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Results tagged “Simply Delicious Living” from VC Style

Raw Living Expo: Inspirational & Simply Delicious

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     The energy is high and the faces are friendly at the 6th Annual Raw Living Expo being held at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza, 880 S. Westlake Boulevard, Westlake Village, from Friday, January 31 to Sunday, February 2, 2014.  The expo features product booths, raw food cooking demonstrations, informative lectures, workshops and classes, music and dancing, movement and yoga classes, and a "Best of Raw" Gala Awards Dinner.

     The mission of the expo is to "invite humanity to add more raw, organic plant foods to the diet to increase health, decrease our eco-footprint, and raise our spirits."  You don't have to be a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodie to attend.  In fact, if you keep an open mind, you'll definitely pick up a few tips and enjoy some of the delectable dishes!

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     Nathan Crane speaks about "How to Write, Publish and Promote a Best Selling Book"


     The first lecture on Friday at 9:00am, kicked off with "How to Write, Publish and Promote a Best Selling Book in 90 Days or Less," with author/publisher Nathan Crane (Panacea Publishing).  The talk was extremely informative, and while I'm a published author, I especially gleamed some very helpful tips including a simple truth worth remembering,  "Write when you feel inspired.  That exciting energy emanating from you will always translate to your readers."

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     Culinary Artists & raw food advocate Diana Stobo conducts a Nut and Seed Milk Demo

     For the first food preparation demo in the Plaza De Cataluna Chef Demo Stage, Culinary Artist and raw food advocate, Diana Stobo, conducted an "Amazing Nut and Seed" Milk Demo Class.  After attending the demo, even though I'm not easily sold, I couldn't wait to pick up her book, "Get Naked Fast!" and even bought a nut-milk bag to make my own nut milk.

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     A sampling of the product booths include fare and merchandise from such exhibitors as: Garden of Life, Divine Organics, Whole Foods, Living Light, Lydia's Organics, Vitamix, Berry Breeze and many others.  For a complete list of exhibitors, visit:  rawlivingexpo.com/exhibitors. To view a complete event schedule and for tickets, visit:  rawlivingexpo.com


     Inspired by today's event, I decided to make this especially delicious and healthy "Raw Veggie Salad."


     To make this recipe, you'll need a Julienne Slicer or Mandoline Slicer!


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Raw Veggie Salad

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 c. organic spinach
  • ½ c. shredded carrots*
  • ½ c. shredded zucchini*
  • ½ c. shredded butternut squash*
  • ½ c. beets*
  • 10 raw almonds
  • ¼ c. raw pistachios, shelled
  • ¼ c. walnuts, shelled and sliced
  • 1 Key lime
  • 2 T. raw honey
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

*Julienne Vegetables - Wash and slice carrots, zucchini, butternut squash and beets on a Julienne Slicer or Mandoline.  Using a slicer makes the raw veggies so soft and delicious.


Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add spinach, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, beets, almonds, pistachios and walnuts.
  2. Toss well.
  3. Slice key lime in half and squeeze the juice over the salad.
  4. Drizzle honey over salad.
  5. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toss well.
  7. Serve immediately!

For an EASY PRINT OUT of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

©2014 - Maryann Ridini Spencer, SimplyDeliciousLiving.com


5 Great Summer Retreats For Body, Mind & Soul

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Vacations are great for the body-mind-spirit because they

allow you to regroup, rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself

and your loved ones. 

 

Breaks in your every day routine also allow you to create

more balance in your personal and professional life.   

 

Here are 5 Great Getaway Ideas

 

1.  Make a date with your significant other.  Try a

new Zagat-rated restaurant that provides an atmosphere

conducive to romance and relaxation. 

 

2. Plan a weekend getaway.  Check Groupon for great deals.

If you live in Southern California, the Coachella Valley

has some fantastic packages at 5 Star Hotels.  On your

computer or iphone, check out: visitpalmsprings.com. 

Google anywhere you'd like to go and search for deals

in that particular area.

 

3.  Connect with your significant other, girl or men friends.

Rent a movie and make it a pizza & salad night at home.

Try my Flatbread Pizza and Simple Green Salad.  For more

recipes, visit my blog at SimplyDeliciousLiving.com.


4.  Connect with yourself. Plan a day of pampering at a

local day spa.  Many spas, when you purchase a package

or even just a treatment like a massage, allow you to use

the Jacuzzi, the sauna, and the gym. In addition, many

spas offer manicures, pedicures, facials and hair treatments

and even serve lunch or have lounge chairs where you can

sit outside an enjoy the beautiful outdoors in a serene setting.

 

5.  Pack a picnic and take a scenic drive along the coast or

to the mountains.  Visit my blog at SimplyDeliciousLiving.com

for recipe ideas.

 

Whatever you do, let people know that you're taking some

time.  Try to live minus the electronics (computers,

ipads, iphones, etc.) as much as you can.  If possible,

stay away from turning on the TV.  Try and connect

with nature and with yourself and those around you. 

 

Taking regular breaks keep your spirit aligned and

reduces stress.  Studies have shown that when you

take a break, you're able to deal with life's issues in

a more productive fashion.

 

Vacations and short trips have also been known to

strengthen bonds with friends and family.  If you're a

creative person, getting away from it all may just well

stimulate the imaginative process.

