Sunday, July 31, 2016

An Abundant Life - Space To Grow

I met the artist Ocean Clark through Instagram. I'd heard of him before because we live in the same area, and I'd seen photos of his work and a write up about him down by the waterfront in Hoboken, but it was Instagram that connected us and led me the other day to visit him at his studio to pick up a tomato plant. I'll go anywhere for things that I like that are free, and I love art and plants, so a walk up the hill to meet an artist whose work I admire who had offered to share his tomato plants was a perfect afternoon adventure. If you haven't seen his art before, follow him on Instagram and you'll be in for a real treat - if you've seen his work I know you'll agree. It's a rare talent that can bring intricate figurative work into large scale portraiture, combining abstract images and psychedelia in an up to date and contemporary way while reminding us of both old masters and more modern ones. Follow him and have fun - it's an adventure that will enrich the way you view the world.

Ocean Clark In His Studio
Instagram @oceanclarkart @oceanclarkart2

The Tomato Plants

The Tomato Plants In Their New Home

Artist's Studio With A View


Jannie Susan

Sunday, July 24, 2016

An Abundant Life - Artists And Writers

When I first moved to New York it was to be an actress, and though that was a first love, over the years I started to write poetry and short stories and plays, and to work with other artists and designers on creative projects of all kinds. I've never been very good at figurative drawing, ever since my first grade teacher refused to post my coloring book apple on the wall because I had decided to color it many colors and go outside the lines, and I still take great joy in following my own bliss in design and art and life. It's my heartfelt belief that everyone has a creative side and that creativity comes in many forms. A lawyer may be a great chef, a chef may love interior design, a painter may write poetry, an actress can be a designer. When we allow ourselves to go outside the lines that are drawn, anything marvelous and beautiful can happen.

Recently I was given the gift of two different books that were written by two different artists. The first was given to me by the artist himself and the second by a woman who was friends with an artist. Both books delighted me because of the gifts they represented on so many levels. Gifts of generosity, creativity and beauty are all hard to find, and to have such a double blessing come into my life was a rare opportunity for celebration of the importance that creativity has in living a life that is fulfilled. The books are gracing my home, reminding me every day that each one of us has so much to offer the world, that each gift when it is shared multiplies its impact and ability to change the way we view our lives and connect with others.

Still Mostly True
Volume 2: Collected Stories & Drawings of Brian Andreas
Copyright 1994 by Brian Andreas
Published by Story People, Decorah, Iowa

Once In A Life Tom
OMG. You gotta be kidding. Did that really happen?
True life stories and illustrations by Tom Schwartz and written by Sylvia Schwartz
Copyright pending 2012


Jannie Susan

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Abundant Life - A Healthy Heart

I've written about Dawn Pascale in these pages before, and I caught up with her recently to talk about Bklyn Buttah, a coconut-based, non-dairy alternative to traditional butter. Dawn is the owner of the delicious and delightful Om Sweet Home, in her words, "A Hoboken-based, baked goods company specializing in plant-based/gluten-free desserts & cakes." Dawn writes, "Bklyn Buttah is the staple in all of our baked goods." I am a baker by family tradition, and though I am not vegan, I do use coconut oil and alternatives to animal based products in my cooking and baking at times because I also teach nutrition and health and work with many people who are looking for healthy alternatives because of personal diet and lifestyle choices, religious observances, or health reasons. Dawn is one of my favorite people, and though I know by personal experience how delicious her baked goods are, I wanted to try Bklyn Buttah in my own kitchen before writing about it. I was sure it was going to be a great product, but I was unprepared for its true greatness. Not only is it delicious, but it has the perfect qualities for cooking and baking that traditional bakers rely on with traditional butter. I fried an egg in it, sauteed beets in it, and I made a banana tea bread with a recipe from my Nana's Craig Claiborne New York Times Cookbook that was perfection. Bklyn Buttah is so delicious and healthy that I even indulged in topping warm pieces of the tea bread with it, something I would never do with traditional butter. Bklyn Buttah will keep refrigerated for three months and frozen for six months, though if you're like me it won't last nearly that long. Dawn is so lovely I love to support her business, and with a product like this my heart can be as healthy as hers is beautiful.

