Everything’s Coming Up Rose, Tim Rose

Tim Rose is a musician and friend whom I met back in the mid/late nineties while his band, The Sun Sawed In 1/2, were in Los Angeles, CA playing a show.  Tim and I bonded right off the bat!

This interview is a spotlight on Tim Rose and his life in music with The Sun Sawed In 1/2, his personal thoughts on being a musician in our time, and, well…. a little bit more.

Thanks so much for reading!!!

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Sun tim

 🍂 ALL KINDS OF CREATIVE 🍂

***INTERVIEW***

MFP: So Tim, I’d LOVE to start off with when you first got into music and what really inspired you at that time. 

Tim: When I was in 7th grade I was really into KISS. They were the coolest band I had ever heard; we all wanted to own everything they produced from the records to joining the KISS army. My brother and I got together with neighborhood kids and made fake guitars and put on shows for the neighbors as we lip-synched. It was, however, my grandmother who insisted on buying me some “decent” music to listen to instead of this “clown” music. She bought me the Beatles red greatest hits album. It changed my life.

Sun said

VIDEO for Rio: Watch here!

MFP: I saw one of your childhood films and you were like, in 8th grade. What was that all about? 

Tim: Our friend, Andy decided to make a documentary on super 8 of our first band, Rio. We loosely based it on the history of the Beatles. I was a cinemaphile since my early childhood owing to my mom taking me along to the movies to see adult themed movies she wanted to see instead of getting a sitter. I always dreamt of being a filmmaker. Recently, with the Adobe suite, I have been able to make my own videos and edit them.

Sun 5

MFP: Nice! Does that include you creating your own music videos, as well? If so, where can our readers see your work?

TIM: My music video for our song, “Elephants into Swans” is available, as well as my work with the non-profit, The Answers Project (set up to preserve indigenous tribes around the world) also viewable on youtube.com.

Elephants

“Elephants Into Swans” Music Video WATCH HERE

Answers Project

The Answers Project video: WATCH HERE

MFP: You are also another kind of creative! You did the artwork for the album Hula by Nushu (a band I was in 😍). What other music albums have you done artwork for? 

Tim: I can’t really remember them all. I have done all of the Sun Sawed in 1/2 albums as well as my solo album, Fresh Mowed Lawnand work for Ken Kase, The Funky Butt Brass Band, a Left Banke tribute album that we also performed on, and about a dozen others.

Tim

MFP: On top of all of that, you also design some very lovely websites! Any that you’d care to share with us here?

Tim: My personal site showcases my 20+ years of working in design and advertising. However, I’m very proud of the site for The Answers Project. This charity means so much to me as it afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and live with and interview tribal elders from Borneo to Ecuador.

Tim 3

MFP: Did, or do you take any schooling or classes to support your art and music (film, art, instruments, etc)

Tim: Yes, I graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My father was a photographer and art director. He taught me many things. I also traveled the world with National Geographic photographers when I ran the Starbucks art program. I learned so much from them.

…and now I present to you, from St Louis, MO……

🎵😎THE SUN SAWED IN 1/2😎🎵

 

Sun 3

MFP: What got you interested in starting a band? Seems you started really young. 

Tim: My dad had a reel to reel Sony and an acoustic guitar. We used to play it with a quarter as a pick and make up songs even before we knew how to play. The 6th grade kid across the street had a drum kit. The rest happened organically.

Tim 4

MFP: Are you a self-taught musician? 

Tim: Yes. I took all the Beatles songs and put them on the reel to reel tape. Then I went to sleep with my guitar each night and figured out how to play every one of them.

Sun 4
🌞 VIDEO FOR “DENNY’S GIRL” by The Sun Sawed In 1/2 WATCH HERE!

MFP: Who are your musical heroes and why?

Tim: My primary heroes are the typical Beatles and Brian Wilson. I had the fortune of meeting Brian several times owing to my friendship with Probyn Gregory and Jeff Foskett. That was fantastic. For the guitar, Pete Townsend is my hero. I wanted to play with the same wanton energy as Pete.

sUN sUN sUN

MFP: What do you LOVE and NOT love about the music industry at this particular time? 

Tim: What I suppose I love is the idea that anyone can make music at home at any time. What I don’t love is the idea that most of it isn’t easy to access. Commercial pop sounds unlistenable to me for the most part. I never thought I would be nostalgic for disco, 80s hair metal or 90s hip hop. I hated those things at the time but they sound so much better than the 808 autotune rap today.

SUN MAN 2

MFP: I know everyone LOVES this question but I still must ask, how did you come up with the name The Sun Sawed In 1/2?

Tim: After band practice, my brother saw a newspaper kiosk in our town of St. Louis. It was the tabloid, the Sun. The headline was “Sawed in 1/2” He said, “Now there’s a surreal name that no other band will have.”

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MFP: Your lead singer, Doug Bobenhouse. How did you and Doug originally meet, and was he that perfect singer that you were looking for? 

Tim: Our first singer, Chip left after our first year together. Doug was a kid who had come to see us several times. I know he was eager to play with us. He took me outside and sang “Rosemary” by Lenny Kravitiz. I said, great, you’re in.

Sun 8

He had a powerful and clean pop voice. It took him awhile to get used to my writing and took him longer to get the knack of performing, but that can be said for all of us. We literally all learned together.

Sun 4

🌞 VIDEO FOR “DRAGONFLY” by The Sun Sawed In 1/2

MFP: How do you write your Music? Your lyrics? Do you have a muse? 

Tim: I get into a trance by writing for hours and pay zero attention to what I’m doing. I record all of the improv and then spend weeks digging through and culling the good parts. Then I got back as a sober editor and piece it together. The lyrics are mostly whatever I was singing stream of conscious at the time with some polishing. My muse is the inner hurricane of my own brain.

🌞

🤹‍♀️

 PLEASE ENJOY THIS QUICK INTERMISSION WITH A RUNDOWN OF ALBUMS BY THE SUN SAWED IN 1/2 EARLIEST TO LATEST.

The Happiness and other short stories (1992)

Hot Feet for Monkey God (1993)

Mind Flip (1995)

 

Fizzy Lift (1997)

Bewilderbeest (2000)

Elephants into Swans (2013)

MFP: So aside from album releases by The Sun Sawed In 1/2…..

Tim: We did a cassette tape with Chip (The Sun Sawed In 1/2’s first singer), that shall never see the light of day. I put out a solo album Fresh Mowed Lawn which I recorded in 2004 in Vienna, Austria with jazz pros and the Vienna Symphony.

Fresh Mowed Lawn

Sun sun

🎧 click to listen

 

MFP: You’ve also toured with The Sun Sawed In 1/2. Is there anything you might want to share here today about lessons learned or great takeaways through your personal experiences? 

Tim: It was hard. Internally, there are the same group of guys who all have different ideas and patience. Externally, it is difficult to book, deal with club owners, do the radio interviews, party every night and perform.

Sun 2

My biggest lesson was to take care of the internal relationships more. Most bands implode from within. Only Doug, my brother and I were able to see it through all the way. We went through many drummers, keyboardists and secondary guitarists along the way. However, there is no bad blood and I am still in touch with everyone who took the time to bring our dream alive.

Tim sun

MFP: If you could go back in time with The Sun Sawed In 1/2, what would you do differently? 

