~ I absolutely LOVE June! And many of my favorite reasons can be found on Saturday morning strolling by the stands of our Farmers Market. The strawberries, asparagus, honey, breads, spinach…. just gorgeous and waiting to be included in something scrumptious. Here’s a delicious recipe with Farmers Market finds you can enjoy and serve for a lovely summer lunch this weekend.
If you make it to your Farmers Market be on the look out for spinach, tomatoes, crunchy wheat flatbread and creamy garlic-and-herb goat cheese.
You can also find these or variations at Bay Area stores including: Whole Foods, Trader Joes and the recently opened New Leaf in Pleasanton.
- 4 whole wheat flat bread (naan)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 6 ounces garlic and herb flavored goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 6 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- pizza seasoning (optional)
- Brush both sides of flat breads lightly with some of the oil. For a charcoal grill, place the flat breads on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 2 minutes or until golden. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Add flat breads to grill rack. Cover and grill as above.) Remove from heat.
- Top the grilled side of each flat bread with spinach, cheese, artichoke hearts, and tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to grill rack and grill about 2 minutes more until bottoms are browned and toppings are heated through. Top with pizza seasoning. Makes 4 servings.
See, we told you on Monday that Friday would be here before you knew it! Well, we didn’t really, but it’s here isn’t it! =)
This little ditty is a great idea for people like me, who LOVE dessert, but don’t particularly love the calories. Soooo, bring on the jello. Thanks to Sunset, this dessert was a hit at a dinner club event I went to last week.
Serves 6/15 minutes + 2 hours to chill
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cups sugar
4 cups watermelon juice (from 8 lbs watermelon, pureed and strained)
Sweetened whipped cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup cold water in a small glass bowl and let stand 1 minute. Microwave on high until hot and gelatin is melted, about 1 minute. Add sugar, whisking until dissolved. Whisk mixture into watermelon juice. Divide mixture among 6 glass dishes. Shill until set, about 2 hours.
2. Top each servin with a few melon balls, a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of mint.
- Graduation Party – Cliffs Notes Version
Last minute cramming. Feels like finals.
In case you’ve planned a party for this weekend but need just a few extra ideas here are some of our favorites:
Chocolate fudge-covered square graham crackers or Ghiradelli chocolate squares
Reese’s mini chocolate peanut butter cups
Peanut butter or chocolate frosting
Tube frosting in school or favorite colors (we used Wilton brand)
Place the flat side down on the graham crackers or chocolate squares. Dab a little peanut butter or chocolate frosting on the small end of the peanut butter cup. Adhere to the middle of the graham cracker or chocolate square. Place a Wilton’s Cookie Stick (20 for $2.29)
2. Party Game:
Lawn Twister! Easy Peasy! Trace or draw with a protractor a 10 inch circle on the bottom of a file box. Cut the circle with an exact o knife. Buy 4 cans of spray paint, we used Krylon, to paint 4 rows of 6 circles as in picture. Place the box with hole side down and spray approx. 6 – 8 inches above the cutout. Keep can inside the box to avoid wind. Space dots approx 6 inches apart on all sides. Leave approx 2 hours to dry. Longer is better.
Copy, paste, print and cut out the above spinner image, glue to a piece of cardboard. Use a spinner from another game, or make your own using a paperclick and cardboard arrow. I found this YouTube instructional video very helpful.
A simple addition to an already party staple goes a long way to impress. Simply cute 2 inch, black squares and attached to bottle tops with a glue stick. Add a a dot of glue to the center and use a crocheting thread, single piece or many for a tassel. add another drop of glue and let it dry. Take a market in the color of the thread and color the glue to match.
Wrap printable labels on water bottles, mason jars or glasses secure with a few dabs of glue.
Here’s a freebie design just for you.
Run twine around a tree or hang on a wall with clothes pins. Place photos of the graduate from years past and invite friends to bring any photos of your graduate that they would like to share.
Forget Pomp and Circumstance. Been there marched to that. Let’s dance!
Here’s a list of some our favorite graduation and party tunes commemorating the big day. Some will make you feel nostalgic. Some will inspire. And some will simply get your groove on!
- Best Days – Here Right Now (Bonus Track Version)
- Celebration (Single Version) – Celebrate!
