Thursday, August 27, 2009

Udon for Breakfast

My new favorite breakfast: Udon

I know I've mentioned in the past that I still practice elements of Macrobiotics. Here are a few bits of info about some of my favorite Japanese and macrobiotic foods that I try to incorporate into my day to day diet.

1. Udon: Wheat flour udon digests more quickly then typical western/italian pastas. It does not require large amounts of blood to be rushed to the stomach to aid digestion, so the rest of the body retains heat. It's also been shown in research that udon creates body heat that lasts longer than then most other "enriched" pastas. This makes udon a good winter food choice for those who live in colder climates.

2. Daikon Radish: The enzymes in daikon are said to aid in digestion and acts as a diuretic. It contains vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate, as well as sulphur, iron and iodine. It also contains phenolic compounds which may inhibit the development of certain cancers.

3. Umeboshi Plums: These dried and pickled plums are both salty and sour. They are acidic but possess an alkalining effect on the digestive tract stimulating digestion, while promoting the elimination of toxins.

4. Brown Rice: The process that produces brown rice removes only the hull, leaving the nutritional value of the rice intact. This is shocking statistics from the Whole Foods website: The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.

Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be "enriched" with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.

5. Dashi: This is where I cheat a little. Macrobiotic dashi is made of spring water, tamari sauce and kombu seaweed. One can add a little dried bonito (fish) flakes, grated ginger or daikon radish for additional flavor. I cheat here by using a bottled store brand that among other things contains sugar. But I only use about a tablespoon per serving of udon (and dilute with water) so I don't think that's too bad.

6. Sardines: Are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, B12, and protein. What sardines don't have a lot of is mercury. They are convenient, inexpensive and if you select good to high quality sardines there isn't a strong fishy odor or flavor. It's really a myth most often perpetuated in cartoons that depict sardines as smelly and unpleasant to consume.

7. Miso: A double fermented soybean paste that can be used in soups, sauces and dressings,, the list of health benefits associated with traditionally produced miso keeps growing. If you visit the Mitoku Macrobiotics website you will find information listed under "Health Benefits" and "More Health Benefits" listing the many healing properties of Miso. Included are: Radiation Poisoning, Chelating Heavy Metals, More Genistein, Heart Disease, Antioxidant, Anti-estrogen, Tamoxifin Therapy, Chronic Pain, Food Allergies, No Anti-Nutrients, Anti-Cancer, Osteoporosis, Anti Acid, Blood Pressure and more.

8. Sea Vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense mineral sources on the planet. Among other elements they often contain: iodine, vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid and lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.

The Udon Noodles only take 4 minutes to boil.

Minced Umeboshi Plum

I like to purchase Eden brand. They are pricey (around $13 per package) but are a must have. I would say people either love or hate umeboshi. Think like wasabi. It packs a ton of flavor so only small amounts are needed. Don't ever pop an entire plum into your mouth all at once but break off small pieces to flavor a mouthful of food.

Grated Daikon Radish also known as Oroshi Daikon

Noodle Dipping Sauce

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Flirty Squirrel Crasher

LOL if you read the news you've probably seen at least one piece about this photo:

The picture came about when a couple on vacation set up the self timer on their camera to take multiple shots. After the first few this little ground squirrel decided he was ready for his close up and taa daa! Squirrel Crasher was born, er I mean snapped!

Now photos of the squirrel are popping up everywhere online. So why am I blogging this other then that it's super cute and funny? Well the squirrel dropped by The Flirty Guide home page for a glass of champagne and decided to hang out for a bit. LOL. Go take a peek.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How to Launch a Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Donor Drive at MarrowDrives.org

As most of you know Tami's Blog and the Helping Tami Website came about immediately after Tami's Myelodysplasia diagnosis in February of this year. It took me 8 solid weeks of talking to donor programs by phone (2 in Washington state, 3 in California, 1 in Hawaii and 1 in Massachusetts) and web surfing to build and finish her website and to figure out how to help by creating a donor drive effort.

I'm pretty web savvy and I found it overwhelming at times. There is a lot of great information out there but I found it scattered around all over the place. Even as I was soaking it all in I realized that many people would be thwarted by the lack of easily accessible information. So even as I was learning I was already planning in the back of my mind how to share this information with others in the future.

