Monday, June 30, 2008

Check out what's new in the shop!

Check this out. My sister made a new beaded purse and we posted it in Fritzi (our Etsy shop.) She has amazing patience and is very careful with her work.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Eggplant and zucchini

This week's market day was very hot, but people came out in droves, happy to have lots of organic vegetables. I brought home some eggplants and zucchini and decided to stay in and cook and bake today. Pretty crazy considering how hot it is outside. I heated up my kitchen even with the air conditioning and fan going. I think it's worth it, because right now, I have a chocolate and zucchini cake in the oven and a batch of caponata in the refrigerator, chilling. You can check out the recipes on my Vox blog.

If I can keep Chuck from cutting into it, the cake will be set aside for our 5th of July party. The 4th of July, for those of you outside of the U.S., is the birthday of the U.S.A. Chuck and I have birthdays before and after so I'm making the 5th our combined birthday celebrations. We're going to have a potluck, with Jack opening the gate between our two yards, for lots of room to eat and dance. Yes, dance. Let's hope that by then, the weather will be nice enough for us to get active.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Think Pink? or Think Again!

As you've read in previous posts, I'm very concerned about the safety of skin care products and cosmetics. My daughter alerted me to a way that we can make our voices heard by sending letters to cosmetics companies via a web site called Think Before you Pink
Clik on their "take action" button. Also, see
mica's blog on the subject. We can make a difference in the market place. Don't buy products that contain known or suspected carcinogens, don't do it. Check out your products on the Safety Date base, Skin Deep.
You're worth it, spend the time, spend the money, do it as if you life depended on it, because it may. Can I make this any stronger? Don't give your money to companies that don't care about your health. Take action!

Market day, another hot one!

It was a really hot market day. High 90s/30s with high humidity. No matter how much water I drank, I still felt kind of ill by the end of our work and while packing up the vehicle, it seemed like I was moving through pudding, as our cousin used to say in humid weather. Pudding!! I came home and crashed into a seemingly drugged sleep. It's still too hot to walk the dog at 7 pm (98/34) Our Arizona and San Fernando Valley, California relatives have been having triple digit (F) temps so I can't complain...oh yes I can, and do!! Aaaagh, it's HOT! Okay, I'm over that. Thanks for listening. Back to the vegetables.
Look at our lovely carrots. Notice the small double one, and check out the crazy radish! You never see this in super markets. The really odd ones don't make it past the uniformity inspectors, I suspect. This little guy (eggplant) was checking out the carrots. His "nose" give him such a personality. (maybe it's a "her," silly moi.)
The lettuces were very beautiful today. We sold out of them.

The beautiful flowers were a gift from Amy, of Amy's Organics, who has a stand across from ours. She came across the patio area at the end and said "These are for you, ladies!" Two beautiful bunches of the flowers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fritzi, my etsy shop news

I just added three little totes, well, actually, change purses, to our shop. They can hold money and cards.

I needed one for summer, something lightweight, so used some of the scraps from my big tote bags, and voila! I used old buttons for the closure, which makes them kind of vintage-y looking.

I was so happy with the results that I made some for the shop. Check out Fritzi, our Etsy shop.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Update on Plastic bottles

I decided that these lovely images by Marja Karina in Rusko, Finland, can help us keep in mind how we can help our earth by re-using our water bottles....but it's necessary to choose the right bottles for our health and safety. An update from our cousin, just in, #7 bottles can be safely refilled if they're the newer ones that say BPA FREE. The older #7's aren't to be "trusted." Here's a site that can help you learn more and find safe re-fillable bottles. Thanks Marja for sharing your photos and our Cousin D for the research.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Zucchini bread.

I got some really fresh, local organic, zucchini at the market yesterday.
I made this bread with it, packaging some of the slices, and some additional small heart shaped loaves, for a bake sale. It tastes really good with cream cheese.

