Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Lazy Beauty Tip

I stumbled on a lazy beauty tip in Italy:  be easily amused and enthused....


Huffington Post Article: Oh To Be Easily Amused & Enthused


Me and my friends being easily amused by someone taking our photo in front of the Vatican late one night....bliss!

 


Saturday, July 05, 2014

What Puts the HAPPIE in the 4th of July?

 

 
 
My grandma made amazing pies and jams.  She lived in a tiny town in Michigan and no matter what time of year I went to visit her, it felt like the 4th of July.  I was there for the Bicentennial and it felt very similar to how my small town Fourths feel today.  There is nothing like starting the day with a Mayberry-like parade full of people of all ages, shapes, sizes and talent ratios.  Joy!
 
But grandma's most memorable contributions to the 4th of July -- and every day -- were her homemade baked goods and jams made from ingredients plucked from her garden.  Sadly, somehow her pie and jam recipes (that everyone promised would never disappear) have fallen into a family communication abyss, so my quest for the perfect fruit pie  (and jam) recipe continues.  This year I was determined to make a pie that would make my grandma proud. 
 
When I lived in New York I made pies for a while for restaurants.  I was a purist: only butter in the crusts and definitely no tapioca in the fruit pie fillings.   Shortening and tapioca were considered cheating.  Let the pure natural ingredients of the butter and fruits tell the perfect pie story.  But sometimes this makes for soggy crusts or fallen flutes, so I had to work hard to make perfect pies worthy of sale. 
 

My friend Bob loves Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for his birthday and we celebrated late this year, on 4th of July.   So, the quest for the perfect pie was even more crucial. I googled "best pie crust for fruit pies" and found Ruth's Grandma's Pie Crust.  It is quite possible that this is also my Grandma's crust recipe!  My dad had thought grandma only used Crisco and no butter in her pies and now I'm certain he is correct.  It is divine, crispy, flaky and oh so easy to work with.   It freaks me out to use shortening, but la di da, because it makes for a perfect fricking crust!



 

 

I loooooved last year's pie filling but I really wanted this pie to be beyond perfect so I thought I'd try something new.  I googled "best strawberry-rhubarb pie ever" and found "Grandma's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie."  My grandma strikes again!  This recipe calls for tapioca, and I am pretty sure now that my grandma used tapioca.  The notes from other fans said that they put in 1/2 again as much or double the tapioca.  Well, I did double it, but I also, shockingly (never done this for any recipe before) doubled the fruit because I saw it wasn't going to fill the pie.  So, my twist on this recipe is double both plus I put in grated fresh nutmeg as taught to me by Beth Setrakian of Beth's Babies.   She is a genius baker and freshly grated nutmeg in a fresh fruit pie is a kiss of deliciousness.

 

Before it popped into the oven:




Hot out of the oven and driven over to Bob's (hence the little wads of foil to keep it stable), the finished product:



Another fun recipe for the 4th that kind of popped into my head turned out to be a hit at the post-parade lunch:  one can of frozen limeade (melted in fridge ahead) + 2 bottles of Ginger Beer + 2 large bottles of Seltzer Water + one bag of frozen mixed berries.  Drinkers can add Vodka to make it super yummy.   Check for sweetness though...you may want to add more seltzer water.  Very refreshing!

 
Buon Summer Appetito to All!
 
And, here's to GRANDMAS!!!!!!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Lovely Lazy Zhena


More loveliness from Zhena.  Her book trailer is a huge unbelievable WOW (filmed by the inimitable Mikki Willis) that really gives you the heart and soul of her book. 

Check it out:
http://vimeo.com/97392698


Just watching the video will give you a lovely lazy respite from your day....

Password: elevate

Love!!!!
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Zhena Muzyka: The Essence of Lazy Woman

Please check out my recent HuffPo article about Zhena, a woman who can be a guiding light to all of us in how she lives life to the fullest no matter what the circumstances.  


Prepare to be inspired by her new book.

Lazy love to all!



Monday, April 21, 2014

My Inner 5 Year Old in Dinner Party Heaven



When my co-author Judie O'Neill casually told me about the title that had come to her in the middle of the night -- The Lazy Woman's Guide to Just About Everything -- I was in the middle of writing a book about throwing dinner parties with ease.  Immediately I realized that a book with her title would be my book on steroids, and was a far better idea.

Still, we put plenty of dinner party tips in the book even though everyone accuses me of being anything BUT lazy when it comes to entertaining.   I protest though.  They are lazy because I define lazy as "less stress + more joy." These parties fill me with joy and I create them with as little stress as possible. On my birthday this year I spent the day at the spa and had a dinner party that night!  

It's all about setting priorities, and just ticking off the to do lists that make the priorities a reality.   I love trying to make the most delicious meal I've ever made.  But my #1 priority is the table because my feeling is that if things look great, people won't notice the things that don't taste quite right.  I never hit a home run with every single thing I serve. But who cares?  They are too distracted by colors and candles!

I usually set my table two or three days ahead.  I shop for the food but don't start cooking until the table is set.  Then I know that I have "built it" and therefore they will come.  


