Go Honey, Go Natural

   We love honey. Living in Santa Barbara we have fresh, local honey.

Honey is a natural sweetener. Sugar can be substituted with honey for many drinks and foods. I often substitute the sugar for honey when baking.

Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Commonly it contains vitamin C, calcium and iron. Honey contains nutraceuticals, which are effective in removing free radicals from our body. As a result, our bodies immunity improves. Honey is a great antioxidant and cleansing property for our body. It’s powerful attributes have long been used thousands of years ago and known to promote healing for cuts, cure ailments and diseases, and correct health disorders for generations. Honey not only fights infections and aids in tissue healing but also helps reduce inflammation and scaring.

We drink Yerba Mate tea in the morning and add honey with fresh mint. It is delicious. Locally you can buy honey from Tri-County Market or San Marcos Farms; sanmarcosfarms.com.

Below is a simple, great recipe using honey.

Raw Brownies

2 cups ground walnuts

2/3 cup cocoa powder

2-4 teaspoon raw honey

2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Process all ingredients in a food processor, press into brownie pan, then cool brownies for at least a half hour to firm up.


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Filed under: Food, Health, Local

Extra Flavor, Hold the Meat

 My husband and I have decided to go meat-less for a little while. After having extensive talks with some very knowledgable folks, we’ve decided to take a hiatus.

The other night we started this meat-less lifestyle by making quinoa patties (vegetarian burgers). WOW, they were amazing!

quinoa is a grain-like seed, full of phytonutrients, antioxidants and can even help balance your blood sugar. quinoa contains 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles. It also has magnesium, fiber and manganese, which acts as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.

Quinoa is a great detoxifier, bone builder and brain food. So go to the store and stock up. Not only are quinoa patties good, so is a quinoa salad. For the salad, just cook the quinoa as directed, let cool, then add your choice of veggies (we like cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, scallions and broccoli). Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the salad and add a little bit of olive oil and toss. You may also add feta if you’d like.

Below I have given the quinoa pattie recipe.

FYI: Tri-County market and Lazy Acres has great organic quinoa.

Trader Joe’s also sells it.

Quinoa Patties

2/3 cup quinoa, cooked

13/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained.

2/3 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking, I used steel-cut)

Place your black beans in the food processor to mash them. In a bowl put your quinoa and oats and mix together, adding black beans. Form into patties and cook on a skillet for about 4 minutes on each side, or until crispy.

You may add any spices you’d like, we did curry powder. You can put bbq sauce or mustard, to wet your patties if you feel they are a bit dry.

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Filed under: Food, Health

Frolicking with Family and Friends

We’re Back!

We just returned from our trip to my hometown, Omaha, Ne. My husband, who is from southern California, has never had a chance to visit, so we packed our suitcases and flew 1400 miles.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by my mom and dad. The weather was perfect (not humid, believe it or not), and the eating began. I wanted to make sure to show my husband every single stomping ground that I used to frequent, so we were busy.

We had wonderful lunches at M’s Pub, Greek Islands and of course I had to introduce him to Runza. We grabbed a delicious pizza from Pitch and yummy sushi from Blue Sushi. We also had some great dinners with family and friends.

My best girlfriends are still in Omaha and I miss them dearly. We had some fun nights and reminisced about old times (God, we were crazy).

Omaha is a really great city, with many things to do (mainly eating). The music scene is great, food is delicious and we could not have asked for better weather, and yes my husband LOVED it!

I have posted some fun pics from our outings.

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Filed under: Home

Silencing Your Mind

 Stress is emotional and physical strain in response to pressure from the outside world.  Any negative situation that causes you to make rapid adjustment, such as arguing with your partner, your child or a friend, will cause stress, as well as positive events, such as moving to a new house, changing jobs or just life in general. 
When you are under stress, your body reacts with the fight-or-flight response, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises and your breathing can become shallow and rapid.  Stress can make you eat and drink too much, and can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, muscle pain and skin rashes.  The list is endless.
The way to bring down your stress levels is to learn to relax and an easy way to do that is to take fifteen to twenty minutes out of your day to decompress: to control your breathing, relax your muscles and focus your mind.  In other words, meditate.
Meditation can lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, reduce chronic pain, calm your mind and leave you mentally alert, with increased energy.
There are many different meditation techniques and it is a matter of finding one that is good for you.  The following is a little something to get you started.  Many people have a hard time with sitting still for fifteen to twenty minutes, so start with five.

