To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Herbed Chicken and Potatoes

I was in the mood for something simple and savory, so I threw together this simple dish. It's delicious with a warm, woodsy taste, it fills you up right quick, and it only takes about 20 minutes to make.

Herbed Chicken and Potatoes
(Serves 5)

Herbed Potatoes
3 medium potatoes, cut to 1" cubes
3 red potatoes, cut to 1" cubes
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary, minced fine
1/4 tsp dried thyme, minced fine
dash fresh ground sea salt
dash fresh ground pepper

Herbed Chicken
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed and cut to 1" cubes
2.5 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 tsp thyme
3 tsp sea salt
3 tsp freshly ground pepper (I use lemon peppercorns and they give the dish a slight citrus flavor that's yummy)

Set oven to 450 F.

Prepare 2 cookie sheets with raised sides with olive oil spray. Not too much. Just enough to coat the bottoms.

Mix the potatoes and their ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to coat. Shake them out onto one cookie sheet, spreading them out so they're not too lumped together. Place them in the oven. Set the timer to 21 minutes.

Now slice up your chicken breasts and add them to the same bowl you used for the potatoes along with their ingredients. Stir well to coat. Spread the chicken out on the second cookie sheet. The timer should have counted down now to about 15 minutes. Pop the chicken in the oven with the potatoes.

When the timer goes off, it should all be done at the same time. To serve, I took a fifth of each tray and spooned it into a bowl, mixing it all up together. Yum yum yum! Enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Fans Unite! And Dave McCallum Rocks.

If you haven't heard of the Grilled Cheese Invitational, it's a cooking competition sponsored by Tillamook, that occurs in LA annually. I went with a couple friends last year and it was a blast. Even if you don't get to be a taster (the honor for which you must apply ahead), it's still fun to see all the neat and tasty ideas people come up with. If this sounds like fun to you, you missed the boat this year - sorry - but you can keep the website and check in next year. Maybe you can even be on the front lines and bravely munch some of the gooey yumminess. 

Last year, my new friend Dave (who I have referenced a few times before for his invaluable cooking advice and tastebud-titillating kitchen witchery) placed third in the Invitational with his "Tiramisu Grilled Cheese on Chocolate Coffee Bread". This year, he placed second with "Grilled Cheesecake on Graham Cracker Bread" and landed a Judges' Award with his "South Carolina Grilled Cheese" (corn bread, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, fried chicken, pecans, and honey). Congratulations, Dave!! I had a feeling you were cheesy. :)

Sinless Strawberry Ice Cream-in-a-Glass

"No, young man, you can't have cake for breakfast. You get fried cake with syrup for breakfast! Now, load up on that and try not to nap." 
-J. Gaffigan

Ever notice how much we love sweet things in the morning? Why on earth is that? Growing up, I was never really a fan of syrups on my pancakes or waffles, but I sure could polish off a bagel slicked with sugar-laden cream cheese or a plate of spam drizzled in honey (one of my favorite youthful treats - don't laugh!). Now, with a little more wisdom and will-power, I avoid most sugars because I know that an hour or two after the deliciousness will come the uncomfortable lethargy that always seizes me after a bout with a sweet treat. Still, I have a sweet tooth - I think it runs in my family - and the way I tame it?

Dessert for breakfast - three times a week. Now, I know what you're thinking. Whaaaaat? No!! Don't fall off the wagon! Not after all this talk of health and happy wholesomeness!

Trust me.

So let me take you through one of my "dessert for breakfast" mornings. I wake up at 6:40am, I go to the gym and I run for thirty minutes, then I run through the list (squats, leg lifts, dumbbell press, pushups, crunches, side bends, side squats... I won't scare you with the rest.) In short, it's a little past 8am when I get back to my apartment and start this short and sweet ritual. Protein, vitamins, calcium, probiotics - it's all in here. And it tastes like strawberry ice cream.

