How To Style Flat Iron Curls

•08/03/2012 • Leave a Comment

How To Style Flat Iron Curls

How to style flat iron curls 1Emma has really fine hair and doesn’t keep curl very easily. She has always had very straight hair, even when we were little girls. Our sister-in-law, Sarah, showed us a new technique for curling this type of hair. This simple technique gave Emma the curliest hair she’s ever had. Enjoy!

How to style flat iron curls steps1. Roll small strands of hair around your finger and pin to your scalp. 2. Continue until you have pinned all your hair up. 3. Use a flat iron to press each roll flat. 4. Unpin the rolls. As your unpinning if you notice that you forget to press one simply pin it back up and press before letting it out again. 5. Use your flat iron to finish curling the tips. Spritz on a little hair spray and you’re done!

How to style flat iron curls 2Sarah did this technique on Emma’s hair early in the day and it lasted the whole day! Even if you don’t have fine hair this a fun and unique way to curl your hair. It creates a different look than using a curling iron.

How to style flat iron curls 3
How to style flat iron curls 4This hair tutorial was created in collaboration with Sarah Chapman, a professional hair stylist at Blu Skies Hair Studio in Springfield, Missouri.

broccoli parmesan fritters

•08/02/2012 • Leave a Comment

broccoli parmesan fritters

I am a huge fan of broccoli and compared to my childhood, now I can’t get enough of this great vegetable, in all kinds of ways:)

we go through a lot of this

choppped roughly

best part: mashing the broccoli

I have a theory that you can tuck almost any finely chopped or shredded vegetable — be it potatoes, zucchini, or an Indian-spiced mix — into a savory pancake, fry it in small mounds until crisp on both sides, serve it with a dollop of a sour cream or yogurt sauce and they will be inhaled. They’re one of these magical foods. They come together quickly. You can make them with whatever you have on hand, even leftover vegetables. They freeze well. They reheat well. You can put an egg on top of them and call them a balanced meal. They are one of the universe’s most perfect foods and I have found that toddler-types love them.

flattened mound of broccoli fritter
get them more colored than this

broccoli parmesan fritters
crisp broccoli parmesan fritters

One year ago: Dobos Torte
Two years ago: Strawberry Ricotta Graham Tartlets
Three years ago: Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows and Spanikopita Triangles
Four years ago: Breakfast Apricot Crisp and Dead Simple Slaw
Five years ago: Gateau de Crepes

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

There’s a lot of broccoli and very little pancake in this fritter. The broccoli is not grated or pureed, but left in small, recognizable bits that are bound lightly, faintly, to their batter of egg, parmesan and flour. And when you cook them right — that is, to a crisp, in a preheated, heavy, oil-slicked skillet — they get a fantastic crisp edge to them, like they were coated in frico. I imagine that if you were to roll the pancake in additional parmesan, it would get extra frico, though I haven’t tried it yet. Also, I’d like someone to start a band called Extra Frico.

To serve: I like these with a dollop of the garlicky lemon yogurt I share here, roughly 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tiny minced clove of garlic, a bit of zest and salt. It would also be good with this homemade ricotta, with or without additional lemon juice. They’re also good simply, with just a squeeze of lemon juice. I think I’d also enjoy them with a little crumbled feta on top. Oh, and of course, you can put a runny fried egg on top of it. But I don’t need to tell you that.

Yield: 9 (because my recipes never want to grace us with neat, well-rounded numbers) 2 to 2 1/2-inch fritters

8 ounces (1 small-to-medium bundle, 225 grams) fresh broccoli (3 cups chopped)
1 large egg
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) finely grated parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
A pinch of red pepper flakes or several grinds of black pepper
Olive or vegetable oil for frying

Prepare your broccoli: Separate the florets from the biggest stem(s). Cut the florets into 1-inch chunks. To prepare the stems, I like to peel them, as the skin can be thick and doesn’t cook quickly, then slice them into 1/2-inch lengths. You should have about 3 cups of chopped broccoli total.

Steam your broccoli until tender but not mushy: Use whatever method you prefer. My quickie, lazy method is to bring a 1/2-inch or so of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the broccoli, place a lid on it and simmer it for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the broccoli, then set it aside to cool slightly.

