An American Girl in Washington

A Yummy Dessert

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 17 January 2013

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In my quest for healthy vegan sweets today I came up with something that is neither wholly vegan nor completely healthy. And well, I didn’t come up with it today, but I usually make it for an ice cream topping and with mounds of sugar and now I’m making it with agave nectar.





Apple Walnut Nutmeg Yumminess

1 apple

1 pear

handful of walnuts

a LOT of butter



vanilla extract

agave nectar


Melt the butter in a skillet on med-high. Chop up the apples and pears. Throw them in the skillet. Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon. Throw in the walnuts. Pour in vanilla and agave to taste. Cook until it’s the texture you want. Eat and enjoy. Best with wine or hot tea or bourbon or scotch.





Cold Turkey

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 13 January 2013

I have recently made the unfortunate discovery that just because you go vegan doesn’t mean you’re always going to eat healthy. Giving up meat hasn’t been difficult at all. Giving up dairy is a little painful (cheese and ice cream!!!) but isn’t impossible. But the two things I can’t give up, and that, in fact, I doubled down on when I had to give up everything else, are fried potatoes and chips and guac. They’re my favorites, I can make them at home with little effort and all natural ingredients, and yet they’re still terrible for me. Especially the fried potatoes. The problem is, it’s hard enough giving up all of the stuff that isn’t vegan, but now I have to give up all of the stuff that is too! But there’s simply no use in eating well and doing Bikram and making sacrifices if I’m not going to cut out everything else that’s bad for me.

So, after I came to this horrifying realization, I spent the weekend frying and eating every potato I had, I made a big bowl of guac and ate it with chips, and now I’m going cold turkey. I’ll have to find other things to replace the salty, oily goodness of my former friends. I’ll have to learn to like sweet potato fries and kale chips and… i don’t know, other snacks. Sigh. This is a whole re-education process. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Goodbye old friends! Some day I’ll see you again!


Book Review: Hearts, Smarts, Guts and Luck

Posted in Book Learnin' by AGinDC on 6 January 2013

hsglWhen Sandbox got a new board member, an email went around introducing him and talking about his new book, Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck: What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business. It sounded great, and I’m always looking for more books to help me figure out what the hell I’m doing, so I bought it. But I have a bookshelf absolutely teeming with books I haven’t read yet and Amazon Marketplace is the most dangerous place on Earth for me, so I just got to this particular tome last week.

HSGL is about the four traits that the authors have determined make up most entrepreneurs. They have a nifty test you take online to find out how much of each trait you have and the book follows the pretty standard business book format of talking about each in turn, giving examples from relevant research and popular business leaders, and closing with suggestions on how to use each skill as and when it’s optimal. If you’re curious, I am Heart and Guts dominant with very little in the Smarts or Luck department. This will surprise no one. I pretty much run on instinct and Chipotle.

The book wasn’t bad, I have lots of little tabs sticking out of it (yes, I’m a nerd) and I walked away with some good quotes. The best feature is the chapter summaries, any chapter that wasn’t holding my interest was quickly skipped in favor of the cliffs notes in the back. Below, I share some of my favorite tidbits.



*Before doing anything else… founders need to generate widespread energy and inspiration. Purpose should always come before company, product and profit, especially during a business’s early stages.

*Purpose is about thinking explicitly of how you can change the world for the better and create businesses with integrity, on a values-driven system.

*Nuance can transform a simple functional transaction into an emotional experience.

*For any entity that has its eye on large-scale success, perfecting the offering at the smallest level first before scaling is critical.

*Think big but be willing and open to starting small.

*Businesses that can create a soulful cultural movement among their employees are rare, yet those who can have a remarkable advantage they should celebrate and preserve.

*Write an annual CEO memo to the board to clarify the big picture, create a powerful mechanism for alignment between boards and CEOs, and find a point of focus for the year.

*You can learn a great deal about customers by finding out what they are doing three minutes immediately before and three minutes after they use your product or service.

*Constantly know and refresh the 25 people in this world who could take your business to the next level.

*Guts-driven entrepreneurs aren’t fearless; they just know how to cope with, and maybe even thrive in, uncomfortable environments.

*At the foundation of a lucky attitude is humility. Successful business-builders must be aware of their shortcomings. Humility and vulnerability humanize leaders, embracing their ability to embrace luck.

