August 6, 2010

Bulgur Wheat is Hard to Beat.

Bulgar is man's oldest recorded use of wheat. Bulgur is made by soaking and cooking the whole wheat kernel, drying it and then removing part of the bran and cracking the remaining kernel into small pieces. I'd never cooked with it before, and wanted to try it, so I did so yesterday evening (after a trip to Whole Foods...that is a separate story that I'll share shortly). As I learned from my research, Bulgur Wheat has been a staple of the traditional Mediterranean Diet for thousands of years (and is just now becoming increasingly popular in modern health food and vegetarian diets because it's loaded with "B" vitamins, iron, phosphorous and manganese). In approximately 2,800 B.C., the Chinese emperor declared Bulgur one of five sacred crops along with rice, millet, barley and soybeans. Biblical references indicate it was prepared by ancient Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrew (yay!) populations some 4,000 years ago, and Arab, Israeli, Egyptian, and Roman civilizations record eating dried cooked wheat as early as 1,000 B.C.

Speaking of ancient. That's a perfect transition into my unsuccessful trip to Whole Foods to purchase the damn Bulgur, since I think I rode on the most ancient and aged CTA bus I've ever been on--I practically got motion sickness.

(By the way, I have no reason in particular why I'm choosing to capitalize Bulgar).

The Story: I had an hour until the painter was going to come to my apartment (my friend Kim's Brother in Law) to price out the cost of re-doing the trashy taste from the strange people who lived there before (another story at another time that I'll share). I thought I'd experiment and take the 70 bus down Division to Halstead and walk from there to Whole Foods (first mistake, Doug was right, it was a 20 minute walk). After getting yelled at on the bus by a homeless man to move from the aisle (I have no idea, these things only happen to me I think), I finally arrived at Whole Foods after what felt like 45 minutes of walking. On the way home, I tried to decide what would make more sense: 1. Be late for the painter (rely on CTA), or 2. Take a cab. Option two was the route I took. Between warning the painter I was late (so was he from traffic, PHEW!), opening all the food in the back of the cab, and getting my necklace caught on the seatbelt buckle on the way out, I finally made it home (to be greeted by Doug negotiating with Direct TV and Comcast, horray!).

The Quick & Healthy Bulgur Wheat Dish(s): I made two. I usually split up the bulk items like Bulgar or Barley to make one savory dish and one sweet dish. I put them in containers for snacks, lunches, and breakfasts.

I made up this recipe as I went because I saw a similar pasta recipe that looked tasty:
About 3 cups Bulgar Wheat
5 small radishes (cut into thin "sticks")
2 heads of broccoli (cut into little broccolettes--my made up word for small pieces)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pine nuts
About 1/2 cup (or more) Feta Cheese
Salt & Pepper (you make me wanna shoop! sorry i had to go there)

1. Boil water. Add salt. Add Bulgar Wheat. Cook for about 15+ minutes depending on how chewy you like your pastas and grains.
2. While the Bulgar is cooking, saute the pine nuts with olive oil. Make them as brown as you'd like. I enjoy them pretty burnt. Do the same with the broccoli--if I make a similar dish again, I'll probably saute both at the same time.
3. Add radishes, drained (and still warm) Bulgar, nuts, broccoli, cheese, splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to a bowl and stir. It's better cold the next day (in my opinion, that's the photo above of the container I brought for lunch).

This is inspired from a menu item from
Protein Bar (click on the name and you'll be able to see their Menu. I highly recommend this quick lunch spot).
About 3 cups Bulgar Wheat

1-2 scoops (based on preference) of protein powder. I use Aria (and no I don't look like the women jogging down the beach on their website home page from using it unfortunately).
Any Fruit (I like blueberries or cherries)

1. Boil water. Add salt. Add Bulgar Wheat. Cook for about 15+ minutes depending on how chewy you like your pastas and grains.
2. After Bulgar is cooked, drain it, and while it's warm, add in about 1/4 cup of Almond Milk. Stir.
3. Add in about 1 tsp of cinnamon.
4. If you are feeling lethargic, don't shy away, add in some Splenda packets (2 does the trick).
5. Stir in blueberries, or any fruit of your choice.

It's like a more special version of oatmeal with more protein! Hip hip horray!

August 5, 2010

Green Thumbs (and in need of a manicure).

This week, I planted flowers for the first time since I was 9 in the front yard of my Wilmette home where I grew up.

I didn't really know what I was doing at first (didn't even know for sure how to actually remove the plants from the containers that they came in). Naturally, I took out a pair of scissors (who does that, honestly?) and started cutting the plastic containers off from around the roots. Stupid. Also not necessary at all. What I later discovered is that all you need to do is simply flip the plastic pot over, and gently pull out the plant. Ta da! Genius, Mish, hardly blonde at all for figuring that one out!

Doug also bought me a shovel with a red handle (love it and feel precious when I garden) and blue gloves. The blue gloves saved my finger nails from looking absolutely disgusting (like after planting the first set of items in pot #1) when I was working on the second pot. Phew!

My only warning, is that the soil needed to fill these pots is super heavy to carry up 4+ flights of stairs! I advise you get someone to help you carry them (or else put on a--or 2 in my case--sports bra, and some running shoes and use it as a mini strength workout....I'm still sore and I did the soil lifting on Tuesday night!).

I planted an assortment of "all sun only" flowers in these pots, as was shown on the tags from Home Depot. I wanted a mix of different shapes and textures in the planters, and didn't really do much research prior to planting...turns out it's pretty fool-proof and really looks fresh and charming, if I must admit myself. Actually, my favorite plant is the lavender plant (no it's not he one you think--the purple plant--it's the smaller all-green plant). It smells really lovely.

