Archive for the '105 Degrees' Category


January 5th, 2012

mk-okc and me
Happy New Year! Hope it was a great one. I can’t believe it’s 2012. I’m really encouraged about this year. Because it feels like I’m at a big turning point. This year, I spent New Year’s in Oklahoma (home of MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY where I attended CULINARY SCHOOL) and also where the rest of my family lives). This year, there was something big happening in OKC for New Year’s (next blog post). So, I had to be there.

dragon roll
Of course, I had to stop by the restaurant to see what was on the new menu. We went three times while we were in town. Here is a sampling of my favorite menu items. The avocado dragon roll was the first thing I tried. It’s SIMILAR TO THE CATERPILLAR ROLL that was on the menu during my tenure there. I loved it then. And I still love it.

The oaxaca was also a winner. It’s a spicy chocolate banana concoction that really hits the spot.

nye menu
The first night we were there, they had a special menu for New Year’s Eve. So we tried one of those.

soupThis winter vegetable soup was the first course. These were garnished with what seemed like a rosemary pignoli parmesan. Yum! The garnish was bomb, but it kind of made the soup. So once I ate up all the garnish, I was kind of done.  Though admittedly, I’m pretty hard to please in the raw soup department.  Gotta try some rosemary pignoli parm though.  And unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend ordered some pine nuts while I was gone.  They just arrived today, in fact!

My favorite dish on the New Year’s Eve menu was definitely the Chocolate Gingerbread Sundae. With black cherry syrup and maple candied hazelnuts. Winning! And not in a drug induced stupor kind of way. The real deal. I got to meet the chef behind it while I was there too. Tatiana from Toronto. Also a former student. And now the pastry chef.

We had to get our green quotient in while we were there too. These are the sour cream and onion kale chips. We got some of these for the drive home too.

salsa verde
This is the salsa verde salad sub kale and guac for the avocado. This was recommended to us by our extremely personable hostess, Vicki (I hope I spelled that right). She didn’t steer us wrong. Our waiter also recommended the chipotle kale salad which I liked a lot too. These two were definitely my faves.

We came by for brunch on New Year’s Day too. And ordered the brunch sampler. Which is a little bit of everything. A really nice variety and great for sharing.

okc and me
So all in all, it was great to check in and see the latest. Definitely got spoiled being there full time for a while. Rumor has it though that a new location might be popping up a little closer to home soon…


Travelling In The Raw

November 30th, 2011

Today I am writing to tell you about one of my fellow alumni from MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY, Robyn Law aka GIRL ON RAW. Robin is a former flight attendant and expert on TRAVELLING IN THE RAW.

travelling in the rawShe has just published a new eBook on the subject aptly titled ‘Travelling in the Raw’. I am really excited about this development for a number of reasons. My boyfriend is actually in Europe right now on tour. So I emailed him a copy. He travels a lot. He actually just came home from an East Coast tour. He was back for 24 hours. Then, he left for Europe. He comes home next week for 12 hours, and then he leaves again for the West Coast. It’s exciting and a little glamorous. He keeps inviting me to go to Europe with him. He travels so much that he has a bazillion frequent flyer miles. So my plane ticket would be free. But I haven’t gone yet. Why?! Is this question that everyone asks.

girl on rawWell a lot of it was because I needed someone to write this book for me. If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will know of my struggles with AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES. I used to love travelling. My father, in fact, also worked for the airline industry. So we travelled a lot growing up. But now the issue is food. Since my immune system is so reactive, it’s really important what I eat. Falling off the wagon on vacation has some pretty dramatic consequences for me. This can easily snowball into me not being able to get out of bed for days. Which is not really appropriate for travelling. Esp with a group of people on a tight schedule. As a result, I’ve been becoming increasingly introverted and anti-social as this thing has played out. And I need to break out of this rut. Thank you, Robyn! For doing all the leg work!!

travel snacks
It’s pretty cute. My boyfriend has been trying to stake out the safe places for me all over the globe. He always brings me the latest in raw food snacks! And emails me pictures of all the good food he is eating. This is what he brought me last week from LIVE LIVE in NYC. I’m starting to feel brave. Maybe this will be the year!