- Count On Me – Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Deluxe Version)
- Dynamite – Rokstarr
- For Good – Wicked (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
- Forever Young – Lisbeth Scott
- Forever Young – Rod Stewart
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Breakout
- Glad You Came – Glad You Came – Single
- Gold – Owl City
- Good Life – Waking Up (Deluxe Version)
- Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
- Graduation (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C
- Here Comes the Sun – Abbey Road
- I Gotta Feeling – The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)
- I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney
- It’s Our Time – Marty Casey
- Just Dance – The Fame
- Just the Way You Are – Just the Way You Are – Single
- Let Them Be Little – Let Them Be Little
- Let’s Get Loud – On the 6
- Little Wonders – Meet the Robinsons (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
- My Wish – Rascal Flatts
- Never Grow Up – Speak Now
- On the Floor (CCW Radio Mix) – On the Floor (Remixes) [feat. Pitbull]
- Party Rock Anthem (feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock) – Sorry for Party Rocking (Deluxe Version)
- Run the World (Girls) – 4
- Shooting Star – Owl City
- Smile – Happy Hour (Deluxe Version)
- So Long – Winnie the Pooh (Original Soundtrack)
- Something to Dance For – Shake It Up: Live 2 Dance (Deluxe Edition) [Soundtrack]
- Sunrise Sunset – Sex and the City 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- The One Who Knows – The Beauty of the Rain
- The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Beginning (Deluxe Version)
- The Time of My Life – David Cook
- This Is the Time – The Bridge
- Time of Our Lives – Tyrone Wells
- Tiny Dancer – The Greatest Hits 1970-2002
- We Are Family – Rhino Hi-Five: Sister Sledge – EP
- We Are Family (Single Version) – We Are Family – Single
- We Go Together – Grease (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
- We Will Not Grow Old – Lenka
- What A Wonderful World – Wonderful World
- You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
Tell me again why Monday is so close to Friday and Friday so far from Today?
6 Tips to Make This Monday (a little more) Easy:
- Adjust to the workweek routine at your own pace. As you transition from a casual weekend state of mind to becoming very professional ease into it so it isn’t as stressful. Set short, easily attainable goals for the morning and check them off as you complete them. Plan the more thoughtful or challenging assignments for after 1 o’clock.
- Give yourself something to look forward to. Plan lunch with a friend or colleague you can relax and recap the weekend with. Start to plan your next weekend. No it’s not too soon and it gives you an instant shot of adrenaline and something to dream about all week.
- Find an obscure room or space where you can enjoy a cup of coffee without being interrupted, for even just a few minutes.
- Bring a little piece of your weekend with you. Just because it’s Monday you need not feel like you have to forget all about fun and happiness and get SERIOUS. Ponder a photo on your phone from the weekend’s fun, or send a quick message to the friend you met up with.
- Organize your space. If you dropped and ran on Friday you may feel a little extra chaos this morning. Take a moment on the front end to be sure things are in place so you can find them when you need them. You and your week will gain momentum. If you get ready now you’ll be more efficient when you actually feel like being more efficient!
We hope you enjoyed a truly wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Celebrating the incredible dedication of our service men and women and all that they do to ensure our safety and freedom can certainly leave one feeling a bit red (in the eyes), white (pale for lack of sleep) and maybe even a little blue on the first day back at it. To help get the swagger back in our step we, coffee lovers knew a single cup of the regular stuff wasn’t going to cut it today. Today calls for multiple cups and we need it to be really gooood! So… in a city full of caffeine pushers on every corner and building lobby we knew it would serve us to do some inquiring and find the best coffee shops in town. We did just that and are pleased to share what we’ve learned.
