California Taste Triumph

Organic Enzo Olive Oils 

Several years ago, we visited friends in Tuscany during the olive harvest in spite of the region's chilly November weather.  

We did so because our friends had often shared their delicious wines and olive oil with us and we were determined to learn if an even fresher oil experience was possible.  As with most Italians who are blessed with a bit of land, our friends divide their property between grape vines and olive trees.

Naturally, a trip to almost any scenic area known for fine wine and oil can be worthwhile. But, why wait for overseas travels?  For example, I was lucky enough recently to sample an oil from the Ricchiuti family, who have farmed in central California for over 100 years.  And In recent years, their extra virgin oils have added another success story to their highly regarded line of commodities.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit an area where olives are being harvested and pressed, the aroma will linger in your memory even longer than the magnificent flavor. 
With wine, of course, only long after pressing and bottling can you enjoy the flavor and fragrance.  Olives, however, are pleased to give up their best immediately, so you can treat yourself even before the oil is bottled.

You might imagine that after generations of nurturing olive groves in Italy, a family might enjoy a reasonable amount of success in a similar climate. So it is with the Ricchiuti family, who have further elevated their reputation with this season’s line of oils from their California groves under the name of Enzo's Table.

After sipping, nosing, tasting and enjoying what I call their "super Californian," I was thrilled to rediscover within the attractive bottle of their latest offering, the familiar, fresh-pressed fragrance found in the finest olive oils worldwide.  

The Enzo's Table line can also help those new to the "Tuscan tingle," along with their full range of expressive oil varieties.

Meanwhile, prepare yourself for an extra-virgin oil with a frontoio-fresh aroma that dances up your nostrils and across your taste buds, encouraging many sample sips.  Then, add the terrific tingle to any dish calling for a uniquely fine olive oil.

Even lovers of lighter oils may find themselves drawn to the intensely powerful experience presented in Enzo’s Organic Estate Grown Bold, though their choices are extensive.You will likely want several bottles to make it through this season, along with more to share as gifts. Find their oils and other treats at: enzostable.com  Here, you may also choose the option to be notified at each season's freshest bottling.  

Why simply offer wine and flowers when visiting friends?  This oil is an experience that may well become an every day treat, and lead you to fervently hope the Ricchiutis might best their efforts next season!

In case you're wondering, I no longer wait for trips to visit friends in Italy to bring home marvelous Italian-style products.


Stop Aging?

             Sounds impossible, yes?  Well, we DO have people working on that - if you believe the stories surrounding some of GOOGLE's current projects.

What to do in the meantime?  No junk science, please.  First, to potentially slow the aging of your skin and other organs, keep that bottle of water at hand - at home and the office - and keep refilling it.  Lubrication from the inside is a must to keep your pipes flowing and your hair, skin... you know the rest... all functioning at maximum efficiency.

The other step is where Dyson comes in to play, counteracting that insufferable dryness that afflicts so many.  Take a look at what the devilishly clever inventor James Dyson has created this time.  (Yes, that Dyson, of vacuum fame and other world-renowned gadgetry)  So, speaking of aging, New York City and many other regions fight ancient plumbing and dry heat for long periods each year.   That dryness causes nostrils to plug up and skin to feel crackly.  Unhealthy?  Absolutely!  Contributing to faster aging?  Obviously!  Plus, you can almost watch as your wood furniture cracks and splits.

To help with this desert dryness challenge, Dyson created a new humidifier.  This unit combines the quiet efficiency of Dyson's patented "air multiplier" technology with a new ultrasonic system that manages to kill 99.9% of the bacteria often found in older ultrasonic models.

Just as with certain high-end water treatment systems using UVC light, this humidifier helps destroy much of the insidious particles that used to be spread throughout our environment.  And, when you can feel the improved breathing and the drop in static electricity from the first day, you realize you have discovered something special.

Like me, you probably tried other humidifiers, only to meet these frustrating challenges:

•  Noisy fans
•  Poor coverage area
•  Limited control choices
•  Uneven spreading water droplets
•  Heavy to lift and difficult to refill
•  Ugly and space hogging

Not so with Dyson's humidifier.  With a small footprint, we found the coverage area easily spreads throughout a large bedroom or an office area of nearly 190 square feet.  You can even set the  humidity level you prefer and the unit maintains it.  This enables the humidifier to remain active longer without over-saturating the air or spreading excessive moisture on the furniture.

