Monday, May 30, 2016

Curtains Wide Open

By chance a few months ago, we fell asleep with the curtains open to the west facing window in our bedroom. Since it was winter, the light just seemed to naturally drape itself into our space, waking me in the most pleasant way. A few days turned into a few weeks and now it's been months since we've closed the curtains. My daily alarm is sunlight, even with the earlier sunrise times, I've stayed true to how it makes me feel. 

Some mornings there's a pink sunrise reflecting off the mountains, some mornings it's grey and overcast, some mornings there is a full moon just hanging about to dip behind the Rockies, some mornings there is snow falling from the sky even though the calendar says May. But it's every morning I feel grateful I have a little slice of nature gracing me before I begin my day. 

I started taking photos in the morning, crappy photos but they make me smile 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What's Tasting Best Right Now? Rhubarb!

When I check the calendar, my mind instantly runs to all things Spring. Bulbs blooming, asparagus, rhubarb, mud on the trails. Looking out my window tells a much different story! Snow is in the forecast through the weekend bringing us right into May. Oh Colorado, your weather never bores me.

While sunshine filled 70 degree days leave us wanting to be outside all day long, I have a feeling this weekend we'll be inside baking, crafting, and laying low. I picked up some rhubarb at Whole Foods Market and I think a pie is in order. See the recipe below or by clicking here to create a shopping list!


Ingredients: 
  • Orange Pie Pastry
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, more for rolling out the dough 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • Grated zest from 2 organic oranges, reserve 1 teaspoon 
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, diced and chilled 
  • 1 organic orange, juiced, about 5 tablespoons, more if needed 
  • 2 tablespoons milk 

  • Rhubarb Filling
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour 
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest leftover from pastry 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices (about 4 cups) 
Method: 
First, make the pie pastry. Set aside 1 teaspoon of the grated orange zest for use in the filling. Place flour, salt and remaining orange zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to combine, or combine by hand in a large bowl. Add butter and pulse until the butter and flour are combined and the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Alternatively, cut butter into flour using two table knives. Add orange juice and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. If dough is dry, add another tablespoon or two of juice or water. Remove dough from processor and gather dough into a flattened disc. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Make filling by whisking sugar, flour, zest, orange juice, nutmeg and eggs together until blended completely. Fold in rhubarb and set aside.

Remove pastry from the refrigerator. Divide dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough and use it to line a 9-inch pie plate. Arrange the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon rhubarb filling into pie shell. Roll out the second half of the dough. Cut into 12 (3/4-inch-wide) strips and form a lattice top over the filling by arranging six of the strips across the top of the pie, spacing them evenly apart. Weave remaining strips through the original strips in the opposite direction. Press strips to edge to seal. Crimp or flute the edges. Brush crust gently with milk. 

Bake pie for 50 to 60 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, rhubarb juices are bubbling and pie filling is lightly browned and set. If crust browns too quickly, cover the edge with foil. Let cool completely before cutting. 
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: About 1/8 pie440 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 9gsaturated fat, 115mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 67g carbohydrates, (2 g dietary fiber, 37gsugar), 7g protein.

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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post. Content is purely at my discretion. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Whole Foods Market Beauty Bag Release Day!

After I gave up my monthly subscription service with a beauty bag company, I fell in love with the Beauty Bag Whole Foods Market has been releasing as an alternative. I found many of the more commercial brand subscriptions filled the bags with products that just didn't agree with my personal philosophies on skincare or my skin itself (lots of harsh ingredients). But I no longer feel left out thanks to Whole Foods Market.

The limited edition beauty bag comes out today, March 18 for $15 while supplies last. It's an $80 value and an amazing deal, a great opportunity to try out products without having to buy a full sized product to see if you like them.



The bag contains:
·         Dr. Hauschka® Soothing Cleansing Milk .34 oz
·         Derma e® Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask .5 oz
·         Acure Pore Minimizing Facial Scrub 1 oz
·         Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +  ml
·         MyChelle® Perfect C Serum .17 oz
·         Burt’s Bees® Sunset Cruise Lip Stick .12 oz
·         Weleda Skin Food .34 oz

I must admit the RijiGreen bag which all the products come in is one of my favorite things, I carry them in my purse and use them year round. The company is dedicated to ending poverty and slavery, the bags are made by survivors of human trafficking.

To top off the excitement of the beauty bag, if you fall for a product, all facial care is on sale 25% March 18-20 and it's beauty week, where you'll find sales through out the entire Whole Body department.


