go bananas

When you don’t want sugar or dairy but you do want creamy goodness try some Hakuna Banana. Happened across this perfectly lovely frozen treat in my local Whole Foods store. Turns out it’s the creation of two Angelenos and while only available in the general Los Angeles area for now, look for it to go wide one day soon. It’s the no fuss nice cream you’ll love at first bite. Available in four tempting flavors:

worthwhile investment

I never thought i could love a machine quite so much. And worth every bit of that $450 price tag it is!  I make smoothies every morning for breakfast — have for years. But after going through a slew of bar blenders in just the past year, it was time to upgrade. And now I get up every morning excited to take my Rolls Royce of blenders for a spin. Fast, easy, efficient and self-cleaning. That is my favorite part — just fill half way with warm water, add a couple drops of soap and blend for 30 seconds. Done and ready for the next morning when I might indulge in one of my favorite smoothie recipes:

1 cup unsweetened chocolate  almond milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 small avocado
1T almond butter
1-2T ground chia seeds
agave syrup to taste
Ice

Place ingredients in blender jar in the order listed. Turn blender on low and slowly ramp up speed to high. Blend for 30 seconds on high. Pour and enjoy!

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join the club

sqirl

Yummm!  Yummm!  Yummm!

Join the Sqirl Jam Club:  2 jars of scrumptious jam made in Los Angeles, delivered every other month for 4, 6 or 12 months. Yes it’s $15 for each tiny jar but it’s the bomb!

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giving 2016

holiday-2016This year of all years, give the gift of a donation to causes that need our support like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Sierra Club, NPR, etc… If our government is not going to protect what’s near and dear to our hearts as caring citizens, then it’s up to us to make a difference. Friends and family will understand if donations are a priority and gifts are small this year. With that in mind, here are just a few small gift ideas to help take minds off our worries:

1. No holiday season (or stressful time) is complete without a little chocolate. This bean to bar chocolate company weaves social responsibility into everything they do so you can feel good about this guilty pleasure.  Askinosie Chocolate Peppermint Bark  $30  |   2. Pizza solves all woes. Where to Eat Pizza from Phaidon  $20  |   3. Maybe the future holds something better. Here’s Hoping!  Tea Leaf Reading Kit  $23  |   4.  A little humor goes a long way even if hidden from view. Cheeky Knickers by Naja  $22 each   5.  YOGA!!  Two Toned Mat by Stella McCartney  $71    6. The ultimate mind-numbing puzzle challenge.  500 pc. Gradient Puzzle  $20, avail in 3 colorways.

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have you seen this?

juicero-cold-press-juicer-1This sleek wi-fi enabled contraption is the latest invention in the cold pressed juice craze. No longer do you need to lug umpteen heavy bottles of juice home from the store — and when you’re juicing that’s 6 bottles a day mind you. Or ship a maximum 3 day supply from a cross-country juicery. No more nasty cleaning of a traditional juicer that removes all the good stuff anyway. This handy dandy machine is a sleek, clean, easy to use counter top version of a high pressure juice pressery, previously only available for commercial use.

OK, it’s expensive at $700. But it’s brand new, heavily VC funded and will come down in price eventually (she says hopefully). Just buy the machine, download the app, order juice packs that range from $5-7 each and come in 8 juice combinations, use the app to verify the freshness of the pack via QR code (the machine won’t juice if the pack is out of date), insert the pack and within 2 minutes you have fresh cold pressed juice. Simply throw the pack away (or rinse and return for recycling), no need for clean up.

I’m thinking it’s actually not all that bad a deal.  if you juice regularly and spend $200 plus $25 shipping for 3 days of juice, the machine will pay for itself eventually. OK better if it were $400 then it’s in the range of your stand mixer price, that you maybe use once in a blue moon while this beauty would get used every day — and look great on your counter top too!

The Juicero, currently only available in California but expanding to a state near you one day soon.

ice cream challenge

QuenelleToday’s Contender:  Quenelle
Location:  Burbank, CA
Flavor: Rocky Road Malted & Mexican Hot Chocolate

In a very crowded ice cream market, Quenelle more than holds it’s own — if you happen to find yourself over the hill (and in LA that doesn’t mean old, that means literally over the hill in the San Fernando Valley). I’ve always kind of liked Burbank. It’s a bit like the town time forgot with it’s small town storefronts along streets that surround the studios. It’s nice to see some new life on these streets.

Quenelle is a tiny wood-clad storefront on Magnolia Blvd with an unmissable sign, right next to a screening room. The inside might fall a bit short on decor but ignore that and order some cream. Flavors are unique and constantly changing. The texture is a bit on the melty side but you can’t beat $4.75 for a double scoop waffle cone.

If you work at one of the valley studios or are nearby visiting a prop house or something similar, give it a try. Sunday is National Ice Cream Day so the timing is perfect!

my new obsession

paleonolaThis is my new breakfast obsession. Simple ingredients and no grains. The crunch is perfect and a small serving with a scoop of Fage Greek Yogurt or a pour of almond milk and a handful of berries keeps me going all morning.

OK, it’s not cheap and I could probably just as easily make my own. But I’m lazy that way. Available at your local Whole Foods or order online from Thrive Market for a savings of a couple dollars per 10 oz. package.

Happy Eating!

nine things i can’t live without

must have list

Row 1 (left to right):  Aesop products & the lovely stores they sell them in   natural light flooding into my home   a Duxiana mattress

Row 2:  my favorite piece of art — a printed mailer received from a vendor in the early 90’s floating in a frame. it makes me smile to this day  |  ice cream in any form but especially one of the crazy flavors from Gelato Messina  |  Vogue Living Australia magazine —  i have a 20+ year collection!

Row 3:  morning hikes in the Santa Monica mountains  |  a good mid-century modern staple like this Saarinen dining table  |  Australia — just 19 when I first visited, my heart has belonged to the land down under ever since  ♥♥♥