November, and Autumn Warmness

November!

I simply love November with its bright deep oranges and reds cascading through and kissing the damp floors. The fresh breeze caressing your face and, oh, the scents of pumpkin pie, apples, and cinnamon. The drop in temperature and the early nights are so inviting, so intimately perfect… They are the perfect time to enjoy a glass of wine in front of the fireplace.

I have to confess, November (and Autumn as a whole) in England were more “Autumn-y” than in Texas, but nevertheless Autumn remains my favourite time of the year. America did bring the addition of Thanksgiving into my November, and I embrace it as one of my own now. Such a fantastical thing to celebrate; THANKS! It’s a time to stop one moment to savour the grandiosity of life and count our blessings, as well as a time to unite as a family and slow down from our busy schedules to be together. I wish more people would simply enjoy November without rushing into Christmas. Take your time and enjoy the moment… Christmas will come regardless, with its pretty colours and its own scents and magical moments.

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Thanksgiving brings me to think about family gatherings and blessings. Makes me think of fireplaces and pumpkin pies. Thanksgiving makes me think about family stories, turkey, and wine. Oh, and let’s not forget cranberries! Those little gems! Bursting with flavour, a little juicy explosion in your mouth.

So speaking of Thanksgiving, last year we didn’t have turkey. We were concerned about the ways in which turkeys are treated, overfed, and exploited for Thanksgiving purposes. But since then, we have learned about some organic, cage-free, humane farms across the states that raise turkeys so we are still debating whether to go for one of them or simply ditch the turkey altogether this year, too. Other alternatives can vary from family to family. Mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, lentils, creamy baked leeks, quinoa, mac-n-cheese, pumpkin risotto, spinach turnovers, and beet salad are among my favourite items for this year’s menu.

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You can pair all of these with either red or white wine, for which I suggest trying K-J AVANT Red Blend from California. It is a fruity, bold wine with ripe raspberry and pomegranate and delicate hints of vanilla and cocoa. Red wines usually go better with red meats, but I find the bold flavour pairs very well with vegetables too, especially with leafy greens such as kale or spinach. Then, if you’d rather pair with white wine, I recommend K-J AVANT Californian Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, tangy and light goes perfect with any vegetarian dish.

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And if you want to change things up a little and dare to bring a little of England’s Christmas flavours into the table, how about making some mulled wine? Oh the aroma! Simply pour a bottle of K-J AVANT red wine into a pan with some orange and some spices, such as star anise and cinnamon, and let it simmer for 15mins in a very low heat. You can let it simmer for longer to create a stronger and spicier beverage, or you can use a crockpot and let it simmer for a few hours on a low setting. Enjoy warm! Cheers!

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Just remember, drink responsibly, slow down, and enjoy the moment.

Christmas will come next, but for now… Enjoy the Autumn!

Xoxo

OnixJ

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Halloween Deco!

Oh Halloween! I love Halloween! the glitter, the spark, the make-up, the “gore”, the chance to be odd without anyone judging (well… less judging I shall say)  I love it all! Autumn (or Fall for my dear people in USA) is one of my favourite seasons. The colours, the scents, the food and the celebrations.

Moving to the USA has enhanced my love for autumn, even if I don’t get the magnificnet nature colours I used to get in the UK (It just doesn’t happen that way down in Texas) I have now added Thanksgiving to my list of things I love about Fall.

But before thanksgiving, HALLOWEEN!!! yes I go all out for Halloween. And here to show you some of the decorations we put up at home, hopefully to inspire you into adding some halloween magic to your house. Trick or Treat!

I started by re-using my IKEA Greenhouse (for more info see link) you can make it child friendly as I did, using paper cuttings, plastic skulls and couldrons or make it grownup spooky all gore and fresh by using fake blood splattated over the greenhouse and plastic thumbs (just and idea) but since I have kids I made a kid friendly halloween greenhouse.

see bellow:

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The rest of the house we covered with fake Spiderwebs which you can find almost at any shop (Michael’s , Target, Walmart) paying special attention to the fireplace area. We added a few accent pumpkins and spider candle holders.
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and there you have it! Happy Halloween! Let the candy fest begin!
Xoxo
OnixJ

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DIY Metallic Mason Jars

Crafty time! omg so I am obsessed with Mason Jars. I love how versatile they can be and how they add that unique vintage touch to anything. So I decided to make them a little different, and add as an accent to an already vintage kitchen.

