Friday, August 29, 2008
You can find more information on The Dirty Dozen here:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
They are also wonderful in outdoor pots with sedums dribbling over the edge and look especially cute in beautiful strawberry pots (I like the bright green painted clay pots). They can thrive in almost any condition and mine have even survived a few Seattle winters. If you lack a green thumb I highly suggest trying these out because they require very little, if any, TLC.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
About 6 months ago my daughter's pediatrician suggested I give her probiotics because he thought she was fighting off a little tummy bug. Hmmm, probiotics... heard of them, but what are they exactly and what do they do? Off I went to research probiotics. Since then I have been learning more and more about the health benefits. Awareness is on the rise too as it's the new health buzzword.
Here's a short list of some of the health benefits:
- Improved digestion
- Stronger immune system
- Body alkalinity
- Appetite/weight control
- Improved liver function
- Improved cell integrity
- Aids in detoxification
- Healthier skin & hair
There are several ways to include probiotics in your diet:
- Supplements in powder or pill form.
- Yogurt - most people already know that yogurt is a good source of probiotics.
- Attune granola bars - they are DE-licious and packed with 5 times the live active cultures of yogurt.
- GoodBelly - these little juice packs are tasty and packed with active probiotics.
- Organic Raw Kombucha - Be warned, the first sip is a little rough. It's definitely an acquired taste. Pretty soon you will crave it though.
Next time you need a great birthday or hostess gift or want to indulge in a little treat for yourself, check out the line of products from Anthousa. Anthousa is a collection of home ambiance perfumes, candles, personal fragrance and bath & body products. The products are beautiful from start to finish with each element sought out world-wide or specially crafted to make the most interesting and sophisticated product. The essential oils are of the highest quality and you can truly tell because of the depth, complexity, and integrity of the fragrance. There are a lot of home ambiance diffusers on the market today and I can tell you that Anthousa's quality is unmatched (I was the Production Manager there before I had my baby girl so I know these things!). It is also the prettiest.
Some additional thoughts...
-My new favorite fragrance is Okeanos which launched after I left. It smells AMAZING!
-Stay tuned because the packaging is changing and the new stuff is out of this world!
-Trio sets make great gifts because the recipient gets to try three different fragrances.
-Anthousa now sells online! Visit the website at www.anthousa.com.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Super Easy Delicious Pasta
1lb FRESH pasta noodles (sometimes they come in 10oz packages)
3/4 container store-bought pesto (Track down a great pesto. I prefer PCC's store brand. Second best is Cibo Naturals Classic Basil Pesto.)
1/4 cup half & half
1 cup grated asiago cheese
1 t freshly ground pepper
Combine egg, half & half, pesto and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for a few minutes. Check directions on pasta packaging. Fresh pasta usually takes about 2 minutes. Drain pasta. Quickly add liquid mixture to the hot pot. Give the pasta a little shake (my aunt says never shake off too much liquid or rinse the pasta with cold water because the pores close up and the noodles don't absorb as much sauce). Throw noodles back in the pot on top of sauce and stir, quickly. Top with cheese and more pepper. Stir and serve with an extra little sprinkle of cheese.
*side note - fresh noodles cannot be served al dente but it really doesn't matter for this dish.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Colleen's Chicken Rice (updated 09/10/08)
I am currently obsessed with these Florentine frames from Cavallini & Co. They are handmade in a small Italian workshop and are just lovely. The one on the left comes in several colors, including green (my fave), red & black. I have incorporated antiques into my decor so I especially love these frames for my home. In Seattle they are sold at Stuhlbergs on Queen Anne (one of my MOST favorite stores for gifts by the way). You can check the website to see where they are sold in other cities.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I saw these little personalized dolls on a blog and linked to the website. They are so so cute. I am so frustrated though because I can't seem to find the blog where I discovered them or the site that sells them. I will keep you posted. I have to order one for my little china doll so I will track them down one way or another.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
- Loaded with antioxidants
- A great energizer
- Rich in folic-acid (great for women of child-bearing age although they say you shouldn’t drink it while pregnant)
- One of the richest sources of vitamins A, B, and C
- Well known blood cleanser
- Stimulates healthy tissue cell growth
- Improves digestion & helps with weight control
- Great detoxification agent
- Helps prevent tooth decay
To get the full benefit of wheatgrass I imagine you’d need to make your own juice from fresh wheatgrass. I don’t know about you guys but that’s just not something I’m going to do. But looky-here what I found in the frozen section of the grocery store…. frozen packets of pure, organic wheatgrass by Evergreen. I’m sure you don't get as many health benefits in this frozen form but you are still getting a lot. One box down and I'm hooked.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
As my friends all know, I'm crazy for Ina Garten. I've never made a recipe from her that I didn't love. Her recipes are easy enough for the amateur gourmet but pack a big punch in the flavor department. I thought I would share some of my favorites in case you haven't tried them and are looking for something new.
