Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | August 30, 2010

Where to buy meat?

Sadly, the old fashion butcher shops are almost extinct.  Large grocery store chains who carry bulk meats at reduced prices have put many of the old school shops out of business over the past several years.  In addition to pricing and quantity, the One-Stop-Shop method is simply more time effective and convenient.  The one downside to this is the reduced quality of the meats you purchase in the grocery store.  Not only do non organic meats not taste as good as organic, but they come from unhealthy livestock that have been fed unhealthy foods throughout their lives.  This is not, however, a lesson on healthy meat eating.

There are some reasonable options for purchasing meats that are fresh, affordable and organic.  Here are a few tips on where to shop for meat.

My top pick for fresh meat would be Whole Foods.  Their meats are mostly organic and they have an amazing selection of Pork, Fish, Seafood, Poultry, Beef and Lamb.  Their pricing is a little higher than the mainstream grocery stores like Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs but the quality is well worth the extra couple dollars.  Trader Joe’s keeps a decent amount of organic Poultry and Beef.  Their fish selection is limited with Salmon and Talapia.  All their meats are packaged however and they do not have a deli.

We are very blessed to be in such an amazing location for Seafood and their are many fish markets where you can buy fresh seasonal fish year round.  The prices at these markets are quite similar to the grocery stores and the freshness can not be beat.  The Fish Market and NorthPark Fish Market are two highly rated places but there are dozens.

A Seafood Gem that you may not know about is 99 Ranch.  7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. is the location of this amazing Asian Market where the fish couldn’t be fresher!!  The prices are very reasonable and I dare to say there’s not a fish they don’t have straight off the boat.

Tis’ the season for BBQ’s.  On tonight’s menu, Yellow Currey Chicken Tenders on the barbie with wild rice and corn on the cob.  YUM!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | August 27, 2010

Summer Shrimp Skewers

Just a lb and 1/2 of large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, 8 fresh rosemary sprigs, 1/2 cup orange marmalade, 1/2 up flaked chopped coconut, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp. minced rosemary and you have a BBQ appetizer to liven the senses!

I recently tried this recipe from taste of home magazine and it was amazing!!  Here’s what to do:

Soak rosemary sprigs for about 1/2 hour. Combine marmalade, coconut, pepper flakes and minced rosemary then set aside 1/4 cup for sauce.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill.  Thread shrimp onto rosemary sprigs.  Grill covered over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Make sure shrimp turns pink.  : )  Bast occasionally with remaining marmalade mixture.

Serve it up with sauce and it’s as simple as that.  DELICIOUS!!!!

This recipe goes well with a red potato salad or even as a surf n’ turf.  Grilled along side a thick cut fillet mignon or NY strip steak is sure to be a party pleaser!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | July 6, 2010

Environmental Defense Fund

Gulf wildlife like sea turtles are at risk of being burned alive or drowned.

Dear Friends,

The BP oil disaster continues to ravage fragile coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico.

Now we are hearing of an additional, grave threat. Sea turtles and other protected species may be victims of sea-surface oil burning, skimming, or other efforts to control the spill.

In addition, many animals exposed to oil at sea will die by drowning or poisoning without ever being counted.

We can find no official public record of the numbers of animals being caught up in the oil slick or injured during response efforts. Current wildlife casualty reports only include the captured and collected animals, not those animals exposed to oil and left to die in the wild.

We need your help. Please take action today. Urge the Unified Command and federal agencies to:

  • Place qualified third party wildlife observers on “Vessels of Opportunity” responding to the BP oil disaster;
  • Publicly report all wildlife observations in the oil impact areas;
  • Postpone burns when protected species are present to allow for appropriate intervention and immediately implement measures to eliminate avoidable harm to all protected species; and
  • Coordinate wildlife rescue interventions when necessary.

We also ask that the agencies charged with safeguarding wildlife and protected marine species systematically collect and publicly report field data on oiled wildlife, not just those animals captured and collected, so that the public can see the real toll of this disaster for wild animals large enough to be effectively counted.

More Background

In an effort to contain the oil, BP and the Unified Command have responded by applying chemical dispersants, skimming oil from the sea surface, and conducting a series of surface oil burns.

Local responders and conservationists are complaining that these activities may be burning, drowning, or in other ways harming or killing wildlife, including endangered sea turtles.

Mike Ellis, a Louisiana boat captain reportedly involved in rescuing sea turtles, has been quoted in news accounts complaining that:

“They drag a boom between two shrimp boats and whatever gets caught between the two boats, they circle it up and catch it on fire. Once the turtles are in there, they can’t get out.”

We urge a more accurate, public accounting of the wildlife death toll from this disaster and more aggressive and appropriate intervention anywhere that oil response activities are taking place.

Please take action today: Urge the Unified Command to place third party observers on the response vessels and on the ground, publicly report wildlife observations in the oil response area, and call for intervention when necessary.

