Chia Delight

Chia seeds: A nutty-tasting whole grain. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, they have among the highest antioxidant activity of any whole food. They also do a lot of good things for your body, like keeping blood pressure and blood sugar under control. They are loaded with calcium, protein, fiber and many other vitamins.

Chia seeds are a member of the mint family. You can put them in muffins, cereals, smoothies and salads. Chia seeds are a vegetarian source of protein. They are available at Whole Foods.

Chia Banana Date Cookies

4 tbsp of chia seeds

4 tbsp of plain flour

1/2 of a banana (dried cranberries are good to)

2 tbsp chopped dates

2 tbsp rolled oats

1 large egg

2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp water

Put seeds and flour in bowl and mix together, adding oats. Set aside.

Blend together the banana, egg, dates, honey, baking powder and water. Add this to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix together. The consistency should be similar to a cake batter.

Drop dessert spoons of mixture on to an oiled cookie sheet. bake at 350, for 15-20 minutes.


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Filed under: Food, Health

Black Is The New Berry

Blackberries are one of the top ten antioxidant foods, they are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease. They strengthen blood vessels, and improves eyesight. The high tannin content of blackberries helps to tighten tissue, relieves intestinal inflammation, and helps reduce hemorrhoids (lovely), and stomach disorders. Blackberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, manganese and fiber.

Here is an easy recipe for blackberry-blueberry cobbler

Blackberry-Blueberry Cobbler

1 1/2 c fresh blackberries

1 1/2 c fresh blueberries

3 tbsp sugar

1/3 c fresh orange juice

2/3 c whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 c butter

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375

Combine berries, sugar and orange juice in a lightly greased 8 inch baking dish, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl, add butter and beat egg and vanilla extract together. gradually add flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are combined.

Drop batter over berry mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes


 FYI: Santa Barbara Farmers Market Saturday

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Filed under: Food, Health, Local

Weekend Fun!

I Madonnari was this past weekend, as I posted about earlier in the week.  The artists were amazing.  We have posted some pictures from the festival and the yummy food we indulged in.  Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!


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Filed under: Local

Weekend Divertente!

This weekend we have Madonnari, or street painters, transforming the Mission plaza using pastels on the pavement to create 150 vibrant and colorful, large-scale images. Santa Barbara is the first to bring this romantic festival to the western hemisphere from our sister festival in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy.

The festival benefits the Children’s Creative Project, a non-profit arts education program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

To engage the other senses, live music and an authentic Italian market will be held adjacent to the painting. Enjoy an array of Italian cuisine and specialty items.

Location: Corner of Los Olivos and Laguna Streets

May 26, 27, and 28

10-6 Daily

Admission is free!!!


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Filed under: Local

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;

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