Food: the versatile rice bowl

I’ve rekindled my love for rice bowls.  Not only nutritious & delicious but easy to make.

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

It’s a good way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Energize your meal with protein: chicken, salmon or steak. Substitute quinoa or noodles instead of rice as a base and play with a variety of different veggies and dressings to turn it Mexican, Indian, Asian+ for endless possibilities.

Let’s try unlikely combos.  Let’s eat things that are good.  Let’s eat things that make us feel good.

Vegetarian Coconut Rice Bowl Recipe

Yield: 4  bowls

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
* 1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
* 2 limes
* 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 1/2 cup frozen edamame
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the rinsed rice in a rice cooker. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk to the cooker, and 1 1/4 cup water & cook.

When the rice is done, add the juice of half a lime along with 1/2 cup cilantro. Stir.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become tender and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for about another minute.

Now add the remaining coconut milk, edamame, remaining cilantro, scallions & another good squeeze of lime juice. Let it simmer 3 minutes, or until the edamame warms through.

Serve over coconut rice garnished with more scallions and fresh lime wedges.

Here’s a growing fast food chain I really like:

Freshii is a (fairly new to Vancouver) fast food restaurant chain that specializes in healthy rice bowls, salads, juices and smoothies.  I recently stumbled upon it when I was hangry (that place when you’re really hungry, bordering on the verge of cranky anger) and enjoyed the *Oaxaca bowl very much.  I wondered why there were not more fast food places like it. The story behind it is interesting blending fashion & food.

Matthew Corrin is the founder & CEO of Freshii.  While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Matthew was inspired by “mom-and-pop” delis with fresh food but lackluster branding & service. He sought to “add magic to the fresh food business” & brand the commodity of fresh food not unlike Starbucks branded the coffee bean. He’s a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals Restaurateur of the Year. In 2005, he founded Freshii.

Oaxaca Bowl

my Oaxaca Bowl

*brown rice & kale, avocado, beet slaw, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, crispy wontons, lime wedge, spicy yogurt sauce (1927 W. 4th in Kits).

Source for vegetarian recipe: bevcooks.com

Art/Exhibits: Light and Space

This UNUSUAL INSTALLATION by James Turrell is designed to entirely eliminate the viewer depth perception.light1

Perceptual deprivation is something I struggle with at times all the time when trying to park parking my car but this is completely different.  In general his work blends the worlds of art, science, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and spirituality.

James Turrell, Breathing Light

Ongoing at LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Artlight2

You don little sock booties and walk through a sloping curved room with a strong light source at one end that continuously changes color.  A little 60’s psychedelic, a little eerie mixed with some unexpected enlightenment.

About the Artist: 

James Turrell was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended Pomona College, where he studied art, art history, mathematics, perceptual psychology and astronomy. He took graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine, and received a master’s degree in fine art from Claremont Graduate School. 

www.lacma.org

Feel-good Friday: In the Moment

You can learn a lot from a dog

or; a bear

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  – A.A. Milnecooke1feelgoodfriday4

People tell me I smile waaay too much!  That’s their problem!

CHECK THIS OUT:  http://www.metabolicwarrior.com/

 

beauty:  these are no Ordinary serums

You know what they say; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is…except maybe in this case!ordinary1

We woman already pay a lot for upkeep and that includes our skincare regime.  And our skincare regime usually includes an expensive serum.  So if you found out you could buy a serum with a really good active ingredient for only $6 you wouldn’t believe me right?

On average a regular glycolic acid-based serum costs around $42. An antioxidant serum of choice costs about $163. These are hefty prices, sure. But they’re serums. Paying top dollar for high concentrations of anti-aging ingredients is just the way it goes, isn’t it?

If you ask Toronto-based beauty brand Deciem, the answer will be a resounding No.  The brand has released a new collection of serums that promises the same ingredients as luxury products, except these SKUs boast prices as low as $6.

The new line is called The Ordinary and offers a total of 10 serums, the most expensive of which is $15. Since launching earlier this month, the brand has sold over 43,000 units.  I wonder why?

