Sep 1, 2007

Musings: International Foods & Lavender

I went to the International Street Fair in Orange today...and I baked in the California sunshine. The temperatures soared to over 90˚. I know some of you are dealing with higher temperatures coupled with unreasonable humidity! Just remember that fish in a frying pan don't quibble over temperature, they just know they're being cooked!

Of course, redemption from the heat was found in the ethnic aromas swirling for my attention. So, armed with a spray bottle of icy water, I wandered from one country to the next. My first stop was Denmark. Here, I shared Danish aebleskiver with my daughter, Briana, and her friend Sarah. Aebleskiver are much like orb-shaped waffles, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with raspberry jam! It was delectable– and sharing definitely kept me in check.

Venturing off to Australia, I purchased Aussie potatoes with ranch dressing. I devoured an Irish banger in the shade of an old stone building and then ducked into an antique store to lavish myself with air conditioning. After looking through a collection of antique candy molds, I headed for Greece. There I squeezed lemon juice over fried calamari, dunking each piece into fresh cocktail sauce.

At this point, my tolerance for the heat had peaked, so I made my ritual stop at Café Lucca's. Their Italian roasted coffees, grilled Panini, and homemade soups are awesome. However, it was the artisan fresh fruit sorbetos and gelato that I had a hankering for. It was my way of placing an ice cap on my day. I left with a tall cup of orange and peach gelato for the road. I couldn't walk fast enough to my car!


Upon returning home, I pulled a lavender sachet from one of my dresser drawers and began to release it's fragrance by gently squeezing it. I will sometimes rub pure lavender essential oil onto my palms and then– bringing my hands to my face– I slowly inhale its soothing fragrance.

Lavender Tidbits:
  • The word lavender comes from the Latin lavare, which means to wash.
  • It is indigenous to and thrives in the Mediterranean.
  • It is a fragrant, edible herb. (I love McFadden Farm's Organic Herbes de Provence which includes lavender in the ingredients.)
  • Because of it's beautiful fragrance, it was used in early civilizations for washing and bathing.
  • It is used as a deodorant, an antiseptic, and as an insect repellent.
  • It is known to relieve stress and soothe aching joints.
  • The Greek writer, Dioscorides, expounded on lavender's medicinal properties.

A good source for organic lavender is Jardin du Soleil.


As of yesterday, I entered my 3rd month of blogging! Onward and upward!

Aug 31, 2007

Frau Frugal and Tantalizing Tongue Twisters

I have a sweet, stuck-in-the-60's pal who amazes me! Laura Cowan, alias Frau Frugal, has a highly sensitive sale sniffer (say that 3 times!) If there's a bargain to be found, Frau Frugal is on it before the retailer has even conceived the sale!

Months ago, she went to the Ellison Design warehouse sale here in Southern California. Ellison Design recently merged with Sizzix brands. I was preparing for an expensive move at the time, so I gave her a $20.00 budget to find something special. Today, we finally rendezvoused and I received the benefit of her frugality.

For $20.00, she purchased a brand new Sizzix Sidekick Starter Kit (another tongue twister) and 17 dies! This would normally retail for about $125.00! So, I experienced a savings of $105.00 or 84%! Now, I would say that this sale was something to die for!

(Pictured here: the Sizzix Sidekick Starter Kit. My 17 dies are not shown.)

Aug 29, 2007

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh in the cockpit of the Lockheed Sirius in 1933.
Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born June 22, 1906 in Englewood, New Jersey. She died in Passumpsic, Vermont at the age of 94 on February 7, 2001. She was an accomplished lyrical author and aviator. Her 1955 book, Gift From the Sea (Pantheon), was on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list for 80 weeks, holding the distinguished spot of No. 1 for 47 of those weeks. This book contains reflections and meditations extolling the joys of womanhood and measuring it's sorrows.

Her bittersweet and sometimes controversial marriage to the renowned pilot, Charles A. Lindbergh, was widely watched and documented. The paparazzi hounded them continuously, especially after the kidnapping and death of their baby son, Charles Jr.. Charles attempted to control Anne to the point that her only freedom was through her writing.

Today, I have selected some of Anne's insightful and reflective quotes...

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.

A simple enough pleasure, surely, to have breakfast alone with one's husband, but how seldom married people in the midst of life achieve it.

If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.

Men kick friendship around like a football but it doesn't seem to break. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.

Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone.

Life is a gift, given in trust - like a child.

A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side.

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

I have been overcome by the beauty and richness of our life together, those early mornings setting out, those evenings gleaming with rivers and lakes below us, still holding the last light.

It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.

One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay 'in kind' somewhere else in life.

To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.

The intellectual is constantly betrayed by his vanity. Godlike he blandly assumes that he can express everything in words; whereas the things one loves, lives, and dies for are not, in the last analysis completely expressible in words.

Aug 28, 2007

Orange Julius

Here in Southern California, I don't see much of Orange Julius anymore. The chain was everywhere during my childhood. One look at their bright orange logo would send my taste buds into a tizzy! I miss the creamy, frothy orange sweetness of their signature beverage! I know that Dairy Queen bought them out. If Orange Julius still exists in the local malls, I wouldn't know since I shop mostly in old town districts and at charming detached shops.

However, I am sharing a simple, refreshing recipe that revisits the joys of Orange Julius! It's a sweet treat to beat summer heat!


• 1 cup orange juice
• 1 cup water
• 2 egg whites
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 heaping cup ice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender set on high speed for exactly 1 minute.

Note: You can always adjust the water level if you want the orange flavor to be more predominant.

Aug 27, 2007

Can you come out and play?

Magical moments happen when I open children's books. Perhaps it's because there is still a young girl very alive within me. She still skips with me and holds my hand. She reminds me to laugh and squeal with delight and engage my curiosity! She is a capricious soul, tending her little playhouse of pleasures. She invites me to play, and I need that...

Jenny Beck Harris is a celebrated illustrator of children's books! She has a blog entitled All Sorts and a very child-indulgent site called Virtual Softie. When you visit Virtual Softie, you will immediately to enticed to play! The artwork is colorful and happy. And, by clicking and dragging some choice accessories, you will be able to play dress-up with a blue-eyed sweetie who welcomes you with open arms!