Thursday, December 31, 2009
Every southerner knows Black-Eyed Peas bring you good luck for the New Year, so here's a great recipe to share at Midnight tonight . . . Happy New Year Peas!
Rinse, soak, and cook 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas in 3 cups water, following directions on the package. Drain and reserve half the cooking liquid. In a skillet over medium heat, brown 1 lb. your favorite sausage, 1 small chopped onion; drain off excess fat. Place peas in 3-qt. casserole; add sausage and onion. Stir in reserve liquid, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup barbecue sauce. Bake at 300-degrees uncovered for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Toast with your favorite beverage and consume at midnight.
A lucky new year awaits you in 2010.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
EAT like your life depended on it ('cause it does!)
Michael Pollan (author of The Ominvore's Dilemma) is out with a new book, FOOD RULES An Eater's Manual. It's chock full of smart, life saving food rules to take to the market. Here's a few:
1. Don't buy anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2. Don't buy anything that lists sugar in its first three ingredients.
3. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay away from the middle.
4. If it came from a plant, buy it. If it was made in a plant, pass it by.
5. If it says lite, low-fat, or non-fat on the package, put it down.
6. Foods making health claims on the package are not foods you want to buy.
7. Avoid food that is advertised on television.
8. Get out of the supermarket. Look to farmer's markets.
Smart tips on choosing and eating food that's really food . . . healthy for our bodies and our families. If you haven't read any of Michael Pollan's books, it will change the way you shop, the way you live.
Good life style resolution for the new year . . . eat well, live well. Enjoy.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
There's nothing like a REAL Christmas tree ! ! ! And if you chose to enjoy a real tree this holiday season, here's a friendly reminder to help you recycle it naturally. (After all, it came from the earth, so it's your job to return it to the earth.)
Lots of natural ways to recycle your tree (just don't forget to remove all the ornaments and tinsel):
o Find a spot in your yard to offer cover for wildlife, or lay it under a bird feeder for nesting or perching. Then remove it in Spring.
o Sink it in a pond to enhance fish habitat. (If it's not your pond, get permission first.)
o Take it to your local recycling center (check http://www.recyclesaintlouis.com/ for composting and shredding locations. Some municipalities will pick up your tree for FREE. In Kirkwood, trees are picked up free at your front curb during January.
Thank you for recycling your holiday tree.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Been down to the City Garden sculpture park lately?
It's worth a trip downtown . . . even in the winter . . . even at night . . . ESPECIALLY at night!
Yeah, the flowers aren't in bloom, and some of the fountains are off, but the programmed light shows are worth a stroll.
Look for the City Garden this holiday season . . . on Market, east of 10th Street.
Maybe if it snows . . .
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Now you can keep the holiday spirit alive by planting and giving SEEDS OF HAPPINESS.
Kirkwood resident and artist, Mark Borella, creates Seeds of Happiness, and they're spreading all over the globe. With little leftover lumps of clay from his ceramic work, Mark started turning them into little smiles to give out to friends who were going through hard times and needed a little smile.
Now you can order Seeds of Happines directly from Mark (http://www.myseedsofhappiness.com/) and give smiles and happiness to those you know, even past the holiday season. Little seeds, big seeds, even shirts and caps. What a simple, happy idea.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Kids make Christmas great!
Got to spend Christmas morning with "my girls" and it reminded me what the holidays are all about. Family! Annie (in from Boulder, Colorado, and starting her own catering business), and Maggie (soon to be a mommy.) Wow. They grow up fast.
Yikes, that means I'm about to be a grandpa! (I bet I'll be a good one.)
Thanks girls for making my Christmas happy.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
One more reason to love coffee . . .
You can fight diabetes with lots of espresso! So says a recent study from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Archives of Internal Medicine. (New York Times, 12/22/09)
According to the study, coffee and tea drinkers are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than nondrinkers, with those drinking 3 to 4 cups a day at a 25 percent lower risk. And it doesn't matter whether the drinks are caffeinated or not. And those drinking more than 6 cups of coffee a day were at a 40 percent lower risk for diabetes than nondrinkers. (Yikes, that's some buzz.)
Caffeine or not, coffee seems to have some health benefits. CHEERS!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
A lesson from Hearts of Palm: Sustainable agriculture is all about crop production in balance with nature -- growing and taking, but restoring and giving back. CASE IN POINT: The acai palm grows in South America (principally the Amazon river basin in Brazil and Colombia.) From this wild jungle palm is harvested "hearts of palm", which we see in salads, and cans on grocers shelves. To harvest this delicacy (approximately a 14" core near the top of the tree) the entire plant is cut down, and spent. But this tree also produces the nutritious acai berry, which is a staple of the Brazilian diet . . . and recently discovered to be very high in anti-oxidants. Acai berries are now juiced and freeze-dried, and shipped round the world as an energy and vitamin supplement. Most importantly, these berries can be harvested from the same acai palm several times a year, and represent a profitable, sustainable agricultural product for the local indian population. Now the acai palm can live on as a productive part of the Amazon jungle, with little waste and a healthier, longer contribution to the natives . . . the consumer . . . and the planet earth. So be good to the planet -- our salads can survive without Hearts of Palm.
