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Limited edition El Tesoro Anniversio tequila celebrates distillery's 70th anniversary

Tequila connoisseurs will be excited to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the El Tesoro distillery. Carlos Camarena, owner and Master Distiller, will be in San Francisco to celebrate this milestone with the launch of a limited edition El Tesoro Anniversio tequila. This special edition is aged seven years and was lovingly created in memory of his grandfather, Don Felipe, who built the distillery La Altena in the mountains of Jalisco Mexico in 1877. El Tesoro distillery still utilizes the artisan methods of traditional ovens and crushing methods for the agave plant. El Tesoro is the only 100 percent blue agave tequila double distilled at 80 proof and bottled without water added. tequila.JPG For Northern California folks, there will be two special events held in honor of this special anniversary. Check out the following details and RSVP to the email listed below. *Special Events in San Francisco* -Bottle Signing, meet & greet with Master Distiller Carlos Camarena. Bring your own or purchase on site. To honor 70 years of quality and tradition, Carlos, third generation and master distiller of El Tesoro Tequila, is proud to present a limited edition El Tesoro Anniversario tequila. When: Wednesday August 15, 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Where: John Walker, 175 Sutter Street -A conversation and tasting with Carlos Camarena. A Q&A and discussion about the history of El Tesoro. When: Wednesday, August 15, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Where: Cantina, 580 Sutter Street (at Mason next to Hotel Rex) ****Please RSVP to -Tami

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Blueberry bliss with new Eminence collection

For those who are big skin care fans, they shouldn't miss the latest summer goodies from Eminence. Their Blueberry Bliss collection is another heavenly winner, with over 15 power nutrients working overtime to deliver nature's very best to your skin. It doesn't hurt that everything smells like a fresh blueberry smoothie either. The Blueberry Soy Repair Masque and the Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream (my new fave cream) are packed with a scrumptious puree of whole fruit blueberries for ultimate hydration and skin repair. Paired with non-GMO soy yogurt, these lovely products are also packed with Vitamins C, E and other anti-aging weapons (evening primrose oil, coenzyme Q10, etc.) to fight cellular damage and restore elasticity. BlueberryProductGroupingWSouffle%20HR.jpg After days of frolicking at the beach, your body will also appreciate the Soy Blueberry Body Wash or Blueberry Soy Sugar Scrub to replenish the much-needed moisture. Your skin will be thoroughly silky! Sun protection is also key to ageless skin, so I highly recommend their new translucent Sun Defense SPF 30. The clear shade is also great for men and children, as it blends right into the skin. Waterproof and super easy to use (comes in a handy brush tube), it's the perfect thing to put into your purse, backpack or beach tote before heading into the sun and sand. Unlike conventional liquid sunscreen, it doesn't have the problem of greasy leaky bottles. SunBrushBox0%20Translucent%20HR.jpg Available at your local spa or check out -Tami

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86 Ways To Impress Your Dinner Guests

Here's another fabulous way to wow your dinner guests, thanks to the folks behind 86 Recipes. Their latest collection, 86 San Francisco, features popular recipes culled from top establishments of the City by the Bay. Easy to follow and organized alphabetically by restaurant name, you have a grand choice of each genre, from apps to entrees to dessert. It comes with pointers on how to use the cards, how to prepare each dish, and notes on special equipment needed/ingredient substitution. Each card also features information on each restaurant with all the important contact info. How handy is that? You don't even need to look it up online, it's right there on the recipe card.


Available at

-See you in the kitchen,


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Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes - Sweet Heaven Right At Home

The new Sprinkles' cupcake mixes are now available to the masses! Having inspired a cult following (a few Hollywood celebs are regulars), Sprinkles' lovely cupcakes can now be easily replicated in your own kitchen.

Available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Lemon, these easy-to-follow mixes include the same quality ingredients (Callebaut cocoa and Nielsen-Massey vanilla) used in Sprinkles’ trademark recipe, along with 12 modern dot decorations and instructions for making their famous frosting. The results are a moist cake crumb, rich flavor and a decadent frosting. Whether you're baking for a tea party, bridal shower or birthday party, they are truly a bite of sweet heaven.


These cute canisters are available online as well as at Sprinkles' Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and Dallas locations and Williams-Sonoma stores nationwide.

