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Friday, April 22, 2011

ChocolateHairRinseUrban MargaritaBook

One of my favorite things to do when I worked in retail was to browse the web looking for fabulous products I knew nothing about.  Here's a couple things I've found here and there along the way.  Hope you all enjoy.


History of Chocolove
Tucked away in Boulder, Colorado sits an unassuming building where a little magic takes place... Every day, decadent chocolate bars are carefully crafted using the timeless combination of chocolate and love.
Chocolove chocolate bars are available in ten distinct flavors that range from a sweet, creamy Milk Chocolate with a 33% cocoa content, up to an Extra Strong Dark with an impressively strong yet smooth 77% cocoa content. Tied to chocolate's natural counterpart, love, each bar resembles a love letter, complete with a romantic poem.

***Personal Favorites: Raspberries in Dark Chocolate and Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate***

Can be found at Akin's for you Oklahomans.  



I'm a Dr. Bronner's Fien in anyone hasn't noticed.

DESCRIPTION:
Our organic conditioning rinse is nourishing and effective without synthetic ingredients, and is certified by the same National Organic Program that certifies organic food. The USDA logo is your guarantee of organic integrity.

Organic Shikakai [“Shee-kah-kye”] powder comes from the seed pods of the small South Asian tree Acacia Concinna, and is widely used in India for soft shiny hair. Organic lemon juice, used traditionally in the west, rinses and tightens hair shafts for excellent manageability. Organic coconut, olive and hemp fatty acids moisturize for luxuriant hair.

INGREDIENTS:
Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Orange Oil
* CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENT 

I use this Hair Rinse following Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap.  This is a very different product then your average conditioner.  Your hair will thank you for making the Bronner's change.  As a retired hair stylist I am saddened and disgusted by the lack of truly natural hair products.  The ones that do exist are shamefully inflated in price.  Salon products are filled with chemicals that damage the natural pH-balance your hair is capable of maintaining on it's own. This product is not esthetically pleasing but I encourage you to look beyond that and appreciate what all these wonderful ingredients have to offer you and your daily beauty regimen.  
If you go out on a limb and begin the "Bronner's Challenge," please contact me if you get discouraged.  Sometimes it takes a little finesse but I assure you the payoff for treating your locks with goodness from the earth is immeasurable.



Chicago based Urban Spectacles

Love these Beauties, Wish I needed glasses...

Biography
From an early age my parents taught me creation is a functional daily necessity. My father’s work ethic set the standard as he took on multiple jobs to eke out a life in Chicago while my mother cooked three meals a day from scratch and sewed our clothes instead of buying them (ah, those red pants).
I came of age in the nineties, the era of plastic throw-aways. So it’s no wonder that when I felt the weight in my hands of an object from some bygone era I saw the pride the creator put into making it as unique and special.
My first pair of wood spectacles was a project of necessity. In 2004, while pretending to break dance, my father’s 1960’s frames flew off my face and broke beyond repair. Furious and determined, I took a hacksaw and my mother’s old dremel tool to a solid piece of wood and the frames that came out of that unfortunate accident have lead to my life’s work.
Six years later my journey to create the most beautiful, unique, well-made and custom spectacles available is well under way. When on your face or in your hand, you will recognize the pride of a self taught craftsman. My eyewear comes from a time forgotten, when quality and design met at an apex – in a word, timeless.


Philosophy

The primary mission of my work is craftsmanship.
I am a craftsman, artist, designer, and maker all wrapped up into one.
My method of creation is self taught. Just like the first frames I created, each new pair is transformed from a solid block of wood. My hand is literally on every step of the process. The texture and natural grain of the wood and my use of hand tools make each pair as individual as their owner.
Our culture is shifting back towards specialization, where the relationship between the craftsman and the client is valuable. I appreciate passionate people, all of my clients are unique and I have true concern for their tastes. I make each pair specifically for the person who will wear them. My body of work has evolved to tell my story and the stories of my client's lives, occupations, tastes and talents.
My passion for craftsmanship and design drives every aspect of my work. I am not a businessman; I am an artist making a living from my work. I plan on growing slowly and focusing on creating the highest quality custom product for each person I work with. As I build my line I will always uphold my ideals and never outsource production.
I am very proud of my work and I hope that you will enjoy the experience of owning an individual piece of functional art as much as I love creating it.




