Tim: Practice more and realize we were not as great as we thought we were. In our youth, we thought we were world class. We didn’t push it as hard either as musicians or as performers as we could have. I always thought the strength on my end was the songwriting. I worked very hard on writing songs I would be proud of. My guitar playing was nothing stellar. I would have also worked harder on the arrangements.

⭐️CURRENT CREATIVE PROJECTS⭐️

MFP: What are you currently creatively working on these days?

Tim: Doug (Bobenhouse) and I got together in July this year and played some new material at his home in Chicago. We now can work with Logic and share ideas. I also recorded Bonnie McCoy and her husband Marcus. I co-wrote three songs with them that are totally different from the power pop of the Sun. Bonnie is the great grandniece of Memphis Minnie. She is a legendary blues singer.

🐍 FUN QUESTION’S TIME!!! 🐍
Over, Under, Sideways, Down!

MFP: What new and/or old music are you listening to these days? 

Tim: The new bands I like tend to sound either a lot like bands I liked in my childhood or bands that are totally crazy. I’m digging Babymetal, Lucius, The Staves, The Struts, Foxygen, Fleet Foxes, and The Lemon Twigs. I still discover new music by old bands through Spotify by digging through their deep catalogs. Lately, I’ve been into The Stylistics, Carole King, Pilot, and the Zombies.

MFP: What is the strangest record/cd in your music collection that might leave your friends scratching their heads about? 

Tim: Possibly Babymetal. I also have a thing for Crystal Gayle.

MFP: What are your other talents (cooking, woodworking, fixing cars, knowing stuff, etc…)

Tim: After living in Italy for four years, cooking has been a passion. I also like filmmaking, art direction, and especially travel. I’ve been to 39 countries and have a laundry list of more I can’t wait to explore.

MFP: Nice! So what is your favorite food to make?

Tim: I love making quality Northern Italian food such as risotto, farinata, gnocchi, and pumpkin-filled pastas.

MFP: Mmmm…I’ll be right over!!! (haha) So what feeds your Spirit? What revitalizes you?

Tim: Meeting people from other cultures and learning what feeds their spirit. Learning something new every day.

MFP: FABULOUS! One last question before I let you go: What advice would you give a young musician today?

Tim: I would say, sadly, the same thing that was told to me by my elders, make sure you have a backup plan. Make music for yourself and be happy with what you do. If someone else digs it, great. But make the music for your own soul foremost.

MFP: Beautiful, Tim. Thank you so much! 🧡🧡🧡

***SERVICES/CONTACT TIM ROSE***
Timothy Rose Creative Direction Website

Tim is a Creative Director and runs a consulting business where he helps to build and champion brands. Visit Timroseltd.com to find out more. 

To my blog readers and followers,

***Thank YOU for taking the time in reading our lovingly co-created content. I’m always excited to peek in to the minds of other creatives and to share it with others. PLEASE feel free to leave comments or questions at ANY time below!

Love Love Love,

Lisa Mychols
Mychols Fabulous Playground

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*QUICK LINKS*

Timothy Rose Creative Direction Wesbite

The Sun Sawed in 1/2 Bandcamp Page

The Sun Sawed in 1/2 Facebook Page

*MUSIC VIDEOS*

“Elephants into Swans” MUSIC VIDEO

“Denny’s Girl” MUSIC VIDEO

“Dragonfly” MUSIC VIDEO

“Sleepwalker” MUSIC VIDEO

“She Offers Her Heart” MUSIC VIDEO

“You’re The Something” MUSIC VIDEO

“Starting To See” MUSIC VIDEO
(Lisa Mychols makes a special appearance!)

💟

*LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEOS*

“Kiss Her Like You Mean It” (LIVE) MUSIC VIDEO

“Tops Of Trees” (LIVE) MUSIC VIDEO

“Dashboard Christopher” (LIVE) MUSIC VIDEO

*IN THE STUDIO WITH KEITH OLSEN*

SunSawedInHalf/Youtube.com

*THE ANSWERS PROJECT*

TheAnswersProject.net

***Photos used by permission

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Camp-out Cook-in and Throw it in a Blender!

The Campout Cookbook
Inspired Recipes for Cooking Around the Fire and Under the Stars
Authors: Marnie Hanel & Jen Stevenson

The Campout

“Elevating the Art of Eating Under the Stars….for survivalists with standards”

 

I’m just gonna say it. “Party under the stars!!!”

First off, I LOVE how they designed each chapter on the contents page…what FUN!!!

This books starts off with scoping your camp site, basic essentials, smart packing, and much much MORE  short and to the point pre-camping planning! There are some really important packing tips going on this book that I wouldn’t leave home to camp without…especially the suggested tools and the WHY’s they are suggested!

CAR GAMES…CAMPFIRE GAMES….Yep..it’s all in here! They also have some great info about camping with your canine AND little kids!

You just cannot go wrong or mess up your camping experience when you’ve got a book like this one! (THANK YOU!!!)

As for the recipes….

OMG….EVERYTHING LOOKS SOOOOOOOOO YUMMYYYYYY!!!! I’m seeing Dutch Oven Roast Chicken, Chile Five Ways, Pudgie Pies, Pizza….and they include  instructions on how to PRE prepare many of these recipes! There are SO MANY amazing looking recipes that I can’t even fit in to this review!

What? Not ready for camping in the GREAT outdoors at a real campsite just yet? Find out how to camp in your own backyard…yes-also in this book!

Well…I’m off to practice some camping! (hehe)

I’m going to stop here…although, just a heads up, there are a few extra fun surprise chapters also included in this book for the reader to enjoy that I did not share here! This book is extremely thorough and very inspiring, especially for a beginner camper like me…and I’ll admit…this cookbook almost made me cry. YES, real tears…of JOY!!!

Available 5/29/18 at Amazon.com/CampoutCookbook

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Fix Freeze Feast!
Authors: Kati Neville and Lindsay Ahrens

Fix Freeze COVER

 

A super cool cookbook to prepare home cooked sauces (like curries, stir-fry sauces, brown sugar bourbon for salmon), butters and pesto (like their chili lime butter for Halibut or Gorgonzola lemon butter for a wild pasta night…happy sigh….), breakfast burritos, Lemon Lavender Cookies…..I hope you are getting the idea! Oh, and they also have kid friendly make-ahead dishes like the Sweet Asian Chicken for thawing later to cook either outdoors on a grill or indoor in a skillet. Fun fun!

This cookbook also offers tips on how to Thaw, Cook and Enjoy…because we all know that to enjoy is a major plus here! There is also information on how to make the most of limited freezer space, how to prevent ice crystals, being safe when it comes to storing glass in your freezer, and more!

So set the table like you are doing fine dining and bust out one of those fancy dishes you’ve previously prepared and prepare for one of MANY nights to remember. 🙂

Available 5/29/18 at Amazon/FixFreezeFeast

Freezer Labels (I really like these): Amazon/FreezerLabels

 

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Margaritaville: The Cookbook
Relaxed Recipes For a Taste of Paradise
Authors: Carlo Sernaglia; Julia Turshen
Forward by: Jimmy Buffet!

