Sunday, September 27, 2009

A basic macro meal

Steamed Kale
Short grain Brown Rice
Pinto Beans
Pickled Daikon
Creamy Tofu Sauce
So simple to make, and so good for you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Real Food Daily

I had an audition today. On a Saturday. To celebrate how well it went, (no known outcome yet), we couldn't help stopping at one of most loved restaurants on the way down La Cienega blvd-Real Food Daily in West Hollywood, as we headed home to the beach.

Sylvie was wincing in the back seat and I couldn't help dreaming of mint carob cookies so Ryan quickly veered down a side street, (not too quickly) to locate my secret un-metered parking spot that I remembered back in the days when I used to work at RFD.

Real Food Daily is more down to earth than I remember these days, sporting a Feng Shui kind of vibe. It was hard to get cozy with a 12 month old trying to pour sesame salt in my kukicha tea, and pilfer nachos from the adjacent table, but the new kids menu reminded me that she was indeed welcome.

Ryan had a tempeh reuben sandwich, myself the basic 3-choosing seitan with vegetarian gravy, arame sea vegetables, and the house salad, and Sylvie had a fairly large meal off of the kids menu-veggies, potato, lentils and cashew cheese sauce, with a kids cup of rice milk.

I never remember RFD feeling this laid back and kid-friendly before, it seemed as though when I used to work there, it was full of dieting waifish supermodel types, and neurotic foodies, "Um excuse me, how many calories are in the sea vegetables?", and my personal favorite, "I'm allergic to ice".

Maybe since macrobiotics and vegetarianism in general -even veganism, have all become somewhat mainstream, RFD is attracting a well rounded bunch of people, including families with children. So...I overall recommend it.

Ann Gentry's creations are really one of a kind. The desserts are stupendous, and all sweetened with either maple syrup, fruit juice or agave nectar, everything is organic, the service is prompt, and the salisbury seitan will leave you craving more. We ended up spending more than we wanted to spend, but sometimes celebration trumps frugality.

vegan miso pesto sauce

This is seriously scrumptious.

Makes 1 cup.

You will need:

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh parsley- de-stemmed
3 tbsp sweet white miso
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Lightly roast pine nuts. Combine all in a blender or food processor.

Serve over homemade pizza, or whole grain pasta.

Picture to follow!

Friday, September 25, 2009

macrobiotics-the yin and yang of food part 3

"You could say that cooking is what separates
man from beast, as it developed as an art along with culture. To master the art of cooking-to choose the right kinds of foods, and to combine them properly-is to master the art of life, for the greatness and destiny of all people reflect and are limited by the quality of their daily food." ~Michio Kushi

Yin attracts Yang and Yang attracts Ying:

Grain and vegetable based meals provide:

-Steady Energy
-Fewer Cravings
-Less dramatic moods

Sugar and caffeine can space you out leading to cravings for meat, cheese, and salt, leading you to more chocolate, sugar, alcohol... and on..and on..extreme yin foods attract extreme yang foods...

Symptoms of eating too Yin:
(sugar, alcohol, fruit...)


dull aches and pains
moist conditions (runny nose, loose bowels)
feeling chilled
bruising easily


spaced out, dreamy
confused, forgetful
worried, sad
overly sensitive

Symptoms of eating too Yang:
(salt, meat, cheese...)


sudden sharp pains
dry conditions (dry skin, constipation)
high fever
muscle tension
grinding teeth



Adapted from The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner and
The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

macrobiotics- the yin and yang of food-part 2

Okay...So this is the info you've all been waiting for.

What are the extreme yin and extreme yang foods specifically for a temperate climate? Which foods are suggested for daily balance in a temperate climate?

Yin to Yang Foods

Processed and Chemically enhanced foods
Sugar and Coffee
Honey and Spices
Butter and Oil
Tropical fruits
Potato and tomato
Local Fruit and Nuts
Leafy greens and Seeds
Roots and Winter Squash
Beans and Sea vegetables
Whole Grains
Red Meat
Miso and Tamari

As you can see, the foods in the middle are neither extremely expansive, such as alcohol (relaxing, un-grounding) or extremely contractive, red meat (tensing, grounding).

That's why the basic macrobiotic diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, (leafy, round and root), sea vegetables, beans, seeds nuts and fruit. These foods provide us with the most balanced physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy.