1. Find a quiet place to sit, where you won’t be interrupted for the amount of time you start with.
2. Pick a simple word that helps you relax. Select peace, free, quiet, love or any other word that inspires you to let go.
3. Rest your hands on your lap, close your eyes  and consciously relax your jaw and other muscles that you notice are tight.
4. Silently repeat your word and keep repeating it.  You may notice that your mind drifts off to work, events, family, people and other parts of your life.  When you notice those thoughts, just acknowledge them, gently let them go and softly return to your word again.  It’s ok if you have many thoughts and spend little time on your word.  Just keep bringing yourself back to your word.
5. After your time is done, open your eyes.  Take a few minutes to bring yourself back into the present moment by becoming aware of your body and how it feels and the sounds around you.  When you are ready, continue with your day, refreshed and revitalized.
Happy practicing.


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Filed under: Health, Inspiring

Coconut-Oat Macaroons

 Coconut has many health benefits.  Coconut can help prevent obesity, improve your heart, high in dietary fiber, low glycemic, reduces sweet cravings, improves digestion and is a quick energy boost.
In addition, coconut contains NO trans fat, is gluten-free, non toxic, and hypoallergenic. 
I decided to make some macaroons and wanted them to be very healthy.  To cut the fat in half, I used half coconut and half oats.  Following is the recipe I used.

Coconut-Oat Macaroons
10 egg whites
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar (I used a little less)
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350.  Spray baking sheet with Pam and set aside.
Stir in egg whites, coconut, oats, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a bowl until well blended.
Drop tablespoons of mixture on to baking sheets, half inch apart.  Bake macaroons until light golden, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and cool.



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Filed under: Food

Unjunk Your Junk Food

We all like candy here and there.  Some more than others, especially our little ones.  We often use it for bribery, because it’s the easier, softer way.  Next time you go to reach for the sweet treat to satisfy you or your household companion, pause and try to think that what you’re really grabbing for is a dangerous additives.  Did you know that there is something called the “scary seven”, which are the dangerous additives placed in many candies.  They are:
              1. High-fructose corn syrup
                        2. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
                                3. Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat)
        4. Artificial sweeteners
5. Artificial colors
 6. Artificial Flavors
                                   7. Preservatives (sodium, sulphur dioxide)

There is no safe limit of trans fats.  They can cause heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Consuming high-fructose corn syrup can lead to heart disease, increased belly fat, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Research shows that most artificial colors have been linked to hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Candy that can be consumed without a lot of damaging particles are:
Dove chocolate
Hershey’s sugar-free snacks
Snickers mini
York peppermint patties

If you’re a chocolate lover, go dark.  The darker the chocolate the better.  This is all in moderation, of course.

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Filed under: Food, Health

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

On a whim I decided to make some homemade granola bars.  I was very particular about my ingredients, and did not want something with too much sugar, and not enough taste.  I did a little research and found an old recipe from the New York Times.  All the ingredients were exactly what I wanted.  Low in sugar, great taste (I was assuming before I even made them), and fairly easy.  They turned out fantastic!  I added the Omega 3 Trail mix from Trader Joe’s, which has cranberries, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, almonds and pinenuts, in one little package. You can add anything you want and play around with the recipe.

