Thursday, December 26, 2013

3 Jews Walk Into an Arab Market on Christmas

My folks drove from Davis to Oakland so we could spend Christmas together yesterday, and boy was it chalk full of cultural faux pas.. Every year, my family and all the other Jews in America celebrate baby Jesus' birth by getting Chinese and going to a movie. This is the stereotype, and has served me well for a great majority of my adult life. However, this year, I decided I'd had enough. I've been traveling quite a bit in the past few months and wanted to have a stay-cation (this is where you just stay at home watching TV, go to bed early, sleep in late, drink coffee and take walks) and I made everyone come visit me instead. So yesterday I spent the day with my mom and dad, and we went to Oasis Market for lunch. If you've never been, do yourself a favor and go! The pita comes out of the oven at about noon and they are hot and fluffy and so delicious. The hummus which you must have is silky smooth and I'm saving up to receive doses of it intravenously for the rest of my life. The business contains a restaurant, full grocery store and meat department (is meatery a word?). It was hustling and bustling, and full of all kinds of different people. Just the way I like Oakland.

 Here is a giant lafa. Imagine how much hummus you would need...

 Delicious falafel, hummus, tabouleh, baba ganoush

 KRAVE ! don't know what it is, but looks tasty. You can only find this in the Middle East.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Crispy Marshmallow Bar

I know, the generic brand name isn't as fun as Rice Crispy Treats, but hey! I'm not one to make trouble with trademarking.. But really, these things are so friggan tasty I would eat a whole pan of them and immediately drop dead from sugar comatose. This is basically what happened last week when I made them.

Ahem, let me back track. I had declared at a dinner with friends last week that a bag of 6 month old marshmallows was about to be discarded from our pantry for lack of purpose. My brilliant friend Karen reminded me that aside from playing chubby bunny and s'mores once a decade, marshmallows do indeed serve a purpose. (This conversation had many tangents... wikipedia you are wonderful). I made these treats in about 10 mins and they were so yummy! It tasted like my childhood and made me gleeful with holiday cheer. The trick to good crispy marshmallow bars is that you use 1 less cup of puffed rice than any recipe will ever tell you. Believe me.. So I brought them to work, and people laughed at the circular shape, because they're squares, and then I ended up eating most of them because I am a glutton.

Also, the red and green star is a craft David made at work. It's beautiful right?

Hope the week brings lots of delicious eating. Much love and joy to you all!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wanna accidently be friends?

Tonight I met up with two wonderful friends at Kansai in the Temescal neighborhood for Sushi dinner. We had a delicious meal together and I got my fill of Udon for the century. Why are those bowls SO big?! The food was tasty, the Sapporo was cold and the conversation was fantastic. The very best part though, was that I got warm fuzzies about these two great ladies and our funny road to friendship. The funny story about how I met Claire and Molly is as follows - I was desperately trying to leave my housing situation in North Oakland last spring, and answered an ad on SF Chalkboard, a really cool list serve in the bay area oriented around community engagements.  The guy who runs the listserve, Jeremy Dalmas, also hosts an AMAZING variety show here in Oakland called Oakland Nights Live. If you've never heard of it, check it out! I'll even escort you to this FREE monthly live show if you're interested. Anyway, there are posts about cooperative living arrangements, community events and organizations, and other intentional?.. intentionally? oriented things in the bay area. I got on the listserve to receive the notices about living situations and answered one that sounded appealing. The ad was for an open room in a semi cooperative house in South Berkeley on Harmon St. I gave them my regular shpiel, and somehow got an interview. I went to meet the ladies, and we instantly connected. That night they emailed to say that I was the chosen one. My gut feeling was kickin' and I knew it would be great to live with these interesting and fun women. What relief and excitement! To top it all off, the house was beautiful, was in a great location and was Yael Franco level of CLEAN! I gave my notice at my old place, started moving my things, and all of a sudden, like it was too good to be true, the landlord decided not to renew the lease, and said he was going to move in with his family. He kicked everyone out, and it was a disaster. I know... total BUMMER. However, it led me to find another living arrangement that made me very happy, BUT the very best part of this very long, very drawn out story is that I still keep in touch with Claire and Molly, we hang out eating delicious foods, and I am very appreciative of their friendship. Anyway, here's to accidental friendships! Kanpai!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Good Morning!

Everyone, 2013 was not a good year for Vanana Banilla blogging, however it was a wonderful year otherwise! So many things happened in the world and to me but I will not include all the details in this post as that would be tedious and take another 2 years to explain. But have no fear! All those nuggets of treasure will be sprinkled in throughout the coming posts... My interest in food continues, but shifted quite a bit. I've been eating simpler foods, trying to reduce the amount of processed things I eat, and cutting out other items that haven't made me feel well. Unfortunately, this means less and less baking and I've cut out caffeinated coffee completely from my diet. However, I along with David have embarked on a journey of sprouts, kale salad, roasted sweet potatoes and we continue to eat the foods that come from the farmers we know and love in the area. Putting considerable effort and thought into the food I purchase and consume leaves my body and mind feeling happy and balanced.

After a dinner party on Thursday to support The People's Community Market (if you haven't heard of this amazing project in Oakland, please check out their website and donate if you can! It's truly inspirational, and I'm so proud to know that something like this is happening in my community) we were left over with so much shredded carrots from the epic kale salad we served. Having done the hard part of shredding all the carrots, I got the idea to make Morning Glory Muffins. I love these muffins because they are full of super delicious and healthy ingredients, and if you include fresh, in season fruit, you can cut out a portion of the sugar and they still taste great!

 One happy morning glory muffin customer :)

And another of sunflower sprouts.

 If you want to make these at home, it's so easy and what's great is they add texture, flavor and health to almost any meal! Put about 2 handfuls of raw sunflower seeds or any other seed in a mason jar with water to cover. Let it soak for 1 day. Every day strain the old water and wash with clean water. Within a few days, you'll have these little guys ready for snackin'.