Showing posts from February, 2015

Quote of The Day


Bliss In The Journey...

Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. –Viktor E. Frankl
And that is exactly what I’ve been trying to accomplish for years, Mr. Frankl. So, when I turned 40 a few months ago, something kicked in, possibly a big punch of maturity combined with the practice of daily meditation. It doesn’t matter what it was, I’m happy that I’ve been more aware of the space between, words spoken, and the delay in my response. Sometimes, it’s one-second in time, and other times, it’s just a small pause. Either way, I’m slowing down my thinking and reaction, and choosing to be in the moment without any circumstantial ties or emotional triggers, to years or days past. Instead of wanting to be right, validated, or wanting to prove the person talking to me, wrong, I’m choosing the precious little space between words, thoughts, and reactions, and allowing that moment to expand.
And the wiser you get, the …

Tuna Everything Bagel

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, 2007
Total Time: 13 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 3 min
Yield: 2 servings
Level: Easy

Tuna Salad:
3 cups good quality canned tuna (packed in water), drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 cornichons, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 everything bagels, sliced and toasted
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced crescents
1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, sliced
4 Bibb lettuce leaves

Begin with the tuna salad. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Take cut bagels and toast under a hot broiler until golden brown. While still hot smear the bottom with the cream cheese immediately. Top with a scoop of the tuna salad and then layer with red onio…

Turkey and Spinach Taquitos

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 5 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Vegetable oil cooking spray
Filling:3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature (8 ounces)
Eighteen 6 1/2-inch-diameter extra-thin or regular corn tortillas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded white or extra sharp Cheddar (4 ounces)

Serving suggestion: salsa or guacamole

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy nonstick baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.

For the filling: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Cook the onions, salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the turkey and cumin. Cook…

Superwoman, Amy Purdy!

Inspiring woman, survivor, 3-time world champion, and Paralympics Bronze Medal snowboarder, Amy Purdy gave an exceptional interview on Super Soul Sunday this past week. As a result of bacterial meningitis, Amy lost both of her legs, below the knees. Amy talked about making a choice, to fight to stay alive or to die. Amy says, going into the operation room I thought, 1-I’m not going to be a victim to this situation. I had opportunities when I was in the hospital, I almost died, and if I wanted the easy way out, I could have taken the easy way out and I chose to be here, so I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. And the second thought was, when I figure this out, I will somehow help other people do the same, and the third was that I was going to snowboard that year, because I had never missed a season of snowboarding before. So, having those 3 things as I went into the operating room, very aware of what was going on. It gave me something, I think, to pull me into the future and feel in…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


St. Patrick's Day Green Velvet Cupcake Shamrocks

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
The old-fashioned boiled frosting for these Emerald Isle green cupcakes is creamy and fluffy and reminds us of childhood. Total Time: 1 hr 35 min Prep: 5 min Inactive: 1 hr 5 min Cook: 25 min Yield: 24 servings (makes 6 shamrock cakes plus 3 cupcakes) Level:Easy
Ingredients Cupcakes: Cooking spray 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon fine salt 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, well shaken 1 tablespoon green liquid food coloring 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Frosting: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups milk 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Pinch fine salt Green liquid food coloring 1/2 cup green sanding sugar, for decorating
Directions For the cupcakes: …

Creativity, At Its Messiest...

Creative writing is like walking in muddy trenches while wearing sandals, I said to my writer friend Jenny. That’s how I feel some days when I sit down to write. There’s this messy word scramble in my brain that is fueled by self-doubt, impatience, and vulnerability itching to scream out what I really want to write but I hold it back, in fear of sounding foolish. Instead of sitting down to write, I complain to my closest friends that I have writer’s block. The funny thing is that writer’s block mostly happens when you sit down to write and not while I’m running errands to distract myself from writing.
Anything creative makes you reach into the deepest part of yourself and express it in unimaginable ways, and the really scary part is going to that place of the unknown and where that might take me. Then, I display it for the world to see and say, I’ve worked at it for long periods of time, how will people receive it? I pour so much of myself while walking in those muddy trenches, and th…

Shrimp-Salad Pitas

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine Total Time: 30 min Prep: 25 min Cook: 5 min Yield: 4 sandwiches Level: Easy
Ingredients 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated 1 Kirby cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 lemon 4 whole-wheat pitas 8 Bibb lettuce leaves
Directions Preheat the broiler. Soak the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the shrimp.
Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and broil until the shrimp are opaque, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wash and dry the baking sheet.
Drain the onion and add to the shrimp along with the yogurt, carrot, cucumber, dill, and salt and pepper…

Denver Art Museums’ exhibit, Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century

Snake A snake necklace, sold to Maria Felix, made from platinum, white gold and yellow gold, 2 473 brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, weighing 178.21 carat in total, two pear-shaped emeralds (eyes), green, red and black enamel, articulated around a highly complex armature of platinum and gold. The necklace took two years to create.

"Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century," at the Denver Art Museum (through March 15, 2015)

"Cartier in the 20th Century" by Margaret Young-Sanchez (Vendom Press/Denver Art Museum)
CREDIT: Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier

Denver Art Museums’ exhibit, Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, features stunning pieces of jewelry owned and worn by royalty and celebrities. Jane Pauley of CBS Sunday Morning Show interviewed the curator, Margaret Young-Sanchez, about the exhibit’s intricate and beautiful pieces currently being exhibited through March 15th.  The interview highlighted some amazing pieces that fit the lifestyles of…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


BestieGram: Valentines Day

For Valentines Day!

Download (right-click or control-click and save linked file) this BestieGram for all of your LuckyBesties.

LuckyBesties Turns 2!

