Monthly Archives: February 2013

Simple Homemade Refried Beans

Nothing better than homemade pinto beans and re-fried beans, not only are they delicious they are extramly healthy.  I like to make a big batch to last the week, we eat a LOT of beans : )


Recipe:  Approx. – 10 – 12 Servings

  •  4 Cups Pinto Beans
  • 12 Cups Filtered Water plus about 4 – 6 more cups
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 – 8 Cloves  Garlic
  • 2 -3 whole dried chilies like new mexico, habanero, ancho or !0 arbol
  • 2 Leaves Epazote (optional)
  • 1/2 White Onion  (optional)


In a 5 1/2 quart pot put small hand full of beans in the pot at one time, making sure there are no rocks. Then rinse the beans and add the water, garlic, epazote, onion and chilies

Bring to a boil on medium high heat boiling for approx. 45 minutes or until water starts to evaporates and add more water then cook for another 45 minutes or longer still checking on water levels

* Add sea salt to taste AT THE END or they will be tough

Taste to see if soft, you want the water to be at the level of the beans , if they are soft turn heat down to medium low and add salt to taste and let cook for 5 more minutes to infuse salt

It depends on how old the beans are as to how long it will take to cook, older beans will take longer

When the beans are soft remove the chilies and epazote

Leaving the water add olive oil to the beans then mash with a masher, I like to leave some of the beans whole

When the beans thicken up they are ready (if you feel they are to runny, cook for a bit longer)

* If you have a problem with gas you can bring the beans to a boil then turn off and cover for 1 to 2 hours then drain the water and add fresh water, garlic, and peppers.  Follow above directions for the rest or soak over night and follow above directions

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Broccoli Bow Tie Pasta in a Olive Oil Wine Sauce

This is a basic pasta dish, yet extremely flavorful with the slight spiciness from the chili flakes, to the luxurious olive oil wine sauce.


Dice the onion and mince the shallot and garlic

In a pan on medium heat add 2 – 3 tablespoon olive oIl, onion, shallots, and garlic

Saute until onions are soft and slightly golden

While onions are cooking cut broccoli into small pieces and steam until bright green and still crunchy.  Boil water for pasta

When onions are soft add wine, chili pepper and salt then reduce until liquid is syrupy and set aside until water has come to a boil.

Cook the pasta

While pasta is cooking add the broccoli, 1/2 cup olive oil and chili flakes then cook on medium low heat, letting all the flavors combine.

 Add pasta and about a quarter cup of reserved pasta water and stir thoroughly until it’s all incorporated

Recipe - Serves 2 – 4

  • 1 Pack Pasta your choice
  • About 1/2 Cup Reserved Pasta Water
  • Large head of Broccoli
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 1/2 White Onion
  •  6 – 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1-2 Tablespoon + 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to Taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper

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Wonderful Hydrosols What is a Hydrosol?  It’s a healing water and the by-product of the actual distillation process of essential oils.  The highest quality Hydrosols are steamed in small batches of fresh floral and plant material, like flowers, leaves, roots, barks, stems and seeds for the production of Hydrosols only.  Every drop contains the water-soluble active principles of the whole plant.  There is a small amount of the essential oil about 5% retained in the water that disperse in an ionized form. They are just like essential oils but a milder form.  They are not to be confused with floral waters which are waters with added essential oils.

What is the benefit of using a Hydrosol?  The mildly antiseptic, anti inflammatory, and cooling properties are wonderfully balancing as well as rejuvenating to the skin, while the vitamins and minerals nourish.  The waters are so full of nutrients and therapeutic properties, which make them great for all skin types and contain skin-soothing substances.  The nutrients are also valuable to the scalp and hair.

How to store your Hydrosol?  When not being blended with other products, they should always be kept in a cool dark place and in the refrigerator during warmer months.