In addition, the dual-usage aspect could be a tremendous benefit.  You won't just use the Dyson as a humidifier to relieve the driest stretches of winter.  Since it is also a fan, in hotter months, the air multiplier will be an added blessing to rooms needing steady, fresher air without blade noise.

To sum up: all excuses to postpone refilling the water tank have been eliminated.  A carry handle is built in to the tank top, helping you easily lift and carry it to the sink with one hand.  Plus, a small remote control has been thoughtfully magnetized so it holds to the top of the machine when not sitting bedside or in the desk area.

See?  Controlling the weather is now as simple as pushing a button in the palm of your hand.  As far as stopping aging?  Let's see what Mr. Dyson next presents to us!


Cook with Authority

Anolon Authority, that is...  

Thought occurred to me today while sliding my frittata smoothly off my Anolon skillet on to a plate - being creative in the kitchen is much easier when your cookware cooperates.  (Brilliant, I know)

With the increasing demand for higher-quality pots and pans, even in the non-stick category, you must still digest the fine print before you purchase.  Be certain none of the old chemicals proven to be unhealthy are present.  Will you want to slip it in to the oven from time to time?  And, how about upkeep?

Friends of mine find it amusing that annually for the past several years, I have tested a range of cookware offerings, searching for the ultimate in design and construction.  

It seems there was always a feature lacking, or some quirk that prevented me from picking up more than a couple of pieces for long-term use.  But now, I can cross this category off my search list.

In recent weeks, I have concentrated my focus on preparing meals using the latest creations from Anolon  and am pleased to report their latest versions resist even my clumsier experiments.  Of course, their line has been known for quality and versatility for decades.  But now, the only challenge is to determine which of their newest models and sizes best fit your needs.

Until I began cooking more frequently, I would have been satisfied with a display of quality, hard anodized cookware, perhaps even in copper, largely to impress.  Previously, I could often survive with just an "Everything" pan.  Now, with more of my free time spent expanding my kitchen skills, the old saying "use the right tool for the right job" has finally sunk in.  Plus, a certain amount of self respect occasionally urges me onward.  So...

Here's what makes Anolon Authority cookware the right tools for me:

• Dishwasher safe
• Free from PFOA 
• High-quality hard anodized construction
• OK to use good quality metal utensils 
• Handles designed to fit your hand more comfortably
• OK in ovens up to 500F
• True non-stick (even with eggs, though some of us still like a touch of oil for flavor)
• Results are both pleasing to the eye and appealing to the taste buds

Pick up a piece or two.  You may find yourself adding a full set to your holiday "wish list"

In a hurry?  Enjoy ideas from their Twitter account: https://twitter.com/anolon  
or Facebook:  facebook.com/anolon


Healthy Snacks and Superfoods

Taste bud alert.  Time to dig in to a few of the newest flavorful treats from around the globe from the annual Fancy Food Show in New York City.

First up, cookies.  Who doesn't love the satisfying deliciousness of a well-baked cookie?  Lenny & Larry are two pals with a passion for protein and a fondness for fitness who set out to create a unique lineup of cookies, muffins and brownies - minus trans fats, dairy and eggs.

Crammed with 16 - 20 grams of protein and helpfully vegan, these baked treats from Lenny & Larry's helps you maintain your fighting form while they appeal to your taste buds.  I tried several flavors at the show- each flavorful without "diet" or artificial taste.  At www.lennylarry.com you can see their protein-boosting choices, all minus the sugar load found in many so-called healthy snack bars.


For liquid refreshment, one of the healthiest choices in the category includes tart cherry juice, a daily must-have product for many athletes - professional or otherwise.  www.cheribundi.com is a primary purveyor, presenting over 50 cherries worth of tasty, gluten-free tartness per eight ounce bottle.

Why do so many tout tart cherries?  Over 100 sports teams are now regular customers, partly due to the ability of tart cherries to speed recovery from aches & pains.  Other claimed benefits: relief from gout (highly unpleasant, any relief is a blessing) and improved sleep.  The company offers a "seven day challenge" so you can determine results for yourself.  

