Monthly Archives: September 2010

A Stainless Steal

I love drinking out of straws. There’s just something to be said about a cold glass of bubbly water or a fun mixed drink sipped through that cute little tube. However, we all know something I really don’t like: plastic.

Enter stainless steel straws. I love these guys! Not only are they reusable, they’re also totally fun and keep your drink cold, too. I like bringing my own to parties and bars – people kind of laugh at (with?) me, and I’m cool with that. Whatever gets people to remember them – and hopefully buy ’em, too!

Tina over at Carrots ‘n’ Cake is a big fan of these straws, too, and she’s now selling them through her OpenSky store. For only $15, you get 4 large straws, 4 small straws and 1 straw cleaning brush. They’re dishwasher safe, but if you’re like me and don’t have one of those newfangled dish-cleaning machines, that brush should come in handy!

Cheers!

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Rags to Riches

What to do with those old, worn-out gym clothes? You don’t want to toss them, but they’ve reached the point where they definitely aren’t cute enough to wear to your favorite kickboxing or AntiGravity Yoga (yes, that’s a real class offered at my gym!) class? And you certainly can’t donate them to Goodwill – let’s be honest, no one wants your pit-stained tees.

I recently found myself with a stack of politically incorrect tank tops that had seen way, way better days. Instead of tossing them in the garbage where they’d be sure to make their way to Landfill Access Road*, I decided to throw them under the sink and use ’em to clean my always slightly dingy kitchen floor. Seriously, who puts white tile in a kitchen? This might not be breaking news to those of you whose moms did the same with their dad’s old t-shirts, but I was pretty excited when this repurposing idea crossed my mind. Just wash your clothes-turned-rags first (obviously!), add a little soapy water, put on your cleanin’ clothes and your favorite Pandora station, and start scrubbin’ away. Sometimes I even go barefoot, throw a shirt under each foot and slip-slide my way to clean. I’m loving this method – my floor ends up way cleaner than when I use a mop. Besides, is it just me, or are mops totally bs? I feel like I’m just pushing wet dirty puddles around. I think I might be missing the cleaning gene.

*My sister and I, who drive by this freeway exit often, have a long-standing joke that this would be the worst street address ever.

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Filed under Pretty Green Tip of the Day

Breaking the Fast: Apple Coffee Cake

I am, admittedly, not the most serious Jew you’ll ever meet. I love celebrating the holidays, the culture and the food, but I am certainly not deeply religious. Every year on Yom Kippur, I fast, but not necessarily to atone for my sins. To be honest, I do it more to see if I can go a whole day without eating. Have you ever gone a day without eating, on purpose? It’s funny how your mind starts to play tricks on you, and you notice how food is everywhere! You kind of get past being hungry, but if you’re like me and love food, you start counting down to the bagels and lox pretty early in the day.

It’s almost 3 pm now and it’s going ok. However, I’ve got an apple coffee cake just coming out of the oven that’s about to start testing my willpower, hardcore.

My aunt asked me to bring something baked to break the fast (breakfast – break the fast, get it?), and I happily agreed. Since we’re getting into the heart of apple season, I decided an apple coffee cake would be the perfect way to welcome a sweet new year. A few years ago, I made one that was a big hit, so I pulled the recipe back up. Now, I’m not a big fan of Emeril, but I am a big fan of brown sugar and crumbly topping and apples so I decided to go with the tried and true. I skipped the brown sugar glaze he calls for, since the cake is plenty sweet on it’s own and I remember it getting lost last time. The recipe is incredibly easy – perfect for when you’re fasting and don’t have the energy for a complicated recipe, or want to throw together a quick but impressive brunch treat.

I, of course, used mostly organic and local ingredients. I love apple season! I got a variety – Gravensteins, and a few nameless ones with a surprising, gorgeous pink flesh (sorry, that’s a disgusting word. I certainly won’t talk about how moist this cake is. Oh, wait).


Apple Coffee Cake, from this recipe

Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with butter (this is a great time to use those leftover butter wrappers!)

Cream together your stick of butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating them in. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter-brown sugar mixture, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the buttered dish, spreading the batter to reach the edges of the dish.

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Make your crumble topping by pulsing your brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the cake and bake until the cake is set and the topping is golden brown, around 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and break the fast!

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Filed under Recipes