Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

When I am cleaning up my act, I like to drink detox tea throughout the day. The problem is, I don’t always like drinking hot tea. Especially when it is almost 100 degrees outside! (Like today. I live in a virtual sauna)

I also like to use loose leaf tea, and Hario’s “Pure” tea decanter lets you dump your loose leaf tea right in and make 6 cups all at once.

I like to leave it out on my counter and drink it room temperature, because drinking tepid or warm drinks is actually better for us: cold beverages cause the blood vessels in the stomach to shrink, reducing absorption. Cold drinks also cause the fat in anything you recently ate to solidify, making it harder for the body to process.

And when you are trying to be good to your body, every little thing counts!

These are super cheap – you can find these on Amazon.com for less than $15. Not bad for function and design…


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I was baking all day today (more on that tomorrow) and used a product that I realized I haven’t told you guys about yet.

Have you heard of Nutiva’s Coconut Manna?

Oh boy, if you love coconut, you are going to flip over this stuff.

It is made from pure, organic dried coconut flesh that has been ground into a cream. It is very similar to a natural peanut or almond butter, so in essence it is “coconut butter.” It does not need to be refrigerated, and like a natural almond or peanut butter, the oil will separate and rise to the top.

You can use it like a “butter” and just spread it on toast. Flipping out of the world. Salivating now just thinking about it. You can throw it in your smoothies, in rice, over noodles, in baked goods. There are so many recipes, but my favorite way to use it is straight up, either on toast or a dollop on my oatmeal.

Not only does this stuff taste amazing, coconut oil and butter are really good for us. Unlike animal proteins that contain long-chain fatty acids (which nearly always go to fat storage) coconuts contain medium chain fatty acids which the body readily burns for energy. Coconut butter is also high in lauric acid, which boost immunity and kills bacteria and viruses.

It can be hard to find this amazing jar of coconut goodness, so if you don’t see it in Whole Foods or a good grocery store, just order it on-line. If you love coconut as much as I do, you won’t regret it!

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After half a dozen tubes of “safe” sunscreen and a hundred dollars later, I finally have found our family’s sunscreen.

I’ve been experimenting with different brands, trying to find the best of the low-chemical sunscreens. It hasn’t always gone well.

First there was Burt’s Bees, which was a disaster. My children were pale yellow and stuck to furniture.

After a couple unnotables, we settled on Earth’s Best for a while. My kids looked like mimes, but we dealt with it.

Then Alba Botanica fragrance-free worked its way to the top of our list. They didn’t seem quite as white, but they still got a 20 minute full-body massage every time we went to the pool. The time it took to rub in and evenly distribute these zinc-based products was killing me. I needed a quicker option in my bag of tricks.

Then came Supergoop. Dr. T’s Supergoop.

It is one of only 13 non-mineral sunscreens that Environmental Working Group recommends. It has a safety rating of 3 out of 10, which I’m great with. I may be giving up a point or two, but it is worth it. The consistency is much thinner, making it easy to quickly and liberally apply. The kids don’t complain about it (as much) and when they do complain, it only has to last 1 minute because then I’m DONE!

I LOVE the pump on the 15 and 24 ounce bottles. It sits on my counter and I can quickly lube the family up before we run out the door. I am still using my zinc products for my little people’s faces, but for the all over coverage, you can’t beat this stuff!

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Ahhh…I’m sitting here drinking a cup of detox tea. The warm water calming my nerves and helping my body settle down – and my body needs a lot of settling lately! It got me thinking about…tea ☺ I recently read a book about tea and learned some interesting facts. See if you know the answers to some of these questions…

1. Where do historians consider the birthplace of tea?

If you guess China, you are right! Legend has it that in 2737 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung was the first to brew a cup of tea when some camellia leave blew into his cup of hot water. After feeling energized, Shen Nung recognized the health benefits of tea.

2. When did tea drinking become popular?

In 350 A.D. was the first documented reference to tea, but it was about its medicinal benefits. It wasn’t until 600-900 A.D. that the “Golden Age of Tea” in China changed tea drinking from purely medicinal to highly cultural.

Tea became the national drink, and became intertwined in Chinese culture. For about 100 years (1279-1368) when China was overrun by Genghis Khan and the Mongols, tea drinking declined, but it quickly bounced back when the Ming Dynasty took over.

3. What European country first took to tea?

I bet you are thinking England, but you would be wrong! It was actually a Portugal priest on a missionary trip in 1560 that brought the wonders of tea back to Europe. The Portuguese navy quickly established a trade route to China and imported the leaves to Holland, France and the Baltic.

4. When did tea finally make its way to America?

By 1600, Holland was mad about tea. The Dutch brought it over to the Americas around 1650. By the 1660s, the Dutch colony of New York (then called New Amsterdam) drank more tea that all of England!

5. So, what about England – when did they begin their love affair with tea?

While England is synonymous with tea, they were a little late to the game. The English weren’t initially big fans of the drink. It wasn’t until King Charles II married a Portuguese bride in the late 17th century that tea became fashionable. Remember those Portuguese were the first to start drinking tea!

6. What else do we have to thank King Charles II for?

Besides making tea chic, we can thank him for Princess Diana. Yes, she descended from two of King Charles illegitimate sons! He never actually fathered any legitimate children to take over the thrown. It is thought that Prince William (Diana’s son) will be the first monarch descended from Charles II.

That doesn’t have a thing to do with tea, but I LOVE English royal history. Especially if it has to do with illegitimate children, torrid affairs, and…Princes Diana!

Now, go get yourself a cup of tea and re-read The Other Boleyn Girl. Reading about royal affairs while sipping tea – I can’t think of anything better!

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When I’m 80 years old and I look back at my life I want to be able to say:


  • I never stopped taking good care of myself
  • I didn’t damage my children too much
  • Dalai Dan and I still crack each other up
  • I lived in other parts of the world
  • I’ve gotten wiser, happier, and more peaceful with age
  • My kids like each other
  • I’ve worked with important leaders and thinkers
  • I finished Annabelle’s baby book
  • My children felt free to follow their life’s purpose
  • I have all my teeth
  • My grandchildren still want to come to my house
  • I traveled all over the world helping people lead healthy and happy lives
  • I wrote a book about it
And so it shall happen, readers…I still have 40 years…

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  • 2 12 oz cans mexican corn
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 small can jalepenos
  • 1 small can green chilis
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 C mayo
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar
Mix ingredients, chill for an hour, serve with chips.

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  • 1 Can (14 oz) water- packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup grated parmesan cheese

Optional: 1 can (4 oz) drained, chopped green chilies and/or 1 close garlic

Combine all ingredients and spread in a baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serve with crackers or pita chips.

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