 

If you allow yourself some time off from work, you'll

find that when you return, you'll be more productive.


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A taste of Hawaii with "Banana Pineapple Coconut Muffins"

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I love serving muffins for breakfast with eggs, an omelette or quiche.  They're also great
with a cup of Earl Grey for afternoon tea.  Additionally, whenever I serve cakes, breads
or dishes with banana, my husband likes me to mix in a little bit of pineapple.  I made
these muffins for a special Father's Day breakfast.  They were sooooo delicious! 
Enjoy!


Banana Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Makes 10 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • ¾ c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ c. coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium to large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 c. pineapple, crushed
  • ½ c. shredded sweet coconut
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 3 T. coconut milk

Directions

In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts.

In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together oil, eggs, bananas, pineapple,

shredded coconut, lemon extract and coconut milk. Mix.

Add in half of dry mixture to wet mixture.  Mix.  Add in second half of dry mixture. Mix

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Muffin tins will be full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. 

Insert a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If the toothpick comes out clean,

the muffins are done. 

Cool muffins in the muffin tin for approximately 5 minutes. 

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.

©2013 -- Maryann Ridini Spencer

Banana Pineapple Coconut muffins are inspired by the place my family loves - Hawaii!

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California and in First Run Television Syndication. 

For more information, visit:  SimplyDeliciousLiving.TV and RidiniEntertainment.com


Got Stress? Great Tips to Make Your Holidays Bright

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Holiday Stress Busters!

The December Holiday season is a great time to celebrate with family and friends.

However, while it's a joyous time, it can also be a stressful and demanding time.  Perhaps you'll have a houseful of guests?  If that's the case cleaning, cooking and entertaining can be daunting.  Maybe you have a lot of gifts to buy in a down economy or perhaps it will be the first season you'll be without a cherished loved one?

What are some ways you can keep the joy and curb the stress?

•Ask for help.  If you're the host for a big event, seek out assistance for shopping, cooking, cleaning and sharing the holiday-related chores.

•Make a list and do check it twice. Planning ahead and designating a budget for gift shopping as well as entertaining items, will allow you to limit your trips to the store and the pain on your pocketbook.

Maintain your health (and your waistline!) during the holidays. Get regular exercise, eat right and make sure you get enough sleep.  Indulging too much in alcohol, sweets and cakes will not only make you feel bad, it can cause guilt and stress levels to rise. (Not to mention panic when you step on the scale!).

•Create an escape. If too much family togetherness is getting you down and you find yourself needing a breather ­-- clear your head and take some time for yourself doing what you like to do. Try talking a long nature walk, reading a good book, listening to a symphony or watching a good movie.

•Spread the JOY.  If you're feeling alone at the holidays, get social and volunteer your time at a church, temple or community event.

•Do your homework before traveling. If you're traveling, check the weather and plan for unexpected delays.  Don't wait until the last minute to pack or get to the airport.  If you're traveling with children, bring games, reading material and other amusements that can keep the children interested if you're delayed.  If you're not a fan of plane food or those high calories, unhealthy snacks you find at airports, you may also want to pack your own meal and bring some healthy snacks along.  Eating right will keep you feeling balanced and positive.

•Get creative. A great way to get in the spirit is to plan a fun arts and crafts or baking day with family and/or friends.  Put on your favorite music, get creative and enjoy the company.

•Surround yourself with LOVE. Fill your heart and your time with those people and things you truly love. Take heed of the past, if you know a situation is going to cause you too much pain or stress, avoid it.  Make this the best holiday season ever!

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"HOLIDAY STRESS BUSTERS" Podcast, CLICK HERE.

 

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Thrifty and Reusable Halloween Costumes

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Halloween costumes, depending upon how elaborate you intend to get, can cost at a minimum, $25 dollars on up per costume.  If you've got several children or family members to outfit, the costume bills (along with candy and other fun fare) can really start to mount.

So why not get creative with reusable, eco-friendly Halloween costumes? How do you start? Look in your closet.  What do you have that might (when paired with certain items), make a great costume? Maybe you have all the items you need or perhaps you may have to buy one piece rather than an entire costume.  Another great resource is check with friends and relatives. See what you can mix and match.  Thrift shops, where others trade in their wares, are also a great place to find the little nuances to add to your costume. Below are some great ideas for reusable Halloween costumes to try:

Princess -Pair a long gown with gloves (short or long). Wear a tiara and carry a star wand. Your Halloween subjects will bow in appreciation.

Cowboy or Cowgirl- Flannel shirt with Jeans, cowboy boots and hat. You might even tie a red bandana around your neck.  Don't forget to carry some rope - to lasso in your candy of course.

Halloween Masked Man- Everyone knows the iconic white mask from the John Carpenter Halloween movies.  How to create this look? Black pants, black top and white mask of course.  BOO!

Hippie or 70's person- Think colorful.  For girls and women - pair a long skirt with a flowered top.  Wear several long necklaces and dangly earrings.  A headband around your head or floppy hat also works.  For a man - pull out some ripped jeans and wear a cool t-shirt with a peace sign (or your favorite band logo).  Put on the boots and/or sandals and maybe a funky hat. Now you're lookin' groovy!

Witch - Pair a black skirt and top with pointy hat.  Bring a long a broom  (or for a wand, carry a long glow stick!). Instead of black, you can also opt for being a good witch and wear blue or white.  Whatever it is you choose to do, just remember to say, "Bippity Boppity Boo!"  Now you're ready to caste some spells!

