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Cracking Coconuts for Soup's Sake

wednesday wellness, recipe, photography, food, lifestyleLindseyComment

It's official- I am having a love affair with coconuts. Like, when it comes to coconuts and avocados, it's safe to say I couldn't live without either. It's pretty much avocado, coconut, turmeric, cumin and just add egg, lentils, sweet potatoes or mung beans. It might be weird, but I'm loving it. My body's not mad about it either. Since I did a bit of cleansing in September, I've been trying to keep up with it while I can before I get attacked by mounds of stuffing and candy corn. I really thought not having the temptation of donuts around the office would have more of a positive impact on my waistline, but it seems I've found other ways to my stomach. I may or may not have caved and got some Pumpkin Pie frozen yogurt from Yogurtland last night... Ok, I did.

Anyways, back to coconuts... I love getting the fresh thai young coconuts because you get all of the good stuff without the cans, bottles, or boxes. What I didn't love was not having a way to open the coconut. Whole Foods will open them at the store for you, but then there's some urgency for consumption. Without a set schedule, I find plans can change pretty quickly and often my dinner plans don't take priority. I find I go to the store almost daily for whatever fresh produce I need, but otherwise- I like to have dried legumes, canned goods, and frozen meals on hand so that I can avoid wasting food. So, can you can imagine my excitement when Coco Jack offered to send me a coconut cracker? STOKED. With this piece of equipment, my coconuts have a super long shelf life, so I can make curry lentil soup whenever I damn well please. It's a beautiful thing.

The Coco Jack not only opens the coconut with ease, but it also comes with a little scraper so you can get every ounce of coconut meat out of there. If you combine the meat with some of the water you can make your own milk or cream, which is the perfect addition to soups, curries, mashed potatoes, breakfast bowls, coffee, I could go on... For the purposes of today's experiment I decided to make a curried coconut lentil stew, since this month's Wednesday Wellness posts are all about soup. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 guest or a week's worth of lunches, which is pretty rad if you ask me. It's also incredibly filling, super delicious, and best of all, nutritious. Put on some socks and whip this up, grab a glass of wine, put on a movie, and you have yourself a pretty amazing fall night in. 

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Ingredients:

1 thai young coconut (for coconut cream)

1.5 cups lentils (tri color)

2 carrots (chopped)

1/2 yellow onion (chopped)

5 celery stalks (chopped)

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp curry paste

1 lime (squeezed)

16-32 oz. vegetable broth (depending on how you like it)

Directions:

Soak the lentils overnight. Clean, drain, and set aside. 

Chop the vegetables and set aside.

In a pot over medium heat, add in coconut oil, garlic, onion, and red curry paste. Stir until onions are translucent before adding the coconut cream.

*** To make the coconut cream- crack open your coconut, pour the water into a blender, and then scoop out the white meat on the inside and add that to the blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until it's a thick creamy consistency. 

Add in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes.

*I like to simmer for a shorter time since I use the stew all week, it won’t get too mushy through all the reheating. 

Do a little taste test and add in any remaining spices or broth. Serve warm.

You could always prolong this goodness by doubling the recipe and saving some leftovers for the freezer. I like to start making a bunch of soups in October/November when I'm all excited about fall and all things soup... then in January when I fall out of the honeymoon phase, I have some stockpiled to fall back on and remind me why it's worth the effort.

Is it possible to marry soup? Asking for a friend...

Xo, 

Lindsey

ps. This post was sponsored by Coco Jack (get yours here), but the recipe and sentiments are my own. Make sure to check back again next week for another soup recipe! 

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just Another Desert Tale

tuesday tales, travel, adventure, lifestyle, photographyLindseyComment

I thought I'd give you guys a little break from the dating stories and share some tales of what I've been up to lately. I told you about my crazy weekend in the desert last week, and I have yet another desert tale in store for you today.

Since I've been self-employed (three months now- can't believe it), there's been a lot more freedom for spontaneous adventures. I've been up to the Sierra mountains and into the desert a few times, which has been really great. Before this last trip, I'd been feeling a little stifled and overwhelmed- holing up in my apartment, feeling the need to constantly be productive, yet at the same time having no idea where to start. My problem often is that I have too many ideas, so my biggest challenge has been picking a direction. It's amazing what a two hour (turned four hours with traffic) desert drive will do for the psyche... I feel recharged and motivated. There's going to be some new additions around here because of it, so make sure to stay tuned. 

Anyways, about this desert tale... One of my best guy friends from college was in Palm Springs visiting family, so I drove down to kidnap and whisk him off to Joshua Tree for a day. The night I got there I was a bit ravaged by the car ride. I was in heavy traffic and deep thought and like I said, what should have been a two hour drive turned into a four hour drive. We got thai food, moved onto margaritas, then took a dip in the hotel pool before falling asleep around 11pm like a couple of senior citizens. It worked out, because the next day we woke up early and hit the road for Joshua Tree. We took our time and stopped every roadside thrift shop and cactus mart that caught our eye, which was loads of fun. I love how quirky the desert is with random shops, strange looking homes, and run down miniature steeples on the side of the road... Yes, please see above. I also may have found the world's comfiest pants at Hoof and the Horn. Like if you see me ever, chances are good I'll be wearing them.