Fillet of Beef of Poivre (I'm obsessed with this recipe right now!)
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Chicken Curry Wraps
Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese (I add sundried tomotoes to this recipe, courtesy of my friend Nicole)
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Mexican Chicken Soup (a staple in our house)
Bib Salad with Basil Green Goddess Dressing (another current obsession)
Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
Dessert (well, breakfast for me)
Lemon Pound Cake (the one in "Barefoot Contessa at Home")
Check out the Food Network website for most of these recipes and more from the Barefoot Contessa. Bon Appetite!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Well my husband gave this a 9.3 out of 10 which I was pretty happy with considering it was my first time making it and I was working from a few recipes to make my own. He's a tough critic though. To gain an extra .7 he suggested (a) guacamole instead of sliced avocado (b) thinner slices of beef and (c) small flour tortillas instead of normal size. See what I have to deal with? So picky. Just kidding, I did ask.
Well I am happy to say I used the leftover meat (just two of us with 2lbs of beef so lots of leftovers) and (a) made homemade guacamole instead of avocado slices (b) cut thinner slices of meat (although he meant pounded thinner but it was too late for that) and (c) offered to cut his tortillas into smaller ones, with a sarcastic laugh of course and no real intention of doing it. He loved them for the second night in a row but I spared him from having to rate it. Any critiques this time around and I may have been at it for a third night in a row.
Side note: I am a huge fan of making more food than you need so you have lunch or dinner the next day. The meat was great the second night. I heated it in a large pan on the stove top with a touch of olive oil until just heated through. They were just as good if not better (he was right about the guacamole!).
Carne Asada Tacos
Adapted from Tyler Florence & LA Times Recipe
2lbs skirt steak
Marinade (recipe follows)
Flour tortillas (small ones if you can find them)
Guacamole (preferably homemade)
Pico de gallo (recipe follows)
Green onion or chopped onion (I didn’t serve either but some do)
Cold beer (required)
1 jalapeño, minced
½ cup olive oil
3 T shallots, minced
2 T garlic, minced
¼ c cilantro, chopped
¼ c parsley, chopped
1 t cumin
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
Pico De Gallo:
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, minced
¼ c onion, minced
¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (or more if you can handle it)
Juice of one lime
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients for marinade in a large baking dish. Toss steak in marinade to coat both sides and marinate all day, turning over a few times to make sure marinade gets all over meat. Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before grilling. Heat gas grill to medium-high heat. Cook steaks for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, cover with foil and let sit for a few minutes. Warm tortillas in the oven. Place meat down the center of the tortilla and top with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, juice from a lime wedge and fresh cilantro. In-between bites sip cold delicious beer.
Serves: about 6
I recently spent a month in LA and one of the things I miss most was our daily breakfast at Urth Cafe. They have the most delicious cappuccinos and morning delights. A staple for us was the fresh bowl of their creamy oatmeal with little ramekins on the side with all the fixin's. When I got home to some gloomy Seattle weather I headed straight for the store to recreate my little bit of morning heaven.
Back to Urth Oatmeal
McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
Steamed or warmed whole milk
- Tabletop (pictures from magazines, ideas for table settings or place card holders, etc)
Up next - a new section devoted to cooking healthful meals for my daughter.
Friday, August 8, 2008
When my daughter was born I used Evenflo glass baby bottles to avoid anything with Bisphenol-A. As she got older and was able to hold her own bottle I switched to Born Free for fear of a glass bottle breaking. Well looky here - now they have covers for glass baby bottles so if you drop them they won't chip or break. Genius.
There are also a lot more BPA-free baby bottles available these days.
- Green to Grow
- Born Free
- Think Baby
The Soft Landing offers a BPA-free sampler kit since you never know which type of nipple your child is going to prefer.
Fresh cherries? Good.
Paula Dean's Cherries Jubilee? Great!
