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Friday
Feb022007

Robert Lambert's Heavenly Condiments Literally To Die For

I've had the good fortune to discover the YUMMY chocolate sauces, syrups, marmalades and fruitcakes from Robert Lambert at a recent food show, and I've been raving them to everyone and their grandmother ever since. You can see the passion and refined artisan sensibilities behind each and every product, from the flavor concept to the actual ingredients used in each batch.

For example, the flavored syrup collection has just about any exotic flavor you can imagine, from Bergamot to Thai Ginger to Rangpur lime. Great for pancakes, iced teas, baking pound cakes, yogurts, salad dressings, cocktails, and marinades. You can even combine the different flavors to make your own special creation.

Bergamot

Bergamot Syrup

The stellar chocolate sauce collection is something every choco-lover should try. Robert only uses fine dark chocolate, instead of the typical cocoa powder and corn syrup combo. My favorites were the Raspberry Rose (infused with French framboise liquer), Mojito Mint, and the Malted Milk. The Mexican and Ginger Pear are also popular flavors. But who am I to tell you what you should try? Just get them all! Great for ice creams, toast, hot cocoa, fondue, or for dipping fruit.

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Raspberry Rose Chocolate Sauce

For those who aren't big fans of fruit cake, Robert's fruit cake collection will totally change your mind. I like the Summer Fruit Cake, with its cherries, mango, pears, almonds, guava and peach juice, macadamia and pine nuts, candied Rangpur lime, etc. Lushies will be happy to note that this is soaked in apricot brandy. Decorated with a California bay leaf and geranium blossom, it's such a pretty snack to bring to a housewarming, afternoon tea or dinner.

Don't overlook the incredible marmalades. With flavors like Calamondin, Seville Orange and Grapefruit Trio, you will be instantly hooked.

Summerfruitcake

Summer Fruit Cake

For recipes and more info , check out www.robertlambert.com

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Tuesday
Jan302007

Arouse Your Sweetheart's Ardour With The Plymouth Passion

There's no better way to say those three little words than presenting this aptly-named drink, The Plymouth Passion. Easy to make, the smooth taste of Plymouth Gin and the exotic combo of pomegranate and passion fruit will definitely stir up more than enough passion between you and your sweetheart.

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1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin

1.5 oz. Pomegranate Juice

1.5 oz. Passion Fruit Juice

Squeeze of lime

Fill a tall glass with ice, add Plymouth Gin and top with equal parts pomegranate and passion fruit juices. Add squeeze of lime and then stir.

Enjoy!

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Monday
Jan292007

Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate - Good for the Planet and Your Taste Buds

With Terra Nostra's new organic offering, you don't need any excuse to indulge in high quality chocolate. The super smooth Robust Dark & Roasted Almonds bar (60% cacao) contains about ten times the antioxidants of fresh blueberries, so it's almost like a daily fruit serving (at least that's what I keep telling myself)! There's no need to feel guilty over the calories, and you're also supporting a company that is socially responsible (founder Karlo Flores is an active member of international fair trade community).

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For the vegan folks, the Ricemilk Choco Bar collection is something you should seriously try. Made with a high percentage of cacao, these 'milk chocolate' bars have a very smooth feel and an intense chocolate flavor (56-57% cacao content). Also great for those with dairy allergies. Can we say yum?

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See you at the health food stores!

The Sweet Life

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Monday
Jan222007

Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie - Tantalizing New Episodes to Check out this Winter

For all you foodies salivating for more "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie," your wait is over. Brand-new episodes starting this month will cover tasty topics such as the controversial reemergence of mind-altering Absinthe in France, exploring the American micro-brewing movement, and the exciting world of molecular gastronomy (Liquid nitrogen as an palate cleanser? This I gotta check out!).

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Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie visits Peru.
(Photo Credit: Rennik Soholt for WGBH)

These new episodes will air through the end of February (Check local TV listings for more info). For a sneak peek or recipes, check out www.diaryofafoodie.org

See you in the kitchen!

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Thursday
Jan182007

Nourish Dry Winter Skin with Fresh Creme Ancienne

If you're blasting the heater at max capacity like I am, try soothing your leathery skin with Fresh's Creme Ancienne. Hand made in small batches at a European monastery, it's based on an ancient formula (inspired by the world's first skin cream, in the 2nd century A.D.) that includes meadowfoam, chamomile wax and osmanthus oil. Thick and rich, it's a great antidote to softening, firming and smoothing the skin surface.

