Bone Broth Anyone?

On bitter bitter cold nights one sure way of warming up is a delicious bowl of bone broth. as the temperatures dropped so did my tolerance for the cold. So I bought a pound of beef bones from my neighborhood hunting based organic butcher.

With a friends help I set out to make bone broth. It is one of the best and easiest things to make. Besides being good for your health it becomes a great base for many soups, rice, and other dishes.
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Let’s get started: a pound of bones, 2 carrots, 1 large onion, a bunch of parsley, 2 bay leaves, 5 whole all spice pieces, 2 stalks of celery, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, water to cover.

You will need a pressure cooker!!
Yes, without it you might be boiling this for days.

Roast the bones in the Owen for 30-40 minutes, then put them in the pressure cooker, coarsely chop and add the veggies and cider vinegar. Then add the spice and bay leaves. By the way you can improvise and add other spices if you like – but remember if you want to use this in cooking other meals having it plain is best. And yes… there is no salt added for the same reason.
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Once you have everything in the pressure cooker add water to cover the bones. You are now ready to cook!!! it will take roughly 4-5 hours and the aroma will fill your kitchen. This will make 2 large tubs of broth and I recommend you freeze them so you can keep on using the broth without spoiling it.

You are probably wondering why vinegar?? It helps bleach the nutrients and the marrow out of the bones more easily. Helps make the broth richer. You can adjust the quantity of how much you use as long as you use some.  IMG_3357We watched a romantic comedy, laughed, and had couple of glasses of Champaigne while the pressure cooker did all the job! Result was just yummy and its a gift that keeps on giving on these cold cold nights. Hope you give it a try! Cheers!!

IMG_3363  Umm yes.. this is how we chilled the Champaigne 😉
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Day trip to Sundara Spa – Dells, WI

Took a friend for a belated birthday celebration to Sundara Spa. Was a rather positive experience and here is the synopsis — if and when you find yourself in WI its a place you can go.

Grounds of the spa are peaceful and there are 37 rooms I believe for overnight guests. We had a great day trip with Express Spa services and access to full facility.

The quiet room is a bit tired looking, could use an update but comfy, cozy overlooking the outdoor pool. Yes! even at 48 deg weather it is open. The outside floor is heated, pool is heated and there is hot tub next to it too. Now this is an impressive feature – makes me want to come back when it snows. IMG_2303.JPG
Express Spa package is perfect for a day trip. The practitioners are so good that 35 min are well done. Normally 35 min are never enough for me; barely get relaxing in 30 min. We had massage, facial, and pedi. They use fully vegan organic nail polish, and all of their treatment products are organic. IMG_2310.JPG
While spa services were great and reasonably priced – the food was meh!! Had lunch in between services and lounging; neither dish had much flavor. Later when chatting with other guests we learned people drive elsewhere to eat. We now know why 😉 They can improve this, and we recalled how amazing the food at Kohler Spa and Red Door Spa is. So this was a tiny let down.
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In any case… if you find yourself in WI and want a mid-level Spa experience Sundara will do great! Look at this… who can complain about huddling around an outdoor fire, cozy and brisk at the same time. IMG_2308.JPG

Maldives: Kuredu afternoon rainstorm

20140610-171212.jpgHow amazing is mother nature!
We sat at our covered deck, sipped hot coffee and watched the rainstorm pass over us pouring blessings and happiness.

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During all this, it was not cold, so we just sat in our bikinis and watched everything unfold – wind blowing the water and trees around. Everyone was tucked into their villas – but we feel lucky to experience this weather variety.

Guest Blogger Edition: Paradise Found at Majahuitas!

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Our good friend M had recently gone on an great trip that made us seriously envy her. She gracefully granted our wish to be a guest blogger and share this special trip with all of you!

In her words:
We needed a getaway from the Wisconsin winter and were craving something unlike our typical educational, sightseeing, ‘pack-as-much-as-possible into each day’ trips we were used to taking. This time we were looking for a place to unwind, eat well, surround ourselves with nature, and above all else, relax and rejuvenate.