Zucchini* Bread (*Cucurbita pepo)

3 ½ cups flour
2 large zucchini, grated (2 ½ c)
1 t salt 1 C sugar
2 t baking powder 4 eggs
½ t baking soda ½ C oil
½ t ground cinnamon 1 C toasted chopped pecans
½ t ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon & nutmeg. Combine zucchini, sugar eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Mix well. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini mixture just until combined. Toast nuts in a hot oven for 8 min., tossing often. Let nuts cool and fold into mixture. Transfer batter to loaf pans. Bake 50 -55 min., then remove bread from pans and cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SHELF! There's a new shelf!

Yay! On Tuesday, my little neighbor came by for help with her knitting and told me there was a new shelf! I couldn't believe. When I walked Smitty in the afternoon, I got these first images of it. I put a little tile on it, on which I'd written "welcome back." This morning, there was a lovely "flower" arrangement with shells. Oh how much fun, for however long it lasts, I'm loving it. So begins Elflog 2.0

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NYC memories of the weekend.

Lots of candles at El Diablo Royale in the West Village and excellent Mexican food. We had a good cup of coffee and a honey sweetened muffin at a shop by Washington Square on Saturday morning. We popped into a nice little place on west 10th, a glass of bubbly, a view of the rainy street, cozy us enjoying being together.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This just in...more about Cancer awareness.

My cousin just sent this e-mail. She had a bi-lateral mastectomy last month so is, naturally, very concerned. She has made herself very knowledgeable about products and here's what she found out. I have to admit, I'm the one who bought this bottle for her at a sporting goods store, thinking that it'd be SAFE! Fortunately, she did the research.

Hi all,

I need to spread the word that several stores across the U.S. are selling this pink water bottle (pic attached), called the "Breast Cancer Awareness Bottle," and that it would be in your best interest to NOT PURCHASE IT! It contains chemicals linked to Cancer, specifically BISPHENOL-A (BPA). This is an ingredient used to make polycarbonate. Canada has BANNED these bottles and other products made with this chemical, but our own Food and Drug Administration says that the link to cancer "cannot be proven," so these products are still on the shelves!

This BPA bottle is technically not refillable because once the bottle warms up/heats up and reaches a certain temperature, the toxins from the plastic bottle can transfer to the liquid you are drinking inside it. Repeated cooling and then thawing/warming of bottles made with this chemical is not recommended.

The next time you drink from ANY plastic water bottle be sure to turn it over and look for the number inside the little recyclable logo. If it has a number 7, make sure you throw the bottle away after drinking its contents. PLEASE DO NOT REFILL, CHILL AND REUSE BOTTLES UNLESS THEY ARE BPA-FREE!! Fortunately, there are BPA-free brands available to us, just do a Google search.

I cannot believe the irony in this situation. A product is being sold to bring awareness to Breast Cancer and it's not safe and may actually cause Cancer?!



Good eating....

Here are a few images of the good food we ate while on our trip to NJ/NYC. On our first night, we had Italian food (previously I showed you the lemon-mint granita dessert) at a restaurant where the pasta is all handmade. I had a pesto on little twisted pasta. It was so delicious. On Saturday, after seeing a documentary at IFC, Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog
we stepped out into rain! A nice cool down. We tried to have dinner at one place but it wasn't open so we stopped at a place on West 10th for wine and appetizer. A yummy melted brie with honey and pine nuts. Perfectly scrumptious. I have to remember to make this at home. The food being prepared for dinner smelled so good that we ended up having dinner at this same little restaurant. A nice end to that day. On Sunday morning, we had brunch with our family in New Jersey. One of us decided to have the Napoleon...can you believe how this looks! It was an amazing breakfast dish. Okay, so maybe I'll make this at home some day, too.

After dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Sunday night, we went for dessert to Red Mango for REAL yogurt with toppings. I had green tea yogurt with dried cranberries and Chuck had vanilla yogurt with pineapples, strawberries and graham crackers crumbs. Whew!

More time in NYC

I'm really fascinated by the water towers on top of buildings in Manhattan. I just have to take pictures of them. This one had a particularly interesting, to me, support structure, and I like the way the blue safety rail and ladders look like drawn lines. This mural way all sparkley and shiny. I love how kids "draw" and how nice that their drawings were made into a tile mural. We went over to the galleries on West 26th between 10 and 11th where lots of galleries are located and had a fine time checking out the art. Here are two of the clay plates we saw. One of them is now Chuck's as his birthday present from me. He loved these Japanese plates.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

NYC, art galleries and food.