This is super easy to do. Simply buy spray paint in your color of choice ( I got mine at Michael’s for about $7) I went with silver for this project because the kitchen is gray and white. Make sure you clean and dry your mason jars or any other glass containers that you wish to use. Once you get confortable with the idea you can even make patterns by using tape on your mason jar.

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This time I wanted a clean silver finish so I just sprayed the paint and done! took less than 10 mins from start to finish.

Make sure you apply from afar so that the paint is uniform and doesn’t drip down the sides. Apply as many coats as needed, I applied two coats to each jar.

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And Ta-Da! metallic mason jars. You can use them as flower pots or simply as a stand alone statement on a windowsill or above a chimney. Or even as center pieces at a baby shower or Country wedding.  The possibilities are endless! you can also repurpose old jars or buy new ones. I used an old bottle of Cream Soda as well as mason jars.

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Delicious Coconut, Chia & Lime Truffles

Oh yes! I love coconut. Anything coconut is my weakness! I love coconut oil and its so good for you full of rich fatty acids and healthy fat (don’t be scared of healthy fats, your body needs them… in moderation of course)

Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.

So I had this wonderful coconut butter from Artesana and I decided to make some truffles. My son doesn’t like the texture of the coconut butter by itself, which granted can be a little weird. Therefore I mixed it with some grated coconut, some chia seeds, lime zest and lime juice and the result was heaven!!

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You need:
coconut butter/oil (do not melt)

1 lime – juice and zest

a table spoon of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of stevia or sweetener of your choice

4 tablespoons of grated coconut

(extra grated coconut or coconut flakes for covering the truffles after)

Mix it all Ingredients in a container using first a wooden spoon and then your hand to mix well.

Make little balls and cover with more coconut, and refrigerate for 15mins.

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TADA!

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soo soo soooo good! You can also customize this into amazingly healthy and tasty halloween treats by covering with layered white chocolate to make them look like ghosts or mummies. I might try that next!

Enjoy!

xoxo

OnixJ

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The Chores Jar

So my son is nearly 9 years old and although he helps around the house now and then I think its time to put some more action into this. He has reward charts that grant him video game time and that works really well, but with the new puppy (we adopted a lovely 9 week old Lab/Hound mix from the shelter last week)  its a perfect opportunity to inject some more responsibility into his life. But as a mother of a boy I know that whenever possible things have to be “fun”.

So I decided to make a Chores Jar instead of a chart since we already have a reward chart in place. The jar makes it a little more fun and random as he has to pick a chore daily, but without looking.

I wanted to make something colorful so I made the “chores” by printing them in different colors and fonts. Play with it and have fun, you can even use a theme as superhero or cars or whatever and put little pictures into the cards too. I was going for a “vintage” look so I kept it simple.

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What do you need:

1 mason jar or any other glass/clear plastic jar

1 set of printed chores

Glue

1 label (I made mine using Canva.com, printed and glued)

A pair of scissors

I printed my own customized label and placed on the jar with some glue. You can also print straight into label paper and its probably easier that way.

You can download mine if you like and use with your own jar.

I printed at 75% of the size to make it fit into the Mason Jar.

I printed at 75% of the size to make it fit into the Mason Jar.

The rest is pretty self explanatory.

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Wine O’Clock with K-J AVANT

So, I love wine. Everyone that knows me knows (or should know!) I love wine. I grew up around people enjoying wine with Sunday lunch, at gatherings, and at parties – wine simply was the drink of choice. My maternal grandfather (my grand-père) was from Chile, and if there is one thing they know in Chile, it is their wines.
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I am not much of a drinker, but when I do go out for a Girls Night Out in town, or for a romantic dinner with the Mr., I always end up with a glass of wine. I prefer whites: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay – perhaps a rose now a then – and when it’s cold outside, I definitely go for a bold red wine. However, since going mostly vegetarian, I find whites complement my meals better. See, during my teen years I learned not only about food and table etiquette, but also how to pair wines with food and for that I am forever grateful (thank you Mum & Dad).

White meats such as chicken and pork go with white wine. Rose wine goes with white meat, salads, and pastas. Red meats such as veal and beef go with red wine.

Sweet wines are for dessert, and champagne is for celebrations and toasting.

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Lovely, strong, bold reds were my favourite during cold winter days in England. Both red and white sangrias in the south of Spain complemented the flavors of the crispy calamari with aioli sauce. And the delicate and crisp rose elevated the lightly toasted bruschetta with fresh pomodori and pesto in Capri, Italy. Oh the wonders of wine and food never cease to amaze me!