Margaritaville

So when I got to preview this book, they didn’t share all their recipes. This made it a little more challenging for me. What they preview DID share were things I would never both making…but they were fun to glance through, none the less. The pictures are really beautiful and inspiring…they bring a happy contentment with them.

By the time I’d reached the end, I saw drinks! But of course…drinks can’t be so hard! I figured I’d start with their Perfect Bloody Marias recipe. This served a lot more than 4 drinks for me…but maybe my these are made for extra large glasses, (teehee).

Margaritaville Blog

I admit that since I couldn’t find regular tomato juice at my local Trader Joes, I went for their low sodium Vegetable Patch juice. All the other ingredients I had.

What I really appreciated about this recipe was that it wasn’t the usual complicated recipe I keep trying to make…(which usually include all the condiments I can find in the doors of my refrigerator-!!!), but much simpler ingredients and it was a pretty good basic spicy Maria…but to mention again, I DID use a tomato juice mix, which may have made it in to an entirely different experience.

Blog fix

CHEERS!!!

Okay so my next attempt was their Jalapeño Margarita – which you will find in the variation section UNDERNEATH Jimmy’s Perfect Margarita.

I don’t know where my brain was that day I chose to infuse the tequila, but I thought I read to use thin slices of 1 Jalapeño when, in fact, re-reading it the next day (on that same piece of paper), to use 1 SLICE per the amount of tequila to infuse (oh Heaven’s To Betsy!)

Jalapeno

Since it was already too late to fix it, I figured I’d continue full steam ahead because…(BECAUSE!!!)……this recipe is SPICY as HECK but…(BUT!!!)….it’s REALLY flavorful..and I didn’t even have all the proper ingredients so YES, this would be worth sharing here!

SUBSTITUTIONS AGAIN…..

margarita 1

Since I didn’t have limes but tons of lemons, I juiced one large lemon (which was the exact amount called for in lime juice). Since I did not have Agave Nectar, I used some Agave Syrup I had on had…but I only 1/2 the amount that the recipe called for. (IT WAS PLENTY!)

I forgot to take a photo after I poured it in a glass, because I was kind of upset with myself but then…I got lost in the drink….(I think they call that, “Wasting Away…”? Ha, but I’m not really. As you can see, the ice has melted and I’m just sipping it, at this point…which makes this actually a GREAT sipping kind of drink…kind of like if one were to drink straight tequila! (I’m a sipper of that too!)

Sipper

This seems like a no fail kind of drink because even though my throat is currently on fire, it doesn’t really last that long…and it’s got a sweet thing going too…a nice fun sipping drink!

But alas….

…as I continued my journey through through Margaritaville, past the drinks, I started to feel sad…like, “is the party over so quickly?”

Luckily…no it wasn’t. They have a super cool section called Tailgating, along with Twenty Party and Menu Suggestions! (They brought my spirits back!) They even included, “Recipes Organized by Fun!”, as well as Practical Party Tips. What a nice way to wrap it all up!

So CHEERS and THANKS for reading!!!

Available at Amazon.com/Margaritaville

Margaritaville.com

Margaritaville/JimmyBuffetMusic.Charity

 

 

 

 

Summer Is All Set With Sir SparkleJet: An Interview with Michael Simmons

So while jogging on the beach somewhere in Orange County, I happened to run right into power pop music wonder Michael Simmons! ….Okay, so maybe I wasn’t jogging…or even in Orange County….or on any beach…but I DID run into him…and then THIS happened!

Me (MFP): “Hey Mike! You up for an interview on your new record?” Mike: “Sure! Why not?” Now here it is!

MFP
So, Michael. What called you into the world of music to begin with?

Michael Simmons
I’d been begging for 45’s since I could walk.  I remember using my record player in the bedroom of my first house, and we moved away from there when I was three and a half.  I remember writing songs as a kid, mostly about girls I liked, and started really trying to record stuff at 14. I didn’t get any good at this stuff until my 30’s, but I got into it because I liked records, and I wanted to make my own. Playing live was never a goal, or even writing, it’s just that you need those skills for recording.

MFP
What was the music that originally inspired you to begin with?

Michael Simmons
I dunno… just think of early Elton John

MS 4

MFP
Cool! So…I’ve always wondered, are you a self-taught musician? Also, what instruments do you play?

Michael Simmons
My mom made me do piano lessons for five years.  I may have gotten one good year out of that because I didn’t like practicing. Once she let me quit I figured things out on my own and started enjoying it.  Then I got into drumming and did that in high school. Eventually I needed to learn guitar and figured that out on my own when I was about 22.

First Days of Summer Documentary!!!

MFP
If you could sum up music in only one word, what word would that be for you?

Michael Simmons
Inspired.  I think God gives us music, or we tap into it. The greatness of the final song might just depend on how much the human has mis-filtered or misunderstood the great celestial download.

MFP
How poetic! Now…(ahem)…what is one album (or CD) in your music collection that would shock your friends and fans?

Michael Simmons
I have all the CD’s by Consolidated.  Any of those would work.

I LOVE this-it’s AMAZING!!!

MFP
What inspires you musically these days?

Michael Simmons
Wurlitzer electric pianos and sex.  Some things never change.

MFP
What is it you passionately feel you have still yet to accomplish musically?

Michael Simmons
I’d like to write something in a minor key.  I’d also like to come up with some chord changes that are really shocking and cool.  I’m working on that, but it’s still a little forced I think.

MFP
As far as music outside of your own, do you feel yourself currently being influenced by other people’s music? Do you still listen to new music…or heck, even old music?

Michael Simmons
I buy music voraciously, old and new, but I don’t have much time to listen to it.  The work I do now requires my full attention, and I can’t put music on in the background ever.  I’m also way too distracted to just to sit and listen, so it’s difficult for me. But there is always great new music.  Like most people my age I’m appreciating AOR (Adult oriented rock) in ways I never expected to.

MFP
What other styles/genres of music do you like/listen to?

Michael Simmons
Genres are lame.

 

MFP
How many musical projects are you currently involved in and what are your plans for each one?

Michael Simmons
I don’t have time to plan anything really, other than I’d like to do it.  There’s still an old sparkle*jets u.k. Album from 2004 that was a couple songs from being done that I’d like to see completed.  I’ve talked with Yorktown Lads about doing more stuff maybe this summer, so we’ll see.

MFP
What inspired (or motivated) you to finally do a solo record?

Michael Simmons
Well, I don’t write much, but I had to write a couple new things when the Yorktown Lads project happened, and that blew the cobwebs off a bit. Right after that I had a couple new tunes, maybe one per year, and I had an itch to do my own LP, I just needed songs,  As of last summer I still only had one ‘side’ worth and my friend Jeff Charroux challenged me to get the 2nd side written so I knocked it out in about a week and a half.

MS 3

MFP
If you could go back in time (in your musical career), what would you do differently?

Michael Simmons
Oh gosh, I dunno.  Everything, probably.  I should have hired a fitness trainer and a fashion consultant, that’s for damn sure.  I’m happy with the stuff I’ve made, and the people I made it with. They are all my family.

MFP
Are there any live shows planned?

Michael Simmons
Well, IPO is penciled in, but I don’t know what that will mean exactly.  Big Stir is trying to get me off the couch too, God bless ‘em. I had no intention of playing this music live and I’m not sure I even can.  Now that it’s out there i’m excited about it but nervous too. If I bother to do it I sure hope people come to see it at least. If there are only 3 people in the room I’m done.  haha!

