It is only 2 days away! Grab your shopping bag and walking shoes.

Garden City Center Art Festival
Garden City Center Art Festival (rain date June 12)

The Botanical Beauties and Beasties are getting ready…We are stocked and ready to go! Come see the full line of recycled  paper cards, eco memo pads, magnets, mugs, bookmarks, framed prints, and Leak-free BPA & phthalate free Water Bottles. Can’t wait to see you there. It promises to be a “rocking good day!”

Festival Fete festivals will be one-of-a-kind with an extraordinary collection of over 100 Contemporary American Craft artists, strolling entertainment, a farmers market, and children’s crafts and entertainment. In addition,the festival will feature an opportunity for festival attendees to express themselves and experience the thrill of creativity with a specially designed community art project. Festival Fete shows are not just another art festival but a local art happening!

Don’t worry: Be happy: Garden City Center Art Festival will have a variety of easy parking available surrounding the art festive!

For an interactive brochure- a list of all the vendors, all the entertainment, and all the food…  http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=70784

It's Tuesday and off to Whole Foods Market as Vendors we go!

Julia with DIRTY VEGAN FOODS
Julia with DIRTY VEGAN FOODS. YUM!

As promised yesterday: Julia interview with  Dirty Vegan Foods who is also at Whole Foods Market Vendor Farm Market out in the parking lot on Tuesday 3-6 or 7ish depending on weather and people traffic.

DVF banner logohttp://www.dirtyveganfoods.com/

Julia: How did you get started?

Katie: (Dirty Vegan Foods) We started as two animal lovers and do-gooder(s) veganizing our own food. We wanted to create vegan versions of everything, so that being kind does not mean missing out. With dreams of nostalgic snack cakes and childhood favorites, we created Dirty Vegan Foods. It began as a blog, and we began to meet other foodies like us. After countless hours and lots of testing, we have created the holy grail of vegan snack food! We are pleased to pass it on to you and hope that you love our products as much as we do.

Julia: What do you specialize in?

Katie: We specialize in nostalgic vegan snack food classics and favorites such as crème filled cupcakes, marshmallow crème canoe cakes, cookies, chocolate dipped crème filled cake rounds, mini donuts, whoopee pies, and more!

Julia:  Is everything Vegan?

Katie: Yes! Everything we make is 100% cruelty free. No animals were hurt, used or abused in the making of these delicious treats!

Julia:  Winky? What?

Winky Shop
Winky Treats

Katie: Are you thinking what we are thinking?? WOW! Yes we did it! Remember these as a kid?? Well get ready to fall back into your childhood. These incredibly soft, moist, sweet delicious treats are going to knock your socks off and have you coming back for more….wink, wink. Each Package contains 2 Vegan Twinkies.

Julia Where else can we find your yummy foods?

Katie: As of now we are busy and all over. More may come so keep an eye out.
Mondays (May 2nd-October 24th): Whole Foods Market University Heights, Providence, RI 3:00-7:00 PM
Tuesdays (May 17th-October 25th): Whole Foods Market Garden City, Cranston, RI 3:00-7:00 PM
Fridays: (June 3rd-July 22nd): Lasalette Shrine Farmer’s Market, Attleboro, MA 2:00-6:00 PM,
(July 29th-October 7th): Rhode Island College (RIC) 3:30-6:00 PM
Saturdays: (June 11th) Festival Fete, Cranston, RI 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (Rain date June 12th)
Sundays: (June 12th-October 30th): Elmhurst Farmer’s Market, Fargnoli Park, Providence, RI 11:00 AM-2:00 PM

To find/follow and contact Katie
E-mail: Info@dirtyveganfoods.com
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DirtyVeganFoods
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DirtyVeganF

Meet Julia! Baker and Chef of natural foods.

Julia, Our very own Baker!
Julia, Our very own Baker!

Meet Julia! We are sliding over into the culinary garden/kitchen and so Julia was called in to meet the gang. She happily accepted the invitation to be the local Baker in Botaniumus. Her Bakery will be inside the Knowledge Café. Izabella is very excited all the great aromas and goodies that will now be at the Café, all just in time for summer and sitting outside, enjoying a cold coffee and a “little something” with your friends. Naturally Julia is all about organic/natural ingredients, and supporting local farms/markets/vendors. She will be all set up soon and hopes to report from her new bakery then. It’s all good in every sense of the word!

