Thursday, May 4, 2017

Swell of Creativity

The swell of creativity has been consuming me at night. I've been drawing with pastels, messy, dusty, color stuck under my fingernails, pastels. My process isn't about the final product, it's actually all about the release, the expression. I've been throwing away the piece after it feels fully worked through. On a whim I took some snapshots of the last piece I created and I love them. I love seeing the texture and the interplay of lines that comes through in the photos. Enjoy...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pica's Mexican Taqueria in Louisville, A Lovely Addition to Downtown!

Pica's Mexican Taqueria in Boulder has been a staple lunch go-to for me since it's opening in 2010. It's nestled just between my husband's office and mine, so monthly I get the want to escape to Pica's text. We've definitely honed in on our menu favorites, one being the tostada that comes with a heaping mound of lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes that always leaves me just properly satiated. I also love their soups, tortilla or posole. Pica's has that lovely freshly prepared vibe and the flavors are complex, but well rounded which is my kind of Mexican.

tostada + chicken 

When I was invited to bring my family into the new Louisville location to enjoy a dinner, I jumped at the opportunity. We were thrilled to hear Pica's had expanded and knew it would be a perfect addition to the restaurant scene in downtown. Having the opportunity to experience the dinner menu, which is different than the Boulder location, I decided to branch out from my usual order. I went with the Chiles Rellenos which is a Platos Especiales. For me rellenos are always a staple order to really measure the Mexican food experience from place to place. The batter was just crisp enough and the cheese inside the chile was just perfectly melted when my fork cut into it. I definitely was happy to have branched out!

Chiles Rellenos 

We also enjoyed in house freshly made chips and guacamole, a lovely margarita, the girls had their favorites, a chicken burrito (kids meal) and a chicken quesadilla. Beyond the food, Pica's offers fast and friendly counter service which I appreciate when dining out with my family. I feel it's important to mention, they also have a really lovely and well appointed dining space, the attention to detail definitely sets it apart from other counter service Mexican restaurants.

Thanks so much Pica's for having us in. 
(Art by one of my local favorites Kristin FitzGerrell)

All content is at my discretion, we were graciously invited to come check out the new location on behalf of Pica's! 

Expand Your Cheese Palate

One of the highlights of working with Whole Foods Market the past few years is being introduced to artisanal cheesemakers. The world of cheese is so expansive, I think it's easy to default to favorites as well as not really know where to begin to explore new cheeses! Don't be shy when shopping at your local Whole Foods Market, their cheesemongers are some of the most talented in the country, they are a wealth of knowledge and will lead your palate in the right direction. Plus, they are very generous about sampling before purchasing. 

February seems to provide ample opportunity to have friends over for a social gathering and there really is no simpler way to delight your guests, than with a lovely charcuterie board. We recently picked up some Satori cheese from Whole Foods, a Merlot and a Balsamic BellaVitano. Oh my were they lovely and the first to disappear from the board. Sartori is a family-owned fourth-generation artisanal cheesemaker from Plymouth, Wisconsin. Each of the varieties below are based off of their BellaVitano Gold, a creamy, nutty, Parmesan-inspired Italian farmstead cheese.
  • Rum Runner - A Whole Foods Market Exclusive!
    • Buttery and slightly sweet, soaked in locally made rum.
    • Pairs with: Dark beers, smoked meats, and red grape
  • Merlot BellaVitano
    • Berry and plum notes!
    • Pairs with: Crusty bread, dried fruit, and hoppy beer

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Art of Smoothie Making

Let me confess, I've made my fair share of smoothie flops. I once thought I could just wing it and throw what ever seemed like it would make a good smoothie into the blender and let it rip. Quite often my ratios of liquid to fruit were off and for every smoothie hit, there were a couple of flops I'd still have to choke down. Smoothie bowls have become a favorite afternoon snack to fuel up my girls before their dance and gymnastics classes. I tend to use juice or vanilla yogurt to sweeten smoothies and never rely on additional sweeteners such as honey or agave, I just prefer the sugars in the ingredients to create the right balance.

Now I rely on Whole Foods as a resource to help me make a well balanced smoothie, every time. With their smoothie nutrition calculator you can even get a sense of how your favorite homemade smoothie is doing in the nutrition department. Scroll to the bottom of the calculator page for smoothie recipe inspiration!

