Eat chi-chi-chia…turning oatmeal into a super meal!
February 3, 2011

So tasty???

Yes, that chia…the wonder-pet-turned-1980s-phenomenon….Remember the commercial that we saw over and over and over and over…..for those of you too young to remember…here you go!

This is the new look for Chia....

But what you may not know about chia, which was once a staple for Native Americans in the southwest and the Aztecs long ago,  is that it’s the latest superfood-read more here…chock full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. If you were to put a spoonful of chia seeds in a glass of water, and left it for 15 minutes…you’d find the seeds had become almost a gelatin substance…the reaction is the result of the soluble fiber in chia. Supposedly, that gel creates a barrier in the tummy between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, so it slows the converting of carbs into sugar…all good! How do I use chia? 

I love these oats, and there's a quick cook method...

 On Sunday night I make a big pot of “steel cut” oatmeal( the quick way is throw a cup of oats in 4 cups of boiling water and just let it sit overnight)…put in a good helping of chia seeds, and the next morning…you have a wonderful breakfast that could last all week…depending on how many people are eating it.


You could even put the chia-oatmeal in a loaf pan and then cut slices in the mornings, and heat it in the microwave, add some honey or artificial sweetener, some blueberries and some walnuts(also good for omega 3s)….

Love love love the walnuts...

and you have a super-quick, fiber-filled, antioxidant and omega-3 rich delicious breakfast. Don’t even tell me you don’t have time for that. Oh, and you can add chia seeds to almost anything… a salad, soup, a stew, baked goods, smoothies or soaked in fruit juice(chia fresca in Mexico) name it. And as for where to get them, I get mine at Whole Foods, but they’re also available online, usually around $6.99 a pound.

Weekend Wrapup….Beeswax and BOP
October 25, 2010

Beeswax wood finish....smells good too...

What a gorgeous weekend it was…too bad I can barely move today. I got a little, ummm, ambitious…this weekend with a can of Skidmore’s Beeswax Wood Finish. The hardwood floor entryway to my house has been a source of great consternation to me for a long time. The floors have lost their finish, but the only thing to do about it really, is to re-finish them, which would mean also refinishing the living and dining rooms too. THAT means, moving all the furniture out(where?) and sanding and staining and dust and polyurethaning and argh!! So, I’ve never done it. But this weekend I got down on my hands and knees and rubbed the beeswax finish into the areas that are neediest. And I have to say…they look a lot better. Not like new floors, more like floors with patina…you know…that show a little living(that’s an understatement). And I can live with that for now. But wow, am I sore.

Beeswax for Laramie Wyoming...

Interesting company in Laramie WY….and they make other products too…like furniture cream, and leather care products…even stuff for bikers!

The Whole Foods oven looked kinda like this...

Went to Whole Foods on Saturday where they had a brick oven on wheels baking delicious looking pizzas(I’d show you my pictures but my BB email is down…again). The guys told me they designed the contraption special….for portable BOP(brick oven pizza) . I didn’t eat one, but they looked unbelievably good.  Hey, all pizza is good and BOP is the best. Yum.

And saw RED (as in the movie…I wasn’t angry)at the newly re-opened Senator theatre…it looked pretty much the same inside…same big screen, great sound, great popcorn…loved watching a flick there again. And the movie was fun…nothing to worry about or think about later…just a fun and funny 2 hour ride. RED stands for “retired, extremely dangerous”….sooooo, you get the idea. Here’s a trailer….Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman…what’s not to like?

Now That’s a rock….ever tried on a $600,000 diamond ring?
September 24, 2010

Wow….now that’s an engagement ring….

It really was amazing,  just the overall glitter, and sparkle, and sheer hunkiness of the thing….a gorgeous 5 and half carat diamond solitaire….at Tiffany’s, of course. I’m  not at all sure how I ended up on the invitation list for a little soiree last night at Tiffany’s…I knew all of 2 people there….the rest, complete strangers. But whatever, sure, I’d love to go to a party, so…. my daughter and I trotted over the check out the new Tiffany’s in Towson . And yes, they were checking names at the door, so you couldn’t just wander in….please.

Tiffany's party goers...well dressed, of course..

