Welcome to my blog, Sweet Grass and Lattes!

There are two smells on this earth I could never be tired of - sweet grass in the summer sun and lattes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Price of Fuel

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a man from Canada. He comes to New York once a week to get gas, since the price of fuel is actually a little cheaper over here at the stations which take Canadian money at par. We started talking about the ridiculous prices of fuel. He commented to me that he didn't understand why the price of fuel in Canada was affected by what is going on in the Middle East, since all of their fuel is mined and processed in Western Canada, and 0% of their fuel is dependent on Middle Eastern oil interests. He also commented on how crazy it is that we don't use the seaway to get fuel and petroleum products from Canada, or even import them via bridge. I guess I never even realized that the US doesn't get any of our fuel from Canada - even in NY? We're literally right next door. Do you know how much money New Yorkers would be saving if we had a fuel agreement with Canada? The amount of money and petroleum we waste having our fuel transported from Texas is obsene. Why not take advantage of a closer source?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easy Cheese Danish...To Fruit or not to Fruit?

Cheese danish to entertain guests? Far easier than you'd think! 2 tubes pillsbury dough 1 brick cream cheese 1 cup sugar 2 tbsp butter, melted cinnamon sugar mix to sprinkle on top Preheat oven to 350deg. Mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth grease 9x13 pan spread out one tube of dough spread cream cheese filling lay out other tube of dough on top and pull out to edges brush on melted butter and sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon mixture bake for 13-16 min. until browned and bottom layer is no longer doughy you can add any kind of fruit filling on top of the cream cheese, I usually use cherry, blueberry or raspberry. You could also use chocolate, or apple. It bakes the same amount of time, just be sure it cools before you serve it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apology to my poor neglected blog

My poor blog, I've neglected you so.
I had bariatric surgery on the 16th, so between preparing and recovering, I've neglected you, as I have neglected my readers and cyber friends. I'm so sorry bloggy-poo, and I promise not to neglect you for that long again.

Cake Mix Isn't Just for Cakes!

Did you know that cake mix isn't just for cakes?

Store bought cake mix makes the absolute best, to die for, easiest, perfect every time COOKIES!

1 cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
drop in small spoonfulls
bake at 350 deg. for 10-12 minutes.

After you do it a few times, you'll learn to adjust the temperature, time or both to your own oven.

These can be any combination of awesome:

spice cake mix with dried apple pieces and chocolate chips.
lemon cake mix with poppy seeds and dried cranberries
vanilla with fresh vanilla bean and dried blueberries
dark chocolate or devil's food with coconut shavings
Cherry chip with dark chocolate shavings

These are just a few of my favorites, but the combinations are endless. Each batch does 2-3 dozen, depending on what you put in them and how big you make them. Without any additions, they ususally come out flat enough that you can decorate them, too! Have fun and enjoy!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moist Cake Minus a Whole Lot of Guilt

I love cake (lots of us do) It's a guilty pleasure that I hate to pass up. This is a great recipe for those of us who love cake, but need to pare back some calories and fat - especially after a long winter!
All you need is:
12 ounces of diet soda
1 box of cake mix (any brand)
mix it up and cook per the instructions on the box!

If you'd like, alot of people choose to use some egg beaters (2 egg equivalent) or 1 or 2 egg whites. This makes the cake stick together better and keeps it more moist.

This is only 4 points on Weight Watchers, for anyone who needs to know.

Without the egg - it can be a great treat for people with egg allergies, just double check the particular brand of mix that you choose to be sure that there is no egg product in it (I haven't seen one that's not egg free)

Here are a few suggested combinations for you to try:
Chocolate cake mix - cream soda, black cherry, raspberry, cola, vanilla cream
Lemon cake mix - cirtus, Mountain Dew, orange, Sprite or 7-up
Orange cake mix - orange, citrus, strawberry
Red-Velvet mix - cherry, strawberry, raspberry
Spice cake mix - rootbeer, cream soda, vanilla cream, gingerale
White cake mix - anything
Strawberry cake mix - strawberry, orange, pepsi, cola
Funfetti cake mix - citrus, gingerale, any type of fruit flavor
Cherry Chip cake mix - cherry, vanilla, raspberry, cola

Try it for yourself, and see how you like it! Please feel free to suggest other combinations too!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Must-Have Top 10

There are a few things that I can never live without and will absolutely swear by! Here's a list of my new must-have top 10 products.

