Categories
Sugar Crash

It’s 4am I must be lonely…

The Sugar Crash podcast is back in 2019! There’s a new development in Lou’s life too, waking up at 4am. In this episode he’ll take you through why he started waking up during the 4am hour and the energy that he’s gotten from making the change to his morning routine.

Also, the Sugar Crash podcast is looking for you! Be sure to listen to details in the episode how you can contribute your tips and tricks to a future episode of the podcast.

This episode contains an audio sample from this video by Casey Neistat: Navy Seal Commander explains why wake up at 4am

Download here: iTunesGoogle Play MusicPocketCastsStitcher

Find the Sugar Crash Podcast on Instagram or Twitter

Theme music by BULBASOUND
Other episode music by Caza

Recorded with Audacity
Mp3 encoding by LAME

Categories
Real Food Recipes

“The Elvis” Oatmeal

Elvis. A guy they called “King.” A guy so essential to the story of America over the past 50 years, you need only to mention his first name or that title, and immediately people know who you’re talking about.

“Hound Dog.” “Jailhouse Rock.” “Heartbreak Hotel.” These were the world’s introductions to American culture—music that was a unique blend of country, gospel, and blues—the folk music of young adults.

He was a new kind of icon, who didn’t show off strength, power, or technical prowess. Instead, he commanded the adoration of the youth.

He was a new kind of icon, who didn’t show off strength, power, or technical prowess. Instead, he commanded the adoration of the youth.

It made sense; he voiced the soundtrack to their rebellion. Like jazz before it, rock n’ roll combined influences outside the mainstream. Its mere existence was rebellion. Elvis made the genre popular. Elvis made the genre approachable.

As the defining figure of this early rock n’ roll revolution, the public made him an icon. He was a figure who would go on to find a kind of ‘fountain of youth’ in cultivating his fame.

I remember working as a bank teller in Northern Illinois in the 00s. I used to have the occasion to go and pick up breakfast for coworkers in the next town over. Just off route 12, nestled between the highway and the shore of Fox Lake, sat a little diner with a wrap-around lunch counter. It could have been pulled straight from Elvis’ early years as a teen icon—laminate counters, wood paneling on the walls. As you entered the restaurant, just to your right, stood a full size statue of Elvis. As I remember it, he was styled as the Elvis from the famous postal stamp, his hips in mid-swing, looking like he might be halfway through one of his hits.

It was a jarring sight to see. It was in this kind of iconography that Elvis the icon could be appropriately remembered—youthful, energetic, idealized. An image more than a man, stuck forever in his youth.

There’s this diner dish that is regularly attributed to Elvis. It’s a peanut butter sandwich topped with bananas, honey and bacon. On paper, it seems like a monstrosity—the banana, honey, and peanut butter all providing sticky and mushy qualities, seeming like a combination that should never be realized.

But upon closer examination, there’s something special there. The Elvis sandwich seems like a riff on the quintessential sandwich of the American youth, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. By swapping the jelly for banana, Elvis found the perfect pairing. Mushed bananas have less density than peanut butter, providing a lightness that isn’t found in the conventional peanut butter and jelly. It provides volume to the sandwich, as well, further cultivating that very American sense of plenty to the dish.

Combined with bacon, the salty and sweet combination of peanut butter-banana-bacon provides for complexity. The combination of stickiness-volume-saltiness-smoke all play on the tongue like some symphony of southern ingredients. This isn’t a kids’ combination.

I have to confess that I don’t remember ever having an Elvis sandwich. But, in trying to think of recipes that would provide deep and lasting satisfaction at the breakfast hour, I was inspired by the idea. I take my own liberties here: I substitute bacon bits for the bacon in this recipe, because they provide bacon flavor without sugar (one of the main components of most American bacon is sugar). I add dry roasted peanuts for crunch, too, something that I think is becoming an important component in my oatmeal concoctions.

Recipe

Ingredients

2/3 Cup Old Fashioned Oats

2 Tbsp. Fresh Ground Peanut Butter (Heaping)

2 Tbsp. Dry Roasted Peanuts

1 Banana, Mashed

1 Tbsp. Bacon Bits (substitute for reach bacon bits, if preferred)

Directions

1. Add Oats, Dry Roasted Peanuts and Peanut Butter to container. Keep Bacon Bits and Banana separate.

2. Before being ready to eat, add mashed banana to the container.

3. Add boiling water to the container to cover the Oat, Dry Roasted Peanut, Peanut Butter and Banana mixture. Mix completely and allow to steep for 5 minutes.

