Kitchen Creation – Swiss Chard with Lime!

Just for fun, I’d like to share with you my most recent kitchen creation. This dish was inspired by the fact that I’ve gotten a big bunch of Swiss Chard each week from the CSA. It’s super fast (20 min tops), delicious, and super nutritious.

Now – if you are immediately turned off by the thought of leafy greens – don’t be discouraged! I was in your shoes in the not so recent past. I didn’t even really like them when I first tried them… they are an acquired taste… but if they are prepared well, their taste will grow on you! Plus they are super nutritious. I still don’t like mustard greens – too bitter, but Kale and Swiss Chard are milder.

Anyway… here is the recipe I’ve made 3 times in the past week. It’s great by for a side dish or served over rice:

Swiss Chard sauteed with lime

For 1 serving:
  • about 6-8 large leaves Swiss Chard
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 slice of lime
For 4-6 servings:
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 of a lime
Directions:
  1. Wash the chard
  2. Remove the stems from the leaves
  3. Chop the stems in small pieces
  4. Chop the leaves (I roll the leaves, chop into 1/2 inch strips then cut the strips in half)
  5. Heat some olive oil in a pan (just once or twice around the pan – less than you think you need)
  6. Add the stems, mix with the oil and cook for about a minute
  7. Add the leaves, mix with the stems
  8. Pour a little more olive oil over the leaves (they will still be fluffy) and mix
  9. When the leaves are almost wilted, but not quite – another 4 minutes or so – turn off the heat
  10. While the pan in still hot, add a sprinkling of salt (I don’t really use that much) and squeeze the lime over the leaves. Mix in to finish wilting the leaves
  11. Enjoy!

 

 

 

How do I love Improv? Let me count the ways…

Only one more week of Improv class at The Barrow Group… my ten week class is coming to a close. How time flies!

A few reasons why I love Improv…

  1. You really get to let loose. One day before class – I had a pretty rough day. There was nothing specifically bad that happened, just one of those days where everything is frustrating and you just want to scream. During our warm-ups, we played a game that we had played before – pass the clap or something like that – but with a twist: every time someone messed up, the whole class had to run around, yell, and find a new place in the circle.  What a gift! I almost made a mistake on purpose so I could run around and scream.
  2. You don’t even have to try to be funny. Often times, what you think is the natural thing to say, makes people laugh! We were doing an exercise where one person takes on a character and the rest of the class asks them questions. Simple questions, like how old are you, etc. Someone asked me “What was your first word” so instead of trying to think of something funny to be my character’s first word, I said my real first word “Bird”. And everyone laughed! I wasn’t even trying to be funny.
  3. You get to explore characters that you would never get to play in real life. This one is pretty self explanatory – in improv you can really be whoever you want with no limitations to gender, age, race – there is one boy in my class who has ended up playing a dog multiple times!

 

Please, share your favorite parts about Improv below!

 

PS  I think everyone could benefit from an improv class – not just actors. So if you are a non-actor, you might want to consider taking one! I’m sure you’ll learn a lot about yourself.

The War of Art

If you haven’t read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, go out and read it!

 

Yes…right now….

 

I’ll wait while you go to the library, or to Barnes and Noble or download it onto your Kindle. This book changed my life. If you have even an ounce of creativity or passion, this book is for you! It’s a quick read on how to battle resistance. Resistance is anything and everything that prevents you from doing what you truly love or are passionate about. Resistance is procrastination, fear, your “job” – anything.

Here are a few excerpts:

“If Resistance couldn’t be beaten, there would be no Fifth Symphony, no Romeo and Juliet, no Golden Gate Bridge. Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems absolutely impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.”

“Rationalization is Resistance’s spin doctor. It’s Resistance’s way of hiding the Big Stick behind its back. Instead of showing us our fear (which might shame us and impel us to do our work), Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn’t do our work…[but]… Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace.  Lance Armstrong had cancer and won the Tour de France three years and counting”

 

He talks a lot about being a professional in your art vs being an amateur…

“The professional knows that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello, you’re finished. The pro doesn’t even pick up the phone. He stays at work.”

“The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like”

 

This book is so inspiring, it made me cry for joy that I am not alone… that I am doing the right thing… because it was so true and really hit home.

I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve read it, feel free to share your favorite quote below!

CSA

Last year, I decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Joining a CSA is similar to buying stock in a farm – you pay at the beginning of the season for a share of the farm’s harvest. The fee is the same no matter what – so if it is a great year with lots of produce, you get more for your money; if its a hard year – bad weather conditions, etc – you get less. Each week, on the designated day – you go to the pick up location and get your share of vegetables for the week! I love it because you get to try new vegetables and forces you to eat lots of veggies (or freeze them for later use… but thats another blog!). Everything is super fresh (often picked that very day!!), organic and locally grown.

Most CSAs have some sort of work requirement – usually you have to work at the pick up station one time during the year. Some of them let you work at the farm in order to fulfill your work requirement. Being that when I was 5 I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, I made sure the CSA I joined let you work at the farm to fulfill your requirement!  You only have to attend one work day at the farm – but last year I went to almost all of them. I got to cut potatoes to seed, transplant young plants, cover the greenhouse, and pick green beans.

This past Saturday was the first work day of this year that I was able to attend – and I got my friend Erin to come with me!

We helped cover the greenhouse (see the metal “hoops” in the picture below? (In the middle, on the left) – that is the frame for the greenhouse that we covered):

On our way home, Erin and I stopped at a lake to eat our lunch:
Fresh Asparagus from the farm:

I would love to hear about your experiences with a CSA, if you have them!