Welcome to Julia, she is our spokes-creature for the week. This week topic continues to be SUPPORT your LOCAL folks. Find local Farmers Markets, Artist/Craft Fairs, and don’t forget about your local hometown merchant! If you don’t support them they may not be their next time you are looking for them. Remember, there is no food without farmers, there is no art without artist.

Tomorrow Julia will be posting her interview with Dirty Vegan Foods. DVF is a company that is here for all you vegan junk food lovers. They aim to please and try their best to bring back the snacky fun food you loved as a kid! Love all those memories and yummy foods? Tune in tomorrow for the healthy and still yummy version of them!

You went to the local market and now you are home…..

You have all this fresh fabulous food now ( plus a few greeting cards and a few gifts for yourself) – Now what?

Healthy cooking does not mean blah, expensive or boring.  You just purchased food that is bursting with flavor all on its own so you are one step ahead already.  Now we want to keep as much nutritional value as possible, and make the food as health and yummy as possible. As everyone knows, that means cutting the fat and so the calories. The Mayo Clinic is full of recommendations such as roasting instead of frying.. Here are more ideas from the Mayo Clinic website. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-cooking/NU00201

Using herbs and spices:Creating meals using spices and herbs is one of the best ways to add color, taste and aroma to foods without adding salt or fat. Choose fresh herbs that look bright and aren’t wilted, and add them toward the end of cooking. Add dried herbs in the earlier stages of cooking. When substituting dried for fresh, use about one-half the amount. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- Read last week and get your GROW ON for your herbs.

Baking: Besides breads and desserts, you can bake seafood, poultry, lean meat, vegetables and fruits. For baking, place food in a pan or dish surrounded by the hot, dry air of your oven. You may cook the food covered or uncovered. Baking generally doesn’t require that you add fat to the food. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- baking fish, chicken or veggies in foil with some lemon juice and fresh herbs is easy to cook and clean! Naturally it is good for the taste buds too.

Braising: Braising involves browning the ingredient first in a pan on top of the stove, and then slowly cooking it covered with a small quantity of liquid, such as water or broth. In some recipes, the cooking liquid is used afterward to form a flavorful, nutrient-rich sauce.

Broiling and grilling: Both broiling and grilling expose food to direct heat. To grill outdoors, place the food on a grill rack above a bed of charcoal embers or gas-heated rocks. If you have an indoor grill, follow the manufacturer’s directions. For smaller items such as chopped vegetables, use foil or a long-handled grill basket to prevent pieces from slipping through the rack. To broil indoors, place food on a broiler rack below a heat element. Both methods allow fat to drip away from the food.

Poaching: To poach foods, gently simmer ingredients in water or a flavorful liquid such as broth, vinegar or juice until they’re cooked through and tender. The food retains its shape during cooking. For stove-top poaching, choose a covered pan that best fits the size and shape of the food so that you need a minimal amount of liquid. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- try poaching salmon ever so easy and soooo good!

Roasting: Like baking, but typically at higher temperatures, roasting uses an oven’s dry heat to cook the food. You can roast foods on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. For poultry, seafood and meat, place a rack inside the roasting pan so that the fat in the food can drip away during cooking. In some cases, you may need to baste the food to keep it from drying out. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- don’t forget you can roast veggies too!

Sauteing: Sauteing quickly cooks relatively small or thin pieces of food. If you choose a good-quality nonstick pan, you can cook food without using fat. Depending on the recipe, use low-sodium broth, cooking spray or water in place of oil. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- our saute pan is used just about every day. Sauteing some opinions with mushrooms is one our favorites to add to almost anything.

Steaming: One of the simplest cooking techniques is steaming food in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. If you use a flavorful liquid or add seasonings to the water, you’ll flavor the food as it cooks. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- do you have a rice cooker? If you do then start using it- adds no heat to your kitchen, and is basically another type steam cook method.