In the bottom of a large bowl, lightly beat your egg. Add the flour, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Then, add the somewhat cooled broccoli and, using a potato masher, mash the broccoli just a bit. You’re looking to keep the bits recognizable, but small enough (1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks) that you can press a mound of the batter into a fritter in the pan. Once mashed a bit, stir or fold the ingredients together the rest of the way with a spoon. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Once hot, add a good slick of oil (I usually use a mix of olive and vegetable oil), about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot (you can test it by flicking a droplet of water into it; it should hiss and sputter), scoop a two tablespoon-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula. Repeat with additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each. Once brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, about another 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain, then to a serving plate if you’ll be eating them shortly or a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven if you’d like to keep them warm for a while until needed. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Serve with some of the suggestions listed in the head notes, above.

Modern Small Apartment With Delightul Details

•08/01/2012 • 1 Comment

 

Looking planning solutions for tight spaces? Development of a small apartment with a modest surface is always a challenge for anyone. The experience and professionalism of designers, but also the original concept, creativity and imagination put their stamp on the work done over time. Economy, functionality and privacy describe perfectly this project. Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) find a great solution to transform a sixth floor small home office studio from East Village neighbourhood in New York into an area both functional and aesthetically attractive. This brilliant design provides a very relaxing, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. They create important links between elements that influence each other and put them in value. Every inch of space  has been efficiently exploited, so the space is open and airy.

 

EVillageStudio 02 600x470 Modern Small Apartment With Delightul Details

It displays interesting features that range from the floor plan and sculpted-wooden volume that contrasts very well with beautiful minimalist furniture. The wooden volume separates the apartment into various zones: kitchen, bathroom, work space and sleeping loft. We like the simple, yet very practical built-in workspace to hide and organize the clutter, as well as the contemporary custom lofted bed  and the stair risers that reveal hidden drawers detail. Both white painted walls and natural light visually enlarge the space and provide a pleasant light impression.

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How to make a “smiley face” of the watermelon

•08/01/2012 • Leave a Comment

Funny photo instructions on how to make a smiley face of the watermelon.






It’s A Beer, It’s A Pint… It’s Superman!

•07/31/2012 • Leave a Comment

by Jenni Chasteen

It’s A Beer, It’s A Pint… It’s Superman!

Take it from someone who’s been banned from Comic Con for life, drinking while wearing a cape is generally not a great idea. And despite how you feel, neither will actually make you invincible. Plus, the mug shots are waaaaay embarrassing. Instead of being that drunk Batman guy, dress up your glass with a DC Comics Caped Pint Glass. Available in Batman and Superman styles, the glasses come with emblems and capes that can be removed for washing. They make a great gift for DC Comics fans who already have Superhero caped socks.

10 places to move abroad and extend your life

•07/30/2012 • Leave a Comment
Throughout history, people have been intrigued by legends of societies where residents thrived well past 100 years old.

Today, there is skepticism whether any such place exists, but health scientists do scour the globe in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements.

In fact, many “pockets” around the world have been identified as “Blue Zones,” where locals enjoy high quality of life and health in old age.

While failing to offer one “secret,” these regions share community factors such as diet, social integration, activity level, and outlook on life. While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity.

1. Okinawa, Japan

Japanese rank high in lifespan studies, but Okinawans boast exceptional health. Inhabiting a tiny island in the East China Sea, locals have low rates of alzheimers, heart disease, and breast cancer, with 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans.

Okinawan cuisine, Photo: pelican

The Okinawa diet has been studied intensely. Staples include fresh island fruits like pineapple and shikuwasa, bitter melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of hara hachi bu, or eating only until 80% full. The elderly are active, working on farms and exercising for leisure. Many live independent of nursing homes and daily connect with community.

2. Andorra

Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the longest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability. There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.

3. Ikaria, Greece

Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90 at 4 times the rate of the average American. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle. Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.

4. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

For the 75,000 people who live in the Nicoya Peninsula, modern life closely resembles that of a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet, and recognize active work as essential to quality of life. Many residents are sabaneros (cowboys who work on ranches) and small farmers. It’s not uncommon for food to be cooked on wood-burning stoves.

Locals eat a “Mesoamerican Trifecta” diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals that increase bone health. Because of the dry sunny climate, locals suffer from few respiratory diseases and get plenty of Vitamin D.

Hunza woman, Photo: Shawn D Metcalfe

5. Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri La. There is no evidence that residents live to 150 years old as claimed in the 1970s, but modern research supports that Hunza elderly boast enviable fitness levels. The diet is plant based, consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties.

6. Vilcambamba, Ecuador

Vilcambamba is often referred to as the “Valley of Longevity” for its remote location and lifespan of residents. Beginning in the 1950s, locals have been studied for their low rates of chronic illness and claims of living to 120. Although researchers debunked some claims as exaggerations, they concede that the activity level and diet of residents does offer them extraordinary health.

