Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

First Do No Harm

August 20, 2014

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The FDA often acknowledges the presence of harmful chemicals in our household products, but does not do anything about them. Case in point:

In 2010, the government agency agreed that triclosan, which is often found in hand soaps and toothpaste can disrupt hormone balance, cause endocrine disorders and could be a contributor to the increasing rates of drug-resistant bacterias. The state of Minnesota has announced a ban on triclosan, effective in 2017.

So why is triclosan one of the active ingredients in Colgate Total toothpaste, something we actually ingest?!

Surely, there are other less toxic and dangerous things that could be used to make toothpaste, than a drug known to cause extreme health issues.

Consumer groups are pressuring big retailers to remove Colgate Total, and other triclosan products from the shelves. More importantly, we should be pressuring the FDA to ban it completely.

Colgate has defended it’s product, stating that there have been more studies done on Total than any other toothpaste in the world and that it is safe to use. Personally, I am not taking any chances. My current tube of Colgate Total is going in the trash, and being replaced by Crest, which doesn’t contain triclosan, or something even purer, like Tom’s of Maine.

Plain old baking soda and water has also been touted as a natural toothpaste replacement, removing stains, tartar and leaving breath fresh. The fluoride in our water supply should be able to do the rest.

We can run marathons, pour buckets of ice water over our heads, and bike until our legs fall off, all in the name of curing diseases that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Banning harmful ingredients, and being transparent with consumers about what is actually in these products may some day make our efforts moot.

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Mini Treats

August 18, 2014

There is a little bit of kid in all of us, especially when it comes to treats. Over the weekend, I made a bunch of indulgent little desserts in kid friendly sizes. They were well received by all ages!

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Specially shaped chocolate chip cookies became the base for kid- friendly cookie pops!

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Nothing is better than handmade mini ice cream cones.

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Except for the ones filled with homemade salted caramel ice cream, that is. The creamiest smoothest ice cream I have ever eaten, if I must say so myself.

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In a word: YUM!

photos: indigo jones instagram

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Lefties

August 13, 2014

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August 13 is Left Handers Day, and being a southpaw myself, I thought it prudent to mark the occasion.

Lefties tend to be drawn to creative pursuits more often than their right handed counterparts. Look for lots of lefties in the arts, music, design, and sports.

From Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrant, to David Bowie and Paul McCartney, the list of creative lefties goes on and on.

Four of the last seven presidents of the United States have also been lefties. Presidents Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ford were all southpaws. Harry Truman and James Garfield also favored their left hands. It is rumored that Ronald Reagan was also a lefty, but was converted by his school teachers to use his right hand.

There are some major downfalls to being left handed:

Notebooks are bound on the left, making it difficult to start writing at the margin. We also tend to drag our hand through the text or drawings as we work on them, smearing the ink or graphite, and giving us a telltale smudge along the outside of our hand.

If we don’t sit on the outside of the table, we end up in an elbow war with the people next to us.

Those old fashioned one sided school desks? Always on the wrong side!

Often lacking the tools to perform day to day tasks due to things being engineered to accommodate righties, those who favor the left tend to be able to adapt to different scenarios with ease.

Try to open a can with a crank can opener, cut with scissors and use a mouse that are all designed to be used with your less dominent hand, and see how you fare. Us lefties have been doing it for years.

photo: glasshouse images

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It’s a Gas

August 11, 2014

 

7765900026Just when you think you’ve heard it all, a new study comes out and blows you away. Literally.

It seems that hydrogen sulfide, the noxious gas that gives farts their foul odor, has health benefits. Hydrogen sulfide is responsible for the part of the digestive process that breaks down gassy foods, and is expelled through flatulence.

Doctors are adding trace amounts of it to a new drug that is thought to reverse mitochondiral damage, thus strengthening cells and reducing blood pressure and pulse rate.

They are using it sparingly, as in large doses, hydrogen sulfide is poisonous. Not a surprise to those of us who have been on the receiving end of someone’s gas attack. Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase “silent but deadly,” doesn’t it?

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Stave Off The Stench

August 4, 2014

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When I saw this post from Men’s Health entitled “How to Cure Stinky Feet,” I was intrigued. Not to name names of course, but I do know someone whose feet could knock you over when they remove their shoes at the end of the day.