See you in the kitchen,


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White Sangria - Summer's Magical Elixir

Summertime is officially here, and the best way to celebrate is with a lovely drink. Here's a delicous white sangria recipe from Heidi Swanson's new cookbook, Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients Into Your Cooking. Give it a whirl - it might inspire you to experiment with healthier alternatives in your bar and kitchen!


White Sangria with Agave Nectar and Drunken Peaches

Makes 1 large pitcher, enough to serve 6 to 8

2 or 3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into eighths
3 cups seedless grapes of mixed colors, halved
1/ 3 cup agave nectar
2 (750-ml) bottles sauvignon blanc
¬Ω cup apricot brandy
1 (1-liter) bottle sparkling water

Combine the peaches, grapes, agave nectar, wine, and brandy in a 1-gallon jug. Stir gently so the fruit doesn’t break up, then chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or, even better, overnight.
Serve in tall glasses, making sure each has a nice assortment of the wine-soaked fruit; top each with a generous splash of sparkling water.

Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways to Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients Into Your Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Photographs by Heidi Swanson. Copyright 2007. Published by Celestial Arts.


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Mastering The Art Of Cocktails With Tony Abou-Ganim

Perfect for a Father's Day gift, nationally acclaimed mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim has recently launched an informative DVD, "Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home" that demonstrates what every drink enthusiast needs to stock a home bar. From recommending the proper bar tools (and showing viewers how to use them) to dishing out expert tips and secrets on executing the perfect cocktail, Tony's DVD also has a special feature on demonstrating the most popular cocktail recipes. Easy to follow and fun to watch, you can view each cocktail recipe at your own pace. Soon you will be confident at whipping out cocktails, becoming the star host of your parties.


Available at or; you can also purchase Tony's bar tools (TAG BAR) at

See you at the bar,

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Summer Baking Fun With Williams-Sonoma's New Gadgets

Super fun for both kids and adults, the new baking gadgets from Williams-Sonoma are just some of the latest baking innovations for amateurs and experts alike. Not only are these great for summer entertaining, kids will have a blast navigating the kitchen with their summer baking projects:

The Backyard Bugs Cakelet Pan is the most adorable thing I've laid eyes on this season - it's quickly becoming the reigning favorite cake pan in my kitchen. This cute baking pan features four pairs of your favorite garden critters (bees, butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies), all perched on a leaf-shaped mold. Remember to use the attached vanilla cake recipe, as it will churn out 16 delicious cakes for decorating. The sturdy cast aluminum construction allows even heat distribution, ensuring perfectly browned cakes each time. Another big plus is the superior nonstick coating, which guarantees an easy release between each batch.


Say goodbye to messy pastry bags! Easy to handle and control, the new Mechanical Pastry Bag is a much-needed decorating tool for the home baker. This awesome pastry decorating kit comes with ten professional stainless-steel decorating tips to embellish birthday cakes, cookies and cupcakes galore. Fun to use and easy to clean (dishwasher-safe), the kit also comes with an instruction booklet to ensure perfectly executed swirls of icing.


Check them out at:

-See you in the kitchen!

The Sweet Life

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XUXU - The Heavenly Bavarian Kiss

Get a splash of summer fun with the new Bavarian import, XUXU. A 'heavenly kiss,' it's a refreshing vodka drink made with farm-fresh strawberries. Containing 66% fruit puree, this versatile German favorite is great on the rocks, or drizzled over ice cream and cakes. It's also ideal to mix it with sparkling wines and in other fruity cocktails (see recipe below).


XUXU Royale


6 cl Sparkling Wine (e.g. Blanc Foussy)
2 - 4 cl XUXU


Pour chilled XUXU in a sparkling wine glass and fill it up with sparkling wine.

For more recipes, check out

See you at the bar,

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Super Natural Cooking - Kiss Your Processed Foods Goodbye

With the slow food movement and numerous farmers' markets dotting the American culinary map, still there are folks out there that think healthy eating equates to tasteless, bland food with dense textures. Thanks to Heidi Swanson's new book, Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients Into Your Cooking, she helps demystify this unfounded assumption.

It's not as hard as you think to swap out the processed foods lurking in your pantry. Utilizing five ways to encourage a whole foods diet, Swanson explains in great detail on how to buy the right flours, fats and spices, baking with 'alternative' grains like teff and quinoa, choosing color-rich vegetables, working with antioxidant-laden superfoods, and using natural sugars for desserts.

