Friday, February 28, 2014

In The Kitchen - Loving My Soma Water Filter

Soma water filter

Oh, how I'm loving my new Soma water filter carafe!  It arrived last weekend and I've been on cloud nine ever since.  A beautiful glass carafe with a biodegradable filter - it's the perfect marriage of design and function!

Move over Brita ... I love having this on my counter.  And, the water tastes AMAZING!  I did a taste test comparing it to my Brita water and the Soma water was so much better!  Clean, pure and crisp.  Delicious!

Soma automatically sends you a new filter each month, so you never have to think about it.  The filters are made from coconut shell carbon and a vegan silk screen.  They're biodegradable and can be thrown in the compost bin when finished.  Love that!  

Next up, I'm slicing fruit and adding mint and making flavored water!

Happy drinking!

Images via:  Soma

*  Please note this is not a paid advertisement, nor am I receiving any compensation for posting this article.  I am simply sharing this product with you because I am excited about it!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

Whenever it's a rainy day, I tend to look through my vintage children's book collection and smile.  I love the illustrations of Hilda Gertrude Cowham (1873-1964), who was an English illustrator famous for her children's book illustrations and ceramic nursery ware.  Hilda was one of the first women's illustrators to publish in Punch magazine.

Hilda's beautiful and almost ethereal watercolors inspire me and I love the sweet innocence of the children's faces.  I've always wanted to illustrate a children's book and hopefully someday I'll get around to it!

Thank you for inspiring me today Hilda!

Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

Children's Book Illustrator Hilda Gertrude Cowham

For other great children's book illustrations, be sure to check out my Pinterest board.

Have an inspired day!

Images via:
Invaluable | Catawiki | Half Moon Bay | D&D Digital Delights | Flickr

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dog Lovin' - My Dog Ate Chocolate!

Dog eating chocolate bar

Lily gave me quite a scare this past weekend when I discovered she had eaten almost an entire chocolate bar!  I had left it on my desk and forgot to shut the door.  My husband rushed her to the vet where they had to induce vomiting and give her fluids.  I was so relieved when she was ok!

Chocolate is toxic due to a class of naturally-occurring alkaloid molecules called methylxanthine containing theobromine, which is similar to caffeine.  It is toxic to dogs and other animals because their bodies take a lot longer to digest it than we do.

Here are some important facts to know:

  • Early signs of Theobromine poisoning include: hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, & incontinence.
  • Advanced stages of poisoning include abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death. 
  • Dark chocolate and Baker's chocolate (approx 10g/kg) are more toxic than milk chocolate (approx 1-5 g/kg).
  • Higher quality chocolates are more toxic than lower quality as they contain more Theobromine.

DO NOT WAIT to take your dog to the vet if they ingest chocolate!  They may seem ok initially as symptoms can be slow to develop.  There is little the vet can do to help if you wait until symptoms reach the advanced stages.  Here are some great links to read more about chocolate poisoning in dogs:

Happy Dog Lovin'!

Image via:  Pee Whiz & Pet MD

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sweet Indulgences - I've Fallen For Chocolove

Chocolove Peppermint in Dark Chocolate bar

I've fallen head-over-heals for Chocolove bars!  Their decadent flavor combinations are amazing and I love their packaging design ... each one is crafted to resemble a love letter with a love poem inside.  As if the chocolate wasn't enough to lure me in!

Owner and chocolatier Timothy Moley founded Chocolove 18 years ago in Boulder, Colorado, and personally sources the finest Belgian chocolates, fruits and nuts for his chocolate creations. Timothy is a chocolate connoisseur and eats two chocolate bars a day.  That's my kind of taste testing!

Chocolove bars are available in 24 flavors, both dark and milk chocolate.  My favorites are Peppermint in Dark Chocolate and Cherries in Dark Chocolate. And yes, I do plan to test every flavor!

Chocolove Ginger Crystallized  in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Amonds & Sea Salt  in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Chilies & Cherries  in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Currants & Almonds in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Raspberries in Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove bars are sold around the country in stores such as Whole Foods, Gelson's, Wild Oats, and King's Soopers.  You can also purchase them on-line at Chocolove.  Enjoy!

Have a sweet day!

Images via:  Chocolove

Monday, February 24, 2014

Inspiration - Wisdom From Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson ... what you DO truly does speak louder than anything that you say. Making sure that our words are aligned with our actions is not an easy task.  Too often, our actions can contradict what we say and we may not even be aware of it.  Great reminder to practice mindfulness as we interact with others.