Once we know this we can food becomes powerful, we can "play" with our food, and create the life we want...

These basic foods are the traditional foods that protected our ancestors from many of the degenerative disorders that we suffer from today. Throughout the world, vegetables, beans and grains have been the staples of the traditional diet. In general, animal proteins, including meat, eggs, and dairy products, were used much less frequently than present, while people in temperate climates rarely ate products imported from the tropics.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

rice balls...perfect for a lunch box, road trip, or picnic

When I traveled across country, L.A to Massachusetts and back, both times I packed rice balls. I made enough for almost the whole journey. It beats trying to find healthy snacks at gas stations in the mid west. Rice balls are easy to make, fun to eat, filling, and chock full of minerals. They are perfect for a camping trip, a quick breakfast, or a simple lunch. There is no need for plates or utensils to eat them, and they keep fresh for a few days without refrigeration.
The macrobiotic alternative to fast food!
You will need:
A package of nori
cooked brown rice
umeboshi plums, (make sure they are the pure kind that do not have red coloring, they should be a pale pink color)
Roll a ball of rice like a snowball. Pack it tight. You may need to dampen your hands slightly to make a ball.
Press a hole in the center with your thumb and place a small piece of umeboshi inside. Then close the hole and press the ball together until it is solid.
Set down the rice ball and wipe off or wash any remaining grains of rice from your hands. Fold a piece of nori in half, and then tear along that line. Slightly dampen your hands. Take the first half of nori and wrap around the rice ball, the shiny side facing out; do the snowball roll again to stick it on to the rice. Dampen hands again slightly and repeat with the other half of the sheet, completely covering the rice ball.
This may take a little practice at first, but you'll quickly catch on!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

macrobiotics in the fall

Macrobiotic cooking in the fall is probably my favorite. I love root vegetables, and stews, and there is no nicer way to adapt to the early darkening sky and cooler nights than returning home to be cozy and share a warm and seasonal meal.

Here are the guidelines:

-Local, Seasonal, Organic, as much as possible.
-The featured grain is millet.
-Round shaped vegetables, such as onions, squashes, and turnips. They have a wonderful naturally sweet taste when cooked.
-Contracted leafy greens, such as daikon, turnip, carrot tops, kale, and autumn fruits
-Richer, heartier dishes, and emphasis on bean stews, sauteed vegetables, grain stews, soups.
-Longer cooking time.
-A little more oil and salt
-Fewer raw foods.
-Vegetables cut in larger sizes

Monday, September 21, 2009

apple spice kanten

It's almost the fall equinox, but here in Southern California we are in the middle of a heat wave. It's not quite time to break out the rolling pin and start an apple crumble, none the less, today I was feeling a mildly festive and decided to welcome autumn in with some apple spice in the form of a light and cooling dessert.
Kanten or Agar agar is a gelatin substitute often used in making macrobiotic sweets. Gelatin is made from the collagen in boiled animal bones. Agar Agar on the other hand is derived from sea vegetables.
Which one would you prefer?

This is simple to make. Feel free to get creative with it. Berry Kanten would be superb too.

Macro Food Fact: Agar agar provides good bulk for regulating the intestines, and it contains zero calories.

Apple Spice Kanten
serves 4

3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup agar flakes (Whole Foods or Japanese Market)
1 cinnamon stick
3 crushed clove buds
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
2 small apples (if you like, choose different varieties for a festive look)
ground cinnamon for garnish
sprig of mint

1. Pour apple cider and agar flakes into a small saucepan, let sit 10 min.
2. Add cinnamon stick and clove buds. Over a low flame, slowly bring to a boil, whisking several times. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes more.
3. Remove cinnamon stick. Add coconut milk and agave nectar. Stir well. Turn off heat.
4. Evenly distribute apples into 4 small glass bowls. Ladle hot cider on top of apples, filling bowls about 1/2 full.
5. When steam is no longer rising from the bowls, place them in refrigerator to firm up, about 30-40 minutes.
6. garnish with some cinnamon and a sprig of mint.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

macrobiotics- the yin and yang of food- part 1

When we apply yin and yang philosophy to food, this is what we get:

Expansive Foods (YIN) are:

light, porous
grow upwards
grow in a warm climate
tender, juicy
cool, wet
sweet, sour, or bitter
spicy or oily
chemically processed

They encourage mental, psychological, or spiritual activity, relaxation, looseness in our body.