Vampire - I vant to drink your blood!  To transform into a creature of the night that would even give Bram Stoker a scare,  almost any type of dress with creative make-up will do. (If you have a red or black cape, fantastic.  However, the only purchase that might be needed to complete the look - Vampire fangs!  (Even a red lipsticked-mouth with droplets of blood dripping from the corners will  do!).

Maid - Coffee or tea anyone?  A maid's outfit might be anything from a black dress or skirt and top paired with a white apron.  Don't forget to carry your broom,  feather duster or even a silver serving tray!

Hobo -To create the look of an authentic hobo, try wearing some ripped or patched jeans or pants.  An oversized jacket and t-shirt and a funny looking hat add great touches.  Of course, don't forget your hobo stick (a long stick with a red kerchief pouch - which can double as another place to stash your candy!).

Hollywood director - Lights! Cameras! Action!  If you want to get the look of an old time Hollywood director - wear some jeans or black pants, paired with a white or dark top.  Don't forget the beret, dark shades.  You might also want to carry a video camera to document the Halloween fun!

Let your creativity run wild.

Creating your own costume will be almost as much fun as going out Trick-or-Treating!


LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST, CLICK HERE!


To VIEW HALLOWEEN COSTUME IMAGES,  CLICK HERE!

*Original article by Maryann Ridini Spencer appears in print in the Sustainable Ventura Newsletter & Blog.


Simply Delicious Vacations

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It's important for everyone to take a break from life as they know it and revel in the delicious luxury of vacation and of not doing anything  - or doing as they please. 

 

The complications of life, work and juggling many tasks often lead to stress and stress can definitely take a toll on one's body, physical appearance and health!

 

While it's important to take little breaks (like weekends) and enjoying regular hobbies and activities, there's nothing more potent than jetting off to a tropical vacation spot or taking an historical tour of a European location.

 

Vacations are a great way to connect to yourself and to those you love.  Travel that gets commemorated in a picture album is also a way to relive the pleasure of a vacation long after the vacation ends.


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I'm still delighting in a recent trip my husband and I took to Hawaii.  I find that whenever I look at the many photos we took, I get a happy, energized feeling.   I almost feel as if we are there!

 

Some great tips to keep your vacation stress free:

 

•Get a Vacation Account

Keep a savings account stash of cash just for vacations. Figure out what your budget will allow, then put away a certain amount of money each week on an ongoing basis. You'll be surprise how it adds up. 

 

•Plan ahead

Research your destination.  Talk to friends who might have traveled to the spot.  Get recommendations for accommodations, food and sightseeing. Research information on the net.  Better yet, perhaps an acquaintance might know some of the locals you can contact before you leave home.  Some of my best experiences have transpired when I've contacted friends of friends.  I've gotten some great, personalized tours of places that could have never been duplicated otherwise.

 

•Speak at least a few words

Knowing to say hello, goodbye, thank you, yes and no along with "Where's the toilet?" and some other important phrases can serve you well.  While you may not be in for taking a Rosetta stone course, you can always find an English translation dictionary on Amazon.com or in your local bookstore.

 

•Understand the customs and local you're visiting

Americans have a bad enough rap as it is overseas.  So, why not get caught up on the local customs?  Research the country and towns you'll be visiting.  When you get to your destination, you'll feel like a local and get a great education while you're at it!

 

•Get some of the local currency before you leave home.  Travel with secure Traveler's checks.

While you may want to pay for everything on your trip with credit cards (a good idea to keep accurate records), you may also want to have a few dollars in your pocket of the local currency.  Traveler's checks are also a great way to go because they're refundable, if lost or stolen and usually within 24 hours.

 

•Pack well

Find out the weather of the locale you'll be visiting at the time of your visit.  Bring various layers of dress just in case.  It's always a good idea to pack wash and wear and clothing that looks great no matter how wrinkled it gets.  Bring multi-purpose clothes. For women, a dress you can wear during the day with sandals and at night with a pretty scarf or different jewelry to jazz it up. For men, a jacket that can be worn casually and with/or without a tie. (So at night, you can  get into that exclusive restaurant!).

 

•Let work know you are on vacation (try not to answer emails)

A vacation is when you vacate your usual life.  So put away the computer and texting.  Let the office know you'll be unreachable. Make sure you have someone qualified to cover for you just in case there's a problem at work.  Don't feel guilty.  You deserve your vacation.  It's also a good idea to post your pictures on Facebook when you get home. (It's NOT a good idea to let everyone know you're out of town!). 

 

•Take lots of pictures

I know some folks that moan and groan that they have to get their picture taken.  However, these same folks love seeing the photos post-vacation - especially as the years go by.  So tell your family, spouse, friend or anyone else on the trip with you to, "Chill!" You're making memories here!  Many new cameras also have video capabilities.  If a picture says a thousand words then a video can, well you get the idea.

 

•Bring home a memorable item that will represent your trip

I always love to pick up a local artist's painting, watercolor or stencil when I travel.  That way, when I look at them hanging on the wall at home, the memories flood back.


You might also pick up a beautiful piece of furniture that you can ship back or some other item that has meaning just for you.