These photos were actually taken the night I set the table for last week's party -- three days ahead!  I added several finishing touches the day of the party, which I also always do, but I would rather be caught with the food not finished than a table not fully set.

The reason goes back to my 5th Christmas.  As I walked sleepily toward the living room I heard the hushed whispers of my parents. I was worried that their hushed tones were cause for concern because the house was very dark.  Too dark.

I got to the doorway of the living room and saw the most magnificent thing I had ever seen in my life. Just to the right of the entry way, glowing wondrously in the dark was a children's sized buffet, ivory with gold trim.  On top of the buffet were silver candelabras holding the tallest more glorious gold candlesticks.  It seems like a see of gold and light to me. 

I burst into tears because I had never seen anything so magical.  I was stunned to touch it and find out that everything was plastic.  It didn't make it any less luxurious.  It was still the most elegant buffet I had ever seen.  My mom didn't even have an adult sized one as cool as this.  It was as good as solid gold.  

When we gathered around the Hot Fudge Sundae station last week, with those candles lighting up everyone's faces, I was sent right back to my 5th Christmas. 




I don't need a fancy buffet.  In fact I think the top of this metal bar table actually IS plastic (I thought it was wood when I bought it!) and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference because once those candles are lighting the faces of my guests I get to feel like my parents must have felt that Christmas morning.  

I am forever grateful to the love of my mom and dad for creating magical moments like these, and my greatest LAZY joy is creating them for others.









Monday, March 24, 2014

Best Hummus Ever -- Easy Peasy and Springy Green!!!

 

I love making hummus and am always trying new recipes, but mostly I wing it on my own.  But for my Indian dinner party on Saturday, I was looking for some creative hors d'oeuvres.  I forgot to grab a picture of mine, which was an even more lucious green than pictured here.  I served it with carrots and pita chips instead of regular pita because I love the crunch of the chips.

I doubled the recipe for 8 people but had plenty left over for two more people to have some the next day.  I didn't double the olive oil (I did 1.5) and I didn't double the peppers which leads to the only warning about this recipe.

If your guests do not like spicy food, they may not like this.  I didn't double the peppers because I had one pregnant woman coming and one person who doesn't like spicy foods in general, but it was still a little too spicy for both of them.  For the rest of us, it was perfect though!  I think it would have been too overpowering if I had doubled the peppers though. It would have definitely overwhelmed the delicate sesame flavor.

Also, in the video below Manjula adds water when it was a little dry.  I added more lemon juice which I highly recommend. 

Finally, this is the first hummus I think I have made without Tahini.  You put in whole toasted sesame seeds and the olive oil instead.  It's much lighter and more refreshing.

And, man oh man is this easy to throw together in a food processor -- 10 minutes all in!  And it's super healthy with all that spinach and very little oil. 
 

Click here for Manjula's Recipe  and to watch her make it!  Or click here for youtube video only to Watch Manjula Make the Hummus!!!

Namaste!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

LAUGHTER Comes in Very Handy When Your Ass is Being Kicked



The second time I came up from behind to pass this guy I had to take a picture of him because he won BEST MARATHON BIB!  If you can't read it, it says "ADELE NAZEEM" in honor of the Travolta Oscar epic snafu. 

I wish I had had the fortitude to take more pictures the entire way, but I was listening to music and accidentally calling and Face-timing people so I thought it best to keep my sweaty palms away from my phone as much as possible.

There was a guy running in a Gumby suit.  It looked hilarious but made me want to cry for him because it was so hot. 

But had to share this most entertaining best signs along the route by the hilarious and fun spectators:

  • Remember 4 months ago this seemed like a GREAT IDEA!
  • Don't forget:  you PAID for this!
  • I don't know you. You are a complete stranger. BUT, I know you can do it!
  • 1 out of 100 people crap their pants.  Smile if you are 1 in a 100.
  • Smile if you pee'd a little.
Thank God, the last two did not apply to me -- only I'm sure via the miracle train I was on that also had me not have a single injury or blister!

And, just for good measure, the most heart-warming moments: 
  • Little girl - 3 or 4 years old -- with her teeny tiny hand held out for us to high-five her.
  • Little girl -- 5 or 6 years old -- blowing bubbles on us.
  • Women and men alike who held my gaze toward the end and really meant it when they said "Bridget, you've got this!"
  • People standing alone just constantly applauding the runners, like it was their duty. 
  • The Taiko drummers who were doing marathon drumming with all their hearts and souls - non-stop, high energy -- with beaming smiles on their faces!  BEAMING!
So the purpose of this post:  if you ever wanted to run a marathon, do it because there is a lot of laughter out there to feed your Energizer bunny battery. 


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Cruciferous Deliciousness -- New Goodies from Trader Joe's!

 
 
There are some very exciting new items at Trader Joe's.  I just yesterday discovered the Cruciferous Crunch Collection, have been delighting in the ease of the quinoa (which I am trying to increase in my diet, so this really helps!) and the shaved Manchego which I have had for a while.  I'm used to eating Manchego with bread or crackers or olives. It's one of my favorite cheeses.  But, it is very subtle for salads.  I hadn't found the right salad use for it yet, but today I invented one that really hit all the marks for flavor, but also is incredibly healthy.