4. Just before eating, add bacon bits and stir.

Categories
Sugar Crash Updates

Update

If you’ve listened to the Sugar Crash podcast in 2018, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that I haven’t been consistent with producing new episodes. For that, please accept my apologies.

2018 was a very difficult year for me. It was year that was intended for big changes in my life. You may have heard me allude to distress in my career life in episodes of the Sugar Crash podcast. That continued in 2018. There was hardship, heartbreak, difficulty and depression that all reared their ugly heads during production of the podcast. And, honestly, those feelings broke me—multiple times.

In truth, I started this endeavor as an “extra” thing in my life. I was serious about doing it, but I wasn’t serious about it as a priority. What I found while doing the podcast is that it was something that I truly enjoyed doing. It was connecting me with a version of me that I truly liked. And yet, it was just a background thing.

Late last year, I had enough. All year, I had found myself divided between doing creative endeavors, which would produced a kind of confidence and goodness about my work, and stuff in my professional life, which would drain the good feelings that I had and replace them with bad. By fall, I had gone through around 9 months of that cycle and found myself completely broken.

I resolved to not go through that again. I took some time to regroup. I made some decisions that I felt would be for my own mental health.

So I’m bringing back the Sugar Crash podcast in 2019 as a step toward good health. I’m retooling a bit, too. This is going to be a focus to my life instead of a hobby. I’m going to be focusing “Sugar Crash” to be the banner that I write everything under. So, you’ll be seeing everything under this banner change in the new year. I’ll still be writing about the same stuff that I had been—recipes, pop culture—but this time you’ll see it under “Sugar Crash” rather than SOUL.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do some more things with the podcast. I’d like to do more with interviews and I’d like to do some shows that try some different technical and narrative things. I’d also like to experiment more with ‘vlogs.’ We’ll see how all that transpires.

There’s also a new relationship in my life that is radically changing the way that I run my day—I have a gym membership. I joined Planet Fitness some time this Fall and have been really enjoying it. I never dreamed that I’d enjoy going to the gym; however, around the time that I picked up the gym membership, I also started experimenting with getting during the 4am hour. The mix of getting up early and heading to the gym has been nothing short of incredible.

Yes, there is something totally crazy about getting up around 4am. But something magical happens to your point of view when you’re moving that early. It changes the day and makes it feel like more is possible. I can’t exactly explain it.

In the upcoming episode of the podcast, you’ll hear instructions about how to update your podcast feed as I migrate to sugarcrash.net as my primary domain name. I’m excited for what the future holds. This should be a heck of a ride!

-Lou

Categories
Real Food Recipes

Real Food: Blueberry and Cream Oatmeal

Did you love Quaker’s fruit and cream oatmeals growing up? I did. They were those oatmeals in brown paper baggies that you would rip the top off and add water. It was one of the rare things that I would eat for breakfast that wasn’t a sugary cereal with milk. Instead, this was sugary oatmeal with milk. I loved it.

Yes, my favorite was peaches and cream, but blueberries and cream held a special place in my heart. Blueberries and cream was the rare variety of these oatmeals that you wouldn’t typically see it in the variety boxes. When you did, it was something special.

This recipe is an attempt to approximate the tastiness of that commercial product and make it wholesome (There are antioxidants in blueberries, right?). Yes, I care about this being healthy—of course, there is no added sugar here. I care more about it tasting good.

To me, blueberries are like the beef of the berry world—substantial and complex.

As blueberries grow, their sweetness grows with them, rendering an intense, complex sweetness that isn’t comparable in other berry varieties. Put simply, blueberries tend to be at their sweetest when they’re big. Look for the big ones.

If you’re like me, you’ll use frozen blueberries most of the time. That’s more than fine. Once you warm up frozen blueberries, they release their juice, and to me, their sweetness is more present in the final product.

I substitute unsweetened vanilla-almond milk here for the cream. The result is a creamy oatmeal void of the animal fat that makes this thing unhealthy. Still, there’s a voluptuous mouthfeel with a complex sweetness provided by the blueberries.

