March 6, 2015

Super Easy, Super Tasty, Healthy Breakfast Berries in Coconut Milk

It's not very often   I don't ever post my kitchen creations because, well, the kitchen is not exactly my strength.  I am really good at decorating cookies and cakes, but this does me no good since I can't have those types of foods around me or I'll eat every last crumb... in one night.  I find it much easier to have Bite Squad deliver food to wherever I am from my favorite healthy restaurant in Uptown, Agra Culture!

Despite my lack of kitchen creativity, I don't mess around with breakfast.  This is the area I've learned to navigate well out of pure necessity. I wake up starving most mornings, (is that weird?) and since Bite Squad doesn't deliver until 11, I need to keep a few things in the fridge for breakfast to avoid a hangry meltown.  Growing up, my parents (who just didn't know any better at the time) kept the kitchen stocked with Eggo Waffles, Toaster Strudels and Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal with 2% milk for quick breakfast staples,  Yikes!  It all tasted good, but all of these are the worst offending food items one can eat. I would be starving by 10am with blood sugar crashes. As an adult, I wouldn't dare put any of that in my body... talk about processed/gluten/carbohydrate/sugar bomb!

When I started to model- it became part of my job to educate myself on foods and proper nutrition.  I saw a nutritionist, read a zillion books and talked with experts.  Then, I tried and tested it all on myself.  While everyone's body handles different foods differently, there are two things I know to stay away from: Dairy and gluten products.  When I eat either of these two things, my skin pays for it immediately, (although I have no problem indulging if something is really worth it!). But, knocking out gluten and dairy makes most American Breakfast options very limited.  With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, what is left to eat without the cereal, toast, granola, waffles and pancakes?

Solution:
BREAKFAST BERRIES IN COCONUT MILK
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

Time: 1 minute

You need:
1 1/2 cups Pre-washed berries of your choice (I use sliced bananas and grapes too!)
1/2 can full-fat coconut milk
1tbsp honey
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds




I love a little sweetness in my life, so my super simple breakfast satisfies my sweet tooth, while nixing all the bad processed sugars.  Since I'm always in a hurry, this takes about 60 seconds to make... and I don't have to be any sort of kitchen genius to make it.

Directions: Mix the coconut milk with the honey for a sweet, creamy yogurt-y mixture. I use canned coconut milk and a big handful of slivered almonds for a healthy dose of good fats.  It's important to use the canned full-fat coconut milk, not the boxed stuff, stirring it well because it does separate in the can. Make sure your berries are pre-washed and sliced the night before, otherwise add another couple minutes time.

*Canned coconut milk also makes for extra creamy smoothies.

March 2, 2015

Drawing Horses

Recently, I had the pleasure to meet Avery, a very talented young lady whom this blog post and how-to is dedicated to.  First, a little backstory.

A while back, Avery's dad sent me an email that touched my heart:

"I am not sure if you remember me or not, but my name is Joe Anderson and we graduated high school together in Forest Lake.  I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for all of the great artwork that you do and more specifically the drawings and paintings of horses.

... At one point she (Avery) wanted to see a painting of a horse for which I recalled that you had done some artwork on and I began to show her your drawings.  Now, whenever I put her to bed she always asks "daddy can you show me those horse drawings by that girl you went to school with?" to which I respond "yes" and can immediately see the joy in her face. "  

Now if that didn't tug my heart strings, I don't know what else could! As a little girl, I was completely in love with horses and art as well. The thought of another horse-loving girl out there going to bed looking at the paintings of my horses on my website was so meaningful to me.   I had to meet Avery- and thank her for appreciating my work.   I invited Avery and her parents down to my studio for a special surprise visit, including a little gift from me and a mini-drawing lesson on how to draw a horse (head). Avery's mom, Kristin, captured the whole visit in this video:


Avery and Val from Kristin Anderson on Vimeo.

The night after Avery left,  I felt like she had given me such a gift of her own.  Her curiosity, excitement and appreciation of my work was so honest and real- the kind that can only come from a five-year old.  She knew exactly who I was when she saw me for the first time! She reminded me why I love being an artist.  After I showed her my art and gave her a painting of her own, we had a quick little art lesson.  I taught her to draw a horse head, which she picked up remarkably fast.  She drew several of them that night, each one better than the last. She gave one to me, and it's hanging in my studio as a reminder of her and our shared love for horses and art.

In the weeks after our visit, Avery mastered the horse head.  Her dad sent me updates on how she was now teaching others to draw the horse head.  It seems like it's time to give that horse head a body! As promised, here are step-by-step instructions for how I draw a horse.  Anyone can do this with a little practice.  Horses were the very first thing I learned to draw, starting with the head, then learning the body.   And don't worry if you mess up your first few drawings, I have a trick to help you draw like a pro.

Avery- I'm looking forward to hearing all about how your horse drawings come along!  I am sure you'll have this perfected in no time!  You're a natural artist.

Happy Creating!
Valerie

(link to printable PDF here)


 All you'll need is a few pieces of paper and a pencil!  Start with a very soft "x" in the center of the paper.  This will mark the center of the horses' belly.

 Next, draw two egg-shapes on either side of the "x".  The egg shapes should be slightly tilted towards each other.  These mark the hindquarters and the shoulders.  The shoulders are slightly larger than the hindquarters.  Then, draw two circle shapes indicating the head and muzzle.  Connect the edges of the shapes and indicated.  (Note the size variation in the shapes and how the lines are not straight, but curved).