Sunbutter Natural

My fiance, Mike, introduced me to Sunbutter – because of the whole peanut salmonella scare.. Mike loves peanut butter, and eats about a jar every month.. so he switched to Sunbutter for the time being and told me to try it. Its awesome, it tastes like peanut butter, but rather than the peanuts its sunflower seeds. Yum yum.. It also has absolutely no peanuts in it, and its processed in a completely peanut free facility.. so people with Peanut Allergies can go to town on this stuff. Get it at Trader Joes or most natural food stores.

Caldrea Lavender Pine Handsoap

I recently added my favorite Molton Brown handsoap, thai vert.. A very pricey, but very fragrant herby soap.. Im happy to say I found another favorite that isnt so tough on the wallet – Caldrea Lavender Pine Handsoap – & it is very true to its name.. Imagine someone dropping into your hands some dried lavender and pine, and you rub them together and all the oils come out and release this beautiful foresty scent into your skin. And the scent really lasts. At only $12.50 for 16 oz, its not as snobby as the molton brown, but its still very boutiquey. So get that store bought handsoap (unless its Dove original scent) out of your bathroom, and get this stuff in!

My Favorites from my trip to DC

I traveled down to DC and Annapolis MD last weekend to visit my sister and family.. We went to view her Barack Obama Painting on exhibit at the Manifest Hope Gallery in DC. We had a very fun (but cold) trip. I love Washington DC with all its history and majestic architecture, there is so much to see. One of my favorites, was our tour of the Capitol Building.. Just walking through its corridors, and imagining our forefathers, gathered within its walls, shaping America and its politics.. its an absolutely stunning building! Looking up from the inside of the dome, there is a fresco painting – The Apotheosis of Washington, on the ceiling.. Its like Washington looking down on you from the heavens – somewhat intimidating when you realize how high up it is..

We walked through the Crypt, and the Statuary Hall – where we saw where John Adams desk once sat (very cool).. we also saw the old supreme court chamber and Nancy Pelosis office. Definitely worth the trip, if you are into politics.. Just make sure you dont bring bags of candy with you when you go through security.. they are strict in these buildings.. and made me throw out all my candy!! i was upset for the rest of the day!

Miel récolte sur les toits de l’Opéra de Paris (honey harvested on the rooftops of the Paris Opera)

During my trip to DC and MD, I caught a little cold. The innkeepers assistant at the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at recommended Honey & Lemon to soothe a sore throat, so when I got back, ofcourse I raided my cabinets and remembered that I had picked up a gem from Fauchon Paris.. A little pot of honey from atop of an Opera House in Paris.. You may wonder what the big deal is about honey from a paris rooftop, really the difference is in the type of bees in cities versus countryside.. It also helps when Time magazine does an article “Whats The Buzz?

“Keeping city bees safely is an art that the French teach right in central Paris in a rucher école (hive school) next to an apiary established in the Luxembourg Gardens in 1856 that houses about a million bees. Beekeeping in Paris is, well, a hive of activity, with colonies living on private balconies, at an inner-city nunnery and, famously, atop both the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier, the latter still tended by Jean Paucton, 73. Paucton’s bees forage in the Tuileries Gardens, the chestnut trees of the Champs-Élysées and the linden trees of the Palais Royal. The honey they produce sells at a premium price at Fauchon.”

anyway, to the honey.. its sweet, with a little floral spicyness to it.. a very strong flavor, and the consistency is thick, and somewhat creamy..

I feel so lucky to have re-discovered this right in my kitchen cabinet… Im kind of glad I got a sore throat for a day. (By the way, a spoonful of honey with a few drops of lemon juice makes your throat feel good!)

Robert Rothschild – The Best Dip Ever

During my Christmas shopping, I came across a kitchen store in the mall called Le Gourmet Chef.. Its basically a kitchen and chef supply, but the thing that makes it special, is they have samples of their dips / foods all over the place! So I walked from sample to sample trying all the Robert Rothschild dips.. and all of them were so good.. But my absolute favorite, was The Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Relish dip, which i mixed with some cream cheese and put out with pretzels.. My next favorite is the Onion Horseradish dip, which i displayed with pretzels at our Christmas party and was loved by all..delicious and unique stuff.. so many flavors, cant wait to try them all!

Slatkin & Co – Creamy Nutmeg

The richest, most edible foodie scented oil I have smelled, and if you open my desk drawer in my office, you KNOW i have smelled a lot. This is a very sweet vanilla nutmeg, described on their website as “An inviting and warm blend of fresh ground nutmeg, vanilla and pralines atop a base of dark, rich rum” the perfect description. I have it in the plug in wall flower, and the scented oil.. I wish I could just put this right in my nose so I could smell it all day..

Badger Foot Balm

I love this stuff for my feet! Especially if you put it on right after a hot shower – you dont need as much, and it keeps your skin from getting dry. Its got peppermint, balsam fir, eucalyptus, rosemary and tea tree oil.. A very nice combination.. The strongest scent is the balsam and rosemary.. its like walking through a forest this stuff.. about $10 for a 2oz tin at www.badgerbalm.com I also like their sleep balm

Pineapple Empanaditas

One if the things im trying the most often is new recipes.. So what better place to put my favorites but here on my favorite things blog! This is a very tasty lil pineapple mini empanada, the breading is delicious with the corn meal addition.. Kind of tastes like cornbread with a pineapple center.. I substituted a few cracker crumbs for breadcrumbs.. They are also very good reheated.. Yum yum

Makes 2 dozen empanaditas
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 1 1/4 hours
EASE OF PREPARATION: Moderate
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup pineapple or apricot preserves
2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and oil and blend with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture with milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together-the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Knead a few times in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times until the dough comes together. Divide in half and shape into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
2. Combine pineapple and preserves in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until syrupy, 12 to 15 minutes. Mash the pineapple into smaller chunks with a potato masher or fork. Remove from the heat; stir in breadcrumbs and cinnamon.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
4. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disc of dough at a time into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Cut circles of dough using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary, to make 24 circles.
5. Place 1 teaspoon pineapple filling in the center of each circle. Fold in half, press edges together and crimp with a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake the empanaditas until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per empanadita: 64 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 84 mg sodium; 14 mg potassium.
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (other), 1/2 fat

From www.eatingwell.com