The thing that the Quaker product lacked was crunch. I add sliced almonds to this recipe to give it a ‘granola-like’ crunch.

Ingredients

½ Cup Frozen Blueberries

½ Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

2/3 Cup Old Fashioned Oats

2 Tbsp Sliced Almonds

Preparation (To Go Instructions)

1. Using a 1 pint glass jar, warm the ½ Cup of frozen blueberries in a microwave for 30 seconds.

2. Add the ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk to the glass jar. Place lid on jar for transport.

3. In a second container, combine the 2/3 cup of old fashioned Oats and 2 tbsp of sliced almonds together.

4. Refrigerate the blueberry almond milk mixture until ready for preparation.

Preparation (For eating)

1. Add the oat and almond mixture to the cup with the blueberries and almond milk. The ingredients will remain separated at this point.

2. Add hot water to desired consistency, but wait until oats are warmed through to combine.

3. After the oats are warmed through, mix ingredients.

Categories
Sugar Crash

Sugar Crash Podcast #006 – The One with Baby Food

So let’s talk baby food. Low calorie, portable and smoothie-like—have you ever thought about it as a snack? Listen as Lou takes on a taste test of the stuff and see whether he sees this as a legitimate option as a snack food on the Sugar Crash Diet. Also, tips and tricks for your own Sugar Crash Diet!

Download here: iTunesGoogle Play MusicPocketCastsStitcher

Find the Sugar Crash Podcast on Instagram or Twitter

Theme music by BULBASOUND
Other episode music by Caza

Recorded with Audacity
Mp3 encoding by LAME

Categories
Inspiration Music

Odetta Hartman: Old Rockhounds Never Die

Odetta Hartman: Old Rockhounds Never Die CoverI knew nothing about Odetta Hartman when I downloaded this record from Spotify.

I saw the cover, a blend of a middle-American roadside attraction and 60s-era cult leader style—just my sort of thing. I listened to a few brief samples of the music–seemed interesting–and brought it with me.

I can’t believe what I found.

Hartman’s sound is immediately confounding. You’ll be reminded of contemporaries like Sylvan Esso and Shovels and Rope.

There are deeper influences, too. There’s a lot of Alan Lomax-era blues influences going on. More than once I found myself thinking of Leadbelly.

Hartman’s song, “Widow’s Peak,” haunts like a Leadbelly or Robert Johnson song. In the song, Hartman tells the story of waiting for a lover to come home from sea, expecting death instead of a safe arrival.

She sings, “I pray for you on the widow’s peak/I hold steadfast to my tired belief/That the wind won’t rip you overboard/Still I scan for your body on the shore.” The image of the body on the shore sits heavy as strings come in underneath the track, evocative of a Danny Elfman score, framing the scene with a kind of fairytale grotesqueness that is simply disturbing.

This kind of attention to detail in the production of these songs by producer/collaborator Jack Inslee is what makes this the kind of record that isn’t an exercise in nostalgia revivalism.

This kind of attention to detail in the production of these songs by producer/collaborator Jack Inslee is what makes this the kind of record that isn’t an exercise in nostalgia revivalism.

In one sense, Old Rockhounds Never Die will remind the listener of Sylvan Esso, with Odetta Hartman’s vocals similar to Amelia Meath and Jack Inslee’s sample-heavy production style similar to Nick Sanborn.

In another sense, the instrumentation on the album also conjures contemporaries like Shovels and Rope, with a clear understanding of American roots music present in very track.

However, I feel like the clearer line to draw here is with Sudan Archives. Hartman shares much with Sudan Archives’ Brittney Parks. Parks is a fiddle player, Hartman a violin player. Both artists use samples to build a world to songs that are lyrically spare. Both are drawing from folk music traditions.

This is especially pronounced on “Spit,” a song that feels ripped straight from Sudan Archives’ catalog. On the song, Hartman tells the story of someone walking straight up to her and spitting in her face. You get the sense that it is a lover, because her response, ““And if I run to you, you shove me away/
So I gotta run from you, find another to take my place.”

On so many of these songs, the lyrics are mere fragments. There are no “full story” tracks. Instead, Hartman sets listeners within a scene.

