Friday, December 24, 2010

Very Merry Everything & A Happy New Year

As promised, a few photos from the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest. Again, a fun filled weekend of skiing, eating, socializing and raising environmental awareness and funds for Waterkeeper Alliance.

Also, while it has not yet been announced, I have just learned (via hubby Bob who created, owns and produces the event) that CBS will be re-airing Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest on Sunday January 23rd at 1pm EST. So, for those of you who may have missed it the first time (i.e., Joanne) - another chance.

Dylan Bruno & wife Emmeli Hultquist
Olympian Steve Mahre, Cheryl Hines, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Joey Pantoliano
US National Champion Heidi Voelker and Olympic Gold, Silver Medalist Tommy Moe
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Heidi Voelker, Trevor Donovan
Bob Woodruff, Rob Morrow, KT Tunstall, Cheryl Hines, Steve Mahre

 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., JP Mitchell
Hill Harper and teammates
Party Room
JB Smoove & wife Shahidah Omar
Taylor Armstrong and husband Russell
Patrick Warburton, Rob Morrow
Dylan Bruno, Heidi Voelker, Phil Mahre
Cheryl Hines, Robert Horowitz, Jackie Orr (me), Mary Kennedy

I want to thank you all for reading Fresh Thoughts and for all your comments (via email and posting); please keep them coming as I love hearing from you.

I wish to everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful and meaningful 2011.

See you after the first of the new year.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

KNEES UP! and drive carefully please!

Okay, I am still in red and white mode from last week. I am ordering white stationery with a tiny red heart motif, my name and red/white Japanese paper liner, just purchased a red case for my new flip camera and now, my newest love:

KNEES UP - a fabulous metallic red from butter London's 2010 Holiday Collection. It is perfect this time of year; like wearing a Christmas ornament on your nails  - fun and fabulous! (You might recall from a prior post that I first met butter London, the 3 free lacquer, in Seattle this past summer.)

Knees Up, from the 2010 Holiday Collection

I ordered mine from - they might already be out so hurry and paint away! (Or bring to a nail salon near you.)

photo from butter London.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Isn't White Luscious?

When I am not thinking of red these days - be it Xmas red (for obvious reasons) or blood red (due to various injuries and wounds we happen to be nursing at the moment in our home) or tomato red (due to the bottles of juice in which we had to bathe our skunk encountered Golden Retriever) - I am thinking a lot of white.

Is white a color? I say yes. And in additive color theory it is, in a nutshell, said to be the merging of many colors. So, loving color, I love white. White is often said to convey purity, innocence, simplicity and new beginnings (weddings, even funerals to convey sympathy and life celebration).

Some of the reasons I love the WHITE at this time of year:

Snow  - see last post on one of my favorite spots on the planet - Deer Valley, Utah.
White Sherpa fur (not real) - cozy hoodie - my favorite from Barefoot Dreams Cozychic.
Marshmallows - fluffy, simple and reminiscent of youth.

All so yummy and luscious this time of year.

Straight from Orrganics' home kitchen:
Homemade Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

Easy and fun to make. Perfect for s'mores and great for topping hot chocolate. They melt in your mouth. And, this morning they were also a breakfast food. 

Marshmallow Batter:
3 packs of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of light corn syrup
1.5 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla (not the imitation extract)
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt


bag of sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*
confectioners' sugar
optional: cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes - a topping for some added HEAT which I love (and of course, here is that red color again)

To make the Marshmallow Batter:

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle half the toasted coconut* in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut (and do the same with the cayenne/red pepper if you are using it). Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into LARGE squares. Use a pizza cutter. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners' sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.


* To toast the coconut, sprinkle evenly on a cookie sheet or jelly roll and bake at 350 until lightly browned - toss frequently. This takes 5 or so minutes - watch so you don't burn. Time could vary.

Next time I will be adding a dusting of graham crackers and choc for instant s'mores yummmmmmmmm!

Please know that the recipes for homemade marshmallows out there are all quite similar. The one I use is adapted from The Barefoot Contessa, Family Style by Ina Garten - someone I feel especially close to although we have never met.

all photos by Jackie

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chili in the Forecast

Thanksgiving has now come and gone and one would think that I would be leaving all thoughts of turkey behind me but that just is not possible. Two words, two ways, will sum it up:
"Deer Valley"  --  "Turkey Chili"

Oh, and "Yum Yum!"

The mountain opens this weekend and I am off to ski, celebrate and eat turkey chili at the 19th Annual Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest. You can tune in to watch this Sunday, Dec. 5th, either right before or right after the NFL game on CBS; check your local listings. ( Disclosure: Yes, this is my husband's show and yes, this should be considered a plug.) But also know that aside from all the fun, festivity and fabulous skiing (due to the early dumping of luscious snow), there is a charitable component to the weekend benefiting Waterkeeper Alliance. Check it out.

Now, back to the turkey chili. Deer Valley has the best food on any ski mountain in the US that I have been to and their turkey chili is tops! One can try to make it at home too -  there is a mix and what could be easier especially this busy time of year.

Photos above are from Skifest 2009 - this year's photos will follow.

And, since there was an inquiry, here are some of my tips for airplane travel (which I seem to do a lot of):

I wear comfortable, layered, usually black or other dark clothing. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable at 30,000 feet up due to your clothing selection. The seating is uncomfortable enough. I am not getting any larger but I have more space in the lavatory on the plane than at my seat. Note that while I want to be as comfortable as possible, I don't need to look like a slob. I love the bygone era when people actually dressed up for their flights;

I bring a folder with my flight/ticket info, car rental or ground transportation, other confirmations (dinners, baggage, etc), places or things I might want to do when I get to where I am going - everything is organized and in one place. I can review it during the flight if I need to and I have it with me;

Wear or bring socks/peds for "going through security " - why would I want to touch the dirty floor with my feet when I have to take my shoes off;

I pack little roll up flats for the flight - more comfortable than high heels or boots for extended travel and, should my feet swell from the air pressure, I don't have to stress that I can't get my shoes back on before I can walk off the plane;

Yes, I usually pack extra clothes in my carry on just in case my checked luggage (and I ALWAYS check luggage) doesn't make it to the destination with me;

I have a zip lock bag with all my liquid essentials always packed so I never have to rethink it and it is ready to go on short notice. I routinely check it to make sure I don't need to replace any items;

I always travel with pain relief medicine as I don't want to take up time looking for a drug store;

I don't wear lots of big jewelry and or belts that have to be removed while going through security - although I tend to wear a chunky watch which I just routinely take off and put in my purse so I don't set off any machines or have to walk through again;

We all know by now, remove your computer from its case. But also know that some airports want your iPad separated too so I just do that without being asked - why invite delay?;

Pack a large wrap or scarf or travel blanket - it can get cold on planes and it can also serve as a pillow (I have a neck roll as well but it takes up a lot of space);

Download any movies or TV shows at least a day before so you are not disappointed when you realize you wanted to watch the latest episodes of Glee or Keeping Up With the Kardasians (a guilty pleasure that I seem to share with a lot of people) an hour before you have to leave the house;

Gum, mints, snacks;

And, finally, I always have headphones and sunglasses with me. They are essential to ward off chatty seat mates* or the glare from window shades that won't close.

*My daughter told me that she can still tell if my eyes are open from the side.

All of the above is now second nature to me so there really is no hassle.

Happy and easy travels to all!