DAILY HARVEST - SUPER FOOD - SUPER FAST - SUPER GOOD

Are you ready for a healthy meal for you and your family in under 10 minutes? Are you a fan of health and wellness...feeling fulfilled and energized? Check out Daily Harvest, they're on a mission to make nutrient-dense, plant-based foods more accessible than ever before....and might I add so satisyfing!

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If you and your household are on the go and you'd love to be consistent with healthy food but find yourself short on time? Daily Harvest is a personal favorite and a convenient way to eat healthily, and... yes,  Super Fast. They focus on convenience without compromise. They deliver the meals frozen to your doorstep, and you can pick from a variety of different types and flavors. You Choose from Smoothies, Harvest Bowls, Soups, Lattes, Overnight Oats, Chia Parfaits, and Sundaes. You can get weekly or monthly deliveries and pick the amount of cups you want each week or month. There's a lot of buzz about Daily Harvest; Serena Williams along with Gwyneth Paltrow, Shaun White and Bobby Flay who was so impressed he begged the founders to let him invest. Use Discount Code gratefulgardenia at checkout - 3 free cups in your first order!

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So Simple - Go to their website and begin to build your box. Choose any combination of superfood eats / 2-check your doorstep / 3 -pop in your freezer, blend, soak or heat / 4- Feel energized and healthy! 

Don't forget to Use my discount code:  gratefulgardenia at checkout.    *3 free cups in your first order!

I can't tell you how delicious these are. After you blend your organic smoothie pour back into the cup and off you go!  It's such a great feeling when you find healthy meals and snacks that satisfy you & your household.

It's Convenient - It's Customizable - The Family Loves It - Plenty of Variety and you're treating yourself to a "daily harvest"

 Use my Coupon Code gratefulgardenia for 3 free cups in your first order!

Here's to your health. Please email me @janet@gratefulgardenia.com for any questions or DM Daily Harvest. Follow Daily Harvest on their Instagram @dailyharvest  Facebook @daily Harvest

WAKE UP AND BLEND UP WITH GREEN COCONUTS & SPIRULINA

If you haven't already come up with a green coconut smoothie or breakfast bowl made with Hawaiian Spirulina, I'd love to share easy recipes I like with you. It's Green, it's healthy and both are a superfood supplement. When you're on the go and running out the door early in the morning. Wake up and blend up - with a nutritious green machine smoothie in a cup or a bowl.

This took under 10 minutes to make and it's delicious. I blended half of a green coconut packet, water, raspberries, blueberries... sprinkled with spirulina - cinnamon -  topped with a mint leaf...and a lovely pink rose from my garden. The unused green coconut packet will last for three days in the freezer.

You can also use the green coconut packet, thaw it out for about 10 minutes and eat by itself. Sprinkle a little cinnamon, mix with nuts, dates or flax-seed oil. The above drink is made with green coconut - blueberries - flax seed oil - spirulina.

 In Tablet or Powder form. Serving size suggested for the powder is 1 teaspoon /6  tablets daily with meals.

In Tablet or Powder form. Serving size suggested for the powder is 1 teaspoon /6  tablets daily with meals.

Recently I attend a luncheon where Elissa Goodman spoke about her new book Cancer Hacks, and one of the products in our goodie bag was Spirulina Pacifica from Pure Hawaiian. I didn't really know much about it...but I do now. Spirulina comes from a blue-green alga named for its shape. It's the original superfood and is one of the most nutritious, concentrated whole foods known to humankind. It's been used as a food source for centuries. Spirulina is made of between 55 and 70 % digestible protein (more than beef, chicken, and soybeans) you'll also find high levels of iron, beta carotene, minerals, and numerous other healthful vitamins including vitamin B12 and phycocyanin, a pigment protein antioxidant found only in blue-green microalgae. You might ask: Why take Spirulina?  It provides long- lasting energy and strengthens the immune system. Its antioxidant power contributes to the entire body operating like a well-oiled machine. For those who aren't a fan of veggies, sneak it in almost anywhere.

Benefits of taking Hawaiian Spirulina - Energy - Immune System - Brain Health (research has shown it has more promising results than blueberries for your brain) Cardiovascular... One 3 gram serving has higher levels of some key antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and minerals compared to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.  You might ask why Hawaiian?  Hawaiian Spirulina goes from pond to powder in less than 30 minutes. it's cultivated in a Biosecure Zone free of pesticides, herbicides and industrial pollutants in Kona, Hawaii, the sunniest coast in the united states. Each pond is fed with 100% potable drinking water from Hawaiian aquifers and infused with pure deep ocean water containing beneficial trace minerals.

 Ingredients: Young Green Coconut (1 packet) - Hawaiian Spirulina (1 teaspoon)- Blueberries - (many as you want) Add water to the consistency you prefer and shake in a little cinnamon.