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www.fresh.com

See you at the skin care counters,

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Wednesday
Dec202006

Be Naughty with Eminence's Berry Beautiful & Chocolate Truffle collections

Skin care has never been so naughty. Just in time for holiday indulgence, Eminence has launched the new and oh-so-yummy Berry Beautiful & Chocolate Truffle collections. Perfect for all skin types, pamper your skin head to toe with the antioxidant superpowers of Chocolate, Cranberry and Pomegranate:

An antioxidant powerhouse, the Cranberry Pomegranate Masque is a force to be reckoned with. Loaded with whole fruit cranberry and pomegranate (along with seeds and juice), it has intense levels of vitamin C and polyphenols to revitalize skin tone and reverse the signs of aging. So good for your skin, it’s also packed with flax seeds, sunflower oil and gooseberry. Use this before you head out to your holiday parties, and people will be admiring your glowing complexion all night.

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Indulge yourself without the guilt! Deeply hydrating, the calorie-free Chocolate Mousse Hydration Masque fights the signs of aging deliciously with macadamia, almond, and jojoba oils. Who knew cocoa could be such a highly nutritious source of antioxidants? I loved the feel of my skin afterwards - the masque didn’t leave any greasy residue, just a perfectly hydrated complexion (It was so fragrant I actually tasted it – it’s the real deal!). If you’re headed to the spas, check out the amazingly decadent Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap.

My favorite facial moisturizer is now transformed into my new favorite body lotion! The Naseberry Body Lotion is the perfect antidote to rough elbows and just about any other dry spots you might have. Concentrated fruit acids help exfoliate and tone the skin while Calendula oil is added for an extra oomph of velvety softness. Another winner in my book.

Great for daily use, the lovely Cranberry Naseberry Yogurt Body Wash gently exfoliates with naseberry while vitamin C-rich cranberry nourishes your skin. For cold winter nights, it makes for an ideal hydrating bath soak. For a more glam body treatment, try the decadent Cranberry Pomegranate Sugar Scrub. I felt like I was drenched with a giant fruit smoothie as I happily scrubbed my way to heavenly smoothness.

Check out www.eminenceorganics.com for spa & retail locations.

See you at the spas!

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Sunday
Nov122006

Give Thanks with Plymouth Gin's Pumpkin Martini

With a decadent Thanksgiving feast weighing down the dinner table, there is no better way to give thanks (at least for lushies like us, heh heh) than with a holiday cocktail. Plymouth Gin took the liberty to create the Pumpkin Martini just for this special occasion, and the smooth taste doesn't disappoint the discerning drinkers.

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Pumpkin Martini
1 oz. Pumpkin Puree
1 oz. Plymouth Gin
1.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz. Simple syrup
Champagne

Shake all ingredients (except Champagne) with ice and strain into a flute – then top with chilled Champagne! Yum....should pair well with a slice of pumpkin pie...

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Saturday
Nov112006

Colleen Quen Shows Her 'Compassion' in 2007 Collection

All you fashion divas need to check out Colleen Quen's 2007 'Compassion' collection. Premiered at San Francisco Fashion Week, Quen's latest creations feature a graceful marriage of modern pop art and traditional French couture.

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"Garden of Peace" Hand-Painted Silk Gown

With iconic themes of flowers and hearts, each versatile piece successfully merges urban art with deliberate functionality. Two-piece evening suits, mini dresses and evening gowns are fashioned with contrasting neutral hues of linens and silks, along with vibrant accents of reds, fuchsias and oranges. Artisan couture methods such as quilting, patch work and embroidery are elevated to a modern level, resonating elements inherent in Quen’s design philosophy.

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"Three Hundred Papillons" Origami Gown

One of my favorites is the "Three Hundred Papillons" (Three Hundred Butterflies), a magenta and red silk organza Origami gown. The intricate 'butterflies' are painstakingly hand-stitched around the entire gown, a true represention of Quen's artistry and vision.

Symbolizing the pure act of creating art, the handwork captures the conscious act of being in the present moment. It also reflects Quen’s wish to inspire compassion, love and peace for the global community.

See you on the catwalk,

The Sweet Life

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Tuesday
Oct032006

Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie Delivers International Cuisine to Your Kitchen

International foodies unite! Public television's edgy foray into the international culinary landscape will culminate in the highly-anticipated "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie" series. A collaboration between Gourmet Magazine, WGBH, and Zero Point Zero Productions, it showcases in-depth coverage of each country's cuisine and culture, featuring topics such as the Australian slow food movement, the latest food trends in Brazil, or an insider look at 'real' Italian home cooking techniques.