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Recently I was introduced to Kendall-Jackson winery, more specifically to their K-J AVANT wines. They include a Chardonnay, a Red Blend and a Sauvignon Blanc, all of which were provided by Kendall-Jackson winery for the purposes of this post.

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I have been taken by surprise, not only by the pleasant flavours but also by the affordable prices for such a good blend of wines. I shall be writing different posts about how to pair your wine with dishes, how to use wine for cooking, and my favorite K-J AVANT wine (review) the next few weeks. I just wanted to introduce you all not only to my devotion to wine but to the K-J AVANT wines.

How about you? Which is your favourite wine?

Xoxo
OnixJ

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Healthy Eating isn’t that Hard

Hello!! so I have been debating wether to post just pictures or recipes, but the truth is many of these dishes are so simple to make that there isn’t much or a “recipe” to it. I love eating healthy, and it doesn’t have to be boring! many people think eating healthy or being on a vegetarian menu translates into munching on salads all day, and guess what? it isn’t! if more people had access to easy healthy food I am sure Junk Food restaurant sales will go down in a matter of weeks!

So anyway here some food I have made over the last week

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Another power toast with Ricotta Cheese, Hemp Seeds and Spinach

Another power toast with Ricotta Cheese, Hemp Seeds and Spinach

Vegetable Quesadillas with Hemp Seed and Avocado on the side

Vegetable Quesadillas with Hemp Seed and Avocado on the side

Flaxseed Pancakes with Banana and Pure Maple Syrup

Flaxseed Pancakes with Banana and Pure Maple Syrup

Healthy Fish n Chips with Panfried Salmon

Healthy Fish n Chips with Panfried Salmon

Chia Limeade

Chia Limeade

Grilled Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Spinach and Mushrooms

Grilled Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Spinach and Mushrooms

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Repurpose Spring, and Fall into Autumn with IKEA

So spring is far gone, does that mean you can’t keep your gardening herbs on? No, it certainly doesn’t! I keep a healthy basil going all year long and I have been able to do so both while living in England and in the USA.
Looking for some alternatives to indoor herb gardening I found a fantastic little product. IKEA Socker Greenhouse in white ($19.99) provided by IKEA for the purposes of this blog post. (Thank you IKEA)

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The IKEA Socker Greenhouse is small and versatile, perfect or the urban gardener. Easy to assemble and small enough to be part of a small kitchen or windowsill. You can fit around 4 medium size pots, or you can have one medium-big and two small like I did here. It is the perfect way to keep your herbs and small plants cozy during the colder autumn days. You can also open the vents to let air circulate for warmer days. I am in love with it! so versatile it works for both Spring and Fall.

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Keep your eyes open for a Halloween Greenhouse post coming soon!

Planting: I planted a small Stevia plant, yes Stevia the one used for the making of the much more popular Stevia sweetener. You can add Stevia leaves to your drinks, crush them slightly and add a lovely natural and tangy flavor to your beverages. Another great herb to have (not pictured here) is sweet mint, also very delicious when added to water or drinks. You can also make a delicate tea for  or for those colder days by infusing the mint leaves in hot water.

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I also planted basil because i simply love basil even if its more of a summer herb. I use it all year round! the amazing aroma enhances anything with cheese, or tomatoes in it. It is very easy to look after basil I have had so many basil plants all sprouting amazing leaves and flowers all year round, definitely a must have! specially for new herb gardeners since its so easy to manage basil. And last but not least I planted some Aloe Vera. I bought an aloe vera at the start of summer and it has grown so much that I repotting and maybe using as Thanks Giving Presents for close friends. (will post about that too!) Aloe Vera can be used for many purposes from face treatments, burn treatments to digestion aid. Aloe Vera is one of those things that you should always have in my opinion, besides it is very low maintenance, easy to keep up with.

IMG_7080So there! there are many seasonal fruit and veg that can be planted during early fall. Keep your eyes open for lovely red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, chives, butternut squash, and beets this fall! umm did anyone said recipe ideas time? Oh yes I can savor them all already.

