A Fresh Dille

local mags.

Posted in FAMILY, FASHION, FOOD, MAGAZINES, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on May 21, 2010

Sometimes a day doesn’t need much reflection. I have tried to make the best of my current situation but it is such a hard boundary to distinguish between focusing too much on the future vs. too much on the day-to-day goings on. I had a few distractions to keep me occupied but the constant desire to know my future, even just the next few months, wasn’t letting up. The morning was spent gazing at my computer screen at pages and pages of productions being filmed around the country. I wish I was at the point in my career where I could simply take off to a new destination when someone needed me to fill a position. Hopefully this will someday be my future. For now, I am relying on the benefit of the doubt and the words spoken by those I trust.

My sister and spent the morning sitting computer screen to computer screen. She is already incredibly interested and eager to find her next path. Within a week of graduation she is looking for the who, what, where (and wear?) answers of her future.

Scrolling through pages of PDF’s is not ideal and I thought eating outside with my computer in tow would be a great attempt for a somewhat cheerful morning. It was already becoming quite warm out and sitting in the shade was the perfect chance for me to savor my oats while browsing future prospects. The steel-cut variety of oats was cooked with unsweetened almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chia seeds, flax seeds, and half a banana. The organic raspberries were a special treat mixed with more banana and vanilla almond butter. This was definitely a winning combo that made my morning much better than imagined.

Don’t you love how oats keep you satisfied for so long? To this day, I am still impressed by their lingering staying power.

When a break was needed, my sister and I cracked open a new Honest Tea Kombucha to try. The Apple Jasmine flavor was just as delicious as the Lemon Ginger, but much more subtle. We enjoyed it while brainstorming dinner plans with tofu and veggies in mind.

Lunch was an easy choice after much success with the Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlets the day before. One was broken up and stuffed into a sprouted wrap filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and goddess dressing. This was truly delicious, although maybe not so aesthetically appealing. I was hoping it could be eaten like a quesadilla but the lack of panini maker made a messy lunch with most of the filling spilled all over the plate. An orange was split as well.

Another attempt to distract myself from my immediate future happened in the afternoon when I finally opened an issue of Grid Magazine that I picked up in Reading Terminal in Philly. I had no idea what I was getting myself into because The Food Issue was AH-mazing. The whole slow-local-sustainable food movement in Philadelphia is one of the best I have read about so far. This magazine had my full attention for much too long and I learned so much about a city I have only visited a few times. As a magazine writing major in college, I still feel that nothing penetrates me like a well designed and well written piece of material. Don’t get me wrong, I love the online media world so much. This is obviously why I blog. However, there is no feeling like holding a piece of art in your hand. A piece of fiction or well researched nonfiction to be completely engulfed by, separating you from  your surroundings, is what makes me most happy. These days I stray from my past fashion focused issues in favor of the foodie ones. Feeding my belly seems to be more important that feeding my inner stylista at this moment. This may change, so I can’t make any promises. I will forever be molded by the fashion magazines I read growing up. I will never forget the day my mother first told me I must part with my stack of Vogue’s. But that is another topic for later discussion…

As I was saying, Grid was the perfect magazine for me to pick up randomly. With the help of the organization, Fair Food, they compiled lists of farmer’s market’s, restaurant’s, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and institutions that support the local and sustainable food system. Reading about the city’s new composting company whom helps restaurants and institutions not supported by the city’s waste management encouraged me to start composting myself. An article on canning had me compelled to make my own jam with fresh berries this summer for the following fall and winter months. One man’s bread making path had me feeling as though I must break into the hobby and put my fear of yeast behind me. An Urban Farmer had some great words to say about the importance of inner city agriculture:

We can create thousands of jobs with this new kind of farming, with urban agriculture. Just think of all the categories of jobs: you’ve got installers, carpenters, plumbers, truck drivers, accountants, electricians, aquaculturists, planners, architects. In a rural area, you don’t need these jobs. Industrial agriculture gets rid of jobs; the machines do everything.