Have an inspired week!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pinterest - My Favorites This Week

pinterest favorite - dog sleeping with stuffed alligator
Dog Lovin' - snuggle nap

Moroccan lentil soup recipe from Zomtbakes
Culinary Pleasures - Slow Cooked Moroccan Lentil Soup
see recipe here

pinterest - succulent flower bouquet
Flower Love - beautiful succulent bouquet
sold by Succulently Urban on Etsy

pinterest - dog lovin' - dog nose
Dog Lovin' - Peek-a-boo

Happy weekend & happy pinning!

Images via:  Pinterest

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Friday, February 21, 2014

In The Kitchen - Roasted Carrot Coconut Curry Soup

Roasted Carrot Coconut Curry Soup recipe

I've been on a coconut kick lately, so I decided to tweak my Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup recipe and add coconut and curry powder.  I love how it turned out and once again, I found myself licking the bowl when I had finished!

As mentioned in previous recipes, I love roasting my vegetables for soups as it adds so much depth to the flavor with the caramelization.  This recipe is super easy and quick.  Enjoy!

Don't miss my other soup recipe posts .... they're all low-fat and yummy!

Roasted Carrot Coconut Curry Soup
recipe by:  Laura Jolna
Prep Time:  40 min (including roasting time)
Cook Time:  10 min
Makes:  approx 4-6 servings

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (my favorite is McEvoy Ranch)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 8 oz light coconut milk (1/2 can)
  • fresh ginger, 1/2" piece (peeled)
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped  
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3  cups low sodium chicken stock (I use Trader Joe's)
  • Greek yogurt for topping (I use 0% Fage)
  • cilantro for topping, chopped
    • Preheat oven to 425°.
    • Spray olive oil on baking pan covered with aluminum foil.  Arrange baby carrots in a single layer on the pan and roast for 30-35 minutes until tender and caramelized.
    • In a medium dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add onion.  Sauté until onions are translucent, approx 5-8 min.
    • Using a microplane, grate ginger into the onion and saute for 2 minutes.
    • Add curry powder, freshly ground black pepper and salt and give a quick stir for a minute so that it coats the onions and becomes fragrant.  You can add the salt & pepper at the end, but I find it melds into the soup better when added at this stage.
    • Add roasted carrots, coconut milk and chicken stock. Cook over medium high heat until thoroughly heated (approx 10 minutes).
    • Remove from heat and blend soup until smooth with a hand blender or regular blender.  If soup is too thick, add more chicken stock and blend to the desired consistency.  
    • Add additional salt & pepper to taste, if desired.
    • Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.  Enjoy!
    • Add more or less chicken stock depending on your preference.  I tend to like a thicker soup and used 3-1/2 cups when I made the recipe.
    • Low fat sour cream is a good substitute for the Greek yogurt.
    • I use my toaster oven to roast the baby carrots.  I find it much easier to use than my oven.  I roast all kinds of things in my toaster oven -- I find that it caramelizes the vegetables better than my oven, probably due to the smaller oven space. 
    If you have the Paprika recipe app and would like to download the recipe, please email me and I'll send it to you in the correct format.
    Buon Appetito!

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Artist Spotlight - Illustrated Recipes By Felicita Sala

    Tzatziki Illustrated recipe by Felicita Sala

    I'm a big fan of food illustrations and love these illustrated recipes from Felicita Sala.  What a wonderful way to cook! Felicita currently lives in Rome, Italy, and draws inspiration from food, children, contemporary art, music, philosophy and people on the street.

    Be sure to visit Felicita's portfolio to see her other wonderful illustrations and paintings.  She also sells prints on-line at Society 6.  These illustrated recipes would look wonderful in the kitchen!

    Thank you for inspiring me today Felicita!

    Feta & Eggplant Meatball illustrated recipe by Felicita Sala
    Fig & Goat Cheese Illustrated Recipe from Felicita Sala

    Gazpacho Illustrated Recipe from Felicita Sala

    Happy art day!

    Images via:  Felicita Sala blog

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Dog Lovin' - Sweet Potato Banana Oatmeal Dog Treats {Gluten-Free}

    Banana Sweet Potato Oatmeal Dog Treat Recipe

    Sharing a new dog treat recipe I created yesterday - Banana, Sweet Potato & Oatmeal Dog Treats. They are gluten-free and packed with lots of vitamins and fiber.  I frequently roast diced sweet potatoes and add them to Indigo & Lily's food and they love them.  Adding banana to this recipe made them smell wonderful when they came out of the oven and I had to hide them ... Indigo & Lily went bananas over the aroma!

