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Showing posts from March, 2015

Everything Happens For A Reason...

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Exactly one decade after I started my children’s clothing line, I can finally see and appreciate the lessons that I learned from that experience. I was naïve in thinking that I could enter an unknown industry and thrive immediately. I had a fantasy vision of how everything was going to workout, so I didn’t listen to advice from my friends or people in that industry. As a result, there were so many financial missteps, setbacks, and mistakes that happened during the two-year ownership of my label. I finally decided that I couldn’t continue on because my passion for the company wasn’t there, so I walked away. At the time, I felt broken and felt like I had lost my dignity, along with lots of money.

And now, after a decade of blaming and shaming myself for “failing” at my venture, I can’t find enough words or actions to show my appreciation for the many great lessons I painfully learned, but that are now invaluable to me. I learned and grew so much in those two years that I was literally fo…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Catch Me If You Can...

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At a recent lunch with a friend, my friend talked about being stuck in a rut. I've known and heard about this rut for at least a decade, it's a long running problem she's been dealing with for way too long. Just like the many times we've discussed it before, I reminded her that she had the power to help herself, but she told me that she couldn't do it. She didn't know how. I once again gave her ideas on services she can use, professionals she could contact, but she didn't take my advice and continued to willow in her sadness and despair. Days later, I was in a funk and I felt like I was in a rut myself. I had just been dishing out advice to my friend about helping herself out, yet I wasn't following my own advice. It's definitely easier said than done. So, I called her to share things that I was having issues with, but as always, she was so engulfed in her life that I ended up listening to her problems again and we never got around to me.


When I call…

Too Busy To Notice A Transition…

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At my weekly therapy session, I angrily complained almost the entire time about the many changes happening in my life. My daughter is becoming a teenager in a few weeks, my son is graduating from Elementary School and it’s also his birthday in that same month, my 11-year old car had too many problems to fix so we had to buy a used car to replace my beloved car. I just turned 40. My daughters’ Bat Mitzvah is happening soon! Aaaahhhhh…the sound of many new phases in my life. And of course, not until we had five minutes left in the session, did I realize that I’m too busy complaining about so many wonderful new stages of my life, that I haven’t stopped to be grateful for them. Everything started happening so quickly and I’ve been too busy planning for everything instead of stopping to take it all in. I started to whimper. My therapist looked nervous, as if worried that I was about to have a breakdown before the session needed to end. With empathy in her voice she said, take a deep breath…

Easter Pie

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Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cooked short-grained rice
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Blend 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta mixture aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo sheets,…

A Shopper's Guide to Avoiding Pesticide Residues in Your Produce

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A Shopper's Guide to Avoiding Pesticide Residues in Your Produce courtesy of Dr. Oz

Print out Consumer Report's complete list of produce you should always buy organically in order to avoid pesticide residue.
Consumer Reports recently conducted an investigation to determine which produce you should buy organically. When analyzing a fruit or vegetable, they looked at three factors: The pesticide residue on each food, the frequency with which the pesticides were used and the toxicity of the pesticide. Based on their findings, the following list of produce should be bought organically. Print out this list and place it in your purse so you can consult it at the supermarket. For more guidelines visit Consumer Reports.
For more wellness tips visit www.doctoroz.com

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Passover Roast Turkey Breast With Glazed Vegetables

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Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 pound sweet potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 pound small parsnips, peeled and halved
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup dried apricots
2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 skin-on, bone-in turkey breast half (3 1/4 to 4 pounds)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, the honey and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Put the potatoes, parsnips, fennel slices, onion, dried apricots and rosemary sprigs in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, drizzle with the honey mixture and toss. Roast until the vegetables soften, about 30 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, …

Making Assumptions That Lead to Confusion...

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Yes! When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, it was a common practice of mine. I took sharp and unnecessary turns and pretended to be on the right road, when I knew I was just driving up dead-end driveways. There were parts of me that knew that I was confusing my road for a driveway, but I didn’t care, I kept going anyway. That defiance carried on and turned into a really bad habit, and so it became a part of me. I refused to admit that my stubbornness always led me down the wrong direction, but I blindly pretended that I was on the right path, even though I wasn't finding what I needed.

For most of those two decades, I didn’t want to look at the crazy roadmap I had stubbornly crafted with my blinding assumptions. It was too hard to see life any differently, even though it meant taking longer detours and rocky driveways, but I felt comfortable doing it, it’s all I ever knew. I was miserable but comfortable making assumptions about everything, taking rocky driveways that lead to dead-…

Easter Bunny Centerpiece

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Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee

Total Time: 8 hr 45 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 8 hr
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 1 centerpiece, 8 cookies
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 packages sugar cookie dough
2 teaspoons cherry extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Decorating icings
8 short lollipop sticks
Bunny cookie cutters
10 by 20-inch pieces thin foam
Large tray or basket
10 by 20-inch piece wheat grass
Colored Easter eggs

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar cookie dough with the cherry extract and 1/2 to 1 cup flour to make a very firm cookie dough. Roll out the dough to 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. It has to be very thick for the lollipop sticks to stay in once baked.

Cut out bunny shapes and insert lollipop sticks. You should get about 8 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter. Bake according to package directions (they will probably need a little longer as they will be MUCH thicker). Cool completely.