Raw To Go

June 13th, 2011

Guess what wonderful surprise I had waiting for me in my mailbox the other day? A care package from RAW TO GO, a new company founded by my classmate at 105 (now MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY), SONJA.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember THIS POST I did way back when on Sonja’s amazing shop project. Interestingly, we both ended up bringing variations of our shop projects to market (not what I would have predicted at the time).

fourbarsSonja developed this amazing line of granola bars. She sent me four different flavors (though two of them are still in the testing phase and may not make it all the way to market): Monon Mix, Pecan Pie, Curry Delight, and 100% Analog.  I love these granola bars.  It’s hard to say which is my favorite.  It depends on the day.  My boyfriend is really partial to 100% Analog (which was named after him).

He is a RECORDING ENGINEER who is partial to the analog way of doing things. It’s the most pure and unadulterated sound. That’s where the name comes from. It is so cute how much he loves these bars. He wants to give them to all his friends. He’s like, ‘I bet I’m the only sound guy in the whole world who has a granola bar named after him.’ He’s probably right. This raspberry, macadamia, almond, vanilla yumminess is hands down his favorite.

monon pecan
The pecan pie and the monon mix flavors are the two that are available for purchase on the RAW TO GO WEBSITE right now. Both are outstanding. I can’t decide which I like better. I think I’m a little partial to monon mix, and my boyfriend is a little partial to pecan pie (which works out well and prevents fighting).

curry delight
The curry delight is the other flavor which is still being tested. I can tell you that it was a HUGE HIT at 105. I was quite addicted then, and things haven’t changed. I really hope this one makes it to market.

curry analog
You can always write to them and make requests! Maybe if she gets enough of them, something will happen (hopefully before I run out)…


Back at 105

April 6th, 2011

Yesterday, I made it back to 105 DEGREES for the first time since GRADUATION. They were having a tasting and a presentation by none other than MATTHEW KENNEY. I was so relieved to find this bottle of kefir in the shop. Kefir is my number one weapon against recurring CANDIDA flare-ups (which I’m currently staving off).

They had some champagne too (which I, sadly, can’t have). But my mom really liked it.

beet ravioli
This was the beet ravioli. The beet had a very interesting texture. I’m really curious how they accomplished that.

I’m not exactly sure what this was. The server said it was a cheddar cashew wrap. My mom said I should tell Matthew Kenney that it would have been excellent with a touch of wasabi. I would have except there were people filming his every move.

sesame gelato
This was the sesame gelato. I was expecting this to be sweet and not savory. I thought the mushroom was some sort of chocolate/graham cracker like garnish. It kind of reminded me of this one time in first grade when my mom (who every day for weeks beforehand put milk in my thermos) switched up the program and gave me lemonade. I was expecting milk. So when it was lemonade, I thought it was rotten. The same thing happened here. I might have liked it a lot better otherwise.

Afterwards, MK gave an excellent presentation on the benefits of raw food. I was really excited because my parents were there (and they are not really sure what to make of what I eat still). I was hoping that some of the message might sink in a little. I’m sad to report though that my mom went through the McDonald’s drive-thru afterwards and ate fries for dinner. Well, I tried anyway. I’ll keep working at it.

It was nice to see the restaurant so packed. I also saw my instructor, LADAN, Megan (who runs the Academy now), and KELLY LEE (the GM). It was great to check in with people again. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since graduation. Things have definitely not UNFOLDED how I would have guessed. Matthew Kenney said we were all warriors on the battlefield that is the food industry. All the real warriors get a little gimpy now and then, right? So, I guess you could say that I’m right on target. 🙂


Bikram Yoga Challenge

December 19th, 2010

yoga sign
As you might have guessed from my LAST POST, this is the time of year when Minnesotans switch up their exercise routines. I have been finding myself rather addicted to BIKRAM YOGA lately.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you might have heard about some of the health lessons I’ve been working through lately. Last summer, I was in an ACCIDENT. I sustained a number of injuries in the crash including three pelvic fractures and some broken ribs.

