Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Short List of Cool Gifts under $25

 The Yum Diary Short List of excellent gifts under $25, just in time for the week before Xmas!

1. A gift certificate to your local independent health food store. Healthy food (often a luxury for many) can be 'spensive!

Encourage your loved ones to eat well and support those local businesses in the meanwhile. Yum!

2. A metal water bottle. I love my Sigg brand bottles because I have put them in the dishwasher a frillion times and they're doing swell! Plus, they are pretty. Quench Steel Works has lovely designs (hand wash only) and I really like Earthlust's designs as well.

I take a full 1L bottle with me whenever I go out in the car (or the half-liter size for walking trips) so I don't dehydrate and start craving french fries. Great for hydrating during movies, yoga class, cocktail parties, game nights, etc. Those 1 liter bottles are the joint, but the half-size ones are useful for quick hikes and jaunts.

3. A flock of geese, chicks, or ducks -- or even a whole goat or cow -- to a needy family in your gift recipient's name from Heifer International. For example, a family in Africa, the Caribbean, or Asia that receives your gift of a flock of chicks can eat and sell chicken eggs, breed more chickens, and support themselves in a way that was previously impossible.

Heifer International is one of the most well-regarded global charities out there, and the idea is superb. Shutterfly partnered w/Heifer to offer really cute gift cards -- Heifer gives you a 20% discount plus free cards at Shutterfly. Gift levels range from $10 and $20 to $10,000 and beyond!

4. A Moleskine brand planner, journal, or notebook. These are the o.g. well-made notebooks. I've been using a Moleskine weekly planner since...2003? 2004? I wouldn't be without one. The elastic strap keeps it closed and doesn't wear out; the little braided placeholder ribbon keeps me straight; the rear pocket holds my postage stamps and a photo or two; and the removable address book in the back transfers to the next year's planner with ease!

This year I splurged and ordered the red twin-set weekly planner from a local stationery store (Jot in Columbia, SC -- thanks for the referral, Lady Shop Tart!), in the interest of giving my $ to a local business instead of Barnes and Noble. It comes in today or tomorrow. Can't wait!

5. The Snuggie! I got one at my Bunko group's white elephant/dirty santa party and it was the talk of the party. I look like a Smurf wearing it. Terrible quality, super-thin fleece, but to liven up a family gift-giving gathering with laughter and a Snuggie fashion show, $14.95 at Target is a nominal fee, no? (Thanks Kirkland, for the brilliant Snuggie idea!)

6. Movie tickets or a gift certificate to your local art house / independent movie/ nonprofit theater (like the Nickelodeon in Columbia, SC or the Castro, Roxie, or Red Vic in San Francisco). Support the arts, yo!

7. Envirosax or Chico reusable shopping bags. I am addicted to my ultra-lightweight Envirosax bags and their pretty designs. They also happen to be incredibly durable.

And how about Envirosax's idea to wrap all your gifts in eco-friendly shopping bags instead of wrapping paper? GENIUS.

 Loving the new Chico bag designs and shapes, including the Sling, the Messenger, and the Daypack. Cool! The little Chico bags are only $5. Hello stocking stuffers.

(Although they're a lil too small for me. The Vita and Vintage styles, $7 and $9 I think, are much roomier and more useful. Bigger armholes, etc.)

Other great gifts (under and over $25): really good cheeses, fancy salt, pro-quality chef's knives and cookware, spa or independent massage therapist gift certificates, zoo memberships, mixed CDs, MP3 players pre-loaded with lots of music, gift certificates to independent bookstores, buzzworthy cookbooks, etc.

What are your hot lil gift ideas? Comment below!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Free Talk by My Rad Nutrition Coach this Thursday!

So it's almost 6 weeks now* on this all-organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free** food plan, and I'm loving it! Lost 10 lbs, much less puffy-looking in general (you know the feeling), good energy. Woot!

My nutrition coach is speaking again this Thursday (and serving her delicious food) in Columbia, SC. 'Tis free, so check it out!

(Roxanne's Halibut + Napa Cabbage Roulade)


Special Presentation of
Weight Loss Intensive Series

Village at Sand Hills Shopping Center, The Residences
487 Town Center Place #208, Columbia, SC 29229

Thursday, December 17, 2009 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm


The Food WisdomRx program teaches food structures you can use to reach your personal health goals. These are college-level courses in food & cooking!