 

Vacations are all part of Simply Delicious Living, so enjoy your trip, even if it's a weekend jaunt, you deserve every moment.  To find out more about simply delicious living, visit my blog at simplydeliciousliving.com

 

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Listen to Simply Delicious Vacations Podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

 

A Tribute to Father's Everywhere on Father's Day

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momdadweddingday.jpgFather's Day honors fathers and celebrates the influence father's make in their children's lives. (pictured above Maryann's parents on their wedding day, November 5, 1956).

Many countries around the world celebrate the day.  Father's Day became a recognized holiday in the early 20th century, following the recognition of Mother's Day - a holiday that was founded by Anna Jarvis in honor of her mother.

The first celebration of Father's Day was at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington in 1910.  Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, a Civil war veteran, William Jackson Smart, a single parent who raised his six children.  After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis's Mother's Day in 1909, she told her pastor that Father's should have a similar holiday honoring them.

Although it did not catch on right away, by the 1930s, Dodd stepped up the process to raise awareness for the holiday on a national level.  However, it wasn't until the mid 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.  Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard signed it into law in 1972.

Growing up and today, I have so many wonderful memories of my Father, Len, and my mother, Kathleen, who are both in their 80s.

My father, a college professor, PhD and author, continues to be a wonderful role model as loving, caring father.

Our education was top priority always.   He taught my brothers, sister and I, to always be the best we can be and to pursue our dreams.  He instills positive family values and lives by their example.

He and my mother set an amazing legacy of what a loving marriage should be.

Below is a poem I'd like to dedicate to my father and all the men in my family and to father's everywhere:

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad

-Anonymous


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Creating A Workspace That Works!

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Whether you're working in a corporate office, or, as many people are these days, in a home office, it's important that you create a space that will support you in your career and keep you productive and focused.

Design a space that makes you smile, where you can feel comfortable and ready to "dig in" to your day.

It may take some time, and trial and error, to determine what works for you and what doesn't, but here are some helpful pointers to help guide you.

Separate home and office

If you do work at home, make it a point to have your office in an area that's separate from the living space - and yours alone - where you can work without distraction and can close the door and leave work behind at the end of the workday.

Make Yourself Comfortable

Choose a desk that is just right for you.   Be mindful of its color and materials.  Are you more comfortable working on a desk made of wood?  What about the size? You want to be comfortable in your workspace.

Choose a chair that you can easily sit in for hours.  You may want to try out a few brands before settling.

Decorate your room with personal items that highlight your success

Showcase your awards, certificates, artwork, memorable photos, client thank yous and other items that are a positive reminder of your achievements.

Say Hello to Nature

Natural abundant light and clean, flowing air sources promote a harmonious feng shui.  Decorate with potted plants.  Place your desk in front of a garden view. You might even want to bring in nature sounds with a waterfall.

Get Organized

Clutter has been known to drain energy, not to mention being an eye sore.  Design a workspace where you can easily organize your books, journals and paperwork in an organized fashion that is also eye appealing and conducive to work. Maybe you'd like to have an armoire with doors or a bookcase with baskets or colored notebooks to hold your paperwork and miscellaneous items?

Choose Your Colors

I prefer working in light, bright white spaces that are accented with color and close to nature.

However, a blue room, the color of the sky and ocean water, is known to be relaxing in a good way - and also known to increase productivity and work efficiency.  Find what works for you and makes you the most focused and energetic.

Creative a Positive Feng Shui

You've heard of people using feng shui in their homes - well feng shui can also be used in creating a productive and creative workspace - be it in a formal office or a home office.

Feng Shui is a geomantic practice that is used to configure and harmonize spiritual forces to improve life by allowing positive energy forces to flow.

You might want to have a feng shui professional visit your office for some helpful pointers - or read up on the practice yourself.

Again, this is YOUR space.  You'll be spending many hours a day in this area making money as well as your dreams come true.  Don't compromise.  Make your space work for you.

For some great recipes and simply delicious living ideas, visit my blog at:  SimplyDeliciousLiving.com

Enjoy simply delicious living today, and every day!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST in iTUNES!

A Mother's Love: The Origins of Mother's Day

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by Maryann Ridini Spencer

Sunday, May 13, is Mother's Day --
the day when we honor and celebrate
mothers and motherhood. 

The celebration of the day occurs
on various dates throughout the
world and can be traced back to
elaborate ancient festivals in
Greece and Rome. 


However, the more modern day version of the holiday began in the early 1900s. 

A woman by the name of Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, hailing from West Virginia,
founded Mother's Day clubs in several cities at the time, to improve poor sanitary
and health conditions.  Anna and the Mother's Day Work Club also fed, clothed
and treated the wounds of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. 

The mothers and women who worked good deeds as part of the Mother's Day Club,
truly served the people, not only as loving mothers, but demonstrating
characteristic "unconditional motherly love" and support to all. 

In 1907, two years after Anna's death, her daughter, also named Anna, rightly began
 a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the U.S.  Her desire
came to pass, and in 1914, Mother's Day became a nationally celebrated holiday. 
Honoring mothers with their special day soon became popular around the globe.

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to dedicate the following poem to mothers everywhere,
and especially my wonderful Mom, Kay (pictured below Left to Right:  Kay - Maryann's
Mom, Maryann, and Len - Maryann's Dad,
Christmas, 2007):

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A Mother's Love
by Helen Steiner Rice


A Mother's love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendored miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.

