Friday, June 19, 2009

Welcome Summer!

Thanks to the refreshing cool weather we've had the last few weeks here in Southern California, some of us may be caught by surprise that suddenly Summer has arrived! This Sunday not only marks the day we celebrate all those special Dads, but around 6pm on June 21st, we also celebrate the Summer Solstice! This will be the longest day of the year--Make it memorable!

Summer--It's the time of the year to share special moments with friends and family; and time to let the sun invigorate you and help renew goals set months ago! Get ready for BBQ season, backyard parties and picnics, warm nights at the Beach, gorgeous sunsets, and lots of Bare Skin! I have a few green tips to keep in mind while planning your fun Summer Activities!

  • BBQ: Your skin and your physique will thank you if you consider throwing a few more veggies on the BBQ this year! Try Veggie Kabobs (some stores even carry them pre-packaged & ready for you), try grilling eggplant, portobellos, squash, Veggie burger patties, and even pineapple for a luau theme!

  • Party drinks: Think Fresh & Cool & of course, Green! Melon, Mint, Lime, Avocado--all of these make yummy smoothies or cocktails! Try a Hibiscus Mojito, Rum Punch, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Moscato d'Asti. I try to choose wines from growers that practice sustainable growing and for cocktails, I add natural, organic ingredients like Agave Nectar, Ginger, and Wild Flowers. (Did you know that Vanilla Beans actually come from a wild Orchid?)
  • Planning Parties & Picnics: Lots of garbage is left behind at parks and finds it's way into streams and eventually into the ocean where animals live! Our landfills are overflowing with plastic water bottles, stryofoam cups/plates, plastic utensils, and plastic bags used only once. You'll actually save money by using eco-friendly products that are reusable and use less petroleum to produce. Key Word to look for when shopping: Biodegradeable! Buy products that will easily degrade unlike Styrofoam. Why buy disposable if we can save money by buying washable & reusable products? I love the new lines of ecofriendly, BPA free water bottles, and I love taking my picnic basket full of bamboo utensils, plates, and cloth napkins!

  • Don't forget your Skin: 15 minutes in the sun can provide you with your day's supply of Vitamin D, but without UV ray protection, it also oxidizes the layers of your skin causing free radicals to form. This means wrinkles, fine lines, and premature signs of aging. Choose moisturizers with SPF 30 or higher and stay hydrated! Quick tip: make a homemade face mask rich in Retinol (Vit A) found in many PRICEY creams on the market. Steam some carrots, mash with Agave nectar and apply to face for 10 mins. Retinol stimulates the production of Collagen and Elastin in our deepest skin layers! Result: more youthful smoother skin!

This year is all about Saving Green and Going Green! The BEST part about throwing your own Green Get-together is you can save money by going to your local store and picking up crowd-pleasing ingredients without going broke! There's no corkage fee at a dinner party in the comfort of your own home! Enjoy your first Weekend of Summer! Here's a recipe for a tasty new twist on the Delicious Mojito:

Karinna's Hibiscus Mojito - It's Wild and Exotic!

2 oz Light Rum (Like Bacardi)

1 oz Hibiscus Syrup

1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

4 Mint Leaves

2 Hibiscus Flowers

2 Lime Wedges

Soda Water

Muddle Mint, Hibiscus Flowers, and Lime Wedges. Add Ice, Fill with Rum, Syrup and Lime Juice. Splash with Soda Water.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Power-Packed Gourmet in less than 15 mins...

This is for all my friends who have asked for

So, You Have Last Minute Guests....Need To Make A Healthy Gourmet Meal In...15 minutes?

Get Caffeinated, then try this no-nonsense recipe:

4 Cups Quinoa -- Prepared in Rice cooker (Takes 10-12 minutes. Rinse first)

1 bunch Asparagus spears (sauté separately in Earth Balance vegan butter and salt & pepper, covered for 8 minutes.)

1 Package Bean Sprouts (toss in a strainer, rinse, set aside)

8-10 Mushrooms (med-sized Button or Crimini) diced

1/2 Med. Onion diced

2 sm. Zucchini julienned

1 Baby Bok Choy (rinsed, cored, diced like celery)

Garlic (fresh or powdered) to taste

Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium preferred), to taste

Dash Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 tbsp Canola or Sesame oil

2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter-spread

First of all, rinse and cook Quinoa in your rice cooker and begin preparing Veggies.
Preheat pan.
Add oil & vegan butter and sauté veggies in order until caramelized about 5 minutes--except for the Asparagus (sauté separately) and the Sprouts (add at the very end for crispness).
Season with salt and pepper, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
By now, Quinoa should be cooked; add to stir fry pan and sauté 2 more minutes.
Finally throw in Sprouts, reduce heat and cover for 2 minutes.

Dinner is ready! Plate the Quinoa & Veggie Stir Fry then garnish with Asparagus Spears. If you have toasted Sesame Seeds, sprinkle the top after plating...yum!


Go Green One Bite At A Time

Do you want a slimmer waistline, radiant skin, mental clarity, and 20 healthy years added to your life? Of course! What if you could get all of these benefits and Stop Global Warming at the same time?

We have been warned about the urgent need to change our habits in order to stop global warming, ocean deterioration, species extinction, and the connection to economic fallout. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been tracking these changes and many scientists have documented the fact that the greenhouse gas emissions created since the beginning of Industrialization are harming the delicate balance of our environment. Massive storms, super viruses, dead zones in the oceans, and a deep economic recession are all signs that Climate Change has begun.

These issues may seem so far beyond our control that one person reading this article or watching the ominous news reports might think they are not capable of making an impact. The wonderful news is: each of us can start today by making simple and easy changes in our lives. Start by adopting a "Flexitarian" diet; a flexible vegetarian incorporates more legumes, nuts, whole grains, and greens into their meals while still indulging in the occasional serving of meat. Consumption of meat and dairy has increased significantly more in the last 40 years than ever before in history, and this spike in demand has created an industry that, unfortunately, has a very negative impact on our environment. With the rate of population growth, if we don't decrease our demand of animal products in the slightest, we may very well double or triple our consumption in the next few decades. The effect on our environment could be disastrous.

How does the meat and dairy industry contribute to global warming? The production, maintenance, transportation, and storage of meat release more greenhouse gases than all of the commuter vehicles on our highways. So, if we all chose to eat a vegan meal at least a few days a week, we would be making more of an impact than if we all purchased a hybrid vehicle or parked our cars for a year!

The American Cancer Society recommends a plant-based diet, and this is not news! Studies dated back a few decades describe the benefits of plant-based diets on prevention of cancer, especially cancer of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Antioxidants from plant sources are necessary to reduce the effects of free-radicals on our bodies. The Society goes as far as to say that meat consumption should be limited, and is linked to cancers of the colon and prostate. For all the health and environmental benefits, incorporating a few vegan recipes into your week would be a very intelligent choice to make. Not only does a plant-based diet help your waist line, your pocket book, and the Earth, it will also add years to your life and keep you looking and feeling good longer!

*Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration American Cancer Society United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
*the News...hello!?

:-) Keep smiling, keep reading, and keep loving.
-XOXO Kari


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