aloha friday

 
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ahh the new year. i’ve so enjoyed reading all the year end wrap ups and different methods of new year planning on the sites that i follow. two of my favorites are the lifestyle files and gretchen rubin. it is endlessly fascinating to me as a habit junkie.

my sister and i enjoyed the play avenue q at the manoa valley theater this week. we had such a fun girls night and enjoyed dinner at paesano first. this weekend i have a couple of new projects i want to start. the first is making a batch of miso paste and ko chu jang paste. the other is painting squares the floor of my downstairs lanai. happy weekend!

~ my cherry tomato plants are going crazy so i made this easy and delicious cherry tomato relish, and we have been slathering it on everything this week from pork chops to scrambled eggs. i halved the amount of vinegar and sugar and added a sprinkle of chili flakes. if you’re looking for a free form recipe, take a large bunch of kale or chard and slice into thin strips. saute a few cloves of sliced garlic in a pan with olive oil and add the greens. pour in half a cup or so of broth, s&p, cover and simmer until greens are tender. add a few tablespoons of cream if you’d like. pour over a mound of brown rice or canned beans and add a fried egg on top and voila, a quick and delicious dinner (and don’t forget to add a dollop of the cherry tomato relish from above).

~ what i wouldn’t do for adorable chanco’s hair!

~ i’ve heard much about the author tana french, so i picked up her first book “in the woods” at the library and am enjoying it immensely.

~ during my morning routine i’ve been listening to this super chill spotify playlist. it’s such a pleasant way to start my day.

~ the new season of finding your roots on pbs started and the stories are so heartwarming.

~ i bought this lipstick on a whim standing in the checkout line in j.crew and it’s such a favorite of mine now. i’m so paranoid because it seems every time i find the perfect beauty product, they discontinue it! it’s a silky slightly matt pinky peach that is a great everyday color.

my magic morning smoothie

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i’ve had this smoothie for breakfast every morning for years. i’ve experimented with different combinations and this ticks the boxes of healthy, delicious, and easy. now it’s going to look like it’s a complicated long list but I’ll explain how to get it streamlined so it comes together very quickly. it’s chock full of healthy ingredients and keeps me full until lunch. i also like that i don’t have to think about it and as a result i’m not tempted to eat other things, that may not be so good. i use a magic bullet so that each person can personalize their smoothie but you can certainly make larger batches in a blender. next to each ingredient I put a note on how to streamline it. you’re not going to believe how much goodness you can pack into breakfast. Enjoy!

Dry Ingredients (i keep all of the dry ingredients in a basket and just pull it out each morning)

protein powder of your choice

1 tablespoon psyllium fiber (helps keep us parkies regular & also keeps you full until lunch)

1 teaspoon cacao nibs

1/4 teaspoon matcha green powder

1 teaspoon hemp seeds

1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter

Frozen Ingredients

handful of berries (i purchase a big bag from costco)

half a banana ( buy several bunches, peel them, break them in half and put them in a ziploc in the freezer)

1 small piece each of ginger & tumeric root (i buy large pieces and slice them into 1/2 inch pieces, throw them in a ziploc in the freezer. you can also read my post about growing them)

kale, chard, or spinach ( the brilliant hack on this is i purchase a large bag of prewashed fresh leaves at costco and i put the bag directly into the freezer. when you put them in the smoothie, they crush easily like potato chips, keep your smoothie cold, and you don’t have to worry about using it up before it spoils!)

put all the ingredients into your blender, fill with cold water and blend. if you’re using fresh and not frozen fruits and greens, add a couple of ice cubes before you blend. so in the morning you just pull out your basket of pantry items, your frozen items, whip it together and you’re ready to go. part of the hassle of a smoothie is always trying to have the fresh fruit and greens on hand so freezing them makes it easy.

~do you have any good smoothie tips? i’d love to hear them!

say hello

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through the various online parkinson’s forums i read and participate in, i’m starting to notice that there are a number people who become more isolated as their disease progresses. just from my personal experience with pd, i’ve had to retire, do much less socializing, and basically much less of most everything. i’m fortunate that i have good support system and live in an area where it’s easy to get out and see people.

but if you’re not as mobile or live in a rural area, it can be difficult. as time passes and you’re pd progresses, your social networks can get smaller. social media can help. you can see and participate as much as you like and keep up with people in your life. however it can’t replace a real time conversation with someone. i deliver meals on wheels each week and in addition to the meal that’s provided, the personal connection can be just as important.

if you know someone who for whatever reason has difficulty getting out, make it one of your new year resolutions to visit or call them once a week or month, or whatever works for you. just call and say hello. tell them about your day, what’s going on in the world, it doesn’t really matter what you talk about. but i can promise you, it will be a bright spot in their day. and you know what, it might end up being a bright spot in yours.

ginger & tumeric - garden notes

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time to harvest the ginger and tumeric. i love growing them because they are so easy to grow in pots and the time window to harvest them is flexible. you can see from the photos below that the leaves are dying and the plants look shabby which is just you want, because that means they are ready to harvest. to plant them you take a knob of either one that looks healthy and cut the little fingers off making sure that each piece has a little bump on it which is where the new sprout will grow from. i put 4 or 5 pieces about 2 inches below the soil in each pot and put in an area that will get good sun. keep well watered and i add an inch of compost to the top of soil each month and that’s it. it grows year round here in hawaii but if you’re in a climate that gets chilly, you’ll want to plant in the spring and they’ll be ready to harvest at the end of the summer. it does take 5 or 6 months before you can harvest but well worth it.

