Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

2009 has come to a close and I am hopeful for a bright and exciting 2010. I'm not exactly sure what the new year will have in store for me, but I am open to the possibilities.

I have spent the better part of December fighting off various viruses and mystery illnesses, which have in turn resulted in the neglect my blog has suffered from. So, my solemn pledge for my blog world friends is to be more attentive in 2010 and provide you with lots of entertaining reading/viewing material.

However you spend your New Year's Eve, have a fun filled magical time (because you know it is going to be a blue moon tonight, which won't happen again until 2028).

...and be sure to have a designated driver if you plan on drinking some bubbly.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dia de los Muertos

After a fun filled Halloween, the BF and I attended the Day of the Dead event at The California Center for the Arts. A huge interactive installation was set up and everyone from the community was encouraged to bring objects in memory of their loved ones to leave and in turn, become a part of the installation.

They also had arts and crafts projects for kids and the museum was also open for the evening. We had a fantastic time and will be attending every year from now on.

Of course we took a million pictures...




























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Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween!!!

It is one of my most favorite holidays. Not only because it gives you free license to run around like a crazy person, but also because you are encouraged to channel your inner kid.

The BF and I went to an amazing, epic Luchador themed Halloween party on Saturday night where there was a photo booth for all the party goers. We had a super spooky time and have the pictures to prove it too!

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

I climbed a huge mountain

and lived to blog about it.

My sweet BF and I have been doing a lot of hiking this year. I seem to be quite content with hikes that don't test my will to live, but (thankfully) my better half likes to make sure we are always challenged.

Our newest conquest was the big Mt Woodsen and it proved to be the challenge we were looking for.

About a little less than a quarter of the way up we passed this huge water tank.


Okay, my legs are already tired. That water tank is getter smaller though...


By this point I have considered laying down and letting a wild animal make me his lunch.


That water tank is really small now and I kind of feel like I'm on top of the world.


And as soon as I think I can't take another step - I reach the huge 2600 foot payoff.



Yes, I may have shed a tear or two. I also may have threatened to turn back before reaching the top of the mountain, but I didn't. I was exhilarated and exhausted all at the same time once I reached the summit.

We took a few minutes to feel what it was like to stand on top of the world and then turned around to make the trek back down.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Almost too cute

This just screams joy and happiness. I love that they don't take themselves too seriously and dive into celebrating the occasion. I'll admit that I've watched this several times in the few days I've known about it. It is beyond sweet and makes me smile.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Do not disappoint me



Quite possibly the funniest thing on Youtube right now. In my humble opinion at least.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The bread is here

and it was really tasty. Crunchy on the outside, warm and spongy on the inside. I will admit that this loaf was not my first attempt. I originally tried to make the bread with white-whole wheat flour and it absolutely did not work out. It was dense and couldn't property rise, but it still tasted decent. So for the second go around I gave in and just used all white flour. (oh well, just live a little Lauren).


I made a few adjustments to the recipe which helped the flavor and texture:

- I only used 1 1/2 cups of water instead of 1 5/8 cups
- I bumped up the salt from 1 1/4 teaspoons to almost 1 tablespoon

I suggest serving the bread right away after it initially cools, as it will be at the height of yumminess. If you decide to bake the bread and save it for a later date, plan on re-heating it in the oven for 10 min at 350 degrees. Because there is such a high water content, the outer crust will lose it's crunch which is one of the best parts of this bread.

I hope you take the plunge and make a loaf for yourself! I guarantee that if you share it with your friends and family they will never want to eat store bought bread again.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbye Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died from cardiac arrest today. I am in total shock and can't believe it. Completely devastated. He made music magic and was truly the king of pop.

I was lucky enough to meet Michael and several members of his family when I was a little girl. My parents owned an exotic plant shop in Los Angeles that was next door to the Jackson recording studio. Many times Michael shopped in our store and was beyond kind. I once went with my dad to deliver a cactus to one of the Jackson's home. They gave me a juice box and let me watch cartoons on a giant movie screen.