Self-termed “the abnormal beauty company,” Deciem positions its image on the fringe of the beauty market. What makes The Ordinary’s serums unique is their simplicity—each bottle contains only one or two active ingredients, like vitamin C, hylauronic acid, and retinoid (all of which we’re used to seeing in our pricier serums). Deciem’s founder Brandon Truaxe says that because of the low ingredient count, the products can be manufactured and packaged more affordably.ordinary3

So where can you buy them? Deciem sells all of its ranges on the company website, as well as choice retailers around the globe (U.S. brick-and-mortar locations are in the works). Though the company is fairly under-the-radar stateside, it has become wildly popular in the UK, mostly due to the success of their hand and body care brand Hand Chemistry.

Want to experience the budget-friendly wonders of The Ordinary? Shop some of their serums below!

 The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($7)

If you’re aiming to give your skin an intense dose of moisture, cart this $7 hyaluronic acid serum.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ($6)

This skin-protecting vitamin C serum miraculously comes in at less than $6 per bottle.

The Ordinary “Buffet” ($15)

At less than $15, this peptide-packed serum is the brand’s most expensive SKU.

What’s to lose?  The only bad thing is if you don’t like it you haven’t lost much money trying something new.  If you do like it………. GREAT!

 

Style: déjà vu 

The Turtleneck; a Classic rebornturtle5

Though it took a sartorial break for a couple of decades, it’s back and chicer than ever.  The turtleneck is a strong, simple and smart staple if you can refer to an item of clothing as being “smart”

A black turtleneck sweater is a classic that works as a canvas for jewelry or scarves and looks great either super casual with jeans or dressed up with a skirt, jumpsuit or blazer.

Just before leaving on my trip I hummed & hawed for several minutes seconds over buying a tight teal turtleneck but then I bought it.  My excuse – I liked the material,  the weather was getting colder and it was an unexpected pop of colour.  I think they’re pretty practical and nevermind that you are up to your neck in material…it can look quite sexy.  Maybe more so than a way too low-cut top. Wear it with:

A BOLD COAT and CROSSBODY BAG

CHRISTIAN VIERIG/GETTY IMAGES

CHRISTIAN VIERIG/GETTY IMAGES

WITH A MOTO JACKET AND HIGH-WAISTED PANTS

EDWARD BERTHELOT/GETTY IMAGES

EDWARD BERTHELOT/GETTY IMAGES

WITH COLORFUL PANTS AND A FAUX-FUR TOPPER

CHRISTIAN VIERIG/GETTY IMAGES

CHRISTIAN VIERIG/GETTY IMAGES

WITH A TRENCH AND VELVET BOOTIES (for something right on trend)

VANNI BASSETTI/GETTY IMAGES

VANNI BASSETTI/GETTY IMAGES!

Because the point being is you want to stay warm and stylish!

Food + such: a Cupcake ATM machine in Beverly Hills

This is the exact opposite of my last food post but important nonetheless

Have you heard about The World’s First Cupcake ATM that dispenses freshly baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7?sprinkles1

Sprinkles is sprinkling cupcake dust on the angels (or Angelenos) who live in and around Beverly Hills. Oh; as if they don’t already have it all!  You can get cash & cupcakes at the same time…Dreams really do come true! Now they’re available in other lucky locations.

Everybody loves Cupcakes

Everybody loves Cupcakes

For Sprinkles addicts on the go, the ATM  conveniently nestled between Sprinkles Cupcakes and the brand new Sprinkles Ice Cream, is continuously restocked day and night with a variety of freshly baked cupcakes and cookies!  How sweet!

WATCH THIS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTZWlxW2wG4&index=1&list=PLBC9880171E43B315

However, for those of you who are not close to Beverly Hills or to one of the other Sprinkles locations sprinkled here and there in cities like New York, Disney (it’s a world onto itself), Dallas, Vegas (ATM across from Caesar’s Palace)  or Nashville then boy do I have a recipe for YOU!

