The Hulk

Posted in Food, Living by mcarmen5 on 01/20/2011

I don’t know when exactly or how it happened, but something sparked the idea that green juice might be fun to try and the next thing I knew, I was obsessed.  I’ve been juicing and drinking a glass of green juice every morning since my first glass last week.   That glass was also the first time I ever had fresh green juice and I was so pleasantly surprised.  I scoured health blogs and magazines for “the perfect” recipe (searching for “perfection” = story of my life!) and came up with something that appealed to my palate.  I recommend using organic ingredients whenever you can and I’ll list the ones you most want to use organic below before the recipe.  Also, the recipe is meant to give an idea of a green juice — experiment to find your favorite combination.

Try your best for organic (I especially recommend sourcing organic leafy greens because you’re juicing and consuming the delicate leaves, which likely have the most pesticides on them.  Celery is also another important vegetable to purchase organic for juicing):

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Carrot

Green Juice — I lovingly call it “The Hulk” because it’s so green and powerful :)

  • 2-3 leaves of Kale (leaves removed from stem)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (sometimes I add more when I feel like it)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1-2 small apple(s) (usually organic and either green Granny Smiths or Gala apples)
  • small piece of ginger (maybe the size of a thumbnail? depends on how much kick you want)
  • a small handful of parsley (measure to preference)

To make weekday morning juicing easier, I usually wash and prepare the ingredients and divide them into separate ziplock bags.  Each bag is labeled “Green Juice” 1, 2, 3, …etc.   Try to avoid dicing the cucumber, carrots or apples too long before juicing as the veggies tend to dry out and the apple will oxidize.

For me, it’s easier to have a morning green juice when I feel like it.  It wakes me up and I feel energized, light and refreshed.  Otherwise, I think it’s perfect as a post-workout tonic or as a snack.  I don’t really recommend using it to replace a meal, though it certainly has enough veggies to count as a salad.  My first juice was before dinner and I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was amused by the super dark green color  — it was interesting and kind of cool, and the taste was so fresh and phenomenal.  Shortly after drinking it, I walked to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner, and on that short walk I started feeling the effects.  I felt “brighter” and lighter and the bonus was that as I incorporated green juice into my days, I found myself making smarter nutritional choices.  Even better: I don’t crave coffee or soda anymore :) Give it a try!

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Casual Friday

Posted in Style by mcarmen5 on 12/23/2010

This outfit makes me really happy because it includes some of my most favorite things — a perfect blue oxford, pale pink nail polish and a beautiful, buttery leather bag in classic cognac.  I also happen to think it makes a great casual work outfit — or even just perfect for everyday, if you ask me!  Classic and clean, just the way I like it.


A Case of the Uglies

Posted in Living by mcarmen5 on 12/21/2010

It’s that time of year again — holiday parties!  My friends and I have our annual traditions: gingerbread house-making, Festivus (classic), ice-skating at the Embarcadero and of course, our beloved ugly sweater party.  I was determined to win this year and claim the ugly sweater goblet as my own, so I literally decked my sweater.  I must say I’m pretty proud of myself because this was originally a plain white Hanes $5 sweatshirt from Target (on sale – LOVE that store).  There were only XXL’s left, so I cut and re-sewed it to match my proportions and did an off-shoulder 80’s cut.  My only regret is that they no longer had the neon pink sweatshirts – perfect 80’s moment for the ultimate in “ugly” :)  The sweater was so easy to make — just snip tinsel and hot-glue on felt and other sparkly embellishments.  This was all from a $3 roll of gold tinsel, a $1 foam board (for the candy canes), a $1 felt and sparkly copper pipe cleaners.  So easy and much better than buying an expensive “ugly” holiday sweater!  I won second place (BOO!), but I won majority vote, so I’m still a happy clam!  Need to amp it up next year!  Hope this provides some inspiration for my fellow ugly sweater party-goers :)

Love & Cioppino

Posted in Food by mcarmen5 on 12/21/2010

Cioppino, or “Fisherman’s Stew” has easily become one of my favorite meals, and after weeks of serious craving, I decided it was time to learn how to make it myself.  I was surprised by how simple it is to make — even though it’s full of deliciousness and seems much more complex.  My Dad is visiting for the holidays and I thought it would be great to treat him and my stepmom and brother to a warm, hearty meal.   This winter has been unusually frosty in San Francisco and a hot bowl of fresh seafood stew seemed like the perfect tonic in the perfect seaside setting.  One of my favorite things about living in San Francisco is the bounty of fresh seafood and foodie inspiration.  I combined several recipes to create something that worked for my palate, and despite a couple of worried side-glances from my Dad as he watched me cook this for the first time, it was a hit with the family.  Dad ended up enjoying it so much he went back for thirds.