Ingredients: Young Green Coconut (1 packet) - Hawaiian Spirulina (1 teaspoon)- Blueberries - (many as you want) Add water to the consistency you prefer and shake in a little cinnamon.

Coconuts are one of the most nutritious of all fruits, but unfortunately, in the United States, they are also one of the most overlooked. Coconuts are not a traditional part of the American diet but have been a staple food for Asian cultures, for centuries. Why young green coconut?   It's naturally low in sugar, has 0% Cholesterol, 0g Trans Fats, and fewer calories than mature brown coconuts.  I love inner-eco, they puree each individual packet so you can easily mix it up, blend it up or have it alone as a snack. There is no sugar added, Dairy free, Vegan-friendly, Gluten-free, no GMOs

  • A few health benefits of coconuts and coconut oil include:
  • Help you lose weight or maintain your already good weight 
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease 
  • Lower your cholesterol 
  • Improve conditions in those with diabetes and chronic fatigue 
  • Improve Crohn's, IBS, and other digestive disorders 
  • Prevent other disease and routine illness with its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents 
  • Increase metabolism and promotes healthy thyroid function 
  • Boost your daily energy 
  • Rejuvenate your skin and prevent wrinkles

I bought this  Bella Rocket Blender  on Amazon. It's great for quick blending and super easy on the clean-up. After you've made your shake you can flip the cup over, add the lid and now you've got your to-go healthy drink, or make it the night before and keep it cold in the fridge for the following morning.  

Super easy, super quick and Super Healthy!  Tell yourself you are living in a healthy body and the mind will begin to tell the body and so on and so on...

And now you're off and running. Wake up Look Up Get Up Fuel Up.  Express your gratitude and watch your life begin to shift in a positive way....and a four-legged running pal doesn't hurt either.  We are living longer as a society and it's worth the effort to do your research and begin to take care of your mind, body and spirit.

   Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination . Imagine yourself as priceless...because you are.

LIGHT-WEIGHT SUMMER SALAD & MEAL IDEAS

Before heading off for vacation, I enjoy planning healthy meals a month in advance. It can be fun to set a goal and get yourself into your "fighting weight", so when you're packing your bags, you become excited to wear your pretty little dresses and your bathing suits. Who wants to think about calories or carbohydrates, when you're traveling about and looking at the breakfast buffet...not me! I look forward to every meal. I get so excited about sitting down for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So before you go here are a few of my favorite kick starter meals to get you on your way

I've always loved a good turkey burger, and I enjoy making my own. All you need is some ground lean turkey meat, which can be mixed with spices and season to make it taste just oh so yummy for you. Bun or no Bun? That is the question. Want a good ole hardy burger, keep the bun... feel like being a little lean because summer is on its way, go for lettuce wraps.  Whether your dressed or undressed, you'll feel great when you make healthy choices.

I buy my turkey meat and veggies from Whole Foods Market. I mix a little olive oil, Italian Herbs and truffle salt. What's a burger without fries!  I heat a large skillet and cook on medium for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Garnish with a little mustard, lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese then finish off with a gluten free Bun from Glutenfree Bakehouse Products / 356 Whole Foods Brand organic ketchup / ALEXIA - all natural roasted crinkle cut fries (0g trans fat) 

Dress it up - Dress it down...here is the lean version of a turkey burger, and by the way...very tasty. I did leave off the swiss cheese, and passed on the fries, but I promise it still taste great. No bun needed. 

I cook with Herbs of Italy quite a bit - Oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, black peppers, tarragon, red bell pepper, chives. California Olive Oil - and just a little truffle salt.

ALEXIA fries are my son's favorite fries. 

I use Herbs of Italy to season the fries, just the right amount of flavor. Garnish your burger with any little topping. Here I have added a baby heirloom tomato...so cute 

Vegetable Butter lettuce tacos. 

Super simple to make/  broccolini and broccoli (I love them both) -cauliflower rice - radishes - avocado - carrots- spicy red pepper - lemon - garlic oil.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees - chop your veggies to your liking (leave out the red pepper if you choose) - heat on a baking sheet for 15 minutes - Place in the butter lettuce and garnish with your avocado, radishes - sprinkle the garlic oil on top. I don't find you need any dressing. The garlic oil has a nice flavor and the crunchiness of the cauliflower rice (love the texture) with the radish is so satisfying. Radishes are full of fiber, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as good amounts of copper, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system, helping to break down stagnant food and toxins that build up over time. They are a staple in my kitchen.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Detoxing Salad - I've been a fan of apple cider vinegar for a few years and I thought this would be a different way to enjoy the benefits, instead of mixing it with water and knocking it back. I love the red cabbage ( pretty pink color...livens up the meal) and once again really easy to make and SO healthy for you. Apple cider vinegar helps with health concerns including diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and high cholesterol. It contains pectin (a naturally occurring substance found in the skin and the core of  berries, apples, and other raw fruit) It's also know to cure hiccups and soothe a sore throat.  Plenty of reasons to keep in hand in the kitchen pantry.