This is the delightfully famous Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake recipe which I made last week and will probably never (in this case the phrase “never say never” means exactly that) make again.  Maybe I didn’t have a bowl deep enough to keep the mixture from flying all over the kitchen or maybe it’s just that the color “red” is not the best to remove from a white counter.  Hownever, they were a delectably delicious hit and I have leftover icing in the freezer.  So…I’ll just go to the closest ATM next time I drive through Beverly Hills.

For those of you brave enough to attempt it – here it is:

I didn't bother to fancy it up any more on top - they were soooo good.

I didn’t bother to fancy it up on top – they were already soooo good.

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields 12 insanely delicious cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold*
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp red food coloring (food grade of course – it’s safe)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, firm but not cold (if using unsalted add 1/8 tsp salt)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, cold (I recommend using Philadelphia brand in this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, with an electric hand mixer on medium speed, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time stirring after each addition. (Now stand back and change out of any nice shirt you have on and) Add red food coloring and vanilla extract and mix until combine. In a small mixing bowl (or in the measuring cup you used to measure milk), combine milk and 1 tsp vinegar. Add milk mixture and flour mixture to cupcake mixture, alternating in two separate batches, mixing until combine after each addition. Divide batter evenly among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven 18-21 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 2 minutes in muffin tin, then transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container to cool completely (this just helps them retain more moisture). Once cooled completely, spread generously with Cream Cheese Frosting (just as sprinkles does, lots of frosting!).
  • 9635 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
  • Phone:(310) 274-8765

You’re welcome!

Interiors + Architectural Design           

There’s an abundance of inspiration in art, design and architecture to be found in and around Palm Springs.chris1I’m always on the lookout for something unique and I found it when I stopped into Christopher Kennedy’s incredible interior design store/studio.

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Christopher Kennedy is a nationally-published interior designer and modern furniture designer based in Palm Springs, California. He was just named Best Interior Designer by Desert Outlook Magazine.

His book: California Modern

His book (as in he wrote it): California Modern

Born in San Francisco and raised on California’s Central Coast, he brings a synthesis of big-city style and relaxed resort living to his work. He combines vintage and contemporary sensibilities to create spaces that are layered, liveable, and inviting. Neither trapped by tradition nor tied to trends, the hallmarks of Christopher’s style is easy elegance and casual sophistication.

His current projects include beach houses in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Malibu; lofts in New York; and numerous desert projects in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta. Known for his unique brand of luxurious modernism, his work has been featured in Luxe, Dwell, Palm Springs Life Magazine, California chris6Homes, and The Los Angeles Times.chris2

Hockney Swimmer Original

Hockney Swimmer Signed Original

chris8

Photos: d. king

Source: taken from website – christopherkennedy.com

Ginger/Mango Candle

Ginger/Mango Candle

chris3achris16

Manifesto

We believe that design is powerful and transformative.
We believe in wiping the slate clean from time to time and the power of a fresh coat of white paint.
We believe in hand-written thank you notes and old-fashioned telephone calls.
We believe that there is a place for books in our homes and in our lives.
We believe that food tastes better and is more nourishing when the table is set.
We believe in the importance of travel — of the opportunities it presents for learning, growth, and discovery. We also believe in the joy of returning home, after a long day at work or a long journey abroad.

I believe in ALL of the above

Address: 590 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs    Phone: 760.325.3214

Health and Happiness

I’m so happy to be reporting again about happiness and health going hand in hand.  It’s really everything you need to live a good life.  And it’s always timely because…health2

Good health and happiness: to achieve one, you need the other, but bumps along the journey can get in the way of our goals.

“Without good health it’s hard to be happy,” says Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association.  “Focusing on a few key pillars can make all the difference.”

Understanding your nutritional needs is for everyone to consider, not only Canadians.

Ideally, we’d all be eating balanced meals rich with nutritious, organic foods.  Reality is, many people often eat convenience foods because of their busy lives or treat “cheat days” too kindly.  As a result, they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

Most of us don’t consume enough minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium, and fail to get enough vitamin D and fibre in their diets.