This delicious drink also makes a healthy mixer since the ingredients are all derived from tart cherries - not concentrate.  One more tastebud pleasing option to building better health.


This might surprise you, a Super Food derived from tree leaves.  Not just any tree.  Look for products made from Moringa and you will find this age-old plant to be a "Superfood."  Thousands of years old, this amazing tree provides enormous amounts of nutrition and is well-suited to its West African nickname, the "miracle tree."  

The market is rapidly expanding world-wide for Moringa, with its nutrient-rich, easy to digest qualities.  Studies prove the leaf is loaded with minerals, iron, calcium and vitamins.  And, it's not just for vegans or vegetarians.  Moringa satisfies the nutritional requirements as a "complete" protein.

One source is a company developed by former Peace Corps volunteer, Lisa Curtis.  She created Kuli Kuli Foods, which is also building sustainable incomes for women in Africa.  Lisa is now spreading the benefits of this leafy powerhouse across the U.S. with http://kulikulifoods.com

Now ready for "prime time," Moringa is one of the healthiest food sources on the planet.  Enjoy its benefits in tea form, snack bars or powder.  It tastes terrific in salads, smoothies or mixed in with various dishes.  Happy experimenting. 


Animal Lovers, Welcome

It's here... The DysonCinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy     

What is your "must have" feature when choosing a vacuum cleaner?  We all have at least one that tops others.  But, what if... you discovered a game-changing vacuum that offered all the features you crave?

For me, any vacuum that can avoid the need to clean filters or empty bags gets my attention right away.  So, my eyes lit up (sad, perhaps) during my current research which included this futuristic new Dyson - especially the upright model, though their cordless and canister versions are also feature-rich.  This big ball baby is truly a different species of animal.

Over the years I have been following technology, companies and inventors I respect, Mrs. O and I have owned our share of Dysons.  Home, office, wherever we put down roots for longer than a month - along came our Dyson.  

Today, results show their new Cinetic technology helps the company rise again to sit among top-of-the-line vacuums.  Dyson continues to revolutionize vacuuming.  First significant benefits we noticed: the room air seems fresher almost immediately. And the longer the machine runs, the cleaner the air feels, helped by the tight seal around the bin plus the advanced HEPA filtration.

How about suction power?  Of course a number of vacuums offer decent "pull," but swirl this animal around your carpet and you may be surprised at the Animal Allergy's grip.  Pile is brushed and spread so well that it achieves a deep clean we have not previously noted.

When using the Animal Allergy to vacuum areas that had just been cleaned by other machines, we were astonished at how much more grime it sucked in.  If you have pets, this model assuredly will open your eyes (and nose) to healthier breathing.

Compare your ideal features to those you find in the Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy and decide for yourself. Is it finally time to move on up?

• Bagless - with NO filters to wash (huge!)
• Every imaginable attachment for almost any vacuuming job
   -  Turbine tool is amazing on beds, chairs, couches, fabrics, etc
   -  Soft brushes keep floors clean with no scratching
   -  Tools specifically for stairs, reaching up and under, tiny crevices
• Helps clear the air of allergens, dust, pet dander and other unwanted particles
• Long cord covers large area at a time
• Easy-to-reach on-off button and floor/carpet button (to turn on/off rug brush)  

Last thing: It is still true that the "never loses suction" benefit for which Dyson vacuums are famous is alive and well in the Animal Allergy.  The Cinetic tech helps the machine snatch pollen and mold spores from your environment and locks them in to the bin.  It all works so well that no pre-motor filter is needed.  That helps keep these new Dysons as maintenance free as you can find anywhere.   

Save time, save money and enjoy a cleaner home or office.  This and other enticing developments can be found here: http://www.dyson.com/


Resolution Revolution

How is that resolution going?  Your plan to eat healthier this year?

If you still find the challenge a bit more strenuous than you imagined, here is a super solution.  Grab a copy of the HEALTHY SLOW COOKER REVOLUTION from "America's Test Kitchen Bookstore."  Not familiar with their stellar reputation for cook books, product recommendations and recipes?  Prepare yourself for fabulous treats.

