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Delicious dinner courtesy of the GrowNYC GreenMarket – Young Onions or Spring Onion from Kernen Farms in Bridgeton, New Jersey, one bunch of spinach from 5lbs of Dirt, and wonderful bath of Shitake mushrooms from John Madura Farm in Pine Island, NY and some ridiculously delicious pork from Grazin Acres– all stir-fried together in a toddler-friendly way that made Madeline say “Mmmm”… or did she?Was it just my imagination?

I know that food was ingested, I know that she ate the pork and spinach, but I’m unsure about the Spring Onion. Given that it’s Spring Onion week, I’m going to say – yes, yes – indeed – she ate it and liked it.

I must say that I’m beginning to enjoy this little experiment. What’s my favorite part?

Definitely not watching my beautifully prepared dinners rejected with a look of malice and disdain (see asparagus and radishes).

It’s going to the Green Market every weekend. I love feeling like Miss America walking home with my bunch of seasonal and local Rhubarb. I’ve always cooked based on what I wanted to eat and making it happen. Now, I’m deciding what to prepare based on what looks good at the market.

Although it’s early on in the year, I wanted to share some quick things I’ve learned about my weekly shopping trips:

  • Do a once over – It’s like perusing the buffet when you are on a diet – don’t just jump at the first thing that looks good. Walk through the entire market first to see what looks good, and then start buying.
  • Decide on one meal – Buy food for one meal, not the week (unless you have some sort of plan)
  • Get ready to Google – As you start selecting items, start googling to figure out how you can put them together.
  • Set a budget – You can drop some serious coin at the market so have a number in mind and stick to it.
  • Eat raw stuff – Taste the fresh produce.
  • Bring a bag – This will make you look cool.
  • Enjoy it – Yes, this is so much more fun than battling the crowds at the grocery store – especially if you in NYC.

Happy shopping.

(Photo from Evan Sung for The New York Times)

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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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