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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

National Cheese Lovers Day: Fromage Brie




Today is 'National Cheese Day' and as you are aware, there are probably about a thousand different types of cheese that exist in the world today, with one of them being Brie.
 
Whether you are looking to take something simple to a party, picnic, or food event or simply wanting to enjoy something special at the dinner, you cannot go wrong with Fromage, Brie. Add some crackers and enjoy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Wikipedia, Celebrating 14 Years

With millions upon millions of articles and other content submitted daily, Wikipedia remains to be one of the most popular websites in the world today. Today is Wikipedia's 14th birthday. Since they became a strong reference site in 2001, they have worked really hard to be where they are today. I am looking forward to Wikipedia remaining strong for many years to come because what they have done thus far proves that you can accomplish anything if you work hard at it. Happy Birthday Wikipedia!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Person: How I Lost 10 Pounds In 1 Week

Everyone stresses shedding those extra pounds, no matter what time of year it is. Whether it is after the holidays or in early spring, it is a huge goal for most people who are looking to not only look better, but feel better too.

With all of the endless diet crazes that range from incorporating healthy eating into an active lifestyle or fasting until the next binge, it's hard to tell which diets actually work and shed off the extra inches.

As a 34 year old woman, I recently found myself losing weight and although I could not believe that my method worked, I was not shocked. The reality is, our body needs certain things in order to speed up the process, but how did I lose 10 pounds in 1 week?

For my diet - I stuck with a vegan diet that consisted of cabbage soup, kale chips, kosher dill pickles, and tofu. I used no butter or margarine and relied heavily on olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. I also substituted butter for Earth Balance butter, as it is vegan. Instead of having three huge meals, I would also have 8 meals that ranged from medium to small.

The key to really losing weight is to drinking nothing, but water. I would drink at least ten, 16 oz. water bottles a day. The amount increased as I worked out. Some days I would have a gallon. It is so important to keep hydrated. Avoid anything such as diet sodas or anything with artificial sugars. Every other day, I would drink a can of Zevia soda and would have a glass of Silk's Coconut/Almond Blend.

Often times I find myself snacking on something after 5 pm, however; with this diet I did not eat anything after 5 pm. Instead, I would substitute any cravings with one kosher pickle and more water. If I were hungry, I would eat something vegan with no carbs, as well as, no calories.

For my exercise - I would go to the gym for at least 1 hour, every day. Sometimes I would go twice. There are no days off. I would do at least 20-30 minutes of cardio followed by muscle confusion strength training, working almost every area of the body at once. Each day, I would change course and speed.

On some of the days, I would stay longer at the gym and often times, train full contact boxing and Muay Thai. I would also shadow box and do a lot of cardio/cross training workouts outside of the gym such as cycling, running/jogging, and even swimming. In fact, instead of driving or riding a bus or even catching a carpool, I would substitute that form of transportation by riding my bicycle or walking. Every single time I would drink a lot and made sure that I kept myself hydrated.

For my supplements - What people don't realize is the combination of drinking a lot of water and working out is great, however; what makes the weight loss amazing and practically instantaneous is taking supplements to support it.

Although everyone is different, for this particular diet I took Raspberry Ketone, Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn supplement, Mexican Wild Yam, and believe it or not, NeoCell's Collagen supplement. If I felt like I needed more energy, I would take a caffeine pill and/or have a glass of Click's Espresso Protein which I would use Silk's Coconut/Almond Blend as the source. Although the protein is whey and non-vegan, taking just one glass a week shocked my body in fat burning mode.

After a week, I was 10 pounds lighter. Not only did I drop the pounds, I lost inches and of course, clothing sizes. It is the best feeling in the world, when you start feeling the loss and seeing the results that follow. They don't call it a diet (die-it) for no reason. Stick with this plan and you will start seeing results in due time. Just please do not go crazy and consult your doctor before doing it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Beauty of Christmas Day, a poem

The holidays are looming towards the present, as the stars up above shine ever so brightly. A holy night where we come together with everything we are grateful of, ever so tightly. Near the old, habitual chimney lies the stocking and greeting cards given by friends and foes. Under the Christmas tree lies gifts and presents worthless to and worthy of those. 