Contractive Foods (YANG) are:

dense, heavy
grow downwards
keep well
grow in a cool climate
tough, fibrous
warm, dry
salty, bland, or meaty

They encourage physical activity, purposefulness, focused work, tension in our body.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What the heck is macrobiotics? yin and yang

The two forces that govern our universe according to macrobiotics are yin and yang. This philosophy that is the basis of macrobiotics is to be found in Zen Buddhism, ancient Oriental medicine and the I Ching. All life on earth is busy balancing these two complementary opposites of expansion and contraction; yin and yang. Contraction holds our bodies together, in a dense compact mass. Gravity is the strongest contractive force. It is yang. Expansive forces, such a s centrifugality, pull against gravity to create the atmosphere all around us, enabling us to breathe, move around, think and feel. Centrifugality is yin. Day/Night, Male/Female, Hot/Cold, Active/Calm. All life is made up of this complementary opposite energy that is forever changing into one another. Food can also be looked at as yin and yang. Knowing the yin-yang factor in food helps us to maintain balance within ourselves, and stay in good health.

ooh la la-FREE! organic mascara for the ladies

So i've been eying this mascara for a while now. It has a quality that's part tree nymph/part tinkerbell/part junior high. I've been waiting for my boring mascara to run out so that I can have an excuse to buy it. The day came. I visited my local rite aid, and noticed that some of the boxes have a fuschia, "try me free" sticker on them. Figuring there was probably some kind of catch, I bought the stickered one anyway. Well, there isn't a catch. If you go on onto you can get your entire $10 back! A sweet deal. The best part is, it is organic, cruelty free, recyclable, and it smells terrific. Oh and it works and doesn't clump too. In fact it has orange water, aloe, cucumber, rice protein, and olive oil in it.

FYI: Keep away from toddling youngsters -they have some sort of magnetic pull towards it. Mine ended up in the bathtub this morning.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Yummiest Late Summer Vegan Corn Chowder EVER.

Okay...I'm really pleased with this one. This is something that everyone will love...carnivore or herbivore. You know how when people are ill they are always told to eat chicken noodle soup? Well I've never eaten chicken noodle soup...but I think this soup would have exactly the same benefits.

About a year ago, upon the arrival of Sylvie, Moms' at the fabulous school I used to teach at, signed up to bring me 6 weeks worth of dinner every Wednesday. This was the BEST baby gift ever. Seriously, if someone in your neighborhood or community is having a baby, as far as I'm concerned skip the balloons and flowers, good, healthy food is the best gift you can give. When you are sleep deprived, and nursing, and have no time to do is a god-send.

This dish was prepared for me by a friend, I fell in love with it and HAD to have the recipe. Well it's been a busy year, and I've finally made this soup. It won't be the last time.

Macro Food Fact: In Macrobiotic cooking, locally grown, seasonal vegetables are important because they help you adapt to your surroundings by subtly connecting you to the rhythm of the seasons. Corn is a highly recommended grain for summer. More expansive vegetables such as leaf lettuce, corn on the cob, green beans, cucumber, and summer squash, have a high water content that enables them to thrive in the heat. We stay cool by emphasizing these foods in our summer diet.

Late Summer Vegan Corn Chowder

Adapted from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

I close to doubled this recipe and made enough for about 6-8 servings. I recommend making lots and lots...

You will need:

1 medium potato with the skin on and diced into small chunks
2 1/2 cups of water. (I ended up adding more as it boiled down, so use your intuition)
1 tablespoon earth balance
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 medium stalk celery, finely minced
1 small red bell pepper, finely minced
5 cups (approximately 4 to 5 cobs' worth) fresh sweet corn or a 1lb of frozen sweet corn. Buy corn Organic! ( I did the frozen option this time as Sylvie was on my back with a fever during this cooking process and I had limited time-it was still fabulous)
pepper to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or more, to taste). I used green and purple ruffle basil. This made it extra pretty.
1 cup unsweetened soy milk

Okay now that you are dreamily humming Simon and Garfunkel while you cook...Oh wait you are probably not as nerdy as I am. "Are you going to Scarborough fair, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!" I was just seriously excited about cooking with a new herb. I've never ever cooked with thyme before. it's absolutely lovely, reminiscent of an English garden, and it makes this dish what it is...

