WISHING ON A DANDELION

I've been picking this little weed my whole life; they make an excellent fairy crown and typically are my surest bet to making a wish come true.  Turns out there is much more empirical science behind this flighty little flower.

It all started when I tried out the Dandelion Juice at the Silver Lake Juice Bar.  It has a deliciously light green flavor that blends well with just about everything.  Which basically means there is absolutely no reason not to experiment and enjoy all of the health benefits.  Whether you go for the greens or the root, dandelion packs a definite plus.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods," dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value (see here for more details and history).  They are rich in fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and stand as nature's richest green vegetable source of Vitamin A.  Admittedly, I will never look at these little weeds quite the same way at the park!

EARTH DAY HERB GARDEN

To celebrate the lovely planet we call home for tomorrow's Earth Day, we decided to honor some of our most favorite herbs we use daily in the kitchen.  These guys are often available at your local nursery, even good ole' Home Depot, which makes them super easy to plant (and replant) throughout the year!

We headed to the La Crescenta Nursery to pickup all the ingredients.  This place is absolutely one of the best in Los Angeles - they have a remarkable variety and the staff is friendly and helpful.  

We opted to go for herbs that cover all the basics in international cuisine.  Cilantro for tacos, purple basil for thai curries, rosemary for Mediterranean dishes, mint for, well, everything.  We also threw in thyme for roasted poultry and sweet basil for robust Italian meals.  As you select your own seedlings, be sure to pick plants that are more immature.  A less established plant has a better chance of grounding itself in your garden at home and really taking off.

Having grown up with avid gardening parents, it has been a priority to get a garden started of our own.  This little herb garden makes for the perfect introduction; not too much to maintain but plenty of flavors bursting with spirit.  Happy Earth Day, readers!

BOYS WILL BE BOYS AND GIRLS WILL SAY NOTHING

"Boys will be boys." I can't tell you how many times I heard that as a girl. Most of the time it was used in a way that was harmless--to explain why my classmates wiped boogers on their pants, or inexplicably tackled each other in the halls. But it nevertheless always struck me as an odd thing to say. I'd never heard anyone say, "girls will be girls." So why did everyone--and especially women and girls--give males such a behavioral hall pass? 

Until recently I hadn't thought much about the old adage and its unwitting damage. That is, until I came across this article in the Huffington Post about the normalization of sexual violence in young girls under the age of 17. According to a study done by a sociologist at Marquette University, young women who have experienced sexual violence or harassment see it "as normal male behavior." This makes it unlikely that victims of sexual assault will report the offense, either as girls or adults, because they don't want to make a "big deal" out of behavior that they believe is socially normal. The expectation that "boys will be boys" is maintained into adulthood where these women begin to accept abuse as a normal part of interaction with adult men. This, in turn, creates a climate of distrust where women are even less likely to report sexual violence to male authority figures such as police because they believe all men treat all women inappropriately. Even if a woman does believe that the violence perpetrated against her was wrong, she is unlikely to report it because she doesn't trust men. 

When studies like these emerge, I no longer balk at the statistic that 60 percent of sexual assault goes unreported. At the end of the article, the author posits that it is important to teach young boys and girls that sexual assault is not okay, in order to dismantle these troubling trends before "the media" teaches them otherwise. While I agree that it is important to teach children that abuse is wrong, I don't think it is a real solution. I think it is important for us to examine what gender norms contribute to this type of worldview. What do we do to make sexual aggression an accepted demonstration of masculinity? And how do we create a climate that encourages female passiveness in the face of this aggression? After all, it isn't just that boys will be boys--it's that boys will be encouraged to be a certain type of boy. And girls will be encouraged to keep quiet. 

HOMEMADE PRESERVED LEMONS

Celene came over on Saturday bearing the best gift ever: a massive bag full of fresh lemons from her grandma's tree. I immediately began rattling off things I could make with all the fruit. Sorbet! Lemonade! Pie! Lemon bars! 

I love the flavor of preserved lemons, but never have any on hand. Since I had more than enough lemons to mess up a few times, I figured I'd give making my own a go! Turns out, this recipe is nearly impossible to mess up. The result is a beautiful jar of preserved lemons that will be ready for all sorts of exotic recipes in just 2 weeks. I think they might make a fab gift as well! 

Ingredients:

4 large lemons

2/3 cup sugar

7 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 bay leaves

 

Directions:

Boil lemons in a large pot of water for 10-12 minutes or until softened. 

Transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water

Once cooled, score the lemon four times without cutting all the way through

Combine 3 cups of the hot cooking liquid with salt, sugar, turmeric and bay leaves. 

Stuff the lemons into a large mason jar and fill all the way to the top with the hot cooking liquid mixture

Seal tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before using. These babies will last for months! 

MUD RUN

The final pit!

The final pit!

Not so sure the headband works on the cone head...

Not so sure the headband works on the cone head...

This past Sunday I completed my very first 5k mud run and oh my god it was soooo much fun.  If you know me, you know that I am typically last to volunteer for any kind of dirty activity that involves publicly testing myself amongst a crowd.  Let's just say middle school basketball marks the highlight of my athletic career thus far.  But with my newfound appreciation for crossfit and one of my closest friend's encouragement (thanks JonCarlo!), this sounded like a challenge I was overdue to take on.  Merrell Down & Dirty, bring it on.

It was just my luck that something went awry with my timer, but my awesome cheer leaders (including the little cuzzies pictured below) are confident I made it under an hour.  Woohoo!  Made my goal!  Any recommendations for my next race?

P.S.  Highly recommend going with a go-pro, the footage is quite hysterical.