After a full day of traipsing around the desert, mostly window shopping, we made our way to Pioneertown to see The New Pornographers play at Pappy and Harriets. A local resident we stumbled across at a record shop told us that there was a campground walking distance to the venue, which totally trumped our idea to find a campsite and drive to the show. We found this so-called campground, but it was still completely vacant at 4pm, which we thought a bit odd. The arrangements were also a bit strange- it was set up so you pitched your tent inside of a horse corral, which seemed off-putting. We walked over to the hotel next door and decided to opt for a room instead, and honestly, a shower never felt better. We figured we'd save on drinks since we could hear and almost see the show from our room, which legitimized the splurge. Word on the street (or at the show) was that most people booked those rooms four months in advance, so we were pretty lucky they had a spot open for us. I'd go so far as to say it was kismet. There's nothing quite like laying on a picnic table under the stars, listening to live music with a side of tequila. Can we agree?

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It's always awesome when friends come to visit and things just seem to work out so you can have a good time and focus on enjoying the company. The next day we took off well rested, I returned him to Palm Springs, and made the way back to Los Angeles. This past week I've been feeling inspired, motivated, and excited for what's to come. I guess sometimes all it takes is a long drive, and old friend, and some new memories. I hope you're having a kick ass week as well.

Have you been to Joshua Tree?! Link to comment up top by the title!

Xo, 

Lindsey

ps. If you missed last week's post, make sure to read about the weird that went down the last time I went out to the desert, here

www.owlyouare.com/blog/2014/10/19/just-another-desert-tale

the Problem with Sitting Still

monday mashup, lifestyle, design, wellnessLindseyComment

I wrote a post a while back about how creative minds work differently. If you missed that, catch up here. Creative people don't thrive in the same environment as more analytical minds- we need more space. I've always thought that, and I was happy to find much evidence to support those theories readily available on the internet. I am learning how much differently our brains work now that I'm self employed (almost three months now) and with full control over how to optimize or waste my precious time. It's a learning process, no doubt. I'm trying to draw awareness to my patterns in order to optimize what times of day my brain's in full swing, and when I'm less inclined to work quickly. Without the distractions that come with office life: commutes, coworkers, deadlines, designated hours and lunch breaks- it's painfully obvious how much diet, sleep, hydration, exercise, and alcohol all play a role in how we feel, and how we feel is often reflection of what we produce. 

When I first left my job- one of the first problems I looked to tackle was my work space. I had a small desk that barely fit my laptop shoved in a poorly lit corner of my apartment. Before, I was sitting at a desk so much at work that when I did work at home, I typically curled up on the couch, sprawled out on the floor, or sat up at the coffee table. Now with a full time agenda of looking for new work, maintaining my blog, keeping up with various freelance opportunities, and constantly looking to build my portfolio- I needed a bigger space, more conducive to my current needs. I found a large desk sitting out by the dumpster shortly thereafter , so I moved my stereo cabinet to the corner and let my work space take center stage in my living room (what you see pictured). When you don't have a TV, I think you realize the enormity of entertainment cabinets. Though this dumpster find is nice because I have more space, it's still hard for me to sit all day. I find myself moving into my kitchen so I can stand and work, but the height of the table forces me to slump over, and that's just a waste of yoga membership.

I have been talking about standing desks ever since their existence first came to my attention when I was working at Blick Art Materials. I wasn't there long enough to enjoy the splendor of this commodity, but I was intrigued by my supervisor's standing situation. It seemed to make too much sense. After all, sitting for extended periods of time increases your risk of heart attack the same amount as smoking and there've been claims that it also takes years off your life, which is pretty crazy. I found that when I went for a 10 minute walk every hour it increased my productivity significantly, so I'm certain standing would have a positive impact as well. I started researching DIY tutorials, desks I could refinish, pre-made options... and I wasn't coming up with anything I really liked. I was finding my options were functional and ugly, or cute and cramped. That's when the power of Instagram kicked in and I remembered this reclaimed furniture company I'd been following, Treeline Woodworks. I remember seeing some pieces they designed using all reclaimed wood, which I liked for their clean and simple aesthetic- and they're based in LA.

(please don't mind the mess)

I contacted them about possibly working on a collaboration piece and to my delight, they were totally down. I took a furniture design class in college (see the wine rack I made, here) and loved it, so I was psyched for the opportunity to get back into the wood shop. We met to go over our initial ideas, I came back with a sketch, we tweaked it a little bit, talked about price points, ease of assembly, and all that jazz and came up with something I'm pretty excited about. The design is pretty minimal, so you can make it your own, but still allows space to tuck away the clutter, or to spread out and get to work. It's going to come at a few different price points, depending on how much you want to do yourself and what kind of wood you fancy, but there will most definitely be an affordable version for all you freelancers out there looking for a proper place to work at home. Yup, that's right- you'll be able to place an order if you like it. I'm excited to share more soon, but for now- check out Treeline Woodworks and check back for updates!

Have you ever made furniture?! Link to comment up top by the title!

Xo, 

Lindsey

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