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Sprouts: The Super-Food

August 26th, 2016

Sprouts are true “super-foods,” offering abundant nutrients (vitamins, minerals, simple sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, phytonutrients, and enzymes) in an easily digestible form. Eating sprouts is healthy because all seeds contain naturally occurring enzymes inhibitors, which make it harder for our digestive enzymes to break down the seeds, and for our bodies to access their stores of nutrients. When seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts are soaked and/or sprouted, they become more digestible and their nutrients are more easily absorbed. Best of all, sprouting is easy, inexpensive, versatile, and fun!

IMG_0008Mung Beans


Supplies you need to get started

Jar with Sprouting Lid

or/and Sprouting Trays, EasySprout Sprouter and Hemp or Nylon Sprouting Bag

Organic Seeds for Sprouting:

Almost any seeds, grain, legume, or nut can be soaked and/or sprouted. The best ones are Broccoli, Alfalfa, Red Clover, Mung Beans, Chia, Fenugreek, Garbanzo Beans, Lentils, Garlic, Brown Mustard, Radish, Cabbage, and Onion.


You will also need:

A source of purified water for soaking and rinsing sprouts, and a source of indirect light for “greening” sprouts.

How I sprout using the sprouting jar:

Day 1: Place 2-4 tablespoons of seed in jar and fill ¾ full with water. Shake to moisten all seeds. Soak 8-10 hours or overnight.

Day 2: Pour water off seeds and rinse well. Drain well by placing the jar upside down at a 45-degree angle against the wall or sink to allow for draining or sprouting.

Day 3: Rinse seeds twice a day, tossing to expose all seeds to light, air and water. Beans, grains, and fenugreek will be ready to eat after a short “tail” sprouts, usually by day 3.


Store in refrigerator in a glass container for a few days.

The ideal sprouting temperature is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprouts grow best in darkness or indirect light. When sprouted too long some seeds and beans may become bitter. Grains become sweeter on the fourth and fifth day of sprouting.

Daily, eat 4 servings of Sprouts (2 servings at lunch and 2 servings at dinner):

For example:

Alfalfa (handful)

Fenugreek (1-2 Tbsp.)

Lentils (2-3 Tbsp.)

Mung Beans (2-3 Tbsp.)

Broccoli Sprouts (2-3 Tbsp.)

Quinoa Sprouts (2-3 Tbsp.)

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Health benefits of some of the sprouts:

Fenugreek: liver detoxifier

Broccoli: highest count of cancer fighting vitamins

Chia: maximum nutrients

Mung Beans: soluble fiber and vitamins B, C and K

Lentils: great source of protein and fiber

Red Clover: source of protein and plant estrogen

**Not all sprouted beans are appropriate to eat raw. Lentils, mung beans, garbanzo beans (chick peas), and adzuki beans can be eaten raw. All other beans must be cooked to neutralize toxins.

To learn more:

Sprout Garden by Mark M. Braunstein

Sprouts the Miracle Food by Steve Meyerowitz

Visit Sprout Central for all your sprouting needs

Foraging for Purslane

August 14th, 2016

Purslane is a low-growing succulent like plant that is found around the world (except Antarctica), in gardens and flowerbeds, in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways and by fields and in the wilderness. It grows without any help in sun or shade, in any soil an climate, without fertilizer or water.

sidewalk purslane

Purslane is very healthy to eat. The succulent like leaves are mild in flavor and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Eating 5 sprigs of purslane a day provides over 550mg of calcium. It’s antibacterial and its leaves are a very rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which prevents heart attacks and strengthens the immune system. Purslane also has a cooling effect on the body, and its alkalinity is helpful in alleviating acidic stomachs and various other ailments stemming from acidic or toxic conditions.



Purslane is delicious! I love adding it to salads. After picking it, I always rinse and dry it before I use it. When rinsing it, you’ll find little black seeds at the bottom of the bowl or salad spinner. Just add the water and seeds to your garden or raised beds and grow more purslane💕

If you aren’t able to forage for it where you live, I’ve seen it available in Farmer’s Markets in California and New York.

market purslane


Apparently, King Henry VIII (1491-1547) held a high regard for purslane.  He was very interested in botanical medicine and has over 100 favorite recipes archived in the British Museum. One purslane remedy relieved his prostrate problems, which involved taking 1 cupful of chopped purslane leaves and covering them in bowl with 3 cups of boiling water, and steeping it for 30 minutes, strain and sip several cupfuls.