You really can create delicious meals with a slow cooker.  And, you can simply add the ingredients before work, then return home to new and welcoming fragrances floating from your kitchen.  Or, ease out the door each morning with a spring in your step from a healthy breakfast - not just the temporary boost from a quick cup of coffee.  You need a nutritious start to keep your energy up, whether dieting or not.

As always, the key is: the right tool for the right job.  And if you have no proper slow cooker, fear not.  This new book sorts out the best and discusses ratings while introducing new and updated recipes.

Dieting is such a drain on your time, energy and mood.  But, it need not drain your pocketbook or strain your tastebuds.  The creators of Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines have been trusted go-to kitchen experts for years.  With this new offering, you can discover some wonderful ways to enjoy deliciously memorable, even low-sodium treats.

Slow cooking no longer equates to basic beef stew or watery soups and boring bean dishes.  Even if you are not a braising professional or a wine aficionado, you will soon be treating your friends and family, and most of all, pleasing yourself with your new range of  meals, easily prepared from over 200 recipes.

Bet you didn't know you can even quickly create terrific, tasty salads with a slow cooker.  And, you won't even need your apron.  

Start here: http://slowcookerhealthy.com 


Dueling Tastebuds

Here's your chance to attend one of the most glorious food events anywhere.  Again this year, one of the best reasons to include a London visit in your vacation plans this June is the "Taste of London" festival.  (Click link to see what the deliciousness is all about)

Even world-famous chefs refer to this annual bash as the best event for true food fanatics, and with its unique energy and mouth-watering munching choices, you are guaranteed a good time.  Stop by for samplings from chefs you have admired on television as well as newcomers.  Enjoy tasting the very best from hugely popular restaurants - without paying the usual eye-watering prices.

What's more, you can attend lively events showing you exactly how to create many of the specialties at home, as you mingle with people from around the world.  Or, relax at outdoor tables and watch the world go by - literally - as you dive in to your chosen treats.  People watching is a marvelous London hobby and with the concentration of visitors from across the globe, you can rub elbows with a wide range of fascinating folks.  Everyone enjoys the massive party atmosphere, with the beautiful snacks, tidbits and meals making the day of tasting truly memorable.

Taste of London this year runs from June 18 through the 22nd, when the weather is normally perfect.  No humidity, pleasantly warm temps and an array of smells that may pull you back for another visit.  After all, any day you choose will cost less than one meal at many upscale restaurants.  And, you will find no better way to experience the world-famous Regent's Park in the Marylebone area of London.  Plan your trip with the help of these event details and ticket info: http://london.tastefestivals.com/about/  

All that lovely dining, plus activities and fun that appeal to your entire family just may be the highlight of your whole London trip.   It's as if every chef you ever wanted to see, and every variety of food you could imagine - were gathered in one location for your pleasure.

Hey, that's exactly what it is! 


London Tourism

     London offers enormous excitement year-round, but Spring is especially inviting.  As one of the world's most magnificent walking cities, you will find it challenging to spend much time indoors.  However, when you need to give your feet a break, one option also enables you to soothe your soul.
     The Royal Academy of Music (www.ram.ac.uk) welcomes you to a series of free midday concerts, often three times a week.  This is a marvelous stop in The Regent's Park area of the city, with performances lasting just under an hour, starting at 1:05pm - promptly.  After a stroll through Regent's Park, one of London's most beautiful, and lovelier than Hyde Park, wander down to the York Gate park exit.  
     One block away and very close to Madame Tussaud's, you can't miss the historical music venue on Marylebone Road.  Check the website ahead of time to plan your lunch for before or after your concert.  During the season, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays present the best chances to enjoy free seating and to escape from crowds.  Arrive 15 minutes early to unwind and ensure your choice of seats in the intimate recital room or concert hall.
     Another reason to check the Academy's website is to determine whether that day's musical offerings fit your mood and taste.  And if your post-concert hunger leans more toward casual shopping, directly across the road lies the beginning of the fashionably fun Marylebone High Street.  Many of London's finest shops await you, with service and attention you will find to be very welcoming, along with an appealing variety of restaurants.
     By the way, evening concerts are often featured at the Royal Academy of Music, too, with modest admission fees, but those last a bit longer and might require some schedule juggling - if your London plans also include shows in the West End or any of the many other attractions.
     Whatever you do, if you have not yet visited London, even stopping for a few days will provide memorable highlights and fantastic pictures to launch your European holiday.


