Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Soap Sale Coming Up!


I'm back!  It's been awhile, but I'm finally having a soap sale!
 I will begin taking orders first come, first served next Wednesday, December 3rd at 9:00 am (California time). 



Here are some details about the my soap and the sale. 
 


First, let me tell you a little about my soaps and why you’ll love them. :-)   My soaps are 100% all natural – never any harsh chemicals or ingredients to harm your skin. They contain natural glycerine which is formed in the saponification (soap making) process. Glycerine actually attracts moisture to your skin. Most commercial soaps lack glycerine because they are extracted out for use in other products. Detergents are added in and that is why your skin can feel dry and itchy.  Consequently, homemade soap is softer, so you must let it drain and air dry well between uses.


Do you know what is in the soap you use? I do, because I control everything that goes into the soap I make! I choose only quality, natural ingredients such as coconut, organic palm, and olive oils, 100% pure essential oils, goat’s milk, natural colorants and exfolliants. Yes, I use lye, as it is essential in soap making, but rest assured it evaporates in the saponification process. You can read more about the properties of each specific type of soap below. 



All the soap is made in small batches, by the cold process method, and is cut by hand in my own kitchen. I really enjoy making soap for my own family and it’s a joy to share it with you, too! These bars are large, around 4 1/2 -5 oz each! 



This time I will be offering 5 different types of soap: 

All-vegetable oil  

Goat milk


Goat milk oatmeal 

Shea butter

NEW!  Cocoa butter



ALL-VEGETABLE OIL SOAPS - $3.50 each plus tax
Made with coconut, organic palm, and olive oils.  
A great basic body or facial bar.

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SHEA BUTTER SOAPS - $4.00 each plus tax
Same oils as the all-vegetable oil soap, with the addition of unrefined shea butter for extra richness (this is considered a "super fatted" soap). Shea butter moisturizes without clogging pores and contains skin benefiting vitamins A and E. You can really feel the difference when you use a shea butter soap. 

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GOAT MILK SOAPS - $3.50 each plus tax
Same oils as the all-vegetable oil soap, but the addition of goat’s milk provides rich emollients and vitamins to moisturize and nourish the skin. It contains capric-capryllic triglycerides, which are effective in moisturizing skin, and goat milk soap's gentle natural ingredients are beneficial to people with skin sensitivities or eczema.  I am offering one special soap formulated especially for hand washing.  I call it "scrubbie" as it contains coffee grounds for deep cleaning and odor removal (think: garlic).
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GOAT MILK OATMEAL SOAPS - $3.50 each plus tax
All the moisture of goat milk soap, oatmeal soap also provides numerous additional benefits. It is great for both oily and dry skin types. Dry skin benefits by having its pH balanced by the oatmeal, while oily skin benefits by the absorbent nature of oats. Plus, there is a healthy fat in oatmeal that keeps skin moist. And the polysaccharides in oatmeal protect the skin after it is washed. Oatmeal soap also contains poly phenols, which benefits acne prone skin and exfoliates the surface cells; it is particularly effective for cystic acne. Oatmeal soaps lather great and provide light exfoliation.

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NEW!  COCOA BUTTER SOAP - $4.00 plus tax
I am pleased to introduce this super emollient new soap!
Cocoa butter is known as the ultimate moisturizer.
It contains natural antioxidants and absorbs easily into the skin.
This soap contains 3% more butter than my shea butter soap, making it my richest soap.
I chose to leave it unscented so that the natural chocolate aroma could shine through.  

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Can’t decide?   
Try a sample pack! 

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I will surprise you with 4 different soaps in half bar sizes. 
Each pack will contain one of each type of soap
(goat milk, goat milk oatmeal, vegetable oil, and either cocoa butter or shea butter)

$8 plus tax

SALE DETAILS


DELIVERY/SHIPPING: If you are close by, we can make arrangements to get you your goods. If not, I am happy to ship to anywhere in the U.S. 

I can ship up to 4 bars of soap for $5.25 using the USPS small flat rate priority box; larger orders will most likely fit in the medium flat rate box for $11.35. 

PAYMENT: I accept PayPal (use harasick@ca.rr.com), cash, or personal checks (cash & checks accepted only in person).



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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday appetizer: Cranberry-Pineapple Salsa



Appetizers - -  not exactly my specialty!  

It's always nice to have a few nibbles ready when guests arrive, but I always struggle as to what to serve.  Here's a great recipe that is healthy and fresh -- quite welcome with the heaviness of appetizers at this time of year.  I served this easy and delicious salsa with Trader Joe's organic corn, quinoa, and chia chips.  YUM -- try this soon!


