Archive | December 2010

My natural 2011 resolution

The year 2010 taught me a lot, now it’s time to put everything to practice.


Deciding to have a new year resolution is a commitment for me, and finding out how this tradition was born gave me just that little push I needed.

Now I’m committed.

Everything built slowly during the whole of 2010: for work reasons I had the chance to meet  great people (like David Suzuki and His Holiness the Dalai Lama) living experience that really changed me. Coming back home I promised myself to treasure those life lessons and do my best in my everyday life.

The environment is of course the main priority as I learned it’s connected to the world’s main problems.

It’s not a coincidence if I decided to write about water footprint of fashion industry for Blog Day 2010,experience that again taught me a lot.

I have always paid attention to small things like turning the light off, saving water, and recycling. I also have a pretty good diet, rich of fruits and veggies, organic products and not too much meat, and I switched to green products like laundry soap, dishes soap and other cleaning products.
Now I’m ready to take the next step.

Knowing that I am not ready to become vegetarian (and honestly I don’t know if I’d ever be one), I set up a realistic goal for 2011: to use ONLY natural body care products.
When I say natural I mean:

  • soap
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • body soap
  • body lotion
  • face moisturizer
  • hands lotion
  • sunscreen
  • deodorant
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • make up: foundation, mascara, lipstick, blusher, lip liner, eye pencil,
  • make up remover
  • nail polish
  • nail polish remover
  • hair removal
  • lip balm

The reason that drove me to commit myself to this 2011 resolution is simple:

U.S. researchers identified 10,500 industrial chemicals used as cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxics, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants (From David Suzuki Foundation web site. Read more)

Nearly 90 percent of the 10,500 ingredients FDA has determined are used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution (From cosmeticsdatabase.com)

In fact, when we think about pollution, what do we think about? Probably not body care products, but some of the chemicals found in these products are not pretty at all. (Download here the David Suzuki Foundation report)

I also do not feel ok knowing I am using products that are tested on animals, and we are not talking only about mouse but cats and dogs (Read more here and here)

I spent the last four months trying to get rid of all the products I have at home – even if I know it wouldn’t be a big lost, I just didn’t feel to trash everything – and I did not purchase from companies that test on animals or products that contain chemicals, or animals ingredients.

Now that 2011 is at the door, and I will use only natural body care products. Whole Food and other small organic stores will become my sanctuary (even more if possible) and I won’t pay attention to sparkling commercial. I will still be beautiful, even more, without makeup tested on animals.

I will be also sharing with you some great natural recipes to make you own body care products that I found in the last few month, getting ready for this new year resolution, and I will be making them with you (some of them are really great and I know you do not want to miss them! You should subscribe to my blog just for them!)

I’m committed. Who is in?

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Focaccia recipe, an Italian classic

An Italian cuisine classic that melts in your mouth. As simple as antique and delicious.

Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread with ancient Roman origins became popular everywhere. Outside of Italy, however, it’s not easy to find a good one. The best definition of focaccia is probably cross between pizza and bread, which may be topped with herbs, cheese, olives, onion or just olive oil and salt.

It could also be stuffed with mortadella, prosciutto or cheese just like a sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:
500 gt all-purpose white flour
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
30 gr yeast
175 ml lukewarm water
25 gr coarse salt
a pinch of fine salt

In a large bowl add flour olive oil,  yeast dissolved in the water and a pinch of salt. Mix together until a very soft and smooth dough, adding water if necessary. Knead by hand for few minutes or until elastic. Place in a cover bowl and leave rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.

Preheat th oven to 400F (200C). Lightly oil a large baking tray and knock the dough. Gently press with fingertips dipped in olive oil until it covers the whole try. Brush with olive oil and make a little indentation here and there with your fingertips. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Drizzle with more olive oil as soon as the bread comes out the oven. Let it cool and cut into squares or little pieces. Enjoy while still warm!

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Who invented New Year’s Resolutions?

According to my resolutions for the 2010, I failed miserably. However I do not feel defeated at all.


Who invented this New Year’s Resolutions business anyway?

Well, since the 2011 is knocking at the door, I have to decide if I’m going to be part of this again. So, I did my homework, and I found out it’s OUR FAULT!

When I say “our” I mean us, Italians…. well The Romans!

Looks like everything started with Janus, a fun mythical king, god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time. Janus has two heads facing opposite directions: one head looks back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new, so he can see simultaneously into the future and the past. This is why he was placed at the head of the Roman calendar (the name January comes from his name).

Romans believed that Janus could forgive transgressions, and many of them, looking for forgiveness, started to  give “him” gifts and make promises at the beginning of the new year. Also, they believed that Janus could bless their life giving protection for the entire year (Nice to see how we didn’t change after centuries!).

The tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve evolved  from sacred trees for good fortune at nuts or coins imprinted to the god Janus,
Although the date for New Year’s Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year, and making resolutions surfaced while the mythical element of Janus was removed.

There are also religious parallels to this secular tradition. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. During Judaism‘s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness.

Ok, I got it. It looks to me that the main concept behind the whole thing is to have self-improvement every year.
Do I want that? Of course I do.

Looking through the most popular goals for the new year I can see I have a very big margin of improvement:

  • health: I’m good, thanks, but I hope not to quite exercising for lack of time, or just because I don’t feel like it;
  • finances: if we talk about managing, I’m doing great with very few resources;
  • education: there is so much I’d like to learn;
  • job: next please!
  • manage time and stress: lots of improvement needed
  • take a trip: it’s time!
  • be part of the community: I’m afraid the best I can do is saying “come over for dinner, I hope to have time to make a salad!”

It doesn’t make me feel better to find out that  52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, but only 12% actually achieved their goals.
But then, I found what I needed:

“Women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends”

Ok, I will do it! I will have my resolutions list ready by Dec 31 (2010 of course), and I will share it with you. I’m already on it!

Now, I will need your support or I will lose 5% of chance to succeed. Are you in?

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Little pastry with lemon cream – Recipe

One more recipe from my Italian kitchen. It’s extremely easy and perfect for the whole family.

This recipe is perfect with the Italian hot chocolate – Cioccolata in tazza

INGREDIENTS:
150 gr flour
7 gr baking powder
30 gr sugar
120 ml milk
1 egg
20 gr unsalted butter
1 tbs honey
Little pieces of apple and peaches

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients – beside the fruits – until combined. Spoon batter into 6 greased or paper-lined muffin cups and add few pieces of fruits in every cup. Bake  in 180°C oven for 15  minutes. When ready sprinkle with icing sugar.

FOR THE LEMON CREAM:
1 egg
2 ts sugar
1 ts of lemon and orange peel
1 ts lemon juice
1 ts unsalted butter

Mix all the ingredients in a small pot, put on very low heat and stir until the right consistency. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

You can add a ts of cream in top of the pastry or serve it on the side.

Enjoy! Buon appetito!

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From a friend to friends

One of my “twin” blogs Il luppolo selvatico by Antonella started a very nice Christmas initiative.

It’s called Le mani nella marmellata (Hands on jam), and offer excellent Italian recipes to all of you who will make a donation of $5 to Unicef.

For more details click here

Thanks Antonella