We're visiting our daughter and cousin this weekend. On Friday, we went into the Chelsea neighborhood to "do" art galleries. There was a Lee Bul exhibit, showing some of the pieces we'd seen in Paris last fall. Chuck is looking at one of the "chandeliers" while I was inside of a small black stucture. We came across a neat exhibit of older work by Ettore Sottsass and I couldn't resist a reflection photo. We, also, went into a small Japanese gallery/shop and we really excited by the work. We had lunch of a crepe (apricot preserves with banana slices) made by an Argentine man from Mendoza at his cart. We sat on the ledge by a window across from the cart and ate it. It was muy delicioso. After much walking, and stopping at a Japanese book store to look at wonderful books and have a coffee, we checked out Moma and the Design museum, which is closing and moving to a beautiful new space in September. We met Mica after work and had dinner at Morandi, with a literally cool dessert to end the day. Lemon-mint granita! A long but lovely day, and the weather cooperated, too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Real Small Art at the gym.

I made a real small collage as part of RealSmallArt and inserted it into a copy of Urge magazine that I spotted over at Gold's gym when Barbara and I went to exercise earlier today.
I'd planned to leave the piece in the women's locker room but when I saw the magazine, which has an article about the Real Small Art League and Tiffany in it, I knew what I had to do....What fun. I hope the person who picked up the magazine was nicely surprised. I hope they realized that it was part of the article.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Market day, last very hot week!

One of our younger veggie shopper's displayed his carrots for me. It was mighty hot last Thursday, but I think this week might be hotter. Oh no! I brought with a small cooler full of ice water, which helped us stay hydrated.

I love when shoppers bring baskets. It's so old timey. We had conical cabbage, Magda squash, and kohlrabi, among all the other choices this past week.

Here are some kohlrabi tips in case you have the change to buy some: It's excellent cooked or raw. Just trim away the woody or tough portions of skin. Grate it into salads or make a "coleslaw" with it. Steam it whole for 25 to 30 minutes, or slice thinly and steam for 5 - 10 minutes. Saute with butter, add your favorite herbs. Chill and marinate cooked for a summer salad. Mash with a cooked potato, form into patties and fry. Any of the above sound really tasty. Try one of the suggestions and let me know how it turns out.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Etsy shop, Fritzi

I'm having such a good time with making totes for Fritzi, our Etsy (rhymes with Betsy) shop. I just put a few new bags in the shop. The polka dotty one got scooped up already, even before I put it on the shelf! Mainly, I'm using fabric that was headed for the landfill. All is new, unused, but was either a cast off from upholstery jobs (commercial or personal) or quilt projects (that seemed like a good idea at the time.) I've been really lucky that people are willing to pass the fabric along to be re-purposed into totes.
Check out the shop and see what's new. I can also do special orders, check under the heading "alchemy."

Fences & neighbors

I think I must be really fortunate. Lately, I've been hearing about relatives and friends having bad neighbors. I even heard a story on This American Life about it. I've had some, oh how shall I put it, little incidents, but nothing really terrible. For instance, on the east, the neighbor took down my fence thinking it was her's. It was old, wabi-sabi, wooden boards that I liked. She put up a lattice fence, which was unfinished on our side. My husband said she had to do a nice job on our side since the original fence was ours and she did it. Another time, she was having a damp problem in her basement which she thought was caused by my watering plants in our yard that were by the side of her house. Her workers tore up my plantings to check the foundation and it wasn't my watering SO that was a nuisance. But all in all, not big problems. On the west, we have a social relationship with our neighbor. He built a dance floor in his yard and we've made a section of our joint fence removable so we can have big parties together. We had one fine dance party so far. Our neighbors across the alley are friendly and nice. He fixed up my old bicycle so it's ridable among other things. We have really nice conversations and social times together. At the end of the alley, two little girls provide us with lots of moments of joy, watching them play, splash in puddles, make chalk drawings, and visit with us.

Tell me about your neighbors, good and bad. Share your stories with me and others.