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Cranberry Pineapple Salsa

Makes about 3 1/2 cups or 12 servings

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1/2 medium pineapple, pared, cored and coarsely chopped (about 2 packed cups)
1 green onion (white and green parts), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or cilantro
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (may add some seeds if heat is desired)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place cranberries, pineapple, green onion, mint, jalapeño, garlic and salt in food processor fitted with metal chopping blade. Pulse until cranberries are coarsely chopped. 

Transfer to serving dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. Serve chilled.





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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Grandbaby update - "It's a ...

...GIRL!"

We found out recently that Emma is having a sweet baby girl!  I can't wait to have a granddaughter!

Here's the beautiful momma, working last weekend.  
See that cute little baby bump? :-)


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pretending I have a travel blog :-)

What would be your dream job?

I think it would be awesome to be a professional blogger.   Like one who travels or one who eats at all kinds of restaurants and then writes about it. 

Honestly, I don't know how one even GETS a job like that.  Sheesh.

Anyways, sometimes I do like to pretend that's what I do... in between loads of laundry, cooking, and cleaning of course (my otherwise mundane life).

A couple weeks ago, I got to go to Chicago with Rich.  He has a summit with other water agencies each October in this wonderful city.   I think this was the 4th time I've tagged along and I'm completely smitten with the place. The first time Rich invited me to go, it was like "why not?"  but it wasn't like I was dreaming of going to the mid-west. No offense to anyone who lives there, but I just never thought of it as being an exciting place to go.

Now I still don't know much about the mid-west in general, but I know this: Chicago is in it and I HEART CHICAGO! I'm even going to go out on a limb and say that I even love it MORE than New York.  Wow.

Why do I love it so much?  It's beautiful, exciting, has a crazy amount of shopping and attractions all within walking distance (or a short train ride away), and not to mention it's a foodie's paradise.  In October, you see fall in full swing, with all the trees and decor in the city (see photos below).  I could go on and on, it's just a rad place, and it's captured my heart.

So grab yourself a nice cup of coffee and come along with me on a little tour of this amazing city.  And consider a little getaway here sometime.  Flights are not usually expensive and it's only 3 1/2 hours from LAX to Midway - you can be there by lunch. 

DAY 1

We arrived around noon, and took the subway to the city.  It's only about a 30 minute ride, and costs $2.50 a person.   It's nicknamed the "El" because it's elevated on a good portion of the tracks.  It's fun whizzing by the city.  We checked into our hotel, the Westin, which was right on the river. Here was the view from our room on the 33rd floor.  It was breathtaking. Rich didn't have any work on our travel day, so we were free to explore the city.

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Our first meal is always XOCO.   Xoco is one of Rick Bayless' restaurants and it's one of my favorite restaurants on earth.  I am not exaggerating when I say that we pretty much drop our suitcases and walk as fast as we can to it.

Below is the Ahogada sandwich.  It's made of savory pork carnitas, with an incredible (spicy) broth.  Sort of like a Mexican french dip on steroids. Everything about this sandwich is pure perfection.
We usually split this so we can have dessert...

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So, dessert. Yeah. You HAVE got to get the homemade churros.   That little cup you see contains house made chocolate sauce, a/k/a CRACK. I don't care how full you are, you must get these.

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To burn off our lunch, we strolled through the charming Old Town area.

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The Spice House is one of my favorite stores. It's so charming and I always find something to bring home (this time I got some matcha tea powder).
And when the afternoon starts to get a little chilly, we like to stop at Tea Gschwendner for a nice cup of hot tea. The aroma in there is indescribable. I feel comforted just by walking in.

They will make you anything you want.  Feeling like a nice orange tea with ginger? No problem, they will put together a custom blend for you.  The tea tastes so clean.
I purchased some Rooibos Amaretti tea to take home and it's amazing.

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Oh, wouldn't you know!  It's time to eat again.  For dinner, we finally snagged a coveted reservation at the ultra popular Girl and the Goat.  I made our reservation 2 months in advance.  We were delighted to get seated at two of only four spots at the kitchen counter. I think our eyes were as wide as saucers when we saw our seats!

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It was such a unique experience to watch all the chefs and interact with them about the food.  
Boy is the kitchen HOT and BUSY!
This restaurant really lived up to its hype.
 I like how everything is sized perfectly for sharing, so you can order 3-4 things and try a myriad of dishes.
And for what creative, beautiful and delicious food we ate, and we were actually shocked at how reasonable the price was.   I would love to come back here again.

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Kohlrabi salad

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Pan-roasted cauliflower with fresh mint

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Goat confit with lobster, crab & fennel in a bourbon vanilla sauce

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And of course we had to try their signature dish "Pig Face"  
Thankfully, it did not come with the snout!
The meat was like savory bacon, and with the crispy potatoes and egg, it was sort of like breakfast.

Back to our hotel and this beautiful view of the night.
Incidentally, the cartoon family, the Jetsons' home was based on these buildings, called Marina City.