Sinless strawberry ice cream-in-a-glass
(serves 1)

1/2 banana, sliced
1 large spoonful nonfat plain yogurt*
1 scoop whey protein* (I use GNC's Pro Performance 100% Whey Protein)
1/4 cup orange juice (not from concentrate)
5 strawberries, frozen
[*You can make this a vegan recipe easily with simple substitutions. Soy protein, for instance. And there are some yummy vegan yogurts out there. Whole Soy and Silk, if you want a soy alternative. Nogurt, if you want something non-dairy and non-soy.]

Take your strawberries, put them in a freezer bag and drop them in the freezer the night before.

The next morning... Place all ingredients in blender. (I use my Cuisinart Immersion Blender because the cleanup is ridiculously easy and quick, but any blender will do.) Blend. Enjoy.

If you want a thicker, more ice creamy texture, try freezing the banana overnight as well. Or cut the orange juice down to 1/8 cup. Find your own style. You can replace the strawberries with any other berry - so long as you make sure they're nice and hard-frozen when you blend them, you'll get that cold, desserty experience.


For a few more dessert for breakfast ideas, follow these links:
Homemade Pop Tarts
Amazake Carrot Muffins
Easy Jam Tart

Monday, April 26, 2010

Date Dusted Angel Cakes

My dad's birthday was last week, but he was stuck in the Ukraine for it. So this weekend, when he came to visit me, my mom and I decided that I would make his birthday cake.

Now, my dad has a sweet tooth and he really likes angel food cake. So I thought I would make him a healthified, gluten-free version of angel food cake that he could enjoy without guilt.

Date Dusted Angel Cakes
(makes 12 servings)

12 egg whites
1/3 cup warm water
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup "sweet" sorghum flour, sifted
~1 cup date sugar, processed to super fine and sifted

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Set a rack on the top rung of the oven.

In a food processor, spin the sugar for about 2 minutes until it is a super fine dust. Sift half of it in to the sifted flour and save the other half for later.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine the egg whites, water, almond extract, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. Whisk quickly for about 2 minutes - you'll see a change in the consistency eggs. [I recommend stretching before you do this; your arm gets tired quick. :) ] Now switch to a hand mixer - on medium - and slowly sift in most of the leftover sugar (save about 1/4 cup for later), beating continuously. [When you sift the date sugar, you'll end up with little hardened date bits that will not sift. Don't throw these away and don't put them in the mix; save them into a little bowl and use them to sweeten tea or coffee later.] Once you have achieved medium peaks in the egg/sugar mixture, slowly sift the flour/sugar mixture in gently over the top of the foam. Gently fold the flour in using a flexible spatula. Continue until all the flour is combined.

Using a flour-based spray (like Baker's Joy), coat the insides of a 12 tin cupcake tray.

Use a deep spoon and carefully spoon the mixture into the tray. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a little dusting of the remaining processed date sugar over the tops of the cakes. Return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes.

Place a cooling rack over a paper towel, and cool the cakes upside down in the pan for about an hour.

Gently remove the cakes. Serve with whipped cream and halved, fresh strawberries.

Mine came out a little dense, but still very tasty. The flavor of this cake is deliciously, subtly sweet.  Some recommendations from my chef pal Dave, after the fact: no flour in the cake pan [the angel food texture needs to be able to "climb the sides"]; make sure not to overstir; try using almond flour rather than the sorghum [it's a little lighter].

Happy birthday, Dad!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baked Falafels Pita Pockets with Mint Tzatziki

I had some friends coming over last night and thought it might be fun to have a DIY dinner, rather than a serve-it-up like I usually do. I've had a yen for falafel since I got back from Israel, so this was my attempt and bringing the tastiness of Jerusalem vendors to my best pals at home. This meal is ridiculously easy to make, and fun - the only thing I would say is that it isn't the best meal to make when you're trying to have a conversation. The food processor is so loud! :)

Baked Falafel Pita Pockets with Mint Tzatziki
(makes ~8 servings)

(makes about 36)
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained
1 red onion, finely chopped
A little less than 1/4 cup sorghum flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Drain a can of garbanzo beans over the sink, rinsing them well. Drop them, along with all the other ingredients except the baking powder, into your food processor. [If you don't have a food processor, a blender could work. Otherwise, you can use an immersion blender or a potato masher. The processor is just faster.] Puree, until ingredients are a thick paste. When all elements are well combined, add the baking powder and stir in thoroughly.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, here, I used my awesome little melon scooper, but you could use a normal, small spoon - your falafels will just be a little bigger. Scoop healthy dollops onto the baking sheet, about 6 scoops on each row.