The place is, as you would expect…lovely. All done in silver and Tiffany blue…I would have taken more pictures, but my daughter was quite embarrassed at my doing so…”Mom, stop it…you’re acting like one else is taking pictures, and you’re making the sales people nervous.” I’m not really sure that last part is true…surely someone was snapping shots with cell phones….but I acquiesced to her need.

White wine AND jewelry? I'd love to...

We were gaping at the solitaires, and the one you see in the first pic in particular….a lovely woman came over and asked if we’d like to try it on.  My mouth was open to say, no…that’s ok…but my daughter beat me to it with a , “Yes, yes yes!!”  So in the end we both tried on a piece of jewelry that costs more than…my house… and our cars… and…. just about everything we own. Seriously, think about it….600 grand ON YOUR FINGER. That my friend, sets the rich apart from you and me. But Tiffany’s has something for almost every price range….you can get a key ring for about $50.

I’m heading off to Whole Foods right now…they have catfish on sale for $4.99 a pound today(someone who wears a big-ass diamond ring 1. doesn’t eat catfish and 2. doesn’t care if it’s on sale)…not sure what I’m doing with it…maybe a cornmeal-pecan coating and pan-fried?

Oh, and for those of you following my little war with SC Gamecocks fan Chris Dachille(if that’s his real name)….I had the IT guy here put the Auburn logo as his screen saver, and the fight song will play when he logs in….I mention it at the end of this blog, because I know Chris will NEVER read to the end of a blog about Tiffany’s jewelry! I hope he won’t see it until Monday…revenge is a dish best served cold. And thanks to all of you for your great ideas .

Anyway, it’s Friday…hope to see you at the Book Festival this weekend, and don’t forget Monday to bring your walking shoes to city hall (12:30) for a walk to the harbor with me and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake as a start to kick off Healthy City Days. Too much obesity, diabetes and heart disease in Baltimore…time to do something about it…join us!  Ne nice, don’t throw rocks, and come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Take that, Whole Foods…and, a Day in D.C.
August 11, 2010

Delish...and a a Wolfgang Puck restaurant??

OK, it’s been one of those busy weeks where I said, “Holy expletive, it’s already Thursday and I haven’t blogged and there’-so-much-I-want-to-say-how-do-I-get-it-all-in-one-post?”  I won’t try to do that as you might be incredibly bored, but I will cover a couple of things, both food related(apologies to those of you who aren’t interested in food-I feel so sorry for you).

Let’s begin with brunch last weekend, at Wolfgang’s Puck’s restaurant in D.C., The Source. First the look of the place…gorgeous, as you might imagine…multi level, very contemporary and sleek….all big windows and great light. We ordered some Bloody Mary’s (the Shanghai with Szechuan chili paste for those who like it hotter and the classic for those who like things a bit more tame) and a Pear Bellini for me….pear puree with champagne…drinks were $8 each which you may know is not bad for D.C.  The menu had lunch and brunch choices…from a hamburger to omelets….and salads.

Tuna good...

 They have a 3 course which I would have loved to do, but everyone else said, “Oh, no, I can’t eat that much”…..losers. Pleasant surprise for Donna….four unbelieveably good spicy tuna tartar in crunchy little tuille wraps came compliments of the chef, as did tiny espresso cups of cold gazpacho. Nice start, Wolfie. I get my appetizer anyway, so there. And the dim sum platter was luscious. Oh, and it’s located in the Newseum in D.C…..which is an interactive museum that covers the history of news gathering..gobs of video as you can imagine from every big story ever covered, and you can even play reporter and put together a news story. Oh, and you can get in for $7 if you eat at The Source.

Great street bistro sign....

 That seemed like work to me( I get to do that all the time), so we traveled on to street sale, where stores had stuff out on the sidewalk on sale. Great day in D.C., which I don’t do nearly often enough.

OK, next…..let me say up front about this next  item is that I love Whole Foods…big fan, and I shop there a couple of times a week. And one thing I will buy there every single week is their Adobe Black Bean Soup. Seriously, the stuff is addictive, and it provides me an easy, meatless dinner one night every week. I just slice a little avocado and tomato over the top, maybe sour cream….and dinner is good to go.