Decorate with icings. Let the icing dry overnight.

Place the foam in your l…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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A Miracle Baby...

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Kate Ogg gave birth to a set of twins– a boy and girl...at 26 weeks! The babies were born two minutes apart. However, the boy stopped breathing and passed away. Kate asked her husband to quickly take off his shirt and help her embrace their lifeless child. She positioned his cold body near hear heart. The parents wept like they never had before. They told Jamie about promises they were happy to keep if he survived. They told him about his twin sister and asked that he watch over her. As they held Jamie and gave him body heat, something amazing happened...Jamie held his dad's tip of his finger and started moving and gasping for air! He came back! Hospital staffers took over to resuscitate him. The Ogg’s believe the close skin-to-skin contact saved Jamie's life. Today, he's a thriving and healthy 5-year old boy.
I was in tears the entire time I watched the video about Jamie's miracle. I flashed back to the birth of my own two children, who seemed to be a miracle of thei…

Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Cream Scones with Currants

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Total Time: 45 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 8 scones
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and refrigerated
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup dried currants
1 large egg
4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in zest and currants.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and 4 tablespoons of the cream together with a fork. Add to the flour mixture and mix with your hands until the dough just comes together. (If the dough seems dry add the extra tablespoon of cream.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a 6-inch…

St. Patrick's Day Mint Shakes

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Total Time: 5 min
Prep: 5 min
Yield: 1 or 2 servings
Level: Easy

Milk shakes, like other simple concoctions, are only as good as their ingredients, so use high-quality ice cream and vanilla extract. Combining peppermint extract and vanilla ice cream gives the drink an extra-refreshing, minty flavor you wouldn't get from using regular mint chip ice cream.

Ingredients
1 pint vanilla ice cream (2 cups)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 or 4 drops green liquid food coloring
Whipped cream and green sanding sugar, for garnish

Directions
Blend the ice cream, milk, peppermint extract, vanilla and food coloring in a blender until smooth. Pour into one or two serving glasses and garnish with whipped cream and sanding sugar.

Copyright 2013 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved
Food Network Kitchens

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


Italian Doughnuts

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Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 18 doughnuts
Level: Easy
Ingredients
1 pound prepared pizza dough
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Olive oil, for deep-frying
Directions
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a floured 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out doughnut rounds. Using a floured 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out a hole in the center of each doughnut. Gather the dough scraps and reroll. Cut out more doughnuts.

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl to blend. Set the cinnamon-sugar aside.

Pour equal parts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the doughnuts until they puff but are still pale, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly. W…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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The Bravest Thing I Ever Did...

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Elizabeth Gilbert asked today on her Facebook page what is the Bravest Thing I've Ever Done?
The Bravest Thing I Ever Did…was to go to college! I grew up in a family that valued hard work, but not in the classroom. My mother believed that going to school was a waste of time, and that entering the workforce immediately after high school graduation was the best thing for my future. A high school classmate of mine was applying for college in our senior year and mentioned to me that I should too. I told her that I didn’t think I would get accepted, but even if they did, I couldn’t afford it. She told me to reach out to the university that I was interested in and ask for help on applying for financial aid, and help to fill out the paperwork necessary to be considered. So, I did! My mother wanted no part of it, and my dad lived far away, and worked nights so he slept in the daytime. My parents had been divorced for a few years by then and either one of them couldn’t afford to financially…

Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 4 scallions, sliced 2 cups broccoli florets 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed) 1 cup medium-grain white rice 1 plum tomato, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1/4 cup sour cream 1 cup diced dill havarti cheese (about 4 ounces) 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
Directions Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and about three-quarters of the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, chicken, rice, tomato, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; stir to combine.
Whisk the chicken broth and sour cream in a bowl, pour into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Stir in half each of the havarti and parmesan. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminu…

The Porcupine Dilemma

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The hedgehog’s dilemma, also known as porcupine dilemma made famous by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer — is an amazing metaphor about human intimacy. It describes a situation in which a group of hedgehogs all seek to become close to one another in order to share heat during cold weather. They must remain apart, however, as they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp spines. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur, for reasons they cannot avoid.

My interpretation is that human intimacy, whether it’s a friendship, relationship, marriage and/or love, has its challenges. However, those challenges can become less painful when we limit the need for warmth outside of ourselves. When we learn to create the needed warmth and an intimate connection with ourselves first before searching it out, we lessen the most damaging relationships that weigh down our future connections.

All of this reminds me of a few friendships that I’ve h…

I-Burn Soup

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Recipe courtesy of doctoroz.com
Try this soup between meals or anytime throughout the day to stave off hunger!

This recipe makes more than the nine cups and can be enjoyed in an unlimited quantity. For more information about The Burn Plan click here.

Ingredients 4 quarts water 4 carrots, diced 4 celery stalks, with leaves 2 cups chopped collard greens, chard, and/or dandelion tops 1 red onion, minced 2 sweet potatoes, chopped 2 cups turnips, parsnips, and/or rutabagas 1 1/2 cups fresh or dried shiitake or maitake mushrooms 1 1/2 cups white button mushrooms 1 cup minced daikon or white radish, root and tops 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1/2 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
Directions Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 hours. Allow to cool. Then purée in a blender, or blend in the pot with a blender.
Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.
This soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it in individual…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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