Monday, July 30, 2007 

Creampuffs in Venice

has moved. Not from Venice but from Typepad to WordPress. Go say hello...and drool a little. And make sure you have their Flickr page bookmarked.

Sorry I was remiss in not noting their moving sooner. I've decided to do the dreaded "blogroll" upkeeping....well, "adding" and cleaning up a little.

I'm looking for a new "fresher" blog template too. So don't be surprised if the blog looks a tad "different" in the next week or so.

Oh...and this sounds like a delicious challenge....Muffin Monday Roundup Theme "Childhood Muffins"- Due by August 10. Hosted by Wonder Sophie.

So, it's time to announce the new theme for MM05 ! Considering my tastes, I've naturally thought: "Childhood Muffins". Childhood ? I explain. Muffins of this edition must include ingredients of your childhood : favorite sweets and candies, small cakes of your playground, "Vache qui Rit"... and all others products who make you feel sweet nostalgy when remembering them.

To participate:
Create your muffins!

• Post a photograph and recipe by Friday, 10th August 2007 (please be sure to include a link back to this post).
• Send an email to, your name, name of your blog, where you are from, name of recipe and a permalink to your post.

Deadline for this event : Friday, 10th August 2007. All recipes for this event will be posted from August 4th, 2007 with a link to your blog.

Gentlereaders....let's get baking! ;-)

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When someone asks...

Via Maestra 42 - Pumpkin Ravioli
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

"What would your last meal be?" This is my alltime favorite comfort dish....pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce.

I took a photo of the plate I had at Via Maestra 42 here in town. I'm proud that I didn't inhale the whole thing before I thought about taking a photo of it. It was delicious. ;-)

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The Zaca Wildfire jumped the lines

and is a serious danger to homes and wine country, yet again. A second evacuation notice was given to the Peachtree Community and Happy Canyon up in the Valley.

The fire started on July 4 and has "devoured" 33,500 acres. It's new "containment" date is expected to by September 7!

Meanwhile, ash still falls like rain. Not good in the bronchial passage neighborhood.


Sunday, July 29, 2007 

"Hay Hair"

"Hay Hair"
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Looks like someone just woke up from a nap.


"Nobody Doesn't Like...Sara Lee"

except of course, when there's metal in their food products.
Sara Lee Corp. is recalling 13 brands of whole wheat bread products because they could contain small metal pieces, the company said Friday.

A recent routine inspection of a bakery in Meridian, Miss., uncovered problems with a flour-sifting screen, said company spokesman Mark Goldman. - and AP

No happy happy joy joy in that news.

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Lorenzo - The Curious Peruvian Paso

Lorenzo - The Curious Peruvian Paso
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Yes...sometimes I do get away from the computer. This weekend the Peruvian Pasos have a big show at Earl Warren Showground. I just love these "little horses." They are smart, "talky", very friendly and curious.

This is Lorenzo. He's got a curiosity that is unquentiable and blue eyes that Frank Sinatra would die for!

Friday, July 27, 2007 

Are you a Big Cheese with Macaroni & Cheese?

Tillamook is letting you have a chance to be THE Big Cheese....Their Tillamook Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Contest is back.

The third annual competition will take place at restaurants in Seattle, San Francisco, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver and Portland. Each regional winner gets $1,000 in cash, 25 pounds of Tillamook cheese and the right to compete in the final cook-off in Portland.

The big winner earns the title of "Big Cheese," $5,000 and a year's worth of bragging rights. The Seattle cook-off will take place Sept. 27 at Crave, 1621 12th Ave. Entries for Seattle must be postmarked by Aug. 22 or submitted online by midnight Aug. 26. Complete details:

I'm a big Macaroni & Cheese fan. My two favorites, pasta and cheese, can you beat it?

My favorite recipe for Macaroni & Cheese is from Martha Stewart. It's quite literally an artery clogger in a bowl, but man oh man....yummy.

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Tap Water

with a fancy label and even fancier price tag.

PepsiCo Inc. will spell out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water, a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry. - Latte Times

More information at "Think Outside the Bottle"

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Monday, July 23, 2007 

Mojito Cupcakes with Macadamia Nut Crackle

Mojito Cupcakes with Macadamia Nut Crackle
Originally uploaded by creampuffsinvenice.

OH MY....

Friday, July 20, 2007 

Random Flickr Friday

At Toledo.
Originally uploaded by Olivia Navarro.

Ottmar...the Traveling Bear!


Thursday, July 19, 2007 

I'll have a 1/2 caffe double skinny

chocolate bar.
Gourmet coffee retailer Starbucks Corp. said Thursday it will begin offering coffee-flavored chocolate products in the fall under an agreement with confectioner Hershey Co.