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DAY 2

 I absolutely love the feeling of stepping out into the fresh, brisk morning air all bundled up.  I walked about 15 minutes to a restaurant I had bookmarked on Yelp, Beatrix. I was in the mood for something healthy and light, and this place perfectly fit the bill.  Even though they have counter service, I decided to get a table and have a leisurely meal.  I don't usually do that when I'm alone, but it's actually kind of fun.

I mapped out my shopping route and enjoyed a fresh green juice and a comforting bowl of hot whole grain cereal.  Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, has a TON of shopping.   And it's full of beautiful eye candy like these shots below.  These little vignettes are all over the city. 

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 I found a unique little raw food restaurant called Chicago Raw for lunch.   
That interesting looking drink is coconut milk kefir - it was really good!
And I got to keep the cute little glass.

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More fall decor.  They throw pumpkins into planters everywhere.

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For dinner we headed to Eataly.  How to describe Eataly... hmm.  Amazing?  Incredible? Unbelievable?

Well, let's just say you had a BIG store where you sold all kinds of Italian culinary goods, added a fresh produce market, cheese, salumi, pasta, meat, bakery, etc. plus added multiple eateries to that and did it all in a jaw-dropping, stunning environment... let's just say Eataly is a DON'T MISS attraction. 

This is the entrance.  This is taken from the 2nd floor looking down.

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Here are a few things you can buy... gorgeous produce...

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This is just their parmesan selection

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So many different olive oils... not so great to pack into your luggage though.

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I've never seen more salumi e frommagio in one place.

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Beautiful homemade pastas abound...

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Then there are the many different eateries...

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We chose the Pasta/Pizza area

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Neapolitan style - our favorite.

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There is even a whole area devoted to Nutella where they were dishing up crepes and other goodies.

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We may or may not have capped the evening off with some gelato.

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DAY 3

While Rich finished up his final meetings, I packed us up so we could move to our new hotel.  We extended our stay one extra night but the hotel could not accomodate us for an extra night.  So we moved over to the Merchandise Mart area for our last night.   

I had a quick breakfast at Intelligentsia Coffee, a quite lovely latte and delicious buckwheat scone.
Even though we have Intelligentsia in L.A., its home is Chicago.

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 We also visited the Art Institute of Chicago.  We loved the impressionist collection.

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I don't know about you, but museums always make me tired.  Maybe it's the slow walking?

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We had a lovely walk through Millennium Park, and the iconic bean.  

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Selfie amongst beautiful fall colors

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A don't miss attraction is the Merchandise Mart.   Our second hotel, the Holiday Inn Merchandise Mart, was actually connected to it by a bridge.  The "Merch Mart" is a commercial building that opened in 1930.  At the time it was the largest building in the world (it has 4,000,000 square feet).   It once centralized Chicago's wholesale goods business by consolidating architectural and design vendors and trades under one (big) roof.  Now it is home to several enterprises, including the Shops at the Mart, and the Chicago campus of the Illinois Institute of Art.  The lower floors (the designer showrooms and food court) are open to the public and it's totally worth a stroll through.  It is elegant and visually spectacular, and if you're an Art Deco fan like me, you will be quite enamored.  

Here's the view of the Merch Mart from our hotel:

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The floors were a work of art

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The prettiest little Starbucks ever 

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And what trip to Chicago would be complete without a train ride to a sketchy neighborhood for a Triple D?
Smoque did not disappoint! (P.S. yes those fries were as good as they looked)

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DAY 4

We purposely planned to fly out early evening so we could squeeze in one last full day.  I loved Beatrix so much that we stopped there for breakfast.  Knowing we'd be going on a walking food tour, we ate light and healthy.   I'm sure you can guess which fresh juice is mine. :-)

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We have SO enjoyed taking the walking food tours from Chicago Food Planet.
I highly recommend these tours!  The tour guides have been fabulous and the food tastings are so fun.
This tour of Chinatown was our 3rd tour with them.  
The tours comprise of groups of 10 and last about 3 hours and you walk through the neighborhoods and stop at 5 or 6 places for a (generous) sampling of their food. The Chinatown food is a little heavier so they only do 4 stops.

I would recommend the tours of Bucktown/Wicker Park or Gold Coast/Old Town for a first tour and a better sampling of Chicago cuisine, but we loved the Chinatown one.

It was a cold and rainy day, but that doesn't stop true foodies!

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Our wonderful guide Lisa gave us a lot of history about the area as well as the different regional cuisines we would be having.
 
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First stop was yummy Dim Sum.

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Second stop was spicy Szechuan!

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Third stop was Peking Duck from Beijing.

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Fourth and final stop was dessert.  We had Hong Kong tea and a scrumptious egg custard pastry.

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We saw a few sights along the way.

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And, even after all that food and 48 degree temperatures, I couldn't leave Chinatown without a Taro boba. :-)

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Until next time, Chicago!

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