Ingredients to Taste
 
Cruciferous Crunch
Quinoa
Manchego
Beets
Cucumber
Walnuts
Balsamic Vinegar (for a little sweetness)
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Maldon Salt (for another crunch)
 
 
I had avocados and dried cranberries, etc. which I had thought it might need to balance out all that cruciferocity but this salad has the perfect amount of bitter, savory, tart, sweet and crunch without them.  It was delicious and I have to say very energizing.  I was having a major energy crash due to having eaten too little after a good cross-training workout.  Solved.  There is nothing better than being ENERGIZED by a meal that tastes unbelievably good.
 
Buon Healthy Appetito!
 



Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy 70th Birthday Judie O'Neill!!!!!



This is Judie blowing out her birthday candle yesterday which was her actual birthday commemorating what looks like her DE-aging!  She looks literally fantastic amazing oh my god so beautiful!

And, recently in honor of this new decade beginning, she started a wonderful blog.  YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT!!!! 


Click her to go to Judie's blog STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN


You will see when you do that this is beginning of a truly great adventure -- and she will be doing it in consummate Lazy Woman fashion!!! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDIE!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unbelievably Lazy + Delicious Hot Fudge Sauce



It happened again.  I found the best recipe by googling "best hot fudge sauce ever"!

Seriously easy.  Hauntingly delicious.  You will not be able to get the memory of the flavor out of your brain.  Yes, it's that good.

Do you see how it hardens just a little bit on the ice cream?  Not too much, just the right amount of ice cream hugging goin' on.

This would make awesome Christmas presents.  Put in pretty jars with a bow.  My friends will very likely be getting this next year...if they are lucky, if they are very, very lucky!

The recipe: Best Hot Fudge Sauce EVER!

Buon Chocappetito!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lazy Beauty Tip: Solve Eczema + Perioral Dermatitis NOW!





For over 10 years I have waged an on-and-off battle with perioral dermatitis.  In the last year it's been a bloody war.  Most of 2013 you would find my skin very red and clearly inflamed around my nose and mouth.  It even ventured up to around my eyes.  I didn't want to see people, and definitely didn't want to be in front of groups of people doing presentations as I often.  I would see people staring at it and then start itching their own skin.  So, not only did I feel unattractive but I was making people itch!

This is a common condition for perimenopausal women, solved mostly by Western drugs that have their own side effects.  I have also tried every homeopathic, herbal remedy known to man.  Nothing worked more than for a short respite from extreme irritation.   Younger people can get it as a result of sodium lauryl sulfates or other allergies.  This was not my case, even though I did eliminate all known causes and allergens.

A few friends quoted Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life" book which is a personal favorite of my own, telling me I must be like all skin irritations: you are angry.  I searched and searched for any unrecognized deep-seated anger and didn't find anything.  Not that I'm not ever angry, or that I don't have recurring anger, but none of it is hidden or gravely under-expressed.

When perimenopausal women get it, they can also watch the fluctuations from bad to worse as their hormones shift like moving targets.   After investigating every avenue and knowing my hormones were not going to completely stabilize anytime soon, I thought I was doomed to endless years of bad skin.  This, I thought, was my just reward for having had an acne-free puberty.

Well, my genius accupuncturist, Marsha Connor, O.D., was not going to ever give up this fight.   Just over two weeks ago  I was in her office bemoaning the fact that I felt like it was unsolvable.  We had tried it all.  she gave me a sample she had received from Kamwo Dermcare.  It is meant to treat eczema, but because perioral dermatitis shares similar causes (in Chinese medicine, damp heat) she thought it might work, and that it was fortuitous that a sample had arrived and that I was the perfect patient to test it. 

I put it on immediately in her office and instantly felt relief.  This had happened before.  It feels good, but the relief is fleeting and it never goes away completely.  But by the following day I knew this was different.  Slowly over the course of these two weeks it has retreated, day by day.  Today my skin is almost completely perfect.  In one or two more days it will be perfect.  It's nothing short of a miracle after what felt like an endless battle.

I have a friend who has had chronic eczema.  Again, nothing has helped her solve it long term.  I called her a week into using Kamwo, when I could see there was no question I was going to be completely healed.  I sent her a photograph of my face and she was blown away.  She bought it immediately and only a few days into her treatment she already sees a dramatic difference.  She too is seeing the remarkable day-by-day retreat of symptoms, like the eczema army is laying down its swords.

So, if you know anyone plagued by perioral dermatitis or eczema (or acne as they also have a remedy for that, which would at least be worth a shot, and likely a very hopeful one) have them go to the Kamwo site: https://www.kamwostore.com/Dermcare-Eczemacare-A-p/kdc15101.htm.  The remedies are so inexpensive too - $15.95 for a large jar (likely a several months' supply).

Here's to LAZY solutions to the problems we think will never end.  Let this be the year that you bump into lazy solutions to chronic issues with grace and ease!








Monday, January 06, 2014

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lazy Way to Deal With Pain -- Physical, Emotional or Spiritual

The holidays have a knack for bringing up pain, even if only in the renewed awareness of those that we have lost.  I read a book recently by Sharon Anne Klingler that has been helping me prepare for my first marathon, both physically and emotionally. 