Dead leaves continue to fall off the leafless trees, as the ice continues to cultivate and grow. Splendid wind chimes move readily, as you're inside wrapping each gift alone, with a bow. Unanticipated guests show up at the front door, hoping to earn your admiration and overall respect. The phone rings off the hook, as you occupy your precious and treasured time to reflect.

Mucky incognito populace attempt to ruin the moment and encourage the plight. Optimistic people who live in the moment with goals and accomplishment have the spotlight. Holiday galas have their ups and downs, the life we inhabit is sublimely imperfect precision. The life we choose is the life we befall, one big accomplishment, one big mission.

Santa Claus, Christmas Gifts, Cards, Fruitcake, and Old Fashioned Egg Nog. Glossy chestnuts roasting peacefully on a fresh new wooden log. Christmas is a celebration that promotes immaculate joy and splendid glee. Despite the adversity endured, we are approaching a special day. Can't you see?

This is the time to cherish, a time to bear, the love of God and the birth of his son. Christmas is the time that brings us together, together as one. The old and the new, the rich and the poor, the black and the blue. The weak and the strong, the fat and the thin, no matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all belong.

The circle of life, controls the prosperity and richness of the soul. Peaceful meetings of sublime happiness are in our control. Stillness is golden, in that final month, six hundred hours until the day. A time to give, a time to receive, and a time to love the beauty of Christmas Day.

TBT: Christmas 2013

Today is not only Christmas day, my favorite holiday, but also Throwback Thursday. Although Christmas is great this year because I get to spend it amongst loved ones and snow, I had a great Christmas last year. In fact, I don't think I ever had a horrible Christmas ever because even through the rough times in life (death of my grandmother, for instance) I still managed to love, cherish, value, and appreciate this amazing day.
 
 
 
For Throwback Thursday, I want to share my Christmas Tree I had last year and prior from my home in Bozeman, MT. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and just remember, if your day is not as bright as it should be, think of all of the wonderful things that have happened, that are currently happening, and the best that is yet to come.

Merry Christmas everyone!

2014: Merry Christmas

Can you believe it's Christmas? After months of waiting for the big day to arrive, it is finally here. Right now I am attempting to make a kringle, but I am unsure how it is going to turn out. I think I am a little ambitious. I know, I haven't been blogging as I should be and I do apologize.
 
I know being busy should no longer be an excuse, as I am in the process of several things which include working full time until January 2015 before making my permanent move to Pennsylvania from Montana to live with my amazing soul mate and best friend, Joe, along with writing for Examiner and AXS. I have had to endure quite a few things so far, but so far so good.
 
On top of that, I am working with several companies/people on future projects for 2015. Although I don't want to tell you everything (and I do have a habit of doing this sometimes because I get excited and think so far ahead), I will say that one of them includes an amazing partnership with one of my favorite vegetarian food brands where I will attend an online culinary arts school and use their products to create and execute recipes.
 
There are a lot of things just getting started, as there are a lot of things coming, so expect the unexpected. I do apologize for not blogging as much as I should be, but I promise when I get everything settled, you can expect me to blog much more. In the meantime, check out my "Best in Beauty 2014 Awards" via Examiner.
 
On that note: Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be happy, joyful, cheery and as bright as you are.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Three-Fourths of an Ounce

Three-Fourths of an Ounce was founded in response to a growing awareness that in our culture there is a taboo around death that has deprived us of a living, vibrant language to speak about one of the most important events and rituals in life. As fascinating as this is, there is a plethora of inspiring products included from Three-Fourths of an Ounce. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Lauri London Freedman about this amazing brand. Here is what she had to say...