Dawn Pascale, Owner of Om Sweet Home
At bwe kafe With Her Bklyn Buttah

Bklyn Buttah At Home In My Kitchen

Banana Tea Bread From My Nana's Craig Claiborne Cookbook

Part Of A Heart Healthy Breakfast Made With Love

Banana Tea Bread - Modified From The New York Times Cook Book By Craig Claiborne

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or flour of your choice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons Bklyn Buttah (or butter or butter alternative of your choice)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Eggs, well beaten (or you can substitute one tablespoon of flax seed meal and three tablespoons of water for each egg for egg free diets)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 bananas, depending on size)

1. Preheat oven to moderate (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Thoroughly mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
3. Using your fingers, cut in the butter or butter alternative.
4. Add the eggs and bananas and beat well (this can be done by hand).
5. Pour into a well greased bread or cake pan or muffin tin and bake about one hour and ten minutes.



Jannie Susan

Sunday, July 10, 2016

An Abundant Life - The Sweet Life

I love to cook, and I love chocolate. My mother is a wonderful cook, and so was my father, and they both taught me some very basic recipes that they thought were fundamental, as well as giving me training in understanding the importance of using and identifying quality ingredients. One of the first recipes I learned was for a dessert that was a variation on chocolate mousse. In addition to learning how to separate eggs and beat egg-whites until they are stiff, making chocolate mousse involves working with chocolate as something that you melt and then fold in and then allow to cool into a delightfully velvety and fluffy mixture that is both rich in chocolate and light as air. The recipe I learned used the now old fashioned cookies called lady fingers to enclose the mousse in a parfait dish and be used to to make layers throughout. I haven't made that recipe in years, but I still use the techniques my mother taught me in the making of it when I make individual chocolate mousse in ramekins and for so many other delightful deserts and dishes.

When I first started putting together my own kitchen, one of the first things I bought was a double boiler to make sure I could melt chocolate properly. Over the years I discovered the sauce pans I now use that are copper lined with stainless steel. Although my pans have changed, my preferred chocolate has not. Since the moment I discovered Valrhona Chocolate, it's perfect texture and rich and intense flavor have kept me captivated.

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend the La Maison du Chocolat holiday preview and special "chocolate atelier" with Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau. The invitation alone had my mouth watering, and when I read that it was to be held at L'Ecole Valrhona, I was in heaven. The opportunity to spend the afternoon with the best chocolatier in the best chocolate factory in world is the stuff that dreams are made of. If you are a chocolate lover and you have tried Valrhona, I know you will understand, and if you have not tried it you have a treat of a lifetime coming. Just make sure you buy a bigger piece than you think you'll need for your recipe because the the taste is so divine you'll want to nibble it all by itself. And as for La Maison du Chocolat and Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau, there are no words to describe how delightful they are. By the first few sips of the wonderful hot chocolate that greeted me at the door I was tipsy with happiness, and throughout the rest of the day the joyfulness shared with each taste of chocolate brought me such a profound sense of fulfillment that I felt my cup truly runneth over.

La Maison du Chocolat Holiday Preview And Special "Chocolate Atelier"
With Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau
At L'Ecole Valrhona
222 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY

Two Varieties Of Hot Chocolate To Delight The Palate

A Constant Supply To Delight The Senses

Individual Stations Prepared For Each Student

 Holiday Spiced Pralines In The Making

Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau Demonstrates His Art

A Professional Translator Helping to Guide Our Learning 

 Robing The Chocolates

 Ready For Packaging And Impossible To Resist

 The Piece de Resistance
The Holiday Collection And A Tree Of Many Layers
Refined Extravagance From La Maison Du Chocolat


Jannie Susan

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Abundant Life - Choices

I've been thinking a lot about the ideas of freedom and choices in our every day lives. Today is the 4th of July, a time when we can celebrate freedom and liberty and our right to pursue happiness. The choices we make can affect others, and how we share information has an impact on our own lives as well as the community and world around us. Knowledge and understanding are keys to communicating effectively and in sharing how we can make the world a better place for everyone. My choices may be different from yours, and it is how we communicate knowledgeably and respectfully through our differences that can help us live and grow in our understanding together.

Dory Kurowski has created My Conscience My Choice, in her words, "A First-of-its-Kind App" that provides "The Best Eco-friendly, Cruelty-free and Vegan Product Choices at Your Fingertips." Dory researches food, personal care, household and cosmetic items, and shares the information she discovers in what she describes as "The easiest way to switch from familiar big brands to pioneering brands with leading sustainable products." And whatever you decide, it's your choice which is the best gift of all. With the help of Dory's app, you can decide on the best choices for you.

Dory Kurowski, Founder
My Conscience My Choice

At bwe kafe

Dory And Her App In Action


Jannie Susan