It’s in this sense that Inslee’s use of field recordings is so skilled. The gunshot and police siren samples put the listener on the run with the protagonist of the song, “Misery.” On “Cowboy Song,” Inslee samples a train whistle to put the listener on the train with the protagonist. The bird sound samples on “The Ocean” put you at the oceanside.

But on a song like “The Ocean,” there’s a transformation into something else, when a synthetic bass sound drops, there’s a Blade Runner-quality to the soundscape, taking the listener beyond the familiar setting at the shore to some place else.

The mystery present in Old Rockhounds Never Die is that it is an experience. It’s a mysterious, familiar, and hard-to-categorize experience, which is spare in detail, but cinematic in its vision.

Categories
Sugar Crash

Don’t Call It a Comeback

It’s been too long, Sugar Crashers! Join your host, Louis Korom, as he catches you up on where he’s been these past months and how Lou has changed the Sugar Crash diet so that it becomes less diet and more lifestyle.

Download here: iTunesGoogle Play MusicPocketCastsStitcher

Find the Sugar Crash Podcast on Instagram or Twitter

Theme music by BULBASOUND
Other episode music by Caza

Recorded with Audacity
Mp3 encoding by LAME

Categories
Real Food Recipes

Real Food: Tuna-Scallion Salad

Healthy food isn’t known for delivering bold flavors. This is the dish to change that. Big, bold, and incredibly stinky, I love to eat this dish at lunch time. It’s a quick and versatile dish that delivers on all fronts: flavor, texture, salt and fat. What’s not to love?

It’s the maverick that eats this kind of stuff. Sure, this isn’t necessarily the stuff that’s considered office-friendly, but that’s because nearly every ingredient has been stigmatized in some way.

Consider the ingredients: scallions, canned tuna, everything bagel seasoning, extra virgin olive oil, I’m sure that you feel like you can smell it coming off the page.

You’re taking a far too gentile approach to your eating if you’re thinking too much about the aroma. You want big, bold aromatics to fill the senses when you’re eating. That’s the kind of stuff that feels indulgent, rich and luxurious. It’s those bold smells that beckon the eater to indulge all the senses, to take lunch time from sustenance to something approximating fine dining. How many smoothie bowls can claim the same thing?

Yes, this isn’t caviar, but in many ways you’re playing in the same pond—salty, fishy, fatty. At the same time, there’s dimension here. Scallions provide a crunchy freshness that plays against the firmness of the tuna and stands up to it. The bold onion flavor plays its part in an ensemble of fish and fat.

One shouldn’t underestimate the transportability of this dish—it’s one of the key selling points. Canned tuna is perfect for a single serving and fitting in a backpack. Scallions are easy to cut with a simple pair of scissors. You can bring the everything bagel seasoning and olive oil and leave it at your desk without refrigeration and use it in other salads in a pinch.

Ingredients

5 oz Can of Tuna in Water
2 Large Scallions
1.5 oz of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Everything Bagel Seasoning (to taste)

Assembly

1. Open the can of tuna and drain the water. Empty tuna on plate by simply banging the can on the plate so that the tuna falls out in a circle shape.

2. Season the tuna with your desired amount of everything bagel seasoning.

3. Cut the scallions using scissors over the top of the tuna.

4. Dress the salad using the extra virgin olive oil.

Categories
Inspiration Music

Dirty Projectors: Lamp Lit Prose

Dirty Projectors: Lamp Lit ProseI love collage. There’s something magical about disparate elements coming together to make something new. It’s fresh. It’s modern. It feels cool.

Hip hop music, especially sample-based hip hop music, is probably the most accessible and familiar medium to use the concept of collage. But hip hop producers aren’t the only ones using these concepts. Pavement was a collage-oriented band, taking bits and scraps of songs and putting them together into something totally fresh. Granted this seemed to Pavement’s own bits and scraps of songs, but they were bits and scraps nonetheless.

Pavement’s songs had complexity. They felt like they were written in movements and those movements didn’t always fit together perfectly. Sure, there were songs like “Range Life,” which were straight ahead, but there were also songs like “Major Leagues,” which felt completely disjointed, with little guitar parts that would extend a hook past the place where it would naturally end. I liked that. I still look for that kind of thing in music.

The Dirty Projectors are a kind of band that make this kind of music, too. In fact, just finding the words to commend their new album, Lamp Lit Prose, escape me. I could go with a “wide” description here and say that this is a jubilant record, which, from the arrangements, would seem clear to the listener.