*Do not confuse purslane with hairy-stemmed spurge, which is poisonous. They are easy to tell apart because the stems and leaves of spurge are much thinner than purslane’s thick, succulent ones.
Also, when you break spurge’s stem, a white, milky sap will leak out of it, which it doesn’t with purslane.


source: http://www.ediblewildfood.com/purslane.aspx


RePurpose ReUse ReCycle ReClaim ReInvent

May 30th, 2016

One of the main benefits of all of this Repurposing, Reusing. Recycling, Reclaiming and Reinventing is that it reduces the amount of waste that is sent to overfilled landfills around the world. We all benefit when creative ideas emerge, turning waste into something useful. All those materials that have stayed out of the dump are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, which in turn contribute to global climate change.

Some of the materials that can be turned into something else wonderful and useful are wood, metal cans, newspaper, yogurt jars, wine bottles, ladders, medicine bottles, plastic and paper bags, cardboard egg crates, an old tree fern and a globe.


Reclaimed Wood Swing, designed by Margaux and Walter Kent for Peg and Awl. The wood is from pine salvaged from antique flooring in a 19th-century home.

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This Branch is now a pot holder

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Salvaged Wood planks became this coffee table

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Salvaged wood planks were used to make this outdoor dining table

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Wood pallets have become a kitchen table…of sorts

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Salvaged wood pallets were used for this coffee table

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Coffee table in the lobby of Hotel Daniel made from stacked wood pallets and a stool make from recycled newspapers

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Wood crates make great dog beds!




…or breakfast trays

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Found wood ladders had been used for harvesting olives and are now kitchen shelves

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This old wooden ladder has been reborn as a bookshelf



Former Oyster Farm wood frames are now cabinet drawer covers

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A log has become a freestanding kitchen Sink

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This A3-joint side table was made with waste salvaged off the street, and the glass was created out of recycled solar panels

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Salvaged wood planks have been turned into an informal table top

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A block of salvaged wood is now the perfect stool




Waxed paper or newspaper can be turned into pots for sprouting seeds

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I save cartoons from the newspapers and use them as wrapping paper




Former medicine bottles have become containers for tiny seeds and recycled cardboard pieces are used for labels

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Metal make good plant pots

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I painted these…which are also BPA free, so I don’t mind using them to grow edibles, like this Italian basil




Plastic bags have been fused together to create luminaria bags, with glass jars that contain votive candles

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Upcycled brown paper bag placemats

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Glass soda bottles are now olive oil and vinegar containers with reused corks

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Recycled wine bottles have become unique serving spoons

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or like in my home, Glass Water Bottles



Glass yogurt jars make great tea light holders. I’ve been using the same ones for years.


Sometimes, I use glass jars as both a hanging outdoor tea light holder and for mosquito repelling incense



Cardboard egg crates make the perfect seed starter container. Once the seedlings have been thinned out, you can just plant the whole egg crate in the garden bed, and the cardboard will compost into the soil.






and a wonderful globe has become a hanging vase!

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Nature & Eco Humor

May 17th, 2016

As Charlie Chaplin said ” A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

So here’s to you laughing out loud at one or more of these cartoons that I have saved over the years from The New Yorker Magazine or other publications.

Here are some favorites…

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Green Divas Radio Show Chat

March 24th, 2016






Old School: Napkin Rings

February 29th, 2016

Recently, I started using napkin rings again. It’s something I haven’t done in decades, since I was a child, living in France. Then, napkin rings were a holdover from the days before washing machines, when table linens were not washed after every meal and it was necessary to use personalized rings to identify which napkin had been used by which family member so they could continue using the same one until it was washed.




These days, if you happen to live in a part of the world (like I do) where water is becoming an increasingly precious resource, every small effort to save water makes a difference. I’m trying to reduce the amount of laundry my household produces each week, because even one time use cloth napkins pile up fast.




When shopping for napkins, I try and choose cloth napkins that are easy to wash, and preferably don’t need to be ironed. Some of my informal napkins are made from old tablecloths I cut up into napkin sizes. When I can find them, I’ll buy linen napkins, which are made from the fibers of the flax plant, which are more environmentally friendly than cotton, which uses a lot of water and chemicals to grow.



When washing napkins, wash them in cold water, using a biodegradable and phosphate free laundry detergent and whenever possible, line dry them.



I found these plain wooden napkin rings and added them to my store. They come in a bag of 25 and are ready to be painted.




