Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Food Cravings...

Stir-Fried Sugar Snaps with Shiitake Mushrooms
IMAGE & RECIPE BY:  Grace Young

*You can substitute the shiitake mushrooms with sliced button or cremini mushrooms.*
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon chicken broth
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
8 medium fresh shiitake, stems removed and caps quartered (4 ounces)
8 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed  (2 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon salt

1. In a small bowl combine ¼ cup of the broth, rice wine, and soy sauce.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 tablespoons of the oil and add the ginger, and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the ginger is fragrant. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry 30 seconds or until they have absorbed all the oil. Swirl the broth mixture into the wok, cover, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until about only 1 tablespoon of broth remains. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the sugar snaps, sprinkle on the salt, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the sugar snaps are bright green. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon broth into the wok, and stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the sugar snaps are just crisp-tender. Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.

Food Cravings...

Baby Bok Choy with Yellow Bell Peppers.  
IMAGE & RECIPE BY: Simply Recipes

    * 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
    * 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
    * 2 large yellow bell peppers, stem and seed pod removed and discarded, sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
    * 4 green onions, chopped, including green parts that are not dried out
    * 1 lb baby bok choy, bottom root ball cut off and discarded, rinsed thoroughly, torn into smaller pieces

1 Heat a tablespoon each of grapeseed (or canola) oil and sesame oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the chopped yellow peppers and green onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. (Keep a watch so that the onions don't burn.)

2 Lower the heat and add the bok choy. Stir to coat with the oil in the pan. Cook only until the bok choy has wilted. The thicker, whiter ends of the baby bok choy should still be somewhat crunchy.

Serve immediately. Serves 4-6 as a side.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Food Cravings....

Stuffed Breakfast Tomatoes.  Healthy, yet tasty!  

Servings: 2 Ready in: 45 minutes

2 large ripe tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Shredded Parmesan, salt & pepper and fresh parsley for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a large circle into the top of each tomato. Remove core, stems and seeds, leaving the wall of the tomato intact. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Rub half of the mixture onto the inside wall of one tomato and the other half onto the inside wall of the other tomato.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Divide the mixture in half and place into the bottoms of the tomatoes. Divide spinach in half and place over top of the onion-garlic mixture. Divide the Parmesan cheese in half and place over the spinach. Crack a raw egg into each tomato as the top layer.
3. Place tomatoes on a greased baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until egg is cooked through. Top with shredded Parmesan and fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bubble Recipe

Bubble Recipe
Ever wonder why some bubbles are thicker, bouncier and more amazing than the rest? It isn’t a secret; it’s science! Check out Science World's bubble recipes.

All-Purpose Bubble Solution

This solution is great for most bubble tricks, activities, and experiments.
  • 1 part water to 1 part Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
  • glycerine*
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo produces much better bubbles than any of the dish detergents we tried. Mix the ingredients gently and let the solution stand for a couple of hours.

Bouncy Bubble Solution

You can bounce these bubbles off your clothes!
  • 1 package unflavoured gelatin (e.g. Knox brand)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) hot water (just boiled)
  • 50–70 ml glycerine*
  • 250 ml Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water. Add the shampoo and glycerine. Stir gently. This solution will gel as it cools. Reheat it carefully in the microwave (about two minutes).

Thick Bubble Solution

This goopy solution makes bubbles strong enough to withstand a puff of air.
  • 2.5 to 3 parts Johnson’s baby shampoo to 1 part water
  • glycerine*
When you make a bubble with this solution, try puffing at it to make a bubble inside a bubble.

*About glycerine

What does the glycerine do?
Glycerine helps soap bubbles hold water, so that they last longer. It’s very helpful if you’re doing bubble tricks, but less important if you’re mixing up a bucket of bubble solution for preschoolers to mess about with.
Where do I get glycerine?
Most pharmacies carry glycerine. You’ll only need a small bottle.
How much glycerine should I use?
We’re not precise about it. Try 1–3 teaspoons for about a liter of bubble solution.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Love this...

Dylan Medium Tote.  I've been scouring the internet for a messenger like this!  Buttery leather, casual, and chic. 

Color Cravings...

Chinois Chic- Oyster, Black, Red
Silk Jacquard Cylinder Pouch:  Peking Bazaar

Color Cravings...

Teal, Gold, and Graphite

Color Cravings...

Orange & Lime
Silk Jacquard Jewelry Roll:  www.oldshanghaionline.com

Color Cravings...

Rustic Elegance

Color Cravings...

IMAGES BY A Creative Mint, Elle Decor
IMAGE BY 100 layer Cake
Pretty purples...
Silk Jacquard Tasseled Bag:  Canton Bazaar

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nontoxic cleaning kit

Found this great article from www.naturalhomemagazine.com. You can clean your house from top to bottom with just eight simple ingredients. To save time and money, buy the ingredients in bulk and make cleaners in advance.


1) Baking Soda: A truly multitasking cleaner, baking soda is a perfect substitute for cleaning powders that scour sinks and tubs without scratching. It’s also great for wiping down and deodorizing the fridge. Combined with an equal amount of vinegar, baking soda can freshen drains and prevent them from clogging.

