Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Not That Easy Being Green (1969)

Happy Leap Day!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sock and Glove



I know what project I am going to be doing with my kids over spring break. These are so cute and look pretty easy to make. They are made from simple pairs of socks and gloves taken from the book - "Sock and Glove," by Miyako Kanamori. I'm not a big on sewing crafts but I love projects like these.
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Below is the how-to for the "Cat".

Martha Stewart also has a video how-to or pdf step by step instructions for the rabbit and the dog - take your pick.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A New Earth - Awakening Your Life's Purpose

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I've been reading a very interesting book that was featured on Oprah. I've never actually read a book from Oprah's "book club" list before - but this one struck a chord - so I bought it. I had a similar experience with a book featured on her show many years ago - "Simple Abundance" - and that book quite literally changed my life. So I trusted my instincts and bought it. I have only read the intro and first chapter but I am already awestruck.
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Here is an extract from the book "A New Earth" taken from Eckhart Tolle's website.
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Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun.
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Prior to this momentous event that heralds an evolutionary transformation in the life of plants, the planet had already been covered in vegetation for millions of years. The first flower probably did not survive for long, and flowers must have remained rare and isolated phenomena, since conditions were most likely not yet favourable for a widespread flowering to occur. One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of colour and scent all over the planet – if a perceiving consciousness had been there to witness it.
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An awakening power
Much later, those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by them. As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value which had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a 'silent sermon' once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it. After a while, one of those present, a monk called Mahakasyapa, began to smile. He is said to have been the only one who had understood the sermon. According to legend, that smile (that is to say, realization) was handed down by twenty-eight successive masters and much later became the origin of Zen.
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Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word 'enlightenment' in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.
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En-lightenment
Any life-form in any realm – mineral, vegetable, animal, or human – can be said to undergo 'enlightenment'. It is, however, an extremely rare occurrence since it is more than an evolutionary progression: It also implies a discontinuity in its development, a leap to an entirely different level of Being and, most important, a lessening of materiality.
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What could be heavier and more impenetrable than a rock, the densest of all forms? And yet some rocks undergo a change in their molecular structure, turn into crystals, and so become transparent to the light. Some carbons, under inconceivable heat and pressure, turn into diamonds, and some heavy minerals into other precious stones.
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Most crawling reptilians, the most earthbound of all creatures, have remained unchanged for millions of years. Some, however, grew feathers and wings and turned into birds, thus defying the force of gravity that had held them for so long. They didn't become better at crawling or walking, but transcended crawling and walking entirely.
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Since time immemorial, flowers, crystals, precious stones, and birds have held special significance for the human spirit. Like all life-forms, they are, of course, temporary manifestations of the underlying one Life, one Consciousness. Their special significance and the reason why humans feel such fascination for and affinity with them, can be attributed to their ethereal quality.
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Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings' perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness or spirit in every creature, every life-form, recognize it as one with their own essence and so love it as themselves. Until this happens, however, most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form.
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In the case of a flower, a crystal, precious stone, or bird, however, even someone with little or no Presence can occasionally sense that there is more there than the mere physical existence of that form, without knowing that this is the reason why he or she is drawn toward it, feels an affinity with it. Because of its ethereal nature, its form obscures the indwelling spirit to a lesser degree than is the case with other life-forms. The exceptions to this are all the new-born life-forms – babies, puppies, kittens, lambs, and so on. They are fragile, delicate, not yet firmly established in materiality. An innocence, a sweetness and beauty that are not of this world still shine through them. They delight even relatively insensitive humans.
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So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless. There is an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of spirit. This is why these three 'en-lightened' life-forms have played such an important part in the evolution of human consciousness since ancient times; why, for example, the jewel in the lotus flower is a central symbol of Buddhism and a white bird, the dove, signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity. They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness that is destined to take place in the human species. This is the spiritual awakening that we are beginning to witness now.
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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Dandelion


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"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
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~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Dandelion Greens are the most nutritious leafy vegetable you can buy. They contain one of the highest levels of vitamin A of all greens and also contains high concentrations of vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and electrolytes. The young leaves can be used as salad greens or cooked as you would spinach, the roasted roots as a healthy coffee substitute or raw as a tea. They support digestion, and help reduce swelling and inflammation.
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Dandelion flowers have been used throughout history to make dandelion wine, they can be stir-fried as an interesting and colorful change of vegetable or added raw to a salad. Dandelion flower tea with a little honey can provide relief for headaches, and stomach aches. It is a relative of the sunflower but is widely regarded and much maligned - as a weed.
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The Dandelion has a long history. Early colonists brought it to North America, where indigenous people saw its value and used it for its medical and nutritional benefits.
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(Our kitty in the Dandelion patch.)
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I buy Dandelion Greens at the grocery store (Whole Foods - Safeway) but also grow a hearty (pesticide free) patch in my backyard. They can be a bit bitter if the leaves are not young and tender but I love them in the recipe below or fried up like you would any greens in a skillet.
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1 Cup Raw______Vitamin A_______Vitamin K______Calcium________Iron_(Daily Value)
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Dandelion -_______54%___________188%__________10%___________9%
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Broccoli -_________12%___________112%__________4%____________4%
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Dandelion Greens with Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
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Serves 6–8
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2 1/2 pounds dandelion greens, tough leaves discarded
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
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Cut top 5 inches from greens and reserve leaves. Cut remaining greens into 3/4-inch slices._
Transfer all greens to a large salad bowl.
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For the dressing, in a small heavy skillet sauté garlic and nuts in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden.
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Stir in vinegar and salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste.
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Pour hot vinaigrette over greens and toss to combine.
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Nutrition Info
Per Serving (174g-wt.): 140 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 5g protein, 16g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium
(Recipe Courtesy of Whole Foods)