MFP
Besides for your own music, what is your involvement with these school kids I keep seeing pictures of? What is the program all about? How did you get involved in it and…..

Michael Simmons
Well, Jamie from SJ*UK got into teaching back in the early 2000’s and we worked together building a pop music program at a performing arts high school.  We saw it as an alternative to kids only having marching band, orchestra, or choir as their musical choices in school. So we pioneered that in a big way, and now there are lots of other people doing similar things but ours is pretty epic.  Now I teach full time and we’ve integrated my skills of audio and video engineering into the situation, so we are a giant rock & roll / TV production studio. Every year our students leave here and get the jobs you and I only dreamed about.

MFP
Nice!!!

HaHa! Check out these kids and their reactions!!!

MFP
What is it YOU get most out of music? (what you create and what you listen to?)

Michael Simmons
Melody is paramount for me, followed by harmony probably.  I love a good singer and a great guitar tone. Loud drums. I’m more into that stuff than lyrics, but you can’t beat a good lyric.  I love nothing more than hearing a great recording cranked up. I also love doing covers and trying to recreate the tiny little details that I love most in the original.  I get lots of heat for that from some folks, but I don’t care. I don’t record covers for them, I do it for myself. The original records are for everyone.

MFP
What music/bands/artists are you really into right now?

Michael Simmons
The big new-ish records for me right now are Dan Auerbach ‘Waiting on a Song’, Linus of Hollywood ‘Cabin Life’, and the new Sloan of course.  Last year I was freaking out about Field Music’s ‘Commontime’ and Sloan’s ‘Commonwealth’, both amazing and perfect. Before that I got really into an old late 90’s pop band called Daryll-Ann.

SM SJ

Sparkle*Jets U.K.

MFP
How did you originally meet Susan West and Jamie Knight and  form Sparkle*Jets UK?

Michael Simmons
We were playing the same open-mic show at this place called the Winged Heart in Fullerton CA.  Must have been 1995 or thereabouts. Maybe 1994. Apparently I got up on stage with them or they with me (can’t remember) and we played ‘solitary man’.  I didn’t know them at all, and formally met them much later. I was in another band and so were they but we combined three bands together, Fleetwood Mac style, and added some of my songs, which nobody had ever let me do before.  When the dust settled we became sparkle*jets, then sparkle*jets u.k., the pop guys found us, and that was that.

MFP
If you weren’t in the music world, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

Michael Simmons
I’m not sure I am in the music world, am I?  I’m in the fringes of education, doing music. With any other job music would have been a sideline, so at least here I can dabble in it while I’m on the clock.  I spent many years helping other people get their music together, but now I get paid for it. I like helping guide the kids and showing them good music.

MFP
What other special “surprise!” talents do you you have besides being a musician, songwriter, producer, engineer and teacher?

Michael Simmons
Most of the work I’ve done in life is graphic design.  I’m not ‘trained’ and all the folks I know who are, totally kick my ass at it, but I’ve been able to subsidize my income with it somehow.

*FAST & FURIOUS* 

MFP
Mac or PC?

Michael Simmons
I was very anti-mac until I had to really use them every day about 10 years ago.  I’ve grown to love them and I can’t imagine dealing with Windows now. Yuck.

MFP
Most influential album of all time for you is…

Michael Simmons
I cannot possibly imagine.

MFP
Greatest concert you’ve ever attended is….

Michael Simmons
My go-to answer is Urge Overkill at the Hollywood Palace in 1993.  But I’ve seen too many amazing shows to count. Make sure to see Neil Finn or the Zombies if you haven’t yet.  And Sloan.

MFP
Favorite restaurant in O.C…Long Beach…Los Angeles that you would recommend to friends and out-of-towners (like those playing at International Pop Overthrow)….

Michael Simmons
Steak & Stein in Pico Rivera.  Still the best meal on the planet.

MFP
Do you follow sports at all? Which ones?

Michael Simmons 
Sportsball?  I like battle bots.  I love the winter olympics, but that’s about it.

MFP
Favorite place to live if you could live ANYWHERE in the world?

Michael Simmons
Liverpool if the weather wasn’t so shite. It’s my happy place for 100 reasons.   I also think I would really dig Maui. I could hang w/ Michael McCartney all the time.  Hell, I just might do it.

MFP
Favorite vacation spot and WHY?

Michael Simmons
Didn’t I just answer that?

MFP
Hobbies outside of music are….

Michael Simmons
Didn’t we just discuss that too?  I’m into vinyl LP’s, Model Railroads, Tall Ships, Dogs, Bikes.

MFP
Okay Okay….
Oh, hey….I recently heard you were looking for a new musical name (being there is another musical artist named Mike Simmons out there). Are you thinking about changing your name because of this?

Michael Simmons
Hell no.  People need to READ when scrolling through facebook.  I’m not changing my name. It’s not my fault I have one of the most common names in the world (that doesn’t SEEM common, but it is!).  There are dozens of people with my name doing music or similar things. Just recently someone with my name was doing a gig on the same bill with some former students of mine and it caused a bit of confusion.  I got invited to actually play with them so I could technically play the gig but I’ll probably be too busy to get down to the Echo.

MFP
Blondes, Redheads or Brunettes?

Michael Simmons
Yes please.  Seriously though, I think I’ve made this rather clear to you many times in the past.  The darker the better typically. But I love it all. Girls of any age are the joy of life.

MFP
The way to Michael Simmons heart is…

Michael Simmons 
Gotta love the Beatles.  They have to be number one, or we just can’t be.

MFP
What NO ONE knows about you is…

Michael Simmons
Actually, I’m about the most open person you’ll ever meet, on most topics.  I’m a huge fan of yours, but that’s no secret.

MFP
Aweeeee, Thanks Michael!

…and thank you for your time, Sir Sparklejet aka Michael Simmons!!!

For the rest of you, THANK YOU so much for reading!!! PLEASE feel free to leave comments below and then we’ll race each other back to the ocean!!! Weee!

Happy First Days of Summer, Everyone-XO!!!

MS 1

 

Crab Apple

Crab Apple Records Logo

 

***ALL PHOTOS either stolen off the internet, or discreetly “borrowed” from Michael Simmons personal FB page (shhhhhh). 😉 

***QUICK LINKS***

Michael Simmons’ Music Is Available At: https://michaelsimmons.bandcamp.com/

…and Kool Kat Music KoolKatMusic/MichaelSimmons

Michael Simmons Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sirsparklejet/

Michael Simmons’ MUSIC Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/sirsparklejet

DOCUMENTARY for First Days of Summer: FirstDaysofSummerDocumentary

SJ*UK Facebook Page: Facebook/SparkleJetsUK

SJ*UK Website: SparkleJetsUK.com 

*** IPO Music Festival: International Pop Overthrow Festival 

MS 1st

Cheers to Cooking in the Spring!!!

UNICORN FOOD
Natural Recipes for Edible Rainbows

Unicorn Food

Let’s start with unicorns!

This has to be THE most magical cookbook I’ve ever seen! The colors alone are creatively unicorn ALL THE WAY!

Recipes include Savoury and Sweet!

This cookbook also includes how to make super pretty colors that ANY unicorn would love!!!