1,000 Awesome Things

A little over a year ago, I came across this blog, 1,000 Awesome Things. The author posts one “Awesome” thing every weekday; he’s been counting down from 1,000 and is about to reach Number 1! The blog is about appreciating the little things in life, like Finally Remembering who someone is after staring at them for a long timeSpinning in an office chair for no reason, and The Honor System.

The posts are humorous, uplifting and usually make you say, “Yes! That is awesome!”

I hope you check it out and enjoy. The countdown is almost done, but I hope the blog is left up – its a great place to visit on a day where you just need a little smile.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Games You Made Up When You Were A Kid

Tips

Getting the eyelash out of your eye

The 5 Second Rule

And one of my VERY favorites:
The Perfect Chicken Wing Partner

Enjoy!

Paris

One of my favorite cities in the world is Paris. I went a few years ago with my sister and some of our best friends and we had an amazing time. 

Some people say the French don’t like Americans, they are rude, etc – but I did not find that to be the case at all!! Everyone we met was really nice.  My French is nowhere near where I’d like it to be – but I remember enough from High School to ask simple questions or make (very small) small talk. Whenever I spoke to someone in French – and they could see that I was struggling – the conversation switched to English. Before I go back again, though – I would really like to learn the language better.

But even besides all that – Paris is just a beautiful city. We only had 4 days there and it was chilly and rainy almost the whole time, but it was still so beautiful!!! On the one sunny afternoon, we took advantage of the break in weather and had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower.

I remember before I went thinking – I bet the Eiffel Tower is cool, but I wasn’t all that excited to see it. Let me tell you – it is beautiful. I know, I know its just a big tower made out of iron – but for whatever reason, it is breathtaking.
I cannot wait to go back there – any time I see a movie set in Paris, my heart swoons and my knees get weak.
My Sister and I on the Eiffel Tower
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1960s

The 1960s. There is something so amazing about that decade. Sure, it wasn’t the most empowering time for women. Yes, our country was going through some really rough stuff (Civil Rights movement, Cold War, Assassinations, to name a few). But there is something about that time period that is so appealing.

Ever since I was a kid – my favorite time period has been the 1940s-1960s. My favorite American Girl doll was Molly – so much so that I requested my family to call me “Molly” instead of “Marissa” for a period of time. I wanted to be Molly – living in that wonderful time period. Of course, I didn’t actually think about the fact that her dad was off fighting WWII while mine was safe at home with us every night… but I loved the style and the simplicity of that time.

Sometimes, I wish we could go back to a time before internet, iPhones, HDTV… but then again, I wouldn’t be able to be writing this blog for you right now…

Catch a glimpse into the 1960s with:

Mad Men returning for Season 5 – Starting March 25th

My most recent film, Kissed by Inspiration – Coming Soon (for a sneak peek- check out the picture below – the image on the right is from Kissed by Inspiration!)

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Cooking

One of my favorite things to do – besides acting – is cooking. I love, love, love spending all day in the kitchen preparing delicious food.

I wasn’t always in love with (or good at) cooking. And I’ve had my fair share of kitchen disasters. There was the time in high school that my sister and I tried to make mashed potatoes. We cooked the potatoes, then put them in a bowl with some milk and proceeded to mash with the electric beaters. Sounds good, right? WRONG. We didn’t cook the potatoes long enough, so they were too hard to really mash. We ended up with a soupy-potato-like liquid filled with chunks of super hard potatoes – sounds delicious, right?

Anyway, a few years ago, before I started acting again – I found myself unemployed with no hobby.  So, I taught myself how to cook! And, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at it!  I love cooking because its a creative, in the moment process that you can get lost in for a few hours (or 30 minutes if you’re making a quick meal) – and end up with a satisfying result that can be shared with others.

I’ll share with you one of my favorite recipes… I had just started cooking quinoa – and after having it with dinner one night, my sister said – you should make a stir fry with this instead of rice – and I did!

Quinoa Stir Fry
Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large zucchini, chopped (about 2 cups)
1.5 cups of fresh or frozen green beans, partially defrosted if frozen, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1.5 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions
Dry the Quinoa in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, about 10 minutes
Add garlic and olive oil and toast the quinoa, uncovered 2 minutes
Add the carrots, cover and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the zucchini, cover and cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add the green beans, cover and cook 1 minute.
Add the soy, teriyaki, and sesame, mix well and cook, uncovered for 1-2 minutes, until vegetables reach their desired level of doneness.
Remove from heat and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

Footnotes
I like my vegetables tender-crisp so the cook times reflect that level of doneness – it is easily adjusted to your tastes. It is best to make the quinoa a bit ahead of time so it has some time to dry out (otherwise the first step will take more time). 1/2c dry quinoa will yield about 2 cups cooked. To cook: boil water in a medium pan, add RINSED quinoa and let boil until cooked, about 12 minutes, drain water.

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Hello!

Welcome to my blog!

First, a little about me…

I’m an actress pursuing her career in New York City. I got my professional start in Kindergarden when I danced with the American Repertory Ballet Company in Princeton, NJ – I performed in the Nutcracker every year until I was 12.  However, I really got my start at home – my sister and I would act out movies in our living room, put on shows for our family – both live and on camera! Since then I’ve always known that I just needed to perform.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and here I am!! While I love performing on stage, on-camera work is my focus. Lately, I’ve been working primarily on short films and web-based commercials.

My goal is to work on period pieces – anything from the 1920s-1960s is my sweet spot. My latest project, Kissed by Inspiration, is a short film set in the 1960s. The movie should be finished in about a month, and I will be sure to share it with you when its complete!

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