Stir-frying: A traditional Asian method, stir-frying quickly cooks small, uniform-sized pieces of food while they’re rapidly stirred in a wok or large nonstick frying pan. You need only a small amount of oil or cooking spray for this cooking method. The gang of Beauties and Beasties add- It is so easy to have a high ratio of veggies here and only a little meat.fish, or tofu, so the calories are small and the bulk factor is large.

Enjoy your local food and have a good time feeding yourself, your families, and your friends. 

Be faithful to your herb garden

Perhaps you are saying, but Milly my deck and patio are full of geraniums and grilling machines. I need to/ I want to plant my herbs in the ground!

Well Okey-doke. All you need is a few feet square, but you are welcome to plant a herb garden that is as big as you like. Either way , the possibilities of grandeur are easy and wonderful!  You can plant with a few perennial (comes back year after year) and mix in a few annual herbs for adventure and fun. If you are luck the annual ones may reseed and that is one more you don’t have to buy next year!  Mix it up as it pleases you.

The requirements for you’re ‘in the ground’  herb garden are:
• About a ½ day of sun.
• Don’t forget to water regularly.
• Weed as needed.
• Thin out your plants as needed and be faithful to your herb garden in the attention you give it. In return of the favor the herbs will give you in multiple flavors for your kitchen, and beauty for your soul.

Some herbs to consider:

Arugula – a nutty flavored annual. Little pretty white flowers. In warm weather goes to seed easily. Even the flower is edible!

Tarragon – can you say stuffed chicken and not think tarragon?  Likes rich soil and keep it watered.

Thyme –  instead of saying chicken with thyme you really almost can’t say Cooking with Herbs and not say Thyme! Many varieties to choose from and easy to grow. Thyme can grow in DRY conditions, so if you tend to forget to water this may be the herb for you!  Some thyme  grow upright and some grow spread across the ground. Plant some where folks will have to step on it and smell the lovely crush of scent each time a foot goes down on it.

Oregano – can you say Pizza! This herb is little bit like a wild hair day – it wants to go just go where ever.  The difference is that here it is ok!  The more you trim this herb the bushier it will become.  Water when dry.

Basil – seems like the Must Have Herb. Aroma City and good on almost veggie there is, especially fresh tomatoes. This one grows UP and when it flowers you ought to pinch that puppy right off and keep your basil well watered.

Can you tell we are working up to tomorrow post of Fresh Herbs in the kitchen?

Bettcah didn't know

… Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa , Who Was She?
She is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, born Tuesday, (the only day the Louvre is closed) June 15th 1479. She married Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo, a wealthy Florentine merchant, when she was 16. At the time of the painting she was 24 and had 2 sons.

. . . Various people have taken credit for suggesting to Andy Warhol that he paint soup cans. According to Ted Carey (a close friend of Warhol during the late 1950s/early 1960s), it was the gallerist Muriel Latow who came up with the idea for both the Soup Cans and Warhol’s Money paintings. On 23 November 1961 Warhol wrote Latow a cheque for $50 [more than $300 in 2010 terms] which, according to the 2009 Warhol biography, Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol, was payment for coming up with the idea of the soup cans.

. . . artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) completed nearly 200 still-life paintings in his lifetime? The early 19th century saw a decline in the popularity of Still-life composition. Cezanne’s love of the still-life was largely responsible for rekindling its popularity in the late 19th century. Cezanne seemed to revel in its possibilities creating an infinitely varied series of compositions repeatedly using a small set of household objects, along with everyday fruit and vegetables.

. . . a tesellation is a design made from shapes that fit together perfectly. For example a chessboard is a simple tessellation made of squares.

.. .The Louvre  was originally constructed as the fortress of Philippe Auguste in 1190.

John James Audubon painted 435 watercolours of birds in his life time. He was born on the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo in 1784. In 1802 he moved to the United states where he fell in love with the bird life and made it his life’s work to paint a picture of every species of bird in America.

♥ Just a reminder the Botanicals Beauties& Beasties take the weekend off – They need their environmental rest.. some zzz’s…and hopefully some fun too. See you all on Monday.
However, they are likely to do some tweeting!  @BotanicalB_B

•REUSE your energy
   •REDUCE your waste
    •RECYLE your stuff   •ReThink your actions

Sculpture The Roses, and Park Ave. N.Y.C.