Thank you for your activism and support,
Stacy Small, Ph.D.
EDF Conservation Scientist

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 21, 2010

CK’s Peanut Butter Brownies

My lovely daughter-in-law agreed to share one of my favorite recipes with all of you.  This is a secret that should not be kept to one family.  These have to be the most scrumptious brownies I have ever tasted!  But be very careful, they are addictive! Nothing beats chocolate and peanut butter together.  Please try them and Enjoy!!  As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.


-2 packages of Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie mix

-2 eggs

-2/3 cup vegetable oil

-2/3 cup water

-1 1/2 cups skippy peanut butter

-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pre heat your oven at 325 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 glass oven pan with Pam cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl prepare both Ghirardelli brownie packages as directed on box using a wire whisk.  When mixed thoroughly, pour mixture into the glass pan and distribute evenly.  Place your peanut butter in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds.  Pour melted peanut butter on top of brownie mix in glass pan.  Using a butter knife, starting at the far corner of the pan, drag the knife in a zig zag motion spreading peanut butter throughout the mixture.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 17, 2010

Let’s talk about light!

Creating the perfect lighting in paintings is beyond difficult.  In fact, inability to master light is often a key factor in failed artists.  Not because they lacked the ability, but because they gave up.  The frustration can become overwhelming.  It is very complex to match natural sunlight with white paper or electric lighting.  Artists must develop ways of tricking the eye and make the piece seem something other than they are.  Other artists take a more adventurous approach and create their own versions of light.  They use their imaginations to develop their own light variations on canvas.

"Captured by the Light" by Connie Tom

Mimicking sunlight is not the only difficulty.  Moonlight and lamplight are challenges all their own.  There are differences in color, intensity and shadowing.

Sunlight is the source of light for most landscapes and seascapes but the moon and all it’s flickering lights from water and other objects your range of value is limited.  Finding the balance between too light and too dark is not easy.  A strong technique for finding balance is to paint the scene lighter than you envision it to end up being, then when almost complete return to the painting with blue-gray glazes to lighten the painting until you are content.

Working with the sun and surrounding objects that cast dark shadows in comparison to the direct sunlight is complex to master.  Being able to transfer the shadowing into the mirrored image on canvas is remarkable.

Some painter’s compromise detail in their paintings to concentrate on simple shading and coloring and others will dedicate themselves to creating a mirror image of their landscape/seascape/object.  No matter the technique, it is amazing what the artistic eye can sea and artists hand can create.

"Moonlight On The Highwayman's River" by Sam Newton

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 17, 2010

Health up your BBQ this summer!

Summer time is here and as such evenings bring the smell of BBQ in my window.  Mmm! How I love that first steak of the year fresh off the grill with some potato salad, corn on the cob and a nice cold beer.  It’s easy to get carried away with the calories, salt and portions.

I wanted to share a few tips with you that may help keep your summer BBQ’s a little healthier this year.  The other amazing thing about summer is the produce.  Vegetables on the grill are absolutely delicious if done correctly.  Pick out your favorite vegetables:  summer squash, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, onions, mini bell peppers, eggplant, brussels spouts and turnips are some of my favorites.  Slice or dice them up.  Tear 2 pieces of aluminum foil equalize sized.  Place the vegetables on one piece of the foil and season.  I recommend using pepper and garlic powder and just a pinch of salt if needed.  Keeping true to Julia Childs, real butter creates the perfect flavor and prevents sticking.  1 Tbsp chopped into small pieces and sprinkled throughout will be enough.  There are healthier butter alternatives as well.  Cover with the second piece of foil and curl in edges to create a fully enclosed package.  Place them on medium heat of your grill for about 10 minutes on each side.  Cooking time varies depending on servings and the vegetables you’ve chosen.  Brussels sprouts, turnips and eggplant may take longer.  This cooking method creates a grilled but also steamed vegetable.  When tender, remove from heat and serve alongside a chicken cutlet, a nice cut of tuna, salmon or even a small strip steak.

Vegetables can also be placed directly on grill if cut into large pieces or placed on top of a sheet of foil.  If placing directly on the grill, be cautious of sticking.  Al Dente is always a safe bet to ensure you keep the vegetables moist and flavorful.  Overcooking can strip flavor and dry them out.

Leaner meats like chicken and fish are great sources of important vitamins and nutrients.  The American Heart Association recommends choosing fish, shellfish or poultry without the skin, and trimmed lean meats, no more than 6 ounces per day.  Oily fishes at least 2 times per week has proven to have great health benefits.

When seasoning your meats use fresh herbs and spices as well as lemon or lime.  Reduce your salts and pre-made seasonings.  They may be delicious but they are loaded with salt.

I recently read that the average person, without sodium related health issues, should consume no more than the following amounts of salt:

  • Age 11 years and over, 6g per day
  • Age 7-10 years, 5g per day
  • Age 4-6 years, 3g per day
  • Age 1-3 years, 2g per day

When selecting beverages for summer, remember that alcohol has a high fat content.  Many beers and wines are also high in sugar.  Select light beers and always drink alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Thanks for reading and if you have any healthy summer recipes to share, please email me at or post directly to my blog.