We combine evidence-based, organic ingredients with traditional gourmet and macrobiotic cooking techniques to produce the healthiest and tastiest outcomes for you. Food WisdomRx is not a diet… Food WisdomRx is a lifestyle.

-  What is Gluten Free?  Why is this important to you?
-  What do you eat to lose weight?
-  What foods reduce cholesterol quickly?
-  What foods help kill cancer?


-    Sample nutritious whole foods, and discover the latest gluten-free foods available in local grocery stores.
-  Speak with local Food Wisdom participants who have won their challenge with cancer; lost weight; lowered their blood pressure; reduced insulin levels; and eliminated acid reflux.
-   Opportunity to register for Special January Intensive: Weight Loss 

We anticipate a large audience. Please reserve your space today so that we can be sure to bring plenty of food to sample!!

R.S.V.P.:  828-551-8603 or visit:


*I cheat once in a while, yes. My brother and I toasted our dearly departed mother on Friday night (the 1-year anniversary) with some sustainably raised N.Y. strip steaks, grilled scallops, and fried risotto balls at Rosso, one of Columbia's best new restaurants gotta say. They were all FANTASTIC.

**OMG I am in love with Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss ice cream.

It is totally non-dairy, no soy, no gluten, very few ingredients, all-natural, sweetened with blue agave nectar (the low-glycemic, awesome alternative to sugar), and holy lord it is freaking delicious. JFYI.

And if you put it back in the fridge instead of the freezer like I did the other day (doh!), it doesn't get soupy. It maintains structural integrity and is like the loftiest fro yo ever or some such. Refreezes just fine too.

This is how I feel. Yes, I am about to shout in caps:


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Browned Baja Shrimp Taco Wraps to Make Your Head Spin

Oh friends, I am stoked. I just made something so delicious I am a little bit freaking out about it*.

It's a Browned Baja-style shrimp taco wrap thinger, with spicy chipotle vegan mayonnaise and fresh napa cabbage. Yum!

And oh, yes, per my excellent new hippie diet (4.5 weeks now!), it's totally gluten-free and dairy-free!

And low-calorie. And low-glycemic. And sugar-free. Did I mention that it is also MAD DELICIOUS?

I know, it sounds like it would be a pain in the tuckis to make. But I just made this one in 5 minutes! I am not even lying! OK, maybe it was 7 minutes. And if your local health food store doesn't sell pre-made vegan chipotle mayonnaise in their deli case like Rosewood does, it'll take you 8 minutes.

But seriously. Fast.

You'll need:
  • 6 Large wild shrimp per wrap (peeled + sprinkled with ground coriander, rosemary, + white pepper, and ideally, sustainably, locally caught like mine from Wild Carolina Seafood on Wadmalaw Island, SC!)
  • Veganaise (a.k.a. Nayonaise or any ole vegan mayonnaise, at 35 calories per serving compared to 100+ for mayo!)
  • Canned chipotle peppers (or just get Rosewood's spicy vegan mayo!)
  • Fresh, organic napa cabbage, julienned (but regular cabbage'll do, I *guess*)
  • Lemon and/or white wine (just a skosh of each)
  • Earth Balance (It's the tastiest organic butter substitute spread -- good and buttery, with none of those bad fats you read about in Newsweek. Butter's ok, but why not be healthy if EB tastes just as fantastic?)
and...your new secret weapon:

Sure. You could substitute some other tortilla or wrap thinger, but here's why you should try and find *these* wrap/tortilla thingers in your health food store fridge or freezer, or online:

As the Sami's Bakery lavash browns in your frying pan, its garlicky, oregano yumminess fills the kitchen with the smell of wood oven pizza. I shiz you not. (And it is wheat gluten-free, and only 112 calories each -- not too bad!)

Browned Baja-style Shrimp Taco Wraps with Spicy Chipotle Veganaise and Napa Cabbage
Read through this before cooking; my recipes aren't the most chronological in the world. (You'll see.)