Prior to that, I had worked through a number of complications related to a toxic exposure. It’s kind of a LONG STORY. But essentially, I had a severe exposure which unfolded into a colorfully epic saga involving seemingly every organ system in my body. The lastest drama is that I’ve now tested positive for rheumatoid factor twice (the antibody seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease). Now before you get too worried, I actually had a SIMILAR DRAMA to this last year when I tested positive for ANA twice (an antibody seen in patients with lupus, another form of autoimmune disease). We’re still figuring out what this means. The exposure that happened to me is actually pretty unusual. So, it’s difficult to predict how things will evolve. I’ve personally gotten kind of detached from the outcome at this point (this has been going on for four and a half years – YAWN. I’m over it). Whatever it is, it’s just a name. In a lot of ways, I think the mystery is kind of a blessing. As long as the future is unknown, the possibilities for healing are limitless. But what I can say for sure is that I have issues. Liver issues. And autoimmune issues.

This is perhaps why I find bikram yoga so compelling. Bikram yoga class consists of a series of twenty six postures and two breathing exercises which are practiced in a room heated to 105 DEGREES! Isn’t that an interesting coincidence? (The same temperature that my CULINARY ACADEMY was named after). The heat does AMAZING things for my muscles. I have had a lot of muscle pain since the accident. I distinctly remember the moment of impact. It was like this incredible amount of energy was transferred to my body in an instant. I remember feeling like every cell in my body was spinning in overdrive. For months after the crash, I couldn’t really feel anything. I was in the ‘beyond pain’ state where the muscles just clamp down. The process of restoring them to a normal state of tension requires you to work through the pain little by little. I can say that without a doubt, this form of yoga is having a huge impact on this issue! I can’t get enough. I go to class and find relief for a few hours. Then, I wake up the next day and need another fix. It’s a good kind of addiction.

awkward pose
I’ve noticed a lot of changes with this pose this week too. This is awkward pose. You sit down in an imaginary chair and try to lean back as far as you can. This pose uses a lot of muscles which got really weak during my sedentary phase of healing. Back muscles and hip muscles. Triangle pose is another one that uses those muscles a lot. I’ve made a lot of progress on these two already.

window sill
I feel like this yoga is having a big impact on the autoimmune issues as well (a revelation that perhaps deserves it’s own post). I have decided this winter to dedicate myself to the next phase of my healing, and my instinct is that this is it!

studio lobby
Luckily for me, Minneapolis is home to a really wonderful BIKRAM YOGA STUDIO owned by Martha and Eric Williams. I just purchased an unlimited pass there. Many Bikram studios offer these ’30/60/100 Day Challenges’ as a motivator for students. Right now, I’m feeling very motivated to practice yoga as it is acting as a pain reliever for me. I’m not sure if my own challenge will conform to the 30/60/100 day model. But, I am starting a challenge of my own. Since I have a number of medical issues, I am hesitant to commit myself to one of these numbers as I don’t want the number to take precedence over my focus on healing. But, I am committed to seeing how the yoga can impact my health issues. And I appreciate and respect the discipline that goes along with the challenges. I just want to be gentle with myself. Today was my seventh day in a row. I am noticing lots of positive changes already. I will keep you posted on my progress…


Fermentation 101

December 10th, 2010

I haven’t posted much lately, and I apologize. I’ve been busy!! I’m am very excited today to post my latest video for PUNK RAWK LABS TV!

helenand me
The video features NYC based raw food chef, Helen Castillo, of THE RAW PALATE and a kefir starter kit from WATER KEFIR GRAINS (where I buy my kefir grains).

prl tv
This is also the first video that I edited myself. Now that my boyfriend has gotten his grammy nod, he doesn’t have time to help me. I suspect though that now that I know how to do it, I will be posting more videos and blogging less. Not a bad tradeoff. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the VIDEO. I’m kinda proud of it…


Sprouting and Energy Soup

June 10th, 2010

s and me
I just posted a new episode on PRL TV! This week, we have a special guest…SONJA. Don’t we look like food network divas? Actually, this was a picture of our whole class at 105 DEGREES taken by RUSSELL JAMES. For some reason, I have a ton of pictures with HELEN…and lots of pictures of Helen and Sonja…but none of Sonja and I. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the episode.