JUST SAY NO.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Pine cones make great holiday decorations . . . and are a great excuse to get out, go for a brisk walk in area parks and conservation areas, and collect your own FOR FREE. Whether you add them to wreaths, centerpieces or just a bowl of cones on a side table, they make a natural decoration that says Happy Holidays.
Under pines and evergreens throughout Missouri, pine cones are easy to find and collect at this time of the year.
It's illegal to collect in national parks, but no problem in city, county and state parks. A great spot to hike and hunt is the Powder Valley Conservation Area (Geyer, near Watson at I-44). Bundle up and enjoy their 3-mile trail through the wooded hillsides. Enjoy the outdoors this holiday season.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Great fun last night at 3rd Degree Glass Factory . . . River Rats performed, glass was being blown, opening reception of Bogota photo exhibit (on display through mid-January), delicious Italian comfort food by Designing Chefs . . . lots of fun people and great art all around. Thanks to all who attended. 3rd Friday Open Houses rock!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tonight's the night. Come join the FIRE, PHOTOS, MUSIC & FUN at the Third Friday Open House tonight, 6:00 - 10:00 pm, at Third Degreee Glass Factory. And it's free! But there's lots of great holiday gift ideas for sale -- a fabulous selection of newly blown glass (great prices), my new book "A Year In Bogota" (special reception discount price, signed copies), gallery opening of my new Bogota photo exhibit (for sale, too), plus the great music of the River Rats (Missouri blue grass and country) from 8:00 - 10:00. And oh yeah . . . the singer and fiddle player just happens to be my daughter, Maggie. Designing Chefs are serving Italian comfort food throughout the night. (Make your reservations online, ThirdDegreeGlassFactory.com.)
Watch glass being blown, or create some of your own.
A fun night of Fire...Glass...Art...Music...and holiday cheer. See you there.
3rd Friday at 3rd Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar, just west of Kingshighway.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Come to the Third Friday Open House Friday evening (12/18) @ Third Degree Glass Factory for a free evening of entertainment . . . the opening of my new photography exhibit "A Year In Bogota", including sale and signing of my "A Year In Bogota" photo book (special reduced price for gallery opening, tomorrow only) . . . live music (8-10 pm), Missouri's own River Rats, foot stompin' blue grass and country music . . . plus fire side dining by Desiging Chefs, with cash bar . . plus live demonstrations of glass blowing all evening. And you can get in on the act. Great photography, book signing, fire, glass, art, music, lots of Christmas shopping ideas. See you there! (5200 Delmar Boulevard, safe lighted parking lot.) Reception opens at 6:00 pm.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Take the old Missouri Pacific railway, between Kirkwood and Grant's Farm, grade and pave it, install road crossings and traffic lights, extend it 8-miles through scenic South County neighborhoods, from a Kirkwood parking area all the way to Clydesdale Park . . . and you've got a first class "rail trail" to bike ride, run or walk. And there's a brand new paint job on the Grant's Trail overpass (just east of Big Bend over Interstate 44). Thank you St. Louis County Parks.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Ripe coffee berries, ready for picking -- shot on recent assignment in Huila, Colombia. Some of the very best coffee comes from this famous coffee region . . . small farms, shade grown slopes, hand picked. These red "cherries" are washed, then the soft pulp removed revealing 2 seeds (beans) which are dried, bagged and shipped . . . and finally roasted for fine Colombian origin coffees.
Some of this coffee cherry pulp is now dried and processed as a health food supplement, and sold as a powerful anti-oxidant (8X more anti-oxidant gram-for-gram than blueberries.) Yes, your morning coffee has newly discovered health benefits. Cheers!
Monday, December 14, 2009
The beautiful Christmas flower, Poinsettia, has a bad rap. Some don't bring them home, around children or pets, because of a long standing fear that POINSETTIAS ARE POISONOUS. This is simply not true! Finally someone has put his flower where his mouth is . . . .
The noted gardener, P. Allen Smith, has set the record straight on national TV, eating all parts of the plant, on live television . . . removing any doubts about the plant's toxicity . . . consuming proof that the red leaves, the green leaves, the small center flowers, if digested, are completely harmless. And should the family cat or dog devour an entire plant or more, the worse for their system is a mild upset stomach. It's safe for the household to enjoy Poinsettias this holiday season (December 12 was National Poinsettia Day!). They come in pink, salmon, white and of course red, and hold their color for 2 months or more.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Pomegranates -- a festive, seasonal, healthy treat! Pomegranates are readily available during the holidays, and are now more popular than ever -- due to their recent notariety as being super rich in anti-oxidants. Here's a fun idea for your sparkling party beverages (be it champagne, sparkling apple juice or just club soda). Break open a fresh pomegranate, rinse off the "arils" (juicy seeds) and drop some in your beverage flute glass. As carbonation grabs on, each seed will pop to the surface, sink and rise again . . . bobbing up and down as they're eaten one by one. A sweet and tangy holiday treat.