The book is called "POWER WORDS" and the author gives us Power Words, Trigger Words and Uplifting Words, to be used according to our need.  Inspired by this book I stumbled upon one for myself that has been very helpful to me. 

I wrote an article about it for the Huffington Post.  I hope it comforts you in some way: http://huff.to/1c1SiMo.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Best ____ Recipe EVER!



When I search for recipes I always google the "best [fill in the blank] recipe ever."  Usually within the first five hits, I have the magic one. 

Last week I wanted to make a warm wintry soup.  I wasn't in the mood for mushroom, and had just recently made squash soup.  But I really craved both of those ingredients actually.  So, I was delighted to find that the Best Winter Soup Ever had both of these yummy ingredients, plus kale, white northern beans and tomatoes, among other yummies.

This really is the Best Winter Soup Ever.  It hails from Alton Brown.  It isn't often anymore that a recipe gets a full 5 stars.  This one does:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/winter-vegetable-soup-recipe/index.html

And, oh my god look what I found when I was googling the recipe!  A video from none other than Brown saying that this is the BEST THING HE EVER MADE! 

Even he knows!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSeol9RNyhU

Buon Winter Appetito!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Super Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake...um, yeah, it's perfect for the Holidays!

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My uncle's favorite dessert is Pumpkin Cheesecake and since he drove a long way to our Thanksgiving celebration he deserved his fave.  So I looked for the top-rated Pumpkin Cheesecake and it was Paula Deen's (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pumpkin-cheesecake-recipe/index.html).

It was amazing.  I didn't quite have enough graham cracker crumbs so I substituted about 1/3 cup of the 1 3/4 total in pecans for the crust.  Yum, and the texture didn't suffer one bit.  I brought the crust up about halfway up the sides. 

It is not a disgustingly heavy cheesecake as one would imagine by looking at the ingredients and its chef source. It is light -- really light.   And it really is pumpkin-y even though I thought it didn't seem like enough pumpkin to make a difference. But it is yummy light pumpkin-y delight!  For Christmas I would add a warm cranberry sauce over it for color and holiday sprucing.

For Thanksgiving it was perfect exactly as it was. 

Only warning about cheesecakes if you've never made one before -- don't overbake it. It should be shaking in the middle.  The baking completes once you take it out of the oven.  It's not intuitive, so just thought I should mention just in case!

And, don't be scared of the recipe.  It's unbelievably fast to throw together.  The baking time is what takes long.  This is LAZY DELICIOUSNESS.

Buon Holiday Appetito!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Looking for Thanksgiving Light Fare for Pre-Feast Time?


 
 
 
 
If you are looking for some great light fare for Thanksgiving Day, this is a spectacular soup that you can make as spicy as you wish by adding extra chipotle peppers.  It is unbelievably easy to make, particularly with Trader Joe's pre-bagged squash cubes. 
 

It's not just for Thanksgiving, of course. It's perfect for any day you want to warm up.  Don't skimp on the cilantro and lime.  They really add yet another layer to this already many-layered flavor fest.
 
And, it's super healthy.  It's even vegan for those who bend that way!
 
My favorite thing is it's another reason to use these amazing peppers that I was introduced to when I received it as part of a Christmas present. Yummalicious. 

 
 




 The recipe from a cool blog I had never been to before, and one I hope to frequent:  http://www.coffeeandquinoa.com/2012/11/mexican-butternut-squash-soup/

Happy Thanksgiving Lazy Women!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Biscuits





OK people.  Biscuits are apparently not my forte.  They don't rise, it turns out.  I thought they would.  And, even more so than pie crust, you need to touch the dough as little as possible.  The first batch are the ones in the heart shape.  The second batch -- in the center -- I decided to hardly touch to make them as flaky as possible.  So I just made them generic lump shape!

They are incredibly flavorful.  They don't necessarily taste like pumpkin, but they are more interesting than plain old biscuits and you dust them with parmesan.  They are easy, particularly since you barely touch them! 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pumpkin-parmesan-biscuits-recipe/index.html





I wanted to do a Buttermilk Biscuit too so these are groovy and, again, I decided to not touch them.  Very flaky and lovely.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html


Happy 20th Anniversary Food Network!

Crise de Foie: Not a Good Way to Start the Holiday Season




An old French friend of mine years ago would often weakly moan the morning after an evening out "I'm having a crise de foie."  He explained that his liver was in "crisis" because he had had too much fatty food and drink the night before.  It was a foreign concept to me but I was certain I never wanted it to happen to me.

I'm not into fatty foods, other than ice cream and fries which I rarely allow myself and never at the same time.  I hate oily, buttery or mayonnaisey foods and always have.  The only time I ever use butter is on restaurant bread.  Even for my baked potatoes I used whipped goat cheese. 

As a child I detested mayonnaise so much that I would order tuna sandwiches without it.  Once out on a "date" with my boyfriend at age 7 I ordered this crazy item at the restaurant.  My dad was there, of course, since my boyfriend, though very mature for his age could not drive.  Useless Patrick!

