Aguaviva Pizza

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My resolution to achieve extra-curricular activities can take a toll on dinner time.  So lately I’ve been incorporating the kids into the creative process – having them peel potatoes, spread the dough, and of course set the table. Tonight’s ‘happy’ meal was Aguaviva Pizza, a healthier spin loaded with veggies and oats.

The Dough (1 Pizza)

1  1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon yeast

1 tablespoon agave

2/3 cup lukewarm water

The kids basically mix all the above ingredients together in a big bowl using a big spoon. (pretty simple) Then we form a ball and cover for at least 15min to allow the dough to rise a bit. Afterwards, dust some flour on a greased pizza pan and spread the dough onto the pan. Place pan into the oven (without toppings yet) at 375 degrees for 10 min.

The Meat (veggies, really)

1 cups of shredded spinach

1 sliced Roma tomato

1/4 cup sliced sweet onions

1/2 yellow pepper

Pizza sauce (your choice)

Mozzarella cheese

Mix the spinach into the pizza sauce (you are now hiding the veggies within the sauce). Place onto the half baked pizza dough. Cover with cheese and finish off with a composition of veggies. Place back in the oven for another 10 min. Enjoy!

Tonight’s main dish: tolerance

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Warm Avocado Yogurt with Cucumbers

I’ve come to realize that intolerance can many times be triggered by fear; fear of the unknown, with a bit of ignorance on the side. In contrast, when we stop and listen to understand, and learn to appreciate different points of view, our own lives become that more delectable.

 

As we learned in school, family is the source from which society emanates. What we learn inside our homes will undoubtedly affect the outside world. It is at home that children learn to love and respect  through the feeding of their souls, minds and bodies. So I’d like to focus on the latter – feeding the body, given that tonight’s dinner was a testament of how my 4 year old son overcame a small fear by trying something new.

I hope to start a series of recipes inspired by countries that are making a positive difference, and try to involve my kids in the process. So tonight we commemorated Greece, Europe’s original main transit destination for refugees escaping from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Algeria among other countries. Despite the initial projections, Greece’s tourism has indeed been very much affected by the refugee/reception crisis, evermore contributing to the Greek economic decline. Despite polarizing sentiments that have naturally arisen in Greece, this country has been exemplary, ranging from its acceptance of sky-rocket figures of refugees, all the way to the many individual Greek men and women, who despite the challenges, selflessly continue to volunteer as refugee workers.

 

Warm Avocado Yogurt with Cucumbers 

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 avocados

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

pink himalayan salt

1 English cucumber, sliced

1/2 cup of red pepper, diced

Directions

In a high speed blender, mix the yogurt with the avocados. Place mixture in a separate bowl. Add vinegar, salt, cucumber and pepper and blend everything together gently with a large spoon. If cold salad is desired, then you’re done! If you’d prefer a warm sauce, to serve atop of fish or chicken, then cook in a small saucer for 5 minutes while continuously mixing. Be careful not to let boil. Serve immediately.

This delicious, protein-rich recipe can be served as a main dish, on the side or as a sauce – depending on the final preparation.

Do you have a country you’d like to commemorate in the kitchen?

A World of Hope

hope.001“Would you like to sit down?” a fellow customer offered me a nearby stool, as I waited to salvage my water-drenched phone at the Apple store. I gratefully accepted her offer and took the weight off my feet, while my young brood became blissfully magnetized to the ipads in front of me.

“When is your baby due?” she asked me excitedly. We amicably chatted for a few minutes until a technician arrived and informed me that my phone needed to be entirely replaced, without insurance. So my two kiddos and my bulging belly left the store with no means of communication. As we walked through the mall, I noticed random strangers smiling at me, and despite the relatively bad phone news, I found myself smiling back.

I’ve perceived that one of the perks of being pregnant is that many people, even strangers, become notably nice to you. It’s as if you’ve effortlessly left an impression on them and brightened their mood, and in turn, you and your baby are positively affected. I’ve found myself wondering, “Why exactly do so many people let down their guard? And why don’t we always act this way towards one another?”

I realized my first question had less to do with politeness and more to do with the fact that we all share a responsibility to protect human life. When we choose to address this responsibility, even with a simple smile, an empathetic invitation or a respectful conversation, it is, as mentioned by Pope Francis, “the fruit of a well-disposed heart and of the free choice that tends to true goodness.”

What would happen if we all treated each other in such a way? Every single human life on this earth is incalculably valuable, beyond creed, race, age, demography, or the varieties that both uniquely and splendidly define each of us. What if we were to be just a little nicer to each other and remind ourselves that every single one of us was once carried inside our mother’s womb, creating a feeling of awe in the passers-by, who immediately understood how precious we truly are.