Make Note: Go to Home Depot first before any expensive luxury plant store. You'll save at least $100-150 dollars on plants and pots. The ones in my photo were only $42.00 each (instead of $80.00+ at a store in Lincoln Park). Plus they are plastic and easier to carry and clean.

I took some photos this morning when I watered the plants in my Lulu Lemon gear like any true soccer mom would. The gloves look cuter on (given that my hands are the size of a 5 year old), but you get the idea. Not sure why I'm excited about my new gray watering can, but I'm not embarrassed to admit it!

I'm looking forward to planting more things on the roof deck! Now let's just hope these live longer than 2 weeks. I may start taking bets!

August 4, 2010

I Want This.

Toy Watch. USA World Cup. I want this. (Click on the words Toy Watch and see the watch I don't need but will probably purchase after some wine drinking).

I added in a nice quality photo from the world cup for kicks and remembering the good times we had while watching the two USA games there in June. We were in the New York Times (or at least my sunglasses were).

Thank you, DISC MAKERS Inc. (DVD Manufacturing Company)

I did two things wrong this morning.
1. I woke up early to water my newly planted flowers on my front porch. (It rained for 5 hours this morning).
2. I didn't bring an umbrella to work. (It rained for 5 hours this morning).

I did one thing wrong in general:
1. I bought an expensive purse which requires more up-keep than my hair. (Probably why I look prepared to accept a Country Music award at my desk right now, since the bags went towards my Marc Jacobs purse leather rather than my locks). Photo provided to the right. Enjoy my stupid looking purse maintenance that totally worked.

The Story:
There were 60 mile per hour winds at 7:00am as I approached the gym while walking from the 56 Milwaukee bus. About 30 seconds later, it started to downpour, and I ended up with dirt in my hair, my mouth, and ran to the closest building to take shelter (just like I learned in 4th grade) since I literally thought a tornado was coming (if you saw what the sky looked like in the west loop, you probably would have thought a tornado was coming, too).

That brings me to a printing and DVD making company located at Jefferson and Washington. Thank you to Earl, the person who let me into their front door when I (must have) looked like a total psycho holding a pink J Crew pencil skirt, so it wouldn't get wrinkled, (instead it got completely soaked and exfoliated from the rough wind storm. Of course!), with no make up on (I am 99% sure I'm part albino so that must have looked particularly interesting).

Dear Earl,

Thanks for your help this morning. I must have looked like an albino monster but you didn't judge me, which was nice. I also appreciate your showing me the back door which led into the alley since that connected with my work building directly.


p.s. Your name is awesome.

August 3, 2010


TRIXIE: Also, from Wikipedia, a trixie is a generally derogatory slang term referring to a young urban white woman, typically single and in her late 20s or early 30s. The term originated during the 1990s in Chicago, Illinois. The term was further popularized by a satirical website dedicated to the Lincoln Park Trixie Society, a fictional social club based in Chicago's upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood.[1]

Trixies are typically depicted as "social climbing, marriage-minded, money-hungry young ladies that seem to flock to the upwardly-mobile neighborhood of Lincoln Park."[2] Another description calls them "the women with Kate Spade bags for every day of the week; the ex-sorority girls still lusting after big, dumb jocks; the women who go to law school to find husbands."[3] The stereotypical counterparts of Trixies are the men they usually end up marrying, referred to in slang as "Chads".[4]

According to National Geographic, the Trixie stereotype describes a "blond, late-twenties woman with a ponytail who works in PR or marketing, drives a black Jetta, gets manicures and no-foam skim lattes."[5] Trixies typically also have a small dog (a pug, puggle or shiba inu) and know all of the other neighborhood dog owners by their dogs name.

As such, "Trixies" are not unique to Chicago but representative of a stereotyped subculture in contemporary America. However, the term's use is specific to the Chicago area.

(According to the very reliable Wikipedia) A hipster is a slang term that first appeared in the 1940s, and was revived in the 1990s and 2000s often to describe types of young, recently-settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, indie rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media.[1] In some contexts, hipsters are also referred to as scenesters.[2]

"Hipster" has been used in sometimes contradictory ways, making it difficult to precisely define "hipster culture" because it is a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior[s]."[1]

MISH (me): I actually haven't ever looked up both of those words. I think if anything I would be a Trixie+Hipster+Jew (thus, Trixterstein, the title of the post--"Stein" was much more fun than "Jew" or "Jewish"). Despite the fact that the Trixie definition is pretty close of a descriptor to my general lifestyle and persona (fortunately/unfortunately), I'm going to take the challenge to take a dip into the less mainstream food, clothing, music, etc, to see if I can grow my pool of interests from Frank Sinatra, any Duran Duran song, and awesome (lame) early 90's movies that I watch 3 times a week (at least) to new things (it was a good start on Sunday when I was with Doug--the true hipster boyfriend--at a restaurant, and actually new the Raconteurs were playing while we ate our brunch together at JAM) .

Good bye to Lincoln Park (I have lived there/around there since 2007), the land of uniform Kate Spade, Herve Chapelier, Lucky Star drawstring pants, thick Jewish girl headbands (it's okay, I can say that since I'm Jewish), and Frat parties. We are moving on!

1 Purpose of the Post: Perfect way to be J Crew lover + fit in at the Wicker Park Festival this weekend? Good old J Crew Gingham shorts. I even got a compliment
from a girl with a dragon tattoo on her neck. Hip hip hooray!

Another Purpose of the Post: Try the Egg White Omelet at Jam. You won't be disappointed.

...And Finally: Be nice to preppy looking people who live in Wicker Park. We can't help it if we ended up there and I'm sure we are trying hard to learn new things and enjoy the coolness of the neighborhood.

Cheers and Mazel Tov,