For those of you that don't know... I am a shameful Housewive lovin' embarrassment to society.  My all time favorite RHW...if you will, is Bethenny Frankel.  Yep, I said it....I'm even friends with her on facebook. It's a sickness....judge away.  I would if I were you.  Now, this brings me to the topic at hand.  Are you ready???? The infamous, Skinny Girl Margarita.  Ok, if you know me...I don't like sugary cocktails and think "skinny" girls look sad.  So just about everything involved seems to be heading south where I am concerned.  HOWever, last week I ran into the liquor store to grab some beer.  The one across the street is lacking in its New Belgium selection and I stood in front of the case perplexed as to what to grab.  I turned to the very scraggily employee and inquired about the India to which I received a rant about how IPA's taste like chewing on bark....and I quote,"They taste like gnawing on a tree."  Now, that didn't sound too bad to me, but I got the point that it would be highly unacceptable for me to walk out with the bark laced IPA...to which for same strange reason, I replied...." Do you have Skinny Girl Margarita's?"  I know, right?  Where did that come from?  To which, he replies, "Yeah, I think we do!"  I then asked him, "Is it any good?"  He replies, "Uhhh, I'm not really into low calorie drinks...that means lower alcohol content." Of course, what else is he going to say???? I explain that I'm not into all the sugar in Margarita mix but like Tequila and Lime and thought this may be a good alternative.  By this time I have now snuck Breck's Vanilla Porter under my arm....'cause I'm so calorie conscious and all.  That story went on way to long...my bad.  Moral of the story is I walk out with my Margarita that makes you Skinny and my Porter that makes ya Fat.  Both very GOOOOD.  I suggest a stuffed olive to garnish the Margarita...fatten it up a little.

Afterthought:  My only complaint is that my beloved Bethenny Frankel, Natural Food Chef, has added carmel coloring into The Skinny Girl Margarita.  According to my favorite Mile High Mama there are carmel colorings that aren't as evil as the one in coke....this I shall have to investigate.  Lordy Lu, I hope that story isn't as un interesting to read as it felt when I typed it.

Give it a whirl this Summer!





For the kid inside of all of us!


Detailed how-to information, such as step-by-step building sequences, plans, and drawings, as well as information on tools and materials, supplement the behind-the-scenes tales of treehouses. From casual tree shacks to multi-tiered flights of fancy, these magnificent structures can appeal to anyone appreciating this ever-evolving art form.

This was a Georgia Bleu's Pick...(Lu Lu PIck's.)  She loves when it comes time to browse the internet and choose her next picks.  Can't wait to have enough room to use this book!  Do you ever get too old to want to live in a tree house???? I think, NOT.


Thanks for checking in to see what we're lovin' in our world.  XOXOPS

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Colorado Goooooods!

Maybe you ladies and gentlemen have noticed some new gadgets up on my blog....and mayyybe you haven't.  Thought I'd take a moment to talk to you a little bit about them. 


First up, my most current obsession... CHAI!!! I used to love Chai, guzzling cup after cup of sugar filled imposters.  Now, frankly they "sick me out."   Last week I went out on a limb at City O' City in Denver, a place that I trust to deliver serious goods.   Low and behold my taste buds ignited and I instantly new I was in the presence of greatness and even better authenticity.   Rooted in Indian Ayurvedic teaching, chai is meant to awaken the mind and body. All the ingredients in Bhakti have elements of heat or”agni”, which refers to the energy of fire – a transformative energy. Ingredients: Organic Fair –Trade Tea, Organic evaporated Cane Juice, Fresh Ginger, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Fennel, and Clove.  AKA DELICIOUSNESS!




I quickly came home and googled away to hunt down this Boulder based bevy.  My heart was literally racing, I couldn't believe it was this easy and I had lived so many years with out "Special" Chai.  Who wants regular old Chai when you can have Especial???  I read her story ...I assume it's a she...and well...first wanted to catch the first flight to India.  Opted for an order of Bhakti Chai....at the least my taste buds could catch the flight.  I saw the word Masala and immediately thought of my adventures attempting garam masala with low grade spices, and thought YES YES Ginger, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Clove , and Fennel......Add a little sweet kiss of evaporated Cane Juice and NAMASTE! 


The Bhakti Story
I had always liked the milky sweet chai during my travels throughout India. I even grew to appreciate the charred milk patch, a silky piece of skin I would slurp with one inhale. But one day I was served something called "special" chai. It wasn't laced with hash, but fiery spices that awoke my mouth and ignited my body with a sudden vitality. As I moved north I learned special was code for masala, which is a blend of spices such as black pepper and ginger.
When I returned from India and couldn't find a chai that resembled "special" or masala, I began brewing my own at home in Nederland. My first bottling process began as holiday gifts for friends - mason jars of chai with Kabir poems as labels.
Bhakti means devotion through social action. I came to understand this meaning from the Swadhyay movement on the western coast of India - about the same time I became a Masala chai devotee.


Don't walk, RUN to your computer and see if they have this in your area.  If not, they have a wonderful online store to purchase through.  Give that old black coffee a rest and give your taste buds something to sing about.  You'll be on your way to Zen Master before you know it.