I ordered my mayonnaiseless tuna sandwich and Patrick ordered his normal one.  After a long while, apparently when the arguing in the kitchen subsided and someone finally gave in to the insane request, the two sandwiches were delivered to our table.  A few minutes into eating, my dad recounted a few years before he died, it became obvious that neither of us was happy.  We had each gotten the wrong sandwich. But, being on a "date" neither of us wanted to appear difficult or less than perfectly polite, so neither of us admitted aloud our disgust with our overly or underly mayonnaised sandwiches. 

Last night we had an 80th birthday dinner at Cafe Stella in Silverlake.  It is very French, from the slightly distanced way the staff treats you ("I'm a little too cool to be full on friendly to you, but I will be perfectly delightful and professional so that you will keep ordering and be inclined to return.") to every last morsel you put in your mouth.  It was exquisite food and transported us all back to Paris. 

I ordered Truite Almondine, because in my humble opinion French restaurants and/or chefs know how to prepare it best.  It was the best I'd ever had.  With the first buttery, melt-in-you mouth bite, though I knew I wanted lemon to cut the butter a little.  But I hesitated to ask.  I was transported back to the the late 60's in the restaurant with Patrick Woodward and my dad.  Don't want to ruffle any chef feathers, I thought.  But also, in my defense, every time I looked up from our lively discussion at the table our waiter was nowhere in sight.

The salad was also brilliant. The dressing one of the best French mustard based dressings I have had. But, I had forgotten to ask for "light" application.  It didn't stop me from eating the whole thing though because it was ridiculously delicious.  Still, it was far richer than what I am used to with my lemon only salads at home.  At most I put on the lightest amount of oil, so for my system this was the fat equivalent of taking a morning shower under Niagara Falls. 

A chocolate pot de creme drizzled with caramel finished off the evening.  It was inspired.  Seriously, who ever thought of drizzling a deeply rich chocolate pot with caramel?  Unreal.

Later that evening as I prepared for bed I was thinking about my French friend.  I was experiencing my first "crise de foie."  I could hear my liver yelling from deep inside me "What the hell were you thinking?"

I am fine today. Never mind the fact that I had the best drink I've ever had, the "Ginger Rogers" (gin, fresh ginger, etc.) at the Chateau Marmont earlier in the evening, champagne just before that and a Stella Artois with dinner.  That's an enormous amount of alcohol for me.  More Niagara Falls on my sweet innocent liver.

It was worth it though. It was a divinely yummy evening.  But, really?  Was it the best choice the week of Engorgement Day?  

It was my first crise de foie.  So, I'm just going to eat very light for the next three days -- another very French thing to do, for women at least - and pretend I'm French.  I'm also going to run 734 miles.

If you want to pretend you are French, I could not more highly recommend this LA gem: http://cafestella.com/.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Looking for Thanksgiving Fun? Try a BLOW TORCH!

 


I had been thinking recently how I'd love to use my blow torch again soon.  I was also contemplating what I'd be making for dessert on Thanksgiving.  My uncle likes Pumpkin Cheesecake so I should do that for him.  I like Pumpkin-Pecan Pie or Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie.  But, the other day as I worked out I was listening to NPR and they did a most delightful spot on the pie.  They mentioned Bon Appetit's recipe for Bruleed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie. 

I was working out so I wasn't listening as carefully as I should have been but I do believe I heard the chefs say that they made it three times before they really got it right.  So, I'm guessing this is going to be a challenge, but I don't care.  Can you see that photo???? UNBELIEVABLE!  MUST MAKE!

In case you want to pull out your blow torch (or go buy one for the event) here is the recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bruleed-bourbon-maple-pumpkin-piehttp://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bruleed-bourbon-maple-pumpkin-pie

The very best part of this story though is that i told my 95 year old friend Adelaide about how excited I was to use my blow torch on Thanksgiving!  She then suggested that I might want to let a turkey loose in the yard and run around chasing it with a blow torch.  In my mind's eye I saw myself running around doing exactly that.  As a vegetarian, of course, my fantasy was that the turkey was always a good 20 feet ahead of me.

Good times.  Good Turkey Day Times.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Deeeeeescrumptious Chocolate Cake Doesn't LOOK Lazy but it IS!



I love making everyone's birthday dessert wishes come true.  For my friend Robin she said she wanted anything chocolate and joked about a many layered chocolate cake from Le Bernardin.  I found Eric Ripert's recipe for a molten cake but it had parameters on how far in advance of baking it could be made, so that was out.  Then I think I googled "best chocolate cake" and found Ina Garden's recipe for what she says is "the best chocolate cake that [she] has ever made."  How could I not try making that!???

The recipe called for oil instead of butter so I was suspicious but soldiered on, because it's Ina.  Ina is never wrong.

Well, Robin was very happy.  So that is ALL that matters.  End of story....with one teeny tiny footnote.

I'm going to tell you why it wasn't my very favorite chocolate cake ever, while still encouraging you to make it.  If you like cakes that are a little more spongy in texture, i.e., more big holes to be seen, then you will love it.  You push down on it with a fork and it bounces up very quickly.  I prefer cakes that are more cakey, i.e., a bit smaller holes.  They are not in any way heavy but they bounce back a wee bit more slowly. 

