Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Scott's Birthday

The more I know you, the more I love you.
I hope I have a billion-hundred and twenty-seven more years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Spring Splash"

Watch full screen on You Tube 

(not for mobile devices, sorry :( copyright issues with song)

Spring Splash
 a Southern California Spring surf session filmed with a Go Pro HD camera along with land shots. Music: Phish “The Inlaw Josie Whales”; Filming: Scott DeMint, Devon Holloway DeMint; Editing: Devon Holloway DeMint

Monday, March 26, 2012

This Weekend

We took my parent's to the Hunger Games at midnight as a part of their Christmas present

San Diego Shine beach clean up at Mission Beach, CA
My old Mission Beach house in college// Funny they had to post this sign at the bay
Ben & Scott at the boat
Our newly engaged friends Brian and Jess 
 The Roxy Let the Sea Set You Free tour
We had a lot going on this weekend, but since the events were relatively relaxing and enjoyable it wasn't overwhelming. Thursday night/Friday morning we took my mom and dad to the Hunger Games opening. We all read the books and since Scott and I got my parents 'dinner and a movie' for Christmas, this seemed the perfect occasion to see one. We all really enjoyed it, even though we had the front row, neck-breaker seats. Have you seen it? If so, what did you think? 
     Saturday morning Scott and I attended the San Diego Shine event hosted by Ashely. It was  great to be back at our old stomping grounds, since Scott and I met and lived in Mission Beach for five years. This fact allowed picking up cigarettes, soiled food wrappers and beer bottles to be kind of romantic since we cleaned and talked about early memories of us at the same time. "Oh, remember the time we did that flip-cup tournament at that house?" it mostly went something like that. The weather wasn't bad either, and it felt good to clean a place we love so much.
Another high point of the cleanup was seeing many of my favorite bloggers! I totally spaced and forgot to take a picture with them (total blogger fail), but I know we will see each other again soon. After the cleanup, we met our friends at our boat to celebrate Brian and Jess's engagement. 
On Sunday we surfed some freezing pre-storm waves before I left to help with Roxy's Let The Sea Set You Free tour. Overall, it was a really nice, busy weekend.

What did you do this weekend?

p.s. Thank you all for your thoughtful and encouraging comments on Friday's post. You really made my day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Balance and Confidence: A Reflection on Why I Quit My Job

      The first time I remember having certainty about something about myself was in the 6th grade. My teacher was Mrs. Grimm, a caring and respected woman in her mid thirties who I recall wearing glasses, even though she didn’t, simply because she seemed so wise. One day Mrs. Grimm went around our class asking us what our favorite colors were. Our classroom was one of the few in our 50-year-old Catholic school that had white boards. I distinctly remember her pointing at me quizzically with a dry ease marker and asking me what my favorite color was. I didn’t immediately have an answer because it was honestly something I hadn’t thought about in a while. She was a patient woman, but I knew the rest of the class was waiting and I felt the pressure to answer weighing down on me. My mind skimmed over the colors of the rainbow, and then to the color pink, which I knew I had claimed as my favorite as a five-year-old. No, not pink, I thought quickly. I remember thinking about what color made me feel like me. “Red!” I finally blurted out, after what felt like a whole school day. As Mrs. Grimm wrote it on the white board next to my name, I realized that it was true. Red was my favorite color! Excitement danced inside my heart and clarity in my head as I gazed upon the board at an enduring detail I had uncovered about myself.

         Last year at my old teaching job I didn’t feel as confident about my decision to be there as I did the day I chose red as my favorite color. I loved teaching, but doing it meant I wasn’t able to follow what was really in my heart. I wasn’t feeling found there, I was feeling more and more lost. What encouraged this feeling was the fact that the people I worked with acted like they liked me to my face, but weren’t the same behind my back. Convinced that I would get them to like me, I spent much of my time around them trying to prove to them that they should. Towards the end of the school year I knew that I couldn’t stay in that situation any longer. My heart was unsatisfied, but what was almost as unbearable was the fact that I felt so off balance in life. My days were filled trying to work towards a futile goal, the approval of others, and I never quite had the right mindset to enjoy my other passions.  