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Magnolia

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All winter long, the buds of magnolias, snug within their soft, gray-green velvet sepal coats, wait silently for spring. At the first sign of warmth, the splendid velvet casing splits, cracks, and then falls away. Opulent, silky petal are revealed.
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Many of these beautiful trees are bursting into bloom here in Northern California and even though winter is still upon us - the birds and the trees whisper to me that spring is near and the wonderous magnolia blossoms are on their way once more.
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Magnolia is an ancient genus. Fossilised specimens have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and plants belonging to the Magnoliaceae family date back to 95 million years ago.
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Photos Courtesy of Jupiter Images.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Simple Luxury"

Kirsten Hollister was chosen as one of three winners in the national magazine, “O at Home” “Knock, Knock, It’s Nate” design contest. As a result of this honor Kirsten and her design work were featured in the November 2007 issue of “O at Home”. Her work was also highlighted on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. In addition, Kirsten will be featured in several Better Homes and Gardens publications in 2008. I think she has an amazing design sense. The inspiration for her home and subsequent design aesthetic comes from her love of all things Belgian. She discovered this style while living in Switzerland. She says the style she is going for is "simple luxury". I love that!!



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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dancers In Motion

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I love photos of dancers in motion. That moment in time we can never quite see.
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(Photos Courtesy of The Fine Arts Company , Stock Photography , Photographs of Old America ,
Cylla von Tiedemann & Bob Emmot.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

One More Yoga Pose - Mountain Pose - Tadasana


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This is called Mountain Pose because it promotes the experience of stillness, strength, relaxed power, and immovable stability associated with mountains. Remember that experiencing yourself in stillness is the most direct way to experience yourself with clarity. This pose, and coming back to this stillness after other poses, is one of the very best ways of becoming acquainted with stillness.
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Tadasana is the most basic pose and is, therefore, the foundation for all others. There are two versions of Mountain Pose.
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1. Come to stand with the big toes touching.
2. Lift up all your toes and let them fan out, then drop them down creating a wide solid base. You can separate your heels slightly if your ankles are knocking together uncomfortably.
3. Bring your weight evenly onto all four corners of both feet.
4. Let the feet and the calves root down into the floor.
5. Engage the quadriceps and drawn them upwards causing your knee caps to rise.
6. Rotate both thighs inwards creating a widening of the sit bones and tuck your tailbone in between the sit bones.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Beatles-All You Need Is Love

Happy Valentines Day!!

Chocolat Trailer

Another great Valentines Day movie!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentines Day - Breakfast and Dinner


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With Valentines Day just one day away I thought I would post my selections for breakfast and dinner. Both include chocolate and are from the show - Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger (Cooking healthy food can be quick, easy, but most of all, delicious. Nutritionist and author Ellie Krieger has created fast and simple healthy recipes for the real world). The first is Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast and the second is Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce. Yummmmm...
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Nutritional info is included at the bottom of each recipe. _


Episode: Chocolate Surprises _

Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
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3 eggs
1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
8 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed
1 (8-ounce) container strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 teaspoons bittersweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
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In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
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Place 1 tablespoon of ricotta in the center of 4 of the pieces of bread and spread around slightly. Top with about 6 slices of strawberries and a teaspoon of chocolate chips. Cover each with another piece of bread to make a "sandwich".
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Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and preheat. Carefully dip each of the "sandwiches" into the egg mixture until completely moistened. Then place on the skillet and cook over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the outside is golden brown and the center is warm and chocolate is melted.
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Transfer to serving places. Top with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
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Per Serving : Calories 270; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 3 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0 g) ; Protein 15 g; Carb 38 g; Fiber 5 g; Cholesterol 170 mg; Sodium 390 mg
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Note: *7 slices of whole wheat bread analyzed here since crust was removed.

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Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce _

1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin roast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
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Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
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Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest until the sauce is nearly done before slicing.
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While the meat cooks, make the sauce. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the sliced tenderloin.
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Serving size 3 slices of meat and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce Per Serving: Calories 280; Total Fat 9g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 4g, Poly Fat 0g); Protein 31g; Carb 7g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 82mg; Sodium 375mg

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Notebook trailer

The Most Romantic Movie - Perfect for Valentines Day!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Great Yoga Pose - Tree Pose - Vrksasana


(Courtesy of Prevention)
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Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Shift your weight onto the left foot. Bend your right knee and, reaching down, use your right hand to place your right foot on the inside of the left thigh, just above the knee. Open the right knee out to the side.
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Be the tree: Imagine that your left foot has roots growing out the bottom of it that anchor you, and visualize your torso as the stable trunk. Make sure your pelvis faces forward.
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Bring your hands together in front of your chest in prayer position. Fix your gaze to a spot on the wall in front of you to help your balance. Stay here for a full minute, or as long as you can. Slowly lower your arms, then come back to standing. Repeat on the other side.
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Do the yoga pose on the first side again. This time bring your arms overhead with hands separated shoulder-width apart and palms facing one another. Visualize your arms as a tree's branches, strong and steady. Repeat the pose (with the arms overhead) on the other side.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fabric Palette Combos


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I love these fabric palette combos I found at dominomag.com. I wish everything was this simple and straightforward. I am still struggling to find a way to redesign or perk up various rooms in our home - while staying on a budget. It's all about color and accent pieces and these rooms inspire me to re-think old habits of design.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Latte Art


(Martha's House) _

Latte art or coffee art refers to designs created on the tops of espresso based drinks by a barista. These designs are usually created in one of two ways and sometimes using a combination of both. _
Quote from Coffee Geek -
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"Much like rubbing your tummy and tapping your head, pouring latte art requires that you do two things at the same time. Pour the milk at a consistent and even rate AND shake the pitcher side to side with the even tempo of a metronome."
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I just think it's kinda cool.
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