Chilling Out

With the exception of a couple of holiday parties and a football game, our calendar has been void of activity for the past two weeks. We’ve slept in, gone for walks, seen a movie, made some nice meals and caught up on odds and ends. Whether you refer to it as down time, chilling out, R&R or simply recess, this lack of activity holds a lot of promise as a way to recharge. Want to amp it up even further? Go offline.

Ice Box Pickling

Ice Box Pickling


Chocolate and Sea Salt; One Common Plate

There is much written about how to fight the commercial engine of Christmas and simplify the holidays. Each year we take a couple more steps to resist antagonistic stress and embrace the good cheer of holding our families and friends dear. This December, I did the majority of my shopping at second-hand and consignment stores. We worked on a holiday greeting that we’ll send out as a New Year marker and for the Christmas baking, I embraced a low-involvement and no-sugar recipe that used the combination of chocolate and sea salt as directed by the efforts of 1Common Plate at

Simple Holiday Cookies

Simple Holiday Cookies

The notion of raw foods always captures my attention as I near the new year. It seems a terrific time to reset expectations, set goals and draw up plans that I hope to accomplish. Near the top of my list in 2014 will be a lighter, more enlightened diet as a food centric lifestyle has manifested results in clothes that aren’t fitting well and a general concern for other health risks that follow. This recipe easily becomes raw with a different choice of almond meal and a replacement of the maple syrup with another sweetener such as agave. The result is a not too sweet treat that also doesn’t tax your time.

Nearly-Raw Chocolate Cookies with Salted Caramel
from the Sweet Life Online
yields 16 cookies


  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (mine is from blanched almonds)
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 5-6 tbsp Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
  • sea salt for topping


Drain and rinse the walnuts and place in a food processor with almond meal and cacao powder. Blend until well combined. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp sea salt and blend again until a thick dough begins to form.


Roll dough into balls about the size of a large tablespoon. Flatten each ball and press an indentation in the center of each with thumb.  Place cookies in a food dehydrator set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 3-4 hours, until cookies are crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. Unwilling to drag the dehydrator in from the garage, I used our warming tray for this and left the cookies for about two hours.

While cookies are dehydrating (or warming), make the Caramel Sauce. Remove cookies from the warming tray. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of Caramel Sauce and return to the warmer or dehydrator for approximately 20 more minutes. Top with fine sea salt. Store in refrigerator.

Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce
yields 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup (about 6) Medjool dates, pitted and soaked at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Drain and rinse nuts and dates. Combine all the ingredients and process in a food processor or vitamin until very smooth. Process until very smooth. Store in a jar in refrigerator for up to 10 days. (Good for many other uses like ice cream topping!)

I’ll be the One in Greens

I am a person of color. Perhaps not in the same sense as others who use this statement but I enjoy bright vivid colors. It’s reflected in my home, in my wardrobe, in the art that I admire and the objects that I photograph.

Look familiar to anyone?

Look familiar? Super pixelated romanesco cauliflower


The Vinegar Girl

A Poem about Ending Hunger and Creating Happiness

In the wee morning hours, I saw a peculiar site,
A sour frowning girl coming out of the night.
She pulled her belongings on a blue vinyl sled
while a vinegar scowl covered her face and her head.

IMG_0942 (more…)

Staking Out the Steak Out

“I say,
those people will always be thirsty on those hot stakeouts
without a water fountain in sight.”

Coordinated surveillance of a location is referred to as a stakeout. It’s generally performed covertly in order to collect data about a criminal, a celebrity, or their activity. I could wax on about my own quiet neighborhood erupting with suspicion when tight-lipped Ray-ban-clad drivers were parked on our corner for days.

Dillinger Stake Out Plan at the Biograph Theater - FBI file

Dillinger Stake Out Plan at the Biograph Theater – FBI file


Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

When I got married, I was careful to carry something from each of these categories down the aisle; a beautiful old dress, new Kenneth Cole shoes and a borrowed blue garter to fulfill the last two requirements. I don’t believe I gave it more thought than that. Had I done so, I might’ve had a glimpse into the origin of this saying as it is the ne’er stated last line that gives us our best clue.

Celebrating Weddings

Celebrating Weddings

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver thruppence in her shoe.


Of Skeletons and Salsa

The Day of the Dead or Día de Los Muertos is celebrated in many countries throughout the world but where I live, we tend to think of it as a Mexican holiday. Indeed, it is.  Celebrated on November 1st, in Mexico it is treated as a national holiday and as the name implies, it is a day for families to honor those loved ones who have passed before them.


One More for the Cuke

Temperatures have hit 110 degrees fahrenheit consistently all week. I slug home from the office, kick off my shoes, pull my hair back, and change into lighter clothes. The AC blasts a cool reprieve. So does the cucumber.

Cucumber Smoothie


Squeeze the Day!

One thing I learned when we first moved to the desert was how to use citrus once the season hits. It’s troubling to see so many oranges and grapefruits find their fate on the ground below the trees. At our current home we have a couple of orange trees, a grapefruit and one mandarin type variety. We recently added a lemon tree and two small kumquats to the mix.

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Starting Fresh

WordPress is sporting a plethora of New Year’s Posts. They range from why it’s a bad idea to establish resolutions to the very most resolved. There’s advice on how to create a new habit and helpful tips to eliminate the bad ones. And I am no different. There are things that I’d love to start doing, some things that I should stop, and real change that I’d like to see occur in 2012.

Starting Fresh with Homemade Granola