Monday, June 28, 2010

Trapped in pants: We pulled it off
I became trapped in my own pants this weekend, saved by prayer, patience and help from my husband. I’d like to say, Perfect Fit Button, as seen on TV, really does work. The pin looks like a button and you can move it to tighten or loosen your pants, and save money.
Now I’d like to say, you must follow directions that sound comical: “For best results and for safety, it is recommended that you don’t wear the pants while removing the Perfect Fit Button.” I did not, and, while attempting the squeeze and pull detachment on pants that didn’t actually have a button hole, I began thinking how tough it would be to get it off in a hurry, if you had to use the bathroom. Panic attack ensued, but we eventually pulled it off, literally.
The button pins, that match brown, black, tan pants and jeans, actually serve as promised, even though I had a tough time removing the backs. Just use them like they’re meant to be used. I still say this product has a “leg up.”
My daughter and I wondered if HeelTastic works like it does on TV. I found it a rich blend of anti-bacterial oils, moisturizers and nutrients that make heels look better instantly. The best part is the easy stick application. It’s very handy to apply when you’re ready for sandals.
For information, visit

Sock concierge
I have shoes that cost less than a new pair of Smart Wool walking socks I purchased in Austin. A young man I call the sock concierge knew everything about each sock sold in his store, and I heeded his advice much to my walking pleasure. Now I’ve set my husband up with a pair of Italian pill-resistant dress socks from Foot coverings of all manner are available through the Swiss e-tailer with this recently-relaunched website. I would trade all the socks in his drawer for this new, luxurious pair.
As my sock concierge pointed out to me, socks purchased in a bundle from mass retailers give out in the elastic area quite soon. The when-shoes-eat-socks situation is what sent me sock shopping in the first place.

Diaper bags could be getting smaller, because manufacturers are so clever. I admired a keychain type device that holds dozens of plastic bags to help you dispose of dirty diapers with grace. Now Baby Magic offers Patty Cake, a dustless baby powder in a compact. A click-open holder for flat rounds of flat cotton pads is housed under a cake of soft, white powder to dab on baby’s bottom. Of course, it packs that amazing fresh baby smell, but the talc-free formula won’t make a mess. It must be magic after all.

Years ago I succumbed to almond and honey bath products and have been looking to recreate that heavenly aroma ever since. Tree Hut has blessed me with creation of body wash and shea body butter that make you smell like a no-calorie dessert. Experts and ashy-skinned consumers agree that Shea is the stuff for long-lasting moisturizing. Readers know I consider sugar scrub a gateway bath product, and this line puts shea in that as well as a hydrating body splash and lotion that could be your summer highlight. Go, get sweaty, and shower off with this stuff.

Henna Hipster
Catalogues arrive at my Aunt’s house daily offering goods I never knew existed, for things like underwear that stays put. That’s not how I found ISIS active wear for women, but I’m glad I did. The Henna Hipster is billed as Clothing for Women by Women and comes with a Goddess Guarantee, but I’m not giving these nylon/spandex wonders back. They’re “Chafe-free seamless” and come in with a swirly design on a sort of lovely jade green. Simply said, they stay put. The company makes bras, active wear and something that sounds as good as it looks online, the Scenic Route jacket. Sounds like a day trip or a bike ride to me. Visit to get henna hip.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giant limas run amok in columnist’s kitchen

I met my first Giant Peruvian Lima Bean on a salad bar at Whole Foods in Austin.
Salad was sold by weight, so I got just a few because they were compelling in size. I’d put one in my mouth at a time to savor the experience. I then found them in the bulk beans and bought less than $3 worth to make for my dad’s prerequisite lima bean and rice Father’s Day dinner. The big pot full fed us all for days.
Giant limas are big raw, and expand to about quarter size when cooked. My Googling revealed that these beans are named for Lima, capital of Peru, and are also called butter, curry, Madagascar, lab, Cape Pea or pole beans.
They were my best beans, ever, cooked with Cajun seasoning. So creamy, I’m planning to get my hands on more and whip them into a spread for bread or crackers. I haven’t yet looked for them in local stores.

