Featured Artist of the Month: January 2019

Happy New Year!

by Suzanne Caesar

“Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.” — Arianna Huffington

I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions, but I was reminded of how fortunate I am that I find joy in preparing and sharing meals with family and friends, as was the case last night.

Inevitably, the conversation touched upon the food choices we make and without hesitating I said I didn’t care anymore. Do I care what I put into my body? Absolutely! Organic, yes. GMOs — no way!

But I did experiment throughout the years…food combining, fasting, skipping meals, detoxing, portion control, cabbage soup diet, paleo, keto and everything in between. Each phase taught me and got me closer to which foods made me feel good and which ones to avoid at all costs.

When I cook at home it’s easier for me to maintain a balance, a rhythm that I dance in and out of to feel good and perform at my best, daily, which includes the occasional indulgence because if I don’t, I set myself up for disaster when I deprive myself.

Along with my exercise routine — dancing is my default, though I like variety in my moves, I play with my food choices like a colorful tossed salad! If I choose to eat ice cream, I’ll take the cream, fat and all, thank you very much!

I almost always check in with myself about the food choices I make, and to indulge is a conscious choice. I have had many moments of emotional eating, and more often than not, now, I catch myself before I go off the deep end, but not this time. We women, especially, have a unique relationship to and with food and as Geneen Roth, author of WOMEN, FOOD AND GOD states, “Relationship to food is in direct relationship to life itself.”

Just before the holidays I broke three ribs. I was out of commission, and I’m still recovering. It was such a debilitating experience; the pain alone was excruciating, literally “bone deep” I could barely move, and my holiday menu that I prepare every year went out the window.

I love to cook seasonally so my menus vary (“variety is the spice of life” after all), so most everything I was eating was take-out, eating out and snacking while laying around. The choices around my food became non-existent, as did my exercise schedule, and my work as a dancer/ choreographer came to a halt.

I’m sure most of us can relate to the food choices and exercising part, particularly around the holidays. But the work part was extremely depressing for me, especially because I was so excited to be working on a new dance for my show, The HERA Odyssey.

But what’s a dancer to do when she breaks three ribs? I allowed myself to eat what I wanted, and boy did it get emotional! One slice of pizza became three (unheard of for me), one holiday cookie turned into six (maybe more)! But it’s what I needed to feel better so I went with it.

When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade, or something like that. I could barely make my own food, but I was able to create a new dance piece! I had always wanted to bring this piece to life, but was only able to make it happen because I could not do much else.

As we begin 2019, it's a good time to set our sights on where and when to take action to achieve our short and long-range goals, and when to make room for allowing our goals and dreams to emerge into something new, maybe unexpected, and exciting;  the dance worth stepping up for! Like anything else, it takes practice and finding your own rhythm between the two.

Seven weeks after my injury, five pounds heavier, and feeling better every day, I’ve come full circle. Last night’s dinner was the first meal I’d made in weeks and shared with a dear friend. It was a huge metaphoric leap towards my healing because now I know I can get back into a new groove and out of the rut I was in.

I set aside time to do a few plies, stretching and deep breathing… man, my legs were tight but, the fact that I actually got myself moving again felt liberating!

I do care what I put into my body, and why I love to prepare and share my food. The frittata I made is one for the winter season in my book. It’s a bit heavier with potatoes, along with zucchini, red pepper, black olives and full of protein. It makes a healthy main course or can be served as an appetizer, see the recipe below.

And my new dance piece? It is a beautiful and inspirational 2019 desk calendar for dancers and dance lovers alike, with quotes from beloved choreographers and more. It is a work of art in and of itself.

**** 

I am so excited to have one of Suzanne’s calendars sitting on my desk for daily inspiration, and she has generously offered to give members of the Women of Culture community 50% off so that that all of you can have one of these beautiful calendars as well.*

Just click here and enter the amount of $10. You can also find more information about Suzanne and the calendar on her website: http://www.rhythmforlifenyc.com/

— Alex

*All proceeds go to the production of her dance piece, The HERA Odyssey - A Mythical and Mystical dance play of Eternal Love, Truth & Beauty.

***

Vegetable Frittata Recipe
FRITTATA is an Italian form of omelet, served as an entree or, cut into squares, a delectable cocktail nibbler! Makes 16 2-inch squares.

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1  onion, chopped
2  small zucchini, sliced
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
3 medium-size potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced
8 pitted black olives, sliced  
8  eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp parsley

Directions:

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and red pepper, and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in potatoes and olives. Cool.

2) In a bowl, beat eggs with remaining ingredients.

3) Heavily butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Spoon in vegetables, spreading them in an even layer. Pour egg mixture evenly over top.

4) Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350*F) for 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

5) Remove from heat, let cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Garnish top of each square as desired.

Suggested garnishes: asparagus tips and pimento strips; mushroom slices, white onion rings and parsley; small stuffed olives and parsley; pickle fan and black olive slices; cherry tomato slices topped with pumpkin seeds; or add your own!  

Prep tip: When time is a factor, saute all the vegetable, including adding potatoes and olives the night before and store in the fridge. Proceed with the remaining ingredients to bake the next day.

Alexandra HarperComment