Put baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the falafel patties. Bake for another 15 minutes if you want them soft, 20 minutes if you want them lightly browned, 25 if you want them crispier.

Mint Tzatziki:
1 regular sized cucumber, chopped into small bits
2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
~1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped into tiny bits
salt, to taste

I actually made this weird tzatziki sauce before as a sauce for grilled chicken. It's based on the recipe my friend Alex uses (she's Greek), but I had some mint leftover (from a fun squash stew I made) that I wanted to put to use. Wow, check out the parentheses use there. It's super easy to make. You just chop the mint really fine (use a big chef's knife - it's easier). You cut the cucumber lengthwise, then lengthwise again, then in slices. Toss these into a bowl, then scoop the yogurt in. Stir, mixing well, and you're done.

Pita Pocket and fillers:
3 whole wheat pita, cut in half
2 handfuls baby spinach, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 roma tomato, diced

Take your half pita, open it up on a small plate. Dollop a couple spoonfuls of the tzatziki into the pita, accompanied by a sprinkling of the spinach and tomatoes. Place 3-4 falafels into the pita. Enjoy!

It was a simple meal, cool and warm, and delicious! Lots of protein from the chickpeas. Vitamin A and K and manganese from the spinach (not to mention Popeye muscles). Vitamin C in the tomatoes. Nom nom nom. Plus, my friends really seemed to enjoy getting to make their own little sandwiches and we all found them very tasty.

[You will have extras. The leftovers are easily stored and will keep in the fridge to make a tasty snack/meal for the next day or two.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Delish Fish Stir-Fry

And it's time again for another edition of "How will I use all the fish I caught in Alaska?" I used sea bass, but you could use any white fish, I think.

Delish Fish Stir-Fry
(makes 4 servings)
2 filets sea bass, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 carrots, halved lengthwise and diced
3/4 cup diced red onion
1.5 inch diced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil, separated
1 tbsp grapeseed oil, separated
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup brown rice
sesame seeds, to taste

Make 1 cup brown rice according to package directions.

Cut your fish into bite-sized pieces and put into a tupperware container or a plastic bag with ~2 cups soy sauce and 1 tbsp fish sauce. Marinate in your fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Take a wide skillet and pour in 1/2 tbsp sesame oil and a 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil. Set stove to medium heat. Sprinkle a tiny bit of fish sauce. The heating oils combined should smell super yummy.

Add onion, garlic, and ginger and stir until the onions are translucent and the garlic begins to brown.

Add carrots and peppers and 1/4 tbsp sesame oil. Stir until carrots begin to soften. Set heat to med-low and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally.

In a second, deep sided skillet, add 1/2 tbsp sesame oil and set to med-high heat. Pour in the whole container of fish plus its marinade. Cover. Cook for ~7 minutes, or until fish is fully cooked through.

Scoop the fish out with a slotted spoon and add to the veggies, cook over medium heat, plus 1 cup marinade.

Stir until the whole batch is well-combined and stirred.

 Serve over a small amount of brown rice.

Super yummy! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Green Bean "Chips"

Okay. I don't know if y'all have tried veggie chips before. If you haven't, you're missing out on an awesome mouth experience. I first got turned on to these by my mother, actually, who found them in little plastic containers at the little independent market near our house a few years back. Since then, I've seen them showing up more and more. I haven't yet spotted them at Ralph's (though I might have just missed them), but they are definitely available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Now, the ones my mom got (way back when) were a mixed bag of green beans, carrots, parsnips, yams, and taro. And every time I see this mix (which is basically every time I go home because my mom's awesome and does that), I automatically go and pick out the beans and carrots for myself. Because I'm greedy when it comes to delicious vegetables.