Donna's Black Bean Soup...take that.

Only over the summer, this soup has disappeared from Whole Foods. Vanished. At first I thought it was just all bought , but after weeks of the same, I asked what was going on. The response…”Maybe it will be back in the fall but it’s off the summer menu.” Whaaaahhhh?? My reply, “You mean to tell me split pea and ham(which they had-puhleeze) is more summery than Black Bean soup? I don’t think so.” The guy shrugged and said he’d pass along the comment, but….the soup has never come back.

 So this week, I broke down and decided to make my own. And I’m not lying when I tell you mine is better than theirs….I was shocked, but it’s true.

Roasted adobo peppers and tomatoes....

Here’s what I did after reading a few recipes….

drained a couple of cans of black beans(but not rinsed)– sautéed some onion and garlic, along with a few slices of  ready cooked bacon– threw in a few small heirloom tomatoes on the verge of decay–cooked it all down for a few minutes–added the beans and some chicken broth to thin it….pureed about 3/4 of the mixture– added salt and pepper. But here are the 3 things I think put it over the top

Piment D'Espelette, from France

 I added some chopped adobe peppers I had roasted over the weekend(also racing decay) which added a nice smokey touch, and two new spices I had just received in the mail as you can’t find them easily….smoked Spanish paprika and Piment d’Espelette…a special pepper raised in the Basque country in France. I got both these two from an online company called My Spice Sage.  What they added is hard for me to describe, but the depth and layers and layers of flavor were just fabulous. Whole Foods….watch out…I might start my own Black Bean label. Oh, and with every order at My Spice Sage, they send a free package of the hottest spice in the world….Bhut Jolokia Pepper Powder….it rings in at over 1,000,000 Scoville heat units…what ever that means. I’ll try to find out for all of us, but in the meantime I’m sending it to my son, who travels with tobasco….loves the hot stuff.

Scary text PSA and Meatloaf Monday
August 25, 2009

Stop your darn texting right now!!

Stop your darn texting right now!!

If you haven’t seen this British public service annnouncement (from Wales of all places)about what can happen on the road when you text and drive, I have provided the above easy link. It really will make you think about this dangerous activity, that makes you 23 time more likely to be involved in an accident. I’ll be honest, I have texted while driving a few times, but I’m not doing it again, and I hope you share the link with teens and young people you know who are the most likely to TWD(texting while driving).

You may wonder, ok, how on earth are police enforcing a law against a not easily noticed activity here in Maryland(and it is now against the law to TWD)…..let me share a story. A co-worker of mine that you would know, has a teenage daughter who was stopped for speeding. Already frightened to death by the stop, the officer saw her phone and asked , “Have you been texting?” She shook her head no, and he demanded to see her phone. Luckily for her, she had not texted since a couple of hours before…so he took a look, and handed her phone back, saying something like, “Lucky for you“….but she still got the speeding ticket, of course. There are two things she will think twice about…speeding and texting.  Me too. My daughter too.

It was more red than this, but you get the idea....she puts it together the night before.

It was more red than this, but you get the idea....she puts it together the night before.

And speaking of the girl who is now on WEEK TWO OF ON THE JOB,  she has declared the first day of the workday….Meatloaf Monday…and she makes it!! She found a recipe on Whole Foods website that uses grass fed ground beef(of course), beef broth, chopped spinach…I gotta tell you, it is the best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten, super moist, extremely flavorful. It’s a great recipe.


One of St. Brigids mootiful grassfed cows....

One of St. Brigid's "mootiful" grassfed cows....

And this weekend I’m off to the Eastern Shore for a crabfeast, courtesy of  my friend Elise who publishes Chespeake Foodie…(it’s Foodie’s 3rd birthday)a terrific website about local foods, restaurants, and recipies…and in this month’s issue in the link above, I found tips about cooking grassfed beef, which is different and more lean than regular beef. They also link to

St. Brigid’s Farm website and blog, in Kennedyville MD, which sells grassfed beef and veal, and homemade mozzarella at their farm store…we will definitely make a stop, cooler in hand, to take some grassfed ground beef home for next week’s “Meatloaf Monday” . Some very cool cow pictures on the site.