Did you know…Napkin rings are an invention of the European bourgeoisie, first appearing in France about 1800 and soon spreading to all countries in the western world.


The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Overpass

February 28th, 2016

It’s awesome that we have Mountain Lions in Los Angeles! One of them, P-22, has become an international celebrity. Did you know…that P-22 grew up in the Santa Monica Mountains, and now resides by himself in Griffith Park, within a stones throw of the Hollywood sign.


He has his own Facebook page! “Hi! I’m LA’s loneliest bachelor. I like to hang out under the Hollywood sign to try and pick up cougars. Likes: Deer, catnip, Los Feliz weekends. Dislikes: Traffic, coyotes, P-45.”


P-22 and his mates P-33, P-44, P-35, P-13, P-38, P-31, P-40, P-27, P-12, P-19, P-23, P-41, P-42 and P-27 (Yes! These are all mountain lions in the Los Angeles area) need our help, and so does Beth Pratt, National Wildlife Federation California Director. She is behind a campaign to build a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon, over the 101 freeway. To learn more: http://www.nwf.org/Save-LA-Cougars.aspx



-proposed Liberty Canyon Wildlife Overpass-

Beth Pratt wrote: “P-22’s journey across two of the busiest freeways in America and his ability to survive in the second most populated city in the country has inspired people across the world. His story also inspired me to help this urban population of mountain lions through my work with the National Wildlife Federation.”

 According to Dr. Seth Riley of the National Park Service and urban wildlife expert, “this is a vital crossing in one of the last undeveloped areas on the 101, and building a safe passage gives us a chance to ensure the future of the mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles area. Habitat loss is responsible for the rapid decline in wildlife.”


Many other wildlife crossings exist already in the USA and in other countries, and are very successful.


-elephant underpass in Kenya-


Wildlife Crossings around the world

By Kaushik   http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/07/wildlife-crossings-around-world.html


Rapid deforestation and excessive human intervention into wildlife habitat has lead to frequent straying of wild animals into human habitation. Intrusion into wildlife habitat typically occurs due to illegal encroachment and also when roads, railroads, canals, electric power lines, and pipelines penetrate and divide wildlife habitat. Wild animals attempting to cross roads often find themselves in front of speeding vehicles.

Road mortality has significantly impacted a number of prominent species in the United States and elsewhere, including white-tailed deer, Florida panthers, and black bears. According to a study made in 2005, nearly 1.5 million traffic accidents involving deer occur each year in the United States that cause an estimated $1.1 billion in vehicle damage. In addition, species that are unable to migrate across roads to reach resources such as food, shelter and mates experiences reduced reproductive and survival rates.

One way to minimize human-wildlife conflict is to construct wildlife crossings such as bridges and underpasses that allow animals to cross human-made barriers safely. The first wildlife crossings were constructed in France during the 1950s. Since then, several European countries including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and France have been using various crossing structures to reduce the conflict between wildlife and roads.

Wildlife Overpasses Around The World Working With Nature, Not Against


-ecoduct Kikbeek, Hoge Kempen National Park, Belgium-

Wildlife crossings have also become increasingly common in Canada and the United States. The most recognizable wildlife crossings in the world are found in Banff National Park in Alberta where the national park is bisected by a large commercial road called the Trans-Canada Highway. To reduce to effect of the four lane highway, 24 vegetated overpasses and underpasses were built to ensure habitat connectivity and protect motorists. These passes are used regularly by bears, moose, deer, wolves, elk, and many other species.


-wildlife overpass, Banff National Park, Canada

In the United States, thousands of wildlife crossings have been built in the past 30 years, including culverts, bridges, and overpasses. These have been used to protect Mountain Goats in Montana, Spotted Salamanders in Massachusetts, Bighorn Sheep in Colorado, Desert Tortoises in California, and endangered Florida Panthers in Florida.

The Netherlands contains an impressive number of wildlife crossings – over 600, that includes both underpasses and ecoducts. The Veluwe, a 1000 square kilometers of woods, heathland and drifting sands, the largest lowland nature area in North Western Europe, contains nine ecoducts, 50 meters wide on average, that are used to shuttle wildlife across highways that transect the Veluwe.


-ecoduct Borkeld in the Netherlands-



“ I have no illusions that the Glendale Bear or P-22 wouldn’t hesitate to dine on me given the right circumstances. But I’m still rooting for them. Deep down I’m hoping that if they can survive at the margins of human civilization without forsaking their wilderness, so can I.”

