance against these snacks, then energy drinks should be treated the same way. Where do you draw the line? Don’t people have the right to ingest what they want?

This law would just be another aspect of control… but then again, so is the subject at hand. It’s funny that we’re constantly trying to maintain an unnatural control over our bodies. We want them to be sped up and slowed down exactly when we’d like. Energy drinks, Lazy Cakes, and medications are all geared toward this mentality. When is it too much?

This also begs the question why prescription drugs and dietary aid like this are both legal, but marijuana isn’t. If busy adults and stressed students want to partake in energy supplements and then use some Lazy Cakes to slow back down, shouldn’t they also be free to use something less abrasive? Apparently we’re all too naive and uneducated to form our own rules about these things.

Knowledge can be depressing.

I was watching the Colbert Report recently because at the end of the week, I’d rather get pseudo news with a laugh. Usually I get a healthy dose of humor with Stephen’s show, keeping me from getting too downtrodden with all the doom and gloom in the world; however, one statistic he alerted me to was a definite wake up call. Nearly half of Congress are millionaires. When you think about it, it’s really no surprise that the majority of people complain that their representatives aren’t pulling for them, politically. They would if it also helped them.

Between these figures and the other huge power-holders in this country, it’s not easy to stay optimistic. Something else I’ve been thinking a lot about: GMO’s are impossible to avoid. Thanks to corporations like Monsanto (who is responsible for Roundup, plastics, and Coca-Cola’s artificial sweetener), nearly everything we eat (yes, even the “organic” stuff) has been modified and made unnatural. Insurance companies are practically sleeping with these companies, and many of them are also affiliated with the EPA. When you start looking at who controls what in this country, it turns into a giant loop. Communications are monopolized, too. I bet you didn’t know that ABC News and Lifetime were owned by the same people – Disney. Or that General Electric owns Universal Studios and NBC. Or that PepsiCo is an umbrella over Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay – that means Quaker oatmeal, Tropicana, and Cheetos are all the same deal. Boca Burgers, Nabisco, and Toblerone are all owned by Kraft.

It’s upsetting that American broadcast news likes to point fingers at everyone but the domestic culprits. It’s so much easier to show how other countries have wide gaps in wealth distribution, disparages, and corruption. When it comes to our own downfalls, we’d rather just ignore them and go on pretending that we’re the world’s model for justice, freedom, and practicality. Here’s hoping we all wake up sooner rather than later.

Further info if you’re interested:
Freepress.net – Media Ownership Chart
The Kaiser Report: Monsanto and the Seeds of Evil

Waste not want not

I can’t explain how much I love not wasting things. It probably stems from my intense desire to be as painfully cheap as possible. It’s something I have to work on… but one good side effect from being so penny-pinching is the ease of being green. I recycle partly because it costs extra for each trash bag we put out. Of course I want to save the environment and all that jazz, but it’s also easier on our garbage costs. If I’m not in the room, the lights are off. I’m also careful to never waste food because I remember how many hours I’d have to work to pay for it. Sometimes seeing things in dollar signs is unhealthy, but it does have its perks.

How does this tie in with puff pastry, you may ask? It’s something that really helps me to never waste food. Wrap up your leftovers, and it’s a whole new meal! This one’s filled with leftover leeks, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, and pepper jack cheese. Sprinkle on some cumin and curry powder (because no meal is complete without them) and you’re done!


It’s all eatable.

A Victorian Christmas mansion




Still Eating…

On the menu: mini lasagna! I’ve been very into the muffin pan lately. I made some mini pizzas last week, and this week, I tried out a recipe for Petite Lasagnas that I found on Stumbleupon. Oh, how I love browsing the random things of the internet. The recipe called for won ton wrappers, which totally blew my mind. I’d never thought of it, but it makes perfect sense; they are just noodles, after all. I’m thinking I’ll probably make some ravioli or perogies with the leftover wrappers. The only deviations I made to the recipe I used included making it vegetarian friendly. I opted out on the turkey. I also didn’t cook the onions that I mixed in with the ricotta. They were diced finely enough that it didn’t matter. I also put in tons of garlic and oregano and used baby swiss and feta instead of mozzarella on top.

More Winter Eats

So, I’ve wanted to make this cake for a while but have been too nervous. After all, the dessert is famed by the oh-so-exclusive Lady M Confections and the other Lady M(artha Stewart)… that bitch

The Mille Crepe cake calls for at least 20 crepes layered with pastry cream. I’ve been making blintzes for years, so the crepes came easy, but I’d never made pastry cream. A summer working at a cake and coffee shop didn’t prepare me enough, apparently.
The recipe I used was from Cream Puffs in Venice, an awesome food blog for a foodie (and photographer) like myself. However, having never worked with boiling milk, the cream turned into something more like pudding. I didn’t have Kirsch, so opted for coffee liqueur instead. It tasted fine but looked pretty lumpy… but I guess once you cut it, no one cares.

We had it with a glass of Jack Daniels and eggnog with some nutmeg sprinkled on top. Smells like winter.

Happy Holidays!