in the vitamix: banana berry smoothie

I’ve been writing a lot recently about athleticism, getting fit, and staying in shape. Don’t worry. This week won’t be another post on what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your life. Sort of.

This week’s post is a recipe for a delicious smoothie I created when I came across some strawberries in my fruit crisper, left over from when a friend made chocolate covered strawberries for my little Oscars viewing party.

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how to guide the blind

Last week, I discussed some of the things I’ve been doing to get in better shape and my dislike for blind running. The AFB offers some good tips on how to guide a blind runner, and to follow up on the matter, I found the YouTube video above about Paralympics track and field.

But guiding someone who is visually impaired extends way beyond the jogging trail. It’s part of the daily routines of my family, my friends, and mine. When my eyesight decreased to the level it’s at now, the boyfriend-turned-hubster had to learn how to guide me when walking around. He was never one to make me feel handicapped, so he was not super attentive when guiding me–”tough love,” he calls it. My friends have also since learned how to guide me, and most of them are very good. Some are more attentive than others, often holding both of my hands and walking backwards through a crowd, while others are easygoing and merely mention a change in terrain when they deem it absolutely necessary. I myself prefer a middle ground.

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getting fit

It’s nearing the end of February, and judging by the crowd I encounter on the evenings I hit the gym, people are still keeping up with their 2014 new year’s resolution to get into shape. I’m not one to make resolutions, as I believe goals should be made when a person finds the desire and is ready to do so. I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to stop smoking, start eating healthier, start exercising, etc. If you know you should stop drinking two liters of Coke a day, and you’re ready to take that plunge on December 8th, then do it on December 8th.

Ever since I turned thirty and grew a muffin-top, I knew that I would soon have to undergo some lifestyle changes. No longer were the days when I could eat fried chicken, pizza, eggrolls, and pan-fried noodles to my heart’s content without worrying about my waistline, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. But I wasn’t ready to take that next step to getting fit. I wasn’t ready to drink kale juice and enroll in bootcamp classes.

Until the summer after I turned 34 last year.

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blind athletes: motivation to get moving

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the winter Olympics are going on now in Sochi, Russia. Growing up, I loved the winter Olympics. My favorite sport to watch was figure skating. It was a pastime I enjoyed with my mama. But now that I can no longer see, the Olympics on TV have dropped on my list of enjoyable activities. But since they only happen once every four years, I figured I should try to have some idea of what’s going on, so this past week, I’ve tuned in my television to the Olympics, if only to listen to the sportscasters narrate the competition.

I do wish I could see the snowboarding sports though. I used to live in L.A., which must explain my fondness for surfers. And the winter alternative to a surfer is a snowboarder. And ever since I picked up snowboarding, my affinity for the sport has grown.
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video footage from the gjcf 2013 nmo patient day

Back in November, I’d gone to the 2013 NMO Patient Day hosted by the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation in L.A. It was the fifth year for the gathering/reunion, and personally my third time attending. However, it was my first time attending post-“MasterChef.” This time, I was asked to close the day’s panels and workshops with a talk. By now, I’ve done a good number of these, but I still get a little nervous all the same. It helped to remember that everyone there is happy to see and hear from me, especially because they, too, either have NMO or loves someone with NMO. Keeping in mind that I had the room’s full support helped me face the crowd with a smile and less shaky knees. It also helped to hear Victoria Jackson call me her hero. *sniff*

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in the polyscience: sous vide vietnamese short ribs

Our family has been obsessed with sous vide ever since we got a PolyScience immersion circulator. The great thins about sous vide cooking are: (1) the prep is minimal (just set it and forget it); and (2) the results are perfect (granted your ingredient and ratios were perfect going in). The hubster once got overly excited about brining and let his spareribs sit in a salt bath for two days, and after an additional 72 hours in the water bath, the ribs were the best texture but way too salty.

Sous vide is a great technique for tough cuts of meat because the slow cook at low temperatures help turn the fibrous collagen into gelatinous goodness, while preserving the protein’s cell walls so that they don’t break down and leak vital juices.

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the eone bradley: telling time by touch

Telling time has been the bane of my vision-less life. When I was still in grad school, I was wearing a talking digital watch. It had a button on the face, and when you press the button, it announced the time in a muffled, mechanical voice. It never failed: every class period, I’d accidentally knock my wrist against the table or chair, and the voice would say aloud, “You’ve still got another painful 98 minutes of class.”

Okay, just kidding. It would read the time, but it was embarrassing nonetheless, and I felt like a dunce. My ears would burn, and I’d apologize, even though nobody seemed to care. I just didn’t (and still don’t) like a lot of attention on myself (which is why it’s all the more surprising that I chose to do a televised competition).

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in the vitamix: asian pear, blueberry, banana juice

I used to be one of those wistful passersby that would stroll by the Vitamix demo stations at Costco, listen to the industrial blade going to town on the fruits and veg, and say to myself, “I’ve got to get me one of those beautiful things in the not-so-distant future.”

Well, that not-so-distant day has come, and I no longer need to be a coveting passerby. I’ve shifted into the circle of official Vitamix owners. So hah! Take that, Vitamix girl at Costco! Now I’m blending my own smoothies and juices at home.
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“four senses”: my new cooking show premieres jan. 24th on ami in canada

Late last year, it was announced that I would be co-hosting a new culinary show in Canada with the winner of “Top Chef” Canada season 2, Carl Heinrich. Now, the show, called “Four Senses,” is about to make its debut on the small screen one week from tomorrow!

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get your slurp on: a foray into other vietnamese noodle soups

“Brrr…it’s cold outside.” That was the outgoing message my college roommate and I had recorded on our answering machine. Don’t ask why. I think it had something to do with our adoration of Chilly Willy. But today, it is cold outside. It was a freezing 25°F last night in Houston. But who am I to complain? The northern states saw an insane −44°F (according to the hubster). I didn’t even think that was possible outside of the Antarctic.

I am so not a cold weather person. So when it gets down to the 20s, 30s, even 40s outside, my ideal evening is one spent indoors in fuzzy socks in front of the television with a good book. (I like to multi-task, often reading a book in Braille while listening to a sitcom.) And then I like to sidle up to the kitchen counter and slurp down a bowl of noodle soup. That’s the ultimate comfort food on a cold day.
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