Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WDW returns with ACAI BOWLS!

Meet my new obsession -- Acai bowls.

They are like ice cream that is good for you!
I like to eat them for breakfast or lunch but feel free to treat them like dessert!

What is an acai berry anyways?  It's considered a "superfood" from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.  The acai tree is actaully a type of palm tree.  Brazilian natives consider the berry to be a secret of health, providing energy, and boosting immune and metabolic function.

Here are some interesting facts about acai berries:

-They contain amino acids & omega fatty acids.

-They have all the same vitamins and minerals of most fruits, but also contain unique chemical compounds found in no other fruit on the planet.  

-Acai contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants you can find -  including a superpotent one called anthocyanin.  It also has free radical powers. Acai's ORAC (oxygen radical absorbancy capacity) is over 3500, which is hundreds of times higher than your average apples and bananas.

The best way to get acai is by buying it frozen.
The company Sabazon sells convenient packets of plain Acai and Acai mixed with guarana extract.  The latter is lightly sweetened with organic cane juice and I prefer that one.

How to make 1 serving

 In high-powered blender add the following:
-1/2 frozen banana, cubed
-1 packet Sabazon Acai puree 
(I get mine at Costco, they also have it at Sprouts and probably Whole Foods)
-1/2 cup liquid (I like almond milk or raw milk or half OJ/half milk)
 -small handful of ice

Blend to the consistency of ice cream.
Now, the fun part... toppings!
I like to add the following:
fresh fruit 
(my faves are fresh berries, sliced bananas, peaches, and kiwi)
homemade granola
toasted shredded coconut
and my absolute fave: chia seeds

If you're near Los Angeles, and want a foodie adventure, here's a link to the best acai bowls in town!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adventures with Annie Sloan Paint

Recently I got turned on to the ease of refinishing furniture with a product called Annie Sloan paint.

I knew a few people who had tried it and had raved about it.  With this type of paint, which is a chalk paint, you are able to paint over any wood finish without sanding or priming.  You just have to be sure your piece is cleaned off and you can start painting it.  I had a few pieces of pine furniture and a kitchen table set I wanted to refinish, so I decided to give it a try.  My sister Suzanne helped me with the first piece, which is a dresser we use in our family room.

Here is a before shot of the dresser (I forgot to take the pic before we painted the drawers).  Originally we purchased this piece unfinished over 10 years ago.  It's just a basic piece with not much detail.  When we got it, we put a clear coat on it and over the years it grew to be a light honey pine color.  


Since I am slowly moving my house colors from the warm to cool.  So I chose a gray color called French Linen.  Annie Sloan paint is about $40 a quart but I only used about 1/4 of the can for this piece.

  We applied three coats of the paint and then I waxed it twice with Annie Sloan wax.  The chalk paint dries, well...chalky.  :-)  So you need to finish with a protective product after you paint.  The finish with the wax applied has just the slightest sheen but feels smooth.  This is easy to do with a brush or cloth.  I am really happy with the way this turned out (my walls are being painted a pale gray as I type, so just ignore the clash of the butter color- also do you think I could have straightened the lamp shade before snapping a pic?) Suzanne graciously donated some extra vintage-type glass knobs she had so I estimate the cost of this project to be about $10.  Nice!


Next, Suzanne and I tackled my kitchen table.   Again, we had bought the set unfinished and we painted it black.  To be honest, I've never been very happy with the way it turned out, so it was the perfect candidate for Annie Sloan!   I chose the color Old White.   I am so thankful my sister helped me because this was a much bigger project.  We actually used a whole quart of the paint for this and put on three coats of Polycrylic.  Here is the table and chair before:



And after:


What a difference!  I love it.  
I did a light distress and some of the black paint came through and it's perfect.  The original micro suede chair cushions were aging and a bit blase with all the white, so I ordered this fun fabric to recover them with.  My walls are being painted a light grayish blue so this fabric will look perfect.   

Project cost on this was about $80 since I'm recovering the chairs.  Pretty good for such a dramatic makeover. 

The breakfast nook will be so light and cheery!


My next project was my master bathroom vanity cupboards.  They were a (yellowing) "white washed" oak, which is GREAT for the 1990's... anyways I should have had them refinished dark when my kitchen cupboards were refinished a few year ago - but I'm not that smart.  :-)   

I figured Annie Sloan would be a easy and quick fix and I was right.  My bathroom is also being painted a pale gray (hence swatches painted on the wall) so I thought to use the French Linen again on the cabinets. 

Again, I forgot my "before" picture until I was already trying the paint on a little. 


Don't even ask what my bathroom tile is  -- it came with the house. It's kind of Southwesty/Art Deco (if there is such a category) and features unique metallic elements.  Yeah.
I've learned to make peace with it.  

Ta-da!  Super easy facelift for about $5 and a few hours of time! 
I used 2 coats of Annie Sloan and 2 coats of Polycrylic. 
I am very pleased!

Stephanie was over last Saturday refinishing a vintage dresser my sister found her for $20 at a thrift store. She did it this fabulous Duck Egg blue and waxed it.  She's going to get some cool knobs for it and hang a large ornate mirror over it for her bedroom.

 Here's the before shot:


And after - mid-century becomes funky and cool:


Stephanie also helped me redo this cute little vanity seat I had from Rich's mom.  We used the French Linen then wet distressed it (wiping a damp cloth over it right after painting) which revealed the former cherry wood finish.  I put a quick coat of wax on this and it was done. We recovered the seat in a scrap of fabric I had laying around, and Stephanie is going to put it in her house.


 So after all this, Rich asked me (in a very nice way) to please not paint EVERYTHING in the house - ha!

Just so you know, Home Depot also sells a less expensive chalk paint.  My sister tried it and she said it's similar to Annie Sloan.  
Happy painting!

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