Archives for the month of: May, 2013

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Ok, being a single mom in New York City means a totally new financial reality for me.  I’m on a shoestring budget. First thing to go, unnecessary overpriced beauty products. I had to break up with them.

Here’s how:

1. Do not make eye contact with Sephora: Do not look at the store front. Do not touch the door handle. Do not browse or go in to put on some quick makeup on before you go out. You will not pass go. You will spend $70 (on things you only use for about a week).

2. Detox your body – Go to hot yoga. Become vegan for a couple of weeks (this may sound extreme). Drink gallons of water and fresh juices. Last night, I completed my 95th Bikram Yoga class (that’s 145 hours of yoga) and my skin has never looked better in my life. Even my mild sun damage is slowly disappearing. I don’t know how the hell it’s happening, but it is.

3. Watch this movieChemerical – Yes, there are some awkward moments where husband and wife talk about pheromones after they give up deodorant that are kind of awkward and nauseating, but overall it will freak you out enough to make you stop using scary chemicals in your house and on your body. (Personal note – I cannot give up deodorant – thank you Dove – I hold my pose with confidence).

4. Stop dying your hair – Really, why do we do this? I was a big fan of the $250 highlights and $100 gloss (what does the gloss do anyway?). I forgot what my hair actually looked like. I single processed to bring back my natural color and now that all the years of dye has grown out, my hair looks the best it ever has. It matches my skin tone. (note- if I start going gray, this step will be re-evaluated).

5. Buy a bar of nice organic soap – Are we really so lazy that we have to squirt soap out of a bottle instead of rub it on our skin? Think about the material waste. We are destroying our planet.  It’s kind of crazy. I started using this awesome organic soap from Zen Medica and I feel really clean. Like there isn’t a layer of chemicals on my skin. With all this detoxing, I actually get a headache if I put on my old perfumed lotion.

6. Only buy something new when your old product is almost gone – Gone are the days of browsing the aisles and just picking something up. Find the necessary products. For me, it’s concealer, mascara, gloss, and some basic eye shadowesque creme stuff. I’m done with experimentation. Do you really need to try out self-tanner?

7. Go to the dermatologist  – Instead of trying to cure your own skin with products offering false promises, head to the doctor, find out what’s really wrong with you and have them prescribe something that will get rid of the problem. Your health insurance might even cover it. (Note – do not fall into dermatologist trap of shooting your face with a laser – more on that in a subsequent post).

8. Feel beautiful on the inside – (Oprah moment) There’s a reason why you’re buying all this needless stuff. Figure out what it’s giving you and how you can get it through action. A face peel is never going to make you feel as good as a french kiss and good snuggle.

Like any break up, this will not be easy. Take it step-by-step and remember what you are doing is going to make you a better person from the inside out. And you’ll have more money to spend on hot yoga membership fees.

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Rah Rah Radish

These will hopefully not be thrown on the floor tonight

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After Sunday night’s epic triumph of raw asparagus ingestion, I got cocky.

Oh yeah, I thought, my baby girl is so adventurous, her palate is so sophisticated, she is so committed to this project – I’m going to whip up another asparagus dish just to prove how easy it is to get a toddler to eat their vegetables. And you know what else, I’m going to make something that you would never think a kid would eat – I’ll make Asparagus with a Beet Lemon Vinaigrette courtesy of Chef Mimi

I hit Whole Foods on my lunch break to gather the proper ingredients, shortened our post-daycare/work playground stint and made a beautiful meal of baked Tilapia, baby potatoes, roasted beets with goat cheese and asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette to top it off. Oh, I took my time expertly plating Madeline’s compartmentalized dinosaur dish as if I was Michel Bras preparing his famous gargouillou. Her high chair was strategically positioned close enough to the table to facilitate meaningful dialogue between us and at an angle where the T.V. could be seen (in case of emergency). Then, I graciously invited her to the table.

As she took her seat, she caught one sight of my masterpiece and turned stone cold whiteImage.  I knew that look, I had seen it many times before in my days as a waitress at the Ground Round when I would place the New Yankee Pot Roast in front of an unsuspecting diner. It was a mix of terror, disgust and a dash of anxiety all wrapped into one. I prayed to Sunday’s hero Daniel Tiger for help.  None came.

And then began the onslaught of ridicule and rejection…

“I don’t want it!” “I don’t like it!” “More milk! “I want to watch Ni-hao Kai Lan!”

I tried reasoning. I tried distraction. I tried anything I could to get one bite of that damn asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette past Maddie’s hermetically sealed lips. Itwas no use. I sat back and ate dinner as she watched, slammed chocolate milk from her sippy cup and stared at my culinary Kandinsky until I was finished.  I could hear her telepathically — , “Did you really think I was going to eat that?” She very kindly carried her plate to the kitchen to be washed and said, “Thank you, Mommy” when I took it away.

In one a word – I was – DENIED.

On another note:

Dear Chef Mimi,

Your recipe for asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette is superb, a taste of spring after a long winter It makes for a pretty presentation and is quite flavorful. I truly enjoyed the mixture of nutty beets with abite of bright lemon essence. I imagined serving it at an outdoor dinner party, brunch or even a summer barbeque – Madeline extends her gratitude for the recipe but has politely requested that it not be served at her 3rd birthday.

Best,

Ellen

ImageMy daughter ate raw asparagus on Sunday night – lots of it. It wasn’t artfully sculpted to look like Gumby, Kermit or an alligator. I just peeled it and she ate it. She kept saying, “Try something new.”

I would like to thank some people for making this moment possible. The first – Daniel Tiger – the feline rebirth of Mr. Rogers – for singing the “Gotta Try Foods Because They Might Taste Good” that is readily available on the PBS Kids app.

Second, the GrowNYC Green Market Recipe Series for inspiring me to actually peel fresh asparagus and it eat. I normally drench them in olive oil and roast them for 25 minutes (which tastes delicious) but this time we dared to just peel and eat it without extensive preparation.

The farm in Riverhead, Long Island that grew the asparagus – A bunch was $5.00 – not cheap but worth it.

And finally, Madeline for her courage in the face of adversity.

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