My goal is to make information packets available to transplant centers and doctor's offices nationwide so that as each new patient is diagnosed and is told they are in need of a marrow or stem cell transplant, they will be directed to the www.MarrowDrives.org website to learn how to launch a donor drive effort if they decide to publicize their need.

The www.MarrowDrives.org is still under development but there are already the first 6 steps I think most people should follow before launching their drive.

Many tutorials have been added and I will continue to add more ideas that I learn from other donor drive teams as well as ideas I think up on my own.

The tutorials are broken down into two areas: Online and Live In-person drive ideas. This way those who don't have computers or are not super computer savvy can still launch an effective local drive effort. Those who are web savvy can make use of all of the online suggestions And if there are enough volunteers ideas from both areas can be used.

Right now I'm working on my business card design. They will be part of the kits I'd like to make sure that newly diagnosed patients receive. This is the proposed front of the business card.

And this is the back of the business card.

The kits will also hopefully inspire other people to take up the cause within their place of work, worship or groups and clubs to launch donor drive efforts of their own. Because even if you don't currently know any of the 6000 Americans in need of a transplant, the odds are you will someday. There are many diseases like blood cancer and anemias that destroy a patient's marrow and their only hope for a cure is to find a willing and healthy marrow match. At this time 70% of patients in need will not receive a marrow match in time to save them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nominate the Best Woman-Owned Business of the Year

This is from a cool email I received last week. If you know any great Bay Area business women you can nominate them to be recognized for doing what they do best:

Women’s Initiative for Self Employment announces the Woman-Owned Business of the Year awards, recognizing women business owners throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for their contributions to their community and the local economy, and who are examples and mentors to aspiring female entrepreneurs.

Nominate your favorite women entrepreneurs in the Bay Area!

To nominate a Bay Area business woman just CLICK HERE

A Hand Beaded Birthday Cake Topper

Instructions from my client were: "colors being black, fuchsia and charcoal. I was thinking we could do the number 30 in crystals or something similar that would look glitzy and glamorous...."

This is what I created. This topper was for an 8" round cake

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eco-friendly tip: Bring Your Own To Go Container

A few months ago I started teaching myself a new habit. Now when I go out to eat I try to remember to bring my own to go container if I know I'll be bringing home leftovers.

Here hubby and I went out for Thai food a few weeks ago so I brought my own tupperware. It's not as big of a pain as you might imagine. I just use a small shopping bag and bring it along.

It's inconspicuous, it just looks like I was out shopping, and when the meal is done I slide my food into it. I do have to hold the bag sideways out to the car but it really isn't a big deal. It feels great not to use those styrofoam or paper boxes just to take home and throw away.

Easy right? I got this spiffy "Klip Its" split container at The Container Store. It cost $6.99. I've used it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You may recall I recently did a blog post about reusable travel chopsticks that are a great green way to avoid using disposable wooden chopsticks when you eat out.

I'm curious if any of you have great green ideas you can share with me?

ETA: BigEye Bri, Wendy and Michele were our contest winners!

By the way I picked up three pairs of the travel chopsticks like the ones pictured here to giveaway. If you'd like to win a set please leave a comment (with or without a green idea) with a name/link url that I can reach you at or send me a message so that I can contact you if you win. I'll draw three random names next Friday on 8/21/09. There are two cheery yellow pairs and one white so if you leave the color you want I'll try to match them up to the winners.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Ainsley House Bridal Showcase In Downtown Campbell, CA

You are cordially invited to The Ainsley House Bridal Faire

Sunday, September 13, 2009
300 Grant Avenue
Campbell, California 95008

12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Wedding Fashion Show at 1:30 pm

Door Prizes & Hors d’oeuvres

There is no cost to attend and Just Honey Moons is giving away a honeymoon vacation for 2!

Call 408-866-2119 for questions

This photo by Mark Stagi

Featured Professionals Include:

Gabrielle’s Bridal Atelier, Sonoma Chicken Coop, Villa Ragusa, Margaret’s French Bakery, “I Do” Wedding Cakes, Trudy’s Brides, Gunther’s Catering, The Party Helpers, A Joyous Occasion, Choice Music, Luxuries Floral Design, Just Honeymoons, Sleepy Hedgehog Press, Scandleous Alluring Scents, Anita’s Fine Jewelry, A Party Place, Stagi Imagery, Twitterpated Weddings, The Flirty Guide and many more....