Starbucks said "expert chocolatiers" are developing products that use Starbucks coffee flavors as a base. The company said the chocolate could also include fruit, nuts, herbs and spices and will carry the Starbucks brand. - AP

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007 

It's hot. It's Ice Cream time.

You don't need to let your Ice Cream go "nekkid"

The San Francisco Chronicle has some suggestions.

Blackberry Ginger:

Mix 2 1/2 cups blackberries with 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger in a saucepan. Warm over low heat, mashing some of the blackberries and leaving others whole. Add sugar to taste as the fruit begins to release its juices, and boil for a few minutes to thicken.

Cherry Basil:

Mix 1 pound pitted cherries with a handful of basil stems, the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4-1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until the cherries soften and release some of their juices. Remove from heat, remove stems, and stir in 1 tablespoon minced basil.

Strawberry-Orange Lavender:

Hull and slice 2 pints of strawberries. Place in a saucepan with 2 teaspoons unsprayed fresh lavender or 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, 1/4 cup sugar and the juice and zest of 1 orange. Cook over low heat until strawberry juices are released then boil for a few minutes to thicken slightly.

Raspberry-Lime Tarragon:

Combine 4 cups of raspberries with the juice of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon of lime zest and 1/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture cooks down and thickens slightly, and remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of minced tarragon.

Vanilla Bean Peach:

Pit, peel and cut four peaches into slices or small chunks. Scrape one vanilla bean into the pot, and add the pod as well. Squeeze in juice of half an orange, and simmer over low heat until juices are released and mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. If the peaches are not sweet enough, add sugar to your liking and cook until it dissolves. Remove the pod before serving. If you plan on serving this with vanilla ice cream, leave out the vanilla bean.

and, who's stopping you from using these on waffles, either!

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Just when you thought it was safe

to buy organic.
China quietly muscles in on the organic food market. Consumers turning to organic food in the wake of warnings about antifreeze-laden toothpaste, poisoned pet food, and antibiotic-laced fish may be in for a surprise. The same country blamed for those scares, China, is quietly muscling in on the organic market.

...Upscale grocery chains like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods now import popular organic snacks such as edamame and canned staples such as kidney beans from China. That has made some buyers looking for pristine, all-natural food a bit skittish.

"A couple of months ago I was just eating some edamame from Trader Joe's because my nutritionist said they were a great source of protein," a science textbook writer from Los Angeles, Stephanie Anagnoson, said. "My husband noticed they were made in China and packed in China, and we both thought that was kind of bizarre. … It was at the same time that everyone began noticing that things coming from China are not necessarily what they seem - New York Sun

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.

Oh, goody. Just in time....right when we need more safeguards.
F.D.A. inspections lax, Congress is told. According to testimony before a House subcommittee, exporters and importers have been able to bring tainted products into this country because the F.D.A. has neither enough resources nor inspectors to stop them. New York Times.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007 

Ash has been falling like rain here.

It has been difficult to breath. My little black car looks almost grey with the amount of ash that has collected on it. The sunsets have been a glorious orange/red. But years living here, experiencing decades of fires, I know that sunsets of such beauty could only mean disaster somewhere close by.

And this Zaca Fire that has been raging since July 4, quite possibly could prove disasterous to hundreds of Santa Barbara County residents and a mainstay of our local economy, wine tasting and winery touring. (Remember, Sideways?)
An estimated 200 residents were evacuated monday evening in an area east of Santa Barbara's wine country as the stubborn Zaca wildfire spread and crept closer to homes and ranches.

Officials issued the evacuation order — the first since the fire began on July 4 — about 7:30 p.m. the 25,000-acre blaze burning in the Los Padres National Forest and San Rafael Wilderness moved east and south, coming within about two miles of some residences, said Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Eli Iskow.

A voluntary evacuation order also was issued for 1,000 residents living in and around Los Olivos, he said. - Latte Times
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department has issued an "Evacuation Order" for the residents of Happy Canyon Road above Baseline Road, including the communities of Tunnel Ranch, Peachtree Canyon, Rancho De Los Vistadores, and the Sedgwick Ranch. The Zaca Fire is at McKinley Ridge and is an immediate threat to life and property. Residents who live in or around the identified communities are advised to immediately evacuate. - InciWeb

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Sunday, July 15, 2007 

I went to the 20th Annual French Festival

And had a terrific time.....Food. Fun. Frivolity. But, especially, "la musique!"

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Saturday, July 14, 2007 

This is NOT "Real Food"

The Ethicurean doesn't think it is, either.