You will need Red Cabbage - Sea Salt - Red Onion- Olive Oil - Apple Cider Vinegar - Black Pepper - Parsley. Did you know parsley is rich in many vital Vitamins, including Vitamin C, B12, K and A. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system too.

What you will need - 1/2 bunch of parsley  / 1/2 medium red onion / 1 small red head of cabbage / sea salt & black pepper to taste / 1/4 cup of olive oil ( or less) 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Chop the cabbage and the onion in a food processor. 

Season with salt and pepper, and add in the chopped parsley. sprinkle olive oil and apple cider vinegar / mix together and serve fresh or cover the bowl -place in the fridge and enjoy for 3 days. Below are 3 different ways to mix in your healthy detox salad.

1) Baked Salmon on a bed of lettuce, grilled peppers & cauliflower 2) Baked Salmon on shredded cabbage salad 3) Baked Chicken with Cesar Salad, and grilled Broccolini.

I'd love for you to share with me some of your favorite healthy salads, and any recipes you've come up with. Let's stay healthy by educating ourselves and stay out of the doctors office!

Lemon Italian Sparkling Mineral Water.

                                “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”                                                                                                                                            W.C. Fields

Take care of your mind body and spirit, it wants to see your dreams come true.  xo janet                                                      

SARDINES - ANOTHER ROAD TO LONGEVITY

Lately, I've heard and read more about Sardines than I ever had before. Of course, the allure of these small guys and their health benefits, are indeed intriguing, and people who eat them seem to experience a long healthy life, and that peaks my interest. Sardines are named after Sardinia, the Italian island where large schools of these fish were once found. While sardines are usually enjoyed fresh, they are most commonly found canned, since they are so perishable. With growing concern over the health of the seas, people are turning to sardines since they are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, feeding solely on plankton, and therefore do not absorb heavy metals, such as mercury, and contaminants as do some other fish.

1-Cardiovascular / 2-Bone & Joint Health /3 -Cancer Prevention / 4-Eye&Hair /5-Skin&Health /6- Protein

While there are six different types of species of sardines belonging to the Clupeidae family, more than 20 varieties of fish are sold as sardines throughout the world. What these fish share in common is that they are small, saltwater, oily-rich, silvery fish that are soft-boned. In the United States, sardines actually refers to a small herring, and adult sardines are known as pilchards, a name that is commonly used in other parts of the world. Sardines are abundant in the seas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean with Spain, Portugal, France, and Norway being the leading producers of canned sardines.

No one is certain when sardines came onto the scene, but in 1795 Napoleon Bonaparte needed to feed his men, he helped popularize these little guys, (no pun intended)… by initiating the canning of sardines. They were the first fish to be canned in order to feed his army and the citizens of the land which he controlled. It took hundreds of years for the positive results to be discovered. But now with people living to be well in their 100's... and I'm talking healthy peeps. They all have something in common…Sardines

 Acciaroli Italy

Acciaroli Italy

Residents of Acciaroli, a costal village nestled on the Mediterranean Sea, consume a diet rich in wine, rosemary and anchovies. Let's take a look at the lovely rosemary herb.

Rosemary is not only fragrant, it's a good source of iron, calcium, and vitaminB6. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth. Just one more reason to add or increase rosemary into our diets.

 

Over the weekend I decided to get creative with a few sardine recipes. 

Avocado toast with chives / cherry tomatoes / olive oil  / No need to add salt. Sardines are already naturally salty. Hermès China.  Sardines are one of the highest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids on the planet, along with other important minerals and vitamins.

Always looking for a moment to mentally escape to Italy. Pizza with basil / cherry tomatoes / chives / Bela Sardines. Why not add a little Rosè for your Italian get-away lunch.

Here's a healthy quick, and light dinner -  Arugula salad with green asparagus, poached in water (or grilled) for 1-2 minutes /  anchovy filets in olive oil and lemon /  Parmesan cheese with fresh lemon and olive oil mixed with chives / slices of toast for dipping in your olive oil /  Of course we continue to hear more and  more about the benefits of Red Wine. Maybe we don't live in Italy, but we sure have a lot to learn from the healthy Mediterranean. We are living longer so why not live it in good health. 

Creating a healthy path for ourselves is not only important it's fun. There is so much to learn about the benefits of healthy eating. When you begin to educate yourself on food, herbs and your body, it will change your life...for the better of course. You can then walk a little further for a little longer with a lot of joy. There's still so much to see in this big beautiful world...