Tomorrow:  ChOCoLat???? Anybody...Anybody???

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Park Days, Guinness Cake, Lamb Patties, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Ricotta Cheese Cookies


It has been WAY too long since I have last blogged.  
Kinda a whole lotta nothing and everything all at the same time.

Let's see....My third niece, Mila Jo was born.
Kevin and Sarah came to visit and ski/snowboard at ABasin.
George and Kerri added a little fox-bear named Nima to their family.
George had his first Denver art show!
My little family took a trip to Santa Fe to visit Gigi and Mimi.
Bryan got engaged.
And David and I got married.
Whew, that was exhausting!



Now something more relaxing.

 Park Days















My Favorite.



And Now... drum roll... FOOD!!!!


Guinness Cake
by none other than Nigella Lawson


Can you hear the angels sing????
'Cause you should.
They are...
I swear.

Guinness Cake

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 125ml double or whipping cream

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
Serves: Makes about 12 slices 




Afterthoughts:  If only this cake existed in my everyday life....
Seriously, don't live life without eating this cake.
I strongly discourage it.
*Warning:  This is not an exaggeration!

Also: All conversions are easily googled.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I had to convert mine due to altitude.


Now, we don't have cable tv and we live off our Netflix and Hulu.
I stumbled onto a show called Cook Yourself Thin.
I really loathe the name of the show but they do come up with some
wonderful alternative recipes to comfort food!

Lamb Patties and Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Lamb Patties from Sam Zien
Sweet Potatoes derived from Cook Yourself Thin



Lamb Patties


Ingredients
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup red onion, diced small
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped fine

(the more mint the merrier)
1/2 teaspoon each Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 piece Feta cheese, big enough to get four 3/4 inch square blocks

Heat your grill to high. Put the lamb, onion, mint, oregano, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix really well.
Separate lamb mixture into 5 equal portions and form into patties using the feta squares as the center. Grill until done and evenly cooked. Yhe cheese might leak a bit, but if so, no big deal.
I like to serve them without a bun.
Serves 5.


*If served with a bun, dress them up with 
-1 cup mayo (sub plain greek yogurt to cut cals)
-1/2 cup chopped red onion
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of capers
(depending on your relationship with capers)
-Generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Pepper to your pleasing.


This is super yummy and a great Outdoor Dinner Party Entree.


Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 cup Tarragon 
2 slices bacon
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and onto an oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a deep saute pan heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add tarragon. cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the tarragon has wilted.

4. In another saute pan cook the bacon until crisp and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. When cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces and reserve.

5. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes. Carefully slice each one in half and scoop out inside of potato into a bowl. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, tarragon mixture, salt and pepper, and mash together until smooth.

6. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of each potato skin with the vegetable oil. Fill each of the shells with the filling and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Transfer each skin back to the baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the skins are crispy. Top with bits of bacon and serve.





*Afterthoughts:  This recipe called for scallions and spinach which I subbed with tarragon.
BEEECAAAUSE...it's what I had.
Oh my stars, was this a lucky day!
Now, I DO NOT like licorice which tarragon can play to.
It gave it the most lovely complexity....this is a must try.
I would not steer your wrong!
Also, I'm not in love with using cream cheese, next time I might try goat cheese.
My family loved it and my hope is that yours will too!



Ricotta Cheese Cookies
derived from All Recipes.com




I used to work at Cafe 501 in Edmond, Ok.
They have the most amazing Ricotta Cheese Cookies
....among many other gems.
They truly melt in your mouth.
Who knew this Italian Delight was so simple to make.
Well, I guess the Italian Dessert part should have given me a clue.

Please Please Make and Enjoy!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, ricotta cheese, and vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; blend into the creamed mixture, mixing in additional flour as necessary to form a workable dough. Roll dough into teaspoon-sized balls, and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat milk, confectioners' sugar, and almond extract until smooth. Spoon over warm cookies.  Voila!!!





* Afterthoughts:  This recipe makes quite a bit.  It gets a bit messy rolling but recruit those wee ones and put them to work!  It is WELL worth it!  These are extremely delicate.  If you store in an airtight container they will turn to mush.  Frankly,  I haven't found the perfect storage container.  Let me know if you have ideas.






Love to All...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year's Rave and Nunicorn Gummies

Happy New Year to All.  I think I read you can continue saying that throughout the month and it is acceptable.  After that, I wouldn't dare wish anyone a Happy New Year!  We had a quiet Family Rave at our house on New Years and I believe we were all in bed by ten-thirty.  I love my life, no expectations of staying up far too late and consuming far too much alcohol.  Happy New Year's to Me!  We Danced, We Drank, We Ate, and We Slept.  Happy 1st Anniversary to Our Happy Little Family!!!