Here's the only problem I have - they're too darned expensive. Nothing that edible should cost that much per 8 ounces. $7? For a bag that I will probably finish within at the most a day of opening it? No. I think not. And they shouldn't be. Not really. So I put my thinking cap on and invented a way to DIY your own veggie chips. The green beans anyway.

Now, the only way to get the exact crunchy texture of these right is to own a dehydrator (which I don't and I assume most of you don't either), but you can get pretty close just using your oven.

Without further ado, my nummy green bean snack. Guilt-free, tasty, mid-day veggies!

Green Bean "Chips"

~16 oz green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp Vignalta - Salle Alle Erbe Delle Marlunghe [This is a radical salt with herbs that I like to use on most of my straight up veggie dishes these days. It's just, frankly, awesome. If you want to buy it, you can Google it or click here. If you don't, just use salt. Or whatever kind of salt you want. Sea salt, table salt, garlic salt, onion salt, whatever. :) ]

Set your oven to 395 F.

Trim your beans, drop them in a big microwave safe bowl. Nuke them for ~3 minutes (this is my lazy way of "blanching").

Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper and then set a drying rack on top of it. The smaller grating here, the better.

Add olive oil to the beans and stir well, making sure they all get a nice coating. Shimmy some of the salt in. Stir again. Then, once they're all nice and olive oil/salt-ified, place them on the rack, making sure to leave at least a little space between them all if possible. They won't get as crispy if they're touching. I'm not sure exactly why. Now load them into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes (I put them in for 15 and then checked them every five minutes after that until they got to the right crispiness for me).

Soooo good. :) And best of all, the 16 oz baggie of beans cost me $1.49. Yummy for my tummy; yummy for my wallet.


16 oz green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
2+ shakes garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lemon

Follow above instructions. :) Enjoy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2 Potential Ways to Lend a Hand

So. Disclaimer: I recognize and respect that not everyone's politics are the same as mine and hope that you all do the same. That said, here are a couple activities/donation opportunities that will benefit the health and happiness of your fellow humans that you can be a part of if you want to.

Number 1: The American Cancer Society is hosting Relay for Life in Burbank, CA on May 15-16 at Johnny Carson Park. My friend Amy runs a booth there every year and she's brilliant at it. Relay for Life is a fun, outdoor event, with raffles, games, a nice track to walk, live music, and great people who all come together for one reason - to celebrate the survivors of the disease, to remember those who were lost to it, and to raise money for cancer research. The American Cancer Society has these relays all over the country all the time and if you want to know about when one will be in your area, you can go to The American Cancer Society - Event Search. If you want to donate to my friend Amy's fundraising campaign, that would be much appreciated. 

Number 2: NOH8 - the campaign against the ban on gay marriage in California - is having an open photo shoot next Sunday, April 25th, in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood United Methodist Church. The photo campaign is open to people of all walks of life who want to take part in stopping discrimination. And then you get a nice, memorable, professional photo to remember your activity by. Individual photos are a $40 minimum donation; group photos are a $25 minimum donation per person. The photographs are taken by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska - they are beautiful! If you don't want a picture or can't make it to the photo session, you can still donate to the cause by visiting

Have a peace, my friends. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kitchen Sink Soup

Here's a healthy, hearty, and delicious soup that's easy to make and really hits the spot.

Kitchen Sink Soup
(makes about 5 servings)
1/4 cup diced red onions
1/2 cup green peas
1 carrot, diced
2 small red potatoes, halved, sliced, and cut into bite-sized pieces
14.5 oz diced tomatoes in juice (1 can)
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise, then sliced
1.5 cup low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 tbsp marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Pour vegetable stock and tomatoes into the pot. Add marjoram, salt, and pepper. Set stove to medium heat. Add celery and carrots and onions. Stir over heat for 5 minutes. Add potatoes. Stir over heat for 8 minutes. Add peas. Stir over heat for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

See? I told you it was easy. :) The soup is very filling on its own. It keeps really well in the fridge (fed me for a week).


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Snacks

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you're having a beautiful holiday. This Sunday is a day about rebirth, no matter how you slice it. New life, the balance of day and night and the balance in our lives.

And yet, Easter is also a day full of processed stuff that leaves your body completely UNbalanced. Why?