Seniors commonly work on ranches, performing manual tasks and riding horses. They eat almost no animal products and rely on fresh organic vegetables with medicinal properties. Their fresh water from nearby mountains has high concentration of healthy minerals.

7. Sardinia, Italy

Unlike much of the world, where average gender lifespan is different, men and women in Sardinia share equal longevity estimates. In addition, they reach 100 years old at twice the average than the rest of the world. A common saying on this Italian island is a kent’ annos, or “May you live to 100.”

The cuisine consists of raw milk and cheese, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of lamb, pork, and oily fish. Residents are family oriented and very active well into old age. Some research on Sardinian longevity links it to genetics. Few Sardinians marry outsiders and there appears to be a genetic basis for men suffering fewer cases of heart disease and stroke.

Sardinia, Photo: bitter like a coffee

8. Abkhasia, Georgia

Almost 100,000 people live in the mountainous region of Abkhasia, a breakaway region of Georgia. Locals have been studied with interest for their fantastic claims of lifespans reaching 150 years old. Although researchers cast doubt on those figures, they concede that elderly suffer low rates of disease and enjoy high quality of life.

The Abkhasian diet consists of locally grown vegetables, beans, and grains, moderate vodka intake, and low meat, fish, and sugar consumption. They have extensive family networks believed to reduce stress, and status is conferred by age, rather than wealth or achievement. In addition, culturally, locals believe events derive from their own actions, rather than outside forces. In this way, they feel greater control over the lives.

9. Macau, China

Although not identified as Blue Zones per se, Macau and San Marino, Italy also rank high on longevity estimates around the world. Macanese live on average to 84.38 years, one of the longest expectancies in the world. Although not studied extensively, features of this unique former Portuguese colony stand out to researchers. The diet is plant and seafood based, drawing on cuisine traditions of China and Portugal. The city is relatively wealthy, given its status as the newest gambling capitol of the world. Social welfare programs are well funded, giving residents many recreation opportunities. Health care is a priority with dozens of western and Chinese medical centers and a doctor density of 1.5 doctors per thousand people.

10. San Marino

San Marino is a rugged tiny republic situated in the Apennine Mountains within the boundaries of Italy. Studies report that the average male in this region lives to age 81. Employment rates are high and the standard of living averages $32,000 US per year. It is believed that stress levels are low here because of little economic social division, low divorce rates, and high integration of elders into society. Seniors often live with younger family members rather than nursing homes or hospitals.

This list of regions with high average lifespan is certainly not exhaustive. Depending on the study, others areas (and countries as a whole rank) high in longevity rates. Other notable places in CIA 2010 assessments include Monaco, the UK’s Guernsey Channel Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.

While it may not be realistic to live the rest of your days in a Blue Zone, it is certainly possible to adapt the healthy habits of their residents into your lifestyle in whatever country you’re living in.

Baked Egg Cups

•07/29/2012 • 2 Comments

Even though I have had some rough egg experiences lately…the century egg, and little birdie fetus…I have not given up on one of my favorite foods.  While eggs can be made to taste more disgusting than I ever thought possible, they can also be creamy, protein packed perfection and in the case of the baked egg cup, they are just that!

The other morning, we had our friend Zach and one of his friends over for breakfast.  Zach was our travel partner in Cambodia, and he is moving to South Africa on Monday, so we are trying to soak up as much Zach time as possible!  Gavin made some delicious whole wheat banana’s foster pancakes (I think I should enlist him has a guest blogger to share his pancake secrets!) and I made baked eggs in ham cups.  These little cups are the perfect pairing with any breakfast…they are SUPER easy to make, and packed full of healthy lean protein…one lovely little cup has only 100 calories and 17.6 grams of protein…not to mention lots of creamy, dreamy cheesy flavors.  So, whether it is Saturday morning brunch, or a quick grab-and-go Monday morning breakfast (you can throw one of these egg cups in a whole wheat english muffin for good food on the go) these egg cups are a definite winner in my book.

Baked Egg Cups

12 Eggs

12 thin slices of deli ham (round)

1/2 Cup of your favorite cheese (I used Parmesan)

1/2 Cup diced scallions

Fresh cracked Sea Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Lay a piece of ham in each hole creating a little ham cup.  Crack one egg into each hole and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the eggs for about 12 minutes…until the white is firm and the yolk is still nice and runny.

Carefully remove each egg from the muffin tin and top with grated cheese and scallions.  Serve hot!  Yield: 12

 
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