This is hand work, it’s communal work, which is important and fun for all of us, all the generations, from little kids to school-age kids to teenagers to college kids. Everybody is involved. Now politicos are involved, corporate companies send their associates to volunteer and corporate companies have foundations to supply some of the money. We also need reporters and publicity people, because one of things that we haven’t been able to do is be proactive and get the word out. All of these wonderful projects are hidden away. We need the public.

It is up to us to shape the importance of local and sustainable food. Even at the age of 24, I am sometimes worried about the future of our country and the world from the overabundance of factory farming, and what this mean’s for our children and their children. We need programs like this that educate the younger and younger about self-sustaining and attempting to make resources available to low-income families.

I made my way through the issue with some help of Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate for a wonderful afternoon snack. In the compilation created by Fair Food, I found some great places I can’t wait to visit next time I head to Philly. I also found out that FARMiCiA and Fork, two out of the four restaurants we ate at while in Philly, help support small local farmers and sustainability. Another place I have yet to mention is Mugshots. This fair trade coffee shop and cafe was right around the corner from my sister’s apartment and I wish I had more time to enjoy it instead of packing. They have delicious coffee and tons of vegan treats, (get the cowboy/girl cookie, it is the biggest vegan cookie I’ve ever seen filled with oats, nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate) as well as a Vegan BLT and chili, if you are in the mood for comfort food. The local buying club is also a great way to purchase local, sustainable food from them without having to go through the farmers. You can pick your own order instead of a large CSA type share or trip to the farmer’s market.

I definitely suggest picking up Grid if you are in the Philadelphia area, or just checking out the articles online if you are interested in Philly and eco tips.

For dinner, I went with a simple vegetable stir fry using chili garlic sauce, tamari, ginger, and lemon. For the tofu, I loosely followed this recipe from Vegetarian Times, opting to bake it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees before adding to mushrooms, carrots, and bok choy in the wok.

Although the veggies were more than beautiful when chopping, I wish I went the raw route as the original recipe states. In the past I have made this recipe with much success as a bento bowl layered with an array of fresh produce and brown rice, but tonight I felt like stir frying all ingredients to spread the sauce evenly. This may not have turned out as well as hoped, but the flavor was still as bold as before. The bok choy was simply overcooked, but the tofu, brown rice, other vegetables, and seasoning were spot on.

Dessert was coconut milk yogurt topped with a new-to-me cereal Kashi Cinnamon Harvest (had a Whole Foods coupon for Kashi cereal and this had the least amount of ingredients-it was good, but not as good as Puffins), Puffins, raspberries, and a small spoonful of chocolate hazelnut spread. I ate this while reading about sprouting in an old Vegetarian Times. I think I am going to start some mung bean sprouts tomorrow, I love the crunch in salads.

Other things:

-Did you grow up influenced by the fashion world? If so, what is your favorite high fashion mag? If not, why do you choose not to read them? Disinterest? Annoyance of the price of clothing included or too much emphasis on current trends?

I first interned at Harper’s Bazaar in college and loved it immensely. One of my best friends is someone I met there and I was shaped to understand the in’s and out’s of the magazine publishing world. I will never forget the amount of freedom and hands on experience I was given that summer. My editor let me attend press previews solo with a camera in hand and was given freebies on many occasions. However, as I am sure you know, the fashion world can be a catty one and that has to be my least favorite aspect. There are some definite genuine people, but many who take the fashion world much too seriously. Ironically, most of the designers I’ve met have been more humble than the fashion magazine editors. That phase of my life has been put aside for now, but I will never shut it out. I love the art and history of fashion too much to never return.

-Do you have a local magazine that you grab often? Does your community have a strong slow-food movement?

After living in California, Boston, and New York, I sometimes struggle to find more places and resources that emphasis the importance of local small farms and sustainable practices. In New York, there were many restaurants that place emphasis on using organic ingredients as much as possible, but in the area I am in now, it seems as though organic is only available from grocery stores and one or two restaurants. I have yet to find a local magazine I enjoy.

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