Two of my recent favorite recipes are the:

Sunrise Breakfast Smoothie (the girls love)

  • 1 small carrot, shredded 
  • 1 small banana, peeled 
  • 3/4 cup raspberries 
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almondmilk 
  • 1/2 medium orange, peeled and seeded 
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into two tall glasses and enjoy. 
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: about 1 cup170 calories (15 from fat), 2g total fat, 85mg sodium, 37g carbohydrates, (4 g dietary fiber, 14g sugar), 6gprotein.

Get Your Greens Smoothie  (so easy to whip up!)

  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almondmilk, soymilk, ricemilk or hempmilk 
  • 1 1/2 cup packed baby spinach 
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen cherries or berries
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. 
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: 110 calories (20 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 160mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, (4 g dietary fiber, 14g sugar), 3g protein.

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

Plotting My Path

Knowing this blog is still here fills me with a warmth, even if I don't honor the platform in the way I once did. The majority of my favorite blogs have shuttered in the past couple of years. I miss the way bloggers put words together, the way they offered glimpses into everyday life, and how we felt so connected. Social media has not replaced the longing I have for opening up Reader and spending my late night alone time reading blog posts. Feedly is just okay and I subscribe to about 12 blogs that still update weekly. Weep, 12. 

But back to my warmth...

I'm plotting my path on how I'd like to offer glimpses into some real change I've experienced in the past few months. It feels important to process through this medium, to set my words free, to connect with others with an openness and vulnerability. As for now, my journal pages have been receiving much love and attention.  

Stay tuned, for the stories shall unfold.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Be Prepared For A Spontaneous Gathering With Holiday Treats

Beyond calendar commitments, it always feels like someone special is in town or wanting to get together in a moment's notice with a drop by during the holiday season. The best way to be welcoming to potential guests is to be prepared! I love to have holiday treats sitting in my favorite holiday tin, so I can easily sway a friend to pop by when they ask if we are home.  It's also nice to mix up my favorite standbys with some unique offerings:

Mexican Tea Cookies (not only because I am a lover of all the tea) 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 3/4 cup Whole Trade™ powdered sugar, sifted, plus more for dredging 
  • 2 teaspoons Whole Trade™ vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup very finely ground pecans or almonds 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Cream together butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, flour, pecans and salt. Blend well. Gather dough into a ball, press into a flat disc, wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Scoop and roll dough into small teaspoon-sized balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake 8-10 minutes until barely golden. Remove, let sit for 1 minute then gently dredge cookies in sifted powdered sugar. Cool completely and recoat with powdered sugar. 
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: 2 cookies150 calories (100 from fat), 11g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium, 12g carbohydrates, (1 g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 2g protein.

  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 (8-ounce) log Wellspring™ Creamery® Cranberry Orange Goat Cheese 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic 100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 
  • 24 fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter and goat cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg until well combined, and then beat in flour.  

Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange 2 inches apart on a large, parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Use a fork dipped in water to flatten each cookie. Press a cranberry into the top of each.  

Bake until just firm and deep golden brown on the bottoms, about 15 minutes. (To make 4 dozen smaller cookies, use about 1 tablespoon dough for each, and bake 12 to 13 minutes.) 
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: 1 cookie130 calories (50 from fat), 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 25mgcholesterol, 20mg sodium, 19g carbohydrates, (1 g dietary fiber, 10g sugar), 3g protein.

Looking for more suggestions or a place to share you holiday traditions? Check out #MyHolidayTradish

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Keeping Up A Beauty Routine Without Sacrificing Values

Is it possible to align with your personal values while staying true to your makeup rituals? I believe it is. There are cosmetic companies helping us achieve those simple goals, makeup with out all the added chemicals. The truth is, we don't know what impact cosmetic additives have on our body, so why not avoid the impact if at all possible? I believe we can lessen the impact with mineral based cosmetic products. Mineral Fusion is one of the companies leading the way, it was founded in Denver in 2007.

Mineral Fusion's Mission:

Our goal is to leave skin and hair in better condition than we found it. This includes selecting effective natural ingredients, as well as making our products free of gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, SLS, and phthalates. We NEVER conduct animal testing, and never will, nor do we ask others to do so. We are committed to sustainability and utilize wind power, soy inks, packaging from recycled materials and packaging that is recyclable.