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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post. Content is purely at my discretion. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oscar Party Nosh

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony honoring the best of Hollywood of 2015 airs on Sunday, February 28! My favorite display of Hollywood grandeur is always the Oscars, there's no topping it. When I gather with a group of friends, I like to make my day as easy as possible so I can fully enjoy the show. Here are some tips from Whole Foods Market to create a fun evening without breaking the budget:

Create a display like a craft service pro! Small plates and appetizers, finger foods like Sriracha chicken wontons or premade meatballs (look for Nature's Rancher). I like to offer lots of protein to balance out the other fun treats on the table. I love the ease of creating a charcuterie plate and it always looks so lovely.


Keep them entertained! I love the idea of having a blind wine tasting.  Simply choose 3 varietals from Criterions roster to serve as the standard, and pair it against a popular bottle of the same variety (for a total of 6 bottles). Cover them both with paper bags and have guests compare. For extra points, create an awards ballot of your own to choose a winning wine.

Switch it up with citrus! Citrus is in season right now, so grab a bag of clementines to create a centerpiece and also allow for your guests to snack on them, a double duty centerpiece and treat! Have lemon and lime wedges cut and ready to go for water to create a more festive feeling to your entertaining. 

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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post. Content is purely at my discretion. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Whole Foods Market's Healthy Trends For 2016

Whole Foods Market has identified Healthy Trends for 2016 which ranges from exploring seasonal produce (think of all the varieties of apples or even sweet potatoes), biodynamic farming which is a holistic approach to organic farming, plant based desserts and unexpected foods, like yogurt! Meat trends including antibiotic free animal farming which WFM has championed since the 80's, meat with less processing and additives, and higher protein snack bars that incorporate animal protein into them (I am a huge EPIC bar fan).

My favorite trend that Whole Foods named for 2016 is the culture craze, fermented foods and probiotics! We love probiotics in our house and look for alternative ways to keep them on our plate without the default yogurt. Having a few local companies that produce cultured foods such as sauerkraut and beets make my job much easier. Remember they are living foods, so be sure to keep them refrigerated! If you haven't tried them yet, I highly recommend them. Just look at the beautiful variety below:


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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content including photos is purely at my discretion. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Joy of December 26th

A pattern has officially developed during the year's end and the start of the new year. Everything ramps up to Christmas, a flurry of overbooked activity to accompany my general grumpiness, and then come December 26th the dust settles and zen sets in. It's in the zen I find us submersed in family time, home cooked meals and baking constantly coming from our kitchen, board games earning their rotation, and extra time spent at home just hanging out. For me, I start reading voraciously, having completed a 454 page book in a day, pulling out my sketchbook, mending some items, deep cleaning, and being inspired. I also wanted to pull out my knitting bin and see what project I can whip up. I want to keep on taking to the trails even in the cold wind and snow, considering it's not going to be tank top weather for months. The last week of break has become one of my favorite weeks of the year. I've been thinking of ways to draw out my renewed sense of self because I really don't want it to end. So this post is my little commitment to keep it going, to not let the hustle and bustle of ballet rehearsal, gymnastics, orchestra, work, and school gobble up what feeds me and makes me content. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh...

We are recovering from the whirlwind that is known as The Nutcracker. Both girls were cast in this year's performance (yeah, throw confetti), but with that comes some give and take. Every year I have this romantic notion of securing a Forest Service Permit to go hike into the woods and chop down a tree. I imagine us taking hours to find the most lovely imperfect tree to grace our house.

But the reality is, we were picking up dinner at our neighborhood Whole Foods Market, and boom there were trees. The girls had ballet buns in their hair and leotards under their down jackets, when we said, sure pick one out! Squees followed when we said yes. Before we knew it, we had chosen a Nordman Fir and up on our car it went! This year, I've decided after we get the lights put on, the girls will carry on the tradition of placing the ornaments. Win, win.

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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content including photos is purely at my discretion. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Place I Live

There is snow on the ground and a blustery wind fills the air. The weather change seems sudden and hard, but I know a few days of sunshine will be warming things up (or so I keep telling myself). The wintery conditions don't bother me. I am well equipped with warm base layers, scarves, wool sweaters, fleece lined hats, knee high socks, and the appropriate climate to be rocking Ugg boots. Because somedays on my drive to work (I see this, below) and feel so fortunate I live in such a beautiful place.


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and that concludes 30 days of NaBloPoMo, thank you for joining me and allowing me to fill up your inbox this month. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Don't Buy Magazines

I no longer buy magazines. Wait, wait, wait, it's probably more realistic to claim I rarely buy magazines. On a road trip, I adore thumbing through the glossy pages with short articles to keep my attention. While waiting in line at the market I'll pick up a magazine and peruse it, but I never follow through with the purchase. Magazines are instant and disposable entertainment so in a way they don't really fit with my lifestyle. 