2) Borax: Combining equal amounts of white vinegar and borax will banish mold and mildew from hard surfaces. This natural mineral can also clean your toilet. Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few hours before scrubbing to eliminate stains and odor

3) Distilled White Vinegar: This pantry staple cuts grease, eats away lime deposits and destroys odors. Because of its neutralizing properties, white vinegar is also good for washing windows, sanitizing kitchen counters and shining bathroom fixtures. Simply dilute 1 part vinegar in 4 parts water. A natural antibacterial because of its high acid content, vinegar is an effective alternative to caustic cleaners on toilets and floors.

4) Hydrogen Peroxide: Typically found in the medicine cabinet, this disinfectant can also be used as an effective bleach alternative in the laundry room. Because it’s also a powerful oxidizing agent, it works especially well on food, soil, plant, blood and other organic stains. Just make sure to spot test in a discreet area because, like bleach, hydrogen peroxide may lighten fabrics. For each average-size load of whites, add 8 ounces of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide after you have filled the washer with hot water.

5) Salt: Perfect for cleaning grungy ovens, this natural abrasive is also great for soaking up fresh carpet stains such as red wine, coffee or ink. Pour salt on the wet stain. Let dry, then vacuum.

6) Vegetable Oil (Castile) Soap: This natural soap is great for floors and all-purpose cleaning when combined with vinegar, borax or even warm water. For an all-purpose cleaner, add 1⁄2 teaspoon of soap to either 2 cups of water or to the “All-Purpose Cleaner and Disinfectant” recipe below. For floors, combine 2 teaspoons of soap with 3 gallons of water. Make sure to rinse well to remove any dulling residue.

7) Washing Soda: This old-fashioned laundry booster cuts through tough grease on grills, broiler pans and ovens. Because washing soda is a strong alkaline, it’s perfect for tackling dirty linoleum floors. But because it’s caustic and strong enough to strip wax and peel paint, wear gloves when using—and use sparingly. Adding just 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon of washing soda to 32 ounces of hot water will tackle the toughest grease.

8) Lemons: Lemon’s citric acid content cuts stubborn grease and makes your home smell fresh. Lemon juice is also a natural bleach, especially when combined with the sun. Freshen cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. This is especially effective for banishing fish odors. Undiluted lemon juice can also be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


1) All-purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Just as effective as popular antibacterial cleansers, this formula is perfect for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

2 cups hot water
¼ cup white vinegar
½ teaspoon washing soda (similar to, but more caustic than, baking soda)
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surfaces, especially cutting boards, countertops and toilets. Wipe with a dry cloth.

2) Lemongrass dustcloths. Whether you’re using microfiber cloths or old cloth diapers, these do-it-yourself dusters offer the convenience of disposable furniture wipes without the guilt of contributing to the landfill. Make several dustcloths at a time.

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
¼ teaspoon lemongrass essential oil
Dustcloths or rags
Freshly cut lemon peel

Combine water, vinegar and essential oil in large bowl. Soak dustcloths in the solution for 30 minutes. Squeeze out cloths, leaving them slightly damp. Lay cloths flat and place a couple pieces of lemon peel on each one. Fold each cloth in half or thirds and roll up. Place each cloth in a glass jar along with an extra piece of lemon peel. Cap tightly with a screw lid. To use, unfold cloth and discard peel. Dust as usual. Launder dustcloths when dirty and infuse again with essential oil and lemon peel.

3) Creamy nonabrasive cleaner. Perfect for acrylic and fiberglass surfaces, this smooth cleanser won’t scratch tubs, stovetops or laminate countertops.

¼ cup borax
Vegetable oil-based liquid soap (also known as castile soap)
½ teaspoon lemon essential oil

In a small bowl, combine borax with just enough liquid soap to create a thick paste. Add essential oil and blend well. To use, scoop a small amount of cleaner onto a damp sponge. Scrub surface and rinse wel

4) Pre-vacuum carpet freshener. This fragrant odor eliminator will leave your home smelling fresh without posing a danger to pets or children.

1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups baking soda
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rose geranium essential oil

Crush lavender flowers and mix with baking soda, breaking up any clumps. Add essential oils and blend well. To use, sprinkle on carpets. Wait 30 minutes, then vacuum as usual. Store leftovers in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Outdoor Evening Decor

String a few LED lights to transform your outdoor space into something special.

Solar Powered Lanterns. Perfect for summer outdoor festivities, because they can be hung anywhere without bothering with cords or regular batteries, as they are powered by the sun. Available at gardenbasket.com

Love this...

Adorable sandwich/snack bag. Best thing is...it's REUSABLE!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Photo Wall Gallery


Been wanting to create a photo gallery along our empty walls. Found some great do-it-yourself instructions off the web...

Black/white foam board – $4.99 each
Tacky Spray/3M Photo glue
Large Metal Ruler
Mat, cardboard, paper bags, or newspapers (to protect floor, if needed)
Rolling Pin/clean paint roller
Razor Blade
Command velcro strips
*Items can be purchased from Michael’s Craft Store & Home Depot

Mounting photos on foam board:
Place photo on the foam board, and then mark edges with a pen (generally only two edges, using existing straight cuts). Then use metal ruler and a sharp xacto-like knife with the break-off ends. Having a VERY sharp knife is important so you don’t end up dragging and tearing the paper on the foam board. Then in the garage spray photo with 3M Photo glue, wait 2 minutes and pressed one edge of the photo, checking other edges to make sure they match. Once you get it aligned, use a clean paint roller to carefully attach the photo to the board.