And, yes it was still an awesome cake and I totally get Ina's adoration for it.  What I loved about it:  it's light, very dark chocolatey, and super duper easy to make.  It doesn't even require cake flour. 

It is a lazy fancy cake to make because -- I'm not kidding you -- you can't screw it up and it's fast to throw together.  Not all cake recipes are this forgiving or carefree to assemble.

NOTE:  Make 1.5 times the frosting recipe.  Just trust me, even though it's insane because that means you are going to use 3/4 of a pound of butter. But one recipe's worth does not make a great looking cake -- unless perhaps you are a professional baker.  Even then, though, the coverage is thin with one recipe. 

I always decorate my cakes with fresh flowers and signs but I added extra lavender to obscure the not-so-beautiful-cause-there-wasn't-enough frosting coverage.

Still.  Make it.  It's deeeeeescruptious.

Ina's recipe: http://bit.ly/1bWQXGf

Buon Chocappetito!





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lazy + Best Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER



This cookie is so good it tastes like it was plucked off of a vine created by God, so I had to dress up the plate to help celebrate its glory!

I always like to try new recipes so when I was yoked with the very serious responsibility of creating a "bazooki" for a friend's birthday recently, I thought it was the perfect time to try a new chocolate chip recipe.  A bazooki is a chocolate chip cookie served with ice cream, whipped cream and hot fudge sauce, or some variation on that depending on the recipe.

I googled what I always google when searching for new recipes.  I insert the word "best" or "most amazing" in front of the needed recipe.  So, this recipe is aptly named "Best Chocolate Chip Cookies."  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-chocolate-chip-cookies/.

My variation on the recipe was the following: 

1.  Instead of 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips, I added one cup of chips, one cup of semisweet chocolate chunks (from Trader Joe's) and about 2/3 cup of Trader Joe's new Peanut Butter Chips.
2.  Instead of 1 cup walnuts I added two cups of mixed nuts -- toasted slivered almonds, pecan pieces and walnut pieces. 

Oh. My. God.

And, this recipe does something new -- you dissolve the baking soda in hot water which I really do believe makes a difference in the texture.  As Dora, the recipe contributor notes they are perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

Buon Choco-Appetito.





Gratitude. Lazy Lovely Loving Gratitude



On Facebook lots of people are participating in a gratitude exercise, writing about something they are grateful for each day. I assume it goes until Thanksgiving and I'm along for the ride.

It's funny because even though I have been expressing my gratitude every day when I meditate, this little exercise is definitely expanding my sense of gratitude.  That's never a bad thing.  When you stand in gratitude, it's hard to not be standing in joy. 

Today I am grateful for my mistakes.  It was a big week, and I ended up dropping a lot of balls due to the very extra-ordinariness of the week.  On Monday I met iconic author Anne Lamott, a dream come true.  She inspires me every day to be a better writer.  On Tuesday I re-met Gloria Steinem at a glorious Ms. Foundation fundraiser which also celebrated Steinem's 80th birthday, another dreamy evening.   Steinem has been a beacon of light on my own path since I was 11 and my stepmom gave me a subscription to Ms. Magazine. 

After these two big long days, I had an important business trip where I would be required to kick some major ass on little sleep.  Then, yesterday, the day after my late night return from that trip I had a college reunion event, a hike.  It was a chock full week of kick-ass work and fun.

So back to balls dropping....I hadn't caught the destination of the hike.  There are a lot of great hikes off the Angeles Crest Highway, where we were set to meet.  I didn't pay attention to the destination since we were going as a group, and that wasthe point: fun and frolic in nature with old friends.

One of the balls I dropped was the nagging thought that haunted me all week:  Must make sure to get a couple cellphone numbers for peeps on the Saturday hike....just in case. So when I missed the meeting place, I realized I only had home phone numbers and emails. I shot an email and assumed it didn't even go through.  They actually did get it, after a delay, and tried emailing and calling but coverage was spotty so we missed each other. 

So I ended up on a hiking wild goose choice, searching for the "3 mile loop" hike my friends were enjoying.  Tulle, Lucy and I traipsed around the mountain on two different wrong path for a few hours. 

I was really mad at myself at the beginning of the first hike of the day.  Bad Bridget.  Balls dropped.  Bad.    Then I realized it was probably the absolutely perfect thing to be alone in the absolute quiet, just me and Tallulah and Lucy in nature, contemplating life, reviewing my connection to God, nature, myself.  It was, indeed, perfect.   I actually needed it, and didn't know how very much.  It's like drinking water and realizing you've been dying of thirst for hours. 

We were on our way back to the car at the end of the second hike when we met two of the people from the group hike (who needed to leave early) at the all important junction of two paths.  So close.  I had seen that path and thought it was the wrong one, but in fact it was perfectly wrong and right.   So, we started back up that mountain on the "right" path and found the group. Hallelujah!

Lucy and Tulle were particularly grateful for the reunion because there were two other dogs so they were let off their leashes to roam free.  This pic is of them scaring the crap out of me as they ran up and down the ledge.  The other side: sheer rocky cliff.  This was the end of the hike so I knew I could manage the adrenaline rush this incited!