I've been giving Mineral Fusion a try now for a month and I am super happy with the results. I haven't experienced any difference with Mineral Fusion from conventional cosmetic products, with the exception of how much better I feel when using them! Whole Foods Market carries a complete line of Mineral Fusion products, so you don't have to sacrifice a favorite product in your routine. Whole Foods Market is also carrying some holiday exclusives, I LOVE the Mineral Fusion sheer moisture lip tint, it's like putting butter on your lips. 

Here's a glimpse of some of the Mineral Fusion products found at Whole Foods Market:

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oh My Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +, You are Lovely!

We all seem to know the feeling of dread the next morning when half the night was spent awake with tossing and turning. For me, I was up from 1:30-4 am and thought for sure I should just throw in the towel and get up for the day. I did finally fall back to sleep for 2 more hours. I felt so discombobulated in the morning, that I instantly prepared myself for my coworkers and family to tell me how exhausted I looked. I took a hot shower, I had two cups of tea. I made sure to not skip a step hydrating my face, I went for eyeliner and mascara instead of my quick mascara touch up, I even put on lipstick before heading out to work.

What happened when I walked into the office was the exact opposite of what I anticipated. Not one, but two coworkers instantly complimented me on my skin and how radiant/glowing I looked. I told them, it must be the lipstick. They instantly quipped, no it's your skin! They inquired as to what I was  doing to my skin? I laughed. Not even a week ago I started using some new products by Trilogy, Whole Foods Market sent me to test out.  Could they already be having such a fabulous and noticeable impact on my skin? Why yes, they are. Funny enough a friend was in the office when I walked in the next day and she commented on my glow. I mean seriously, I don't ever think I've used skincare products that had such a quick and noticeable impact on my skin. 

My routine has been using the cleanser I normally use with my Clarisonic, followed by the hydrating mist toner, the rosehip oil antioxidant + (which is really liquid magic), and the ultra hydrating face cream (hello winter in Colorado). 

Trilogy: Simple Skin: cleanse, treat, moisturize.

A little about Trilogy, two sisters from New Zealand discovered the powerful benefits of using rosehip oil in their skin care routine, and then went on to develop an entire line of 40 products which are free of synthetic ingredients. Hooray! I believe it's so important to treat our skin the way we treat our bodies, with products made from ingredients found in nature. As for Whole Foods Market, all of their beauty products meet the strictest standards for quality sourcing, environmental impact, results and safety. For more information on these standards, as well as a list of 400 unacceptable body care ingredients visit the premium body care standards for the most up to date info!

Whole Foods Market is offering a Bare Faced Beauty holiday kit, so you can try out the rosehip oil antioxidant +, it also has a great bag, hydrating mist toner, and the make-up be gone cleansing balm. 

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Turkey 101: Organic, Heirloom, or Pasture Raised?

Every year Thanksgiving rolls around and in our home the only option is to serve a turkey, but does where you source your turkey from make a difference? Did you know there are a variety of non-conventional turkey options? We have always purchased our turkeys from Whole Foods Market, but this year in particular I looked into the type of turkeys they carry. Whole Foods Market carries Diestel turkeys in three varieties organic, heirloom, and pasture raised.

  • Organic: These turkeys were fed a diet of certified organic feed, and are also Non-GMO project verified. No antibiotics, growth stimulants, or hormones were used.
  • Heirloom: These birds are a mixture of Auburn, Black, and American bronze Turkeys. The meat is rich and flavorful, and they were fed certified organic grains. Heirloom turkeys also have more dark meat.
  • Pasture Raised: Raised on irrigated, green pastures, these birds are rotated in the fields with chickens, goats, sheep, and hogs using polyculture methods. Slow-grown, these birds eat foraged feed and vegetarian grains.
Related Links:

Share your love for holiday traditions with Whole Foods Market's and social media #myholidaytradish , to launch the site they are giving away a year's worth of free groceries! 

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Glimpse Into A Friday Evening

I'm not quite sure what came over me, maybe it was the weather or the slow approaching sun easing towards the mountains in the west. I asked my girl if she wanted to join me for a trail run. Of course she said yes, so we laced up and set out. 

I requested she not sprint the entire way, I gave her an out on the return to sprint from the wooden bridge back to the Cottonwood trees at the trailhead. She agreed and stayed pretty close to me as I made my way down the trail, occasionally she'd turn her head back to make sure I was still plodding along. I don't know if this will be a regular thing, but I do know it's a special place to share with my girl.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gasp, What To Do With All The Halloween Candy?!?