To me, this is a really sweet and magical reading book for any little child who loves the magic of unicorns and the magic of life and all of it’s possibilities…a magical experience through a picture book of yummy looking dreams!

I wish there was a boxed meal service that offered Unicorn Food….ahhhh…yet another possibility that COULD someday happen!

Get your copy today at: Amazon.com/UnicornFood

Author book page: SandraMahut/Cookbooks

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The Family Table Slow Cooker
Author: Dominique DeVito

The Family Table

 

Springing in to potatoes!!!

I LOVE the title of this book, first off! It’s so comforting and appealing just to look at!

The photos within this cookbook look so good, I feel they DEMAND me to cook them for myself to convince me of how good they WILL be!

Recipes span from kid friendly (especially for my own picky kids!) to exotic (like Indonesian chicken curry).

I chose to test out the roasted potatoes because I wasn’t convinced I could actually pull off roasting potatoes in a slow cooker.  Roasted potatoes, at least for me, have always been SO COMPLICATED, yet they are one of my most favorite side dishes of all time…how can I never get them right?! From the preparation process to the par-boil process to the roasting process…ugh. I still never got it right and I’d always be exhausted from all the work they’d take.

Still, I was willing to chance trying this simple recipe out.

 

Slow Cooker 5

I used a Garlic infused extra virgin olive oil by a brand called, Pons. They offer a 3 pack (Garlic, Lemon and White Truffle. ***The white truffle is great to use when adding portobello mushrooms!) – all 8.4 Oz each on amazon at: Amazon/Pons.

These were a bag of small red potatoes. I used the recommended amount, but I had a couple small potatoes left over…I totally could have used ’em! Lots of yummy sauce to go around!

 

I used the high setting (hoping it would make them REALLY roasted). Boy oh boy, did this make my kitchen smell SO GOOD!!!! In fact, my Son kept asking, “Are they done yet? Are they done yet? I can’t wait anymore, I must have them now!!!” LOL, and you KNOW how good that might sound to a Mom’s ear of her super picky kid!

(tick tick tick)…

Finally they were done and ROASTED AS PROMISED!  The flavors were incredible and I am absolutely amazed at how easy these were, I’ll totally make them again and again!

I want to add here that that I LOVE that this recipe offered options with different oil combinations to use and when to omit something like fresh rosemary when using a specific oil-VERY helpful tips offered!

I’m looking forward to trying out the artichokes with lemon and herb next, in my slow cooker…what fun!

Hoping you have as much fun as I had glancing through this cookbook! Don’t forget sticky tabs to mark pages for your own favorite looking recipes!

Available NOW at Amazon.com/TheFamilyTableSlowCooker

Check out all the other AMAZING looking cookbooks by this same author at:
DominiqueDeVito/AuthorPage

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VEGAN COOKBOOK FOR BEGINNERS
Author: Thom Logan

Vegan for beginners

Springing in to a busy day weekend treat!!!

I swear! I think Vegan is silently following me around…I keep attracting it! LOL!

Seriously….look at this cover! Could vegan eating really be this exciting and YUMMY…and, of course, easy to prepare?

In a time where our planet’s consciousness has been on the rise, it seems more and more people are excited about the possibility of cleansing their own bodies to receive more clarity, lightness, more emotional well being, and better health down the road.

Consider maybe, rather than a harsh cleanse (which DOES at times have it’s own benefits), maybe we try a Vegan diet for a while to see how it might work for us?!

My thing is…MAKE IT FUN AND TASTY…a simple demand, really.

Well…the author DID it with this book-whew! These are definitely vegan recipes in this book that I’m already excited about! (CHEERING!)

I decided to test out the
Avocado Black Bean Burgers

Here are photos I took, so you can see how super easy and “tidy” these are!

 

Simple ingredients (including quick oats and chia seeds) mashed together!!! Mash, mash, mash… 😀

(Drain the black beans…I wasn’t sure but yes, drain them!)

Side note: I didn’t have fresh jalapeño’s and I don’t know if that was what was actually called for, but I ended up using jarred ones instead and it was ABSOLUTELY right on!!!

 

Make into simple patties on that wonderful non-stick parchment paper. I covered these with another layer of paper and then cut them to separate them, since I wouldn’t be using them till the next day.

Blog Vegan

Coating the pan with olive oil…

Today was going to be a busy day in the recording studio, so I was VERY grateful to have these on hand and ready to go!

Blog Vegan

As the pan was heating, I quickly prepped my presentation…SO EASY, right??? The salsa I am serving these with today is a fresh green “roasted tomatillo” salsa I got from Trader Joes..YUM!

Blog 2

5-7 minutes on each side…

Blog Vegan

Look how amazing these look! YES, THEY TASTE AMAZING, TOO! I think a dry champagne pairs REALLY WELL with this dish! My personal fave from Trader Joes is the inexpensive Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava (See below for more on that brand).

The author kept his word on how much the reader would love these! I absolutely would plan on making these on any busy weekend!

Feeling excited to try more dishes out of this book now! The author has earned my trust!  😀

This cookbook also provides chapters available on vegan diet basics, physical benefits of a vegan lifestyle, handy measurement conversions, and a vegan FAQ, which really impressed me! Great for anyone entering a new vegan lifestyle…or re-entering it! Hey, good food is good food!

Available at Amazon.com/VeganForBeginners 

Thom Logan Author page: Amazon/ThomLoganBooks

*************************************************************************

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you got some value in this review blog!

EXTRA LINKS:

ChampagneFreixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava ($9): Cava is another sparkling white made in Spain using the same method as Champagne, so it comes in at sometimes bargain prices. This bubbly is bright with fruit flavors that make it great for cocktails like mimosas, but it’s also quite the treat on its own.
Via Brit + Co : 14 of the Best Champagnes and Bubbly Bargains at Trader Joes

 

 

 

New Favorites New Comforts & Pesto!

New Favorites for New Cooks
By Carolyn Federman

New Favorites for New Cooks

A Parent / Picky-Kid Friendly Cookbook!

This is a perfect cooking book for my under 10 year old daughter and I to use together.  My children are pretty picky, and these recipes I absolutely approve of! They are exciting enough to keep my attention and simple enough to keep my daughter interested.

Our faves so far have been the Sweet and Salty Candied Walnuts, Piece-Of-Cake Lemon Cake, and Spring Pasta with Butter Sauce. These particular recipes are the more simpler of a vast array of other more adventurous yet still kid friendly recipes that the author has shared in this book.

Here are a couple snaps we took just for fun….


A Beautiful, Simple and LOVELY lemon cake! 

Lemon 2.jpg

Piece-Of-Cake Lemon Cake

There are LOTS of fun recipes in this cookbook to share with family and friends and I highly recommend it!

Please also check out the author’s profile (below) and her work with the Charlie Cart Project.

Available at Amazon.com/NewFavoritesforNewCooks

Author’s Amazon and Profile/Bio Page at Amazon/CarolynFederman

*************************************************************************************

Hot for Food
VEGAN COMFORT FOOD CLASSICS:
101 Recipes to Feed Your Face
Author: Lauren Toyota

Vegan Comfort Classics

I love the feel and weight of this book…I know I know…but what about INSIDE of the book! It’s pretty impressive, I’ll start with that!