I feel awful for his children and hope that they are well taken care of during this entire experience.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baseball and Fireworks

My sweet BF and I were gifted amazing seats to the game Friday night. Even though our team was painful to watch, the fireworks were amazing!



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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Has anyone made this?

I found this recipe and really want to make it. Has anyone attempted it? How did it turn out?

No Knead Bread

Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours rising
Yield: One 1 1/2 pound loaf

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed


1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh to be a 6 year old

Enjoying Easter "loot"

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Hmmmm

Has this turned into a foodie blog?

It is certainly deficient in all things jewelry, gemstone and Etsy related. I'm not going to read too much into it though. The pendulum has just swung too far in one direction. It'll be back in the center soon.

In the absence of my jewelry creation I have been spending time writing, which is something that I used to do a lot of. I stopped for quite a while, but it's familiar to me, like riding a bike.

I thought about posting my stories/poems/creative blabber here, but it didn't seem like an appropriate venue. This blog has absolutely gone through an evolution of sorts. It started as an Etsy shop blog and has morphed into much more.

Long story short - my writing is a very separate entity and deserved a home of it's own. Meander on over and give it a quick read.

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YUMMMMMMM

Totally awesome, amazing, beyond yummy veggie sushi.
Enough said.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Veggie Pho

One of my favorite things to eat is pho. Unfortunately, there are very few restaurants locally that make vegetarian pho. I decided that I would take the plunge and try to make it myself and see how it goes. I found the recipe below at elliemay.com. I'll let you know how it goes! If you have your own amazing vegetarian pho recipe, please share it with me!


Ingredients

for the broth...
1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
2 unpeeled shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves, halved
a 1-inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced
two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 pods of star anise
4 cloves
8 cups clear vegetable stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
salt

for the soup ...
1 pound rice noodles
8 ounces seitan or fried tofu, sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced (both green and white parts)
about 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
a good handful of basil, mint or cilantro leaves, left whole
1 lime, cut into wedges
hoisin sauce
sriracha chili paste

Cooking Instructions

To make the broth, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves and dry-roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and discard the solids. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat.

While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover and soak for 20 minutes.

When you are ready to assemble the soup, add the seitan or tofu to the warm broth and allow to heat through. Drain the soaked rice noodles and divide evenly among 4 to 6 large bowls. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seitan or tofu out of the broth and distribute among the bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Serve the bowls of pho with the scallions, bean sprouts, herbs, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chili sauce on a separate platter so that everyone can season their own soup as they wish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

They made this into a movie? I had no idea!

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I Heart Humanity

My friend, Laura Harvey founded "I Heart Humanity" in November 2008, a not-for-profit organization that raises funds to place volunteers in International Human Services Projects. She just completed a three week volunteer position at the Hogar Urpi orphanage in Ayacucho, Peru.

You can read about Laura's amazing trip and learn about how you can help I heart Humanity too.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hanging out with critters at the Wild Animal Park

We went to The Wild Animal Park this past weekend. I had a great time, saw lots of animals, plants and walked until my feet felt like they were gonna fall off.

I used to go all the time with my family as a kid, but haven't visited in several years. I guess it was easy to take for granted since it's practically in my backyard. The place is really world famous and if you find yourself in San Diego, I would advise that you visit The Wild Animal Park over the zoo (if you had to choose between the 2).

Here is just a sampling of the gazillion pictures we took!












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Friday, March 13, 2009

New Jewelry

I have two new necklaces to list in my jewelry shop and you are getting a sneak preview. I love them both so much and am fighting every urge to keep them all to myself.

This first necklace is a crackly blue Kyanite and sterling silver pendant on a luscious earthy strand of Rubies.

The second necklace is a Labradorite and sterling silver pendant on a strand of icy green Prehnite (Green Amethyst) and tiny sterling silver beads.

