Tuesday, April 8, 2008

These are a few of my (current) favorite things...


I'm not sure I'll have time to type and post the third thing in my Top 10 list tomorrow (I'll try, though) because I'm meeting a friend for coffee in the morning. I meet this friend every month or so just so we can catch up on all that's been going on in our lives. She is a pastor's wife (not at my church) and one of those special people who make you want to know God more and love people better just by being around her. And I love the spirit of the little coffee shop where we meet. It's downtown and has got big, tall windows on the front and side of the building, high ceilings, bookshelves full of books for sale, and lots of people continually coming and going to keep the place full and busy. There's seating outside for warm weather.

After that, I'll be headed to the antique warehouse to look for some pyrex refrigerator containers with flat lids. This warehouse has a big "pyrex" room. Some of you already know that I'm trying to collect them to use for refrigerator storage in lieu of plastic wrap, ziplock bags, or aluminum foil. I've been using glass bowls covered with plates, but the pyrex things are so nifty (and are kind of vintagey, too), that I thought it would be fun collect some. They'd be put to good use, and I can keep them forever.

And then I'll come home and babysit the little neighbor girl.

So, just for fun and a change of pace, I thought I'd share a few things that I've been enjoying and finding useful recently.



I mentioned in the comments this morning that I like to use the thin brown Moleskine journals for a variety of things. One is for my daily journal. One is a record of each book that I finish reading. One is a food diary. I have others, but I'll tell you about just one more-- my "ADD Journal" (I'm not kidding!). This is where I list all of the harebrained things I do. It's filling up way too fast! The latest entry in this one tells the story of eating out with Melissa in a sushi restaurant, and an hour later after I'd rummaged unsuccessfully through my purse to find my keys, Melissa went out to see if I'd locked them in the car. Yep. And guess what? The car was running!






I used to buy Tazo teas. It was an Oregon company with a really cool webpage (and good tea), but they sold themselves to Starbucks (and became a Washington company). I kept buying anyway until I tasted Yogi organic tea. I was instantly converted! And to top it off, Yogi is an Oregon company. I like many of their teas, but the three I drink most are Egyptian Licorice, Sweet Thai Delight, and Bedtime. Some of my kids really like the Green Pomegranate tea.





One of my favorite snacks is all-natural whole milk yogurt, drizzed liberally with raw honey, sprinkled with cinnamon, and topped with chopped crispy walnuts or pecans. I have this every day. I think the stuff I eat looks much more appealing than the stuff in the photo, but it gives the idea. In Tessa Kiros beautiful book, Apples for Jam, she makes this, too, but her version has pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top (they aren't in season now, or I'd be adding them, too).



Biokleen produces a line of all-natural cleaning supplies. I usually make my own, but I buy dish soap, laundry soap, and this. I use this Oxygen Bleach on my whites and as a stain remover, and it's really made a difference. We're amazed when we watch stains disappear right before our eyes! I'm sure a chemical version of this type of product has more whitening power, but I don't want to use toxic products. So, I just take a little more time and exert a tad more effort, and I'm happy with my laundry.




Another thing I've loved lately is the Eighth Day Books catalog. My friend Laura A. introduced me to this. I've often pined for the out-of-business A Common Reader catalog, and while this catalog is quite different, it fills the spot. It's a catalog of "classics in religion, philosophy, history and literature." I have countless books marked in the catalog, and have already ordered some of them. Have a look at eighthdaybooks.com.





Chocolate Mousse of the Gods! It's from a cookbook I own by Renee Loux, and she had this photo at her webpage (it's currently the featured recipe).This is a very strange and unusual mousse, and I love it. Some of you are going to appreciate the ingredients in this, and some of you are going to wonder what in the world kind of food I eat! It's an avacado based mousse. There's no dairy in it. I like it the first day, but I like it even better the second. Melissa says the texture is too avacadoey-buttery, but I like it.



Here's the recipe, taken from Renee's webpage. If you just read the ingredients, you'll probably never want to try it, but come on! Be adventurous!

One night I dreamed of making a creamy, sweet avocado (?!?) pie, which was so bizarre that I gave it a whirl the next morning. Eureka!I made this recipe in the movie "Go Further", with Woody Harrelson, and the web-site for the film got more hits inquiring about the Chocolate Mousse made from avocado than anything else. Cheers to the adventurous spirit!I guarantee, this is life changing. A votre santé!

Ingredients

2 cups avocado (the richer, the better- Haas is a great varietal)
½ cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
2-4 tablespoons organic evaporated cane juice or organic sugar (optional- for the sweeter tooth)
2 tablespoons Omega Nutrition coconut butter (optional)
1-2 teaspoons non-alcohol vanilla extract
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (aged balsamic is best)
½ teaspoon shoyu
1 cup pure cocoa powder (Green & Black is choice)
1 pint raspberries
handful of fresh mint leaves
sprinkle Scharffenberger’s cacao nibs (optional)


Procedure

In a food processor: Blend avocado, maple syrup, organic sugar (if choosing), coconut butter, vanilla extract, balsamic, and shoyu until smooth and creamy.
Add cocoa powder and blend until smooth. Sifting the cocoa powder before adding is a good idea so prevent lumps. A simple metal strainer works well.


Leftover Storage

Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container (sans berries and mint) in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for a month.