 
 
So, today I'm grateful for the reminder that as maddening, crazy or mean it seems that fate and destiny and life may be that everything really is absolutely perfect just the way it is.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lazy Gardening

No kidding.  Best salad.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.

This is a Tower Garden.  The first time I saw one was a couple years ago at a friend's house.  Then a friend got one.  She sells them now.  I became a distributor too, just to save money.  Anyone can.  When I first heard about them they were $1200.  Now they are $500 and that includes every single thing you need for your Tower Garden including the seeds!  In just days -- seriously less than a week -- I had the seedlings in the tower.  You are seeing the bright green seedlings with little miniature signs I made to remind me what was growing, in case anything didn't sprout.

I went to OSH and got extra different seeds in addition to what was provided.  Gourmet lettuces, tomatoes and herbs.  Everything is now - almost 4 weeks in burgeoning except the nasturtium.  Tomato plants are getting ginormous but no tomatoes yet.  But the plants are brilliantly healthy.




This was a shot I took several days ago when I went out to harvest my LUNCH!  Oh my God it was so delicious.  Last night I had people over and they loved it too, so I'm not biased!

And the super cool amazing thing about these Tower Gardens is they use a tiny percent of the resources used to grow these crops in the ground, and the nutrients are higher!

 
 
So many things about this are fun, especially since I eat one or two salads a day and have spinach and kale in my smoothie every morning, but man oh man is it LAZY and also just so incredibly satisfying to grow stuff -- any stuff -- but stuff you can eat every day -- WOW1
 
Can't more highly recommend to any Lazy Women out there!
 
 


Monday, October 14, 2013

I Don't Want My Body To Break Up with Me!

I lost yet another friend far too soon.  He was only 56.  This keeps happening.  When we pass that mid-century marker, our bodies start breaking down from long-term stressors like weight.  When I heard about my friend I used it as a wake-up call to reassess my own weight.   I am blessed with health and energy, but it was a call to action to get back to my fighting size.   How dare I even have 15-20 pounds of extra pressure on my heart, veins, joints, ligaments?  I dare not. 

We demand so much of our bodies.   In some cases, the relationship between our bodies and minds is like a rocky marriage, where the husband and wife are essentially roommates after years of unexpressed feelings.  At some point though, maybe after a rich, heavy meal and a third glass of wine, the body chooses to express its long-term unhappiness and resignation to the mind: "Look, I've worked as hard as I could up to now, but you have just gone one day too many in taking advantage of me.  You have abused me on your worst days, neglected me far too much overall, and have not honored me as much I deserve.  I am no longer going to work this hard to keep you alive. "

I don't want my body to break up with me.  Frankly, I'd like for us to have a long and lovely run.   I knew I had two immediate issues to solve in order to heal this relationship.  First, since I haven't been able to work out at full throttle for 4 months due to a torn ligament, I have been unwilling to decrease my calorie intake for fear of being hungry.  Second, for a couple of years I've been battling one profoundly annoying hormone-induced symptom:  bouts of extreme hunger. 

I saw that the solution to both of these issues was in my developing a hot and juicy relationship with hunger pangs.   In honor of my friend I did what I hadn't been able to do.  I pulled way back on calories by doing the Isagenix 11 Day Cleanse that a few friends had done and loved.  I was hungry at first and started paying attention to my reactions to hunger.  Usually it triggered the thought "Something is WRONG here.  Must fix.  Must feed."   But a pang does not an emergency portend and it is clear that I will survive even if my stomach is growling.

I did the cleanse twice in the course of 5 or 6 weeks.  I lost 12 pounds and have kept it off now for over a month.  Isagenix really does keep all the cravings at bay and it gave me a brand new, recalibrated relationship with hunger.  

My relationship with my body is definitely on the upswing.  And, my new friendship with hunger is definitely on the mend as I learn to not make it bad and wrong, and embrace it as a signal that my ideal body is on its way back. 

I can't more highly recommend Isagenix.  I have started my day with smoothies for years and the Isagenix whey powders are the high quality equivalent of what I was getting from my accupuncturist.  Prices are better, quality just as high.  And, I love all the flavors of every product I've tried so far.  I became a distributor to get better prices and I'm glad I did because I use the products every day and love them. They curb my cravings and make my energy consistent. When that is the case, hunger pangs are real, they aren't misfiring cravings due to lack of nutrients.  I don't crave wheat and sugar anymore.  That is nothing short of a miracle.

I'm dealing with the emotional side, and Isagenix is taking care of the nutritional craving side.  It's a healthy little threesome: me, my body and Isagenix.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Super Lazy Birthday Cake AND Food & Wine Mag Redeems Self



After last week's Food & Wine fava bean debacle, you would think I would set it aside for a long, long time.  Alas, no.  Once I saw the photo of the Baked Alaska Birthday Cake in the recent mag, I had to make it for my dear birthday girl friend, Elisa.

Now, I will also admit that this recipe -- http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/baked-alaska-birthday-cake  -- looks unbelievably complicated.  But, it's not if you buy the chocolate pound cake.  I couldn't find any, though, so the only un-lazy part of this process was scouring several stores for it.  I settled on store-bought, store-made sliced chocolate cake in the bakery section of my Pavilions.  It worked out just dandy.