-Gregory Rodriguez, LA Times

Note: The use of rodenticide is hurting the wildlife. Call your local legislator and ask him to extend the ban on rodenticide in California: http://www.clawonline.org/ban-rodenticide-1/


-P-22 sick from Rodenticide. He has been treated and has now recovered.

To learn more and to donate: http://www.nwf.org/Save-LA-Cougars.aspx

Artists Review 2015-2016

January 2nd, 2016

In the art section of the Almanac newsletter, the focus is entirely on artists that are inspired by nature, or use natural or recycled materials in their work. For a moderate change of pace, here is a broad spectrum of multi-media from 25 artists who’s work I also enjoy…although nature is still the star!

Here goes and in no particular order:


Tara Donovan


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Francesca Carallo

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Ellie Davies




Edmund de Waal

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Roderick Romero

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John Pfahl

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Karen Knorr




Nacho Carbonell

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Claire Morgan

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Kyota Takahashi




Graciela Iturbide




Claudio Bravo








Paola Navone

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Eva Jospin




Doug and Mike Starn




Janet Echelman




John Grade




Rosamond Purcell




Pino Pascali




Susan Derges




Ernst Gamperi




Lisa Oppenheim




Cai guo Qiang




Miguel Chevalier


Peaceful Activism for Positive Change

September 28th, 2015

This past weekend, I stopped by an event that Dr. Jane Goodall was speaking at regarding a recently published book about GMOs titled Altered Genes, Twisted Truth by Steven M. Druker.

It was so wonderful to hear that last week,  she gave a copy of this book to the Pope’s committee investigating GMOs. It’s so great that Dr. Goodall doesn’t waste time getting information into influential hands!

I also learned from Dr. Goodall, about the work of research scientist Dr. Anthony Samsel, “who has been studying the toxicity of glysophate, the world’s most prevalent herbicide used in commercial agriculture on GMO crops for many years now.” As it turns out, Monsanto has known since the 1970’s that glysophate causes cancer, and yet they still put it on the market.

To read more

During the Q & A part, I asked one of my favorite questions:

What can each of us do to influence positive change?

Dr. Goodall, and the author Steven M. Druker (by Skype) agreed that our purchasing power carries a lot of weight. Each of us can influence positive change just by what we buy. Each purchase sends a strong message to the industry to take notice.

Also, supporting organizations, such as JustLabelIt Friendsoftheearth  TheJaneGoodallInsituteRootsandShoots.org and the EWG for the important work they do to better the planet.

Learn more ways to be a peaceful activist in my book LOLA Lots of Love Always, chapter 9, pages 119-121

A Gentleman Caterer and Naturalist

August 8th, 2015

A hike in the hills over Los Angeles isn’t just about exercise for caterer and collector Kai Loebach but a great source of inspiration. He finds marvelous natural treasures which he then uses to create superb mis en scenes at Kai’s Catering + Events. Tree roots or gnarled broken branches are hauled back and integrated into the garden or perched above water ponds until they are required at an event.




For years, I’ve been admiring how Kai, who has a lifelong passion for gardening and design, uses plants and natural materials to create attractive, earthy and elegant table centerpieces.

He starts with healthy strong succulents, which he nurses himself.




Kai grows and propagates his plants successfully by not planting succulents or cactuses too deep in pots and also waters them infrequently.

Kai shared some good advice with me: don’t water plants from overhead because they don’t like it (especially lavender) and remove all spraying sprinkler heads, replacing the system with a water efficient  drip line, which saves you money on your water bill and money at the flower nursery (due to plant loss).

When using succulents on a table arrangement for an event, Kai uses either potted specimens or just their heads as decoration. The following day, if the cut has sealed on the heads, they can be replanted in pots.


Gourds bought from a local Farmer’s Market are kept in bins, piled into pots during their days off or cleverly stored in metal crates which double as seats around an outdoor table.





These look so great: branches from a pruned fig tree are bunched together in a pot, looking like a multi limbed crustacean upside down.


Kai is currently working on what promises to be a most beautiful outdoor evening wedding in Hawaii this month, using locally found plants and wildflowers as centerpieces, setting up a large tent filled with LED light filled lanterns, and the tables will be placed in a circle surrounded by torches. Sounds stunning!


Kai Loebach’s Catering + Events is one of the leading boutique catering and comprehensive event planning companies in Los Angeles.