|According to local coffee connoisseurs the following shops and chains do coffee, atmosphere, customer service, and “unique” the best. Enjoy.|
|6. Four Barrel Café: 2 SF Locations – Valencia and The Mills on Divisadero - www.fourbarrelcoffee.com|
|Four Barrel coffee makers are immensely proud of their vision for producing the very best cup of coffee and it’s paying off for them. Customers love the art clad, cool atmosphere and rave their lattes are top-notch. Equally tempting are the pastries. A match made in heaven. A touted must coffee mate is the kouign amann – a dense chewy cross between a croissant and a sponge cake with caramelized butter giving it a candy crunchy top. Sounds like decadence of the best kind.|
|5. Bello Coffee and Tea: 2 SF locations: Glen Park and Mission neighborhoods – www.bellocoffee.com|
|Art was not actually a criterion for our besties,,but how could we not admire some served in a cup of delicious espresso. And not only is it lovely to look at but both the drip coffee and the espresso (and all subcategories therein) at Bello are absolutely perfect.|
|While known for it’s quaint Geln Park neighborhood, in both shops you’ll experience a cool comfortable atmosphere. There’s a dreamy, Sunday afternoon feel. But , be warned breezy can turn stormy when caffeine fueled political debates develop. Or so I’ve heard. With fast wifi and some space to meet, it’s a great place for a respite and espresso.|
|Besides, how can you go wrong with a mission like theirs: “We will never serve anything that isn’t the best.|
|We will always serve you amazing coffee.|
|We are coffee people and love what we do, and we want to share this love, one cup at a time.”|
|4. Jane: 1 Location – Pacific Heights – www.janeonfillmore.com|
|To quote a critic: “Jane looks as if an Edwardian-inspired doll’s house was built to hipster specifications. Everything is top-notch dainty inside from the unique decor to the nice selection of pastries and foods.”|
|Jane is a cute little cafe on Fillmore who serves up cup after cup of Portland’s now famous Stumptown coffee. Stumptown is rated one of the highest coffees nationwide. Customers and critics love Jane not only for their coffee but boast their staff is efficient and friendly. The ambiance is definitely somewhere you can rediscover your lost inspiration and forget all about it being that dreaded M day. Psst try for a seat on the balcony.|
|3. Philz: 13 Bay Area Locations – www.philzcoffee.com|
|Known for character and coffee. Phil Jaber has been serving up flavorful, complex, rich, smooth coffee since he opened his first shop in 2003. His slogan “ Enjoy Your Cup of Love” speaks volumes. His atmosphere as described by a fan “…it’s one of those places that always brings me to my happy place”.|
|Philzevangelist recommended drinks include:.|
|Iced Mint Mojito|
|6 SF locations and more in Sausalito, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Berkeley, Including Facebook HQ|
|A little caffeine amped birdy told us Philz on 24th and Mission is the best location|
|Philz says ”While we may not be able to make the world happy at once, we are determined to do it one community, one cup at a time.” =)|
|2. Blue Bottle Coffee: 5 Locations in SF and 1 in Oakland – www.bluebottlecoffee.com|
|James Freeman put Blue Bottle on the map by individually brewing each cup of coffee for customers (a blessing and a curse, undoubtedly). The organic, shade-grown, pesticide-free beans used are roasted fresh, in vintage roasting machines, defining what’s now called “slow coffee.” Blue Bottle is, apparently loved by many with high praise for its customer service and the atmosphere in its shops.|
|Words straight from the Blue Bottle’s mouth -“Our roasters (the people, not the machines) undergo a rigorous apprenticeship before they are allowed to roast coffee for our discerning customers. Their dedication, intuition, endurance, good humor, and willpower are tested while they learn to know the machine as well as a concert pianist knows her or his Bechstein”|
|1. Ritual Coffee Roasters: Located in Napa and a variety of SF locations – www.ritualroasters.com|
|Clearly good coffee is not hard to find in San Francisco — Thank goodness. But with nearly perfect scores for its coffee and single-origin espresso, Central, South America, and Africa sourced and brewed in Japanese V60 cone brewers – Ritual was the favorite. At the shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco, and its accompanying locations (a coffee bar in the Bayview neighborhood, a shipping container at Proxy in Hayes Valley, and in the Oxbow Market in Napa), it’s just coffee, pure and simple served in and a unique, yuppy, geek and local loving atmosphere. So good people were all a “buzz”!|
|Martha Bros Coffee|
|Contraband (Coffee Bar)|
|Peet’s Coffee & Tea|
|Intelligentsia Bar (In Specialty’s)|
|Henry’s House of Coffee|
Not Quite Ready for the Party
You have the menu, drinks & decorations. You’ve shopped, assembled, sliced, chopped and mixed. You’re ready but… your house is…. not! Don’t panic, we have 8 shortcuts to get your home party-ready quick.
1. Recalibrate and let go of your inner perfectionist. Your home doesn’t need to be completely spick and span when guests arrive. If they’re any fun at all, they’re going to make a bit of a mess, right? That said, go ahead and push that unpacked suitcase under the bed and out of the way for now.
2. Replace dishtowels in the kitchen and hand towels in the bathroom with clean ones. Bonus Points: Spray them with starch and hand smooth so it looks like you ironed them.
3. If the rugs look a little matted and show spots a quick broom sweep will lift fibers and freshen. Run a Swiffer over hardwood floors. A wet Swiffer works fine in the bathroom. As for food bits on the Kitchen floor…well, I bet your dog would love that job!
4. Clear and wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom with something that smells clean, but not like a cleaning product. I adore Mrs. Meyer’s basil scent. An old washcloth or hand towel works well to finish the job and wipe away streaks and stubborn smears. For extra shine pledge, yes pledge, gives a great shine to mirrors in a pinch (I don’t recommend this method every time as you will get a build up).