Too hot for gumbo?
I’d just taken a walk along the seawall at high noon and felt baked, when I saw that Diana LaBorde in our advertising department had brought gumbo. Her samplings, no matter if she or her husband cooked it, is something to be relished. I couldn’t seem to wait for the microwave, so I enjoyed a chunk of chicken from my mug, and ended up eating the whole serving at room temperature. It was that good.
So you see, it’s never too hot for gumbo.

Even though SooFoo takes about an hour to cook, I still consider it fast food. Put it in the pot and tend to something else until it’s time for a healthy serving of delicious. Brown rice and lentils, wheat berries, oats, buckwheat and more make a solid meal for any time, according to creator Maurice Kanbar. I cooked a purple onion into mine for lunch, but he suggests adding cinnamon for a breakfast booster. He says SooFoo is Super Good Food and I agree. I loved the flavor, the health aspect and the colors and textures in my blend. I served it over home-grown bean sprouts to give crunch to the creamy feel.
Visit for more details.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WWDB: What would Dad barbecue?
If your Pops is usually behind the grilling apron, you may want to role play and fire up the grill, or the stove, for him on Father’s Day, which is this Sunday.
The folks who make Tabasco and Hunter Public Relations offer this hot tribute to dads on Father’s Day:
Spicy Barbecued Pork Loin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon original Tabasco® brand pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin, about 6-inches long
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Heat oil in small 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; add onion; cook about 5 minutes or until softened. Add ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Tabasco sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside 1/2 cup sauce.
Rub outside of pork roast with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in roasting pan; top with sauce mixture to cover completely. Cover pan tightly with foil and cook 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium. Place pork on grill; cook, covered 30 minutes, turning frequently, and brushing with reserved sauce until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees.
Serves 8.
Serving Suggestion: Sautéed green beans and sliced red onion; toss with cooked, crumbled bacon.
Leftover Suggestion: Slice leftover pork; place on rye bread; top with deli sliced ham, sliced Swiss cheese, pickle slices, mustard and rye bread slice. Press in a pannini machine until sandwich is golden and cheese is melted.

My kind of roast
Even though it makes me sneeze, I keep flipping the sleek, black lids on the new McCormick Gourmet Collection roasted spices and whiffing Roasted Ground Ginger and Roasted Ground Cumin. Eggs, potatoes and onions have received their exotic flavorings in my kitchen. The company has also roasted cinnamon and coriander for our ease. Makers suggest:
• Add Distinct Depth: Give dimension to Southwestern, Indian, and Moroccan dishes with Roasted Ground Cumin – one of the featured spices in the McCormick® Flavor Forecast™ 2010. Enjoy its full, earthy notes in recipes like Roasted Cumin-Crusted Grilled Steaks with Tomato Relish.
• Enhance Sweetness: Similar to the taste of red-hot candies, roasting cinnamon brings out a pleasantly strong and sweet flavor in desserts like Banana, Cherry and Roasted Cinnamon Bread Pudding. Roasted Saigon Cinnamon is also a great addition to mole recipes, spice rubs and dishes that do not require cooking, such as fresh fruit and yogurt.
• Savor Warmth: Roasting ground ginger balances the spice’s sharp notes for a warmer, rounder flavor in recipes like Roasted Ginger Vegetable Stir-Fry. Highlighted in the on-trend flavor pairings in the McCormick® Flavor Forecast™ 2010, Roasted Ground Ginger is incredibly versatile, and brings a mellow sweet heat to barbecue sauces, chutneys and marinades.
• Awaken Aromatics: The spice’s light, lemony notes are deeply intensified in Roasted Ground Coriander. Great in Indian and Middle Eastern recipes, roasted coriander is a flavorful addition to dishes like Roasted Coriander, Chickpea and Lime Rice.
Visit for more information about McCormick Gourmet Collection, as well as more delicious usage ideas and recipes.

