Meet Beck Hartman

img_1830Becky is a homeschooling mom of six (four girls and two boys ranging from 12 years old to 6 months old!) She is also a Noonday Ambassador, a free trade jewelry/accessories company that is making a huge impact on the world. She has always loved playing with fashion, being bold with colors, and expressing her sunny personality through her apparel. In our conversation she talks about Noonday and about joining the tribe of world-changers. She also shares her journey with image, and how she is raising her daughters to have an appropriate view of fashion.

Tune in back here this Saturday, February 2 for the full audio interview!

In the meantime, follow Becky @noonday.becks

HEADS UP: February

This month is going to be fun. The creative expression we’re exploring is Fashion. While fashion can be a touchy topic and easily exploited, it should be a creative outlet for us. We’ll be taking a look at how creativity plays into the practicality and the fun of getting dressed. Here’s what’s on the docket:

Interview with Noonday Ambassador and fashionista Becky Hartman

Spotlights on a nail technician, a consignment boutique owner, and a capsule wardrober

Helpful closet organization hacks

Fun ideas for displaying your jewelry

The basics of Seasonal ‘capsule’ wardrobing

 

SPOTLIGHT: Ashley Enriquez

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Email: ash.enriquez4@gmail.com

Instagram: @4healthnut8

Age: 31

 

 

 

What is your culinary background?

I went to culinary school but took a break when I had my daughter and relocated. I never got back to it. I was the health food chef at Whole Foods in Tustin. Then I started my own business as a ‘personal chef’. I made lunches for clients who had dietary restrictions, diabetes, wanted to lose weight, needed low-cholesterol/sugar meals, etc. I did this in our 500 squ ft duplex. It was so crowded and I pretty much used our fridge for business.

What do you love most about being creative with food?

The kitchen is my happy place. I really do love prepping and chopping for dishes. It’s therapy. But really love how food can take you places mentally. The smell of garlic and onions reminds me of when my great-grandma made Mexican rice. Being creative with food gives my friends and family opportunities to try dishes from all over the world. I love learning about other countries’ traditions with food. Now that my family and I have been vegan for 4 years, there is fun in the challenge of making our vegan-versions of our favorite dishes. 

What are some of your favorite things to make?

I love making Mediterranean food. My favorite is falafel, tofu feta, and tabouli. I recently made a radish-corn salad that was sooooo good. 

HOME CHEF: Erin Drazin

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Erin is the hostess with the mostest. She loves having people over and feeding them delicious food. She isn’t afraid to make up recipes, and enjoys the process of making things from scratch. Having a husband who is diabetic has been a good challenge to her culinary creativity. She also loves to include her 2-years old daughter in the kitchen. Here is one of their family favorites that she came up with:

 

Friday Night Chicken Ranch Tacos

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken breasts, chopped

olive oil, salt & pepper to taste

Packets of taco seasoning

1/4–1/3 cup ranch dressing

Taco fixings: tortillas or shells, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, etc

Directions:

Heat tbsp of olive oil in skillet. Saute chopped chicken breast with S & P until cooked.

Add taco seasoning packets and mix.

Add preferred amount of ranch dressing. Heat through.

Serve with favorite taco fixings. Drizzle extra ranch on top.

Enjoy!

Erin is the theatre actress and mom to 2-year old Clementine. Follow her @the.drazins.three. Also check out her Spotlight post back in August 2018

Groceries on a Budget

Through the years we’ve had times of plenty and times of sparsity. Whatever our financial season, we always try to stick to a grocery budget. Since my husband gets paid only once a month, this is especially important to plan out. With some creativity and organization, I’ve figured out a few hacks that work for us to keep our grocery bill down.