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Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie visits China.
(Image Credit: Tom Vitale for WGBH)

The first episode, "One Billion Foodies," focuses on China's question on balancing the history and traditions of this ancient cuisine with modern Western sensibilities. From the streets of Beijing to Shanghai, the show takes you through humble family kitchens to trendy upscale restaurants. Along with salivating images of the famous Beijing Roast Duck, viewers are encouraged to try their hand at creating their very own Drunken Chicken (See recipe below - yum!) or choosing the right ingredients for the perfect Chinese stir-fry.

Premieres on October 7, 2006 - check local TV listings for more info. For a sneak peek or recipes, check out www.diaryofafoodie.org

See you in the kitchen!

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(Credit:Romulo Yanes, Gourmet)

DRUNKEN CHICKEN WITH RICE-WINE GRANITA
Adapted from chef Jereme Leung of Whampoa Club, Shanghai

SERVES 6 (FIRST COURSE)
ACTIVE TIME: 30 MIN; START TO FINISH: 7 HR (INCLUDES MARINATING)

12 cups water
4 Turkish or 2 California bay leaves
2 whole star anise
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 scallions, trimmed
1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, cut into 10 (1/3-inch-thick) slices
1 tablespoon white Chinese rice wine
1 1/4 cups plus 5 tablespoons fine-quality Shaoxing (amber-colored Chinese
rice wine) or medium-dry Sherry
1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) chicken

GARNISH: fresh chives

MAKE MARINADE AND GRANITA: Combine 4 cups water with bay
leaves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, salt, sugar, 5 scallions, and 5 slices of
ginger in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce
heat to low and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely,
about 1 hour.

Add white rice wine and 1 1/4 cups Shaoxing to cooled liquid, then pour
through a sieve, discarding solids. Reserve half of marinade (about 2 1/2 cups)
for chicken.

Pour remaining marinade into an 8- to 9-inch square metal baking pan (not
nonstick) and freeze, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Scrape with a fork, stirring and
crushing any lumps, and continue to freeze, scraping every hour, until evenly
frozen, about 4 hours more. Scrape granita again to lighten texture, crushing
any lumps. Cover and keep frozen until ready to use.

POACH CHICKEN WHILE MARINADE COOLS: Bring remaining 8 cups water,
5 scallions, 5 slices of ginger, and 5 tablespoons Shaoxing to a boil in a wide 4- to 5-
quart heavy pot over moderate heat. Add chicken, then reduce heat to low and simmer,
covered, until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken with poaching
liquid to a large heatproof bowl, then set bowl into a larger bowl of ice and cold water
and cool chicken completely (in poaching liquid), about 1 hour, replenishing ice as
necessary.

MARINATE CHICKEN WHILE GRANITA FREEZES: Transfer poached chicken
to a cutting board (discard poaching liquid or reserve for another use) and cut into 6
pieces (2 breasts with wings, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs). Keeping skin intact and
pieces of chicken whole or in large pieces, carefully remove bones from meat, discarding
bones. Put chicken in a bowl and pour reserved marinade over it. Marinate, covered
and chilled, at least 5 hours.

TO SERVE: Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and cut into 1/2-inch-
thick slices. Divide among 6 stemmed glasses or shallow bowls and top with granita.
(Scrape granita again to lighten texture if necessary.)

COOK'S NOTES: Rice wines are available at Chinese markets.
Chicken can be marinated up to 2 days.
Granita can be frozen, covered after about 5 hours, up to 3 days.

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Monday
Aug212006

FHI Platform Iron Heat Things Up

Beauty addicts in the know will agree that the latest FHI Heat Platform iron series is rockin'. With 3 layers of ceramic coating (made with advanced tourmaline technology) and the ability to heat up to 450 degrees within mere minutes, it is one of the best irons I've used. The high quantity of crushed tourmaline gemstones results in producing more far-infrared heat, causing less damage to the hair shaft and conditions the hair from the inside out. Unless you wash your hair, the hair style will last all day, which is real nice for a change (instead of having your curls droop or frizz out).

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At $165, this is a great value as far as high-end hair irons are concerned. Other lines that are $200+ aren't this powerful. To buy online or locate retailers, check out www.FHIHeat.com or call 877-FHI-HEAT.

See you at the beauty stores...

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