The meringue also reads a complicated AND if you've never made it you might think "How could anything that dramatic be easy?"    And it is!   Ideally you will have a standing mixer.  It will make it super easy.  It's a 4 step process.  Make the sugar syrup.  Whip the egg whites.  Throw it on the cake.  Torch it.

So, yes, you need a kitchen torch. If you don't have a kitchen torch, let me tell you it is the absolutely most amazing kitchen tool. It is SOOOOOOOOOOO fun, easy to use and it creates drama in seconds.   

I didn't do the pastry bag application of the meringue because I was a wee bit tipsy after we had all gone out for the birthday dinner....but my buddy, Daniel, who played slightly tipsy assistant, did a great job of creating peaks with the back of a spatula. 

Don't be scared of this recipe.  Also, use the birthday boy or girl's favorite ice creams.  For instance, I found out -- sadly, after the fact -- that Elisa's favorite flavors are chocolate and peanute butter. I could have used that flavor ice cream.  So choose flavors that work for the honoree.

Once it's done you can add decorations and candles galore...it all holds up just dandy!



 
 
So even when you don't make your own chocolate pound cake, people may be eating it for days....as seen in this video!  LOL!
 

video

 
Happy Birthday to all the Lovely Libras!!!!!  You guys are my faves!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Green Food Party!!!!!


 
This is the card one of my most amazing friends, Elisa, gave
me with a lovely hostess gift for the GREEN FOOD PARTY

Did you hear me screaming from the middle of my local Farmer's Market yesterday around 10 a.m. PST?  Well, I apologize for my internal scream that may have been heard around the globe, but the new issue of Food & Wine magazine has the most glorious looking/sounding recipe in it that I built my whole dinner party around. 

Check out this link to this Food & Wine recipe (which does not do the print copy of the photo any justice, by the way) for Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto.  The photo in the mag is of the most brilliant gorgeous green yumminess.  I had to create a GREEN DINNER in its honor.

The evil thing that Food & Wine does not admit is that fava beans are NOT in season. I went to five markets and the Farmer's Market.  So, I had to make a "twist" on the recipe and manipulated it to work with asparagus which oddly is still brought to the Farmer's Market each week in its most stellar flavorful form by one grower.  It was delish, but I can't wait to make the Fava Bean recipe, which will, of course, be a very different beast.

So, the menu I built around the missing favas:


·         Cocktail Hour

o   Agua Fresca with Vodka  (See recipe in previous Lazy Woman post -- it is the most brilliant gorgeous refreshingly delicious GREEN!)

o   Green Hummus  (with Cucumber, Celery, Broccoli, Edamame Crackers) (I make up my hummus recipes, but seriously you can take a basic hummus recipe and add a bunch of flat parsley. I add more lemon juice than called for as well.  It's lovely green!)

o   Green Olives from the Farmer’s Market

·         Dinner

o   Pea Soup – Crème Fraiche + Chives (recipe below)

o   Green Risotto (Asparagus instead of Favas with a rough employment of the F&W recipe)

o   Zucchini Pasta (Zucchini strips made with vegetable peeler and green spinach pasta noodles with avocado oil/pistachio pesto)

o   Salad with Arugula, Green Tomato + Avocado + Artichoke Hearts

·         Dessert

o   Key Lime Tart with Chocolate Salted Ice Cream + Lime Whipped Cream

This photo is horrid...pretend you can see the pretty green hues.  It was delish:




Table decorations were, of course, green.  Again horrid pic but wanted to show that everyone had their own little dish of dried/salted green beans. Little private dishes of things make people really happy -- including me!   And, oh my god the crunch.   (Thank you Trader Joe's Gods.)  Some people (including me!) sprinkled them on their Pea Soup. 





For me the hit of the night was the pea soup.  I forgot to take a pic last night when it was BRILLIANT GREEN.  Here it is today, still pretty damned green, but last night the soup was as brilliant green as the mint.  Not kidding.  But, I made it Friday night and put it in the fridge and was delighted that when I got it out to heat it up on Saturday night it was as brilliant as it had been.  Also, due to having little time I used frozen peas and the worked just fine as far as flavor.  Ina Garten is a fricking GENIUS: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/fresh-pea-soup-recipe/index.html






The Key Lime Tart is phenomenal recipe.  My go to place for baked goods recipes is Smitten Kitchen.  http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/09/in-praise-of-the-pocket-sized/

I was driving to Long Beach for a meeting yesterday and got the inspired idea to serve the tart key lime tart with deep chocolate ice cream and whipped cream infused with lime (aka lime zest).  But I got home too late to go to my local amazing "creamery" for the Salted Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  I had to stop at TJ's for Vodka so their chocolate coconut milk ice cream would have to do.

This is when you know you have the best friends on planet earth.  One of my guests, sweeeeeet Robin, BROUGHT THE ICE CREAM that I had been dying to stop and get!!!!  Magical dinner party ensues.

And, the Seuss green eggs and ham card was finally opened at the end of the evening as the final black & white proof that I have the best friends on planet earth. Not only are they PSYCHIC but they are poets:

We love to chew green food
we do not think it's rude
(to chew green food...in the nude)
We are wooed by your GREEN FOOD!