Nivea Soft moisturizing cream - it's so rich it beats the winter dry skin, but breatheable enough that I can use it on my face. It works great for a day in, or at night, but don't use it on it's own because it does not contain any SPF.

Dove UltimateVisibly Smooth - it really does soften hair over time! It's also gentile enough that I can put it on right after shaving and it's completely non-irritating.

Zim's Maxi-Freeze - don't leave home with out it if you're prone to muscle aches or pains. I use the roll-on formula with Ilex, and it's definitely the best muscle rub you can get in a drug or department store. Compares to Bio-Freeze for a fraction of the price.

eos peppermint lip balm - I bought it for the fun packaging, I can't lie. I love love love that it's small and cute, but it works great on chapped winter lips and you can't beat the price or the taste.

Sharpie Liquid Pencil - I'm addicted to writing utensils. This one's hand-friendly and feels great writing, it's smooth, thick lines are identical to a number 2 pencil and erases just as easily.

Matte Nail Polish - any brand will work, Icing makes one that's less expensive than the O.P.I. version. It transforms your shiny polish into a completely matte finish that's fun for a quick change on your favorite color. It also looks fabulous over a french manicure/pedicure for a more natural look!

No-poo cleansing conditioners like Wen or Hair-One - I blogged a testimonial last week, and it's no joke. I really don't think I'll ever shampoo my hair again.

Fingerless gloves - great for the not-quite-so-cold weather. They're such a fun accessory, who could possibly live without them? Not me.

Matrix Biolage Smoothing Shine Milk with light hold - defines curls for a quick pick-me-up or helps detangle serious bed head. User be-ware: it's very, very slippery on your hair, as well as the floor, so less is more.

My iPhone. How did I live without this little piece of electronic heaven? I believe that everyone should have one, and now the 3gs is only $49 at ATT. (I'm sure that's with a monster contract)

Buy & try and let me know what you think!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three Months of Not Shampooing! (And I STILL have Fabulous Hair!)

I am officially in my third month of not shampooing my hair and it's still fabulous. Don't get me wrong, I still shower regularly, so please don't go {ew}. After staying up late one night and seeing the infomercial for Wen haircare, I decided to look into it further.
Here's what I discovered:
You don't need to shampoo your hair.
(feeling puzzled?)
Apparently there are still mild emollients and astringents in conditioners that clean your hair without having to shampoo it with harsh detergents and chemical strippers. I was at a point where my hair was in this terrible rut, and so was I.

I spend far too long on my hair each time I tried to do anything with it.
I shampooed it in the shower, which dried it out terribly.
Then I conditioned the sh!t out of it to try to get the dry straw feeling to go away.
After that if I wanted to style it, I had to add several different products that were sticky and gross.
Rinse and repeat.

I decided to try Wen and I have not shampooed my hair since. Since Wen is very expensive, I did some investigating and there is an almost identical product at Sally Beauty Supply for less than a third of the price, and not much more than you'd pay for good conditioner at the drug store. Ingredients are identical, works the same. Bonus factor that you don't have to pay for expensive shampoos too.

My hair is full and healthy, and I don't even need stying products anymore, just blow dry with a diffuser and my hair is *big and sexy*. It stays full all day, I can run my fingers through it, and it's clean and looks great. It has shine, it has body. I've dyed my hair for years, now my dye lasts longer since I'm not using detergents to strip it out. It doesn't get brassy, or frizzy and I can go longer between trims since my ends don't get as fried.

I am now a firm believer that shampoo is over rated. Waste of time, waste of money, and now I have one less chemical going in my septic. I understand that this might not be for everyone, especially if your hair gets really dirty, or is prone to lots of oil. Something like a low-poo alternative might be better for you than what you're using now. It has less chemical detergents and surfactants, which is not only better for you, but better for the environment as well.

I don't think I'll ever use shampoo again. Try it for a week. You might love it, you might hate it, but at least you can say you tried it! It might change your hair's life!