That Paula Dean knows how to make a great dessert. I bought some fresh, organic, local cherries the other day for a gazillion dollars a pound so I really wanted to enjoy them and what better way than cooking them in butter, sugar and alcohol? Paula's recipe was great. I added a bit more alcohol and about 1/4 cup water to get a little more sauce out of it. I also cut the cherries in half and then mashed them a bit while heating them in the sauce. Serve over some good vanilla ice cream and you will have a little taste of heaven.
If you're interested in making this may I also suggest a cherry pitter. Oxo makes a great one and it can be used for olives too.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
My friend was telling me what a great antioxidant Acai is so I did a little research of my own (it has more antioxidants than blueberries!) and ran out and bought some (you can buy Acai smoothie packs in the freezer section at the grocery store).
Use the Sambazon smoothie pack in place of ice. Here is what I used although as any smoothie connoisseur knows, you can use any mix of ingredients.
Acai Fruit Smoothie
half of one Pure Acai smoothie pack
half of a banana
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup orange juice
Read more about the health benefits of Acai here: http://www.sambazon.com/acai.html
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
A friend of mine made up this recipe for watermelon cocktails and I absolutely love it. You could serve it in a glass with ice or put the concoction in a bowl in the freezer for about an hour to chill it. I served it ice-cold in mini martini glasses with lime wedges.
I made it two days ago for a big group and everyone thought they were refreshing and tasty so I was going to take another stab at it today. To my surprise when I cut into the watermelon it was yellow inside. Never seen a yellow watermelon before. It tasted the same and I thought the yellow was quite pretty with the lime wedge. Either way, the colors are so vibrant that they look very pretty in any glass. Cheers! (Thank you Tara for the delicious recipe!)
1/2 organic seedless watermelon, cut into 1-2" chunks (about one blender full)
1/2 -1 cup vodka (depending how stiff you like 'em)
juice from one lime wedge
1-2 t basil simple syrup (recipe below)
Fill the blender with watermelon cubes and blend until a liquid is formed. Let sit for 10 minutes to separate. Pour through a sieve into a metal bowl, stirring and pushing the watermelon froth to release as much juice as possible. Add vodka, lime juice and basil simple syrup and stir. Taste to adjust flavor. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and freeze for 45-60 minutes. Serve in cute glasses with lime wedges.
Basil Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3-6 basil leaves, chopped
Put sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a bowl. Stir and allow sugar to dissolve. Reduce to simmer and throw in basil leaves. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain simple syrup through a small sieve. Discard basil leaves.
I think this recipe would also be quite good with mint instead of basil. Next time I will give that a whirl.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I came across these Hasselback Potatoes on the Orangette blog one day and thought they were so cute that I had to try them. They turned out great and really were kind of fun to serve something so different looking. I thought her wooden spoon trick was just genius. I was in an adventurous mood so I tried 6 different preparations. I think my favorite was the potato with a slice of garlic in each cut, topped with olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and herbs de provence. I think the trick is really to make sure the potatoes are a bit crispy, and cooked ALL the way. I am always in a rush to eat so my potatoes should have cooked for a few minutes longer. Very good and such a cute presentation. Will definitely make them again. Thanks Orangette!
Friday, August 1, 2008
When my daughter was born I started a little diary for her, talking about all the things she was doing and what we were experiencing as new parents. I kept it by my bed and each night (or every few nights ... or weeks) I would jot down a few thoughts. I am addicted to Carrot & Stick Press so of course when it came time to buy a little notebook I went straight to their site. I love the little journals they have in beautiful bright patterns. I also am a HUGE fan of their birthday books. It is so nice to have a book that you can reference year after year versus having to transfer birthdays each year when you get a new calendar (assuming you are like me and can't remember everyone's birthday). And finally, I LOVE their adorable notecards in all the fun patterns. I use them endlessly ... gingerbread notecards to go along with holiday treats for friends, the floral prints for nice thank you notes, skull & crossbone for a quick hello. They also make great gifts. I got my friend one of the birthday books and filled in all of our friend's birthdays. She loved it.
I had the privilege of seeing Dr. Wendy Mogel speak at Town Hall in Seattle. She was amazing and I was frantically taking notes during her lecture so I could remember all the things I wanted to share with my husband. I couldn't buy and read her book fast enough. Her book, "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children" is wonderful. I am not Jewish but found that Dr. Mogel's theories and lessons could transcend all religions if you value her style and approach to parenting. I believe this is a book I will read again and again as I raise my own child(ren) and run into all the challenges big and small that lie ahead. I highly recommend this book as a thought-provoking and wise parenting book.
I would love to hear about parenting books that others like so please post your faves!!!