IKEA Socker Greenhouse Product info:

Product dimensions
Depth: 8 ¾ “
Height: 13 ¾ “
Width: 17 ¾ “

Depth: 22 cm
Height: 35 cm
Width: 45 cm
IKEA toll-free phone order number: (800) 434-IKEA (4532)
IKEA web site address: http://www.IKEA.com
*Other materials used for this picture found at Michael’s.
This blog is not sponsored by Michael’s 
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Discovering Houston Dynamo

This weekend I was invited to a Houston Dynamo Soccer Game against the Montreal Impact at the BBVA Compass Stadium as part of the Houston Social Media Influencers Group. I haven’t been to too many stadiums before but boy the BBVA Compass is nice! It isn’t a huge stadium but it is clean, easy to walk around, and there is always plenty of staff to help you out.

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We had the privilege to dine at the West Club which dinning area includes Air Conditioner and a Bar. The food was good, freshly made and the sitting area was spacious and (again) clean. The only downside was the lack of (as always)  vegetarian  options –  apart from salad –  but oh well hopefully this will improve.

We also went to the regular stadium sitting area getting up and close to the players during the game. I think the best part of watching a Live game at the stadium is the atmosphere. Many Dynamo fans were there sporting their orange #ForeverOrange shirts, faces, tutus, and skirts. Even babies were dressed in Orange. A live band was at one end of the stadium, and fireworks sparked out of the stadium when Dynamo scored their first goal against Montreal Impact.

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As part of the media group I got to meet Mr. Tim Hanley – Goalkeepers Coach at a pre-game press conference. Hanley has coached in Major League Soccer for 15 seasons and in American soccer for more than 20 years. Hanley coached three Goalkeeper of the Year winners in a four-year span from 2002-05 (Joe Cannon 2002; Pat Onstad 2003, 2005). Hanley worked in MLS with the San Jose Clash and San Jose Earthquakes and has also coached in the A-League, in the Premier Development League, and at Stanford University (2002-05). During the press conference, Hanley talked about their strategy for the game and of each one of his players. (very nice chap!)

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We also had the privilege to meet President of Business Operations, Chris Canetti just before the game. Canetti joined the Dynamo in May of 2006 as the team’s Chief Operating Officer and was promoted to President in November 2010. He oversees all aspects of the Dynamo organization.

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Overall was a fantastic experience, a night of goals and excitement among the #ForeverOrange crowd. Speaking of crowd, Dynamo tailgaters are fantastic! The atmosphere outside the stadium was just as vibrant as it was inside. Many Dynamo fans parked around the stadium awaited for their team to play. BBQs sprang around the parking lots inundating the air with the scent of fresh grilled meat and herb (and hopefully some grilled veg too!) It is one of those things you must do at least once in your lifetime even if you aren’t a soccer fan (or football – correctly said lol)

 Oh and by the way, Houston Dynamo won 3-2 against Montreal Impact.

GAME INFO by mlssoccer.com

REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 31 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 6; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: HOU: Kofi Sarkodie (caution accumulation; through Sept. 7) … MTL: Hassoun Camara (through Sept. 7)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Ricardo Clark … MTL: Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Will Bruin … MTL: Hernan Bernardello, Matteo Ferrari, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka, Krzysztof Krol
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 8 goals … Impact 4 wins, 15 goals … Ties 1
AT HOUSTON (4 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 6 goals … Impact 0 wins, 1 goals … Ties 1

Form more formation on Houston Dynamo visit:
Website: www.houstondynamo.com
To purchase tickets: www.houstondynamo.com/tickets
Houston Dynamo History: www.houstondynamo.com/schedule/history
Houston Dynamo Social Media:
Twitter: @HoustonDynamo
Instagram: Houstondynamo

Thanks to Lopez Negrete Communications, Juan Alanis Senior account Supervisor and Houston Dynamo.

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Giveaway!

Hello my readers! I have decided to THANK YOU all for reading me ( I shall thank again in Thanksgiving ) 

In order to show my love and appreciation I am giving away an Organic Healthy Living Mini Sample pack that contains.

1. Aloha green Juice sachet.

1. Graze Box snack pack “Keen Bean” (edame beans, chilli broad beans and redskin peanuts)

1. Artisana Organic Raw Walnut Butter sachet.

1. Revolution Southern Mint Herbal Tea sachet.

1. Italian Black Truffle Salt sachet from The Spice Lab.

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OnixJ Organic Healthy Living Mini Sample Pack


What do you need to do?

Like my Facebook Page.

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Comment on this blog post.

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Good Luck! and thank you for reading!

 

*rules apply: winner must be in the USA.

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