The book takes us through badass brunch faves first, then straight to finger foods…(yep, they’ve tragically reeled me in already!!!), then the chapters head on over to veggie sides and salads, hearty soups, stacked sandwiches, oodles of noodles, main events, sweet things and then BOOM, sauces….sigh….

V pan 3

HOT BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

OH MY MY MY MY MY! Even my vegan friends would recognize this as a major guilty pleasure! (This was sooooo freakin’ good!)

It took me a little while to prepare, simply because my favorite part about vegan cooking is playing with all the ingredients! REALLY! When I first added the TVP to water, it felt really cool…like grape nuts! It was fun watching it get spongy for the next 10 minutes!

The vegan cheese, herbs and other ingredients were split in a couple batches but mixed well in my trusty NutriBullet! The TVP mixture sauteed with onions, garlic and other spices smelled REALLY good-especially once I added that magical buffalo sauce!

To the left is the photo in the book. To the right is mine! WOOHOO-SCORE!

V leftovers

This makes a lot so be sure to share it with your friends! Otherwise, be prepared to freeze those leftovers!

This is the GREATEST vegan cookbook EVER! It’s on the decadent side at times, but hey, ya GOTTA have at least one in your cookbook collection, right? GET THIS ONE!!!!

Can’t wait to try other recipes in this book like the Baked Jalapeno Poppers, Filet-o-Tempeh Sandwich, and the Bean and Cheese Enchiladas Verdes!

Available at Amazon.com/VeganComfortClassics

Check out the LaurenToyotaYOUTUBEChannel

Lauren Toyota’s FACEBOOK PAGE

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The Pesto Cookbook
Author: Olwen Woodies
The Pesto Cookbook

 

“Pesto is my obsession!” -Mychols 😀

This adorable author has created the most LOVELY cookbook here called, The PESTO Cookbook.

Through well thought out explanation, she takes us through the experience of enhancing and brightening flavors and variety – and with gloriously beautiful photos!

Colors and flavors indeed! This book was actually a LOT more than I expected, and SO…

I decided to try one out!

The beginning of a Rosemary Pesto romance!!!

Pesto 1.jpg

ROSEMARY PESTO:
Soooooo incredibly good! Highly recommended on chicken or fish…or whatever! I served this with crackers, just to try it out. (I could eat this by the spoonful!)

Pesto 2.jpg

As I continued reading on through this cookbook, it never once never lost my attention.

Not only were there an amazing variety of pesto sauces, but this cookbook also includes other recipes from salads and soups to fish and meats and even vegetarian dishes that can go with any of the pesto’s early on in the cooking book.

This cookbook gives some really fun and inspired ideas…and I’m sayin’ it again…dipping sauces!

This is a book that stays in my collection!!!

Available 4/17/18 at Amazon.com/ThePestoCookbook

For MORE books by this author: Amazon.com/OlwenWoodierBooks

 

***THANK YOU FOR READING! Leave your comments and/or questions below at any time! I LOVE your feedback and even more so, I LOVE connecting with you! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy, Magic, Emotions and Manga!

Harry Moon: First Light
By: Mark Andrew Poe

Harry Moon

 

A reading feast, and perfect for kids between the ages of 9-12!

“A light that peeks out from the sun before the sun truly rises”…first light…in a secret land…with a magic teacher….

This book, with a prologue and 12 chapters, starts out with simple yet deep introductions and backgrounds of it’s featured characters. What I especially loved at first glance of it, was how well the author describes this story’s settings….creating it’s vibe and mood. Very fun and very magical ….at least from what I got to read of it…before it was taken away by my kids!

A book that looks easy to get lost in!!!

Highly recommended, especially if you’re looking to give this beautiful hardcover book as a gift!

Available Amazon.com/HarryMoonFirstLight

Harry Moon series page by Mark Andrew Poe Harry Moon Series Books

Follow the author on Facebook MarkAndrewPoeFacebook Page

*************************************************************************************

Harvey’s Hideout
By: Russell Hoban
Illistrated by Lillian Hoban

Hideaway

 

Great book to read before bedtime or before nap time (for the time it takes to read).

The illustration is super sweet, happy and magical. I really enjoyed reading this book with my little girl.

Oh but the characters get SO MEAN with each other, and this story really nails, showing how heavy the “being” in angry can feel, feeling frustrated with someone close to us, and bringing it to light. Especially for a young reader, who might run into those very emotions now and then and how it can affect our happiness.

What I was especially grateful for, in reading this with my child, was that the siblings in this book found their solutions through their own journey’s, and how they worked together. No parent was there to tell them how to do it!

Available Amazon.com/HarveysHideout

Russel Hoban Book Series Page RusselHobanBookSeries

Lillian Hoban Author Page LillianHobanBookSeries

********************************************************************

Disney Manga: The Princess and the Frog
By Nao Kodaka

Tiana

Fun book for kids ages 9 to 12 years…although, my 7 year old really enjoyed it, too!

What a great start- mentioning Tiana as being a figure of action, motivating their own story, as said by supervising animator Mark Henn.

This is a really cool book that starts with some insight behind the inspiration of the characters by their supervising animators. This is just one, and part of the descriptions you’ll find in this particular layout of Princess and the Frog….meaning…anime/comic book style!

Seriously-as I was checking this layout out, I realized this is the kind of book you can almost act out with friends, due to it’s scripted out texts…the expressions and feelings of the characters. It’s pretty neat!

Not originally the layout I was expecting, but I really did enjoy the format!

Available Amazon/PrincessandtheFrog

Author’s page NaoKodaka/MangaBookSeries

 

Uncooking in the kitchen!

No Recipe 
Cooking as Spiritual Practice
Author: Edward Espe Brown

No Recipe

How we value ourselves in the kitchen…what is the purpose…what is the intention, when cooking in the kitchen?

Turning the light inward, connecting with the outer world.

I myself have struggled with cooking  when all that’s running through my mind is, “I want it now!” So rather than being in the space of “IN” and NOW, I might end up reaching for an unhealthy quick food fix to feed my impatience until the actual meal is ready.

I’ve had many moments of stressing out in the kitchen…heck, even stressing out before stressing out…lol…preparing myself for, “I’ll probably be stressing out about something soon!”, only because it’s been a pattern for me that now I’m aware of it so now I can change it!

In reading No Recipe, I’ve already reached acknowledgement of my own issues and now, from here, I will always know when to recognize if I’m falling in to an old pattern or habit.

The author encourages the reader to trust in their own instincts and to “listen” to what speaks to them. The author also goes into how we seek pleasure to pleasure (as in avoiding pain or discomfort) when we “believe” in a task as some kind of trouble or burden.

Just like in conscious parenting, what may sometimes feel like a chore, that very moment of experience could also be experienced as a magical time of, let’s say, bonding…sharing…or as the author beautifully writes, “The activity is not in charge.” 😀

The author writes from real life experiences of Zen teachings.

What might have been a cool addition to this book (at least for me), would maybe be some kind of interactive exercises to go with it. To take what’s being read into being actively being practiced. Still, this is one of the coolest books I’ve gotten to read this year!