Bikram for the New Year

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 6 January 2013

I live down the street from Bikram Yoga Capital Hill and I’ve been walking past it daily for almost a year now. I keep meaning to try it and once even went so far as to walk in and talk to them, but I’ve never taken an actual class. However, now that I’m preparing to turn 30 in 10 months, I’m not only still working on the whole weight loss thing, but I’m also gunning for inner peace at full speed. I was going to start running again and started Couch 2 5k a few weeks ago when I suddenly remembered why I stopped in the first place. I have bad knees, ankles and shins and running on concrete is the worst thing for me. In addition, running is not generally a peaceful thing for me. I blast my iPhone with punk rock or really bad girly pop or, if I’m angry and hate the world, Jay-Z, and my brain runs at full speed and it’s just not a process that leads me towards Nirvana. And then there’s the fact that I almost never stretch and running has never once, in my life, led me to lose a single pound, so it’s really just all bad, all the time.

Enter: yoga. I’ve tried yoga a few times. I never really make it through. It seems boring and painful for no reason. I get that a lot of people really love yoga and find inner peace and all and that’s great. But I’m more of a high-impact, super competitive, no-pain-no-gain kind of girl and yoga just makes me want to die of pointlessness. But, there’s a lot about it that seems useful, and I’ve been wanting to find a way to like it. Which is why I tried Bikram. The whole hot yoga thing sounded promising, since sweat is obviously good for you in more ways than I probably know of and I figured it was worth a shot. I thought it would be like normal yoga in a sauna so going in I prepared myself for lots of meditating and downward facing dog and awkward stretchiness. Wrong!

It turns out, Bikram is like the Nascar version of yoga. It’s really hot, the moves don’t last more than 30 seconds or so each, you’re constantly moving, and the instructor talks faster than I do, which is quite an accomplishment. In fact, if the role of yoga dominatrix doesn’t work out for today’s instructor, Kendra, she has a promising career as a Southern auctioneer.

Bikram is incredibly painful and really really sweaty and it’s possibly the least cute that I have ever looked, which is saying something. But it is also really athletic, which was exactly what I was looking for, it’s incredibly challenging and the competitor in me loved that I could compare myself to everyone else, wonder “How do they do that?” and then push myself a little harder. By the end I was both glaring at Kendra, who I began to regard as an evil apparition sent down to torture me, but I was also really glad that I was there and couldn’t wait to come back again. So, for now, I’ll stick with it. But just twice a week I think. I don’t think I can handle much more than that.

photo (3)After what felt like a long walk home, I made a kale banana smoothie (I’m in for the day) and drank it while I made a red potato version of my new ratatouille standard. I’m desperate to find a healthy way to eat potatoes since they are quickly becoming a staple of my diet and I would like to refrain from frying them. So I made them with broccoli, green beans, red pepper, onion, garlic, carrots, rosemary, thyme, cumin, salt, pepper and veggie broth. Yum. I’m going to listen to Prairie Home Companion and recover the feeling in my legs and then chow down. One thing’s for sure, I’m way too tired to get much work done.



Spicy Breakfast Banana Smoothie

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 4 January 2013

Once I decided to do this whole vegan thing it became pretty clear pretty fast that smoothies and puddings would become a big part of my diet. So, I broke down and bought a blender (this one):


and started making smoothies. I don’t think I wrote about my kale smoothie attempt. It was delicious (kale, banana, coconut milk, almond milk, ice) but raw kale should only be eaten when you are single and in for the night. And even then, I was kind of torturing myself.

So, last night I decided to make a smoothie I could drink for breakfast. Now that I’m doing this temporary doc review project, gone are the days of my Cleopatra-like late mornings followed by television followed by a long, leisurely brunch. Now it’s Kashi bars, breakfast burritos from District Taco, or nothing. So I made a smoothie that was actually pretty delicious, and that survived the night in a bottle and made it to this morning. I do need to go out and get like, protein powder or flax seeds or one of those other things that you’re supposed to add to smoothies to make them more filling and better for you. Anyways, here it is. No measurements of course. And no pictures b/c it looks a little brownish and weird in my glass bottle and I don’t want to scare you away from trying it.

Spicy Breakfast Banana Smoothie

2 Bananas
1ish cups each of coconut and almond milk (or 2ish cups of the combo)
Large dash of nutmeg
Large dash of cinnamon
Handful of walnuts




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This Week’s Washington Green Grocer Box

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 3 January 2013

I was going to get this box every other week but I’m eating so many vegetables (yaay!) that I was almost out. So now I’m doing it every week, which is awesome because I’m getting a lot of fruits and veggies for $32 a week. This week is a bit of a standards week. Lots of my favorites: avocado, potatoes, red peppers, bananas, apples, lettuce, etc. Yum!

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