With eighty easy recipes to experiment with, you can try everyday dishes like the Clemenquat Salad, Black Tea Spring Rolls with Mushrooms and Mango Chutney Dipping Sauce, Sprouted Garbanzo Burgers, and Ginger-Amaranth Shortbread. Accompanied by Swanson's absolutely gorgeous photography, one might be immediately compelled to run to the kitchen and try their hand at re-creating her dishes. With such delicious flavors, you will soon kiss the refined grains and sugars goodbye.


Spring Minestrone with Brown Rice

Serves 4.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup medium-grain brown basmati rice, rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sugar snap or snow peas, trimmed and cut in half diagonally
8 spears asparagus, trimmed and diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
¬Ω cup green peas, fresh or frozen
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the shallots and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the rice is just tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, and green peas, and season with a few healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes and serve immediately; this way the vegetables stay crisp and bright.

Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways to Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients Into Your Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Photographs by Heidi Swanson. Copyright 2007. Published by Celestial Arts.

See you in the kitchen!

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The Wheat-Free Cookbook: Tasty Gluten-Free Alternatives

Foodies with wheat allergies can finally rejoice in discovering delicious alternatives for their restricted diets. From everyday recipes to more elegant fare, veteran food writer Jacqueline Mallorca has transformed 100 recipes into delectable options for those who can't tolerate gluten.

From breakfast to dinner, you will be amazed at the comprehensive variety of these carefully tested recipes. Introducing ingredients such as flax, almond flour, quinoa, teff and brown rice flour, readers are now privy to dishes that were forbidden before: Nut-Crusted Salmon with Mustard Cream Sauce, Goat Cheese Pizza with Rice Flour Crust, Onion-Gruyere Tart, Hazelnut-Raspberry Cookies, and Amaretto Cake. Instead of heavy breads and dense cakes found in health stores, Mallorca has also discovered a way to create lovely artisan-style breads and desserts.

For those not familiar with the alternative grains mentioned in the recipes, there is a handy shopping index listing mail order companies and resources specializing in such ingredients. Mallorca also explains the usage of each grain in great detail, informing the readers of the wonderful choices we have in supplementing our diets with healthier options.


Try the following recipes from the cookbook. It will inspire you to modify your wheat-based recipes into healthier, tastier ones:

Almond-Lemon Cake

An extra-light cake in which high-protein ground almonds replace the anonymous white fat and white flour found in most bakery items. The simple lemon glaze makes a tangy texture contrast, but if you prefer, you can simply dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.

Serves 8

2 cups almond meal, or 1 1/3 cups (6 1/2 ounces) whole almonds
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base with a circle of parchment paper.

Combine the almond meal, rice flour, and baking powder and set aside. (If using whole almonds, grind in batches in an electric coffee mill for a floury texture.)

Beat the eggs lightly to combine; then beat in the sugar little by little. Beat at medium-high speed until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top, and fold in the almond mixture one-third at a time. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the cake is golden and shrinks away slightly from the sides of the pan, and an inserted toothpick emerges clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife blade around the edge of the cake to loosen it, then turn it out onto a wire rack. Peel off the paper and let cool upside down, smoothest side uppermost.

Place the cake on a sheet of foil. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and beat until smooth, 1 minute or less. Pour over the cake and smooth into a thin layer with a long knife blade, letting the excess drip over the sides. Let the cake stand until the glaze has set, about 1 hour. Transfer to a flat serving plate.

Zucchini Fritters

A tasty appetizer or side dish that cooks in five minutes. Long, slender purple or lavender Japanese eggplants can be substituted; like zucchini, their skins are so tender that they don’t need peeling. Either one makes first rate finger food with a glass of wine.

Serves 4

1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, optional
2 to 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cheese and rice flour. Break the egg into a wide, shallow dish and beat lightly. Add the herbs, if using. Add the zucchini slices to the beaten egg, turning to coat well.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Meanwhile, place all the zucchini slices on the cheese-flour mixture, then turn to coat the second side. Fry until tender and golden-brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. (If cooking in batches, place on a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in a low oven.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.

(Recipes used with permission from THE WHEAT-FREE COOK, Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone, by Jacqueline Mallorca ; Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved)

See you in the kitchen!

The Sweet Life

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