Place the potatoes and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the onion, thyme, and salt, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. After about 5 minutes, add celery. Five minutes later add this mixture to the cooked potatoes with all their liquid, the red bell pepper, the corn, and a few shakes of white pepper. Stir well, cover, and reduce heat. Cook on low for about 5 minutes longer.
Using a blender or food processor, puree about half the soup in some of its own liquid. Return this to the pot, and let it rest until serving time.
Stir in the soy milk about 10 minutes before serving time. Don't actually cook the soup any further; simply heat it--gently!-- until it's hot enough to eat. Serve immediately. Garnish with basil, and more seasoning if necessary.

I think this would make a meal with some sourdough rolls and a simple green salad!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

carrot tops? you mean I can eat them?

When we think of Carrots, we think of the orange part, right? Well what about the top? The top of the carrot isn't just for pulling the good part out of the ground. In Macrobiotic theory it is more balanced to eat the whole carrot. The root is more yang and strengthening to the body, the tops more yin-uplifting and relaxing. Traditionally carrots support the lungs, and tonify the kidneys. They support elimination, lower blood sugar, purify the blood, and are a rich source of vitamin A. If you are lucky you can find complete carrots at your farmers market or natural food store. I've been guilty of throwing this irritating greenery away. After all, it doesn't really fit in my grocery bag without a little struggle, fills up the fridge, and typically needs a good wash. But, I've been cooking it again. Carrot greens have a strong taste like parsley. As bitter as it is -raw, Aveline Kushi has a simple recipe in her book that ameliorates the bitterness. I served this the other as a small side dish, along side a richer pasta dish. I got two thumbs up. Not to mention...

~The ancient Greek word for carrot, philon, comes from the word "love"-as this root was considered an aphrodisiac~

Here's Aveline's recipe:

Remove and discard the fibrous stem
Do not use salt- salt brings out the bitterness
You will need:

1 bunch carrot tops
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1-2 teaspoons of tamari soy sauce

Wash the carrot tops and chop them fine
Dry roast the seeds in a frying pan
Put the roasted seeds in a suribaci or mortar and pestle and grind until about half crushed, adding a little tamari. The taste should not be salty. Quickly saute' carrots tops in a little olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add to the crushed seeds and mix.

nijiya market

I've been to quite a few Japanese markets from Boston to New York to L.A. Today I found my favorite. Macrobiotics began as a definitive philosophy by George Ohsawa in Japan, and so miso, shoyu, umeboshi plums, burdock root, daikon and other Japanese foods, known for their health supporting properties are often found in macrobiotic cookbooks. I usually get the few identifiable things I know, fresh produce, cute hello kitty band aids, sea vegetables avoiding anything in packaging. As good as it looks, I try to avoid msg and any other ingredient I can't pronounce.

Then came my Japanese friend Mai. Today she gave me a tour of a store minutes from me that I knew nothing about-Nijiya Market purveyor of healthy and gourmet Japanese foods Mai can read the labels. I left with products that I thought I could only order online. Nijiya sells organic produce, that comes from their own farm! There is a hot deli, where Sylvie and I shared a $1.50 mouthwatering vegetable croquette covered in crispy breadcrumbs that you dip in a fruity sauce.
We left more than content, bags filled with dried tofu, shitake mushrooms, quality miso, and adorable snacks for Sylvie featuring dancing broccoli and squash characters on the packaging. Thank you sweet Mai for sharing with me!