Because of your support, LuckyBesties is celebrating its 2nd Year Anniversary! We’re thrilled to still be here and share content that we enjoy and hope you enjoy, too. It’s been an uphill battle to keep at it for 2 years, but the rewards of such an accomplishment and your support, outweigh the self-doubt and fear. We hope that LuckyBesties has enriched your life as much as it has enriched ours. We look forward staying on the ball with our journey, and share all that is meaningful for many more years to come.

Your support makes our hearts flutter! On behalf of Maria and I, we thank you for such a Ball…


Seminal moments….

I’ve had amazing seminal moments in my life! None of which I acknowledged or recognized as game changers when they were happening. What seemed to be imperfect situations, “bad” decisions, and broken dreams, all shaped 40 years of my life. I couldn’t see all of those fragments coming together to complete important pieces of my life, or making any sense years later, but they did and continue to do so. 
A year ago, I started to forgive myself for what seemed to be bad decisions in the past, and when I painfully started to take ownership of my mistakes and chose to learn from them; the fog cleared up and things in the past started to make sense and I was able to make peace with the past.
What was once a belief system that all of life situations and circumstances happen, and life goes on without taking notice, is now a renewed belief system where I now see the past starting to make sense. And making peace with the past was a process that helped dissipate the pain that kept me from seeing …

PB&J Tiramisu

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine Total Time: 30 min Prep: 30 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy
Ingredients 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam 1/3 cup framboise (raspberry liqueur) or raspberry juice 14 Italian-style crisp ladyfingers 4 cups raspberries Shaved chocolate, for topping
Directions Beat the peanut butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cup cream in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream and beat until creamy, about 2 more minutes. (Do not over beat.)
Whisk the jam, framboise and 1/3 cup water in a bowl until smooth. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the jam mixture in a 9-by-5-inch glass loaf pan. Cover with half of the ladyfingers, arranging them lengthwise. Brush with half of the remaining jam mixt…

Flash Mob!

I dropped off my youngest at school this morning and he whispered “we’re having a flash mob this morning!” That explained why he was behaving a little odd all morning long. I waited at the gate because I could tell that all the teachers were buzzing around just as much as the kids were. The bell rang and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams starts blasting in the play yard. I ran in and started video taping it. My son saw me and looked nervous, as in, “mom, you’re going to be in trouble for walking onto to campus without a pass,” kind of look. Kids, parents, and teachers were all smiling from ear to ear. I kept my phone rolling and capturing the amazing energy in the faces of everyone around me. The energy of the flash mob felt as though, static energy was floating in the air, and you could almost touch it! The crowd kept getting more and more into it. One of the moms standing next to me said that she wanted to cry, and shockingly enough, I was already there! I was shedding a few happy tears …

Molasses-and-Coffee Pork Chops

Alton Brown's Molasses-and-Coffee Pork Chops courtesy Alton Brown for Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 2 hr 28 min Prep: 15 min Inactive: 2 hr 5 min Cook: 8 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled 6 ounces molasses, by weight (about 1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme 4 6 -to-8-ounce bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick)
Directions Combine the coffee, molasses, vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the ginger, thyme and pork chops in a 1-gallon zip-top bag; seal and shake to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat a grill to medium-high. Remove the pork from the bag. Pour the marinade into a saucepan; boil gently over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced to 1/2 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the thyme stems.
Grill the pork chops for 3 to 4 minute…

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Recipe courtesy of American Heart Association-
Serves 8; 1/2 cup per serving

Cooking spray
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
2 medium sweet apples, such as Rome Beauty or Gala, peeled, each sliced into 10 wedges
3 tablespoons light tub margarine

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 1 1/2-quart glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
In the casserole dish, layer in order half each of the sweet potatoes, apples, and cinnamon-sugar. Dot with about half the margarine. Repeat.
Bake, covered, for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and apples are soft.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 101
Total Fat 2.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol …

Finding A Secret Garden...

When I turned 39 years old, I asked a group of friends over for an intimate dinner to celebrate the end of my 30’s! The morning after, I was on cloud nine! I felt embraced, accepted, and loved by my friends, and all of that goodness carried into the next few days. Then, all of the giddiness wore off and I felt abandoned and alone again. I made a choice to find a way to my inner-core; where I think my courage, hope, vulnerability, forgiveness, and empathy live. I knew it was there, and I wanted to embrace it so I wouldn’t have the need to look for it outside of myself. I didn’t want to rely and burden my friends with the huge task of always uplifting me, because it never lasted for more than a few days, and I came across as a bottomless pit. My instinct, books and meditations had been telling me for years to nurture myself and then I would find the answers within, but I just didn’t trust that it would happen.
That year was the toughest year of my life! I worked on coming to terms with m…

A Gooey, Decadent Chocolate Cake

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Total Time: 2 hr 20 min Prep: 1 hr Inactive: 45 min Cook: 35 min Yield: 6 to 8 servings Level: Intermediate
Ingredients 2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cups granulated sugar 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups cold water Raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord, for drizzling Nonstick cooking spray Chocolate Chip Buttercream, recipe follows Dark chocolate shavings, for decoration
Directions Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes to incorporate. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 3 minutes. Gradually mix in the dry ing…

Consciousness…too new to handle?

I was on the phone with a woman I’d never met or talked to before; she immediately started the conversation with lots of new information for a project I needed to work on. I didn’t feel prepared and was having a hard time keeping up. Then, something she said made me recall a dream I had a few nights ago, and in that moment, everything she was saying turned into gibberish! I didn’t know how to handle all of the new information being given already, and now something came into consciousness? I was lost. The woman asked me a question and since I didn’t answer it, she asked again. I heard her but I was mentally frozen. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had in a long time. I later talked to my therapist about it and as I was telling her what happened, I realized that I have information overload more often than I realized.
We started talking about other situations that we’ve discussed in the past, and in those situations, I’ve kept going without stopping to figure them out. And once…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day