29 July 2011


A perfect vacation for me would include: friends/family, good food, beautiful natural scenery, vibrant urban scenery, easy to use city-wide public transportation, a road trip, mountains, ocean, 50-80 degree weather, good coffee, good food (whoops, already said that...), friendly locals, a farmers' market, good wine, good beer, good chocolate, lots of walking, lots of people watching...ok I'll stop there.

I have opinions. It's times like these that I must accept that the adjective "opinionated" does, in fact, describe me. Even though my opinions are generally about everyday things that many people don't care about (like food and water) and not loftier things (like politics or technology) I'm still opinionated...I guess. There, I said it. I could actually make the list above much longer and more detailed, but I'll spare you.

[Just a couple of years ago, a friend made a sarcastic comment about me not being opinionated and I asked--completely seriously--"Wait...do you think I'm opinionated?!" He looked at me and laughed, then realized I was for real, and was like, "You're kidding me, right?"]

It only makes sense to have high standards for a vacation if it can actually come true...if a place that great really exists. A place as great as San Francisco.

My trip last week makes me feel like way back when (you know, back when there was NOTHING), God said, "Some day, Miranda will be living in the humid southern US, and she'll need a break from her job. What would she like to do for a week?" And BAM. He created California, from Big Sur to the wine country. I'm not so prideful to think that San Francisco was made for me, of course, but it feels like it because it meets every vacation requirement of my little opinionated heart. Would I ever consider living there? Maybe. Not now, but maybe someday for a little bit (I'm a Midwestern girl, so I'll probably stick closer to home for the long haul, but who really knows.)
Before I left for the City by the Bay, I predicted some things that I might eat and drink while I was there. Well, I'm a very bad predictor. Turns out I didn't eat or drink any of those things. What I did eat and drink, however, is the following deliciousness (plus a whole lot more that I will gladly tell you about later):

A plateful of fresh Thai spring rolls with avocado (and pretty spirals made from beets) at Sweet Lime.

A raw vegan cookie dough bar dipped in dark chocolate at Cafe Gratitude.

And a cappuccino made from Espresso No. 9 Decaf at Flying Goat Coffee. (It turns out that San Francisco area has some incredible coffee and espresso. Peet's might be the most well-known outside of the city, but it's definitely not serving the best brew.)

All of these items and establishments require more explanation and photos, so don't you worry, you'll be hearing plenty about my amazing time in The City for many posts to come.

25 July 2011

Swiss Chard and Sausage Frittata

When life gets busy, cooking is one of those things that unfortunately takes the back burner. Since I try to eat healthfully, a lot of days my breakfast is a hard boiled egg (boring, yes, but SO quick and easy...and yummy, especially with salt and curry powder!). A few weeks ago, after eating hard boiled eggs for days, I decided I needed a change, a quick and tasty one. So I got creative.

In the fridge, I found: eggs, almond milk, garlic, grilled Italian chicken sausage (left from my family's 4th of July cookout) and Swiss chard (it was my roommate's, but she told me she needed help eating it).

I remembered this post that had intrigued me, so I made my own personal sized version that fit my diet.

Swiss Chard and Sausage Frittata
4 eggs, beaten
A couple Swiss chard leaves
1 link of Chicken Italian sausage
rosemary, thyme and salt to taste
1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
3 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed

Mix it all together in a baking dish (I used a glass loaf pan) and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

15 July 2011

Singing a Different Tune

I constantly have a song stuck in my head. Usually I'm like a broken record with one line of a song. Presently, though, my brain is serenading itself with a medley of Spanish children's songs: "Hay un perro afuera, un perro, un perro...Yo me llamo Rafa, Rafa, Rafa, yo me...Hola ninos, hola ninos, hola, hola, hola..."

This condition is an unfortunate result of a very fortunate event: Spanish Summer Camp. Today is the last day of the second session that I've co-taught/directed this summer. It's been fun. It's been tiring. It's been the reason I haven't posted much on this blog lately. There just hasn't been time to cook and I've had very little energy left to write.

But this next week is going to be a fresh start. I'm hopeful that I will come away rejuvenated and refreshed, with a new spring in my step and a new song in my heart head. I'm looking forward to the next seven days of my life more than I can explain. I'll take lots of pictures that I'll eventually share on here, but for the next week (or so) I won't be posting anything.

What will I be doing? Let's just say that I'll be passing on the Rice-a-Roni for a plateful of this:

 A bowlful of this:

and a cupful of this:

Catch ya on the flip side! 

08 July 2011

Sunja's Kimchi: Health in a Jar


A buzz word? Something made up by the yogurt industry? I mean, who's ever heard of good bacteria? Doesn't bacteria = bad? Something you don't want in your body? A couple years ago I hadn't even heard the word probiotic let alone know what it means.

I've learned a lot in the last year, though, and these days I'm a big fan of good microbes. One thing I've learned is that while yogurt can be great (as long as it doesn't have a ton of sugar added), there are a lot of other foods that are full of live cultures that will do your body good.

One of those foods is kimchi. It's basically Korea's version of sauerkraut...yet it's totally different than sauerkraut. Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually with cabbage as a base, but it can really be any mixture of vegetables and seasonings--just prepared in a certain way.

Someday I will try to make my own kimchi, but for now, I'm happy to buy it by the jar. I've found a brand that I really like that is reasonably priced. I'm no connoisseur, so I'm definitely open to suggestions for other brands.

If you live near a Whole Foods you can find this brand. International markets would also be great places to find it.

As the label suggests, you can eat kimchi in many ways:

My guess is that the best kimchi is homemade, by someone from Korea. If only there were someone from Korea at my house... (this is funny if you know me and my roommates because one of my roommates is from Korea. But she grew up in Arkansas.)

This time, I decided to try it wrapped up in a nori roll. I loved it. I usually like to eat it right out of the jar or on top of spinach or other greens. It's good mixed with rice, quinoa and other grains too.

You should know, though, that if you eat kimchi around other people, they might comment about the garlic smell. They might tell you that you should stop bringing it to work because it's rude to bring foods that have a strong smell to work. Not that I've experienced this or anything...

Ok fine, I have, in fact, experienced food persecution at work. But I held strong in the face of adversity and told her that, while I was sorry that she felt that way, I would most likely continue to bring kimchi to work.

After all, I like the taste and it's got a lot of probiotics and it's just too difficult to choose my lunches according to whether or not they smell too strongly to certain people.

Kimchi tastes good and is good for you.

Try it. Embrace the smell. Fill up on beneficial microorganisms.