Sunday, March 31, 2013

Swedish Designers & . ... What's After P333?

Ever since I stumbled upon the amazing Swedish designer, Ewa i. Walla, I have been totally obsessing. By now, I think I have the entire Spring/Summer 2013 line memorized (and the prices too. . OUCH!). Her line of clothing is inspired by 18th century Swedish farm culture. The vibe is ethereal and dreamy . . .and, at times, extreme fairy tale. Ewa creates the unexpected and extraordinary, simply by using ordinary, natural mediums (cotton, linen, silk, wool, organdy) adorned in traditional methods, such as hand embroidery, ruffle work and lace tatting. Ewa i. Walla clothing is so steeped in old European tradition, which in itself is unique. This is why her designs exude a sense of antiquity, while somehow achieving a modern edge, all at the same time.

Admittedly, full-on Ewa can be over-the-top. But I think in small doses, these pieces can mesh nicely, and add a bit of spark, to my current day-to-day wardrobe. Besides, I can only afford a few select pieces, and so I've started with some basics to build off, per suggestions from Ewa i. Walla's UK agents. You see, what makes this even trickier than just navigating the price point, is that you can't buy her clothing in the States, so there is no way for me to try on any of these pieces or even see them in person. And so I'm left to work closely with the UK agents, who have been more than willing to help. (If you ask me, since Ewa i. Walla garners such a cult following, the seasoned "Ewa Kids" sincerely enjoy helping the new fledglings find their Ewa wings; a mentorship of sorts, in an almost secret club.)

And now, what makes this all even MORE trickier, is that once my current Phase 3 of Project 333 concludes next week, I will begin transitioning into a new capsule wardrobe project. This time, I will be living with only 52 items (which includes outerwear, accessories, shoes) for an entire year! This is an idea my friend Bev had mentioned awhile back. I was immediately on board. I don't have a definitive start date for this new Project 5212, but I am aiming for mid-May. As you might imagine, I am in a planning frenzy right now trying to figure out how to make this all work, and how my new Ewa i. Walla pieces will play with the rest of my year-long wardrobe. Truth be told, her clothing will undoubtedly lend themselves perfectly to this new project, since it is all designed to be worn in layers and to be worn in a variety of ways. 

But enough of that. For now, just take a peek at some of the otherworldly designs of Ewa i. Walla. .  ..


” The feel of fabric is everything to me.   The tactile experience is what inspires me. My clothes are nothing but perception…”
- Swedish clothing designer 

Friday, March 29, 2013

. . .a Four Season Kitchen Garden??

Spring is here, and a new and improved kitchen garden is in the works at The Maplewood. While last year's garden yielded plenty of gorgeous and tasty veggies and herbs, we seemed to be harvesting for only short stints throughout the growing season. Not to mention, our zucchini plants got hit with the deadly Squash Vine Borer (for the second season in a row!) and we lost all our zukes and yellow squash plants early on.

This year, we have some new strategies in place! I'm very excited to be playing a major role in the planning and coordination of this season's garden. One of the main goals of our upcoming garden, is to extend the growing season and ensure we are harvesting continuously throughout the entire season. Ideally, I'm actually aiming to create a true four season garden! If done properly, utilizing deep mulch and cold frames, we could be harvesting lettuce in the middle of January. . how exciting! By maximizing the potential of our small plot, we will greatly reduce how much produce we need to purchase over the year. But of course, this will take a lot of planning and coordination.

The Kitchen Garden status as of 03/28/13
. . ..after a long, hard winter
I've already started the layout and planning process of the garden, using an awesome online planning tool I stumbled upon, called Vegetable Garden Planner. The Vegetable Garden Planner seems like the perfect tool to help with the logistics of staging many different crops over an extended period of time. And as I plan and research potential contenders for the upcoming garden, I am also ramping up for some physical work outside. As the ground thaws, it's now time to begin preparations of the soil. Research continues on what amendments will best serve our particular soil conditions, and over the next few weeks, the actual clean up will begin.

I realize that the plans for this season's garden are lofty, but I'm confident we can achieve all this and more.
It's going to be a long row to hoe, but it will be well worth it in the end!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Project 333, Phase 3: The Lookbook (In Front of the White Door)

Thanks to our camera's self-timer, and a handy little Joby, I was able to document 50 of my outfits during this current phase of my Project 333. Quick lil' snapshots "in front of the white door", these aren't the greatest photos (although I tried to mix things up with my poses, which are mildly entertaining, in and of themselves). Documenting this phase is key. I set out with one primary goal: to achieve maximum flexibility and style diversity, using ONLY my very limited 33 selections -- which include accessories, shoes and outerwear! (For a full list of my 33 items, see Project 333, Phase 3: The List.)

As I flip through this Lookbook, I am satisfied that I have compiled a complete visual summary, representing the breadth of styles/moods/looks this minimal wardrobe can achieve. And I think I was successful in doing what I set out to do. Take a look for yourself. 33 Items . . .countless possibilities!

.....Thanks for looking!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Moong Ke Cheelay, Linda Style!

I will not pretend that I know a thing about Indian cuisine. Other than the fact that the mere aroma of Indian spices sends my mouth a waterin'! And while I do love the exotic flavors, I do not love the heaviness of many of the saucy dishes. And admittedly, I have not had Indian food in probably a year. Mainly due to my weight-loss diet. However, since starting my Valeodida Diet a couple months ago, I have been on the look-out for interesting recipes that don't incorporate meat, grains, dairy or sugars. I have also been doing a lot of sprouting, which helps make a lot of things easier on my tummy. In a casual conversation with the Indian woman I sit next to at work, she asked if I ever "mash" my sprouted mung beans to make "pancakes".