Strengthen your immune system

Getting sick is the worst.  Sickness motivates an entire pathway inside our bodies that can lead to something called “sickness behaviour.”  This can lead to confusion, lethargy, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression, the result of our immune system cells releasing tiny chemicals, called cytokines, which impact the way our brain sends signals and can slow us down and depress our mood.  Keeping our immune system in good working order can help to reduce the severity and duration of illness.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as taking a good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Keep Stress at Bay

Stress increases our need for nutrients.  Heightened stress increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein, which rely on Vitamin C and B to be broken down, meaning you use up your store of these nutrients more quickly.  Finding time to eat a healthy, balance diet when you’re stressed can often be difficult.  When dealing with stress, it’s important to ensure your body’s mineral needs are met.  High stress levels deplete the magnesium in the body, which can result in a “downward spiral” in one’s ability to cope with stress.  Mineral supplementation, including magnesium and zinc, may improve psychological measures of anxiety or stress.

Here are a few other foods you may want to consider to improve your immune health:

Nuts: Include nuts in your diet, which provide you with a perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Cashews and pecans in particular are some of the higher nut-based zinc sources, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is rich in vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and antioxidant enzymes. It’s also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check.

Garlic: This member of the allium family has been shown to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity.

Probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus probiotics in particular have been shown to improve the immune systems of both our gut and our entire body.

Mushrooms: Reishi mushroom extracts contain bioactive compounds called “lectins” that increase the activity of our white blood cells.

And Mindfulness is of growing importance:health3

A nasty unexpected virus attacked me while traveling which was of major concern.  I don’t know where it came from and don’t remember ever having taken antibiotics before but I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of it, or discontinue the trip and go back home. I felt like the worse version of myself. Anyway, the reality is that while it took at least one week to clear up and feel almost back to normal, the worst part lasted for only two days. Not bad considering.  I can only attribute it to an overall healthier way of living.  Granted I did get sick in the first place but I guess it could have lasted a lot longer. I suppose you can call it being more mindful in general. So I’m right on trend.

A growing trend to de-stress is practicing mindfulness. There’s research connecting the benefits of stress reduction through practicing mindfulness with the health of our immune system. Practicing mindfulness has a number of positive impacts on the immune system, including reducing inflammation markers and stress hormones, and has also been shown to increase some immune cells and improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can actually help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the flu or common cold. Some aspects of mindfulness can be simple to include in your everyday routine, such as paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practicing mindful meditation.healthy1

I like this quote:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Source: Canadian Health Food Association

in my core…

Quoting President Obama – “I think everything is going to be okay”feelgoodfriday1

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. – quotes by Barack Obama

Let’s stay positive that it will ALL WORK OUT!

She's way too tall for me!

My date at Tropicale was way too tall for me!

 

 

beauty: TIDAL

THE FIRST WINTER LAYER

tidal2

Among my Winter Box of Style findings was a full size Sunday Riley Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.  I’ve been curious about trying this product but thought I don’t really need it,  I already have my skincare routine.  But after having been complexionally (yes, it’s a word I created) & seasonally skin stressed with having to take antibiotics and now being in dry desert air, it has become my morning skin savior to pack major moisture before adding sunscreen.

That’s why I’m putting it in my beauty post.

Apparently it’s also a solution for dark spots, dryness, fine lines and wrinkes. But personally it’s for sucking in more moisture.

If you want to know more…
Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream delivers an intense water drench with two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract, creating visibly hydrated and plumped skin. Papaya enzymes smooth and exfoliate while alpha-arbutin and giant white bird of paradise extracts work to diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation and illuminate the complexion.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

“I was inspired by the skin-plumping power of water creams, but I wanted to make something special. I formulated Tidal to be a brightening treatment, infused into a water cream for a cutting-edge answer to both alternative signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation. The quest for the ultimate, all-skin-types moisturizer was born. Papaya enzymes smooth the skin and gently exfoliate for immediate improvement in texture.”—Sunday Rileytidal3

Other than the price of $65, this product is cruelty-free

I guess that’s all you really need to know.   You can buy it at Sephora.