    • Sweet potatoes are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber for your pup (ref dogtime).
    • Bananas have lots of electrolytes, amino acids, vitamins, potassium and fiber for your pup(ref: Paw Nation).
    These treats are soft and chewy and it's easy to pinch off a piece if you want to use them for training. Keep in mind they have a lot of fiber in them, so don't give too many at once!

    By the way, I always taste-test my dog treat recipes and this one I would even eat as a healthy snack ... the banana and sweet potatoes make it just sweet enough!

    Be sure to also check out my other dog treat recipes...they are all gluten-free.  Indigo & Lily love them and I hope your pups do too!

    Sweet Potato Banana Oatmeal Dog Treats {Gluten-Free}

    Recipe by Laura Ashman Jolna

    Prep time: 5 min
    Cook time: 12 min
    Total time: 17 min
    Yield: 22-24 treats

    • 1 cup oat flour, gluten-free
    • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1 cup sweet potato puree (approx 2 medium sweet potatoes)
    • 1/2 very ripe banana, mashed
    • 1-1/2 Tbsp molasses
    To roast sweet potatoes:  
    • Preheat oven to 425°.
    • Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1/2" cubes.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil spray.
    • Place sweet potato cubes in a single layer on baking sheet and spray with olive oil spray.
    • Roast for 25 minutes until golden & soft.
    • Puree in Cuisinart or mash with fork.
    For treats:

    • Preheat oven to 350º.
    • Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl with a whisk.
    • Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl with a whisk.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir well with a spatula until mixed.  
    • Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes (don't skip this step).
    • Scoop on baking sheet coated with cooking spray using small cookie scoop.  Flatten with a wet fork.  Another option is to roll out and use cookie cutters.  
    • Bake 12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Store in the refrigerator as there aren't any preservatives used.
    I grind my own oat flour from gluten free oatmeal, but you can also use Bob's Red Mill Oat Flour.
    If you have the Paprika recipe app and would like to download the recipe, please email me and I'll send it to you in the correct format.

    Happy Dog Lovin'!

    Image via:  Bella Bella Vita

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Sweet Indulgences - Woodhouse Chocolates In Napa Valley

    Woodhouse Chocolates St. Helena Napa Valley

    My friend and I received an AMAZING box of chocolates from Woodhouse Chocolates in Napa Valley yesterday. The packaging is so wonderful and upon opening the box, we were greeted by the most beautiful chocolates I have ever seen.  Pure artistry!

    Our first taste was the Cinnamon Toast (white chocolate ganache spiced with cinnamon and wrapped in dark chocolate).  It was hands-down the best chocolate I've ever tasted!  The experience was similar to drinking a great glass of wine ... the chocolate had a wonderful nose, was amazing on the palate, and the finish was heavenly and lingered for a long while. They offer many really creative flavor combinations ... visit their chocolate index to see more.
    Woodhouse Chocolates St. Helena Napa Valley

    A trip to the Woodhouse Chocolate store in St. Helena is now on my wish list.  Meanwhile, it's a safe bet that I'll be ordering on-line soon, especially for gifts!  Their seasonal offerings are so creative and I'll be buying the Robin's Eggs for Easter (spoiler alert Mom).  They collaborated with Chef Holly Peterson of Flourish to create these special eggs and a portion of the proceeds will go to fund food research for cancer.

    Woodhouse Chocolates St. Helena Napa Valley
    Robin's Eggs for Easter - special collaboration with Chef Holly Peterson & Woodhouse Chocolates
    Woodhouse Chocolates St. Helena Napa Valley

    Sending a BIG THANK YOU to Frank for this wonderful gift!

    Have a sweet day!

    Images via:  Bella Bella Via | Woodhouse Chocolates

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Inspiration - Wisdom From William Morris

    William Morris quote "have nothing in your home which you do not find useful or believe to be beautiful"

    I've been on an early Spring cleaning kick and this quote from William Morris is a perfect reminder as I clear clutter in my home.  My mother will laugh when she sees this as I am constantly clearing clutter or "weeding my garden."  Beauty and function - a perfect marriage!

    Have an inspired week!

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    Pinterest - My Favorites This Week

    Pinterest Fav - Dog Red Baron
    Dog Lovin' - The Boss

    Pinterest Favs - Valentines Flowers
    Flower Love - Great packaging for beautiful ranunculus

    Coconut Angel Food Cake w/ Greek Yogurt Topping Recipe from Top With Cinnamon
    Sweet Indulgences - Coconut Angel Food Cake w/ Greek Yogurt Topping 
    click here for recipe from Top With Cinnamon

    Pinterest Favs - Snoopy Valentine
    Snoopy Love - Happy Valentine's Day!

    Happy weekend & happy pinning!

    Images via:  Pinterest

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