  • You can use Hydrosols in Toners, Body Sprays, Facial Oils, Creams & Lotions
  • Use Hydrosols to keep clay masks moist to continue pulling out toxins while keeping the good oils in your skin
  • After cleansing your skin spray onto skin and apply facial oil right away to trap in the moister
  • Add them to dry scrubs & masks in place of water

Some of our favorites:

Basil - All Skin Types especially Oily, Acne & Aging.  Mild Tonic, Cleansing, Balancing, Free Radical Scavenger & stimulate new Hair Growth.  Basil helps the active ingredients of other herbs to penetrate the Skin.  Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Fungal.

Calendula - Sensitive & Irritated.  Eczema, Refreshing, Healing, Skin Disorders, Epidermal Scratches, Scars, Abrasions, Rashes, Sunburn, Burns, Hotspots & All around Skin Tonic. Anti-Septic, Astringent, Anti-Bacterial Anti-Microbial & Anti-Inflammatory.

Cistus (Labdanum) - All Skin Types especially Wrinkles & Fine Lines.  Tightening, Detoxifying, Helps Plump up Skin Cells, Cleansing, Healing for Wounds, Healing of Scar Tissue, Prevent & Stop Bleeding.  It may also be effective in helping to Heal & Prevent Stretch Marks.  Powerful Anti-Aging & strong Astringent.

Chamomile, German - All Skin Types especially Dry, Sensitive, Aging & Irritated.  Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Soothing, Itching, Spider Veins, Burns, Improves Elasticity, Reduces Puffiness & Dark Circles.  Powerful Anti Inflammatory, Anti Bacterial & Antiseptic.

Chamomile, Roman - Soothing, for All Skin Types especially Fair Skin, Sensitive,  Inflamed, Oily & Acne prone.  Toning, Calms Rashes, Great for Burns.  Astringent & strong Anti-Inflammatory.    

Clary Sage - All Skin Types especially Oily, Acne and Congested.  Balancing, Toning, Revitalizing, Improves Elasticity, Cell Regenerator, Reduces size of Pores, Dandruff & Hair-loss.  Astringent, Antiseptic, Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Inflammatory.

Cornflower - All Skin Types  especially Dry, Delicate thin Skin & Aging.  Eczema, Healing, Soothing, Toning, Firming, Hydrating, Disinfect Wounds, Eye wash for Tired & Puffy Eyes,  Use for Dandruff, A Rinse for Pale Blonde, White & Grey Hair.  Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent & Antiseptic.   

Cucumber - Sensitive Skin.  Healing, Soothing, Toning, Hydrating, extremely Refreshing, Cooling, Repairs Damaged Skin, reduces Fine Lines, reduces Pores, Strengthens Collagen, Elastin & Connective Tissue.  Use in the summer as a crisp refreshing face & body spray.  High in Vitamin C, High in Silica.  Anti-Inflammatory.

Frankincense - All Skin Types especially Dry, Aging & Acne.  Reduces Wrinkles, Hydrating, Toning, Lifting, Firming, Helps maintain Skin Elasticity, Refines Skin Texture & Helps fade Stretch Marks.  Antiseptic

Helichrysum - Dry, Sensitive, Oily, Mature & Aging.  Rosacea, Toning, Healing, Hydrating, Congested, Damaged & Helps to Heal Scar Tissue.  Analgesic, Anti-Oxidant & Anti-Inflammatory.

Holy Basil (Tulsi) - Oily & Acne.  Soothing, Aids Circulation, Opens Clogged Pores & Congested Skin.  Anti-Bacterial, Antiseptic, Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Oxidant.

Lavender - All Skin Types, especially Sensitive, Damaged & Fragile.  Very Cooling, Soothing, Balancing, Healing, Toning, Rejuvenating, Regenerative, Minor Burns & Rashes.  Antiseptic & Anti-Inflammatory.

Lemon Balm/Melissa - Normal, Dry, Oily, Mature & helps combat Acne.  Eczema, Nourishing, helps Dull Sluggish Skin, Rashes, Irritations & Sunburn.  Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Viral & Anti-Inflammatory.

Lemongrass - All Skin Types especially Oily, Acne & Skin Irritations.  Balancing, Toning, Very Refreshing, Invigorating & helps balance Oily Scalps.  Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal & Analgesic.

Lemon Verbena - All Skin Types especially Dry & Combination.  Hydrating, Cleansing & Clears Impurities.  Astringent & Strong Anti-Inflammatory.