what the heck is macrobiotics?? -intro

Sometimes I tell people that I went to macrobiotic cooking school and they say, "OH, you're a microbiologist?" No, not quite. Macrobiotics was popular in the 60's and 70's, and was the catalyst for the natural, organic foods movement and alternative and complementary medicine in the United States. Recently it has had a resurgence. Restaurants and cafes are popping up, books are being written, and ex-devotees to the Atkins diet are realizing the value in whole grains once more. Macrobiotics is more of a philosophy than a diet. Instead of guiding us on what not to eat, it opens us up to the abundance of foods we can eat. It provides us with balanced guidelines, and warns us of extremes, without actually forbidding anything. "Macro" means large and "bio" means life. It is the art of creating a big life-a rich, full, exciting, healthy life. As Jessica Porter puts it in, "The Hip Chick's guide to Macrobiotics", it is about tuning into the universe and being in harmony with it. It begins by understanding the grand forces that govern us-the pulse of the universe. The universe expands and contracts. Whatever you call this force, we are all products of this active, pulsing creation. Our hearts beat, our lungs fill and empty, and our pupils dilate and contract. As we live in harmony with the pulse around us, we become more graceful, happy, and free...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

creamy tofu sauce...from The Spot restaurant cookbook

I have slightly modified this recipe and indicated where I have...If you have never been to the spot you are in for a treat. The Spot restaurant is in Hermosa Beach and I believe is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in L.A. county This little cottage is minutes away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I love going there for breakfast on a weekend morning and then taking a walk down the Strand. Their creamy tofu sauce is what they are famous for. It has a cheesy-rich comfort food kind of quality but is entirely vegan. When I bought the cookbook..."Recipes from the Heart", I rifled through it hurriedly searching for the tofu sauce recipe. I was dismayed to find that quite a few of the ingredients were not in my kitchen cupboards. I set out to get them, and found the remaining things I needed at Whole Foods. Then I made a double batch of the sauce. I always find that when I don't have the things I need in my pantry, a new recipe seems so much more daunting. But, when you have the ingredients on hand, it is so easy to whip something up, especially if you lay out all your ingredients first, correctly measured and especially if you've made it before. It took me 10 minutes to make this the second time, and there is virtually no cooking time. It is truly DELICIOUS!

Ways I've served it so far...

1. organic short grain brown rice, sauteed veggies in olive oil with garlic, topped with tofu sauce
2. over alphabet pasta for sylvie
3. over alphabet pasta for ryan, with pepper, and parmesan cheese. A low fat alfredo!
4. cold over a spinach walnut salad

5. over steamed kale
6. a cold dip with celery and carrot sticks.

Here's the recipe...

Savory Sauce-From Recipes from the Heart Cookbook

BLEND till smooth and creamy:

3/4 c safflower oil
3/4 c water
1/4 c bragg liquid aminos
1/8 c brewers yeast flakes
1/4 tsp kelp powder. (I used dulse powder as that's what I had on hand)
1/4 tsp basil. ( I used fresh basil from the garden)
1/8 tsp granulated garlic. (I used 1/2 a clove of fresh garlic)
11/2 tsp fresh lemon juice. ( I just squeeze a quarter of a lemon in minus the seeds)
11/2 tsp. tamari sauce
1p pkg. firm tofu. ( I have used silken and firm and they both work fine)

Serve warm on rice or cold on salad. Makes about 2 cups. Can be frozen for later use.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

soup for breakfast: Good Morning!-summer morning miso

This is a miso that I've made many mornings. I like soup for breakfast. Eating a bowl of miso, in the early morning, before the day warms up really gets me going. It is a great substitute for caffeine, and I find I have a productive day after eating this-minus the jitters. This one looks like a bowl of sunshine with all the white and yellow in it. Add last nights brown rice or quinoa for a little more substance if you like.

you will need:

sweet white miso ( whole foods)
wakame sea vegetable (whole foods)
organic sweet corn (i get this frozen)
medium yellow onion
firm tofu (buy 1 package and cut into little cubes)
scallion or green onion

I don't measure my ingredients. I'm sorry-that may be a pain for some of you!
I usually make enough for about 3-4 servings...

Bring some water to boil with some pieces of wakame (it expands quite a bit so cut the wakame in small pieces).
add yellow onion, tofu, and sweet corn, and cooked rice if you like
bring water to medium low boil, until onion is cooked but NOT mushy
Use some of your water to mix with miso paste in a mug. Don't be shy with the miso, but don't over use either or your soup will be too salty. I usually use a heaping tablespoon, and then add more if needed from their.
Turn off stove, and when water has stopped boiling, add miso paste to flavor soup. Do not add miso to boiling water! It destroys the miso!
Add green onion sliced on the diagonal to garnish.

Good Morning!