Roses and Bugs Park Ave. NYC
The Roses (and Bugs) Park Ave. NYC Thanks to: Will Ryman (artist) , Paul Kasmin Gallery, NYC.gov/parks and The Fund for Park Ave.

RUSH to NYC if you can to see these 38 larger than life Roses!  These GREAT BIG WONDERFUL Roses, and all the LITTLE CREATURES, on them will only be around a bit longer on Park Ave. If you missed them you truly miss a delightful art display and fabulous installation of public art! The art made me smile every time I went by them. They will be wilting away on May 31.

The art is from Will Ryman, who is a Bowery-based playwright turned sculptor. The octet of blossoms and each petal are made of plaster, wire mesh, PVC tubes, stainless steel, yacht-grade fiberglass resin, automotive paint, and brass designed to withstand the elements and be enjoyed by passersby. They are between 57th and 67th Streets.  The Height of each bunch is approx. 25 feet high (i.e. 4 or 5 NY stories high.) I got to see the flowers in the winter, in the snow, and they were delightful and surreal. An oddity that my brain knew was seasonally wrong, but my heart loved seeing! When I went back in the spring it was glorious again. My soul was so happy to see the real tulips and other flowers blooming, the reality of it being a bit early for roses didn’t bother me one iota. It was a splash of color and life – a sight to be seen, and a scene to be experienced.  ART that makes me smile, lifts up my spirits and soul, is available to all – that is good stuff!

Many of the roses are already sold, if you want one then be quick to come up with $200-400,000. Or, just buy a petal; you can use it as a chair- really! It will only set you back $25-$30,000. According to Ryman (in Jan. when The Roses went up)

“About half of the works on view have already been sold. The proceeds from these sales made the installation a reality because the $800,000 in expenses were covered by the artist. Whatever isn’t sold by the time they come down in late May will probably be put on loan by the Paul Kasmin Gallery, said Ryman. “

I was talking to my Dad not long ago, and were chatting about The Botanical Beauties and Beasties. One of the things he said was ” they make me smile.” A friend also recently told me the same, she said ” Your creations make me smile every day.”  I thought how great is that!  I was thrilled.  As I reflected on these very kind and wonderful words to my ears, I remembered a mission I had set out for myself when I started creating the Beauties and Beasties. This mission had sort of been forgotten by me lately. Thanks to Dad and to Chris for reminding me. I wanted, and still want,  The Beauties and Beasties (who BTY were called The Critters at that time) to make people smile, and feel good! The world seems like a pretty hostile place often and it seems important to sooth those rough edges a bit if I can. I am honored, thrilled, delighted, and proud that one of the missions of  The Botanical Beauties and Beasties has come to fruition.  Now that is REALLY GREAT STUFF!

In the near future I am planning on telling you all some of the other goals that the Gang at Botaniumus and I have. We have big plans! In the meantime, Enjoy NYC, Park Ave on a near perfect spring 2011 day!

To read an interesting article from, of all places, The New York Social Diary, the first month the Roses bloomed on Park (Jan.)

Naturally the NYTimes had a review in Jan as well.

To see them in the snow The Huffington Post. or a slideshow from Paul Kasmin Gallery 

The Sign for “The Roses” 

As promised, a great idea for Container Gardening for the Home Cook.

Start your seed/Herb Garden NOW – tips and tricks.

“Each spring, I fill an old wooden wine crate with a cluster of my favorite organic herbs. (Most high-end wine shops will give the cedar boxes away as they typically get tossed once the bottles are unpacked. Drilling a few holes on the bottom for proper drainage is easy, but keep in mind that the wood will only hold up for a few seasons.) I pinch off sprigs of thyme and rosemary for roasted veggies and use spearmint for iced tea. Purple sage adds some lovely color to the overall planting and gives me an excuse to brown butter with my eggs. Bottom line, I’m convinced that having a nice selection of fresh herbs at my finger tips has made me a little more adventurous in the kitchen. Each spring, I fill an old wooden wine crate with a cluster of my favorite organic herbs. (Most high-end wine shops will give the cedar boxes away as they typically get tossed once the bottles are unpacked. Drilling a few holes on the bottom for proper drainage is easy, but keep in mind that the wood will only hold up for a few seasons.) I pinch off sprigs of thyme and rosemary for roasted veggies and use spearmint for iced tea. Purple sage adds some lovely color to the overall planting and gives me an excuse to brown butter with my eggs. Bottom line, I’m convinced that having a nice selection of fresh herbs at my finger tips has made me a little more adventurous in the kitchen.”  Rest of Article, and find other great tips on Practically Green blog. These words from  Estelle Hayes. She lives in Silicon Valley where she blogs at www.underapinkmoon.com. She’s also published regularly on Huffington Post. Estelle’s Herb box below.