Hack #1: Buying in bulk. With my weekly grocery list in hand, I went to Costco and spent time going up and down each aisle and comparing prices. I made a Costco list of things that were cheaper to buy in bulk that I was buying every week at the grocery store. (AnyList app is my life-saver!) At the start of each month (when payday hits) I do the Costco shopping–and I do not go back to Costco for the rest of the month (a big money-saver cuz you know you can never leave Costco with just the one thing you went in for, right?!) Here’s my Costco list:

Grated cheese (comes in 2 bags and lasts us 2 months. I freeze one bag while using the other), American Cheese, String Cheese and Individually wrapped Baby Bell Cheese, Eggs (we eat eggs every morning so getting 48 eggs for $3 is a STEAL), Butter, Eggo Waffles, Spaghetti, Macaroni & CheeseGold Fish Snacks, Bread (2 loaves for $5 compared to 1 loaf for $3.50!!! We get 6  loaves each month and I keep the bread in the freezer until use), Fruit & Yogurt Squeezie Pouches, Cereal, Some Extras: gum, kids vitamins, probiotics, canned chicken, toilet paper

Hack #2: we eat meat sparingly, as meat can be a pricey item. I buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts at Trader Joe’s or Costco to last the month. I buy ground turkey at Trader Joe’s and try to get two meals out of it (ie tacos and spaghetti). Chicken drumsticks are very inexpensive, so they’re a good budget-friendly option. I rarely buy beef or fish (instead we get our fix when we go out for a date!)

Hack #3: I make just enough for our family. We’re not big on left-overs anyway. And throwing extra food away is a money-drain. So I almost always cut recipes in half. Instead of using a whole package of penne and having left-overs, I use half a bag. If a recipe calls for premium apple-smoked bacon, I plan another meal that week that will use up the bacon (or I just get a cheaper bacon). I tweak recipes too. If a recipe calls for one obscure ingredient, I substitute it for something cheaper that I may already have. I get creative.

Hack #4: I regulate snacks. If it were up to my kids, they would snack all day long, especially my toddler who immediately wants a snack anytime she gets bored or upset. My kids would eat me out of house and home if I wasn’t on top of snacks! So we stick to a routine of late morning snack and afternoon snack. And that’s it. I also portion out snacks into snack-size Ziploc baggies. Once a week (usually after I’ve grocery shopped) I portion out snacks and arrange them in a ‘morning snack basket’ and an ‘afternoon snack basket’ kept in the pantry. They know to pick only one snack baggie and if they want, they can add a string cheese or Baby Bell cheese or a fruit. This keeps them from polishing off a box of wheat thins or a bag of popcorn in one snack sitting! We’ve saved a lot of money this way. (It’s also taught my kids not to use food to satisfy other issues like boredom, hurt feelings, or cravings).

Hack #5: Meal planning! I’m telling you, it makes a huge difference. For more on meal planning, check out my Jan 14 post.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT: Jenna Mason

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Age: 14

Business: gourmet cupcakes

Instagram: @jennas.cupcakes

 

 

How did you get into baking cupcakes?

When I was little, I would always make-pretend cupcakes or pies out of mud or sand. Then as I got older, I loved helping my mom in the kitchen. She let me mix and cut things when I was really small and I would have to stand on a chair to reach the counter. I have always wanted to have a career in baking because I thought it would be so cool to have a job that was really fun. One day my dad showed me a YouTube channel called My Cupcake Addiction and I started making cupcakes. One day during the summer I made cupcakes while my dad was at work and when he came home he suggested I go sell them at the park next to our house. I made a sign that said ‘Cupcakes $1’, got a wagon, and carried a tray of cupcakes down to the park. I ended up selling all 24 cupcakes. Then I set up an Instagram account so people could order cupcakes. The next Saturday I made 6 dozen cupcake orders for new customers.

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What do you love most about it?

My favorite part about making cupcakes is decorating them and making them look pretty. I also like taking pictures of them for Instagram.

Do you have any aspirations for your culinary skills?

I would love for this to be a full-time job when I am older and to own my bakery when I am an adult. 

Are there other areas of your life where you exercise creativity?

I have always loved drawing, painting, and photography. My mom taught me a lot about art and she is really good at painting, drawing, and pottery (see Spotlight post on Ali Mason July 14, 2018)

HOME CHEF: Mallory Drazin

IMG_6BA01FFBB161-1Mallory basically grew up in the kitchen, and feels more comfortable in front of the stove than anywhere else. She learned basic cooking skills from her mom at a very young age, and never had a fear of any flavor. She has an innate ability to combine flavors, and a courage to try new things. Food is her happy place, and she brings joy to everyone she feeds. While she loves to follow food bloggers and Instagrammers and learn new things from them, she also loves to create her own recipes. Here she shares one of her recipes she has come to be famous for by her friends and family.

Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Egg

Ingredients:

Large Sweet potatoes (typically 1 per person)

Bacon (about 3 strips per person)

1 can Black beans (rinsed)

arugula

eggs (1 per person)

goat cheese

Directions:

cook sweet potatoes until softened and skin falls off easily (either in the oven, or for a quicker way, in the micro. Look up directions on how to do that on Pinterest, etc)

Fry bacon in skillet

Add cooked sweet potatoes to bacon and fry lightly. Add black beans. Set aside

Poach eggs (look up directions on how to poach eggs. A sunny-side up egg can also work)

In shallow dish, serve potato hash first, layer arugula on top, add crumbled goat cheese, and top with poached egg.

Enjoy!

Mallory is a photographer and homeschooling mom. Follow her @m.c.drazin

 

Make A Plan

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Meal planning–do you perk up or cringe? It depends on my mood. For most of our married life, I have been diligent about planning meals weekly. While it can feel like “another chore” and I go through seasons of feeling totally un-inspired about meals, it has saved us lots of money and time in the long run. Through the years I’ve figured out some tips that have helped me that I’ll share here.

  • Pick a day to meal plan and make your grocery list–the two go hand-in-hand. For me, it’s Monday, the day before I shop. Stick to this weekly routine!
  • Find the best way of making a grocery list. I use the AnyList app for my grocery list. So handy! It’s on my phone, and I have several permanent lists: grocery list, Target list, packing list, to name a few. You enter items and they stay on your list until you delete them. Every week I take a look at my existing list, mark items to buy, add items, and hide items I don’t need to buy that week. This saves a ton of time instead of going through cupboards or the fridge and trying to compile a weekly grocery list.
  • Find the best way of making your weekly meal plan. I use a little dry-erase board marked with the days of the week. I picked it up in the $1 spot at Target. I keep it posted on the fridge. (Michael likes to check each morning what to expect for dinner later that day). In each day spot I write what’s for dinner, any sides, and any special notes (ie, crockpot, dinner guests, or evening plans).
  • Keep a stash of recipes handy. My biggest stash is my Pinterest board called What’s Cookin’. I can easily check ingredients, double-tap over to AnyList and add them, double-tap back to my Board, and keep building the weekly menu.
  • Taylor your weekly meal plans to your weekly routines. Michael teaches an evening class at the college Tuesday nights, so I always get something quick, easy, and kid-friendly (mac n’ cheese, pizza, etc). Weekends can be wild cards, with friends inviting us over last minute or taking day trips that involve eating out later. So I plan meals that require no meat defrosting/prep, and can be saved for another night if we’re not home (Hawaiian-roll grill cheese, packaged tortillini, etc). On nights when Westly has a sport practice or I have a late afternoon appointment, I use my crockpot so dinner is ready when we get home just before dinner time.
  • Have fun with the weather and the season. I like to include seasonal ingredients if I can, like corn on the cob in the summer and root veggies in the winter. When making my meal plan, I’ll also check the weather for the week on my app. If I see that we’re in for some cold or rainy weather, I’ll do a soup or stew one night. If I see that we’re in for a hot spell, I’ll plan meals that don’t require using the oven, which heats up our house!

With my AnyList app, dry-erase board, calendar, and Pinterest Board at the ready, meal planning literally takes me 20 min or less. And it has saved me so much time–I grocery shop once a week, and rarely have to go back to a store mid-week. I don’t have to put much thought or planning into our dinner each day because it’s already planned out ahead of time. I don’t have to frantically search the kitchen and try to ‘whip something up’ because my kitchen is stocked with the ingredients I bought for the planned meals. And it’s saved us money–we’re able to stick to our monthly ‘eating-out-budget’ instead of eating out unnecessarily because dinner wasn’t planned. I buy what we need for the week and no more. A little planning can go a long way!

 

SPOTLIGHT: Naughty Oak Brewing Co.

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www.naughtyoak.com

facebook.com/N.O.BrewingCo

Instagram: @naughtyoakbrew

Phone: 805-287-9663

Interview: as told by Emily Kitts, part-owner

 

How did you come to open the Naughty Oak Brewing Co?