So as a public service to this anonymouos person, and those that they love, here are a few ways to tame the stench…

Salt tends to pull the moisture from your skin, thus reducing the bacteria that survives there. It is suggested that soaking feet for 20 minutes a day in a solution of coarse kosher salt and warm water over a period of two weeks could have a positive effect.

Or, you could try to dry out the bacteria by soaking in one part vinegar and two parts water for 30 minutes each day for a week.

If turning your feet into a salad isn’t appealing, perhaps this is more your cup of tea. Brew some strong, black tea, and add cool water. Soak away the smellies for 3o minutes a day and let the acid in the tea act as an antiboitic to kill that nasty bacteria. Munching on a scone while you soak is optional.

In the meantime, stick to cotton socks, which allow your feet to breathe. As a courtesy to others, consider changing them mid day.

Spray your shoes with a disinfectant like Lysol. Saturate a pair of socks with it and stuff them into the shoes to marinate over night and help eliminate odors. Personally, I prefer Fabreze, but it doesn’t have the antibacterial punch of good ‘ole Lysol. It does however smell nicer, which is the end game here, isn’t it?

Sprinkle a little baby powder or plain old corn starch into your shoes to absorb sweat and odor. They will also soak up the stink during the day.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Watermelon-palooza!

August 1, 2014

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Sunday, August 3 is National Watermelon Day, and we have set out make sure this fruit gets the respect it deserves.

Watermelon is low in calories, ( about 46 per cup) and high in health benefits.  As its name suggests, it is 93% water, making it incredibly hydrating.

It also packs a healthy dose of vitamins C, B1 and B6 and potassium, among others. It’s rich, red hue means it is also full of the antioxidant lycopene, which is also found in tomatoes.

When selecting a watermelon, look for a symmetrical and unblemished melon that feels heavy for its size. When turned over, there should be a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground during the ripening process. If the spot is green, or white, it is not yet ready to be eaten. Always wash and dry the outside of the melon before cutting.

While most of us think of eating watermelon in its purest form, it is actually a very versatile fruit. Not only is the juicy, pink flesh edible, but the seeds and rind are as well.

Here are some great ideas for preparing watermelon:

The melon is easily cut in half and hollowed out to use as a decorative bowl for fruit salad. The flesh can be scooped into balls, or cut into chunks and put back into the hollow rind. Add other fruits for variety, or enjoy it alone.

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Watermelon salad is a novel way to start a meal. Cut the watermelon into chunks, and sprinkle it with lime juice. Toss in some chopped fresh mint leaves, and some crumbled feta cheese.

For a refreshing cocktail, puree the watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Mix it with lime juice, triple sec and a shot of vodka and serve it icy cold.

Make a cold soup out of watermelon, ginger, and fresh mint. Freeze watermelon chunks until firm. Dice some fresh peeled ginger and add it to a pan of water with about 1/2 cup of sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves and becomes a simple syrup. Put the watermelon into the blender, and puree. Add the warm syrup and blend until mixed. Add more water until the desired consistency is reached. Add a handful of mint leaves and continue to blend another minute.  Taste to adjust sugar and ginger accordingly. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with more diced ginger or mint leaves.

The rinds of the melon can be pickled. Cut off the fleshy pink part and reserve for another use. Peel off the dark outer layer of skin, and cut the light green rind into chunks. Boil the pieces in salt water for about 5 minutes until softened. Combine 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar, a handful each of black peppercorns and whole cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks, a heavy pinch of  allspice and ground ginger in a pot and boil until the sugar dissolves.

Pour mixture over the rinds and cover the bowl to keep them submerged. Refrigerate overnight.  Strain the liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the rinds and refrigerate overnight again. Repeat this process 1 or 2 more times and keep the finished rinds in jars until ready to eat.

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If all of this sounds daunting, have no fear. Head on over to your local Pinkberry to celebrate National Watermelon Day by enjoying their special Watermelon Cooler, a refreshing combination of their original tart frozen yogurt topped with freshly made crushed watermelon puree. Even better, each customer that purchases a medium sized yogurt has a 1 in 10 chance to receive it free! Every 10th cup is specially marked and whoever gets the marked cup gets their yogurt for free. Yum!