Available at: Amazon.com/NoRecipe 

Other books by this author: EdwardEspeBrownBooks 

Facebook page: EdwardEspeFacebook

*************************************************************************************

Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul

AUTHOR: Jenne Claiborne

Sweet Potato Soul Cover

I HAVE SO MANY PAGES bookmarked!!!!!

Sweet Potato Soul

This book totally called me by the title alone!!! I may not be Vegan, but I LOVE these recipes!

Highlights for me are the Sweet Potato Skillet Home Fries, Smoky White Bean Sausages, Tempeh Bacon, Hot Pepper Pecans, Jalapeno Hush Puppies, “Sweet Jesus Mac & Cheese” (HECK YES!!!), and that yum yum yum recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus! Seriously, there are SO MANY MORE great looking recipes in this book that I cannot wait to try!

Vegan or not, I recommend checking out this cookbook. Cook from it and your friends will thank you!

Check out the Sweet Potato Soul Website for some FREE RECIPES!!!

Available at: SweetPotatoSoulCookbook

Authors Website: SweetPotatoSoulPage

Authors Facebook Page: SweetPotatoSoulFB

 

New Year, New Reviews!

A new year…what to do what to do…??? 

Hey, I know! I’ll do some baking with the kids and Greta the Kitchen Witch for a new review…and then read up on some Swedish living!

I’ll start with….

Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts For Your Exes & Enemies

Sweet Revenge

“Stop your bitchin’ and get in that kitchen” – Heather Kim, Revenge Is Best Served Warm.

I couldn’t wait to open this book. My first thought was, “is this going to have like gummy worms coming out of a scary looking cupcake?” Haha…the answer is…NO! The author is lovingly baking sweet revenge on a very clever adventurous level! 

Mind bubble: “How do I heal all that unresolved emotional pain…..”

The author explains her point of view in “Revenge Is Best Served” and I have to admit…it actually made me cry-in a GOOD way.  She makes great points about what to do with the energy we sometimes misuse because we might be feeling THAT angry at someone else. Why not do something more constructive with it, all in the name of SWEET love!

Mind bubble: “I’ll be sticking it back to you with sugar and pickles-HUGS!”

Now I don’t consider myself a very gifted baker, but I felt VERY adventurously inspired to try at least ONE of these recipes…okay, maybe two. (Include the kids!)

Sweet Revenge Blog 4

The peanut buttercream frosting for “You’re Driving Me Bananas” was a HIT with the youngsters, “Give me more!”

I TOTALLY dig this! 

Sweet Revenge Blog 2

“You’re Driving Me Bananas” cupcake topped with candied bacon and a pickle!

Sweet Candy

Don’t be afraid to melt that candy down!

Sweet Bacon

The butterscotch candy actually DOES clean off pots and spoons easily! Make sure to use parchment paper when assembling!

The kids had a LOT of fun icing these cupcakes-I told my Daughter she would definitely be inheriting this book when she’s old enough! 

Sweet Kids Frosting

The kids did a great job on these!

NOTE for newbie bakers: Don’t forget to SPRAY THOSE CUPCAKE WRAPPERS BEFORE POURING IN THE BATTER – a lesson I myself learned today!

Mind bubble: “I once was emotionally hurt but now I’m…I’m….BAKING!!!!”

The second recipe…hehe….the author lovingly calls, Fruck Off.

Mind bubble: “I could have handled things differently, had I known better…”

This fab & fun recipe REALLY impressed my dinner guests from Europe the other night! They even stated, “This could be served at a restaurant!!!” (Hear that, Heather Kim? You have given us a very delicious GEM here!)

Fruck Off Candy

Seriously, over all the decadent and glorious desserts I tried to impress my guests (AND my kids) with. THIS was the #1 “go-to” winning dessert of the evening! 

Mind bubble: “Fritos meets Reese’s Pieces…I thought it was crazy at first but…

…golly gee, am I pleasantly pleased with these results!”

Fruck Off Dish

Thank you to my friends for trying it and LOVING it!

Candy Friends

Grab a couple of recipes from the book at: RevengeIsSweet

Available at: Amazon.com/SweetRevenge

Another really good detailed review of this book at:
RetroFoodForModernTimes.com

Next up…..

**************************************************************************

Live Lagum
Balanced Living, The Swedish Way

Live Lagom

Do you LOVE IKEA? Then you’ll especially LOVE this book!

The first magic that caught my eye here, is that I absolutely LOVE this vintage-like cover! It’s the most beautiful coffee table style book (that I actually really enjoyed reading), that I would also LOVE for my friends to be reading…you know…as they’re sitting on my couch waiting for me to get ready to go out…because it’s just that great of a sit down book. You can turn to any page and get something really cool, insightful and/or inspiring. 

My biggest takeaway here were on balance within extremes and coming from an unconscious excess and waste mindset-sometimes it’s just not our fault, if we are raised a certain way. For me, when I read books on mindfulness and any kind of personal development, I get moved into my own personal evolution via my own inspiration’s and takeaways. I can always make more positive changes. I can always make better decisions that make for a better life experience!

But WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!!

This book also features a chapter on “The Swedish Pantry” that features Swedish inspired mindful recipes…and they look SO GOOD! I get VERY excited when I see a recipe that goes deep in to culture, and these recipes I see myself making for my next tea party! This book is VERY special!

So yes! I REALLY enjoyed this book and I encourage you to at least check it out! Learn about the culture of Sweden! Inspire yourself in it’s playful pictures with words dedicated to a balance of work, home and life!

Available NOW at Amazon.com/LiveLagom

Anna Brones Website

Sign up for Anna Brones’ NEWSLETTER here

 

 

Greta, Magic Herbs and Cuba!

Snapseed
Greta is the name I gave this sweet lady, also known as Rosemary Kitchen Witch. This sweet kitchen helper is part of a collection by Witches of Pendle. She’ll most likely be making more appearances in these future kitchen blogs, so thanks for greeting her with an open heart!
Now moving on to some really COOL new reads for this month starting with….
Ten Spices for Health and Longevity
(REVISED)
By Valerie B. Lull
10 Spices
Hurray!!! Now THIS is the kind of information that seems to have gotten lost over the years that has lately been finding it’s way to us again!!!
Reflecting on reading through this book, it reminds me of an active mindfulness of actual ingredients…where energy gets infused simply by placing our attention to those ingredients and in our preparation of them!
Besides for household uses for the spices she goes into, the wonderful author also goes into traditional uses of each ingredient, followed by a few key recipes! Oh what fun I’ll have making some of these recipes, while practicing mindfulness WITH intention!!!
I love how the author also mentions possible issues with herbs and medications-let’s take back our health!
My first experiment was with the author’s recipe for CAYENNE TEA
Cayenne and Greta
I had been suffering from chest congestion from a cold and tried this one out. Just in the mindful preparation of it caused me to notice what I was experiencing from inhaling the steam from it…I was already feeling comforted.
Whether one believes or not, the energy we are feeling is the same energy we attract so…bring that on! (Achoo!!! Omg…it’s working!!!) Seriosly, even though it’s a spicy spice, it’s relaxing to me (especially after a night of restless coughing). I’m actually finally feeling sleepy!!!
I appreciated all this book’s fascinating and historical to present day uses of the 10 featured spices in this book, and found this book to be very fun AND useful!
I’ll try sage and fennel tea tomorrow (sore throat, colds, flu)
I feel the writer offers a lot in this book, simply through the ten spices for health and longevity she chose, and I feel it’s definitely worth the time to read.
An ideal gift not just for yourself but to a best friend!
**** GIFT IDEA****
A beautiful basket with labeled packets of herbs, Epson salts, a pretty tea cup and this book!!!
Revised version available at Amazon/10Spices
Author’s Website: valarielull.com
Valarie’s Blog: Simplewaystostayhealthy
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PALADARES
Author: Anya von Bremzen 
Paladares
Inspired by private restaurants of CUBA!
Cuban culture…Cuban history…
…an amazing book of stories and recipes, along with many vibrant and BEAU-tiful photos! (Well done, Anya Von Bremzen!!!!)
Of course I decided to try some of these recipes out, due to the fact that everything just looked REALLY GOOD (!) …plus, I feel that the author explained this book and the recipes well -which to me makes Paladares a nice and easy cookbook to follow!
My review here is all about the recipes so…
The first…..
Cuban Drink