Lime - Oily.  Soothing, Toning, Invigorating, Refreshing, Stimulates Circulation, Balances pH, Tightens the Skin, Minor Blemishes & Rejuvenating.  Astringent.

Neroli (Orange Blossom) - Oily, Sensitive, Mature, Dull, Congested & Blemished.  Balancing, Hydrating, Toning, Refreshing, Detoxifying, Cellular Regeneration & improves  Elasticity.  Astringent & Anti-Bacterial.

Peppermint - Oily, Acne & Blackheads.  Cooling, Stimulating, Dull, Irritations, Itchy, Purifies Sluggish Skin & Pores.  Antiseptic, Anti-Microbial, Mild Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Inflammatory

Rose - All Skin Types, especially Dry, Sensitive & Mature.  Toning, Hydrating, Regenerative,  Retains Moisture, Tighten Pores, restores ph Balance, Refreshing to Tired Eyes & Reduces Broken Thread Veins.  Mildly Astringent.

Rose Geranium - All Skin Types especially Dry, Combination, Sensitive, Irritated & Acne-prone.  Helps relieve Rosacea, Hydrating, Nourishing, Very Balancing & Cell Regenerator.  Antiseptic, Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Aging.

Rosemary - Normal, Dry, Oily & Acne.  Toning, Balances Oil Glands, Regenerates Cells, Detoxifying, Helps Unclog Pores, Stimulates Circulation, Maintains Hair Shine & Softness.  Powerful Anti-Oxidant.

Sandalwood - Dry, Delicate, Oily & Acne.  Helps relieve Eczema & Psoriasis, Balancing, Skin Disorders, Tired, Soothes Irritation, Protects Wounds, Sores, Pimples, Boils & Infections.  Anti-Inflammatory.

Yarrow - All Skin Types especially Oily, Acne, Inflamed & Irritated.  Balancing, Toning, Soothing, Detoxifying & Stimulates Circulation.  Since it contains silica, it helps promotes Tissue Repair, Scars & Helps reduce Varicose Veins.  Astringent, Antiseptic, Anti-Bacterial & Strong Anti-Inflammatory

Ylang Ylang - All Skin Types especially Dry, Oily & Combination.  Cell Regeneration, Restorative & Balances Moisture.  Antiseptic, Analgesic, Antibiotic & Anti-Inflammatory

Here are 3 high quality companies for ordering: - Best prices

A great book  Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy Book by Suzanne Catty.

* The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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Roasted Poblano Cilantro Salsa

This is a mild salsa, and very versatile.  Use on burritos, tacos, quesadillas, in soups, add olive oil for a sauce like we did for our Roasted Poblano White Bean Soup  it’s also great on buttered toast or whatever you can come up with.


Recipe - 1 – 1 1/4 Cups

  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeno or Serrano Peppers
  • 1 1/2 Cup Cilantro
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoon  Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste


First Roast Poblano Peppers

Cut off stem and remove seeds add to food processor

Put onion in a pot of water and bring to a boil then cut in half and add to the food processor

Measure lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, sea salt,  jalapeno or serrano peppers and garlic then put everything in the food processor or blender and blend until pureed

Health Benifits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C;  just one pepper has 95% of your daily value. They are great for your immune system; poblanos help reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes), which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K), and dietary fiber.

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Thee Best Shortbread Cookies

 These cookies are buttery, flakey and so incredibly mouth-watering good!  Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea or coffee.


Many years ago when I had my restaurant “Purple Rocks Art Bar & Cafe” a friend of mine gave me her grandmother’s recipe and they haven’t failed me since.    I would make them as is and I also dipped some half way with dark chocolate , they both would sell out really fast


Shortbread cookies make a great gift for any occasion and are fun to customize with different shapes and by adding chocolate, a sugar glaze or colored sugars.  How do you like your shortbread?