My parents sent me an Easter basket this year as they do every year - my parents are ridiculously awesome.
This year, they sent me an incredibly soft, snuggly bunny and some delicious sugar free snacks. One of the things they sent that was not sugar free was a yummy, yummy chocolate from 3400 Phinney Chocolate Factory.

Here's my rule about candy - you have to recognize and be able to picture all the ingredients and you have to eat it in moderation, as a treat. This bar is dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and vegan. The ingredients include and are limited to cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, almonds, figs, fennel, and ground vanilla bean.

Now. If you're like me, you've probably hardboiled and dyed a boatload of eggs. But what do you do with all those hardboiled eggs once you're done admiring them? Personally, I love just munching on hardboiled eggs as a snack. But if you want to do something else with them, here's a few ideas:

Deviled Eggs

Avocado Eggs
1 avocado
8 hardboiled eggs, peeled
~1/8th of a small red onion
1/8 cup lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the hardboiled eggs in half. Scoop the yolks out into either a bowl or a food processor. Lay out the remaining egg whites on a plate.

Cut your avocado in half, throw away the pit. Again, if you have the food processor, add the avocado to the yolks there. If not, add it to the yolks in the bowl. Mash it all together.

Take 1/8th of a small onion and chop it into tiny, tiny bits. You might not want to use all of the onion, it's up to your personal taste. Add as much as you like to the mashed up avocado and yolk. Now add a tiny bit of fresh ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Sprinkle in the lemon juice - again to taste. Mix it all together.

Scoop the mash up into each of the hardboiled egg whites and serve immediately. :) That's it! It's creamy, delicious, and tastes like guacamole!

Yum yum yum!

Tea Eggs - I made these with Good Earth green tea bags, 2 cups of boiling water, and a 1/2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce and they were delicious!

Irenic Salad
This is my go-to lunch when I'm short on time. It's filling, delicious, and healthy.
8 leaves romaine lettuce, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 hardboiled egg, sliced in half and then diced into little bits
4 grape tomatoes
2 stalks of celery, sliced in half lengthwise and then into bite sized slices across
1/8 cup edamame or fresh green peas (optional)

For dressings, you'll want to use something that isn't cream based. You won't need it. You can make a simple dressing by drizzling a tiny bit of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar over the salad. Or you can make my personal favorite dressing.

Irenic Dressing
This dressing is easy to make and very tasty.  
1/4 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried basil
4 leaves fresh basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
black pepper to taste

Take the olive oil and put it into a small skillet, heat it over medium high and throw the garlic into it until it browns and smells delicious, about 1-2 minutes. Pour the olive oil and garlic into a blender or food processor, then add all the other ingredients. Blend it all together. You can triple or quadruple this recipe and save the remainder in your fridge to use for the next couple days. :)

I hope you all enjoy this beautiful day! Happy Easter; have a peace.

Friday, April 2, 2010


"-Easter; the day Jesus rose from the dead. What should we do?
-How 'bout eggs?
-...what does that have to do with Easter?
-All right, we'll hide 'em.
-I don't follow your logic...
-Don't worry; there's a bunny."
-Jim Gaffigan

Easter is one of Christianity's most important holidays, a celebration of the holy day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion. It is celebrated in many different ways depending on which denomination you belong to. For me, Easter was always a day of feasting and reading the story of Christ's resurrection, and getting to run around outside in the soft green grass instead of going to Sunday School. For others, it may have included more baptisms or the Eucharist or a vigil in honor of the light that Christ brought to the world when he rose again. 

But why does it happen on a different day every year according to the cycles of the sun (it can be celebrated any day between March 25th and April 25th)? And where do the rabbits and eggs come from? To most folks, the secular version of Easter makes no sense with regards to its religious mirror. So let's take a look. 

In his book De Ratione Temporum, the Christian scholar Bede the Venerable (672-735 AD) made the first written connection between the Christian holy day Easter and the pagan Eostre. Eostre was the fertility goddess of the Saxons in Northern Europe, but she went by many names in many cultures. After all, Spring comes to everyone, except for the Martians. Heck, maybe they have their own version of it. Eostre was also known as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron, and Ausos. And all of these derive from the ancient word for "spring"-- "eastre". Fancy that. 