     The decision to quit my job was hard, terrifying really, but I know in my heart that this is what is right for me. Writing and surfing are like the color red to me; they make me feel like myself, they make me feel found.
Further entries about this subject can be found here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tofu Tacos + Recipe Link-Up

Serving size: 4

2 T olive oil
2 packages of tofu, diced
1 can of black beans, drained
1 package of taco seasoning
1 bag of lettuce
1/2 a cup of red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
cilantro to taste
corn tortillas
cheese (I use a monterey jack, mozzarella, cheddar cheese blend or almond cheese)
1 or 2 limes

If you want your tofu to be firmer, bake it first. I always do this since Scott prefers it this way. For tacos, I usually season the baked the tofu with lime, cilantro, red onion and garlic (you know, just cuz I love the way garlic smells when it cooks, plus it's healthy). Further tofu baking instructions can be found here.
Towards the end of the tofu's bake time combine the bell peppers and red onion in a large skillet. Use a little olive oil to help cook the veggies without burning them, and then add the taco seasoning (I usually only use about half the package).
Add tofu, pre-baked or not, in with the sizzling vegetables in the pan and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes (5 for baked 10 for raw). 
Now its time to warm the black beans and tortillas. Put the beans over low heat in a pot and wrap the tortillas in foil and place them in the already warm oven until both reach your desired temperature.
Finally, place cooked ingredients and lettuce into tortillas and sprinkle with cheese and lime juice.

Monday, March 19, 2012

This Weekend

This weekend it rained. I wasn't complaining though, we have had a very mild winter, like the rest of North America it seems, so it was nice to have a little rinse to revitalize us all. Since it rained the weekend basically became all about eating, as you can see. On Friday night we went out to pizza with my parents and our friend Kelsey. Arugula and Avocado pizza? Yes please! Also, I guest posted on Tammy's blog. You can check that out here, if you wish. I am so happy to have met Tammy through blogging, she is such a genuine and kind person. 
On Saturday we went to a coffee shop by our house and then had a look at a few surfboards. Scott's birthday is coming up, so I tried to take notes as he perused the shop. That night we went to a St. Patricks themed fundraiser for Scott's school. Did I ever tell you he is a P.E. teacher? Well he is, and the fundraiser is put on by the parent's committee to help raise money to pay for special subject teachers, like Scott. It's really too bad that California schools don't automatically have subjects like Physical Education and Art, but fortunately the parents at Scott's school care enough that they pay for these teachers themselves. We are so grateful. Sunday we were very tired. It was rainy and windy so we left the waves for the dolphins and seals, went for a bike ride and then played Zelda and watched Sense and Sensibility. I liked it, Scott thought it was ok. He gets to pick the next movie since this was obviously my pick. It was also our buddy Jason's birthday and today is Scott's sister Kristen's birthday. Happy birthday Jay and Kree!

How was your weekend? What did you do for St. Patrick's day?

Also, speaking of food, I am going to try to do a vegetarian recipe link up this week. How does Wednesday sound? Good. See you then. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sea Legs