5. Keep nice smelling hand soap in your bathroom. Wash your hands to infuse the bathroom with a lovely scent. Bonus: You will know which guests are hand washers by the smell when they exit the bathroom. But… all your friends are hand washers, right? Right.
6. Designate a room or out of the way closet your hold all for errant clothes, shoes, stuff you haven’t had time to organize. Close the door.
7. If you are a stacker — you know who you are, because there are books strewn on the ottoman, bills tossed on the counter and unopened mail piled by the front door. Collect the bills, papers and piles in a basket. Place the basket in the holding room (see 6) for now and bring it back out tomorrow. As for books, look at any fancy catalog and you’ll find artfully stacked piles. Channel your inner stylist and put a rock and a shell, or a bowl of nuts on that stack. It will look purposeful and chic.
8. Place and hang your decorations, add a few candles, turn the lights down slightly and enjoy your friends, food and drinks. No one will even suspect or care that you have a suitcase full of dirty clothes cleverly concealed under your bed. And besides, they probably have one too!
Party on my friend!
(Then call me in the morning. You’re going to need me.)
Thanks to Wolfgang Puck
TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
In a nutshell – He splits the dogs, fills them with cheese and wraps them in bacon. Once they’ve been roasted, he serves them on a bun with a spicy horseradish mustard. Although they may seem over the top, they’re to drool for.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices Gruyère cheese (3 ounces)
6 all-beef hot dogs, slit lengthwise
6 thin slices of lean bacon
6 hot dog buns
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, mustard, honey, shallots, chives and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
- Place a slice of cheese in the center of each splayed hot dog, breaking the slice if necessary to fit it in. Wrap a slice of bacon around each hot dog and secure it with toothpicks.
- Arrange the hot dogs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the upper third of the oven until the bacon is crisp, about 12 minutes. Place each hot dog in a bun and serve, passing the horseradish sauce on the side.
Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot!
Close your eyes, well open for now so you can read, but then close and imagine ~ white sandy beaches, long warm days with just the right amount of breeze, late sultry evenings filled with friends, laughter and a satisfied calm… Summer.
White chocolate, blue sprinkles, and red berries combine in this perfectly patriotic summertime treat. These Red, White, and Blue Strawberries are a variation on traditional chocolate-dipped strawberries. They’re great for children to help with, and they’re fast and easy enough to throw together before a picnic or potluck.
Yield: 12 large strawberries
- 12 large strawberries
- 4 ounces white chocolate or white candy coating (about 2/3 cup chopped)
- 1/4 cup blue sprinkles
1. Wash the strawberries and gently pat them dry with paper towel. Make sure they’re completely dry. Place the blue sprinkles in a small bowl.
2. Melt the white chocolate or candy coating in a small microwave-safe bowl. White chocolate scorches easily, so stir it after every 30 seconds to keep it from overheating. Stir until it’s melted and smooth.
3. Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip it about two-thirds into the white chocolate. Since these are Red, White, and Blue Strawberries, make sure you leave a visible red portion at the top of the berry. Place the strawberry on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper, and repeat until all of the berries are dipped. Refrigerate the tray briefly to set the chocolate, for about 5 minutes.
4. Dip the bottom third of a berry in the white chocolate, then immediately roll it in the blue sprinkles until the bottom third is covered in blue. You can skip the double-dipping and just roll it in sprinkles the first time you dip the berries in chocolate, but I find that’s messier and more difficult to control, so I like double-dipping. Repeat until all of the berries have a bottom layer of blue sprinkles.
5. Refrigerate the tray until the white chocolate is completely set, and store Red, White, and Blue Strawberries in the refrigerator until ready to serve. These candies are best enjoyed the same day they are made.
Do we really have to wait for dessert? Impatient aren’t we!
|We’re loving Spring’s infusion of all things fresh! Mad with spring sprucing we’re furiously wiping away our winter worn ways. Check closets, cupboards, dressers and drawers off our lofty laundry list (right? no? we’ll address those later). Right now we’re looking into our coveted cosmetic bag. So often, we jump on board with all of the latest beauty trends. Quickly they become our occasional favorites. Perhaps not for everyday but indispensible nonetheless. Although they never seem to run out, it would never, ever occur to us to voluntarily -gasp- throw them away! But surely, at some point they must go bad. So… when – if ever?|
|Not willing to allow you the possibility of irritation or worse infection we did a little research. With help from beauty experts here is OYP’s Rules for keeping your beauty bag up to date:|
|More Tips and Information:
|Try not to be too sentimental with your favorites. Cleaning out makes room for new favorites.
Trust us, it’s a beautiful thing!