“Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Big Questions from Little People and Simple Answers from Great Minds
I want to share the most divine feel-good book that recently came into my life: Questions from Little People and Simple Answers from Great Minds. In this book, Gemma Elwin Harris asked thousands of primary school children between the ages of four and twelve to send her their questions and then invited some of today’s most prominent scientists, philosophers, and writers to answer them. Clever; right? This book is not only delightful but also quite educational! The illustrations are lovely and amusing. I shared a few with my students and here are some of their favorite illustrations:
Alain de Botton explores why we have dreams
Particle physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss explains why we’re all made of stardust
Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains why we can’t tickle ourselves
I felt so warm and fuzzy after reading this book! An added bonus is that a percentage of the sales of the book are donated to Save the Children.
Hope you enjoy it as much as my students did!
These days it’s hard not to notice this cleverly named crop of new products. For many women, BB creams are a terrific, timesaving skin solution with the sleek, unfussy utility of a little black dress.
The “BB” stands for “beauty balm,” a cream that’s a combo of several products in one: a primer, to smooth imperfections and help makeup adhere; a complexion toner, to even out redness or other splotches; a moisturizer; and a sunscreen-all tucked into a light formula that’s perfect for the time-pressed woman who likes a no-make-up look.
Still, the range of shades can be limited to just one or two hues (particularly vexing for those with darker complexions), so people with stubborn, dark under-eye circles or more difficult color-correction needs may still want to apply concealer or a layer of foundation.
One important note: If you plan to rely on a BB cream for your daily sun protection, choose one with SPF 30 and be sure to extend it down your entire neck as well. Don’t forget, your neck needs protection, too.
I recently made this recipe from Real Simple magazine. I actually did a full face-plant into my dish. It was THAT DE-LISH! This is such an easy-peasy recipe and is truly ah-maz-ing! Please feel free to use gluten-free pasta , wheat pasta or whatever floats your boat.
You can always substitute almost any winter squash for the sugar pumpkin. Butternut will give you a sweeter pasta, kabocha or acorn a more savory one. Yummy!
- ¾ pound pappardelle
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½ small sugar pumpkin (about 1 ½ pounds)-peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 2 ½ ounces pecorino, grated (2/3 cup), plus more for serving (optional)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a plate; reserve the skillet.
Add the pumpkin, thyme sprigs, and 1 ½ cups water to the reserved skillet, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is very soft and most of other water has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the onion, pumpkin, thyme leaves, pecorino, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to coat (adding more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce).
Serve the pasta with black pepper and additional pecorino, if desired.
I want to know if you did a face-plant into your plate, too!
With my annual mammogram approaching, I find myself becoming a little tense. Although I am a “pro” at all of the medical tests and should be used to this routine, I still get frazzled and overwhelmed. Sometimes I just want to crawl into bed, but know that I can’t. After all, I’m not a quitter…and I hope that you don’t quit either (shining moment).
When I was newly diagnosed in 2008, a friend gave me a poem that I would like to share with you. It’s appropriately called Don’t Quit.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.
Life is strange with its twists an turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a fair and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,-
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
~ Author Unknown
Look closer. CLOSER! Yup, those brilliant designs are actual beetles, not facsimiles. Shown is Pulchra Prism from Salem, Oregon-based artist Christopher Marley’s Coleoptera Mosaics series of striking, natural-assemblage Pheromone artworks. As a kid, Marley suffered from entomophobia, or fear of bugs. But working as a fashion model in a variety of exotic locals exposed him to so many creepy and crawly creatures that he developed an appreciation for their brilliant colors and fascinating variations in appearance. Today, he works in Peru, Bornea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan to obtain beetles, butterflies, deep-sea organisms, and such other natural artifacts as crystals, fossils, and rough gemstones to use as design elements in his work. And not to worry: all previously pesky pests are hermetically sealed within museum-quality framing, so they will not disintegrate or become infested for as long as you own them. Available through Interieurs in Manhattan for $1,150 (20 x 24 inches). For more information: pheromonegallery.com. To purchase: interieurs.com
No cans of Raid required for these arresting, all-natural assemblages. Right?
Beating Breast Cancer Could Be More About Diet Than Drugs
Like many breast cancer patients, Vicky Stewart was concerned about the side effects of the drug Tamoxifen, which she was told she had to take while in remission. So instead, she self-prescribed exercise and superfoods — like the spice turmeric, which is often used in curries and she says “makes cancer cells commit suicide.” (There’s also been journal-published research to support that idea.)
Similarly, in 2003, author and filmmaker Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer in her liver, known as epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. Since then, she’s kept the disease at bay by going vegan, reducing stress, and exploring alternative therapies, like massage and meditation.
Both Stewart’s and Carr’s experiences seem to prove that we can keep disease at bay by changing some very basic tenets of our daily lives — not by taking drugs, but by changing what food we’re putting in our bodies. And finally, it seems science is taking note.
Getting to this point has been an uphill battle, though. You can bet that recommending a few simple diet tweaks to cancer patients isn’t exactly popular with the Big Pharma crowd. They’d much prefer that people like Stewart and Carr ring their cash registers to combat disease. Stewart confessed to The Telegraph:
The doctors absolutely will not say that the diet is going to do anything to help the cancer in any way, other than to say a healthy diet is going to help in the fight against any disease.
But that didn’t deter her. And four years later, she believes her diet (which included lots of turmeric, garlic, ginger, fresh fruit, veggies, juices) assisted in her recovery. And she says attitudes seem to be shifting a bit now, thank goodness. She’s even involved in a research project that is looking at how lifestyle can be used to help other victims of the disease.
To think that money is going toward studies like that is not just heartening — it’s empowering. Stewart and Carr are thriving illustrated examples: Cancer sufferers can take matters into their own hands, and natural measures may be just as or even more effective than side effect-causing drugs at managing and preventing illness.
What do you think of these women’s stories? Do you believe it’s possible to keep cancer at bay with natural, lifestyle measures and diet tweaks?
“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.”
~ Deepak Chopra
I absolutely love sweet potatoes and did a full face plant into my plate when my friend served these the other night. Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots when coated in orange juice and spices are aahmaaazing! In addition to the usual oil-this sweet potato, carrot, and onion mix pops with flavor. It is so easy-peasy to make. I added fresh mint which I think brings a bright note to hearty root vegetables. I also garnished this dish with spiced pecans. Can you say yumma-licious!
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and ends removed, cut into ¼-inch-by-3-inch batonnets
- 8 medium carrots (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise and cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 –inch-thick slices
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- Juice of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 20 mint leaves
- ½ cup Savory Roasted Pecans (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, butter, oil, salt, and all spices. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast until a knife easily pierces the thickest pieces, 35 to 40 minutes. Increase oven to broil and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with mint and Savory Roasted Pecans before serving.
Savory Roasted Pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika, and ¼ teaspoon ground cumin; set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt ¾ stick of butter. Add 2 cups pecans and toss to coat. Add reserved spices and toss to coat. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think when you makes this delicious recipe!