*food fact: Wakame is very high in calcium, thiamine, niacin and B12. It is traditionally used in Oriental Medicine to purify the blood, strengthen the intestines, skin, and hair. It is beneficial to the reproductive organs, and to help regulate women's cycles.

baked bananas

Okay so I know there are fancier ways of making these...but i'm into simple recipes. This is how it happened. Sylvie likes bananas, but she usually only eats half and then grinds the rest into a creamy banana puree that she likes to use as a sort of hair conditioner. Well, considering she was bathed and eucalyptus scented yesterday; when she got to the half way point in the banana eating game...I put the rest of it in the fridge. Well this happened twice, without me realizing that I had put two half eaten bananas in the fridge.
This morning, upon seated in her high chair, there she was again pointing and grunting, at the bananas, and then to herself. I smugly pulled not one but two half eaten bananas out of the fridge setting them proudly in front of her like the good mama I am. She replied by shivering, frowning, and pointing, at the bananas and then to me. She wanted to eat and imminently and she was telling me with baby sign language that they were cold. The microwave has become a sort of relic in our kitchen at this point. So, with vague memories of my Louisianian girlfriend and her debutantes attempting to force feed me fried bananas and whipped cream back in my vegan days , I popped those bananas into the oven on 350 for about 20 minutes. It smelled like an ice cream parlor in the house. Oddly enough, Ryan and Sylvie left to get bagels just when the timer was about to go off. So, I sat down to a warm bowl of bananas topped with a little earthbalance (healthy margarine), cinnamon, and a smattering of brown sugar and a quiet house. Yum. and I don't even like dessert.
According to macrobiotic philosophy, bananas are considered too yin for people in our temperate climate to be eating. They are best suited for a tropical climate. I don't really follow a strict macrobiotic diet, and so will eat the occasional banana, even though I do my best to eat seasonally and locally. Baking the banana is a cooking method that yangizes it, and so makes it a more balanced food to eat...Coming soon-the basics of Yin and Yang as it applies to macrobiotic food philosophy!

* I just found a recipe for baked bananas in my organic baby cookbook that has the bananas topped with yogurt, a little honey, and sliced almonds. YUM!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

delicious noodles for a summer evening

I was so satisfied with this dish. I tore this recipe out of Vegetarian Times magazine in 05...and finally adapted it and made it the other evening... note: I buy all my vegetables when I can organic and at the farmers market. Food tastes 1000 times better that way... as it should be.

you will need:

braggs aminos (whole foods) 1/4 cup
brown rice vinegar 2 tbs
toasted sesame oil 2 tbs
udon noodles (organic-whole foods) 1pkg
frozen shelled edamame 1 1/2 c
carrots thinly cut into half moons 2 c
watercress coarsely with stems removed 1 bunch
green onions chopped 1/2 c
black sesame seeds to garnish
avocado 1

1. dressing- stir together braggs, vinegar, sesame oil, and 2tbs water in a bowl-set aside.
2. boil noodles together with edamame and carrots. Don't overcook the noodles, and make sure carrots are cooked but still a little crunchy to retain the freshness of the dish. drain and return to pot.
3. stir in watercress, green onions, and dressing. Garnish with sliced avocado and black sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

solar tea

I bolted into one of my favorite thrift stores before closing the other day to take a quick peek. Only ever so often do I find something in 2 minutes flat that I really really like. I don't have the patience, time, or energy to meander down the aisles like I used to anymore, especially with a writhing Sylvie on my hip with her hand up my shirt. My find was a glass globe with an orange sleeping sun on the front, and in vintage font the words, "solar tea". Now i've made sun tea before, but these $1.99 doo-dad really inspired me. Sylvie sat in the sink while I scrubbed thirty years of invisible potential residue off of the thing. It looked sparkling clean to me, but in order to instantly placate Ryan with, "Yes, honey of course I scrubbed the bejeeezes out of that thing", I did the job. Adding fresh mint from the garden to dandelion tea, cranberry tea, and of course good ole English PG TIPS gave the drink just the hint of al fresco that it needed. An hour later, the sun had warmed the tea to an ambery red perfection. Ryan came home to a glass of cool herbal ice tea sweetened with a hint of agave nectar and garnished with a wedge of lime. He was so blissed he didn't even ask, "How well did you clean that thing?!".