Happy BBQing!!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 10, 2010

Underpainting With Color

This demonstration was created by Barbara Hails, America’s best-loved contemporary Impressionist painter.  Much can be learned from the works, writings and teachings of famous and infamous artists.

Painters use several different painting styles and techniques for showing light in their art.  In this particular artists technique, underpainting is used in colors that complement the final colors of the piece.  Pastels allow bits of underpainted color to show through. Broken strokes are used to create vibrancy in the piece and further enhance the over all color.

The painting shown in this post is titled ‘Rose Gate’, one of Barbara Hails most beautiful pieces, in which she used this ‘underpainting’ technique.  In the book ‘Enliven your Paintings with Light’ by Phil Metzger, a beautiful step by step image is shown with the following demonstration.  Unfortunately, high resolution images are not available for online resources, so use your imagination.

Here is a step by step process that Hail followed in creating this amazing painting.

Step 1:

Draw the garden structures carefully, using regular lead and non-poto blue pencils.  In looser areas, such as foliage and flowers, she does little or no pencil drawing.  She has begun to block in with acrylic paint all areas except those to be left white.  The sky area is painted with a pale wash of cadmium red and alizarin that will show through and vibrate against a later application of complementary blue pastel.

Step 2:

With the acrylic underpainting nearly finished, Hails critiques the composition carefully and decides the foreground is too empty.  She uses charcoal to test additional shrubbery and some birdes, and when satisfied, begins painting the additions in acrylics.

Step 3:

To enhance the feeling of sunlight, Hails deepens the foreground shadows and adds the last of the rosebushes, which are primarily in shadow.  These darks will make the light seem more brilliant.  She paints the doves with pale, transparent blue, still using acrylic.

Step 4:

Only now is pastel applied.  Hails paints the background first.  She brings the sky and distant foliage almost to completion, both in cool colors.  To create an illusion of sunlight in the painting, she gives the trees to the left (nearer the light source) a yellow cast, while giving the distant sky on the right a dark and redder blue toward the top and right edges of the picture.

Step 5:

She paints the middle ground with pastel next, and finally the foreground.  Shadows on the woodwork are filled with color and value variation.  (Shadows are darkest near their origins.  As a shadow moves away from the object casting it, reflected light invades, changing its color and lightening its value.)  Surrounding yellows and pinks reflect into the left-hand structure, warming its face.  hails adds sunny highlights all over flowers and foliage.  Finally, she refines the foreground grasses and makes cast ground shadows bluer and softer.  She softens some edges and corrects a few values.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 2, 2010

Summer Fruit Salad

This is fruit salad done my way.  Scrumptious and very low in fat and calories.


32 oz. container fat free vanilla yogurt

1 cup strawberries

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

2 cups granola with nuts (Any type of granola will work.  Go with what you like.)

Mix it all together and Voila! A simple and delicious desert, a light snack and an absolutely perfect breakfast.

*If you are preparing this salad to eat over the course of a few days, do not mix in the granola, rather use it as a topping.  Granola will get soggy after a short time soaked in the yogurt.

*Other fruits that go well as an alternative to berries are mandarin oranges, grapes and pineapple.


Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 30, 2010

Right Hand Girl

Right Hand Girl, Alynn Silliman, is someone just about anyone could utilize. She’s a business and marketing assistant who can do everything from clearing up your ‘To Do’ lists to maintaining your social media. Alynn has helped me with facebook, blog and marketing strategies to help grow my business as well as weekly coaching to stay on top of my blogs and building followers.

With an 11-year diverse background in human resources, management, inside/outside sales, marketing and business development Alynn started her company with the small and new business owner in mind.
Her passion is providing an extra set of hands and a fresh perspective without the cost and commitment of a full time employee; salary, benefits, workers comp and more.

For three years she have assisted small business owners in taking control of their time, marketing and networking to build a foundation of success. Alynn has watched her clients grow their customer base up to 40% and more importantly seen them learn to manage their work/life balance.

I would recommend my Right Hand Girl to anyone!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 28, 2010

Candles by Carol

Carol’s love for creating greeting cards started when she became a mom. The love of helping her sons make greeting cards was thrilling and the apparent joy on the receivers face was priceless. Carol now has her first grandson and the opportunity to create has increased. The handmade paper on her cards isn’t just a part of the design, but it’s the main embellishment that makes each and every card unique. Carol’s walk with God has given her the desire to inspire others with inspirational words and thoughts.

Carol started making Soy Wax candles in 2005 after a friend gave her an article explaining the benefits. Her desire to help the planet go green and to help others enjoy candles that don’t hurt our lungs inspired her to make it a full time business.

In addition to cards and candles, Carol designs custom Book Thongs. Book Thongs you might ask? Do you get frustrated when the binding gets damaged by a book mark or bent corners? A Book thong is a thin cord with a charm and beads. It gently lays between the pages of the book, marking your spot and keeping your binding in tact.

You can visit Carol’s store at the Parkway Plaza Westfield Mall in El Cajon or contact her directly at 619-208-2135. Perfect gifts for any occasion at ‘Sincerely Carol’.

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