Not at all interested in the conventional Mexico spring break trips or all-inclusive resorts jam-packed with people, we thought we found heaven when we came across Majahuitas. It is an extraordinary gem, an hour cab ride and a 15 minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. It’s an eco-friendly resort so no electricity – just solar energy for a few sparse lights and not a television, phone, or computer to be found. And I can honestly say I didn’t once miss being ‘plugged in’ during our stay.
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Our casita for the week was the Sunset House, where everything was open-air, including the bathroom & shower. We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the beach and awoke to tropical birds singing outside our porch.
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The gong rang 3 times daily, signaling it was time to head down to the beach for an amazing meal – most often including a mexican breakfast with fresh fruit, local seafood and tapas for lunch, and a delightful dinner that was enjoyed by all guests, family-style, under a candlelight chandelier.

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After the evening meal and a beach bonfire, we would make our way back to the casita (all the paths and our bungalow were filled with hundreds of handmade candles that were lit while we were dining) to play some cribbage, enjoy our surroundings, and gush about how lucky we were to be staying at such a dream locale.

Some highlights of the trip included an intense hike through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall, an outdoor massage with the babbling river sounds in the background, spotting a sea turtle during our morning kayak excursion, and a little trip to the nearby fishing village of Yelapa – where we saw another gorgeous waterfall along with yoga studios and such for the many ex-pats that live there. Of course, relaxing on the beach with a book and, thanks to the yellow labs at the resort that would bark with excitement and run out to the beach at the first signs of whales and dolphins, we got to add those sightings to our list of great moments.
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It is hard to describe this magnificent place in just a few paragraphs and photos – in fact, now that we’re back in the snow and cold, it seems hard to imagine this treasure of a resort even really existed. It was the perfect marriage of luxury resort/dining and rustic camping. It’s remarkable how much you can leave behind and do without, as long as you have fresh air, good company, and outstanding food. What I wouldn’t do for some fresh octopus and empanadas on the beach right now…

Spring Fashion

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The slushy snow has covered NYC, but in our cozy office spring is in full bloom. This is what I love about fashion – it can brighten any dull gray day. Hope what you see here brightens your day too.

Fresh on our racks:
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Shoes:
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Happy Spring to all of us!!
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Fashion conquers the snowy weather!

So what does a shoe lover do when it snows like crazy??
She conquers it!

Outside we have deep snow, ice, and more snow. Exhibit A:
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But we love fashion and our cute shoes – so we are still rocking them. Wearing warm boots like ugg or sorel on our way to work and errands… And we let loose indoors. Exhibit B:
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Just because its cold outside does not mean you can’t wear your cute shoes. So what are you rocking on your feet today?

Last Post from Thailand

20130202-143424.jpgSadly this is our last post from Thailand. Good times go by fast…

We had the best send off: a trip to Similian Islands. We took a boat out to the Similian islands, about hour and a half away from our resort. Our journey started with a surprise – one engine blew and had to wait for it to be fixed.

The crew was really fun and experienced. We had a great time before we arrived at the first island #9, as they called it. We had an hour and fifteen minutes to relax, swim and explore. Only disappointment was the amount if garbage on the beach. we could not tell if the tourists made it or it just washed off from the ocean. Sad to see… we hope there will be some clean up effort or we will have to start one up!
20130202-143844.jpgThen we headed to #8 for snorkeling. We stopped counting the number of fish variety we saw. We also went to #5 and #4 – for more snorkeling and beach time.
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We were blown away by the beach and clarity of waters at our last stop. Took us 20 minute to get over the amazement – powder white clean beach, crystal clear waters and fish that swim and dance around us even by the shore. One can only be humbled and feel blessed by this miracle of nature.
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Thankfully, Thai government has shut down some of the islands and they are not accessible. They are being preserved for nature and sea turtles to lay eggs and continue the circle of life.
20130202-144757.jpgWe will miss Thailand and Thai people – thank you for the memories, and grace.

Khob koon kaaaa!! Lagkon!
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