Granola Bars

3 tbs.canola oil
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Oil a 9×9 baking pan.
Add oil to saucepan. Add the oats. Stir over medium heat until the oats are lightly toasted, taking care not to let them burn. Stir until they are beginning to smell toasty and have slightly darkened, six to seven minutes.  Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl. Add the flaxseed, cinnamon and the salt.
Combine the honey, vanilla and brown sugar in the pan in which you toasted the oats. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes. Pour over the oat mixture, and stir until it is evenly distributed over the mixture. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in chocolate chips and anything else you may choose to add.
Pour into baking pan, and spread evenly. Place in oven for 18 minutes. Do not allow to brown or the bars will be hard instead of chewy. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool. Cut into small squares.
Makes 15-20 bars.



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Filed under: Food

Trend Alert: Maxi Skirt

The long boho-chic skirt has been around for some time, made popular by style setters in the 70’s. Something about it seemed so easy, breezy, cool, so laissez-faire. The maxi skirt is headed straight for the “new classics” territory. They have the potential to supplant your favorite pair of boyfriend jeans to be the piece you grab in your closet when you’re stumped about what to wear. They work for date night, errands, brunch, and even summer cocktail parties. Grab a basic version in black or grey.

Every women of any shape and size can wear a maxi. It makes every woman look leaner and a petite woman look taller. Try pairing your maxi with a fitted blazer and a pair of flat sandals. Wear some fun jewelry and a basic tee and you’re good to go. I found some great, inexpensive ones at Old Navy and Marshalls. You can also access ShopBop, through our website on goodnewssantabarbara.com, and get free shipping for a really fun maxi.

Be creative and make it fun!


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Filed under: Fashion

Infused Water

Have you ever wondered why people put lemon, cucumber or any other random garnish in their water? There are actually health benefits to adding fruits, herbs and vegetables to your aqua. I am definitely one of those random people. I love naturally flavored water. The following are three examples of easy-to-grab things from the store, to put in your water;

   Lemon: Putting a slice of lemon into a glass of water isn’t just an old restaurant trick. This habit offers your body key nutrients and disease fighting benefits. Lemon strengthens veins and fights high blood pressure, stimulates liver function and helps flush out poisons from your body. Also, lemon is high in potassium.

Drink a glass of water, with lemon, at room temperature, in the morning to clear you digestive track for the day.
Cucumber: Putting cucumber in your water will give you anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits. Cucumbers contain three lignans (estrogen-like compounds), which have been proven to fight breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Also, cucumber provides vitamin C and potassium.

      Mint: Adding mint to your water brings nutrition and digestive health. Drinking water with mint, has been a long-standing remedy for digestive problems. Modern research has confirmed that this natural diuretic can help stop colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Mint water is rich in vitamin A, C and B12, with traces of iron, potassium, selenium and zinc.

There you have it!
Start adding your fruits, veggies and herbs to your water, and I can almost guarantee you will start to feeling better.

Trader Joe’s has a great herb plant right now, that is perfect for a small indoor herb garden.

Buy Persian cucumbers (the small ones), if you have a choice. They always have the best flavored skin, and you want to keep the skin on because that is where all the nutrients are.

Costco offers the best bag of lemons in town. Their large and have lots of flavor. Farmers Market is also a good source.


Adding cucumber with your mint or lemon, is very refreshing.

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Filed under: Food, Health

Earth Day 2012

“Mobilize” was the theme of this years Earth Day. This year marks the 42nd year Santa Barbara has held an Earth Day festival.

Santa Barbara created one of the first Earth Day festivals in the nation, back in 1970. This year’s festival was divided into seven earth-friendly sections: featuring a kid’s corner, an eco marketplace, and even a beer and wine garden. Another section was the bike zone, where bikers had a place to park their bikes. The green car show, which featured 50 of the latest earth-friendly cars. The last section was a learning section for being more energy-efficient. Using reuseable bags, getting LED light bulbs or even using a water filtration system instead of water bottles.

My husband and I went on Saturday and cruised around, enjoyed some music and bought a couple of items to support the locals. I decided to go back on Sunday with our friends. The vibe is so great at festivals, especially Earth Day, that I wanted to soak up as much time at the park that I could. I posted some pictures below of the super-earthy day.



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Filed under: Inspiring, Local