Happy Mother's Day!

Visit My Recipe & Video blog for simply delicious easy recipes and joyous living

inspirations. At SimplyDeliciousLiving.com


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Enjoy Simply Delicious Living today and Everyday!

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Intuition: Follow Your Truth

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Intuition2.jpgHave you ever had a gut feeling about something - positive or negative - that gives you an extra insight into a particular situation?


Maybe it's something related to work.  A feeling that there might be a problem that will come up if you follow (or don't follow) a specific course of action?

Perhaps you've just got off the phone with a friend or family member and they sound okay and say everything's alright, but you "just know" that's not the case.  Or maybe you have an uneasy feeling in your stomach?

Was there a time where you said to yourself, "I knew I should have done that, or "I should have done that." 

When you heard the phone ring, did you know who was going to be on the line before you answered?  Or  just knew what route to drive in a strange setting?

These insights, or immediate cognitions that give us the ability to acquire information without the use of direct knowledge or without rational thought or reason, is INTUITION.  Intuition are beliefs we have about things, people and situations that may not even be justified, accept to ourselves and our gut.

While everyone has intuition, some people are more conscious of these feelings and how to respond to them,  or better yet, how to interpret the information they receive or feel into positive action.

In the time of the cave man, often humans had to live by their intuition - in order to stay alive, find food and avert danger.

Getting in touch with this part of your consciousness can also help today.  In business, in your personal life and in dealing with decisions as they come up.   It's important to use all the information that's available to us - from study and research, history, logic and reasoning... and intuition.

How do you get in touch with your intuition processing powers? 

1. Well, how do you feel? What's the energy in the room? Are you feeling relaxed, breathing normally?  Feeling well or is your gut tight?  Does your skin crawl?  Do you feel drained or get a feeling of foreboding that something negative is about to happen?

When you've weighed the obvious, consider your gut feelings.  Listen to that "gut" reaction in your stomach.

2. If it's something you want to know, ask yourself questions and listen to the first answer that pops into your head.  Try to quiet all the other chatter that fights this dominant thought or feeling.

3. Get  some meditation tapes and books. Learn how to meditate to clear your mind. Meditation allows you to clearly and succinctly identify your thoughts and feelings and it also has a myriad of health benefits.

4.  Get Creative. It's  been documented that exercising your right brain by getting in touch with creativity (such as painting, dance and other creative outlets) can help you lead a pathway to your intuition.

5.  Journal your thoughts.  It might not be a bad idea to write down your intuitions and then see what transpires.  Becoming aware can help you build your confidence and your ability to connect with your gut.

For some great books that enhance intuition, consider:

Practical Intuition, Laura Day

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy

Developing Intuition:  Practical Guidance for Daily Life by Shakti Gawain

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and The Book of Secrets:  Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life both by Deepak Chopra

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Listen to this Podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE

SUBSCRIBE to our Podcast FEED, CLICK HERE and SUBSCRIBE!


Enjoy Simply Delicious Living, Today and Every Day!



Top Tips for Busting The Blues

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If you're like most people, there are going to be days you just might not feel like getting out of bed or at least, out of your PJs.  Perhaps you've broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend? 

Maybe you've had a fight with a family member or co-worker?

Could it be that your going thru stress over a job change or a move?  Maybe you've just got a bad case of the blahs?

What are some great ways to Bust the Blues and get on the road to happy again?

1.  Get enough rest - at least 8 hours. Sleep is essential for a person's health, rejuvenation and well-being.

2.  Exercise - Exercise triggers those wonderful endorphins that make you feel better.  Get moving  by taking a brisk walk or go to the gym for a workout.  Not only will you immediately have more energy, you'll find that life will appear brighter.  Regular exercise will also have you looking your best - which in turn will also contribute to your self-esteem --  and make you feel better!

3.  Eat right - Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Lean meats and fish.  Eating well will make you have more energy and stamina.  And some really good news - Eat Chocolate!  It's  been documented that eating a bit of dark chocolate (70% or higher) every day can unleash antioxidants that are good for your heart and cardiovascular system (by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol).

4.  Evaluate what you think.  If you hear negative tapes in your head.  Erase them.   Listen to positive people, write down affirmations  CUT OUT beliefs and behaviors that don't work for you and only keep you depressed.  A session or two of Hynotherapy, which will go right to your subconscious mind, can also work wonders to get you on the right track!

5.  Write down your problems and concerns.  Make a list of any problems in the personal and/or professional areas of your life.  Talk to a counselor or trusted friend about brainstorming solutions.  If you don't address what's ailing you, it will only eat away at you.

6.  Create a fun social life.   Share interests and activities. Make plans with friends, family and associates.  Look at the calendar to ascertain what days you will have free for fun activities and PLAN.  Search out events in your local area online.  You may also want a change of scenery by taking a weekend excursion to a nearby town to explore.

7.  Get passionate about a hobby you enjoy - Working at something you love builds self-esteem, satisfaction and makes you feel good because you're expressing yourself!