                                  "Ecco a vostra buona salute"... here's to your good health

                 “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”  ~Unknown

CELEBRATE THE LOVE

Love is in the air my friend's, whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day, a friends birthday or any occasion, it's always an excellent idea to connect with each other and enjoy the journey. We are all  busy bees, organizing our lives, our jobs, families, but the benefits that are derived from dedicating time to celebrating with your friends is just plain ole 'good for the soul'

 The truth is... women hanging with a group of women is just downright fun. And who doesn’t love a good laugh... Cindy brought us all together in her lovely home for our friend's birthday celebration, and a little walk down memory lane...

No matter how old you are, walking into a room filled with balloons puts a smile on your face, and right away you feel like celebrating. Thank you Dr. Balloon for your dependable service in a days notice.

Hsiu-Yen makes her signature Tequila & Fresh O.J. Spicy Margarita / Fresh O.J. / Lemons- fresh off the lemon tree / Jalapeños  

"Cheers" to the Birthday Girl Pam - Salute to life, love, and friendship... 

Study's show that time spent with a group of your friends, from your physical health to your mental health, can lower stress, give you a boost of confidence, not to mention a surge in optimism that flows into all areas of your life. When gathered together, women open up and encourage each other, give support, share stories and appreciate the little things.

 

Cindy prepared a delicious Cesar Salad / A Favorite Quinoa  Salad / Baked Chicken / Whispering Angel Rosè / Thank you for the yummy meal!

 Enjoying another sunny day in L.A.

Laughter + Happiness +Love= Healthy Mind, Body & Spirit - An equation that works

You gotta love these whimsical circus candle holders!  Fun twist on blowing out your candles when you're over 40! From Glitter Ville Studios. Topperlino Chocolate Disc 

Seeing a smile on your friends face...priceless. Appreciation starts to come effortlessly as we age, and that is just one of the many gifts of growing wiser.

It's the best feeling to get excited when your friends are gathered together, and you realize the gift of Presence is the best gift we can give and receive.

Cookies from Bouchon / Chocolate Cake/  Homemade by: Cindy

Presents, roses, chocolate, rosé....laughter. Perfect way to start a Monday

A smile says it all...

We have been friends for over ten years now, and as mothers, friends, and women we have shared an incredible, and meaningful journey. Our time we spend together is not taken for granted, and we are all supportive of each other and share a common interest... Gratitude. Thank you to everyone here for this day in celebrating our friend, but most of all, our acceptance of each other and our journey to be the best person we can be...

Thank You- Cindy, Shannon, Hsiu-Yen, Pam, Linda, Lori, Carrie, and Jessica, 

* Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk           beside me and be my friend.   Albert Camus

CHICKEN INSPIRATION FROM ESTRELLA

Spending time in my kitchen represents creativity and joy. I work on my blog, arrange flowers, have my coffee in the wee hours, write down my visions and gratitude list, and most of all, our family enjoys yummy meals here, while Buster our dog chills on his cozy bed. On Sunday mornings, I look forward to checking out the food section and being inspired from beautiful photos and great chef recipes. Last weekend I read an article on Dakota Weiss, (Top Chef) from Estrella Restaurant, Located in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, right here in our hood.  I can't wait to experience Estrella!  in the meantime... I decided to give it a go in my own kitchen.  

 Inspired Dish from Dakota Weiss - Baked Chicken / Red & Yellow Beets / Spicy Red Cabbage / Walnuts / Yogurt / Edible Flowers/ FRANK FAMILY VINEYARDS 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon / William Yeoward China  

I am fortunate to have a Whole Foods five minutes from my home. The Prepared food section is the next best thing to home cooking, and soooo fresh. I really love the challenge of admiring photos of delicious foods, then attempting to recreate and make it my own. These beets are already prepared, I added red cabbage that I marinated in Rice Vinegar and a Habanero pepper to the red beets; it gives a real kick to the cabbage, and a vibrant color:  Crushed walnuts... Did you know that there is one nut that has more brain-enhancing essential Omega 3's than other nuts?  And it kinda looks like a brain...Yep it's the walnut.  Adding edible flowers gives a delicate and elegant touch to your dish. ( Marigolds add a peppery punch flavor)

Fage Greek Strained Yogurt / takes the place of sour cream,

The Kitchn.com  is my favorite chicken recipe, it's quick and flawless every time. I used a little  Mache Lettuce (known as corn salad)  to add a little green color. Why not find a photo of one of your favorite chefs, and add your own creative twist to their recipe. You can't make a mistake, only a mess and a tasty meal!  Presentation is a big part of the meal, taking the time to make your plate beautiful feels creative and looks fab. Enjoy your process, remember...your energy goes right into your meal that makes it's way into your body, along with those gathered at your table. I look forward to dining at Estrella, here in West Hollywood. Our city is abundant with incredible restaurants and top chefs. At least I get to be a creative chef in my own kitchen...and in my own mind.    

        ‎”This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun”-Julia Child

JOLI - TEA TIME

This holiday season take a little time for tea. For those early mornings or late afternoons, Joli mug with infuser is the perfect size for your desk or kitchen.  Joli means beautiful in French.