The brewery was Steve’s [my husband] dream and brainchild. He has worked at Vandenberg in satellite operations since about 2003, and took up home brewing as a hobby with our next door neighbor about 6 years ago. He immediately loved everything about the brewing process and decided that he wanted to do it full time. He really yearned to have a career where he was working with his hands, and creating something tangible after so many years of working in front of a computer screen. So in 2016, we both left our full-time jobs and dove in!

What do you love most about running your business?

The thing that brings us the most joy is to see that the brewery is a place that people want to gather. We’re so incredibly happy to see that the community sees it as a welcoming place where they can relax, catch up or make new friends. Watching our team come together as a community is another huge part of that. We are so lucky to have such great people working with us; and it makes us so happy to see the Naughty Oak crew get together after hours, or meet up at the brewery on their off time.

How does creativity play into your company?

Steve is always trying new flavor combinations, recipes, and ingredients. We have 12 beers on tap all the time, and only about 5 of them are permanent, so he’s constantly brainstorming for the next seasonal beer, new recipe, or beer name. Naming the beers usually is one of the hardest parts. We are really lucky to have a team of creative minds helping us with all of the other taproom details. My sister-in-law, Andrea Rockwell, is our graphic artist and is responsible for all our logos, branding, and labels. She can turn our vague, half-thought-out ideas into something amazing. 

My parents are also a huge part of the taproom’s creativity. They are responsible for most of the art in the brewery. My mom, Janis Rockwell, does all our signage for our beers on tap, and she also did the squirrel mural. She and my dad are constantly building something for the brewery, whether it’s a welding project, woodworking, carving, or painting. They are an incredible mix of creative and engineering brain power and talent.

Are there other areas where you exercise creativity?

My career (Emily’s) prior to opening the brewery was jewelry-making, so I still get to do small jewelry projects on the side. I also really enjoy the batik process, so I like to play with that. I’ve dabbled with batiks on cotton, but my favorite is Pysanky (Ukrainian batik eggs). Lately thought I’ve been really intrigued by embroidery. Maybe that will be next for me!

If you’re local on the Central Coast, stop in to the Naughty Oak Brewing Co, or check them out on social media!

 

My Fave Go-Tos

It’s always handy to have a few go-to meals ready and waiting. Here are three of my favorite because they require no meat defrosting/prep, use simple ingredients that I usually have on hand, and can be made in under 30 minutes. Perfect for weekend dinners or busy weekday nights.

Chicken Pockets

I grew up on these. Not sure where my mom got the recipe–maybe she invented it. But it’s one of my kids’ favorites.

Ingredients:

Canned chicken

4 oz cream cheese

Can of crescent rolls

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 (or whichever temp your crescent rolls say)

Drain can of chicken and shred into a bowl

Add softened cream cheese and mix (my kids are plain, but you could add fresh rosemary or chopped green onions for extra flair)

Open crescent rolls. Fuse two triangles together to make a square (you should get 4 squares). Spoon chicken mixture onto each square, fold over, and pinch sides so seal.

Bake for about 15 min (or however long crescent rolls say) until golden.

Enjoy!

Cream Pasta

This is a basic dish that can be freshened up in different way. Here are the staples:

Pick a Carb: gnocchi, penne pasta, or farfalle

Pick a Protein: bacon, diced ham, Italian sausage, or panchetta

Pick a Green: peas, broccoli, or asparagus

Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)

Directions:

Cook your carb according to package.

Cook your protein in skillet (if using bacon or sausage, crumble)

Cook your Green (steam peas, steam broccoli, or roast asparagus with olive oil and sea salt for about 7 min)

Mix Carb, Protein, Green together in pot. Mix in parmesan. Add heavy cream. Stir and serve.

Hawaiian Roll Grill Cheese

I found this idea on Pinterest, and it is a family fave.

Ingredients:

Hawaiian rolls

American cheese

Deli ham

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Do not separate rolls. Slice horizontally through them to make a top and bottom.

Layer cheese and ham in the middle like a giant sandwich.

Place on cookie sheet and cover with foil.

Bake in oven about 15 min. Check that cheese is melted. Cut rolls apart into individual grill cheese sandwiches.

Enjoy!