Sleeping Revolution

Give the Revitalizing Gift of Sound Sleep 

     It had to happen.  With the growing success of foam mattresses and pillows, it was only a matter of time before companies created a newer, better option.  One leader in the sleep industry is Comfort Revolution with their memory foam mattresses.  Recently, they added the ingenious cooling technology of Hydraluxe gel to a new line of pillows.  
     The result?  After several of us tested a wide range of pillows, we are sold on the Comfort Revolution Hydraluxe Gel model.  It matters not if you normally prefer foam, down, plain feather or hypo-allergenic pillows.  After a few relaxing nights with your head nestled in a new foam-gel pillow, you are likely to discover much better sleep quality as we did.
     The reasons are simple: old-fashioned foam mattresses and pillows often caused people to toss and turn due to heat build up or foam compression.  But the sleep experts at Comfort Revolution used their extensive research and design skills to create a pillow that helps you get much more of the quality sleep you need.
     Even their pillow covers are breathable, yet still protective.  And, if you sleep on your side, back or stomach, they offer a model that perfectly fits your head and neck.  So if you have been stalling on replacing that worn-out pillow, try the pillow that independent tests prove help you sleep cooler. 
     With the stress of daily life, it is more important than every to maximize the amount of sound sleep you get every night.  Try sleeping on a Hydraluxe pillow from Comfort Revolution and wake up more refreshed and energized every day.  Your entire body may soon feel better with the improved restfulness. 


Disappearing Wallet

Hide & Seek Wallet

Take Out Wallet
Wallets are so personal, aren't they?  
Even if you feel certain you know what you want, or what the person you are shopping for wants, choosing one can be a challenge.
Wandering through department stores, leather goods shops... scanning online... as your choices magnify, confusion increases.  And even flipping through wallets in person may not help.

Fortunately, unlike with watches, the trend is leaning away from pocket-bulging sizes.  

Look what happened to watches as designers were unleashed.  Many created massive time pieces that seem large enough to wear out an NFL lineman. And those are just the women's models (!)

But with wallets, it is more about slimming down and economizing without being stingy.  Almost to the point of disappearing.

So, how do you choose one that creates a fashion statement without settling for the older styles, or sizable enough to carry all your cards, diary, passport and several currency types?

Most people today crave class with a hint of subtlety.  Of course, a few recent wallet designs would seem more suitable in the "lingerie" category - barely more than a rubber band with a hint of leather or other minuscule material.

Let's face it.  Dinner with business colleagues or close friends requires showing some effort, even if understated.  Pulling out a stack of cards and cash from your pocket, wrapped with a cheap band is bad enough.  The other extreme however may be worse - dragging out a wallet the size of a pocketbook that looks like something you keep it in the garage with your cleaning rags.

The solution?  Drop by Bellroy.com to find a wide range of choices, all tasteful and stylish.

Here, you discover an enormous variety of wallet sizes and creations suitable for almost any need, without busting your budget.  And, with their three-year guarantee (longer than many of us keep jobs) you have no fear of owning a distinctive gift made to fall apart any time soon.  Added to Bellroy's guarantee and unique quality are the thoughtful solutions to any situation that their styles provide.  It is a one-stop wallet shop, offering world-wide delivery.

From the smallest effective card sleeve for the minimalist - to larger varieties including a Passport Sleeve - even the leather quality speaks loudly.  My choice, for example is the Hide & Seek wallet pictured up top.  With its smooth, supple sheep leather and clever card slot placement, it slides easily in to my pocket and molds to me immediately without needing  a break-in period of heavier leather.

The other style pictured above, the Take Out Wallet does what it says.  It lets you take out the removable interior section and to carry something lighter and simpler when you don't need the fuller version.  Best advice I can give you with wallets, since they are so personal? Check the short video descriptions of the full line from Bellroy.com.  

When you search for a wallet perfect for your needs, or a wallet for the person you want to make an impression on that will last for years, you will find both solutions at Bellroy.com 

The design genius of their wallets enables you to carry more of what you need, without the old-fashioned bulk you don't want.