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here are the knobs after i’ve taken them out of the pots and cut off the stems. the ginger seems to always be more prolific and although it doesn’t show up in the photos, it looks spectacular with little pink young shoots at the ends, and when you break a piece in half, the smell is wonderful even with my loss of smell. it has a sweet and spicy smell at the same time.

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then i break them into pieces and scrub them clean. since they are so fresh, the skin is thin so you don’t need to peel them. i like to slice them into little half inch slices and i put them into ziplocs and into the freezer they go. i pull out a few pieces when i need them and sit them on the counter, and they defrost in just a couple of minutes.

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for my morning smoothie they can go directly from the freezer into the magic bullet. they are also delicious chopped and added to curries and stir fries. i also simmer the ginger to make tea. there is lots of information about how both tumeric and ginger and their health benefits and there is even some research being done to see if it can help with parkinson’s. happy gardening!

favorite books of the year

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i not only enjoy reading but love to read or listen to what others are reading. it seems that for every book i read, i add another dozen to my “to be read” list. hey but that’s half the fun. i love listening to the what should i read next podcast and anne bogel finished 200 books this year! wow. but no matter if i read 1 or 200, my only requirement is that i enjoy the book. if i start reading and i’m not able to get into it, i stop. sometimes it just doesn’t fit the time in your life, so don’t stress it. there are too many other books out there to read.

here are the books i’ve read this year. i’ve enjoyed all of them since i completed them but i’ve put a star next to the ones that i enjoyed the most. let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them or give me some of your recommendations because of course i need to add more books to my tbr list!

 
 

Non Fiction:

dominick dunne: a life in several acts - robert hofler

the curated closet - anuschka rees

*audrey at home - luca dotti = this is a beautiful love letter from a son to a mother with her family recipes. audrey seemed like such a gracious person.

johnny carson - henry bushkin

*blue zones - dan buettner = describes the lifestyle and health habits of areas in the world where people live the longest.

the purple diaries: mary astor and the most sensational hollywood scandal of the 1930’s - joseph egan

it’s all relative: adventures up and down the worlds family tree - a.j. jacobs

epic tomatoes - craig & sara lehoullier

bunny mellon, the life of an american style legend - meryl gordon

*living in a foreign language - michael tucker = you may remember him in the tv show la law but his love of italy just oozes out in this light hearted and charming book.

the hygge life - gunnar karl gislason

garden home - p. allen smith

soulful simplicity - courtney carver

the total book of houseplants - russell c. mott

secret gardens of hollywood - erica lennard

*why not me? - mindy kaling = listen to this on audio as mindy is so funny and disarming.

how to be well - frank lipman

*me talk pretty one day - david sedaris = anything by david sedaris is good, especially on audio because he has such a distinct voice. they’re usually funny or touching essays about his life.

let’s explore diabetes - david sedaris

the stranger in the woods - michael finkel

the murder room - michael capuzzo

the blue zones of happiness - dan buettner

a fine romance - candice bergen

calypso - david sedaris

i’ll be gone in the dark - michelle mcnamara

the art of southern charm - patricia altschul

is everyone hanging out without me? - mindy kaling

*perseverance - tim hague = had to throw one in for the fellow parkies. tim talks about his journey with pd and how being on the tv show the amazing race changed his life. his story is so positive and inspirational.

*the gifts of imperfection - brene brown = this was my favorite non fiction book this year. the title says it all!

wallis in love - andrew morton

*bad blood - john carreyrou = fascinating real life story about the rise and fall of elizabeth holmes and her billion dollar company theranos. i hear they are making a movie version but read the book first.

paris in the fifties - stanley karnow

american kingpin - nick bilton

*killers of the flower moon - david grann = real life story of the osage indian nation in oklahoma in the 1902’s. their vast wealth made them a target of an intricate plan of murder.

american fire - monica hesse

this is marketing - seth godin

Fiction:

*maude - donna foley mabry

the swans of fifth avenue - melanie benjamin

*charlie & the chocolate factory - roald dahl = i don’t usually read children’s books but i saw this at the library and it was a childhood favorite of mine so i picked it up to see if it holds up. it totally does.

the bette davis club - jane lotter

*still life - louise penny = this is the first of a mystery series and ended up reading three of them this year. these were my favorite fiction books this year.

*a fatal grace - louise penny = these get even better the more i read.

major pettigrew’s last stand - helen simonson

*rebecca - daphne du marier = this is a classic for a reason. after you read the book, watch the movie with laurence olivier and joan fontaine.

her royal spyness - rhys bowen

gone girl - gillian flynn

a royal pain - rhys bowen

the dead wake - erik larson

beneath a scarlet sky - mark sullivan

the no. 1 ladies detective agency - alexander mccall smith

*a tree grows in brooklyn - betty smith = a beautiful novel about the coming of age of a young woman in brooklyn in the 1920’s. voted one of the best 100 books by the great american read and rightly so.

emma - jane austin

royal flush - rhys bowen

*a rule against murder - louise penny = by now you see this is the 3rd louise penny book i read this year. by this book you really start investing in the characters inspector gamache and the others in three pines.

the mysterious affair at styles - agatha christie

*rules of civility - amor towles = i think i just like books set in new york in the early 1900’s.

royal blood - rhys bowen

tears of the giraffe - alexander mccall smith

the cruelest month - louise penny

the secret adversary - agatha christie

~ happy reading!