If you've never seen the Ainsley House before it possesses a beautiful English Tudor style of architecture. Built in 1925 as the home for Campbell canning pioneer J.C. Ainsley and his wife Alcinda, the home was moved to its present location in 1990. The historic house with it's hobbit like roof is nestled amongst English styled gardens. I dropped by Campbell today just to take a photo for this post and look how gorgeous it was. The back lawn is where you can have both a ceremony and reception.

The gate to the reception area...

This is the back view of the house.

And beneath this wisteria covered pergola is the perfect place to say "I do."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

San Franccisco NACE • Hotel Vitale

Go Green, Save Green... That was the theme of the SF NACE meeting at the Hotel Vitale I attended last evening.

I joined many of my industry colleagues on the outdoor terrace that overlooks my beloved Ferry Building, home of my favorite haunts: Miette, Acme Bread, Out the Door, Delica RF, etc. etc. etc...

The Hotel has indoor space as well as a beautifully terraced roof top with several areas where one can hold an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception. The rooftop is perfect for city chic brides who want a waterfront view of the San Francisco Bay.

I was excited to attend the event for several reasons, one being the guest speakers talking about green businesses and weddings. The other draw for me was my friend, colleague and Flirty Guide Florist Karen Hsu of Grandiflora created the floral pieces for the evening. On the outdoor terrace Karen had designed these arrangements that used a portion of a leaf that had been used for the centerpieces at dinner. See those tall spikey looking leaves? Well they aren't leaves persay. They are the center "vein" from a flat, broad leaf that Karen used in some other arrangements. So rather then throwing them away, she used her creativity to find a new purpose for them.

And to carry out the green colored theme she removed the yellow petals from these sunflowers. I thought they were gorgeous! Odd how removing the prettiest part of a flower revealed a much more dramatic look that made the humble sunflower look like a futuristic sculptural piece.

The actual meeting was held in the Amalfi Ballroom located on the first level of the hotel. Event Designer and SF Nace Meeting Co-chair Duncan Reyes told us that the actual colors of this room are khaki and blue! The dramatic red lighting provided by Got Light certainly showed how easy it is to transform a space and create an entirely different ambience with special event lighting.

A large dramatic ikebana piece created by Grandiflora greeted us as we entered the Amalfi Ballroom.

The large accordion leaves were dried palm fronds so the neat thing was that even though they were big they were incredibly lightweight.

I loved that our first course was that each table had two of these mini antipasto trays. We could pick and choose what suited our tastes. These days with so many people going vegetarian and vegan it's a great way to offer something for everyone.

And to me the highlight of Grandiflora's flowers last night were these centerpieces. I LOVED that they were unique and eco-friendly. Aside from reusing the leaf veins in the arrangements I showed you earlier, these ruffled, accordion shaped wreathes also serve an even more important eco-friendly function: The use of the negative spaces created by the folded leaves eliminates the need for using floral foam to set cut flowers in.

As Karen described, floral foam is the least eco-friendly thing most floral designers use in making arrangements because the foam is not biodegradable. To top it off the leaf base will last for up to 3 weeks if kept in water! You will need to change out the cut flowers a few times but even some simple snips from your own yard or a single batch of cut flowers from the grocery store would work just fine.

Dinner was a yummy vegetarian pasta full of fresh corn.

There were three guest speakers. The first was Wedding Photographer Gustavo Fernández. Gustavo shared with us how he became a certified green company. He imparted many great bits of information about how to make your living/workspace as eco-friendly as possible by working with a certification organization. They will help guide you to making better choices and improvements in the products you are using in your day to day life.

He also suggested as business owners to seek out other companies to work with who are also green. This extends the reach of what you are accomplishing on your own if you give your business to other companies that adhere to the same or similar standards.

Our second speaker of the evening was Patti Lew, a Green Columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. Patti shared that many brides don't realize that "green" can often mean less expensive.

She also brought up the term "greenwash" which identifies companies that claim to be green in their marketing but really aren't in practice. So do your research. If being green and eco-friendly are important to you, verify the company you are considering hiring really is certified by www.greenweddingproviders.com or here in California at www.greenbiz.ca.gov.