Is Xanthan Gum considered "real"? Is Modified Corn Starch? Alpha Tocopherol is said to be good for you, but is it "real"?

If Advertising says something is real, does it make it so?

What is "Real Food" to you? Coleman Farms is "Real Food" to me.

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Friday, July 13, 2007 

Update on Bob the Turtle

the latest news -
Police had several suspects and could make an arrest next week, officials said

....The attacker or attackers tried to get the animal out of its shell, officials said.

"They threw this 40-pound turtle against a brick wall. you could see blood where the leg was (hurt) ... they tried to rip the leg out of the shell," Police Sgt. Jack Richards said.

Razor blades also were used to cut the leg, Richards said, but Bob's tough hide and heavy musculature foiled that. He had three deep wounds to his neck and legs, including one that went through his thigh, along with lesser stab wounds to his shell.

He has been confined to a tub with a fly-proof cover and had a feeding tube in his neck. - SFGate


Thursday, July 12, 2007 

Bob the Turtle in the hospital

Bob the Turtle in the hospital
Originally uploaded by Athenamama.

He's resting comfortably with his feeding tube.

Anyone wishing to donate to help with Bob's medical costs can send money to Washington Mutual, P.O. Box 877, Ventura, CA 93002. Checks should be made out to William Sullivan in care of Bob, Account No. 492-105108-5

Thank you all so very much. I am so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love,kindness, and money that wonderful people have sent to Bob. My faith in humanity has been restored, due to the selfless actions of complete strangers. I have explained this to my son, in hopes that he will understand that there are more good people than bad. He has asked me several times a day "why did someone hurt Bob"? This has been a tough question for me to answer. I have read these comments to William to show him, that there are more wonderful people than bad people. Thankyou so much for showing the positive side of our society to William and Bob. Forever gratefull, - the Sullivan family


Wednesday, July 11, 2007 

Please Help Bob (with update on his condition)

Bob, a friendly, 42-pound African tortoise, remains in intensive care in a Santa Barbara animal hospital after the pet was snatched from the backyard of a Ventura home over the weekend, mutilated and left to die behind an apartment complex.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in solving the case, believed to be one of the worst incidents of animal abuse in Ventura in years and one that could bring felony charges.

Bob's neck and leathery legs were slashed and his dark green shell was stabbed repeatedly in a possible effort to re-create an episode of the Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild cable television show, where the military-trained host kills and eats a tortoise to survive, an anonymous caller told the family.

...Bob was more than a household pet to the Sullivans, whose 6-year-old son William is autistic and until a couple years ago didn't speak to humans, communicating instead through sign language.

But with Bob, the little blond boy, who also has the rare neuron-genetic disorder Angelman Syndrome, was a regular chatterbox. The approachable reptile opened an inexplicable window into william's inner world, and the boy would bare details of his days at school and of private life, his mother said. - Ventura County Star

Queen Whackamole at Fuller&Fuller - "the couple is facing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in veterinarian bills." Jeanie Vaughan at Turtle Dreams is working with the veterinarian treating bob... Bob seems to be in stable condition. If you'd like to help with the Sullivan's vet bill, you can send a check to Turtle Dreams, and make a note that it is for Bob's expenses:

Turtle Dreams
2298 Feather Hill Road,
Montecito, CA 93108-1542
(805) 969-5128

I challenge all food bloggers and foodies to send in whatever they would spend on a bag of flour, or sugar or "Starbucks for the week" to help Bob.

**UPDATE** Bob's condition is stabalizing and is cautiously improved.

The 42-pound African spurred tortoise was awake but traumatized during a morning examination and still has a feeding tube inserted in his stomach to provide food and medication, Vaughan said.

Anyone wishing to donate can send money to Washington Mutual, P.O. Box 877, Ventura, CA 93002.

"The fact that he is stable enough to be moved to rehab is a very good sign," said Vaughan, who has been monitoring the brutalized tortoise since he arrived at Adobe Animal Hospital in Santa Barbara. "But these are cold-blooded animals that take a long time to heal, so we will have to keep a close watch."

...Checks should be made out to William Sullivan in care of Bob, Account No. 492-105108-5. Wire transfer can be routed to Account No. 322271627.

"The outpouring has been overwhelming," Dorothy Sullivan said this morning, adding that she got a phone call from a well-wisher in Montana. "After what happened to Bob, I had lost a lot of faith in the human race. But it's been absolutely wonderful how people are recognizing that Bob needs help and that what was done to him is a serious crime." - Ventura County Star

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007 

Mutton Mowers

I "sheepishly" submit to "ewe" this story.

Enthusiastic and unpicky eaters, sheep are already being used in some vineyards as a green alternative to tractors. They don't use gasoline and keep down weeds -- a necessary task to deter pests and keep vines healthy -- sans herbicides.