The album’s first eight tracks are almost all upbeat. These are fun songs: there is a song about a date (“Blue Bird”) and a song about a zombie hunter (“Zombie Conquerer”). Heck, the record starts with horns on the first track.

I wanna feel everything
Sweetness of youth and old age’s sting
Open my eyes wide and unblinking
I wanna feel everything
– (I Wanna) Feel It All

Lamp Lit Prose is a complex record, too, featuring elements of 80s R&B (“I Feel Energy”), a lullaby (“Blue Bird”), insane 60s folk style guitar picking (“That’s a Lifestyle,”), and a Chicago-style horn section (“Right Now”). But still, that wouldn’t tell the whole story of this record.

I think that the best illustration of the life that I’ve found on this record comes in the juxtaposition of the lyrics on the album’s first track, “Right Now,” and the album’s last track, “(I Wanna) Feel It All.”

On “Right Now,” the Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth uses the chant “right now” to show his urgency for the moment. The urgency of the song carries with the album’s tracks—nary a moment is wasted. The whole thing feels new, fresh, fun, original and urgent.

But why? The answer lies in the lyrics to the last track, “(I Wanna) Feel It All.” When Longstreth sings “I wanna feel everything, Sweetness of youth and old age’s sting, Open my eyes wide and unblinking, I wanna feel everything,” you get a sense of Lonstreth’s impending urgency. Life is moving quickly. There isn’t time to waste.

I like that this point isn’t explored ad nauseum. Instead there’s the fanciful stuff—the track about the date, the zombie killer. You get a real sense that this is music that isn’t being performed by design, but that is being explored in collaboration with a whole host of ideas on display. The collage is varied in form and lives unto its present moment.

Note: The original cover image has been modified.

Categories
Real Food Recipes

Real Food: Banana Nut Oatmeal

I’ve never been a big breakfast kind of guy. Sure, I love bacon, eggs, and hash browns as much as the next person—but still, my go-to would be a muffin, a donut or a bowl of cereal any day over something heavy.

At the same time, there’s a huge window of temptation whenever I indulge in one of my breakfast go-tos. The donut might lead to a quick lunch at McDonald’s, and then a bowl of cereal for a snack and fast food again at dinner and then cookies late night.

I’m a true believer when it comes to my desire to be healthy. After a binge like that, I’m recommitting my life to my diet practice before bed. Repent and believe always, even when it comes to your diet devotional.

Food needs to taste good in order to add it to a repertoire. Any chance that you can get to make it a little more comforting is always a win, too. That’s why this oatmeal recipe has become a stable in my breakfast routine—it tastes good, and it is totally comforting. It evokes a sense of warm banana bread, but is filling enough to sit in your stomach so that you’re not hungry before lunch. The dish is sweet too, without added sugar.

Plus, this oatmeal comes together super quick and is totally portable. I wake up early for work. Sometimes I’m waking up at 5am so that I can arrive to work sometime around 7am. By the time that I work out, shower and say goodbye to my family it’s close to the time that I need to be out the door.

Putting together the ingredients for this dish probably takes less than 3 minutes. Old fashioned oats, banana, cinnamon, and a little vanilla extract. Just add hot water and you’re ready to go.

Is your office short on cooking supplies? No problem. All you need access to is hot water and a spoon.

What’s not to like? It could not be easier and it’s totally satisfying.

The Finished Product
The Finished Product

Banana Nut Oatmeal Recipe

1 Pint Mason Jar with Lid
2/3 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats
3 Tbsp. of Chopped Walnuts
1 Tbsp. of Ground Cinnamon
1.5 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract (Bourbon Vanilla Extract if you can find it)
1 Medium to Large Banana
Hot Water to desired consistency

Prepared for transport.
Prepared for transport.

Transportation

Scoop 2/3 cup of old fashioned oats into mason jar. Add cinnamon, vanilla extract and walnuts and place lid on jar. Keep banana separate and unpeeled until you are preparing the dish for eating.

Annihilation Ritual

When you are ready to eat the dish, mash the banana in the banana peel by squeezing the banana in the peel. Scoop the mashed banana into the mason jar. Add boiling water to desired consistency and allow to sit for two minutes. Eat when hot.