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Archive for January, 2012

Tomato-braised veggies, Krissy style

I adapted this recipe from this one in “Eat Close to Home”
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves of minced garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 bunch of Kale, Mustard Greens or other Green
  • 2 c. diced tomatoes with juice (fresh, or one pint/small can)
  • 1-2 cups potatos
  • 1-2 cups vegetables (green beans, mushrooms, corn)
  • 1/2 tsp -1tsp of ground chile pepper or another warming spice that you like
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil, then wilt your greens in it, turning frequently with tongs.  Don’t be afraid of the giant pile of them, as they will start to reduce and you’ll have 1/4 of the volume when you are done.

Add the tomatoes (cook for a minute or two if they’re fresh so they release their juice and cook until juice is just boiling (if using fresh tomatos, you’ll need a little extra time for the juice to cook down).

Throw in the potatoes and other vegetables and spices.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and cook the tomatoes down so everything is saucy but not soupy. Serve as-is, or over couscous, rice, noodles, etc.


By studying my habits, I discovered me.

I’ve been obsessed w/ my habits since i was a teenager.  Lifelong things that have been really hard to change.

TV watching, overeating, eating when I’m not hungry, nail biting, gossiping, being mean to boys I like.

Those were my baby/teenager habits, As life ramped up, I added binge drinking on the weekends and special holidays (like all 20 somethings) and smoking to the mix (along w/ sugar addictions, fast food, etc.).

My entire life I have frequently catalogued all of these at once and said “I WILL NO LONGER DO ____”.

Once, in college, I gave  up all habits at once (for one day, er morning)..I quit the following

  • Smoking
  • Nail biting
  • Eating mozzarella sticks at the cafeteria and any other fatty delicious food I frequently craved
  • Drinking diet soda

It was a really ugly morning. I was in the Student Union, talking to one of my favorite smoking buddies, and realized that I was jumpy and my skin was crawling. As I watched her smoke, I imagined horrible things and also stealing her cigarettes.

Around 2pm I realized that giving up all of these habits at once would require a super-human force that I did not possess.

In my 20’s I started to realize that I needed to by more systematic.  When I was 28, smoking was the #1 habit I would eradicate.  While I was working on that, I STARTED doing yoga regularly.  And I started a love affair with cooking vegetables, while flirting with vegetarianism (we’re still flirting, but he’s moved on to more willing participants).

The I started exercising almost every day of the week, and did various workout routines and promptly injured myself repeatedly.  I quit spending so much time focused on the gym, and let it go too.

An interesting thing happened… yoga stuck, flirting with vegetarianism stuck.  I couldn’t imagine a world where I didn’t study, and practice yoga regularly, or where I didn’t cook really amazing things with new vegetables. It whispered to me:

  • “You were born beautiful and perfect.”
  • “You have all the tools you need to live any life that you dream of.”
  • “You fill a very important space in life.”
  • “Kale is delicious when braised in tomato’s along with potatoes and mushrooms and chile powder.”

I slowly started hearing this message through yoga books, through teachers, through the new friends I met.

Soon, I started to notice that the SAME message was available outside of yoga, particularly in my family, and in a few close friends.

I’d been too scared to pay attention to that message until I found it in a tradition that is 5000 years old.  That is time tested enough for this science fan.

And interestingly enough, my habits are becoming keys to unlocking little secrets about myself….I’ll tell you more as I figure those out.

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

I’m reading a book, “The Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg, that was a special “pre-release” to the attendees of Science Online 2012 .

The interesting thing about habits is that they are unchangeable for most of us.  I have many many habits, and over the years I’ve lost some destructive ones with some simple techniques, and I’ve ADDED some fantastic new ones.  These changes were difficult, and required a lot of trial and error on my part.

In Charles Duhigg’s book, he distills down my trial and errors to very a very simple equation Trigger/cu3–> Perform Habit –> Reap Reward.

A powerful and often reliable habit changer: Alcoholics Anonymous plus a couple of other stories.  Belief and community help people to make powerful changes in their lives.

The most interesting thing I’m finding as I read this book is that lasting change happens for people when they believe in something bigger than themselves.  Duhigg points to a couple of great examples…one of which is people who’ve successfully quit drinking thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.  In these people a combination of community and belief come thru for them and replace their habit of drinking alcohol to alleviate their stress/pain/ suffering.

I went to Science Online 2012

If you’ve ever heard me talk passionately about something or some human, please replay that conversation and insert “Science Online” as the object of my dearest most passionate love.  It’s a community where Science writers, blogging scientists, journalists and a couple of lucky marketers **cough** ME, get to converge on North Carolina.

By attending we participate in rituals, hug the BlogFather of Science (BoraZ) and share the hardships that come with exposing your ideas to an often harsh populace.  I’ve been to Science Online twice, but everyone there feels like family, even when I don’t know their names.

So much love to this community.  It’s where science-smart people get to gush unabashedly about their love of science without anyone asking them to prove it or show a significant causality.  It’s where feeling meets science.

And anytime I work with scientists, that’s the place I want to be.

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