Monday, March 10, 2008

I live like a celebrity (well, for a weekend):This is my breakfast at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami. That's where all the celebs stayed during the Miami Film Festival. You know those pictures of Kate Hudson in a red bikini that have been up on all the gossip sites? Yeah, she was at this hotel. What with all the celebrities about, they didn't take too kindly to me pulling out my camera to photo my breakfast....but it was just so cute that I had to.
when bad things happen....
There is a fat girl living inside me. Lord knows she was living outside me for enough years, but I beat her back, and now she just lives inside....lurking, waiting. Every once in a while the right combination of events will unleash her, and she will go wild. Saturday was one of those nights.
Let me start this by saying that I've been doing Weight Watchers, and I've been doing pretty good. I lost 10 lbs in the last few weeks. I gained one back when I was in Miami, but you know, I was keeping it in check, and despite a slight run-in with some red velvet cake, I was fine. Then came Saturday. I ate olive pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a poppy seed cookie, 1/2 of the bus boy's sandwich at this bar we went to, toaster strudel, more pb&j. I'm pretty sure I woke up with peanut butter still in my mouth. It was disgusting. The scale this morning was even more disgusting. Am I the only person that can gain 6 lbs in a weekend? I'd like to think no. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it's bloat, water weight, anything but fat....but the voice of reason inside keep telling me "no, it's peanut butter."
Here's a picture pre-binge:

Friday, February 08, 2008

I come from a family of feeders. Some may call us food "pushers," but that sounds so negative. I prefer to thing that we just have an unhealthy need to make sure that the people around us are fed. "Are you hungry?" "Did you eat yet? I know this place you'll love." "Not feeling great? You should probably eat something." And so it goes until we make the people around us fat. We don't mean to make them fat...we just want to make sure that they are happy and full, and in making them full all the time, we inadvertently make them fat.
Now, there have been a few people (AL) who have entered into our ranks who have a little thing that I like to call "will power." You just can't feed these people all the time....they won't eat it...and this, my friends, is very frustrating.
"No, I'm not hungry." "No, I don't really like that." "No, we just ate 5 minutes ago."...I tell you, it's enough to drive a feeder mad.
Denying our food is like denying our love.

Now, I come from a long line of feeders, especially on my dad's side, and I'm not about to change now. I better damn well not have kids like Al who don't enable my "feederism." Oh, sure, my kids may be a little rotund, but that will just be a sign of my love for them. Besides, I was a fat kid, and I think I turned out pretty well. I deveolped a sense of humor and I wasn't out getting pregnant at 16, which I think are things that we hope for all of our children.
When studies come out about childhood obesity all I can think is "good on those parents..chances are they won't be taking their daughter to pick up pre-natal vitamins at 14...who cares if her ticker is a little worse for the wear, she can always loose the weight later in life and come home pregnant then."

(I tried to find a good picture of me as a fat little kid to plug in here, but I would have had to scan one in, and I just don't have the patience for that this morning)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Best Vegan Food Sites

I have to say, that in an effort to get back to the healthyness that I was striving for at the beginning of this month, I have to re-innundate myself with vegan cooking and recipes.
The auther of Vegan With a Vengeance said that if you're doing it for health reasons you are not nearly as likely to stick to being vegan as you are if you do it for ethical reasons...and I think she's right. Health is great and all, but it takes constant vigilance and awareness to think about the suffering of animals.
I can't remember if I already talked about this, but before Jan 1st, I joined PETA and got their starter kit (no, I won't be throwing blood on anyone any time soon) and I was pretty shocked at how animals are treated...but when you're so used to eating meat and cheese it's really hard to think about everything that you put in your mouth (especially when it's -4 degrees and your in Sundance and your tired and you forget your New Year's resolutions and order prime rib).
Here are some sites that I really like for vegan recipes and info:
Everyday Dish
Karma-Free Cooking (okay, this is vegetarian, but there's lots of vegan stuff)
Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen

Happy vegan site surfing!
Last night Rachel and I went to dinner at PT in Williamsburg. It was delicious. I haven't spent a lot of time in Williamsburg. I tend to get lost there. The streets are all crazy. Why would S. 3rd run parallell to N. 3rd. The whole layout just doesn't seem logical to it's one of those areas where the cool hipsters hang out, you know, one of those places where you question if you're cool enough to be there. There is a definite uniform that most of the people there strictly adhere to and I am just not keen to it. I swear that almost all the girls were wearing the same hat. It's weird.
But dinner was great. The waiter and the bartender were both from Italy and had strong Italian accents. We started with the cheese plate which was served with pollen on the side. The pollen was interesting and really fun. Then we shared the artichoke salad. It was more of a slaw really and I don't highly recommend it. The bread was great, the olive oil was great. We shared the tuna and it was pretty good, served on a bed of chickpeas and spinach.
In all honesty what we oredered wasn't amazing by any means, but I felt like there was a lot of potential and maybe we just made a couple bad choices. It was the ambiance that really sucked me in. The atmosphere is amazing, like you are stepping down into this little cavern and once you are inside it feels like you're on an old ship.
I guess the only things I can really recommend are the wine, the bread and the cheese...and really, what more should you really need?

I've never really been a fan of the frozen meals, but sometimes you just do what you have to do.
This week I've been living off Smart Ones for lunch. It's not like they are the most delicious thing I've ever had, but they're decent...and when it's really cold outside, a sandwich for lunch just isn't going to do it. You need something warm.
Yesterday I had some sort of Spanish rice, the day before that it was ravioli, and today it's some Asian rice dish. Now, I know what you're thinking, none of this is vegan. Well, after some un-tasty run-ins wiht Annie's vegan burritos, I've gone over to the dark side, at least for the time being. At least until this weekend when I can go to the farmer's market and get myself back on track.

Monday, January 28, 2008

January, you have not been kind to me. It all started out so well. There was the healthy veganism, the renewed commitment to working out...and then, well, then I went to Sundance and I'm just not sure what happened. I was just so cold and tired the whole time. It was like junior year of college all over again, when I ate pop tarts all the time, not because I was hungry, but because I needed the sugar to keep me going. It was all a blurr of frostbitten fingers and cups of coffee.
The first weekend back from Sundance didn't prove to be much healthier. On Saturday we celebrated Al's birthday family style, with breakfast at Max Brenner's and Dinner at Hawaiian Tropic Zone. Yesterday we ate Shake Shack. Oh, body, don't give up on me now.
I'm still tired.
Oh February, please be kinder than January.

This is Nacho. He directed Timecrimes. He had fun at Sundance.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Vegan Update #1
The whole vegan thing has been going really well. I'm almost down to the weight I was before Christmas, and I'm feeling pretty good. Yesterday there was a slip-up when Al and I went to Soda Bar to see my friend Sarah at work. There was a veggie burger on the menu, but it was served on a roll...and I'm not totally up to date on my "what breads are okay" knowledge yet, and without a label to read I didn't want to order that. Now, besides eating falafel earlier that day, this was our first real meal out since the whole vegan thing began. On some level I thought I would be fine with ordering a salad with oil and vinegar at places that had no other vegan options...but clearly I was lying to myself. Besides the veggie burger, the only other choice (besides a salad) was perogies with mushrooms and sauerkraut...I was pretty sure that neither choice was I went with my gut (if you will...hahah) and ordered the perogies, even though I was pretty sure there were eggs in the dough. I'm a terrible person. Sarah's friend, who I had never met before, looked over at me and said "um, that's not vegan." To which I responded, "Shut your face! You don't know me! I'll cut you!"
Arianne's cravings: 1
Veganism: 0

I'm going to say that I'll do better next week, which I probably will, but the week after that I think there might be some cheating. My boss and Matt said that if I try to be vegan in Sundance, they will hurt me, and I best just plan on taking a week off. We'll see. I will be staying with my cousin Connie, who is a vegetarian, so she should be good support.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Clean Slate '08
That's the mantra for this month. After all the crazy eating of the past few months, it's time to be healthy. I decided to go vegan. Not really for weight loss reasons, just to feel good again. I feel like living in NY has made me a more unhealthy person. I mean, sure I walk everywhere, but I eat junk food all the time and drink coffee like it's going out of style. I was vegan once for like 5 months, right after college, and I felt pretty good. I didn't loose that much weight, but I really felt healthy.
Day two of being vegan, and it seems to be going pretty well so far. Last night I made two soups out of my new cookbook, Vegan With a Vengeance. One was white bean and garlic, and the other was potato and asparagus. They are both delicious. (I don't want to post the recipes, cause the author lives in Brooklyn, and might cut me for republishing her recipes)

As if the desire to just feel better wasn't enough, I ordered PETA's free vegetarian starter kit. Now, I wouldn't exactly call myself an animal lover. I mean, I'm fine with animals, I just don't particularly want them around...especially when I'm cooking, or eating, or on the couch, or in bed. The thing they do to poor little chickens is really kind of appalling, and the poor wittle cows. It's really sad. Milk has pus in it? gross.