 The Rebuplic of Tea has some great options. While you're working on the computer you can become a bit entranced as the leaves blossom open to reveal their hidden surprises. There is something so calming while watching the bud unfold. The peach flavor is like biting into a fuzzy, ripe peach. Hermès Cup

Joli / Mug with Infuser / Great idea for a gift anytime of the year.

Teavana Peach blooming tea / Tea time and conversation with a friend is always a good idea. My dear friend Loretta gave this gift to me, and it's so nice to have my tea and think of Loretta and her generous heart. It always makes me smile... That's a wonderful gift.

Teas taste amazing, but take a look at all of their amazing benefits

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”  Ann Patchett

Thank you Loretta...

https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206543167-Using-the-Code-Block

SLIM DOWN WITH SALMON

After Thanksgiving has passed and we now enter the holiday fiesta, how about an easy recipe for slimming down a bit before the parties arrive. Salmon & Veggies - a healthy way to satisfy your hunger and stay healthy.

Baked Salmon, Broccoli - sweet red peppers - cauliflower - roasted potatoes - L.A. Juice Co. (recycled) water bottle.

Wild caught salmon marinated in Olive Oil - Lemon Juice  - Pepper - Salt - Fresh Parsley.           Bake in the oven in a glass dish for 20 minutes at 375°. I use a recipe from Allrecipes and it comes out perfect every time.  

Sweet peppers - broccoli - cauliflower - potatoes - onions  - fennel - parsley 

Marinate the veggies in Braggs Olive Oil - Lemon Juice - Italian Seasoning - Garlic                           Place on a baking pan on top of foil for 20 minutes at 375°

BRAGGS Olive Oil - Italian Seasoning - Garlic - Sea Salt (just a touch)

Allrecipes is a great site for simple and easy recipes and they honestly come out perfect every time.  This is my go-to salmon dish. It's great when you have that dependable and satisfying dish. Salmon is a great source of protein and loaded in Vitamin B12 & Vitamin D - Omega-3 fatty acids.  Recipe for a great meal: Smile, listen to music, and think about the little things that make you happy....

                 “A home cook who relies too much on a recipe is sort of like a pilot who reads the plane’s instruction manual while flying.” – Alton Brown

                 

VINO & A SLICE OF HAPPINESS

Who doesn't love a little wine and pizza? I know most of us are cutting back on the carbs, but it sure is a hard to say "No Grazie" to Pizza and Vino. Some of the best dinners and laughs I've shared have been with pizza and wine. Here are a few red table wines that are tasty, affordable, and worth sharing.

Half cheese and half pepperoni with a 2013 Napa Valley Red -  2013 Red from Pugila - 2013 Red  Cabernet

VALPOLICELLA - The most famous wine district in North-Eastern Italy's Veneto wine region. Flavors of tart cherries with a touch of toasty oak and mocha. A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinari grapes. This was our choice for pizza night here in our kitchen. 2013 Valpolicella Brigaldara.

Red C Napa Valley-Cabernet / Sonoma County Red Wine 2013 - Ripe, round, black cherry, blackberry and herb flavors. From wine maker Jeff Morgan, crafted in the same style as his top Cabernets. Here in California we are proud of our elegant cabs. Your guest will serve you a lovely smile after you share a slice and this  Fab Cab! 

I-1 Italy Red Wine 2012 - Composed of Nero D'Avola and Negroamaro from Puglia. You will find aromas of macerated raspberries, dried lavender, plum tart, and toasty oak accents.  Besides the visual Italian look of the bottle on your table, this wine will flow perfectly right along with your pizza.

There are amazing table wines out there to be your perfect pizza partners, It doesn't have to be pricy to be yummy. When you head to the market make your way to the Italian region, the motherland of pizza wines. Try and take a moment and read about your wines, and most of all...have fun...enjoy. Add some yummy truffle cheese, grapes, figs. and chocolate. Any way you slice it...bringing people together and sharing a few laughs creates happiness. Start your holiday season off with an attitude of giving the simple things.  GRAZIE!       

                       In Italy, they add work and life on to food and wine.  Robin Leach

ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

'Tis The Season... The holidays are here, and what a special time to be Grateful. It's the perfect time to gather your friends and family, and share great food, wine, and of course laughter. We have soooo much to be grateful for, we have freedom, we have choices.  Let's start off with  I Am Thankful For....

 Thank you Mother Earth - Mother Nature for these beautiful flowers! We have a Pavilions nearby, and they always have a large variety of colorful flowers and greenery. Here I chose Tulips - Roses - Calla Lilies - Peonies. If you live in the West Hollywood area, ask for David! He's the best...

You can also buy long stem leaves and decorate the inside of the vase for an elegant touch to your arrangement. While arranging your flowers say "Thank You"...tell Mother Nature how grateful you are for her flawless beauty she has provided for us.