     I arrived at my parents’ beach house around eight wearing slippers, my monkey pajamas and a red fleece robe. I had basically decided that today I would take a day off from surfing, sure that the howling wind and consistent rain from the day before would have left the ocean with some serious re-organizing to do.
     I was wrong. Offshore winds from the east had helped the ocean put itself back together. I watched from the cliff as big grey peaks came in all over the beach and broke in a very rideable fashion with the white water gracefully chasing the waves' grey faces in both directions. It must have been at least six to eight feet. No one was out for what seemed like miles. But why? I thought to myself. The waves looked nice enough and even though the water was probably slightly polluted from the rain, that never stopped die hard surfers from getting their fix.
     Watching the waves my mind became divided; Half of me wanted to go home and get work done, avoiding a pain in the arms paddle and the frozen headache, but the other half of me wanted to take on those daunting waves alone. I felt almost as though the ocean was calling me to see what I was made out of and I knew I wasn’t going to walk away from that. I made my way through my parents' yard to my bike to get my wetsuit, hood and board. I felt surprised by my strong feelings to confront these daunting waves as my early days of surfing had been filled with fear of riding waves just like them, especially alone.
     I couldn’t stop my legs now, though. They listened to my heart. They knew this was a rare moment where the perfect challenge had arrived right in front of them.
     When I entered the neighborhood beach parking lot I had to make my way past groups of men standing around, coffees in hand, discussing the surf. They looked at me like I had my wetsuit on backwards, studying my body, face and board like I was out of place. Their conversations slowed as I made my way through them. Whether I was going to flail or shred, it was clear now that it would be public knowledge.
     I made my way down the dirt beach path and ran right into the ocean. The recent dredging of a nearby creek left the water looking like dishwater and smelling like the bottom of a pond. It took me about seven minutes to paddle out to the outside.    
     A rideable wave came to me and I didn’t hesitate in taking it. I paddled two strokes and dropped onto the steep wave face. It always seems as though time slows down when you ride waves that scare you, but I couldn’t have been riding for more than three seconds before the whole thing exploded and blocked the path in front of me. I paddled back out again. This time it seemed to take me a little longer. The freezing, grey, smelly water washed inside my hood and made my face feel like it had been dipped in ice cream. I made it to the outside and waited for another ten minutes before the next decent wave came to me. It was a right. I dropped in realizing this wave was breaking rapidly and I would have to make up my mind quickly about what I was going to do with the section ahead of me. I could straighten out and allow the explosion of water to occur behind me, or I could pump up the face and ride on top of the impending explosion. The decision wasn’t hard. I didn’t come out here to play it safe, I came out today for the challenge. Using the speed I had from the steep drop I did a quick bottom turn and then made my way up the wave’s formidable face. I did a top turn before the lip could catch me and then rode out in front of the white wash with a content feeling jumping around in my heart. When my feet hit the sand I felt like laughing.
         I came up to the parking lot and made my way through the men still congregating near the path.
“How was it?” one with a green hoody asked.
“Umm. It was…It was challenging” I finally replied with a smile.
When I returned home I hung up my wetsuit more carefully than usual. This apparel carried more value now. It had been my suit on a day when I accepted a challenge from the sea.    

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our Wedding: The Bridal Party

The following pictures were taken before our wedding ceremony at The University of San Diego on July twenty third, 2011. All of the photographs were taken by Carson Day.
Bridesmaids [l to r] Lindsey (Scott's youngest sister), Maddie (my youngest sister), Me, Danielle (my middle sister), Kristen (Scott's middle sister). So Scott and I are both the oldest siblings in our families and we both have two younger sisters (in case you didn't get that). I was going for a wild flower look for the bouquet since I love all things wild. I'm not sure about all the flower names, but I do remember we had "fever few", dahlias and gardenias. 
"here we go"
Groomsmen [l to r] Mike, Jason, Scott, Mark, Dave. They are all Scott's best friends.
My best friends who read and presented the gifts in the wedding. [l to r] Nicole, Stephanie, Me, Nell, Kate, Basia
 The subsequent photos were taken down by the beach near the reception site at my parent's house, which happens to be in our neighborhood as well. 
It felt so full circle to be celebrating the wedding ceremony at The University of San Diego, my alma mater, where we spent so much time getting to know each other when we were newly in love college kids and then to be back near our new home in the neighborhood where we have spent so much time getting to know ourselves as a couple in our early adult life. 
This is the beach where we surf daily. I prayed for no surf, for the first time ever, so we wouldn't be staring at perfect waves when we were all dressed for a wedding party. My prayers were answered! 
It was so hot and bright this July day, which I wouldn't complain about since it is our favorite weather and we could have gotten the grey that plagued the rest of the So-Cal summer, but when this part was over, I don't think anyone was sad. We were actually all "bring on the cold drinks!"
And the last shot we could stand before we melted was this trippy looking shot. Sometimes I can't decide if I like it. Kinda reminds me of a promo shot for a tv show or something, but I'm glad we have it. 
Do you have any wedding pictures stories? I'd love to hear them. 