I guess the coming weeks will reveal how easy/hard this is for me to stick to, what with all the eating out that we do, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm trying to clear my house of all non-vegan items before the first. I made a batch of cookies to get rid of the last of the butter.

Damn cookies! Why are you so good?
I also used the gelatin packets I've had in my house forever. I have been promising myself to make my own marshmallows for years now, and I finally did it...and then I covered them with chocolate, cause really, why just eat pure sugar when you can cover it with chocolate.

I got the marshmallow recipe from the Dec. issue of Gourmet. They wanted me to roll them in coconut, but then I knew Al wouldn't touch them for sure, and that's just what I need, one more thing that the skinny boy won't eat and I'm forced to consume by myself.

coconut marshmallows

Servings: Makes about 96 coconut marshmallows.


14 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (about 5 cups)
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites*
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

*if egg safety is a problem in your area, substitute powdered egg whites reconstituted according to manufacturer's instructions


Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large baking pan spread sweetened flaked coconut evenly and toast in middle of oven, stirring halfway through toasting, until golden, about 12 minutes total. Cool coconut.

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and sprinkle bottom evenly with 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and extract into sugar mixture until just combined.

Pour mixture into baking pan and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut evenly over top, pressing lightly to adhere. Transfer remaining toasted coconut to a large bowl and reserve, covered, at room temperature. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes.Toss marshmallows in batches in reserved coconut to evenly coat and press lightly to adhere. Coconut marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Bake-a-thon 2007

Okay, I was too busy having fun with my parents and Al's parents, and Ed to take pictures of all this stuff, but trust me, it has been a delicious and fattening holiday season!
I wanted to share a couple of the recipes I made that I found especially tasty.
I never knew how much I loved gingerbread until this year.

I got this recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. My mom said it was the best thing I made over the holiday.

Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil. Spray foil with no stick cooking spray. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Beat butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in molasses and water just until blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the icing; refrigerate remaining icing. Spoon dollops (about 1 teaspoon each) of the reserved icing over batter in pan. With knife or spatula, swirl icing through batter to marbleize.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Lift out of pan using foil. Cool completely on wire rack. Invert and peel off foil. Spread refrigerated icing over bars. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Gingerbread Pudding Cake:

I got some sugar-free vanilla ice cream to serve with this because of my dad's diabetes and all...I don't know why I would bother serving SF ice cream with this. It's like ordering the double double with a diet coke. Anyway...the ice cream was gritty and I rarely recommend SF anything, so this was much better when I just piled an obscene amount of whipped cream on it.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and nutmeg in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add egg; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Continue beating, alternately adding flour mixture with molasses and 1 cup water, beating after each addition just until mixed.
  3. Pour batter into 13x9-inch ungreased baking pan; sprinkle with 3/4 cup brown sugar.
  4. Combine 1 1/2 cups hot water and 1/3 cup melted butter in medium bowl; carefully pour over top of batter. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until gingerbread is cracked on top and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired
These sparkling ginger cocktails were in the Dec. issue of Gourmet. I still have some of the ginger syrup left, and I imagine it would be delicious mixed with just about any alcoholic beverage. It was pretty awesome. I garnished with a circle of crystallized ginger (instead of doing the whole rim of the glass thing), which no one ate but me. People don't know what's good.

sparkling ginger cocktails


Active time: 15 min Start to finish: 1 hr (includes chilling syrup)

Servings: Makes 10 drinks


3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger (2 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 lemon wedges
2 (750-ml) bottles chilled Prosecco


Simmer water, fresh ginger, and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Chill until cold.

Finely grind crystallized ginger with remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a blender or food processor, then spread on a small plate.

Run lemon wedges around rims of glasses, then dip rims into ginger sugar. Put 1 tablespoon syrup into each glass and top off with Prosecco.

Cooks' note: Syrup can be chilled, covered, up to 2 weeks.

Yeah, I made a lot of not sweet things too, but who cares about those. I made some biscuits that didn't rise very well, a pork roast for Christmas day, some great, that's about it. The rest of the time we were eating out and stuffing ourselves until we begged for the sweet release of death...and that's just how I like it.

Oh, January, we have so much work to do.

And just for fun, here is a picture of Al and Ed and I getting rained on in Rockefeller Plaza.