What we can learn from my puppy…
Dec21

What we can learn from my puppy…

Our new puppy, Scruffy (you’ve probably seen him plastered all over Facebook and Instagram!), never finishes all his kibble. No matter how much I give him, he always leaves just a little behind. What is that?! Here’s his gorgeousness on our first breakfast outing at The Commons in Calabasas. Fun! (Except when the one-year-old fellow Wheaten Terrier, Duffy, got off his leash and charged at him! It was all very innocent and friendly, but it wasn’t only Scruffy’s heart that was pounding!)   And here’s his bowl:   Do you belong to the clean-your-plate-club?   If you make ONE very small change, you will see a change in your thinking, and in your weight!   Here’s how to do it: Start with you favorite foods—don’t leave the best for last Keep checking in with yourself for whether you’re satisfied or still hungry for more When you feel satisfied—STOP! Tell yourself that any time you feel hungry again, you can eat again Congratulate yourself for not cleaning your plate and turning your body into a trashcan!   You’ll find more tips like this in my E-Book, “7 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss”—COMING SOON! It will sell on Amazon for $7.99, but will be absolutely FREE for download to all those who visit my website—for a limited time only.   Feel free to share my healthy holiday tips and my E-Book with all your friends! Oh, and let me know what you think of my brand new homepage! Lots of exciting changes coming in the New Year—stay tuned!  Happy, healthy holidays from our family to yours.  ...

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Do you Slowwwww Cook?
Dec06

Do you Slowwwww Cook?

I am obsessed with my slow cooker! I lie awake at night dreaming up things I could make in it… But it wasn’t always that way. In the (almost) eight years since I received it as a wedding gift, I had used it… oh… maybe five times tops! Probably because I used to keep it in the box in the garage, and the thought of schlepping it out, dusting it off, and then having to clean it after was waaaay more trouble than it was worth. But then the other day—while running around the block at Kellie Blackburn’s Bootylicious Bootcamp—my friend, Alisa, was telling me about the delicious chicken soup she made in her slow cooker—with a rotisserie chicken! I’m in the process of writing/releasing my first E-Book: 7 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss (COMING SOON!)… so I don’t even have time to shop for groceries—let alone cook something decent.  But Alisa inspired me to purchase a few chicken breasts and whatever pre-cut veggies I could find. (Zero washing or chopping required!) I bust out my crockpot—now conveniently located IN my kitchen—and literally dumped everything in the crockpot. Add some low sodium chicken broth, crushed tomatoes (San Marzano, of course) and some herbs and spices… and voila!   A few hours later I had a deeelicious home cooked stew/soup for my family. Well…um… that’s not completely true. I knew that hubby wouldn’t touch it, and my little one complained bitterly that she prefers granny’s soup—even though I used my handy-dandy Cuisinart Hand Blender (my other favorite kitchen appliance) to puree it for her. But… “I” LOVED it! And I now have a few healthy meals ready-to-go in the freezer. (Don’t you love that?) The chicken got so tender that I didn’t even need forks to shred it. And it couldn’t be easier: Dump Cook Eat   And this got me thinking about all the other possibilities… I think next on my list will be some kind of curry (you know I’m completely smitten with curried anything) and a ratatouille. Yum! I’ll be posting my recipes once I’ve perfected them, but in the meantime—if you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend putting it on your Holiday Wish List!   This Cuisinart 6-QT Multicooker is fab, because you can brown your meat or saute your onions and develop flavor right in the slow cooker, and not have to dirty another pan! Only $129 on Amazon (4 1/2 stars from 559 customer reviews)     Click here to view the Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker on Amazon >>   You can even get handy Slow Cooker Liners so that there’s literally no washing. Click to...

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9 Great Gifts for Foodies
Nov20