While enjoying the Panna Cotta dessert with fresh berries our final speaker was Krysta North, Director of Events, at the Hotel Vitale who did a great job explaining how green the Hotel Vitale is. The hotel understands the importance of preserving the environment and is a certified green hotel participating in both the California Green Lodging Program and the San Francisco Green Business Program.

Read more on this detailed press release about their green meetings packages.

And more on this dessert. I've only had Panna Cotta once before and LOVED it! But then the restaurant closed and to be honest I forgot all about it. But last night I was reminded once again that it has to be one of my all time favorites! If you've never had it the best description I can give it is that it reminds me of the yellow custard in fancy donuts like eclairs or Bavarians but imagine that custard a thousand times more silky smooth and there you have Panna Cotta.

Most of you know I hate having my picture taken. Well Karen Hsu of Grandiflora hates having her picture taken even more. So when I saw her chatting with Marlen Abolafia after the meeting I was able to get them to pose for this shot. She'll probably hate me for posting this photo but I thought you might all be curious to see the woman behind the amazing floral arrangements I've shared with you in this post.

And look how happy I was to win one of the centerpieces! There was a raffle at the end of the night and I was so excited to win this gorgeous centerpiece. Even the dish is eco-friendly because it's food-safe and reusable as Karen went to the kitchen department of Ikea for the container instead of using a not food safe floral container.

Thank you to Mimi Rodriguez of Creative Designs by Mimi Invitations for snapping this photo of me at the end of the night.

Another plus, it was easy to transport home with no fear of it falling or tipping over :)

www.HOGforKIDS.com • Helping Impoverished Children

A nice surprise last night at the SF NACE meeting was learning more about Gustavo Fernández, an eco-friendly wedding photographer who was one of the guest speakers.

During his presentation Gustavo showed a short video about HOG for KIDS. It's a cross country, motorcycle, fund raising ride that Gustavo created combining his talent as a photographer, his love of riding his Harley and his marketing expertise as an entrepreneur to publicize this charitable project.

From the website:

"First, Gustavo will embark on a cross country tour of the United States on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle (the HOG). This 2nd annual ride will include visits to clients and friends, with stops in at least 18 cities including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburg and New York. Gustavo will perform a photo shoot of the children of these clients for a small fee. In return Gustavo will ask them to support a needy child in the DR through the sponsorship program of Children International, an international humanitarian organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. "

The website he built and his multi layered philanthropy program reminds me of what I did to try to help my cousin Tami. The Hog For Kids Project is designed to raise awareness and support for impoverished boys and girls in the Dominican Republic (DR). Many Dominican children grow up in extreme poverty, giving them a disadvantaged start in life. As these children transition to adolescence and later adulthood, breaking the cycle of poverty is daunting."

Learn more about the program by visiting Gustavo's website www.HogforKids.com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Fanfare Bridal Showcase This Thursday at the Kohl Mansion

Plan your Dream Wedding in one Elegant Evening
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
at 6:30 in the evening

Kohl Mansion
2750 Adeline Drive
Burlingame, California

Presented by Fanfare An Association of Premier Wedding Professionals

Some of our Flirty Guide Professionals who are Fanfare members are: Karen Baba - Plan Decor, Rev Ed Holt - A Wedding Ministry, John Woods - Enhanced Lighting & Sound, Jacques Oksanian - Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy and Carl Mindling - The Only DJ

In the Great Hall enjoy...

Champagne, Wines, Hors d'oeuvres & Summer Buffet. And a Sampling of Wedding Cakes and Espresso Cart, Music and Dance Instruction. While you're there enter a drawing to win a Romantic Riviera Maya Getaway!

Admission is $15 per person ($20 at the door)
-limited seating -
RSVP by August 9th

More information: 650.595.5444

Below are photos I took at the Fanfare show in February.

Flowers by Plan Decor

Hyegraph Wedding Invitations and Calligraphy

Enhanced Lighting packing up for the night.

Check out the beautiful wall washes of light by Enhanced Lighting. They even lit the ceiling. Event lighting can make a grand venue like the Kohl Mansion even more beautiful and can take an ordinary venue and transform it into something special.