Georgia's 1st Bubbly
(Sparkling Pomegranate) 

D.A.D.A.N.C.E

Do the Dance Do the Dance

We Had Way Too Much Fun!
Georgia loves her some dance music.

Is Teague Winking at Me?

Dinner Ala David

New Year Kisses

What is New Year's without
pretending to be dogs?

Our "Puppy" Fetching

Oh, She is Good.

This is how Georgia dressed me up.
How can I be so serious with a sticker on my face
and a glow necklace...all that is missing is a pacifier.

New Year Kisses.

Our Love.

New Year Snow Day Snuggles

I love Colorado.
Please God let us stay!

Yep, Nunicorn Gummi Candy
Not a typo...Georgia calles them Nunicorns
and I tend to agree with whatever she says.

Gummies
Via
Skip to my Lou
All we needed was 1 -3 oz box of flavored gelatin and 2 - 1/4 oz  packages of unflavored gelatin, water and candy molds. (I used 4 Candy Molds)

I purchased them from
Candy Mold Central.  I bought Scottie Dogs, Nunicorns, Mushrooms, and Music Notes.  I like that I can personalize our snacks.I had a hard time trying to determine which were appropriate molds for Gummies.  After some research I chose molds that were marked as "Chocolate Molds" but were plastic.  I determined that Silicone and Plastic were appropriate to use for gummy making.
Place 1/3 cup water in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the Jello and  unflavored gelatin over the water. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes. (If you like chewier gummi candy add in another packet of unflavored gelatin.)  I did!
Place sauce pan over medium heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved, about 2-5 minutes. When mixture is liquid and all gelatin has dissolved, remove from heat.  Let cool a minute and then pour into a container that is easy to pour from.  I use a small ceramic creamer pitcher. Make sure it's any easy pour!
Fill molds.  Allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes. They may be placed in a refrigerator for about 10 minutes if the kiddos/adults are eager.
Once cool, the backs can be lightly dusted with corn starch, if desired.  I used a pastry brush and lightly ran them in all directions on the back.  This worked great!


I made peach and "blue" Gummies. Whatever "Blue" is.  I used 2, 3 oz. boxes of the blue and they had more flavor.  I eventually would like to go the Asian Market to see if I can snag more exotic flavors. 


Afterthoughts:  My family is used to less sugar packed fruit snacks and were more than happy with the peach Gummies which were made with only one, 3 ounce box.  If your family is used to Scooby and My Little Pony...I can't promise that they will be sold by these.  My family loves them and are more than happy to trade them for store bought.  Also... I am in no way, shape, our form endorsing these as "Healthy Snacks."  However, I feel better when things are made from my own too hands.  Even if they are pack with artificial ingredients.  We all love Gummies....right? 


Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Wonder...

by Kareena Zerefos

Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to obtain or even regain the imagination and wonder of being a child.  We all sat together and watched "Hook" last night.  I watched as Georgia, "Finked Happy Foughts" and attempted to fly off the couch time and time again.  She finally turned to me and said,"Would you ask God to let me fly, I really want to."  I sat there silent.  Me the one that has said, "I'm going to be honest and open with her all of her days."  But now....How can I break it to her that even God can't grant her wish to fly?  Or can He?  Am I so stifled in my world of "reality" that I have lost touch of the wonder and possibility all around me?  Is she giving me a glimpse into the possibility that I once knew and have now lost sight of?  She asked me a couple days ago if Mommy and Daddy know everything.  I quickly told her, "No, don't let us ever pretend like we do.  In fact, you teach us things every day.  Sometimes things we thought we knew but you help remind us that we don't!"  I mean't that but still just like I said...I sometimes wish there was a way to measure just how much more she knows than I do.

David and I watched a film called "Blindsight" last week.  A film about six blind Tibetan teenagers on their journey to climb Everest.  I don't want to give away the end because I strongly suggest you watch it.  I will say that we both felt conflicted about how much some of the guides pushed the children and in the end debated on who the climb was more important to, the seeing or the blind.  We so often think we are at such an advantage with all of our vast knowledge and sight, yet it brings me to this question.  Does our sight limit our ability to see things as they truly are?  Who's to say that the blind's imagination is limited without sight?  Is it possible that this frees them to things beyond our chains or "reality."  And in comparison does a child's lack of experience limit their ability to understand their potential in this life and beyond?
What are your thoughts?


Papier Mache Magazine 

Art: From the Menagerie by Kareena Zerefos
Photography: Papier Mache Magazine
Thank you for your Inspirations!
Fly

Imagine


Play

Meditate






*Parents and Grandparents: Check out Lu Lu's New Picks