9 Great Gifts for Foodies

This AWESOME iPad stand inspired me to put together a little Holiday Gift Guide. I hope you find something for yourself or your favorite foodie.  SWIVEL Kitchen iPad Stand     $36.95   My tech-genius hubby (you know… Sam, of Sam & Company) researched this before getting it for me, (we also tried two others) and I LOVE it! it rotates you can purchase extra bases and then move the stand around the kitchen (or remove it when not using it) looks way-cool in your kitchen also works as a cookbook stand!    Check out The SWIVEL Kitchen iPad Rack / Stand / Holder for all 7  – 10 inch tablets, e-readers and smartphones on Amazon >>   Minion Baker     $16.48   Great stocking stuffer for any-aged Despicable Me 2 fan! Mine sits on my kitchen window and it makes me smile.   See the cute little Minion Baker on Amazon >>   Sunbeam Cupcake Maker     $40 My hubby got us this last Hanukkah and it has become a favorite in this house! Great for summer cupcakes because no need to turn the oven on! Your littles will love it!   Check out the Sunbeam Cupcake Maker on Amazon >>   Trader Joe’s Swag Bag     $6.99 Stuff a super-cool (cool… get it?) TJ’s Insulated Bag with your favorite goodies. Your friends will love the personal touch. Some of my favs: Coconut Oil Spray (Fab on popcorn!), Trader Joe’s Seriously Stuffed Peppers with Olives, Capers and Garlic, TJ’s Everyday Seasoning, Dried Persimmons, Smoked Trout, Menage A Trois Wine Favs from peeps who posted on my Facebook page (thanks y’all for writing in!): fig butter, pumpkin coffee, mini gingerbread men (check OrnaBakes on Facebook for more ideas) Check my Trader Joe’s Shopping List for even more ideas >>    Post pics of your customized gift bags on my OrnaBakes Facebook page!   Oxo Cookie Jar filled with homemade cookies     $16.99 Try my South African “Crunchies” (oatmeal-coconut-squares-of-goodness) My most popular recipe—now shared 726 times on Facebook. (Thank you peeps!) But this awesome jar will keep any cookies fresh. Wrap it up in a bow and you’re done!   Check out the Oxo Cookie Jar on Amazon >>   Dutch Oven (Enameled Cast Iron Pot) My favorite pot to cook in. I started with a 5.5 QT red beauty, and just got this yellow 9 QT LeCreuset on sale from Sur La Table. Look around for deals. This is a great time to invest in one—trust me, it will bring you joy! Heats evenly and goes from stove to oven to table. Fab for making stews, soups, braises—you name it. ...

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Help improve OrnaBakes and win FREE coaching!
Nov09

Help improve OrnaBakes and win FREE coaching!

I’d like to make my Shopping Lists more user-friendly. But I need your help! (Have you visited or shared them? If not, why not?)   Please take THREE MINUTES to Fill Out My Survey >> (This is your chance to speak up if you find anything annoying!)  – Plus – Win a 30 minute Private Coaching Session with me (phone or Skype) $50 value Click here for more info on Private Coaching by Orna Click here for Orna’s Weight Loss Journey   “Orna is very wise, caring, supportive, and accessible. I highly recommend her for anyone looking to change their life for the better!”  Lisa E.   All you have to do is complete the survey by midnight on Tuesday, 11/11, and you’ll automatically be entered to win. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, 11/12.   Thank you so much in advance for your time!   xoxo...

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Old Tradition Meets New: Ginger Cutout Cookies
Oct28

Old Tradition Meets New: Ginger Cutout Cookies

I didn’t grown up with Halloween, so even after living in the US for 21 years (how did that happen?!), it doesn’t have the same meaning for me as the die-hards around me. (I’m sure if I had grown up collecting pails of candy with my friends, and dressing up in lavish costumes, it would be my fayyyvorite holiday!)  But I did grow up with a tradition of ginger cookies. My love for ginger “biscuits”—as we called them in South Africa—began with these very gingersnaps that my step-mom, Pam, used to make. They’re characteristically crunchy, but if you prefer a chewy cookie, just bake for less time. I like them perfectly crispy around the edges with just a little chew in the middle. Yum! If you’re not gonna frost them, painting them with egg gives them a glossy sheen, but if you forget this step (like I did) they will still be delish!   My favorite taster said they’re just right! (She’s munching on a ghost cookie—in case you’re wondering.)   I found the cute jack-o-lantern cookie stamp set at Sur La Table. Would you believe I FORGOT to use them and just managed to scrape three together with the last offcuts of dough!     And even after being rolled and re-rolled they were still pretty yummy! Though I did leave these in the oven for about 30 seconds too long so they’re crrrrrispy! Make sure to keep an eye on them because every minute counts!   In my recent trip to South Africa, I poured over Pam’s recipe book, taking snaps of all my childhood favs. (I sure wish I would’ve been more interested when I lived there.) How cool is this? The original recipe from her mom, Nan, who was a fabulous baker.   You know I just couldn’t stop there though, right? I modified the recipe (after my usual hours of research and testing) which called for creaming the eggs and sugar. (Yes, you read that correctly) There are so few recipes that require this step, that I decided to go with the simpler method of whisking and stirring—from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book (fabulous book) . I mean, why bring out the mixer unless absolutely necessary, right? And this way my daughter can be involved in the mixing too—not just the cutting and frosting. You might be wondering why they call for such a large amount of baking soda (2 teaspoons). This is so that they rise dramatically and then collapse, leaving the cute crackles on the surface. It also allows for better browning and the cracks in the dough allow more moisture to escape, making them crispier. Refrigerating the dough deepens...

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