14 February 2008

Chef Aja T. Marsh News - February Newsletter

What’s that smell? Is it all the love in the air? I hope so!
As the much beleaguered Valentine’s Day rolls around, I would like to take a moment to talk about how we can translate and incorporate the love we have for ourselves and those closest to us, into a love for our bodies, communities, and earth. To me, living a healthy and loving lifestyle is more than just about what I eat—it’s about thinking critically about what I choose to put into and around my body, and how those choices affect the world around me—as well as nourishing me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Supporting Local Businesses
Unfortunately it is getting more and more difficult to support locally owned small businesses in suburban areas, especially grocery stores, and increasingly in urban areas. However, by shopping and dining at local establishments you are supporting your community’s economy, as well as encouraging entrepreneurial enterprises where you can interact with owners who are passionate about their business, versus having impersonal experiences at large chain stores. By nurturing your community in this way, your neighborhood becomes richer with your investment economically and socially and you can build relationships with the people you live and work among.

Buying Local Produce
There are farmer’s markets in most cities across the country, as well as seasonal u-pick or farm stands on city outskirts, which could make for a fun weekend activity with your friends or family. You could also participate in a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) which offers you weekly allotments of food currently being harvested by the farm, usually in exchange of light farm work and a reasonable fee for the season. By getting produce from your area, you will be eating only what is in season and in harmony with the earth, as well as getting food that allows the farmers a living wage and isn’t shipped thousands of miles—therefore also reducing its environmental impact. FarmersMarket.com has a searchable database of markets across the U.S.

Shopping Green [see the blog I just posted about it!]
It’s easy to start. Bring your own bags. Don’t bag your produce unless absolutely necessary. Buy in bulk. Reduce your overall packaging usage. Carpool to the grocery store with a friend or neighbor.

Living Compassionately for You, Your Family, and The Earth
Instead of spraying all kinds of chemicals around your house to make it smell or look good, look into non-toxic and natural cleaning products. This is especially important if you have children, pets, allergies, or sensitive skin. Why wash the dishes you eat off of with chemicals? Baking soda and vinegar, for example, make a great all purpose abrasive cleanser and disinfectant. Buy cruelty-free products that haven’t been tested on animals. Drink Fair-Trade and Organic coffees and teas. Dry your clothes outside, and use the power of the sun to bleach your clothes. Purchase recycled toilet paper and paper towels. Recycle everything you can. Reuse containers. Compost. Care2 has pretty comprehensive information and tips on their GreenLiving page as does TreeHugger

One of the projects I was working on in January was to recreate the recipe for Cookie Monster’s cookies. Yes, you read right. You know the cookies he scarfs so jubilantly into his mouth on ‘Sesame Street’? Well, they have a new recipe for those now. While they are made entirely of real food ingredients, they aren’t anything that would be especially tasty to your or I. But Cookie Monster loves them. I look forward to meet him soon! Stay tuned to the blog for that!

On Friday, I will be heading to New Hampshire to cater my friends’ movie shoot, and when I return to NYC at the end of the month, I’ll be working freelance with one of my favorite catering companies in NYC – Fancy Girl Catering.

I'm also working to post more frequently here on Stem+Leaf and would love to hear more from you! Leave comments, let me know if you tried any of the recipes, etc.! I want to provide content that you will enjoy.

Kitchen Ninjas!: Last month, my good friend, and award-winning filmmaker, Jef Greilich produced and shot a 6-minute pilot for a web cooking show starring me and my ‘sidekick’ Yoshi Kono. It was just pitched to OnNetworks.com, but while we’re waiting to hear back from them, you can check out the pilot episode here.

Guest Blogger Opportunities: I am still looking for interested individuals to write guest blogs for Stem+Leaf about green and healthy-lifestyle related subjects, from your own perspective. No need to be an experienced writer-- just enthusiastic with something to say! Please contact me for more information. [Sabrina Hu had her guest blog posted earlier this month, discussing the holistic winter cleanse she did through her yoga studio in Atlanta, GA].

Be well, share love, and live fully today and everyday!

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