1. Shrimp!
  • Peel, wash, pat dry 5-6 large shrimp per wrap. (Or strips of firm white fish, a vegan pinch...tofu.)
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground coriander, rosemary, white pepper and a smidge of sea salt. 
  • Fry in hot skillet with 1 TBSP Earth Balance per half dozen shrimp. (Let the EB melt and brown a tiny bit before you put the shrimp in.) Cook on med-high for a few minutes.
  • When almost done, squeeze half a fresh lemon per half dozen shrimp, and throw in a TBSP of dry white wine. Reserve shrimp and the lil bit of browned up, lemony, buttery-good sauce you've created.

2. Lavash!
  • In another skillet, simultaneously, melt another TBSP of Earth Balance on medium. (I didn't say this dish is low fat! Ha!)
  • Trust me, use the full tablespoon. You'll make up for the cal's by using vegan mayo below, and EB is only 80 calories anyway.
  • Brown lavash on both sides but NOT for so long that the lavash gets too crispy to roll! Rice flours dry out more quickly than gluten flours so you gotta watch out. Still, it'll brown up real nice and still be rollable. OMG so yummy.
3. Chipotle Mayo!
  • OK, this was prepped already, ideally (this is one of those chronological inconsistencies). Either you buy it, or you puree about 1 chipotle pepper (canned, in adobo) per cup of veganaise in a food processor. Done!
4. Napa Cabbage!
  • Slice it thin. I julienne one big leaf per taco. It's so lacy and delicate, I don't know what I was doing all these years not cooking with napa cabbage. Doh!

5. Assemblage of the Awesomeness!
  • Smear a tablespoon or two of spicy mayo on your hot, browned, "buttery" lavash. 
  • Plop the shrimps and their teensy bit of sauce on there.
  • Scatter the whole thing with that julienned leaf of napa cabbage. I sprinkled a little gomasio (roasted sesame seeds + sea salt) on mine, too.

I am so excited. I am excited for me, because I have a new favorite recipe, and all the stuff to make it is currently in my fridge.

I am also extra excited for me, because this recipe is so freaking good I think you're going to hug me next time you see me (after you've had a chance to make it of course), and I love hugs.

And, duh, I am also so totes excited for you!

Get that Sami's millet + flax spinach lavash! I am not kidding! It is magic**.

*In my mind, I'm envisioning my friend Ari C. in SF saying that bit, "so delicious I am a little bit freaking out about it," in her awesome, low-toned excited voice. Y'all ever do that? Talk to yourself in your head but in the voice of a fave friend? (If you know Ari you know the voice I am talking about!)

**Totally caught myself accidentally picking up the asterisk method of footnoting from my buddy The Shop Tart. When she does this, it is usually pretty funny stuff. I can only aspire. Thanks, Anne!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crispy Hot Mochi, a Most Crush-Worthy Snack

I have a crush.

On mochi.

Mochi are hot little crispy puffs of goodness, with chewy gooey-ness and toasty roasty-ness.

Oh, and they are vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and sugar free. And vegetarian, low-calorie, organic and all that jazz.

Word up, mochi! You are awesome!

Grainaissance brand Raisin + Cinnamon Mochi are my fave, because Rosewood Market sells 'em and that's where I shop for all my happy healthy hippie food. (They sell the plain flavor, too.)

Each 1" square is only 30 calories, and the only ingredients are organic sweet brown rice, filtered water, raisins, cinnamon, + sea salt. WORD UP!!!

They're quite easy to make. 

Simply cut the mochi into one-inch squares and pop in a 450-degree oven for 7-8 minutes on an ungreased pan.

A toaster oven does the trick nicely!

While baking, the mochi will sploosh out of one side of each square to make a gooey-chewy yum tunnel, an annex to the crispy, hollow puff of tastiness at its center, just like in the photo. See?

Just don't bite into your mochi while it's super duper hot, because, like I did recently, you might burn the roof of your mouth.

And that chewy gooey part will not just burn you -- it will literally stick to the roof of your mouth if it's super hot, and then your burn will be extra gnarly. Like mine! (Which is finally healed, like two weeks later. Doh!)

Thank you Kate O., my old SF roomie who turned me on to macro snacks years ago! You are a lovely bird. (And a lovely bride-to-be!)

photos: TB