Vive La Crêpe

FullSizeRender copy 3While almost every country has its own version of the crêpe, is was in the Brittany region of France where the original tools were created and the technique perfected.  Originally available only to royalty, whipping up crêpes for brunch or an afternoon snack will make everyone feel regal.  While some advise making and freezing crêpes, or other elaborate presentations and fillings, we recommend them best hot, rolled and dusted with powdered sugar or filled with caramelized bananas. (A perfect use for over ripe bananas.)

The kitchen smells amazing, they are indulgent but not too heavy and they are an absolute crowd pleaser for both their taste and the spectacle of their creation!

Crêpes Magnifique!

  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.


C’est parti

0620311Place two crêpe pans on the stove on low/medium heat, melt a trace of butter on the bottom and sides. Pour a thin layer of batter into one of the pans, tilting and rolling to distribute the batter evenly. Achieving the right level of thickness is something you simply have to get a feel for-but the mistakes are delicious so nothing is lost.

After 25-30 seconds run a flat spatula around the edge and then flip the crepe into the waiting second pan.  You can truly flip the crepe through the air by swinging the pan, or do a quick transfer by placing the second pan on top of the first and then flipping the pans. The cooked side should look like the surface of the moon.  Just 30 second more and then onto the plate, folding in half or tucking into thirds and dusting with the powdered sugar or filling and rolling.

PS crêpe pans make the process easier, but two saute pans make a fine substitution.  We also weren’t kidding about crepes being a crowd pleasure.  Greet kids after a long day at school with this fun and delicious activity-the grind of their day will be quickly erased. College kids especially are fans!

Go Green

Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

Add a little kale to your life with this powerful green smoothie that is a perfect breakfast or a high protein pick-me-up in the afternoon. Just one cup of kale has 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamins A,C,K and B plus folate + an important omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic. The combination of the ingredients in this smoothie make it easy to Go Green!

FullSizeRenderGo Green

  • 1 cup of frozen kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 6 almonds

Combine in a power blender and enjoy this powerful start to your day! Thanks to our LiveWell friend, Yvonne Tally, for the inspiration!

Quick Tech 411: ‘Way-Nee-Loh’

Unknown-1 WANELO has all the things we Want, Need & Love!

WANT: A social network that gathers millions of products you want from over 350,000 stores worldwide-bringing them to you, the future WANELOer (trust us, you want to be one!) on your phone, tablet or desktop.

x200NEED: WANELO was founded by Deena Varshavskaya who simply wanted an easier way to shop online.  She spent two years and her savings to develop the site and persevered through 40 rejections for funding before officially launching in San Francisco in 2012. Deena represents what we need: more women entrepreneurs, more women in tech, more women taking risks, more women leading and more women following their passion!

LOVE: Clean, crisp and a pleasure to navigate, the WANELO site (for both men and women) is quickly customized  by you! The site is populated by curators, products and shops that you choose to follow based upon interest and you collect products as well through searches.  Similar in concept to collecting goodies and following pinners on Pinterest you then have the option to purchase the items you save.  Items you save, will generate similar or related products which will appear in your MAGIC feed, and, magically, we adore everything that has materialized there.

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We are just getting started in fact, feel free to send anything on our “Things I Want as Gifts” List! Happy shopping!

Sunday Soup

Whether it’s cold and snowy or mildly sunny and cool where you are, winter Sunday’s seem to be a perfect day for soup. An easy quick meal that can be enhanced for those with a bigger appetite (adding quesadillas as a side to chili is popular for growing teenage boys) or salad for those wanting more greens, the beauty of soup, however, is that it can easily stand on it’s own.

From lighter starter soups served to hearty stews and chilies that take center stage at a meal, there is rarely a food more readily identified as “comforting” than soup.  When we are sick we seek soup for both its health benefits (easy to digest, often full of vitamins, antioxidants and protein) and for it’s comfort factor.  By most accounts, soup has been in existence since 20,000 BC, and for those who grew up in a household where soup was made regularly, the smell is transporting.

IMG_6827There is a terrific book by Lorraine Wallace, “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” that features nothing but simple, delicious recipes that will give you more than a year’s worth of Sunday meals.  The recipes are so varied and universally pleasing that you will rarely need to look outside it’s pages for other options.

One of the most common ingredients for soup is chicken stock, a staple everyone should know how to make.  Once you create it from scratch, you will be a devotee.  Making the stock fills your home with a wonderful aroma plus you can shred the meat from the chicken breasts to use in tacos or chicken salad and even give the puppies a little something extra for dinner. (Try mixing some of the dark thigh meat in their kibble and add some of the stock-you will be their hero!)

Simple Chicken Stock 

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 carrots chopped coarsely
  • 2 celery stalks chopped coarsely
  • 1 yellow onion in quarters
  • 1/2 unpeeled head of garlic
  • 8 spring fresh parsley
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place all ingredients into stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Place a fine mesh colander over a bowl and strain the contents of the entire pot.  Chill the stock over night and remove the surface fat before use. Either use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite soup recipes?

Hit List-Lemons

FullSizeRenderFrom protecting your immune system and boosting your energy and mood plus providing important vitamins, nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants and safely ridding your body of toxins, drinking lemon water has a positive effect on everything from your insides out!

We know some pretty amazing people, including this spectacular woman below, Gogo, who lived well until 102 and swore by a warm glass of lemon water each morning (plus a scotch every day at 5pm).  In keeping with her philosophy to stick to the basics, we offer:

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Gogo’s Lemon Water

  • 8 ounces of warm water
  • juice of one organic lemon

Juice lemon into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.