Happy Watermelon Day!

Photos: top: Glasshouse Images

Bottom photo courtesy of Pinkberry

Walking Papers

July 17, 2014

 

8034100025This summer, New York City will host 53 million tourists. While we love the international flare and the added income it brings to our fair city, we frankly hate the crowds who seem unable to keep up with the flow.

You know who you are. The groups of people, strolling along idly, side by side on the street, three or more abreast making it almost impossible to get past you. And we need to get past you. Please walk in clusters of no more than two, stick to the right side, and even better, keep up with the flow.

It’s called a sidewalk, not a stand there and gawk walk. If you wish to stop and look up at our lovely skyline, please step aside to do so. Same story with texting, photo ops and general rubber necking. We need to get past you.

1806700078As hard as it is to believe, we have places to go, people to see and things to do. This is why we need to get past you. While Chelsea Market is an amazing place, with all of it’s remarkable food shops and cool interior, some of us go there to buy our food. Step away from the produce, and let us shop. I mean, haven’t you seen arugula before? Ditto, fresh fish and other day to day delicacies that constitute our dinner. Feel free to act like a tourist in Times Square, Macy’s, and South Street Seaport. But when you are on our turf, try to act like a local, or at least be considerate of us.

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It’s proper to let  people off the train before boarding. If the train is crowded, please take your backpacks off and move your gigantic pieces of luggage out of our way so we can get on and off. Try not to block the doors so we don’t miss our stop climbing over your stuff, or worse yet, break a toe trying to navigate our way around it.

Walking is a frequently used mode of transportation for us locals. Think of walking, the way you would driving. Imagine the chaos if you and your friends all drove very, very slowly in a pack during rush hour, making it difficult to get around you. And what if you all just stopped suddenly to look at the sunset with out any warning to those behind you? Are you starting to get the picture?

And about getting the picture: Selfies, seriously? Here in the middle of the street? Now?

I think you get my drift. Enjoy your visit to the Big Apple!

 

*This has been a public service announcement from indigo jones. Thank you.

photos: Glasshouse Images

Spiralize Me!

July 14, 2014

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I am not a big fan of random kitchen gadgets, especially the plastic miracle machines that are the fodder of late night infomercials.  Yet, this little guy has me smitten!

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It’s called a spiralizer,and with a quick turn of a handle, it converts vegetables into long, noodle-like strands that give pasta a run for it’s money.

Tonight, we enjoyed zucchini noodles, quick sautéed and bathed in a sauce of garlic, basil, oil and fresh tomatoes, sprinkled with a little freshly ground Parmesan cheese. For a fraction of the calories, and far more nutritional value than it’s flour based counterpart, this was a fast and delicious meal that was whipped up in no time flat.

Try it! You’ll love it!

 

 

 

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Reheating Bread

May 20, 2014

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Did you ever heat bread or baked goods in the microwave, only to find them nearly fossilized a minute later? The microwave seems to zap the moisture from foods, often leaving them dry and hard.

Have no fear, a solution is here!
Simply place a small dish of water in the microwave, next to the bread or pastry before heating. The water adds moisture to the air inside the oven, and serves to lightly steam, rather than dehydrate the food. The result is softer, fresher tasting baked goods every time.

This concept works in a regular oven as well. My grandmother used to place bread or bagels in a brown paper bag, and sprinkle it liberally with water before placing it in the oven. When the bag was dry, the bread was heated through, soft and delicious. We have even rubbed a little water on a baguette for the same result.

Next time you have bread that is starting to get a bit stale, try one of these methods to bring it back to life!

photo: Glasshouse Images

A New Crop

May 14, 2014

Midriff baring tops made their way to the red carpet last week, as young Hollywood dared to bare it at the annual Met Ball.

Rihanna ruled the night in a white two piece by Stella McCartney:

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Anne Hathaway was a chic lady in red in Calvin Klein:

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Gabrielle Union was on the fringe in her Prada skirt and top:

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Anna Kendrick showed some skin in J. Mendel:

488321789.nocrop.w1800.h1330Emma Stone glows in brightly hued Thakoon:

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 


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