But then this happened…


…and yes I bought it and will cherish looking at it for years to come. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Finally, The Nutcracker Performance!

Finally our moment arrived to be an audience member for the Nutcracker performance. No more peeks at dress rehearsal, this was the real deal. There were 4 shows this weekend and I just couldn't wait to be seated, listening to the Boulder Philharmonic live, and witnessing the payoff of the countless hours of hard work the dancers have put into the production. Sitting there in Macky Auditorium, I was filled with a profound joy. A joy where your eyes well with tears and your cheeks hurt from smiling so much. After the show, all I could do was wrap my arms around my dancers and look them in the eyes and tell them how proud they made me. What a gift.



Friday, November 27, 2015

Holiday Time Savers


On Wednesday afternoon we realized we needed to start making the pies, as making them on Thursday just wasn't realistic (mainly due to oven space). All of us were feeling lackadaisical about making the crust, so we decided to pop by Whole Foods Market and pick up our favorite ready-to-bake pie crust. What a savior, we still made the filling from scratch for our chocolate cream and pumpkin pies, but the ready made crust worked perfectly! The crust is so good it made us realize that sometimes time savers are the way to go.

Here are some other holiday time savers from Whole Foods Market:

· Mirepoix & Pre-Cut Squash and Garlic – Mirepoix is the perfect “grab and go” item for your Crock Pot. And pre-cut squash and garlic will save you precious minuets of prep time in the kitchen

· Stuffing Bags – made-in-house stuffing bags from our bakery give you the taste of homemade stuffing without the time commitment.

· Frozen Rice in a Bag – makes rice cooking easy and worry-free, especially if you don’t have a rice cooker

· Frozen Rolls – fresh from the bakery department and frozen, so you can break these out and throw them in the oven when the dinner menu calls for rolls!

· Stuffed Cornish Game Hens – not only is all the work already done for you, but these hens are a wonderful alternative to turkey or ham for your holiday table

· Pre-made Appetizers – a wide variety of appetizers that are already plated and ready to serve can make attending a party while bringing something to share both easy and delicious

· Cocktail Shrimp Platters – again, ready to serve and be enjoyed!

Mmm…pie
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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content including photos is purely at my discretion. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Plentiful

Thanksgiving Day is definitely my favorite holiday, a day in the kitchen, surrounded by family and friends. My parents are in town, so the kitchen tasks were split out between the adults with help from the girls. The day seemed to be remarkably mellow and the food was plentiful. I think the cold and snow added to the feeling of the day, it just seemed perfect to be lounging around and celebrating the day off from ballet.


J basting the glorious bird! 



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Garnet Hill Inspired Bargain Sweater

Whenever the Garnet Hill catalog arrives in my mailbox, its glossy cover is met with both delight and disappointment. Delight for all the lovely items they carry and disappointment that I cannot order everything my heart desires. Of course with the change of weather, comes my deliberate combing over of their sweaters. Garnet Hill is most known for their cashmere and it's dreamy. I found a sweater I really wanted, a cashmere cape priced at $198. There's a 25% off sale right now, so I did the math and $148.50 did not sound as ridiculous at $198, but still I couldn't justify it (maybe for my birthday). The catalog sat for at least a week and a half open to the sweater page, so I could longingly stare at it daily. Here it is:


Now, for the exciting part…

Today I was out shopping with my girls and mom. I wasn't even on the look out for a sweater, but a camel colored turtleneck sweater caught my eye on a round of brightly colored sweaters. I picked it up and gasped! It totally reminded me of the Garnet Hill cape. Now, the sweater was not cashmere (boo), but it was $19.99. I immediately slipped it on and fell for it. And with a savings of $178, there is no way I could pass it up. It came home with me and I haven't taken it off yet.


ps….I need better lighting to compete with that gorgeous Garnet Hill model.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nutcracker, Oh Nutcracker

We are deep in the throws of being a Nutcracker family, both girls were cast this year which means it's a complete team effort. Drop off, pick ups, changing rehearsal times, make up, sewing new elastic into ballet shoes, is it the performance space, studio, or auditorium, and let's not forget the bobby pins for one low bun and one high bun. The bobby pins seem to be found in the most random places and never where we need them when it's go time! The girls have been amazing through this and I have bitten my tongue on many occasions trying to keep it all together. I dare not complain, as we chose this and I feel so fortunate to have both girls performing. I've watched them grow as dancers and love the bonding between my girls and their fellow dancers that has occur over the past couple of months. The question is, will I encourage them to try out next year? My answer will always remain the same, I will support them through whatever they want to pursue!