Papa Doble Daiquirí

Ernest Hemingway’s regular drink, apparently. This one is called the Papa Doble Daiquirí. What I especially LOVED about this icy double is that there is NO added sugar -or any kind of sweeteners- in this one! A perfect drink for anytime, but especially during a chilly holiday season-one that I happen to be in now…so perfectly fitting!
Uh…
…although the results of my version came out a little bit foamy, it was probably due to my not so great blender. Still, the taste chimed, “Dazzling!” (Cheers to you, Ernest and Cheers to Anya and Paladares for sharing this drink recipe!)
Cuban Drinks
Next up, I made Potaje de Frijoles Negros, with sofrito. OMG…I wasn’t sure how eventful this dish would be but HEAVEN ON EARTH, these were amazing! This would most definitely make a meal on it’s own-very hearty and flavor-filled!
Cuban pre black beans

A photo BEFORE the magic of creaminess happened!

I learned here that when they say to “simmer” until tender, that really means (at least according to my own stove), to simmer on medium heat where it’s slightly boiling (like a low boil). That gave the best results for me!
Next up, Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera (Chicken & Rice). I was moved by the book’s photo of this dish! I was also intrigued by the Annatto spice, along with all the other interesting ingredients like wine, lager-style beer, saffron, capers, etc…
Oh wait…speaking of wine and lager-style beer, I think it’s time to try the other drink that I also bookmarked….the Mojito!!!
Yes yes-this particular Mojito tasted TRULY AUTHENTIC! Meaning not American-ly sweet and BIG STYLE minty. Still, the California gal in me just couldn’t resist muddling in a lot more mint in my glass. My guy chose to stick with the authentic recipe. Either way, this one was another winner for us both!
Mojito for blog

Mojito

Yum!
Now back to the Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera
I didn’t actually go for using the chicken thighs this recipe called for, due to I couldn’t locate any at the grocery store I was in, so I went for an already cut up chicken.
I’ve got to say that this dish was really FUN to prepare and cook. The whole experience reminded me of growing up watching my Mom make her famous Trinidadian curried chicken…..which at this point got me to look up that Cuba is only 1,327 miles from Trinidad via air travel.
Anyway…
By the end of my results….I recreated this REALLY BEAUTIFUL DISH…just don’t forget adding salt,  like I did…or maybe it’s the  kind of dish that’s even BETTER the next day where flavors get more enhanced! (Usually for me, these kinds of dishes are).
Still, the flavors DID stand out as a new and unique tasting experience for me-a total PLUS! Now I’m very much looking forward to trying the many other recipes in this book that I’ve already bookmarked!
Cuban Collage 2
That’s my review for Paladares! Many “Cheers!” to YOU for reading, and PLEASE feel welcome to share what YOUR favorite Cuban drink or dish is, in the comments below!
Cuban drink Tom

“Solud, por que la belleza sobra”, says Tom Richards as he holds up the Papa Doble Daiquirí

“Salud, por que la belleza sobra” means…
“To your health, since you’re already so beautiful”
– HuffingtonPostUK
PALADARES is available at Amazon.com/Paladares
For MORE books by Anya Von Bremzen, please visit AnyaVonBremzenBooks

QUICK LINKS

 

10 Spices

 Cuban Cookbook

Questions, Consciousness and 1967!

Parents
I bought my copy of this book at a conscious parenting event 2017-the title really spoke to me. I had even told the author this! She was so sincere and easy for me to chat with. It means a lot for me to get to review her book now so….here I go…
As a conscious parent, I realize that I’m still trying to raise myself as the teenager I feel I stopped at. For years I’ve struggled with feeling like a victim and that no one understood me, yet I knew I was a good person. Those inner struggles I had felt were something I faced on a regular basis.
Now as a parent of young children today, I refuse to live with that kind of energy around my kids.
This book was everything I had hoped for! A long awaited glorious read to help me understand myself better in this future I NOW live in with my own children. I really feel this book is a great read no matter where one is, as far as their own personal development. It’s extra wisdom and communication.
I especially love all the questions, examples and exercises provided in this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone evolving and healing themselves, as well as for the young adult wanting better communication with their parents and to be understood on a whole new level!
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The Daily Question
By WaterBrook

Daily Question
I LOVE to journal! The thing that I especially love, is when a book provides you with questions you might not be thinking of for yourself. This gives personal growth an extra way to thrive…and for the next 5 years!!!!
For anyone who feels that cannot afford one on on coaching or counseling, but would LOVE that service, PLEASE consider purchasing this book for yourself as a start! This is personal growth that you literally use a pen (or other writing tool) with…that actively includes the heart and mind!
This is the kind of journal writing gets you clear and focuses your attention on what you truly desire! Remember, “The energy flows where attention goes”. You seriously can only go right on this one!
Highly recommended for yourself, as well as for a friend you dearly love. I will definitely recommend this book for my own clients, who want more fulfillment from their lives.

E for EVERYONE!!!

The first page of The Daily Question: My 5-Year Spiritual Journal starts on January 1st and ends 5 years later on December 31st.

Available NOW at Amazon/TheDailyQuestion
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The Great Book of 1967
The Great Book of 1967: U.S. Yearbook Full of Interesting Facts & Events from 1967!
This is a book that I really enjoyed getting lost in! Not only has it been engaging, but I’m feeling super energized from reading it!
1967…a time where an entire generation came of age and were turning into adults, in one of the most pivotal years of the 20th century.  It is the key year of the 1960’s where everything seems to change from black and white to color.  With the incredible changes happening all over the place, we could see how people were creatively reacting to it all….almost chilling in a way.
I really appreciated the breakdowns of Vietnam war events, musical turns that were happening, the musician’s that were taking their first big steps, movies of the time that were game changers, celebrities either born of that year or whom were really BIG at the time…the author even included a brief history on their parents!
My top favorite chapters were “The Top Music of 1967”, “Influential Albums” (broken down by date!), and the author’s Fun & Fascinating: “Selected Band and Artist Profiles”, which includes some really cool trivia!
There is something for EVERYONE in this book, so if you are ever looking for a nice gift for someone, even if they weren’t actually born in ’67, (because that just does NOT matter!!!), please consider this one! It’s FAB, even for a young kid! I highly recommended The Great Book Of 1967! Talk about FUN history!
Available on Amazon/1967