Tulips have so many leaves, just take and wrap those extra leaves around your stems for that 'Wedding Bouquet' look. 

I love the vibrant orange, perfect for a fall color.  Tulips love a little light, in just a few minutes they will open up as the light shines through the window.

Beautiful pink Tulips and Peonies, and the peonies have a soft...light fragrance as they begin to open. 

White Peonies, White Roses... 

I find groupings of three, to work well. Choose different vases, and heights for that artistic feel.

Simple Calla Lilies...Simple Vase... Elegance.   We all have many things we can be grateful for. If we can stay in a state of gratitude for just a few minutes a day, our hearts will change, we will feel lighter, and the longer we can say "Thank You" the Universe will recognize our gratitude. We can always be of great service to ourselves and others when our heart says "Thank You"

    "Choosing gratitude is akin to choosing forgiveness. It is to create forward and healthy           movement within the individual expressing it"       Reverend Keith Cox...my friend

  Thank you to my followers for being supportive and taking the time to read my blog, The Grateful Gardenia. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving, and you were able to share the day with your friends and loved ones. During this season let's envision laughter, hugs and a heart full of gratitude.   

                                    Make someone's day special today... it matters

HAPPY HOUR IN THE A.M.

Why not make your Happy Hour in the AM a healthy one?  This Martini a day keeps the doctor away. I love a good dirty martini, but how about a clean one too?  Martini glasses are entertaining, they remind me of Roger Moore and Old Hollywood, I decided to dirty up my breakfast one day by adding healthy granola with flaxseed from Whole Foods, and one of my favorite shakes with berries, and pomegranate seeds.

After seeing the new James Bond Movie, I wanted to go to dinner, drive fast, buy gadgets, and have a martini. I had this instead... Shaken not Stirred

Add in your favorite granola, berries, pomegranate seeds, and a healthy shake. The crunchy texture with the shake is oh - so satisfying. 

Chunky Granola from Whole Foods with flaxseed - almonds - honey - dried cranberries, raisins, and sunflower seeds  Sometimes I mix in the Odwalla protein drink, It really taste like a desert... Here's what's inside of the vanilla (32) grams of protein shake - vitamin B6- vitamin b12- DV calcium - DV- zinc - DV potassium - DV Iron  (DV- daily value) Substitute with Almond or Coconut milk if that is a better choice for you.

Wake up, be grateful, and set your intention for the day. Getting closer to the holidays, we are all busy, and it seems the hustle and bustle is becoming a way of life. If you only have a few minutes, make them healthy, and make them count. Just remember...You're worth it.

                           "I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini."  * George Burns

PUMPKIN CARVING IN A SNAP

Halloween is one of our favorite days on the calendar. Living in Los Angeles we have one of the best parades right around the corner. You will see adorable little trick or treaters and grown-ups too. Our home is always festive and decorated for harvest time.

Here are a few things you will need to create a simple and easy carved pumpkin. The trick is to have fun...No need for perfection, just carve away and enjoy your creation.

Piece of plastic to work on / Gloves / Marker / Carving Tools /  A Good Attitude

 Roasted Pumpkin seeds made easy - Toss the pumpkins seeds (after washing) in a bowl with a little olive oil and salt - Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Here I added the pumpkin seeds on top of Red Pepper Hummus - Cabbage Lettuce leafs - then roll up for a healthy, delicious pumpkin seed taco.

Take a fresh red bell pepper, cut off the top - carve out a fun, festive face and add Pesto Pasta inside. This is so cute for your guest who need a quick bite to balance out the candy!

Orange Bell Peppers filled with Pesto Pasta - This makes for a really fun and conversational meal for your family dinner time.

Don't leave out the family pet on Halloween / Here's Buster proudly wearing his Taco!

Happy Halloween Everybody!  Be Safe and get lost in the moment...

Mexican Shrimp

Here's to the Mediterranean side of the a Mexican kitchen. Fresh, simple and once again, a healthy Shrimp Dish.

Shrimp is definitely one of my favorite sources of protein. Take a look at this yummy recipe for a flavorful and spicy meal.

What you will need - Olive oil / Yellow Onion / Garlic / Jalapeños / Tomatoes / Capers / Olives 2 Bay Leaves / Oregano / Shrimp / Salt / Cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic and jalapeños until onions are translucent ( about 6 minutes) 

 Stir in tomatoes, capers, olives, bay leaves and oregano. Simmer until tomatoes reduce by half,  about 10 minutes. 

Add shrimp and cook until it just curls and turns opaque, 2-4 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve over cooked white rice or black beans.

You can also replace your shrimp with chicken or fish...Next time, instead of rice I believe I'll try the black beans. I enjoy cooking for my family, I believe the love, happiness and positive energy  you put into making your meals matters. Cherish the moments you have together, those sweet faces grow up so fast...          Cooking is Love made visible...