8.  Watch a COMEDY.  LAUGH!  There's a reason why it's been known to be the best medicine!

9.  LISTEN to your favorite music.  Music is also known to have tremendous healing and stress-reducing powers.

10.  Get thee to a local day spa.  Enjoy a yoga class.  Take a dip in the hot tub. Get a new hair cut or blow dry.  Better yet, treat yourself to a professional body massage to relieve stress and for overall healing. A healing touch can work wonders.  Why?  Massage therapy helps move lymph fluid around the body and oxygenate organs and tissues.  And  of course, there's nothing quite like, or as healing,  as the human touch. Amen!

11.  Pay It Forward. Do something nice for someone else.  Giving joy only increases joy.

If you are going through a major life change or upheaval, it would be wise to seek out professional advice from your doctor or making an appointment with a therapist.

There is so much beauty to enjoy in life.  Don't stay in a negative state for too long.

Live it to the fullest and enjoy Simply Delicious Living everyday! 

For more Body•Mind•Spirit inspirations and great recipes & cooking videos, Visit our Recipe and Video blog at SimplyDeliciousLiving.TV

LISTEN to this PODCAST in iTunes.  (View in iTunes and VOTE - 5 stars please!).

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Express Yourself with Arts & Crafts!

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Getting creative with arts and crafts

is a wonderful way to express yourself. 

Not only is it fulfilling,

it can give you a wonderful sense

of accomplishment, boost

self-esteem and

unleash a more playful

side of you.

 

Spring and the Easter and

Passover holidays are a great

time to share and give thanks with

those you love.  Create a memorable

homemade gift with love to bring to

your holiday celebration or to use

as a unique table centerpiece.

 

One fantastic way to create that special gift or centerpiece is to

get creative painting terracotta pots.

 

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Purchase a terracotta pot at your favorite

gardening or thrift shop.

 

Select a size of your choosing and

then gather your favorite spring colors.

Perhaps a vibrant pink, sunny yellow,

lime green, sky blue and orange sorbet.

 

Then pull out a painting brush and get creative!

 

Create spontaneously or you might want to draw a design

on paper first. 


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Choose a base color for your terracotta pot.  Paint it. Then take

a pencil and draw your design onto the painted pot. Later, fill in

the design with paint colors of your choice.

 

Once the paint has dried, you can fill the pot with such items as:


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A pretty plant

Hershey's kisses

Jelly beans and other easter candies

Cookies or muffins wrapped decoratively

 

I still have a terracotta pot that I was given years ago as a gift (with chocolate chip cookies inside), that I use in my office to hold telephone books and other sundry items.


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Getting creative with painting terracotta pots doesn't just

have to be reserved for spring either. Make painted gifts

and centerpieces with terracotta pots any time of year or for any holiday.

 

It's a great activity to do alone - or with your family

or friends.

 

Spread some smiles & have a simply delicious

Easter and Passover!

 

Listen to this Podcast in iTunes!

A VC Style/Simply Delicious Living "Food For Thought" Podcast - Creating Your Own 'Luck of the Irish'

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Direct from the Writer's Desk, Maryann Ridini Spencer,  shares a NEW way to look at "the luck of the Irish" and "Create Your Own Luck!"


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HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

This Valentine's Day, Express Your Love Living in a TMT (Too Much Technology) FREE Zone

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Have you ever been out to dinner and had your friend, family member or partner answer their cell phone and talk for a few minutes, leaving you out of the conversation?  Maybe you've been involved in a heart-to-heart and just at the moment you were going to divulge the most important detail, you were told to "hold that thought" while your loved one answered their cell phone?  What about sharing an important conversation with a friend and they tell you that they just got a call waiting notification - can they call you right back?  Or maybe you're spending the weekend doing a family activity and have found that your hands seem to be mysteriously glued to your ipad or computer key board, much to the chagrin of your mate?

Without the risk of being too crass, sometimes technology bites.   If you've ever been in one of the above situations, you have experienced, first hand, the frustration of being upstaged by modern technology, and as my old boss jokingly used to tell his victims, "by a bigger name."

Connecting with the people in our lives - our friends, family and special someone - is vital to our health and wellbeing.  Being kind and generous with our undivided attention can go a long way.   Connecting on a face-to-face, technology-free, personal basis is paramount. Especially in this fast-paced, stressful era of job downsizing, mergers & acquisitions and where digital technology (aka computers, cell phones, ipads, droid tablets etc.) rule, it can be easy to alienate the ones you love by constantly living in the TMT. (Too Much Technology) Zone.

How can you demonstrate your love and be relatively TMT FREE? 

Here are some great simple ways:

*Turn off your cell phone BEFORE you get to the dining table.

*Enjoy a Sunday meal with the entire family - create time together to talk and interact MINUS the electronics.

*On a date or at a business meeting?  Power your phone OFF.  You can pick up your messages later.  You might also select your "alternate" greeting, letting folks know you are in a meeting and will call back later.

*Let your weekends or vacation truly be  "time off." Use your email "vacation message" or select your alternate voice mail message to tell clients, friends and associates you'll call on Monday or when you return from your vacation.  If you find that you have to be available to respond  (or die), try to limit it to a specific amount of time at a specific time of day that won't interfere with your dedicated activities.

Some great examples of how to use technology:

*Be free with tender thoughts and "I love you's" - you've heard the Stevie Wonder song, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" ?  Well, then go for it.  Just don't text or send images of anything you don't want appearing  on the front page of the Sunday papers (you never know with technology!) .

*Remember the words "Thank you" and always give thanks. 