What??! I had to learn more! She gave me this recipe for Moong Ke Cheelay. It fit all the criteria of my Valeodida way of eating, so I immediately set some beans to sprout in preparation for trying out this new recipe.

In true Linda fashion, I made some modifications. First off, I did not have Mung Beans on hand, and so my pancakes are made from French Green Lentils. The recipe I was given only instructed that the beans be soaked for 4 hours, whereas mine were fully sprouted. I also did not have asafoetida , which is some sort of a root herb that helps with digestion, and lends a leek-like flavor. So I substituted with some other spices. I also took my own avenue on the filling as well . .. seeing that I had only edamames on hand, along with an over abundance of cauliflower. And so my final version very loosely resembles the recipe that was given to me (in more ways than one, I'm sure). But it really was quite delicious! The filling had a bit of kick to it, which was balanced nicely by a lil' sweet. The pancakes were mild in flavor, and may have been a bit thick. I think next time, I might water down the batter a bit. And I love the fact that I can take the basic pancake idea, and make it more sweet than savory. I would like to try a version with cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.. . for breakfast!!

And now, without further ado, my take on the traditional Indian dish, Moong Ke Cheelay:  (I don't really measure -- so ingredients are to be eye-balled and incorporated using best judgement!)

approx 1 cup sprouted French Green Lentils
freshly grated ginger
fenugreek (freshly ground)
ground cumin
garam masala
coconut milk (canned, unsweetened) and water

- - mix very well in blender. keep adding liquid (I used a combination of coconut milk and water) until the proper consistency is achieved. fry the pancakes with a lil' olive oil or in a sprayed pan. my pancakes were 1/4 cup of the batter, spread thin, and cooked until golden brown on each side.

fresh chopped cauliflower
fresh chopped onion
chopped edamame beans
coconut milk (canned, unsweetened)
ground cumin
dal makhani (or whatever indian spices on hand)
cayenne pepper (to taste)
something sweet (probably should have used raisins, but I can't have them so I used dash of Stevia)

-- cook this up in a saucepan. let it simmer for quite a while. it should be a very soft filling.

It all starts with sprouted French Green Lentils.
A very tasty treat.. . all on their own!
The blended batter! The green specks
are the skins of the lentils.
The filling, cooking down nicely!

A stuffed pancake. In all honestly, not much
to look at. But the combo of flavors is fantastic!
Otto enjoying a Moong Ke Cheelay pancake!
(and a few sprouted lentils on the side)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Valeodida, it is!

I am still cleansing. Candida cleansing. It has been eights weeks since I have eaten grains, dairy, carbohydrates, sugar (including honey, agave, etc.) and fruit*. While I have reason to believe my body is on the mend and has, for the most part, eradicated itself of the candida overgrowth, I am continuing (and adapting) this way of eating for the long term.

My way of eating doesn't have a name, which makes things kind of difficult. I've adopted pieces from various diet philosophies to create an amalgam that works for me. I have dubbed this eating style. . Valeodida!

V (for Vegetarian) - I've always been vegetarian. Historically, I have eaten lacto-ovo (consuming dairy products and eggs, but no meat or fish). I have now dropped the dairy, but eat eggs as a primary source for protein. (Almost a vegan -- except for the pretty boots, and buttery soft car seats.)

ALEO (for Paleo) - More and more people are eating a Paleolithic diet, which consists mainly of fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots and nuts. If you haven't heard about this eating philosophy, it is based around eating as our Paleolithic ancestors would have, a million years ago (this is a.k.a. the Caveman diet). Assuming our bodies were designed to eat in such a manner, it is seen as a more natural way to go. Paleos exclude grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, salt, sugar and processed oils. I am very close to this, except I am a bit more stringent in that I don't partake in fish, meat, fruit or fungi (due to the candida link).

DIDA (for Candida) - Don't feed the yeast!!! As I've written about before -- Candida Cleanse diet removes carbs and sugars from the system, so excess yeast don't have anything to feed on. It is in this third prong, that I lose my fruit, due to the sugar content. Candida cleanse also allows for meat/fish, as does Paleo. But of course, the vegetarian in me won't have any of this, so again, my way of eating ends up being a bit more restrictive.

I am meeting with my naturopath next week, to fine-tune a healthy eating plan that will support this framework I've established. I am pretty certain I will stick to my guns on much of this. Especially after trying to reintroduce ancient grains around week four (I felt very sick and started the detox process all over again). I'll be keeping the grains and grain-like seeds (like quinoa, millet) out. As for sugars. . who needs those??? I have adapted quite nicely to my new philosophies on food. It was not at all as difficult of a change as one might imagine, once I committed to doing what's right for my body. Based on all the research I've done, I have outlined for myself the healthiest and most natural diet I could possibly fathom. And for the record, you heard it here first. . . VALEODIDA!

*Note: there are several exceptions to these rules. For example. . .I am allowed the high-fiber fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. I am allowed goat cheese and plain yogurt. Stevia is the only allowed sweetener. These exceptions are taken from the Candida Cleanse rule book, based on how the body processes sugar, the carb conversion, glycemic index, and a bunch of other stuff that is rather complicated. Oh, and over the past two months there have been a couple cheats: approx. 4 TBS of raw honey, 6 dried cranberries and half of a dried pineapple ring have been consumed. There. Confessions do feel good.