Still more good news on the way. I’m on a roll…kinda.


Level Two Graduation

April 8th, 2010

birds eye
Well, the last two weeks have been quite the whirlwind. So, I haven’t had time to post. But in case you didn’t get the memo, I graduated! Graduation was quite a gathering of friends, relatives, and celebrity bloggers.

Here I am being interviewed by none other than PENNI SHELTON of REAL FOOD TULSA and RAW FOOD REHAB. You can check out the interview HERE.

helen and sonja
Our day was a little mellower than Level One (they presented their graduation menus). Our GRADUATION MENU was presented a few days earlier. So all we had to do was take our written final. Here’s an action shot of SONJA and HELEN completing theirs.

After that, it was time to start celebrating…

happy helen
It was a day of mixed emotions…happiness to be done…but also sad to be leaving…

We got to taste all of level one’s exciting menus too.

Like this volcano cake with flowing lava!

That dish was made by the lovely Vicki (who Antonio, the dishwasher, referred to as the ‘other chinita’ – his nickname for me. I loved this nickname because my best friend was nicknamed this when she was in the peace corps).

My boyfriend came to my graduation, and he took this picture from the shop of me with my classmate, Hillary, and her husband.

My parents came too! It’s been great being in Oklahoma because I’ve gotten to spend a lot more time with them. I’m sure I’ll be back again soon…maybe for the Live and Learn event (which is on my birthday)…


Wheatgrass Class

March 31st, 2010

wheatgrass class
One of my last projects at school was to develop the curriculum for a class and teach it. My class was called ‘How to Grow Your Own WHEATGRASS GARDEN‘. (Picture by HELEN)

Here is a tray of grass I grew for the class. I had developed a bit of a reputation for being obsessed with wheatgrass. Admittedly, wheatgrass has done a LOT for me.

w class
Don’t worry if you missed the class though. Because my boyfriend videotaped the class for PRL TV! He thinks we can have it up in the next few days. (Picture by SONJA)

I’ll keep you posted…


Shop Project: Alissa

March 30th, 2010

scarborough fair
Well, I’m back in Minnesota now. The last week of school was such a whirlwind that I’m trying to catch up now while I’m unpacking my new place. I had a number of big projects due the last week. One of them was my shop project (where you develop a few products to be sold in the shop). Mine was everyone’s favorite indulgences: CHEESE and CHOCOLATE.

Here were some of my chocolate bars on the shelf in the SHOP.

I developed three flavors of cheese: jalepeno cheddar, scarborough fair, and smoked.

I molded the cheeses in a ring mold and chilled them to set the shape. For the smoked cheese, I gave it a pepper crust.

pepper crust
Next, they were placed in the dehydrator to form a bit of a rind on the outside. Like so.

scarborough fair
Here you can see the inside of a wheel of scarborough fair cheese (sage, rosemary, and thyme) with a little bit of a rind on the outside.

pouring molds
The chocolate was a little more complicated (and admittedly less successful). Here I am pouring my chocolate into the molds. The trick with chocolate is in the tempering.

crystals forming
Here you can see the crystals forming on the shiny wet surface of the chocolate.

If all goes well, you end up with something that looks like this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Here are some bars that I made. Well tempered chocolate should have a smooth, shiny surface that snaps when you break it. These were getting there.

This is an example of bloom. You can see a perfect shiny spot on the surface, but it’s unfortunately inconsistent. The rest is called bloom. Blooms can be caused by sugar or fat. I’m honestly not entirely sure what happened to this batch. It went through a lot of meltdowns before it got to this point.

shiny bar
This bar turned out a little more consistent, but not as shiny as the spot on the one above. Which means that I haven’t reached my true chocolate potential yet. I might have to save the rest of this experiment for later…