The tea is part of the cure
The tea lover gets a range of summer flavors and the medical community gets relief. Sip for the Cure helps Republic of Tea support the Susan G.Komen for the Cure’s breast cancer project. Awesome pink-lidded tins house trademark round tea bags filled with pink Lady Apple, Pink Lemonade, Pink Grapefruit,, Red Cherry White and Pomegranate Vanilla flavors that are delicate and refreshing. The aroma alone is uplifting, and the flowery labels look great on a shelf.
Call 1-877 GO KOMEN for details.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A fighting wine …
It’s an Aussie wine with a Mexican back story, and one of those collectible labels you just can’t resist.
Luchador Shiraz combines two words I already love to say, and now I love to sip this spunky, screw-top red. A masked wrestler stares out from the label of a wine that comes with an introduction, or warning:
“Sometime soon you may hear a loud pounding on your door, the roar of a crowd, then a snicker, and a smile. Best of all, you’re about to have your palate body-slammed.”
I got body slammed on my front lawn, with plastic flamingoes guarding me. Want to know more, visit

Sweet stuff
I’m hooked on air-popped corn, but someone gave me a box of the microwaved stuff and I couldn’t help augmenting. I added cayenne pepper and honey for a southwestern twist.

Frozen bananas
If you didn’t believe me this past summer, try it this time around. I keep frozen discs of banana slices in the freezer and it feels like little bites of ice cream. They’re a healthy treat for hot months.
Take a krill pill

I’ve been consuming the same thing as baleen whales, manta rays, but I’ll bet my skin looks better. I’ve been calling these sleek, black capsules my shrimp pills, but they’re actually made with krill oil, from a shrimp-like invertebrate crustaceans. GliSODin makers say krill oil is like fish oil, a “super food” of a beauty product.
The dietary supplement appears to giving my skin a boost with hydration and a glow with a “pigment which offers photo-protection and carotenoid benefits.” The Japanese, apparently, have been on to the krill for a while. Advanced Daily Formula by GliSODin Skin Nutrients is billed as a Nutricosmetic beauty food, and my skin seems to be eating it up.
Here’s word on more goodies for your skin’s beauty and health:

Sanitzing wand
If germophobe made a science fiction movie, she might include a fantasy item to eliminate and control dust mites, E. Coli, Rotavirus and bacteria. The CleanWave is real, and it’s way cool. The UUV-C Sanitizing Portable Wand for $29.95 is a mini version of the full sizer that you can tuck in your baggage to hit hotel beds, etc. At home you can wave it over toilet flush handles, phones, computer keybords and countertops. 4 AA batteries will enable the light to keep your area a better place for allergy sufferers to live. It’s modern and sounds like a miracle worker, but be aware there’s some time involved. A toilet seat gets two wand minutes, a faucet gets one and a light switch ought to be clean in 20 seconds.
Visit for details on this and the CleanWave UV-C Sanitizing Furniture & Bed Vac.

Let the sun shine in … but wear sunscreen
A relative who just had a skin cancer removed said “we didn’t know any better back then.” She recalled parents dressing little ones in sun suits and releasing them to go play in the sun. Now parents are aware that burns early in life can lead to health problems later.
It’s a good day at work if I need sunscreen. It should mean I’m headed to cover something outdoors and fun. Coppertone Sport now has replenishing antioxidants with improved formulas that “fortify the skin’s natural antioxidant defenses, which can be depleted during sun exposure, especially during physical activity.” In lotions and incredibly convenient clear continuous sprays, it comes with a range of spf, including “ultra sweatproof,” which I’d better start using on my walks. These go on well and smell like a day at the beach. Look for them in blue bottles.
Zinc is the word from Elemental Herbs. Makers of Sunscreen Sport say zinc oxide is” one of the only single sunscreen ingredients to protect against both UVA and UVB rays and it offers the broadest UV protective spectrum, plus, it’s natural.”
Caroline Duell, president and founder of Elemental Herbs, says “Chemical-free zinc sunscreen is a natural alternative to the harsh ingredients found in other sunscreens. Rather than converting UV energy into cancer causing free radicals, zinc oxide turns it into undisruptive heat. It’s safer for both children and adults and it doesn’t destroy coral reefs, which is a devastating global problem.”
I liked the texture, aroma and philosophy of this product. The SPF 22 tinted variety went on thick and pink and I rubbed it in and had a fabulous noon walk. I especially enjoyed a cool application of their All Good Lips balm with comphrey, calendula, lavender and yarrow. The company suggests: “For the best protection against the sun, use a sunscreen with 20-25 percent zinc oxide and be sure to re-apply every two hours.”