*To share an important link, thought, plan or idea that you can discuss and communicate on a personal level at a later time when both parties are available.  Don't replace personal, one-on-one conversation or connection by the exclusive use of technology.

Talk to those in your life about how you prefer technology to be used and some of your do's and don'ts.  Set the standards immediately.

Connecting on a personal level and nurturing your important relationships by being TMT Free, or at least controlling your impulses to reach for the iphone or tablet, can have extremely pleasing results. Enjoying the warmth of loving, appreciative and ATTENTIVE  arms around you can warm up the day or night and fill the heart more than any chat on Facebook or Twitter.

Lawn To Ocean Friendly Garden

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Lawn, as defined in the dictionary, is an "area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grass and other durable plants."

 

It's believed that the concept of "the lawn" developed in medieval times for the purpose of communal grazing of livestock.  At this time, lawns were similar to pastures or fields.  To tend to these lawns, laborers used scything and shearing. Sheep and livestock grazing also maintained the lands or lawns.

 

Later, in Tudor and Elizabethan times, the lawn garden became a place for walkways and social areas. And by the 17th century, the Jacobean epoch of gardening began and the "English" lawn became a symbol of status and gentry.  While at first lawns were primarily made up of meadow plants, by the Victorian era, a wider variety of perennials were available as were elaborate sculptures and water features.  In the 19th century, with the advent of sprinkler technology and the lawn mower, lawns and gardens were also affordable to the masses.

 

In Ventura, all our water comes from local sources - The Ventura River, Lake Casitas and groundwater wells.  Today, unlike hundreds of years ago, we are armed with the knowledge about the importance of conserving our precious, natural resources - especially our valuable water.  Low maintenance and drought tolerant grass and native plant replacements are the wise sustainable choices.  Some wonderful native plant choices might include:  White Sage, California Fuchsia, California Lilac, California Poppy any variety of succulents, to name only a few.  The variety and beauty of "Ocean Friendly" gardens is on the rise.  So, why not choose beauty and sustainability?  For information on how you can create the Ocean Friendly Garden* of your dreams, talk to your local nursery about suggestions for your garden.  In Ventura, visit Green Thumb Nursery at 1899 Victoria Avenue and Napalito Native Plant Nursery at 4107 E. Main Street.


*Ocean Friendly Gardens Program is a trademark program of the Surfrider Foundation. For some great Ocean Friendly Garden Events Information,  CLICK HERE.


For some great information at Surfrider, CLICK HERE.


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Simply Delicious Living Holiday Table Setting Ideas!

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Holiday memories are made dining and entertaining with family and friends.  
Some would consider the presentation of the meal -- the table setting, 
the dishes and table decor,  and the ambiance -- the lighting, the music 
and the overall setting of the meal -- being almost important as the 
taste of the meal itself.

Throughout the Thanksgiving season, there are a number of fun, 
creative ways to set the table that will bring pleasure to your
dining experiences.

Decorate the table with autumn colors - vibrant red, burgundy, 
pumpkin, yellow, gold, green and other warm tones.

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Fall vegetables (squash such as acorn, ambercup, carnival or other), 
make great centerpieces when placed in pretty wicker baskets adorned
with attractive ribbon.

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Realistic, yet imitation Fall leaves (available at stores like Jo-Ann's and Michael's)
can be purchased for 99 cents a bag. These pretty table adornments look 
great mixed with miniature pumpkins.

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A basket of pinecones with some delicious scented cinnamon potpourri 
combines the visual with some of the scents of the season.

Take a visit to your local arts & crafts store.  Children might enjoy 
decorating Fall vegetables as people, pets and favorite holiday
scenes with decorative stickers!  After all, remember how much 
fun it was to play with Mr. Potato Head ?

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Get creative!  Make decorating the table a family project that you can 
do with your spouse and children.  

Create a memorable table that inspires conversation, good times
and that will be your personal masterpiece to share with family and friends.  

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For more table setting ideas for all seasons, CLICK HERE!

The Local Cafe's "Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese"

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Chef Tim Kilcoyne of the The Local Cafe (Ventura, Ca), recently showed me how to make his delicious "Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese."  It's a great recipe that's made with fresh, local produce!

The Local Café's Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Serves:  4

Prep Time - Roasted Beets - 45 minutes approximately

Prep Time - Salad: 10 minutes


Ingredients:

 

  • 4-5 Golden Root Beets, Roasted
  • 1 c. Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 1/2 c. Walnuts
  • 2 Apples, sliced (with skins left on)
  • 1'2 c. Fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 T. Walnut oil (or Hazelnut oil or more Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe Preparation:

  • Roast beets (don't cut bottoms and tops too much) in the oven for 45-minutes to an hour at 375 degrees F. When beets are done, let the cool before preparing the salad.
  • Once beets are cool, using your hands, roll back the beet skin to uncover the meat of the beets.
  • Cut beets lengthwise to keep their natural shape and place them in a deep bowl.
  • Add in walnuts
  • Add in sliced apple
  • Add in Lemon juice, Walnut oil, Extra Virgin Olive oil and mix.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Top salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles (Note:  As an alternative,  this salad is also great with blue cheese crumbles!)

The Local Cafe is located at 1751 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001-3410, (805) 643-0237

Enjoy!