BEAUTIFUL DINING WITH FRIENDS

One of my favorite things about a dinner party is the preparation beforehand especially when I know my girlfriends are coming over. Your female friends always notice little details, and appreciate the time you invest. Making the time to gather your girly friends is important, mainly because they are a big support, and you always seem to laugh at the simplest things. When I made the decision to begin my blog these five women were an incredible support, and an honest sounding board for my daily questions and motivation. I wanted to give a big thanks to all of them and hoped they would connect with each other.  This dinner was a way of saying "Thank You for your generosity and daily encouragement."

Taking the time to set a beautiful table sets the tone for your dining experience. Yes, it takes effort but it's incredibly rewarding when your guests walk in and appreciate the beauty. It really is a creative experience. While I'm waiting in a carpool line, I like to spend time looking at magazines and scrolling through Pinterest. First I pick the colors I want to use, then decide on the meal, also the music is always important so I love making a playlist from iTunes. It seems to be forever summer here in Los Angeles, so I chose a California Chardonnay.  I love to mix and match my china, and it always makes for nice conversation because it all has a story.  Frank Family Chardonnay is always my first choice for a California white wine.

Rose Petals frozen in an ice cube tray / Gold Pasinski Bar Glasses /Photo: By Becca

 Buying the flowers puts me in the best mood, and that too is important for being a happy and relaxed host. A great dinner party begins with the spirit of the host. I set the table the night before, that way I'm not rushed on the evening before my guests arrive.  Since it's all girls for the evening, I thought different variations of pink would be ...pretty.  Can't go wrong with Pink Roses, Tulips and Calla Lilies.

And now comes the fun part, getting creative with the flowers.  I play my favorite music and let the creative juices flow.

Christofle Water Pitcher & Fish Vase / Baccarat Papillon ( butterflies) / Photo By :Becca

Philippe Deshoulières China & Serving Tray /  Founded in 1826- 100% made in France / Christofle Flat Ware / Nautical Luxuries Shell Napkin Rings 

 The meal tonight was vegetarian. All the dishes are from the book "the forest feast"  By: Erin Gleeson. This book is not only visually stunning, it's yummy. Our friend and chef, Berta  prepared these meals. It's always fun looking through cookbooks and deciding on your courses. Berta served us an amazing meal, and each dish looked just like the book. I really recommend The Forest Feast cookbook, it's simple and everything I've made in the past always turned out.        *My favorite salad - Arugula - Watermelon - Goat Cheese - Jalapeño / Dressing:  vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and dijon mustard. / Photo By:Becca

Red Cabbage Salad with radishes - lentils - cherry tomatoes / Dressing: olive oil, lemon, and dijon mustard. / Photo By:Becca

Corn & Cauliflower Tacos / cauliflower, corn, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, olive oil, salt, & pepper ( roast together in over @ 425F, 15-20 minutes (until golden) Top off with Greek yogurt, feta & hot sauce.

Desert / SO DELICIOUS Dairy Free Coconut Milk & Raspberry / fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and homemade granola from Whole Foods / rose petal decoration / Anthropologie bowl /  I love to mix china patterns together. It's a great expression of who you are,  just like fashion.  These bowls from Anthropologie put a perfect touch on the dessert. / Photo By:Becca

Elephant place card holders /  Saint Hilaire  / When the trunks are up it means "Good Luck" 

Salute...Cheers...À Votre Santé

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Candle sticks are also mixed and different heights. The Baccarat Butterflies seemed appropriate for the evening.

Thank you!  Val - Lindsay -Jesica Ryzenberg - Amanda Korbitz  Becca Murray  Thank you Berta for a great meal.

For dinner gifts, I found these journals by Compendium. Each one has a beautiful illustration and inside you will see whimsical images and quotes. These beauties are all writers and creative, so I knew these journals will have a good home.  Write down your dreams, your goals, and your visions and watch your world bring all the right players into place...it truly works. / Photo By: Becca

It's been an incredible breath of fresh air connecting with the girls pictured above. If I can encourage anyone over the age of 45-50, It is to keep connecting with those who are younger.  First of all they're fun, they are full of dreams and possibilities, and they also have an interest in you. We all have pearls of wisdom to offer each other, and if you remain open minded,  we can all be helpful to each other in reaching our goals.  The more you connect, the higher you vibrate, the happier you will be.  That's a wonderful feeling isn't it...

WATERMELON ZEST SALAD

If you love a salad that's beautiful healthy, and tasty, you'll want to add this recipe to your favorites . For me, nothing is quite like the taste of sweet and savory.  I really appreciate ingredients that satisfy both appetites.  Sometimes the simplest of meals can be the most gratifying.

Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon / Watermelon Zest Salad / Hermès China

All you need is / Watermelon / Jicama /Radish /Jalapeño /Arugula /Lime / Good Attitude & Great Wine - Measure to your liking.