The pagan festival of Eostre was celebrated on or just after the Spring Equinox. [The equinox, as we all know, occurs twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall - when the tilt of the Earth's axis is just right so that the center of the sun matches up on the same plane with the Earth's equator. The word equinox means "equal night", referring to the fact that on this day twice a year the night and day are almost equally long.] Note: the ancient Mayans also celebrated the Spring equinox, going to far as to built the massive pyramid at Chichen Itza to watch the shadow of Kukulkan descend from the sky - perhaps to bite the earth and shock it into springtime?

But back to the pagans. The celebration of Eostre was mostly about the fertility of crops and balancing out the hours of day and night; but there was a human aspect to the celebration as well. You may have heard stories about people jumping over the dying embers of a bonfire to induce fertility for young couples? This would have been when that would have happened. So where do the images of rabbits and eggs come from? Wanna take a teensy guess? I'll give you a hint - eggs are chicken babies and rabbits can start breeding at 4 months old with litter sizes between 4 and 10. *eyebrow waggle*

Now, here's another interesting little factoid. Around 200 BC, a couple centuries before Jesus' recorded birth, there are reports of a cult appearing around Rome called the "Cybele". According to Gerald Berry's "Religions of the World", this cult worshiped the Phrygian fertility goddess Cybele, whose lover Attis (potentially a version or combination of Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus) was the symbol of ever-reviving vegetation. He also, apparently, was born of a virgin and died and was reborn every year. The celebration of Attis occurred on the spring equinox. In fact, apparently early Christians and Cybele cultists celebrated their holy days on the same days and argued "bitterly" with each other over which of their gods was the real one and which was the impersonator. 

Now. We know what the eggs and rabbits represent, but when did the rabbit grow to human size and start painting the eggs?

The "Easter Bunny" apparently arrived in America in the 1700s thanks to some German immigrants who brought a tradition of "Osterhase". [Thank you,] The Osterhase was apparently a hare that laid colored eggs in the spring and traditionally, the children would build a nest for it. Like unto the Christmas tradition, children would sometimes even leave out carrots for the Easter Bunny in case he got peckish on his egg-laying rounds. These eggs eventually became shells filled with candies and chocolates, so apparently the Osterhase and the Cadbury bunny are cousins. 

More about eggs: The Egyptians and the Hindus believed that the world began with an enormous egg. [Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Obviously, the egg. The chickens had to evolve on the earth that came out of the egg. Did that joke fall flat?] So the use of the egg as a symbol of new life has been around since... well... for a really long time. Centuries ago, cultures were using dyes made of vegetables, edible flowers, coffee, tea, bark, leaves, and roots to tint their festival eggs different colors. In Macedonia, they would dye the egg, cover the egg in a wax design, and then bleach it leaving only the areas of the egg covered in wax colored. In the Ukraine, the eggs were dyed a simple, bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Also in the Ukraine, there is the ancient art of pysanky, which is an amazingly detailed designing and coloring of eggs.

Now when you think of decorated eggs, I think everyone's first thought is Faberge. These were invented by Peter Carl Faberge, a Russian jeweler, in the 1800s. These were made of gold, silver, diamonds, and rich jewels and held tiny little figures inside of them. 57 were made, but there are replicas in the same vein for sale at ridiculous prices all over. 

Interesting little historical note: according to the household accounts, Edward I of England (1239-1307) bought 450 eggs and had them gold leafed and colored in honor of Easter. We of the 20th and 21st century non-royals tend to just dunk our hard boiled eggs in food coloring. Oh, how times change. :)

If you want to watch a fun little clip about Easter and eggs, click here

[Note: None of the above pictures are mine. I Google searched them under images labeled for reuse. All the history, I have looked up either online or in books, so if anything is incorrect, it is the fault of my research and not my ignorance. Don't sue, I can't afford it.]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quote for April

To reduce suffering means to reduce the amount of ignorance, the basic affliction within us.
-Thich Nhat Hanh