We are knee deep in the post Halloween sugar laden dilemma, what in the world do we do with all the candy? A listserv of local moms I belong to started the Halloween season with a list of candy companies that source their chocolate from child slave labor. Of course, I fixed up a batch of fresh popcorn to see what kind of ideas would roll of out from the group with what to do with all the demonic processed sugar our children spent hours gathering from strangers. There are local dentists that pay per pound and ship the candy off to the troops and the food bank isn't interested, so gasp it's almost like we are left to make decision completely on our own. OH MY, what to do with the candy? I pride myself on being non-traditional, but we allow our daughters to eat their Halloween candy. Yes, I said it, they consume their favorites by week 1 and then we combine both piles and slowly it just fades into the background. As it turns out, the candy doesn't turn into some big power struggle, it just loses it's excitement. Fascinating...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Confusing Negative Self Talk

Negative self talk, are you familiar? I have the ability to say things to myself that I wouldn't fathom ever saying aloud, which is definitely a special kind of negative self talk. One of the best ways for me to overcome negative self talk is to confuse it. A friend asked me to join a group on an urban night run and I said, YES. Now mind you, I didn't just say yes sign me up. I said you're organizing a night run and you thought of me, why? My reaction seemed quite normal because the negative self talk doesn't hesitate, it likes to be ready in a moment's notice. I would easily be the first to admit I'm not a runner in about 50 different ways sitting on the tip of my tongue, but I still said yes. The premise behind saying yes to this run was to shake up my patterns to self defeat, to self deflate.  If I raise the bar on the limitations I set on myself, how does that carry over into my everyday life?

The view from opening my door and stepping out of my comfort zone. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesdays In The Canyon

On Tuesdays, I've found myself in a canyon where I would hike daily years ago, like pre-kids years ago, like goofy black lab joining me on hikes years ago. Memories and roots were established in the dirt of these mountains. Rolling hills, sweeping vistas, craggy rocks, climb, descend, wind back around, my feet just follow the path. For a moment, I stopped to take in the clouds covering the sun with whispers of rays poking through. How spectacular is this I thought, like I've never been here hundreds of times before. What's old is new, the timeless adage rings true. The mountains hold me in a way I need, my breath fills me, and my heart knows I will be okay...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Diving In To NaBloPoMo

October has been high dive big for me, considering I was scared as shit of the high dive when I was a kid, high dive big is MAJOR. I've got scribbles in notebooks, unpublished drafts, and thoughts swirling around in my mind which means it's the perfect time for NaBloPoMo. Let's do this like a bikini bottom plunging off my non existent teen hips in 1989.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Our Colorado Tradition: Roasted Green Chile

In keeping up with Colorado tradition, right before the arrival of autumn, we cook up a huge batch of green chile. Green chiles can be found roasted at the farmer's market or right outside of Whole Foods throughout the peak of the season. The green chile becomes the showcase of many meals, either straight up with tortillas or the compliment to endless recipes. We always freeze a few quarts of chile so it can warm up many meals through out the winter.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the dish 
  • 1 (14-ounce) package chicken breakfast sausage 
  • 2 small bunches dark leafy greens (about 3/4 pound), such as kale, collards or spinach, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped 
  • 2 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk 
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 8 eggs 
  • 6 (7- to 8-inch) whole wheat tortillas 
  • 2 cups (about 1/2 pound) grated Monterey Jack cheese 
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced mild green chiles, or 2 to 4 fresh mild Hatch chiles, roasted*, peeled, seeded and chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and return the skillet to medium heat. Add greens, cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until just wilted, 4 to 6 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, salt and eggs. Oil a 9x13-inch casserole dish and cover the bottom with 2 tortillas. Top with 1/3 of the cheese and then scatter 1/2 of the greens, sausage and chiles over the top. Pour over 1/3 of the egg mixture and then repeat layering. Top with remaining 2 tortillas and cheese, and pour over remaining egg mixture. Press down firmly to submerge all of the ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover and bake until strata is puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 50 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes and then serve.
*To roast Hatch chile peppers, cook on the stovetop, under a broiler, or on a grill until charred and blistered all over. Place blackened peppers in a paper bag, close it up and let the peppers steam for about 10 minutes. Wearing gloves, scrape skins off and run chiles under cool water to remove the skins. Seed and chop chiles, then taste and determine heat level, adding more or less according to your taste.

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