Saturday, February 27, 2016

Seven Sins of Social Media

Let me start by saying that I am not writing this post because I am against social media. In fact I am fervent user of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and won't hesitate to admit that. I love how easy social media it makes these days to get and stay in touch with other people. Friends, (foes ;), family, acquaintances, prospect clients, business partners or prospect employers etc. 
For me personally, it's how I keep in touch with some of the most important people in my life, amongst which are my mother and my best friend of all best friends who both live in the Netherlands. Even though we're on different sides of the world, these social media allow us to keep in touch and follow what goes on in each other's lives. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Classic Tomato Frito sauce

How spoiled I am by having grown up in a country where you can buy this amazing sauce base readily made by Heinz in any given grocery store. However, after I moved to California I had to come up with a plan. Because Heinz Tomato Frito isn't sold here anywhere. Imagine my disappointment when I found out I couldn't just get my go to sauce base for many of my favorite recipes... I use this sauce for making home made pizza, Mac n Cheese, mini lasagna cups, and the list just goes on! So I started experimenting. And after many tries, I've come up with a recipe that might not be perfect, but pretty darn satisfying to my tastebuds!

  • 1 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Basil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Dice up the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Toss all ingredients in a slow cooker (or crockpot) and turn on low for four hours. After cooking time is over, spoon the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Let cool before putting sauce in a jar. Can be frozen. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

How well can you read people?

Can you tell these emotions apart from each other?

Or how about these? 

As you are probably realizing right about now, it is not as easy to read faces as we like to think. Certain expressions can look a lot alike, and most of these expressions often don't show very long. It is hard to read the truth off of someone's face. And even more difficult to determine whether we are indeed being told the truth or not.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Sweet Tooth Affair- Appetizer

First off, if you don't already know this about me... I have a ferocious sweet tooth. Insatiable most days. Luckily I am able to balance this sweet tooth out with lots of yoga and martial arts training... But some days I just can't help myself. I need to go to my happy place. Those of you lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area might know what I'm talking about when I tell you about my happy place. Most likely the ones who live on the east side of the bay. It's called 'A Sweet Affair'. Ring any bells yet? A sweet affair is this magical place (known as a bakery), where you can get my favorite sandwich ever. It's called a roasted turkey sandwich. Some of you might raise eyebrows when I start summing up what the ingredients are, but trust me when I say that hardly a day goes by that I don't think about this perfect combination of sweet, savory, creamy, crispy and crunchy. The sandwich has creme cheese, cranberry jelly, roasted turkey, avocado, crispy lettuce and sprouts on whatever bread you desire ( my taste buds usually vote for butter crust).  

Before I give you the secret to my sandwich inspired yummy party rolls, I should also mention A Sweet Affair's salted caramel cupcakes. If you should ever find yourself in downtown Walnut Creek and close to this magic bakery, don't withhold yourself from ending your lunch with this desert. Best cupcake I've ever had in my life. And I'm addicted to making, baking and enjoying cupcakes, so that should tell you something!

To the point, and back to my favorite sandwich. I decided to use this as inspiration for a kid friendly party snack. What I like to do for parties, is turn this delicious go to sandwich of mine, into a quick and easy appetizer roll. So let me list the ingredients;

  • Flour tortillas
  • Roasted turkey lunch meat
  • Avocado
  • Red berry jelly (works with straw-, rasp- and cranberry as long as it's got a slightly tart flavor)
  • Lettuce 
  • Sprouts (can be omitted and/or substituted with sunflower seeds) 
  • Cocktail skewers

These appetizer rolls are super quick and easy to make. Lay out a tortilla. Spread creme cheese on one side and jelly on the other. Cover lengthwise with roasted turkey lunch meat. Slice avocado thinly and spread out over turkey. Cover with lettuce and if desired top with sprouts or seeds. Roll up the tortilla lengthwise so all ingredients are perfectly spread out over the length of the roll, use jelly and creme cheese to make the roll stick together nicely. Pin with skewers before slicing in even inch-thick slices. Display on a serving tray and enjoy! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Have you met the new Barbie?

We all know the 'good old' Barbie, Mattel's blonde skinny stick figure doll with the itty bitty waist, perfect perky boobs, endless legs and last but not least perfectly pointed toes ready to wear whatever monstrously high heels she came with. Not a very empowering impression of a real woman. 

I don't know about you, but I grew up with a whole army of Barbies. I envied that doll sometimes. Not only did she have the perfect body, but who would not want to be rolling around in a hot pink convertible, living in a pink dream house and by far my favorite.... Have an enormous closet with fashionable outfits for every occasion and gorgeous heels in every shape, size and color. Although after getting older the first three may have become less attractive, I have to admit that I'm definitely working on the last one. Ha! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Tips & Tricks for parents with young children

Dear parent,

I see you. I see what you do, I see how hard you work. I see what expectations you face. Life is expensive. Especially in this area where we live. And you're trying to make the best of it. Working to be able to afford just living. And then there is the other side. The recreational side of you. Trying to still spend time with friends, family, do fun activities and also try and take care of yourself and your family while doing all that. I see you. And you're doing so well juggling all of these different aspects of your life. You amaze me!

I know you are very busy. That's just what life is, busy. As a person and especially as a parent, you get busy. I understand. I just want to make sure that you still make time for what is really important. You. And your child.
So here's my advice to you, as a professional who has been working with a lot of different families with young children, for years.