Fashion do
I’ve had some men tell me they enjoy my columns, but skip the “lady stuff.”
They can quit reading now.
I’m telling the women about MySkins, the most barely-there underpants in 20 different shades of flesh toned bras and panties. My “true nude” is parfait and you can get your match at The panties just end, with no bulky seams, and the color is to allow women to wear white pants, like the investigators do on “CSI Miami,” and look flawless. These are by no means granny panties, but grannies may like the way the look and feel.

Firm mamas
Women with or without infants should indulge with a new Tree Hut offering: Mother with Child Collection. Shae and vitamin E in a stretch mark firming lotion, smoothing belly butter and, my favorite, warming massage oil, smell amazing and skin seems to just drink it up. When I was in need of such belly butter, it was a novel concept and hard to find. Tee Hut is making it easy for moms-to-be and anyone else who’s gotten a bit stretchy.
Home of the slimmy chimmy-changa
I’m usually not a big fan of cutsie recipe titles, but I’m loving where Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef, is going with titles like No Pot Belly Here Chicken Potpie.
In “Substitute Yourself Skinny” she demonstrates simple substations aren’t scrimping in the flavor department. Ham it Down Breakfast Casserole uses extra egg whites, New You England Clam Chowder cuts fat with turkey bacon and Tune Up Tuna Salad pumps up flavor with curry powder and lemon juice.
Wait, one more: I’m Not Stuffed Tomato Salad uses high-flavor Parmesan and non-fat mayo. These pages offer 175 super-slimming recipes that the people of average households will enjoy. Some of the residents won’t even have to know they are more healthy than the previous versions.
“For my whole life I have strived to find a balance between staying slim and healthy and enjoying the fattening foods I love. People think that because I am The Bikini Chef being thin comes easy for me. It doesn’t,” the author says. “A few years ago I was stress eating and not exercising. I gained more weight than I ever have. So I made the commitment to get back on track. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t come quickly but I stayed with it and learned I could still eat my favorite foods but just make them ‘skinny.’”
Skinny Secret boxes include tips like pureeing potatoes for a less chunky, more creamy clam chowder. Here are her basic “skinny” pantry items to keep stock and replace high-calorie and high-fat options:
Canned diced tomatoes
Tomato paste
Dijon mustard
Fresh lemons and oranges
Lean turkey meat
Low-carb flour and whole-wheat tortillas
Unsweetened applesauce
Sugar Substitutes
Nonfat milk products

Crispy Mango
What’s better than a 100-calorie pack? Crispy Green uses science, or magic, to freeze dry sweet crisps of real fruit. This time they’ve done mango, at 4 calories a convenient pack. They suggest sprinkling this on yogurt, but once you open that bag, those mangos won’t take long to disappear with their 8 grams of carbs and is a fun and delicious way to add more fruit to your family’s diet. You’ll love the sweet crunch.

How to hemp
Our Canadian neighbors at Manitoba Harvest know how to handle hemp foods, and I believe their newest product has helped me to perfect the quest as well. New organic Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Hemp Protein Powders are rich smoothie additions.
Cold-processed raw whole food powders feature organic palm sugar with caramel and butterscotch flavor notes. Coconut palm sugar is a low glycemic index, high nutrition content and eco-friendly choice high in potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, and is also a good source vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.
The chocolate powder, a banana and ice blended a satisfying breakfast drink that fueled me through press releases and interviews. I like this taste better than any other hemp product I’ve tried, thought the company’s shelled hemp seeds are another favorite for their soft chewing sensation and delicate flavor. A coworker thinks these are the seeds that should top pretzels. “Best match ever,” he said when making a pretzel snack with hemp seed chaser.
Makers suggest tossing mint leaves in a chocolate blend and peaches in the vanilla mix. I’m there.

Just say ‘no’ to empty calories. Vega’s new Shake & Go Smoothies are billed as Smoothies on the Move, offering a quick way to get a daily dose of essential protein, fiber and greens. I’m keeping Choc-a-Lot in the pantry, but I’ve yet to try Bodacious Berry, Vanilla Almondilla and Tropical Tango, offering low-calorie smoothies with two servings of veggies, 11 grams of complete protein, Omega 3-6-9 and a day’s worth of probiotics. These kinds of health drinks used to be pretty yucky. I don’t consider this an acquired taste. I took to it right away. Vega is a blast.