Recipe: Approx 20 medium sized cookies

  • 2 Sticks Salted Butter
  • 2 1/3 Cups  All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


Make sure the butter is at room temperature

Cream butter, sugar and pinch of salt in food processor or mixer until creamy the  add flour until mixed well

Pour out mixture onto flat surface, you can either form with hands or dump onto plas wrap using that to press together instead

Form dough into 2 flat disks, it’s a little tricky because it wants to crack apart, but this is what makes the cookies so flaky and good!

Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick, it will crack when you roll one way, just press the cracks down

Press the sides together closing the cracks.  Sprinkle a little flour on top and roll it again it will still crack, just roll in all directions and it will seal itself up but you still might have to press it together.

Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice and place cookies on a baking sheet

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Baking time depends on the size of the cookies and where you live.  The smallest ones took 9-10 minutes and the medium took 10 to 15 minutes, just check on them

Make sure to keep an eye on them, pull them out of the oven before the edges turn golden brown, the bottom should only be slightly golden.  When checking them while cooking be careful not to crumble them, as they are very fragile.

Be careful when transferring to cooling rack, they are fragile until cooled

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Reducing Wrinkles Naturally

Reduce your wrinkles naturally!!!

Virgin Coconut oil is amazing for rebuilding skin tissue when used both topically and internally regularly.  It helps considerably for the reduction of wrinkles and hydration.  It is very helpful in the rebuilding of damaged connective tissues, which are often the cause of wrinkles.


Carrot and Beet juice on the skin is a powerful way that helps remove wrinkles too.  The vitamin A in Carrot juice is fantastic for the skin.  Beets are known to repair DNA; by using Beet juice topically it will help to rebuild the damaged skin that often causes wrinkles.  Using the Carrot and Beet juice along with the Coconut oil increases the hydration benefits of both and will help pull the juices into the skin.

  • Use one or two Tablespoons of the juices each time and drink what you don’t use to help internally
  • Reapply the juices as they dry, rubbing them in each time
  • Leave these juices on your skin for about ten minutes then rinse off
  • After you’ll want to exfoliate your skin to remove the dead skin
  • Apply Virgin Coconut oil to your face
  • It is a good idea to exfoliate after

Aldo’s Italian Restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA

Robby and I were craving some good Italian food and decided to try Aldo’s Italian Restaurant on the main strip in Santa Barbara (State St).  I’m glad we went there, it was delicious and the service was perfect!


The building of Aldo’s is a historic landmark originally built in 1857.  This building has quite a bit of history behind it, a great story you can read more about on their site!


We were lucky to sit right next to the fountain


As you know by now I am a sucker for outside seating and I loved the court-yard feeling



I enjoyed a glass of 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Babcock, Santa Rita Hills (Estate Grown)


Fettuccine Alfredo ~ “Tossed in Our Rich & Creamy Alfredo Sauce with a Hint of Nutmeg”

I can be a Alfredo snob and this one passed the test! I had them add Broccoli and it was sooo good!!!


Robby enjoyed his ~ Chicken Parmesan  “Our Home Style Breaded Chicken Breast, Pan Fried & Topped with Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil, Served over A Light Creamy Tomato Linguine”     


Aldo’s Italian Restaurant 

1031 State St.

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

tel: 805-963-6687

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Amore Vietato Cocktail

 Amore Vietato ~ Forbidden Love


 This is one of my concoctions that was featured in Phoenix New Times “Chow Bella”

Muddle strawberries and cucumber’s in a glass tumbler, add gin, juices and ice, shake then  double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry wrapped with a rose petal voila the perfect sweetheart drink

Forbidden Love Recipe: Makes approximately a 4oz Martini

  • 2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 2 Fresh Strawberries
  • 3 Slices of Cucumber
  • 1 oz of Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice

How to Roast Peppers

Roasted peppers add a wonderful flavor to all kinds dishes.  Use them in sauces, soups, salsas, tapas, dips and whatever you can come up with.



Roast peppers of your choice on the stove top at medium high heat

A gas stove is best but it will also work on electric

Char peppers on all sides turning with tongs When good and charred steam for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut so the steam wont escape


Rinse the peppers and rub off the burnt parts, it is ok to leave a little

Slice in half and remove the seeds and stem

They are ready to slice, dice or puree!

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