During a season that can sometimes be filled with over indulgence, stress or too much merriment, starting each day with a glass of warm lemon water, is possibly the easiest habit to adopt and the only one you won’t have to break in the new year.

You can read more about the specific health benefits if you have time-otherwise, trust that 102 years of LIVING WELL is enough to get you started.

 

The Cocktail to Know

The Moscow Mule’s was created at the Los Angeles Cock ‘n’ Bull pub in 1941 when marketer named John G. Martin, who was having trouble selling vodka to Americans, met the bar’s owner, Jack Morgan, who was having trouble selling his ginger beer.  The two got creative behind the bar and several variations later they had a cocktail that is wildly popular today. The Mule is often served in a copper mug, rumored to initially be provided by a third colleague with a large inventory of mugs to move.IMG_6738

The drink enjoyed tremendous popularity in 1950’s and 1960’s, it is one of our house favorites year-round for it’s simplicity (3 ingredients) and it’s zigny taste.

Like any simple recipe, the Mule provides a perfect base for creative variations. While enjoyed more complex versions (like the Wonkey Donkey at London’s Pollen Street Social) or subtle twists like adding cucumber (like everyone was serving in Berlin this fall) but for mixing at home when guests pop by we keep to the basics:

Moscow Mule

1/2 lime, squeeze fresh

2 oz vodka

Fever Tree ginger beer

Fill a tall glass with small ice cubes, squeeze juice from the lime, add the vodka and then top with ginger beer.  Garnish with a lime.

Keep these ingredients on hand and you will have a refreshing fix that is equally as delicious for those skipping the vodka.

Quick Tech 411-Tile

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 3.46.38 PMNew tech toy TILE has been making a lot of noise the week in advance of the product release on the 8th – potentially the perfect gift for anyone on your list who frequently looses their keys or the tv remote.

Here’s What We Know

Attach a Tile (1.4 inch white, water-resistant square) to an item and download the app (available for Apple iOS devices with Bluetooth and coming soon for Android) to set up tracking. Using Bluetooth, the app records the last place your Tile was located. When you begin tracking a lost item the app’s tracking circles let you know your progress-a little like “you’re getting warmer.” The Tile also plays chimes until it is located. You can name and track up to eight items and a Tile costs $15-$25 each depending upon quantity ordered.

The team behind this Silicon Valley startup envisions a community of Tilers, using their app for good.  If you pass by a lost item that has been Tiled, a location update will automatically be sent to the owner who is searching for that lost item. This concept of the “world’s largest lost and found” will only be as effective as the number of Tile users.

From The Makers of TileScreen Shot 2014-12-04 at 2.58.44 PM

Here’s a snappy video that’s way more fun than our description and a Pinterest page dedicated to the Top 50 Things to Tile.

Word on the Street

A little inside scoop from our guy in the know: stick to non-mobile items.  The search range is 100 feet-so skip the pets and small children for now.  Another challenge: Tile only works with Bluetooth, which with constant use drains the battery.  Other early adopters who helped crowdfund Tile tend to agree: the time saved finding things lost in the house is worth it-giving favorable reviews across the board.

Having weighed the cons against the fun of Tiling things-we’ve got our pre-order in and await the real deal next week.

Will you give Tile a try?

#EverydayGiving

This week, after the gluttony of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the global community celebrated #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving – a virtual cleanse of sorts – a way to return to the basics and show the world a little love. Perhaps we can make this giving a habit and change #GivingTuesday to  #EverydayGiving.  As Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself  is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It’s widely accepted he knew a thing or two about this. 

Wake up the Happiness

Giving to others provides an instant social connection and has been found to increase happiness and physical well being, lower depression and reduce stress in a multitude of studies. As Anne Frank pointed out, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

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If you have a favorite non-profit, send them a donation today-or pick several and send them each a little something.  Nearly the entire global community is set up to receive your donations online.

If you need a suggestion:  Bay Area teen philanthropy group ChAngels is raising funds to build a school in a third world country next year with buildOn. Support these “Girls Making Change” and give the gift of education to some of the 57 million children who don’t have access to a classroom.

Find your people

If you want to volunteer your time and don’t know where to start or are looking to connect with people in your new city, give Volunteer Match a try.  Based upon your location and interests, this online service connects you with nonprofits that need you!  It’s fast, easy and gets you volunteering as soon as tomorrow!

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Keep a permanent bin or bag marked “To Give” and encourage your household to drop in things as they notice they no longer need. Don’t wait for the spring to clean, get in the habit of editing constantly. A few suggestions  to do with your gently loved items:

  • When you refresh your bathroom towels or bedding a local animal shelter, such as  Pets in Need, is a wonderful place to drop off  your linens.  Just beware you may come home with a new best friend.
  • When you realize you amassed a collection of hotel bathroom amenities, package in a ziploc bag with a new toothbrush, toothpaste and a $5 bill and pass this “Blessing Bag” along to someone in need. Shelters also have toiletries on their list of needed items.
  • When your children’s books need new home donate them to a children’s hospital for their waiting rooms-well siblings need some entertainment too.

Whatever you do to make the world a better place, know that no effort is ever wasted, no gesture too small and as a bonus, you’ll be healthier and happier in the process. 

Instant Holiday Cheer

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 8.31.00 PMNothing has the ability to instantly influence our mood quite like music.   With a short season this year, there’s not a moment to waste-so pick a playlist that fits your mood and start those sleigh bells ringing.

To decorate the house, trim the tree or pop the bubbly, try a little Christmas Cheer or if you need a little warm and fuzzy downtime, settle in for a cup of cocoa or hand-crafted cocktail with our Christmas Fireside playlist.

For more great playlists throughout the year, follow LiveWell_by SLD on Spotify