Visit:  www.SimplyDeliciousLiving.tv


Simply Delicious Living's "French Toast To Die For"

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On Sunday mornings, I love having French Toast for breakfast.  Usually, I use wheat or rice bread.  However, I recently happened to have some sourdough French baguette in the kitchen and thought I'd try making french toast with it.

One thing led to another as I eyed the smoked salmon and goat cheese in the frig... et Voilà!  "French Toast To Die For" was born!


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FRENCH TOAST TO DIE FOR

(French Toast with Salmon, Goat Cheese & Fresh Basil)

 

Serves  4-6

 

Prep Time:  5 minutes

Cook Time:  5-10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sourdough French Baguette
  • 1 - 4 ounce Goat Cheese log (Montchevré  or other)
  • 5 ounce(s)Smoked Wild Salmon
  • 20 Fresh Whole Basil Leaves
  • 5 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 cup(s) Capers in vinegar (Optional)*
  • 1 cup(s)Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tbsp.Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Recipe Instructions:

  • Cut French Baguette into 1 pieces. Set aside.
  • Slice smoked salmon into individual pieces. Set aside.
  • Slice Roma tomatoes into thin slices. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, pour in milk and beat in two eggs with a fork.
  • On the stovetop, over medium heat, pour olive oil into a frying pan.
  • Pick up a piece of baguette with a fork and dip into the milk and egg mixture.
  • Make sure both sides are well coated. Place in the frying pan.
  • Repeat with all the baguette slices (cooking both sides until golden).
  • Place cooked pieces of baguette on a pretty serving plate.
  • Spread a generous helping of goat cheese over each baguette piece.
  • Place a tomato slice on top of each baguette piece.
  • Place a basil leaf on top of the baguette covered with goat cheese.
  • Place salmon slice (s) on top of tomato slice.
  • Place a few capers on each baguette piece (*Optional)
Serve "French Toast To Die For" hot, at room temperature, or chilled.
The dish goes great with eggs for breakfast or with a green salad for
lunch or dinner.  For more recipes, visit:  Simply Delicious Living's
RECIPE & VIDEO blog.


©2011 - Maryann Ridini Spencer, Host of the

"Simply Delicious Living with Maryann®" TV show seen 24/7

on Time Warner Cable's ON DEMAND throughout Southern

California and on CAPS-TV, Channel 6, Mondays, 8:00pm

with rebroadcasts weekly.


Simply Delicious Living's Very Green Salad

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On "Simply Delicious Living with Maryann," host Maryann Ridini Spencer
creates a simply yummy dish made with spinach, green beans, mushrooms,
red cabbage and olive bread croutons! Delicious and nutritious!


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One night, as I was going through the refrigerator deciding what to make for dinner,
I decided to combine some green beans (leftovers from the night before) with fresh
spinach.  I also had some olive bread that I thought would make some great tasting
croutons for the salad.  Et voila! the Very Green Salad with Parmesan and Olive
Bread Croutons
was born.  This salad can be served as a meal and/or with grilled
shrimp, chicken or fish. 


VERY GREEN SALAD with PARMESAN, OLIVE BREAD CROUTONS


Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 2 c. red cabbage
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 c. or 16 oz. green beans (parboiled)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3/4 c. shaved Parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. olive bread croutons
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • Dressing: Lemon Vinaigrette from http://www.garlicgold.com
NOTE: If you are in a jam, and can't get your bottle of Garlic Gold's Lemon Vinaigrette,
you can make a similar dressing with Olive oil, several diced (or minced) garlic cloves
and a 1/4 c. of fresh squeezed lemon juice.


Croutons:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Cut several pieces of olive bread into small (one inch) cubes.
  • On a cookie sheet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the bottom of the pan.
  • Place bread cubes in the pan.
  • Bake in the oven at 450 degrees F until croutons are a golden, crispy brown. 
Place croutons aside while preparing the salad.

Recipe Preparation:

  • Cut off both ends of the green beans.  Rinse and drain.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil on the stovetop. 
  • Place green beans in the pot. Boil 3-4 minutes until beans are
  • cooked (ala dente). Drain green beans and set aside.
  • In a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, put olive oil in the pan.
  • Add in garlic and almonds.  Cook until the almonds and onoins are a golden brown.
  • Add in the green beans and a quarter cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Toss.
  • Add in garlic and salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add in spinach, red cabbage, mushrooms, croutons & beans.
  • Mix the salad.
  • Pour Garlic Gold's Lemon Vinaigrette dressing over the salad.  Toss well.
  • Serve Immediately!
©2011-- Maryann Ridini Spencer

"Simply Delicious Living with Maryann" is a FUN and Enchanting journey
serving up simply delicious recipes and dedicated to all things home,
hearth and joyous living!

Watch the show on Time Warner Cable ON DEMAND® throughout Southern
California (approximately 1.8 million digital subscribers). With your remote,
Go to ON DEMAND, FIND IT ON DEMAND, COOKING & DINING,
and scroll to the SIMPLY DELICIOUS tab.  The show is also seen
on CAPS-TV, Channel 6 in Ventura, Mondays, 8:00pm with
rebroadcasts weekly.





VC Style
Maryann Ridini-Spencer produces video stories about environmentally friendly and healthy living in Ventura County.

She co-hosts "Sustainable Ventura" with Ray Olson on CAPS-TV's VTV, Channel 15 as well as "Simply Delicious Living with Maryann" on Time Warner Cable ON DEMAND.