{fresh Dungeness crab}

{scrubbed black mussels and clams}

{Italian parsley & fragrant onions}

{the fixin’s}

What I used:

-small black mussels (about 2 lbs for 6 people)

-long-neck clams (~3 lbs)

-wild cod fillet (~2 lbs)

-large scallops (2 per person)

-large shrimp (~ 1/2 lb)

-Dungeness crab (two 2 lb crabs)

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Watch: Guns, Germs and Steel

Posted in Current Events, Entertainment by mcarmen5 on 12/20/2010

My friend and I were lazily flipping through her Netflix “watch-instant” selection when I caught sight of something familiar: the cover image of my one of my favorite books!  I was so excited that it was the first thing I watched when I got home (my friend was not in the mood for “anything serious” at the moment).  The documentary is an adaptation from Jared Diamond‘s phenomenal book, Guns, Germs and Steel.  It has been one of my absolute favorites and most recommended books since I first read it at 17.   This was often the book I’d (very) enthusiastically gush about whenever patrons at the local bookstore I used to work for asked, “What do you recommend?”  I must have sold dozens!

If you’ve ever wondered, like me, why certain civilizations managed to conquer so much of the globe and how the society we know today was shaped, this is a great launch-pad.  I’d highly recommend this for your personal edification or perhaps as a gift for that history buff on your list!

You can watch this even if you don’t have Netflix or can’t wait to see when it’ll air on PBS.  Catch it on Google-Vid here.

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted in Food by mcarmen5 on 10/17/2010

After several days of unusually hot weather during a mysterious second wave of Indian summer, the weather suddenly turned bitterly cold.  It was almost as if we went from summer to winter overnight!  Of course, leave it to fickle San Francisco weather to be confused.  I figured oatmeal cookies would be the trick to cozying up the home and I couldn’t wait to try this yummy adaptation of the classic oatmeal chocolate chip.  It also didn’t hurt that I was just gifted this amazing cookie scoop (Thanks, Loretta! :), which made the process a lot faster and much neater.  These cookies were SO delicious that I couldn’t help sneaking several off the cooling rack and all 60 of them were quickly devoured the next day by family and friends.  The best part?  Having the whole house smell like fresh, warm cookies the whole night through.  Mission accomplished.

Smoked Salmon with Herb Butter

Posted in Food by mcarmen5 on 10/14/2010

{Photo: GOOP}

I’m a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP, and an even BIGGER fan of smoked salmon-anything, so imagine my delight when I opened this week’s newsletter and found SF’s very own Tartine bread featured in this get-up.  Um, I’m making these now.  I don’t care if I just ate enough dinner to feed two marathon runners!

Here’s the recipe that was featured in her newsletter, adapted from Chad Robertson and his book Tartine Bread.   I’m fairly certain this is something I’ll be making again and again.


Smoked Salmon with Herb Butter:

Makes 1 sandwich

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped chervil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • thinly sliced smoked salmon (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1 tsp chopped chives

Make the compound butter: in a small bowl, mix the butter, tarragon, thyme, chervil, and salt.

Spread on the bread, top with salmon, sprinkle the chives over the salmon, and top with second slice of bread. Grind white pepper to taste.


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San Francisco in Watercolor

Posted in Living by mcarmen5 on 10/12/2010

There really is no city more beautiful than San Francisco.  I’m often conflicted between my enthusiasm and pride for the city and my unabashed selfishness with it.  Sometimes I just don’t want to share!  I stumbled upon these pretty watercolors by a local SF artist and thought they were too cute not to share.  These little snapshots perfectly capture key elements of San Francisco and are whimsically romanticized by the talented Tomoko Maruyama.  I’d love to get a print, but I need to first decide which one I want!

{View from Crissy Field}

{the stunning Palace of Fine Arts}

{Coit Tower, with its 360* panoramic view}

{Fisherman’s Wharf & its iconic crab}

{sparkly fireworks by the Bay Bridge}


Posted in Living, Musings by mcarmen5 on 10/08/2010

On the conveyor belt and about to head into the fire pit!  Just found these silly pics of my two furry loves and thought they would be fun to share.  This is what discipline (and determination!) looks like: the ability to hold out for the big reward even if it’s literally so deliciously close!

Let’s hope I’ll have plenty of focused discipline and determination tomorrow morning :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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California Dreamin’

Posted in Living, Musings by mcarmen5 on 10/07/2010

Why is it that as the days get shorter and colder I find myself fantasizing about driving down the CA-HWY 1 with the windows rolled down and honeyed sun rays streaming in?  All I could think about were white bikinis, straw hats, soft sand and surf, turquoise waters and pretty, summery colors like coral and bleached-out pastels.  Ugh, this can’t be good for me — it’s not even WINTER yet!  It’s gonna be a long seven months ahead.