Archive for July, 2009

Urban Farmers
July 27, 2009

Summer around here means fresh fruit and berries everywhere. I love this Michelle and her henstime of year when you can walk into the garden and pick a handful of blueberries or raspberries for breakfast. Pick an apple, peach, apricot or plum for a snack. Gather cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes for a salad. Harvest basil, peppers and eggplants, parsley, zucchini and corn. Pick lavender to dry for sachets and catnip for the cats. It is a busy and bountiful time of year, and then there are the eggs.Michelle's girls

A couple of years ago I noticed chicken coops popping up around the neighborhood. Nurseries are stocking baby chicks in the spring along with vegetable starter plants. Neighbors have turned over a part of their garden areas to chickens. These are happy city chicks. Most urban farmers raise the hens for their eggs only. Usually the hens are given names and are pets living long after their egg laying days are over.

Chicken coops have reached architectural designs. We have friends who have a beautiful all brick chicken coop nestled under big shade trees with a brick patio and cedar ramps. The outside is accented with beautiful flower hanging baskets.

 I love the eggs from these neighborly chickens. Brown eggs from one hen, blue-green from another hen and speckled egg shells from yet another one of the girls. The taste is so rich and satisfying that eggs from the store, even organic free range, can’t compare. If it gets too hot or too cold the girls don’t lay many eggs, but right now it is perfect. I buy eggs from my neighbor egg lady and her “coop d’villa” hens. These pictures are of some of my favorite neighbors.

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Best Ever Blueberry Muffins
July 21, 2009

In launching our new web site, we did a new model shoot. Our goal is to have joy with blueberry muffinsa lifestyle look to our photos. Our models of course look fantastic! I am so lucky to have these great women friends in my life wanting and willing to model for our business. Take a look and let me know what you think.

In our photos are blueberry muffins that I made for the shoot. They are blueberries from our garden and I think they look terrific. I have received many questions about the muffins. I am flattered, here is my recipe that you too could enjoy while lounging and looking very cool in Haralee® sleepwear:

 Haralee’s Blueberry Muffins

1¾ Cup Sifted All Purpose Flour

½ Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Salt

1 Egg, lightly beaten

¾ Cup Milk

¼ Cup Canola Oil

1 Cup Blueberries

2 Tablespoon Sugar

 

Grease or use paper bake cups for 12 muffin tins or 24 mini muffin tin

Sift the first 4 dry ingredients together into a large bowl

Mix the oil, milk and egg together and pour into dry ingredients

Stir only until moist, and add blueberries

Pour into prepared muffin cups, and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top

Bake 400º for 12-18 minutes. Less time for the mini muffins.

Sleep Number Restless Mattresses
July 13, 2009

Recently my sister and I went away for the week-end. We booked 2 nights in a hotel that had sleep number beds. This wasn’t the reason we booked this hotel, it was all about location for us, but what the heck try something new.

Our huge lovely room had 2 queen size beds. Each bed had 2 controls for the mattress; one for the right and one for the left sides of the bed. I was enjoying playing with the firmness and flopping from side to side to feel the difference. It was comparable to jumping up and down on beds when we were kids. I had a great first night sleep, and was planning on my sleep numbers for the next night.

My sister did not have a restful night sleep. Her bed was like a rock on one side and squishy soft on the other. She tossed and turned and slept fitfully all night. Over coffee as I was praising the mattress, she sat on my bed then on hers and asked me to do the same. After we finished our 3 bears routine, I looked at her numbers. My sister then put on her reading glasses and realized her mistake. With-out wearing her readers the numbers were not clear and hence her mistake. The problem was her menopausal eyesight robbing her from a good night sleep!

sleep number bedsNote to others: Put on your reading glasses when operating a sleep number mattress!

Breast Cancer Genetic Hope
July 6, 2009

A new drug for genetic breast cancer is showing promise. A small study in BRCA Genethe UK with the drug Olaparib, from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is showing promise in shrinking and stopping tumor growth.

Olaparib works by blocking a protein found in cancer cells with patients who have a BRCA-related breast cancer. What is very exciting is that the drug causes the cancer cells to die yet leaves healthy cells alone. This means the debilitating side effects of traditional chemotherapy would be drastically reduced.

Jews with an Ashkenazi heritage have a high incidence of BRCA related breast cancer. Those with the BRCA gene mutation have a 60% higher chance of getting breast cancer in their life time than those that do not carry the mutation. They also have a 60% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Up to 50% of people with the gene mutation do not have a family history of breast cancer largely because the gene can be carried by men who do not manifest the disease.

 Andrew Tutt, the director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at King’s College London, said preliminary results were “very promising”.The drug has the potential as an early stage preventative treatment.  Many women develop breast cancer not knowing they carry the gene. More studies are needed, but the general thought from the genetic breast cancer community is HOPE.