Wedding ceremony pictures here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thankful Things

This week I am thankful for 
My freedom
My dreams
Hope for tomorrow and inspiration from today

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baking Tofu

After writing about why I am a vegetarian on Monday, I figured today I would share this vegetarian recipe with you. I realize this isn't the most exciting dish. I was going to post my recipe for tofu tacos, but then I thought about the number of times I've been asked how to cook tofu when talking to friends and family about some of the recipes I make (as if people ask me all the time how to cook; it was probably really only twice). Anyways...
whether you're a vegetarian or not, it's good to know how to cook tofu. If for no other reason, it is considerably less expensive than meat.
I have cooked it many ways, but I find baking it to be my favorite. 
After this, I will share a few more recipes that make eating tofu a lot of fun. Because that's one of the main issues for people, isn't it? Tofu seems pretty boring and tasteless. And to be honest, I agree, it is tasteless on it's own, but the part where it gets fun is that you get to give it any taste you want.

Baking Tofu
Serving size: 4-5 (I make two packages and it usually lasts Scott and I for at least two meals)

2 packages of extra firm *organic tofu (you can buy firm or regular if you wish, but I find extra/super firm has a more agreeable texture for new tofu eaters)
 Extra virgin olive oil

* I recommend buying organic tofu only, since an estimated 85 percent of the non-organic U.S. soy crop is genetically engineered . 
*Please see my notes at the bottom about tofu and meat substitutes

Toppings and Marinades
Here's where you can get creative
What I typically use:
Low sodium soy sauce, liquid aminos or teriyaki sauce
Minced garlic
Chopped red onions

Tofu is kind of like chicken in that you can change the flavor of it to fit what you are cooking. For example, when I make tofu tacos, I bake the tofu with olive oil, garlic, onions, lime, cilantro and then saute it with taco seasoning. When I make Thai food I bake it with olive oil, soy sauce, chili pepper, green onions and then saute it with curry sauce and veggies. It is very versatile. Today I opened my refrigerator and just used what I had, adding orange and yellow bell peppers, green onions, red onions, garlic and some sea salt and pepper. 

Open tofu packages and drain excess water into the sink. Gently squeeze the tofu between a clean dish towel to drain water from it. Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Marinate for 1-2 hours in marinade of your choice. Preheat oven to 375. Cover a baking sheet with foil and then cover the foil with a thin layer of olive oil. Place the tofu cubes onto the baking sheet evenly so that each piece is resting on the pan (no stacking). Add desired toppings. Bake at 375ยบ for 20 minutes. Remove tofu from oven and flip it with a spatula, then bake for another 20 minutes (total cook time approximately 40 minutes, but ovens may vary). 

Like I mentioned above, when it's done baking I often quickly add it to veggies that I am sauteing on the stove so that it mixes in with those flavors, but you can take it right out of the oven and add it to anything you want.
  • Although I am a vegetarian, I don't substitute tofu for meat on every occasion. I try to steer clear of meat substitutes like faken bacon, soy chicken and soy dogs because a lot of that stuff is very processed and high in soy (something you should eat, like everything, in moderation).
  • If you are a vegetarian, tofu should not be your only substitute for protein. 
    • Good protein substitutes include beans, nuts and seeds 
    • My friend, Roberta, told me chick peas are great as they are very high in iron as are walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and figs. 
  • Like I said above, I recommend buying organic tofu only since an estimated 85 percent of the non-organic U.S. soy crop is genetically engineered (Natural Choice Directory). I really try to minimize the amount of processed products I eat. 
How do you cook tofu? Besides meat or soy, what kinds of protein rich foods do you love to eat? I would love to know!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why I'm a Vegetarian

Now that we are getting to know each other better, I thought this would be the appropriate time to mention that I am a vegetarian. You may or may not know this already. I haven't eaten red meat since the summer of 2009, but I became a full vegetarian last October after seeing a movie with graphic images of a cow being killed for meat. Anyways, I try not to think about it, so I will spare you the details. I already think my stuffed animals have feelings so, really, this was coming...

There are many benefits to a plant-based diet, both for the health of our population and our earth. I'm not going to try to tell you what to do, God knows I hate being told what to do. I'm just here to share with you how I live along with little bits of why. 