Unfortunately, sheep will chew up thousands of dollars worth of grapes if left to their own devices.

That's why University of California, Davis researcher Morgan Doran and his colleagues are experimenting with aversion therapy and other techniques to turn sheep into better field hands.

...But just how do you teach sheep?

It's not as tough as you might think, says Doran, who thinks sheep are unfairly maligned as wooly minded creatures. They may not be the brightest lights around, but "they're very good at what they do," he says.

What they do is eat -- all day, every day.

...Interestingly, it seems sheep may have discriminating palates. The untrained sheep largely left alone a red grape called aglianico but appeared to be big fans of chardonnay. - AP

Big fans of the Chard, eh? Well...guess they might not be doing alot of "mowing" here in Santa Barbara County.

To see these wooly wonders in action, there is a video. HERE.

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Monday, July 09, 2007 

Live...Love...Go Organic!

Wolfgang Puck...stirring up a delicious new way of cooking/eating, yet again.
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck caused a stir in the culinary world earlier this year by announcing that his company, a conglomerate that feeds 10 million people each year, would adopt a more socially responsible way of doing business.

While pledging to follow such a policy is one thing, implementing it is quite another -- especially when dealing with a $300 million international empire the size of Puck's, which runs from frozen foods to dozens of catering and dining operations, including his two namesake restaurants at Downtown Disney.

The company plans to switch to only organic and humanely raised meats and fish by the end of the year -- a change that will include the Central Florida locations, now owned by Levy Restaurants. Some changes, such as switching to free-range veal, lamb and chicken and banning foie gras, already have been made at Puck's flagship Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. - Orlando Sentinel
Geez. Am I "dating myself" when I say I remember his days at Ma Maison?

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Sunday, July 08, 2007 

FDA soft on soft drinks?

From Greener Choices, we have some unsettling news....
The supermarket market chain, Safeway Inc., has agreed to reformulate soft drinks made with ingredients that can potentially form benzene, according to a recent settlement. The company is one of several soft drink manufacturers that have recently been sued in class action lawsuits over benzene, a known carcinogen. Coca-Cola, a former defendant, agreed to settle last month.

Benzene can form in beverages containing benzoate salts (sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate) and either vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or erythorbic acid, a related substance, if certain minerals are present. Heat or light during shipping or storage can increase the amount of benzene formed.

Although benzene doesn't always form, scientific studies carried out last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports found that benzene was present in more than a dozen different soft drink products—and in some cases at levels far higher than the 5 parts per billion (ppb) that federal regulations allow in bottled or tap water. (There is currently no standard for benzene in soft drinks.)
There was a story on this last year...but why didn't any of the "mainstream" media pick up on it? Oh...that's right...too busy with Britney, Paris, et al.
Could soft drinks be causing cancer? It's a question that deserves attention following the disclosure that some soft drinks contain the cancer-causing chemical benzene.

It's news that hasn't gotten much attention.

But a science administrator at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed for me that recent government tests found benzene in soft drinks purchased off grocery store shelves. Long-term exposure to benzene is associated with higher rates of leukemia.

What makes this situation scandalous is the fact that FDA knew about the issue 14 years ago. The agency left it to industry to address the problem. - the New Observer

What you can do. Ingesting benzene at the levels the FDA found typically would not present an acute health risk. But because any exposure to a known carcinogen carries some risk, it makes sense to take precautions:
  • Read ingredient labels. Beverages that combine benzoate salts (listed as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate) with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can set the stage for benzene formation. You may want to leave those on the shelf.
  • If you do buy beverages with that combination of ingredients, store them in a cool place and out of direct light.

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Music to Munch Cookies By

My favorite act at Live Earth....Nunatak, the musical scientists playing from Antarctica!

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Saturday, July 07, 2007 

Happy Live Earth Day

Have you hugged your planet today?

From commercial director Mac Carter and producer Sean Welch (Spellbound, Rocket Science) comes a short film about one ordinary guy's extraordinary effort to make a difference in global warming. Commissioned for the Live Earth SOS campaign this sweet film follows Dave and his dogs as they tour Los Angeles Asian food restaurants in search of waste vegetable oil to turn into biodiesel.

Please go to for more information about biodiesel, the dogs and Dave.

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OK...I couldn't leave this in the store

go on into your nearest Williams-Sonoma and find one for your collection.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007 

Ina Garten's Flag Cake

They have the recipe up at

It's a keeper!

Happy 4th of July!

And, if you suddenly discover that your American Flag was "Made In China", please go visit Epic Flags. American flags....Made in America.

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