By mixing the ingredients together, the juice from the watermelon and the lime make the dressing...so you have this amazing healthy salad that's all natural.  You can also add a little goat cheese on top for added flavor.  Bon Appetite

 

“Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation-- experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way”   Paul Theroux

Shrimply- Delicious

Summer is over and our house is back in routine.  it's always good to clean up your diet a little after vacation, and shrimp meals are a simple way to dive in.  It's nice to enjoy a tasty meal and stay healthy at the same time.  I took shrimp and marinated it with lemon juice, touch of olive oil, salt, pepper, and sprinkled with Tajin.  I marinated the cucumbers in vinegar and onions.  On top of the shrimp I mixed in red cabbage that was marinated in vinegar, red onions, habanero peppers, and salt. Here you see shaved Brussel sprouts that I mixed with grounded flaxseed, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts & Q10, then heated them for 3 minutes on the stove.  Super healthy!  I opened a Frank Family Chardonnay - It's my  absolute "go-to" for a White Wine. 

Shrimp marinated in lemon juice, touch of olive oil, salt & pepper, and Tajin.  Shaved Brussel Sprouts with grounded flaxseed, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts & Q10.

Furi Knives  Rachel Roy Gusto Grip /  These are fantastic knives, I have been cooking with these for several years now and I always reach for them, maybe it's the "orange case" i'm in love with, but bottom line, they work!  

Stay Healthy, and don't forget to listen to your favorite music when you are creating in your kitchen.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 
― Julia Child

Tea For Two

The days of tea and roses are just beginning. I have been a fan of American Tea Room since 2003, Join me in a cup of Victoria Black Rose Tea.  If you feel like cooling down, or warming your heart, American Tea Room will quench your thirst with their lovely aromatic flavors and leave you feeling "un peu French and a bit British"

The American Tea Room is located in the heart of Beverly Hills.  American Tea Room sources teas and teaware from around the world. Here I have one of my favorites, Victoria Organic Black Tea.  This Chinese black tea is a bouquet of bergamot , rose petals, and vanilla beans.  Not only is it lovely to look at, it's elegant in taste.  Think of a rose-scented  Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla, and delicate pink petals mixed in.

The Eva Solo glass tea pot, with the black cover, zips off for easy cleaning, and it looks great on your table.  Anthropologie Bowl.  Pink Canister from American Tea Room.

Victoria Organic Black Tea / My other favorite black tea is Earl Grey Shanghai / A classic bergamot aroma, with undertones of tobacco and cocoa.  

Nippon Hand-Painted Rose Cups

Borsalino Panama Hat /  Calypso Shirt / Hermes Silver Bracelet  Dog / Priceless...

Tea in the morning or the afternoon is always a charming gesture.  If you're solo, with a two legged or four legged friend, enjoy your cup of tea and treasure the little things. Have a beautiful day.      American Tea Room will be opening September in Downtown Los Angeles - Arts District.

Cabbage & Company

A quick healthy, tasty dinner. If you happen to be in the mood for a light dinner with a lot of flavor, try this salad.  Preparation time is about 10 minutes. 

Asian cabbage is one of my favorite salads to make.  I like the crunchy texture, it's very satisfying, and actually fills you up. Here I mixed in cilantro for a little extra zest.  For the dressing I take olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cucumbers.  I taste the dressing as I go along.  I keep this cabbage in my refrigerator all the time.  It's great to mix in your fish tacos, and with your rice and vegatables.

After I serve the salad I squeeze a little lemon juice on top and enjoy my dinner with chop sticks.  You can also add rice with the cabbage salad.  I like to keep it on the light side.

Jicama- If you aren't familiar with this root vegetable, it's worth an introduction.  Jicama is a very low calorie root vegetables: carrying only 35 calories per 100g.  It contains small levels of B-complex along with a  group of vitamins such as riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin.  You will also find healthy amounts of important minerals like magnesium, (ladies, magnesium is great for us).  Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin B- They are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated and help eliminate toxins.  Cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day.  And don't forget to leave the skin on, it's loaded in vitamin C.  Are you familiar with Tajin?  It's 100% natural blend of Mexican chilies, lime juice and sea salt. Tajin has a delicious tangy flavor that brings out the natural flavor of fruits, veggies, and other foods.   Here's an interesting fact *Hangover cure - To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangover and headache.
 

Cucumbers with Tajin / Jicama with Lime Juice & Tajin / You can make a colorful & healthy veggie appetizer platter for your guest.  Have as a daily snack for yourself, it's so satisfying, and better to reach for this instead of the chips.

  You can use  Tajin  to make a spicy rim for a margarita, instead of using salt.  El BUHO MEZCAL, Fresh Agave and Lime Juice        Salute!

You can use Tajin to make a spicy rim for a margarita, instead of using salt.  El BUHO MEZCAL, Fresh Agave and Lime Juice     Salute!

“Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” 
― Craig Claiborne