In the past days, I have tried to become more appreciative of strangers’ smiles, even if it is because I’m pregnant. And I’ve made a larger effort to smile back. Those strangers’ smiles, gives me hope in humanity and in the goodness that is so engrained in us all and will never fade away.

Prayer Shawl Logo (Pro Bono Project)

We all have challenging moments in life, some deeper than others. At times, these moments can forever change us. A prayer shawl can remind us of God’s swathing love, mercy and compassion. It is produced and given away by a group of people, both expert knitters and beginners, who join their love, talent and prayers.

Aguaviva Design experienced the work first-hand at a Prayer Shawl monthly meeting, held at St.Gertude Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio. Inspired by the selfless work, Aguaviva explored a series of stories based on advocacy, courage and love. The lead concept, titled “You are Loved’ was designed to remind us that we are all children of God, infinitely loved by Him and therefore never alone.prayer shawl ready.001.jpg.001.jpg.001

 

Acrew – Rebranded.

Startups are famously known for pivots. So when Cincinnati-based financial tech startup PEZFISH saw their brand image was not fully aligned to their mission and strategies, it was time for a very bold pivot. The brand revamp, designed by Aguaviva Design, included a new name and brand identity. Aguaviva Design redefined the story behind the new identity, based on the brand’s strategic ‘points of difference’: A peer-to-peer accountability system, financial education, and empowerment. Inspirational concepts were developed around the power of the V victory symbol as well as tribal traits such as pride, strength and unity. The new Acrew brand identity was designed to make financing fun, by attracting millenials via the name’s double-meaning, intuitive simplicity and bright, contrasting color palette among apps.

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Acrew naming and logo, by Aguaviva Design.

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The Acrew logo, designed to be simple and intuitive yet stand out among the ocean of apps on your screen.

 

 

A World of Empathy

At a recent dinner party, I met a lovely couple, who I’ll refer to as Janet and Bill, for privacy reasons. They were visiting the US and sharing information about their non-profit. We laughed and enjoyed the delicious meal our gracious hosts had prepared. Building on one of the key focuses of her non-profit, Janet shared something that she had gone through many years ago. She had survived rape and human trafficking. As she was speaking, I started to understand the level of suffering she had endured but also how amazing and brave she is. Janet explained how her humanitarian work has helped her heal. Although it can be sickening to imagine what she has gone through, it is also a relief and joy to see she lives a happy life today with her loving husband. We have kept in contact since and I can firmly say she is a light of help and hope to many, many people.

Last week, after having read the powerful 12-page letter written by the Stanford rape victim, and pondered the horrors of what she has bravely survived, I’ve thought about how the everyday small details have drastically changed for her. I’m amazed by the fact that this all truly happened to someone, and could happen to any one of us. But the world’s reaction to her words proves that she has and will continue to triumph and live a beautiful and fulfilling life. Towards the end of her letter, as a light of inspiration, she addressed all girls, reminding them of their worth and dignity.

I know, out of experience, it can be challenging to truly empathize with the reality of a person’s pain when you don’t know them or they live on the other side of the world. We seem to think about them for a few minutes and quickly resume our own business. My argument is to follow the footsteps of Janet, of the Stanford rape victim, and of many other individuals who have brought good out of a terribly inconceivable bad. Echoing the words of Pope Francis, we should be “filled with empathy, compassion and mercy”, and deeply reflect on how to continue to reach out to one another and take action.

How do you reach out your hand? Does or could your business do more than create a means of financial profit? Have you considered philanthropy within your business model? Let us not forget that our capacity for giving is proportional to attaining our potential as human beings.

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Nora Klopp

Week 24

I had spent weeks working on my application for a startup accelerator. I had put my heart (and many, many hours) into the process. And finally, I received an email stating: “We’re sorry to inform you that we’ve just gone through the first round of selections and your concept did not make it.” It turns out my idea wasn’t the right fit for this particular accelerator program. And after all that work, I felt discouraged and less enthusiastic to continue with my original plan I had so strongly believed in. (Take under consideration I was also exhausted from pregnancy insomnia and caring for my energetic kindred while my hubby was away for business in China). I found myself starting to stress, especially in the middle of the night, about my little bucket of savings I had put into my dream project, and wanting to stop.

So what was the turning point? What made me keep believing in myself, in my ability, in my experience, and forget my fears? It was actually a phone call from my mom. She basically encouraged me to not give up, and to keep trying because you never know what can come out of it. And it worked. I just needed a little nudge from a (genius) woman to inspire me. That’s what it’s all about.

FEARLESS Q 2.002