(Q) Tell me a little more about Three-Fourths Of An Ounce...
I can tell by your questions that you've already read everything on the website, but I think the welcome letter and the http://www.3-4oz.com/about-us/ is still probably one of the best things I've written about the site as a whole. Also, I'd really like to emphasize how much I hope that the website inspires someone to take another look at a tradition that they didn't think there was a place for in their life. The ideas and products on Three-Fourths of an Ounce are all rooted in ideas and actions that have withstood the test of time and are meant to spark conversation and reinvention as much as they are there for people to adopt wholeheartedly.

(Q) Your products truly do facilitate modern, design-focused products. I have to ask, what inspired you to create Three-Fourths Of An Ounce?
Thank you for that. The inspiration for Three-Fourths of an Ounce was manifold and developed over many years. Both my husband and I were raised as Jewish, but struggled as many young couples do to find the balance between the reason of traditions and the rhyme of reinvention. I found that the world supported creative expression and offered endless inspiration when we were celebrating weddings or births but that when it came time to celebrate a life well lived or grieve a life cut short there was nothing there. I craved and needed a way to offer my condolences and say what was in my heart without feeling like I was breaking rules. Three-Fourths of an Ounce was born from the belief that I couldn't be alone in that struggle and that there must be other people who also needed help finding the right words or the right gift when it felt like there were no words that could be adequate.

(Q) I heard you collect rocks. My second home is in Bozeman, Montana and I am always finding some sort of rock that I wanna pick up and take home with me. I want to ask, what else do you like to collect?
First of all, I adore Bozeman. I was there with my kids during the potato festival a few years ago and I've never seen so many happy kids with potato guns in my entire life. It's actually my oldest son who collects the rocks. It's a small collection of beautiful rocks he's gathered from all of our travels. All three of my kids seem to have inherited my collectors' gene and wherever you look in our home you'll find a little collection of something. One of the first you'd see is a collection of small, vinyl toys that started with a little set of Disney figurines about 17 years ago and has grown to hundreds of little art toys in that time. It is a wonderful and wacky assemblage of collectibles from artists like Takashi Murakami and Tara McPherson and then more mainstream little figures like Smurfs from toy stores wherever we find ourselves.

(Q) You have quite a few products that really caught my attention. One in particular was the "Weight of the Soul" piece. Tell me a little more about this piece...

The story of Duncan MacDougall is one that has captured my imagination and inspired me in many ways. I haven't done exhaustive research on his methodology or the minutiae of his work which has allowed me to create an almost unimpeachable version of him in my head. I imagine him as a man - a fairly crazy man--who wanted desperately to use his vocation as a scientist and a physician to support his religious beliefs that God exists. I imagine him as someone who saw the tide of society turning and he passionately and fervently wanted to hold it back. That story was both the inspiration for the name of the company and this gorgeous carved stone that Ted has created for us. Each one is hand carved and finished and is completely unique. They weigh 3/4 OZ which is, as you know by now, what Dr. Macdougall determined was the weight of the soul. Ted and I have come to think of each of them as a little soul unto itself and they are the most wonderful little objects to hold in your hand.

(Q) When you choose products you want to place in your store, do you select them yourself? Tell me a little more about the designers of the products you sell at Three-Fourths Of An Ounce...

Each object that is available on the Three-Fourths of an Ounce website has been designed just for Three-Fourths of an Ounce with a designer who I've admired for years.
For details on each of the designers that helped create each of the Three-Fourths of An Ounce objects, please visit http://www.3-4oz.com/about-us/designers/.

(Q) For those individuals reading this interview, what would you like them to know about Three-Fourths Of An Ounce?
I hope that both the journal and the objects on the website inspire people and provide some tools to find and share compassion in the aftermath of death and illness. I hope they are pieces of a larger revolution in the way we approach commemoration and that they offer people beautiful, thoughtful and creative ways to mourn and remember.
For more information about Three-Fourths of an Ounce, please visit http://www.3-4oz.com today.

Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Gifts: Decorative Deep Fried Oreos

When it comes to the holidays the word creativity should always be in your forte. I am not saying that the holidays are necessarily the epitome of creativeness, but they do allow you to get inspired. I love everything about the holidays. Whether it be the music, the decorations, the love in the air, the entire ambiance, the food, etc. It is a well known fact that money doesn't grow on trees and not everyone can afford to spend an obscene amount on the latest item. Homemade gourmet gifts are not only incredibly affordable, but highly effective as everyone can and will appreciate them. Do you know anyone who doesn't love food?