I will have these new beauties listed soon. Let me know if you must have either necklace and I will reserve it for you.

Happy Friday (the 13th)!

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Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm still alive!

Bad Lauren, you have neglected your blog for too many days. I promise it's for a good reason though.

I have been busy preparing to teach jewelry making classes. How awesome is that!!?!!

I had the great pleasure to meet and take cake decorating classes from a fabulous woman, Rosanne Zinniger. She is the mastermind behind Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio. She teaches a series of fun and amazing cake decorating classes, but her Sweet Art Studio is much more than one note. She also teaches cooking, craft and painting classes. You can even throw a cupcake party at her studio. I am thrilled to be a part the newest addition to Rosanne's sweet world - jewelry making!

For now, I will be teaching a series of project style workshops on Thursday morning's and evening's starting March 26th. In my first class, students will learn how to make my signature Swarovski Cosmic Necklace. Students will learn how to make the Cosmic bead cluster and a wire wrapping technique too. If you live the the San Diego area and want to sign up, please do! Space is limited and I don't want anyone to miss out.

Each week, you can look forward to a new project. I plan on teaching earrings, bracelets and rings too. If you miss out on the March 26th class, don't worry - I will teach the Swarovski Cosmic Beaded Necklace again in the future.

While you're here, you should also check out Rosanne's cake decorating classes. I had barely ever attempted to bake, let alone decorate a whole cake before taking Rosanne's class. Sure, I was a little scared and thought I was in over my head, but Rosanne makes it fun and possible for even the most novice of baker and decorator. I am happy to say that today I could bake and decorate a cake and be proud to share it with my friends and family. How sweet is that?

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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars!

I love watching the The Oscars every year. It's like a holiday. The nominated films this year are so relevant and powerful and I was mostly thrilled by all of the winners.

The most touching and significant acceptance speech was given by Dustin Lance Black, who wrote the original screenplay for Milk.



He broke my heart, but also filled me with hope that with time comes change and the possibility for acceptance.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

V Day in Julian

We spent Valentine's Day in cold and snowy Julian. Downtown was really crowed with tourists window shopping and waiting in a very long long for pie. So the BF and I bypassed the crowds and headed straight for the snow.

We always reminds ourselves that we are very lucky to live 20 minutes from the beach and an hour from the mountains (and snow). You wouldn't think that San Diego would see snow, but we do. Not a ton of snow, but snow non the less. It's very exciting for San Diegans.

We were super dorks and couldn't find our gloves or mittens - they are not used too often - and went without them, which explains that sad excuse for the snowman we made.

He is sporting sun glasses and a carrot nose, so I think that ups his awesome quotient a few points.

The day was tons of fun and I only fell over in the snow once. Sweet!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I also made soup

I made a really yummy Veggie Minestrone soup over the rainy weekend. It was muy tasty!

Ingredients
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small to medium onion minced
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 to 3 stocks celery chopped
- 2 to 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 small zucchini cubed
- 1 bunch kale chopped well (spinach can also be used too)
- 1/2 cup canned kidney beans drained
- 1/2 cup canned cannellini beans drained
- 1/2 cup small pasta shells
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 4 cups veggie stock or broth (1 box)
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato sauce
- a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- a pinch or 2 of red pepper flake
- salt and pepper to taste

Directions
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Saute onions until translucent.

- Add garlic, carrots, celery and cook for another 5 minutes.

- Add zucchini and cook 5 more minutes.

- Add kale and stir with cooked veggies. The kale will wilt quickly. Add kidney and cannellini beans and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flake and nutmeg.

- Stir in the large can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and veggie stock. Cover and allow to come to right before a boil. Add the pasta and cover again for 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and check that pasta is cooked.

- Add parsley, stir and serve! (with bread, crostini, crackers..)


*I made Crostini by slicing store bought ciabatta bread into 1 inch pieces and baking in a toaster oven on each side for 4 minutes.

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