Making water less boring

[what I had for breakfast today: jasmine rice, beet greens, scrambled egg, and leftover roast chicken]

I drink about a gallon of water each day, and I have for a long time--it makes me feel clearer-headed and less fatigued, it helps my skin stay bright and glowy, and it keeps my joints in better working order. 

I recommend aiming for half a gallon of water per day to patients who aren't in a water-drinking habit. Sometimes, though, patients will balk--"But water is so BORING!" they protest. 

Well, it doesn't have to be. And I don't think you should drink anything that bores you. Here are some ways to make water more interesting: 

My water glass is a quart Mason jar. Four of these=one gallon.

-Bring water to a boil and pour it over your favorite fruits or spices, let steep for five to twenty minutes, remove fruits and drink when cool enough. As an example, think about putting half a sliced pear and a little bit of minced ginger in the bottom of a quart jar and then pouring hot water to fill the jar. Dried blueberries and orange peel could be another tasty option.    

-Bubbly water still counts as water! I put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and about a teaspoon of maple syrup in a pint jar and fill that with bubbly water. A little rice vinegar and a thinly-sliced cucumber would be delicious as well, as would balsamic vinegar and a couple of sliced strawberries.

-All kinds of herbal teas count towards your water intake--chrysanthemum, mint, rooibos, chamomile. One you may not have heard of before is barley tea, which is common in East Asian countries but not so much here. It's made by toasting raw barley in a heavy pan for just a couple of minutes till it's nuttily fragrant, then simmering it for ten to twenty minutes in water. I'd do maybe a heaping tablespoon of barley to a quart of water. 

Today's Bread

 [what I had for breakfast today: the company of a lovely friend and her magical baby and Kamal, who "read" the baby a book; griddled soda bread with ricotta, farmer's cheese, sauteed beet greens and an over-easy egg.]

I've been loving making this sunflower seed bread from the King Arthur website. I've made just a few adjustments--using part whole-wheat flour, increasing the salt very slightly, and using molasses instead of sugar because both Kamal and I are crazy about the flavor of molasses in our breads. 

Oh, and I doubled the recipe, too. Not only because the bread is so delicious you'll regret only making one loaf the moment you take the first bite, but also because this bread freezes well and makes the BEST toast. 

2 and 2/3 cup white flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons chia seeds (or you could do 6 tablespoons of sesame seeds; I like doing half black sesame seeds and half white)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups warm water (should feel like comfortable bath temperature)

Mix all ingredients (with either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer on low speed) till cohesive and coming off the sides of the bowl. Let sit five minutes. Then oil your hands and knead (or mix in mixer) five to ten minutes, just until the when you gently poke the dough, it feels like the adhesive on a post-it note when you touch it--like it starts to stick to you but lets go really easily without leaving any residue. 

Having a good baker's helper makes all the difference in the world.

Lightly oil a big clean bowl and a sheet of plastic wrap. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with the wrap. Let rise till puffy. It's taken about 90 minutes in my kitchen on these cool February days. 

Grease (I use coconut oil, and it works perfectly) two glass loaf pans. Divide dough into two equal portions--a scale is helpful for this step. Gently pat each piece of dough into a log that fits in the loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees F till golden brown and an thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 190 degrees F or higher. 


the plan: healthy and happy

[what i had for breakfast today: hard-boiled egg,  jasmine rice, beet greens, sriracha]

I look forward to going to work every day, and then I look forward every day to going home to Adam and Kamal. So if you see a somebody grinning like a fool as she cycles east in the morning and west in the evening, that's me. I know I'm lucky. I'm grateful. And I want this kind of happiness to feel reachable to everyone.

Even when it's raining. 

Here's what we all have in common: limited time in this life. Limited chances to enjoy the pleasures of being a human being on this good earth, a finite number of deep and joyful breaths. My goal is to make the most of each moment, and to help you do the same thing. 

I've been writing about my philosophy of Healthy Hedonism on Tumblr. Here's a link to a post that introduces the concept, in case you're curious about how easy just feeling good can be. 


 [what i had for breakfast today: just like yesterday, a scrambled egg and beet greens with a jasmine rice--but today I poured a cup of miso soup over it all.]

Today Kamal and I had an unexpected day off, and we took the opportunity to have a picnic in a forest, because what could be better? 

The spread: Irish soda bread and farmer's cheese, both made fresh this morning. Apricot jam and strawberry jam, which Adam put up last summer. Eggs kindly provided by our chickens this week. Salami and K's favorite clementines.

It was grand. 

crumby happy people

A note--if you've never made fresh cheese, it's so easy you will not believe it. Here's a terrific tutorial from Serious Eats, a blog that's become an important resource to our kitchen. If, like us, you don't have a microwave, just heat the milk to the indicated temperature on your stove in a heavy-bottomed pot, stirring frequently to prevent the milk burning or boiling over.