Here’s a link for ordering Organic seeds  http://eartheasy.com/blog/2011/01/vegetable-garden-seed-ordering-tips/ ” When the nights are long, and the days dark and cold, gardeners seek inspiration in their online and mail order seed catalogs. Looking at the colorful pictures of vegetables and flowers stimulates optimistic ideas for the spring garden. This is a fine time of year to connect with fellow gardeners to share seed recommendations. These friends may want to order seeds together, thereby saving on shipping and handling fees and perhaps splitting large packets of seed ” Originally published on Eartheasy.com

Estelle's herbs in a recycled box
Estelle's herbs in a recycled box

Spring into your Garden – Get Growing!

♥ Go Green & Get Growing ♥
We are announcing and sprouting off our Start your own Herb Garden Campaign with a CONTEST! Everyone can do this – either virtually or in “real-time.”  Tomorrow I (and Milly) will give you a great idea on how to get going with a physical Herb Garden indoors – no big space requirements here!  Kitchen cooks take note,  a great way to start organic is with your own herbs easy peasy!

For the contest… how much more exciting can it get than to watch the seed grow (ha ha ha) – but wait, there really is more….

WATCH the herb grown in its pot as a sign of springtime.
Milly is the official watcher for us.  First important event is for the seed to pop out of the soil. Next important time and event is when it is big enough and warm enough to go into the ground.  That will call for  a celebration, a party with home-grown organics! Now, here is the party part  for you the viewer. Watch for Blog postings about Milly and her Herb growing/watching/waiting …For every 5th viewer  comment on one of those new post, or the 5th DM from Twitter (@BotanicalB_B) with #MillyHerb,  you will get a package of your own Herb Seeds from the Botanical Beauties and Beasties. For the viewer who guesses WHAT KIND of Herb it is, and when it will be ready to go into the great outdoors – 2 free greeting cards from the Botanical Beauty and Beasties Collection.  Contest starts today and ends – well, now that would be too big a clue!  Stay tuned!

Imagination and food – now that is always fun!

New great Restaurant in NYC  called LAUT, located in the Union Square area. The Blossoms went, well actually just Tanka went, Sakura was shopping as they were visiting NYC.  How could a girl resist!  However, Tankas meal was so good they are going back (together) soon. The reviews are amazing.  NYT states “Lurking in all the fusion in this restaurant near Union Square is some of the best Malaysian food in Manhattan.”  Address: 15 E. 17th St. (bet. B’way & 5th Ave.) Manhattan, NY 10003 (and for the local New Yorker, yes they do delivery!) (Food Photo from LAUT) Laut Website

Question? Food Porn? What?!?
Is the body  you want just a figment of your imagination? Here’s the site for you! http://www.tastespotting.com/ “Sarah Gim certainly didn’t invent food porn. But she’s perfected it.

Gim runs TasteSpotting, a virtual buffet showcasing some of the most arresting food images available online with a collection that tops 140,000 stunning photos. The majority of the 5 million clicks logged each month come from visitors who graze with their eyes and gobble up kitchen inspiration and recipes. They drool. They lose themselves in the aspiration of it all. A red beet salad adorned with chives that were sprinkled just so. A snowflake cookie with impossibly perfect pink icing. And a plump fig, torn open and lovingly captured in a photo that is so simple, so transporting that it borders on heartbreaking.” Article from the LA Times

I just picked the first image ( easter is coming up and ….) for it’s fun factor – but the site is full of  fun, funky, serious foodie images and links!  This one is from aspicyperspective.com. Recipes included!