My Top Ten

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cocoas...Mexican Spice Cocoa and Peppermint Cocoa

Here are my two favorite cozy cocoas:
Mexican Spice Cocoa and good old Peppermint Cocoa. These cocoas are simple to make and taste so much better than the powdered stuff, not to mention they don't have any chemical fillers or hydrogenated oils. Just all natural goodness.

They're perfect for wintery evenings and of course they're here just in time
for your family Christmas celebration!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Peppermint Cocoa:
In saucepan over medium heat, whisk:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
2 peppermint herbal "tea" bags

Mexican Cocoa
In saucepan over medium heat, whisk:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons almond extract
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

Both recipes serve (2); so just double, triple, etc to meet your party size.

Whisk the cocoa constantly to aerate the milk and make it nice and fluffy. Let the cocoa come to a very gentle boil, shut off the heat immediately and serve. Top with fresh whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon (mexican cocoa) or sugar crystals (peppermint cocoa)!

Fresh Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whip cream
(Quick tip: One half of a pint sized carton of heavy whip cream is 1 cup, so just eyeball it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar

Beat with electric hand mixer on HIGH for two minutes or until stiff peaks form. Fresh whipped cream doesn't keep long, so make it just before serving and use it up within 24 hours.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsely. You may be unknowingly familiar with it's fruit: "coriander" or the coriander seed. The Chinese use cilantro in Asian cuisine like the Italians use parsley in their cuisine. As far as I'm concerned, cilantro can often be substitued for parsely in many a recipe. I happen to be one who loves this particular herb. Some have said that it has a bit of a "soapy" flavor to it, but I am partial to it. I love it on my fried eggs, it is a must-have in any fresh salsa or guacamole, seafood, chili, and curry dishes. Add this herb in at the last minute, as heat tends to diminish it's wonderful flavor. Generally speaking, when using fresh herbs, it is advisable to tear the leaves and add them in briefly just before serving, or even better, as a fresh garnish on top. Cilantro is widely available in chain grocery stores. Bonus, it's cheap and an excellent way to add fresh flavor to any meal. So, I encourage you to pick up a bunch on your next grocery trip and start experimenting. Just to get you started off on the right foot, here's an easy salsa recipe:

4-5 on-the-vine OR roma tomatoes
handful fresh cilantro;rinsed, stems & all (about 3/4 cup)
1 serrano pepper, seeds and all
1/2 jalapeno pepper (or more if you like hot salsa, 2 jalapenos would make this "hot")
1/2 of a medium sized red onion
1/2 of a medium sized green bell pepper
1 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Blend (or process) two tomatoes with the list of ingredients to a slightly chunky puree. Then hand chop the remaining tomatoes and add them to the puree to give the salsa some texture.

The longer is sits, the more robust the flavors will become. Garnish with more cilantro & serve alongside your tacos or with blue corn tortilla chips.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

toxic: ('taksik) poisonous

1) Ecover Stain Remover
2) BabyGanics Scrub a Tub, Tube & Tile Cleaner -- Lavender scent
3) Ecover Cream Scrub

Here are some of my absolutes for keeping my home clean and fresh without the lingering smell of clorox or the side affects of harsh chemicals. In my experience, each of these products have performed superior -to or as well as anything "chemical" out on the market. Ecover has made it's way into many chain grocery stores, King Sooper's carries it and of course Whole Foods. BabyGanics is stocked in store fronts at Babies R Us and Toys R Us, otherwise you can order online.

Did you know:
*Out of 80,000 chemicals that have
entered the market since 1976,
only about 200 of them have been tested.

While we're on the topic of harsh, or should I say *toxic chemicals, please take a minute and click on the link above to support Seventh Generation in their efforts to unify and represent Americans in Washington, D.C. Seventh Generation is petitioning Congress for a Toxic Chemical Reform Policy. Seventh Generation has initiated the "Million Baby Crawl" and will be marching into D.C. in January to say NO to Toxic Capitalism. I have created a "crawler" (listed under my full name Alicia plus my last name) as you'll see online, and I'd love your support and/or for you to make your own "crawler" and let your voice be heard. I have several Seventh Generation products in my home; and am elated to support a company who is taking a stand against the Chemical Industry with the interest of our health and our planet as the focal point of it's reform policy. If you think I am babbling on about the "green bandwagon" here, you are gravely mistaken. This is a fight, and it most certainly will not be a quiet one. The Chemical Industry is a trillion dollar industry, at work both here and abroad. Creating and then selling toxic chemicals to the American public, which we bring into our homes; cleaning our kicthens, bathrooms, and floors where we live and breathe in these toxins on a daily basis. Please educate yourself, take some time and read up about this important issue on the internet. I am proud to be at the front of this revolution. Join me, and together we can make a difference. One by one, as homes across America band together, we will make history.

*toxic: ('taksik) poisonous

Toxic waste is waste material that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It can be spread quite easily and can contaminate lakes and rivers. The term is often used interchangeably with “hazardous waste”, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment.

*Statistic from the Seventh Generation website *Toxic waste info courtesy of Wikipedia

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My new find!

I am so excited, I found a new treasure at my favorite local coffee shop. We, as a family, often enjoy a leisurely walk down to Dog Tooth Coffee (the joys of living downtown), and Garrett and I share one "bottomless" cup of joe; taking turns watching Bodhi while the other enjoys a hot cup of coffee while perusing through the little community-style library offered at the coffee shop. You can take a book home to keep, but it's common courteousy to bring one back in its stead. Well, I found a treasure, a new cookbook! I am so excited about this book, and here's why: it is naturally focused, the recipes are truly healthful, calling for ingredients that are good-for-you and wholesome. Also, there are a great variety of recipes; with many new ideas for cooking with and consuming various types of grains and legumes. Just in case you're interested, you can get one too -- for only $4.15 on In my opinion, that is a super-bargain. Welcome, Brand Name Light & Natural Cookbook, to my kitchen, we are going to have lots of fun together!