Monthly Archives: May 2010

Jen and I met at the Farmer’s Market today. (you’ll know why she ditched me and our normal Saturday morning 9am exercise when her Boise Weekly blog post goes live on Tuesday–I’ll post the link then). I picked up all kinds of goodies, and when I got home, combined some of the organic stuff I already had in my frig with the Farmer’s Market finds and made a delicious avocado dressing. I will serve over a shaved zucchini and radish salad this evening (yes…multi-colored radishes from the market). 

I think the dressing would also be great with grilled veggies, or perhaps with shrimp tacos.

Avocado Dressing

2/3 of a large shallot sliced

2 Tbs white wine vinegar

Handful of fresh herbs (used parsley and mint from the garden)

2 Tbs Greek Yogurt

1 avocado

1/2 cup water

Tiger Sauce (to taste, I used 2-3 tsps, maybe even a little more)

salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup canola oil (little more if needed for consistency)

Slice shallots, soak in vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Place shallots, vinegar and all ingredients through water in to blender. Blend, season with tiger sauce, salt and pepper. Stream in canola oil. Adjust seasoning. Refrigerate.


I’m freaked out about all the weight loss approaches my friends share with me … especially the one with the injected hormone from pregnant womens’ urine. (Eek!)

I have 15 pounds to lose, and I have decided to lose it the old-fashioned way.

  1. Eat less
  2. Exercise more
  3. Be patient

I’ll keep you updated weekly on my progress. If it works (which it will), then let’s spread the word to our friends and stop doing crazy diets. Sound good?


Stop eating sugar and eliminate wrinkles. Seemed easy enough. Or so I thought.

It appears I have a sugar monkey on my back that I thought I’d gotten rid of years ago. I fully intended to omit the refined sweetener from my diet completely when I wrote the blog post “Does Sugar Cause Wrinkles?’ two weeks ago. But after two days of clean living I took a nose dive off the sugar-free wagon and have spent the last two weeks jogging along behind it with a bowl of ice cream cupped in one hand and a bag of chocolate chips clenched in the other. (And a giddy smile on my face.)

I’ve hopped aboard the wagon again. The question is: what healthy-but-sweet treat can I substitute for my nightly three scoops of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip topped with a handful of chocolate chips and a puddle of homemade chocolate sauce?

I found a couple of things I like: Dates so sticky they remind me of truffles. The tender flesh that gives way to the delicately seedy crunch of a sweet dried fig. And prunes with the texture of soft caramel.

I’ll continue to look for even more alternatives to an obsession that, in two weeks, has plastered six extra pounds on my womanly frame. Great! Now it’s wrinkles and cellulite.

I feel a  bit irresponsible that I got on my soapbox about formaldehyde in hair treatments (earlier post) and didn’t actually offer any alternative options or suggestions. In the comments, Jennifer suggested using ingredients like olive oil, and she was correct! Below are links to a few natural recipes I found online. I’ll try them all over the next couple weeks and let you know how they work. Personally, I’m most intrigued by the Mayan Hair Mask…”mayan hair mask”…it just sounds exotic and sexy!

  1. Hair Care Recipes at the site, which, by the way, is a really interesting site about health, diet, and exercise.
  2. Recipe for Shiny Hair on Free Beauty Tips site
  3. Mayan Hair Mask also on Free Beauty Tips site. I’ll even give you the recipe here, because it’s cool and I want you to feel sexy too (if that’s possible with egg on your head…) Note: If you are allergic to egg, you shouldn’t use this topical treatment.

Mayan Hair Mask

Ancient Mayan Inca and Aztec women believed that avocados fed the skin from the inside and outside. Make sure you save the avocado pit, setting it in a place where it can dry out.

  • Mix together: 1 ripe avocado, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 small banana and 1 egg yolk.
  • Gently massage  on to hair and scalp and cover with a shower cap.
  • Leave on 1 hour and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Shampoo as usual.

I’ll keep you posted on the results…

Last night, I read an article in More magazine (for “women of style and substance” who also happen to be over the age of 40). The topic was dry hair, apparently just “like skin, our hair gets drier as we age.” The article provided a 6-week plan to get the silkiness back. Sounded like an ok thing. Week 1 was trim, then tame. The recommended method for taming was a salon Keratin treatment. The article then had a side note stating that the original keratin treatments “contained high amounts of formaldehyde, a chemical best avoided in large doses.” And instructed the reader to ask their salon if the salon offered LOW-FORMALDEHYDE Keratin treatments instead. Excuse me? LOW-formaldehyde treatments? How about NO-formaldehyde treatments?

So, I did a little reading online regarding formaldehyde…it’s in the chemicals used for processing photos, it’s used for embalming, it’s used as a finisher on fabrics, it’s also used in some capsules than surround pill medications (thus, I suppose we are ingesting some of it on occasion.)

Perhaps instead of a Keratin treatment, we should just consider getting a good trim, minimizing daily shampoo usage, covering our hair when we are in the sun for long periods and maybe even just accepting a little dryness with age.

Formaldehyde? That’s just gross!

(though now I have to investigate what is in the hair color I use to cover those “couple” grey hairs…might be just as frightening!)

I broke my coffee pot carafe earlier this week (I believe clumsiness & aging will be a post at some point!) So, I went a couple of days without coffee, and then I remembered my coffee press. I pulled it out, put some water on the stove, measured out the coffee grinds, poured the water in the press, put the lid carefully on … and then waited … and waited … four whole minutes. Then, I slowly pressed down on the press’ filter … very, very slowly, so as not to release any of the grinds into my rich, dark coffee. And, I realized how satisfying the process was — both the making of the coffee, and the drinking of it. Far more satisfying than using my coffee maker. Reminded me of how much satisfaction  I get when I make Hot Cocoa on the stove (the old way, not with those icky packets), or how much satisfaction I get making Sangria when I cut up all the fruit, measure out all the juices and wine (and Grand Marnier!) Sometimes there  is definitely the need to savor and enjoy the process.

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes. (Hot Cocoa for those of you who are still dealing with cold weather, and Sangria for my friends in Austin who are on their porches right now.)

Susan’s Sangria

2 bottles red wine, usually Shiraz

6-16 oz. Pineapple Juice (I usually use 160z)

1/4-1/2 cup Grand Marnier (this adds some potency, so warn your friends that it is in there)

6-9 pieces of citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, limes

Mint (optional)

Slice fruit, squeeze juice from the fruit ends in to the pitcher. Put fruit slices in pitcher, add wine, juice and Grand Marnier. Stir. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (6-24 hours is better)

Hot Cocoa (This is variation of the recipe on the Hersey Cocoa tin) .

1/4 cup sugar (I like to use raw sugar, it just takes a little longer to melt)

2 Tbs  really good dark cocoa (nothing wrong with Hershey, but Jenn and I both agree Dagoba Organic Chocolate is amazing)

Dash salt

1/4 cup hot water

2 cups milk (I use 2%)

optional: 1/4 tsp vanilla  or dash of cinnamon

1) Mix sugar, cocoa & salt in saucepan, stir in water

2) Cook and stir over medium low heat until mixture boils, boil and stir 1-2 minutes

3) Stir in milk and heat (do not boil)

4) Remove from heat and add optional items as desired