I never want to stop surfing because of some disease that could be avoided like obesity, heart disease or a stroke. Plus, I want to be in shape enough to rip, not just float around. 
I'm a control freak. I want as much control over my destiny as possible, which means I am going to do everything I can to live a long, healthy, active and full life. I've lost my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather to cancer and my maternal grandmother to heart disease. If I'm going out, I want it to be God's choice, not mine.
I love animals, and while I understand the circle of life, I just can't even bring myself to kill ants (yes, I know I'm a little crazy) let alone cute cows, happy chickens and my fish friends. I truly enjoy co-existing with them. I think they have a lot to teach us. 
I love the earth and I want to use what it naturally gives us consciously and gratefully.

Here are some other things about a plant based diet that I find convincing
  • Vegetarians and vegans are far less likely to get cancer, heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis (The Vegetarian Guide). 
  • Mortality from heart disease is positively associated with estimated intakes of total animal fat, saturated animal fat, and dietary cholesterol (The Oxford Vegetarian Study, 1999).
  • 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to nutritional factors (World Health Organization). 
    • One study compared cancer rates of vegetarians and meat-eaters in 34,000 Americans. The results showed that those who avoided meat, fish and poultry had dramatically lower rates of prostate, ovarian, and colon cancer compared to meat-eaters (PETA).
    • A study comparing the dietary habits of men in 32 countries found that the highest risk factors for prostate cancer mortality were meat and dairy products. By contrast, another study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains can slow or even halt the progression of the disease (PETA). 
    • A 2007 study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer found that women who ate the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer. 
  • Meat contains absolutely nothing that the human body cannot obtain from a vegetarian diet (Food for Thought)
  • In the US alone 500,000 animals are killed for meat every hour (Food for Thought). 
  • Eating vegetarian saves more land, energy and water than any other choice you can make.
    •  It takes ten times as much land to produce food for an average American compared to a pure vegetarian (The Vegetarian Guide).  
  •  U.S. Livestock produces 20 times the amount of waste as the American Human (250,000 pounds per second!) (The Vegetarian Guide). 
  • I like this quote by Eliot Coleman: "As a vegetarian I do the least possible harm to the least number of other living entities. Recognizing that all forms of life are worthy of respect, I disturb the life process as little as I can" ~Eliot Coleman (This Life is In Your Hands).
Some charts from the documentary Forks Over Knives (I wrote on the first one, in case you couldn't tell). 

When the Nazi's took over Norway in 1940 they took away all of their cows and chickens and the Norwegians were forced to eat a plant based diet. What was remarkable in all of the surrounding tragedy was the fact that death from circulatory diseases like heart, artery diseases and blood clots decreased significantly until the war ended and they began eating meat again. 

Amazing, right? What that says to me, besides the health benefits of plant based eating, is that it's never too late to make a positive change. 

Well, that's all I have for now. You can see some of the sources I used below. I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives and Food Inc.  

Oh yeah, and here's a vegetarian food pyramid.

As you probably know, if you are going to become a vegetarian, you need to do your research. It's important once you eliminate meat that you still get the appropriate amount of protein and vitamins such as B vitamins. That being said, after being a vegetarian for two years, I have received great health reports from my doctors and have only been sick once (and I work with kids). My nails and hair are strong and growing better than ever. I have increased energy and I feel really at peace because of my choice.

If you don't agree, does it mean we can't be friends? No, of course not. I know I don't need to say it, but choosing to be a vegetarian is a personal decision for me that I have been very pleased with and if you don't feel the same way I wouldn't want you to feel like I was judging you (something that has never gotten me anywhere). 

my sources:
I learned a lot about what I know about nutrition from documentaries like Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives.
And I used these websites to present the facts above
21 Reasons to be A Vegetarian website whose information came from the book Food for Thought by Dr. Vernon Coleman

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Things

This week I'm thankful for...
play time at sea with my husband
support from friends
 You make me feel a little less crazy for quitting my job to follow my dream of writing about my life as a surfer.
blog friends for your sweet comments, your input and your encouragement.
family and friends who came to see my film at San Diego Surf Ladies film festival this past weekend
my college friends literally supporting me
my Canadian friends for showing me love when they are near and far
my fish and quad surfboards
the peace that comes at the end of the day

Mrs Stephanie T