Recently, I had the opportunity to discover one of the best homemade gourmet gifts. I was inspired at the local grocery store when shopping for cookies. I know there are many people that cannot stand Oreo cookies at all, however, once they try a decorative deep fried oreo they are hooked. Before you decide to make oreos, you can look at what type of oreos you want to buy. I like to buy all different types, however; I am fond of the original oreo cookie the most because it's the most common and it is what everyone expects when they bite into an oreo, especially a decorative deep fried oreo. Let's get started!

Ingredients:

Deep Fryer (If you don't own a deep fryer, a thick cast iron pan is helpful and will work.)

Paper Towels

Metal Tongs

Oreo Cookies

All Purpose Flour

Granulated Sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Coconut Oil

Almond Milk

Butter

Eggs

 

Decoration:

Icing
Edibles decors (Everything from sprinkles of sorts to actual images, whatever you intend to use to decorate your deep fried Oreos.)

Powdered Sugar (optional) 
 

Preparation:

Pour about 2 quarts of vegetable oil into your deep fryer. If you are using a thick cast iron pan, you want to pour about 1 quart of vegetable oil into it. You want to set the stove on high, but do not walk away from it. You want to only put it on high for about 5 minutes and then set it to a medium temperature.

As you continue, you want to make your batter. Although you can use pre-made pancake batter, I do not recommend it because the deep fried oreos taste better when you use homemade. You want to add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar into a big round bowl.

Once you combine the ingredients, using a mixer (I love to use my Kitchen Aid for this, however; any mixer with do) you want to mix them together until you have a relatively thin consistency. It should not be watery, but it should not be thick either. For those of you that have made crepes, it should be on the same wavelength. If you are looking to create a flavored deep fried Oreo, you can add just about any type of spice or extract to the batter.

Sit aside your batter. You want to get the oreos together. It is important that you look at each Oreo to make sure they are not cracked. Although some people like to take melted butter and apply it onto the oreos before applying the actual batter, I usually leave that step out. I tried it once and the batter didn't turn out the way I wanted it to turn out.

Using a pair of tongs, take each Oreo and dip it into the batter. If you are skeptical about doing several oreos at one time, try one and see how it turns out. You want to fry 6 at the most. You want to fry the deep fried oreos until they have reached a golden brown color. Most of the time, they will rise to the top when they are done, however; if you are confused, just set the time for 5 minutes, as that is the maximum time they can cook.

Now this is where the paper towels come into play. You want to make sure you have several paper towels laid out. They must be laid on a hard, flat surface so any flat plate will do. Also, make sure they are not crowded together because you are going to decorate them later. Using the pair of tongs (and they are highly recommended) you want to remove them from the deep fryer and apply them on the pair towels to dry. Let them dry for at least 10 minutes minimum.

Once they have dried, you can start decorating them. Some people like to leave them the way they are and just sprinkle powdered sugar. I like to decorate them. I love to apply icing all over them and apply an array of different edible decors. During the holidays I love breaking out my crystal sprinkles, as well as, sprinkles of seasonal things such as Christmas trees, snowman, and Santa Claus. You can be simple or you can be like me, creative. I also like to decorate my deep fried oreos a little over the top because it's fun and exciting.

Congratulations! You just made your first decorative deep fried Oreos. Now, all you have to do is box or bag them up and give them to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son, your wife, your girlfriend, your husband, your fiance, your boyfriend, your BFF, your father-in-law, your mother-in-law, and everyone else you can think of. Trust me, in the end, people not only love, but appreciate homemade gourmet gifts and the Decorative Deep Fried Oreos are one of them. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2014

National Pie Day: December 1st 2014

 
Not only does today mark the first of December, it is also "National Pie Day". So, what is your favorite pie? I love all pie, but I think right now I have garnered an obsession with Lemon Meringue. It's just soooooo good.