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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


If you've ever been intrigued by cronuts, which became all the craze in NYC a couple of summers ago, but didn't want to pay $100 per cronut for delivery, here is a quick, inexpensive, and delicious solution.

Divide a crescent roll into four sheets (along the perforated lines).

Fold each of the four sheets in half.

Cut it like a donut.

Deep fry it in oil (be careful to neither burn, nor undercook).

For added bonus, cut the finished cronut lengthwise and fill it with anything you desire (strawberry jam and cookie-cocoa butter featured here).  Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.

Don't forget to lick your fingers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unconditional Self-Love

I was listening recently to an interview with Julie M. Simon, psychotherapist, author, and life coach, in which she talked about the practical steps of how to achieve unconditional self-love.  Since everyone's talking about self-love these days, but it doesn't come naturally to everyone, Ms. Simon, helps break it down to four habits, adopting and following which should help get one there.  Here are the habits of people who naturally practice self-love:

  1. Self-affirming commentary.  As you go through your day, you need to regularly say kind, loving, supportive phrases to yourself.  "I am so proud of myself that I washed those dishes, even though I didn't feel like doing it."  "Yay, I took myself to the gym and got in 30 minutes of working out, even though I didn't have the time to work out the full hour."  "I am so excited I made that difficult phone call and now it's done.  Good job!"  If you look in the mirror and don't like something you see, you focus on what you do like:  "I am really happy with how my hair is turning out today."  Adopt a zero tolerance policy to self abuse.  Don't say unkind things to yourself that you would never say to others.
  2. Learn to adjust your expectations.  Do not have unrealistic expectations for what you can do or what's possible for you at this particular time.  If you are just starting to learn how to play piano, do not expect to be playing for the symphony in a year.  When you have to get rid of 50 extra pounds, don't think it's going to happen by Labor Day, when it's already July.  When you manage your expectations, you then spend your energy on what you can actually achieve, rather than fretting about how you are failing your unrealistic goals.
  3. Practice win-win comparisons.  We always compare ourselves to others around us and it's usually a win-lose comparison.  We either come out on top compared to the other person and declare ourselves a winner at his or her expense; or we declare ourselves a loser when we see someone with a better career, a Ferrari, or a published best-seller.  Since human beings cannot stop comparing, use this habit in a different way; go for a win-win comparison.  When you see someone who looks better than you, think about how that inspires you to take better care of yourself.  When you see someone with a great career, think about how inspired you are to work on your professional development.  Use comparisons for inspiration and motivation only.   Always boost yourself and the other person.  This will mean more self-esteem for you.
  4. Forgive yourself for your perceived flaws and mistakes.  Also forgive others who have done you wrong.  It doesn't mean forgetting what was done to you, but it means focusing on releasing your energy you are now spending on maintaining anger toward yourself and others and on recycling those thoughts day in and day out.  Once you release this energy, you can put it to a more positive and productive use.
Practice makes perfect and the more you practice self-love, the more inner peace you will experience.  If these habits do not come naturally to you, can you try practicing them for a week and see where they take you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cafe Gratitude KC

I recently received my Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Dr. T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell and I have been incorporating more and more plant based foods into my diet.  Yes, mom was right, eat your vegetables.  Everything you need for a long, healthy life is in them.

Fortuitously, a close family member recently decided to become vegan and the whole family went to Cafe Gratitude this morning to celebrate his birthday.  This was my first time in this vegan restaurant (I believe there is only one other in the metro area).  As expected, the atmosphere was cool and relaxed and the food was fantastic.  I particularly liked the names for smoothies, elixirs, shakes, and main dishes:  Enlivened, Healthy, Rejuvenated, Transformed, Cozy, Powerful, Serene….  All the food is organic and there are a lot of raw options.  A big sign by the bar also says that they have recently started serving vegan beer and wine.  

I ordered the Cured tonic (infusion of E3Live and coconut water with 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids & EFAs) and also had a fair share of the Cool shake that our five-year found underwhelming (I loved it!).  The Cool shake is a mint chocolate chip milkshake with Vitamineral green and raw cacao nibs -- delicious!  I also had the Peace breakfast item, which is an imitation of bagels and lox, the part of lox being played by strips of seaweed and the part of cream cheese by cashew creme cheese.  It was served on a bed of delicious live onion flatbread, with tomatoes, onions, capers, and sprouts.

I remember sharing a beautiful lunch with my husband at the Pure Food and Wine in Manhattan, a chic vegan restaurant serving raw food, about three years ago and wondering just when will KC get its own high-end vegan restaurant, and Cafe Gratitude is definitely the answer to that wish.  I can't wait to go back.

The water bottles have positive words on them.  It has been shown that water absorbs its surrounding energy and you can charge it with good vibes by labeling the bottle with a positive word.

Inside the restaurant
The bar
Do you like vegan food?   Have you been to Cafe Gratitude?  Can you recommend other vegan food options in KC?   Please write in the comments!