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When’s The Last Time You Went on a Picnic?

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For those of us with hectic schedules, a picnic is a great mini-vacation and a great way to reconnect with the family or our partner.

The first usage of the term pique-nique hails from 1692. Picnic is actually based on the verb piquer, which means ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ with the rhyming nique meaning “thing of little importance.”

Regardless of its painfully boring history there’s something romantic in the fact that nothing has really changed. Picnics are still enjoyed the same way they were centuries ago with a cozy blanket, a little food, and a relaxing outdoor view. Picnics also offer an inexpensive way to take a break, slow down, and enjoy the moment with your kids or partner.

Over the years my wife and I have become little picnic professionals. We go on some many that we have a little system down. Often we find a simple half hour picnic is the most memorable part of our week and we wish more couples and families were out there fancied them.

MAKE A PICNIC KIT

First things first, you need a simple picnic kit in your car at all times. Trust me, you have no idea how nice it is at a moments notice. My wife and I have a cool old wool blanket, a couple forks, a little cutting board, a dull yet workable knife, and a couple books ready to go at the drop of a hat. If you live within distance of a beach a towel and flip-flops are also convenient.

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FOOD!

Picnic food for us goes in two completely different directions. We either enjoy making everything from scratch (egg salad, pasta salad, sandwiches, deserts, etc), or, we drop by the grocery store deli on our way out and grab cured meats, cheeses, fruits, baguette and premade goodness. It’s also not against the rules to grab takeout; we used to think that was cheating but we quickly got over that. The key is to make it easy on you.

 WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR A PICNIC?

Yes you do! The true secret to picnics is to be spontaneous with them and frequent. Picnics are not meant for next weekend or some ideal summer day, they’re meant for the moment. Park the car on the way home or layout on the living room rug tonight. We all need a break from our gadgets and our work and picnics are remarkable at pulling us back into the moment and reconnecting with the people that matter most.

You don’t have to stop at simple. The picnic can be as elaborate and as creative as you’d like.  Here’s a collection of fun picnic inspired images!

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Categories: Sustainable Ideas
Apr10
By Eric

Healthy Smoothies To Start Your Day

Healthy Smoothies organic smoothies recipies

Making healthy smoothies are easy! And, the best part is, you already have the ingredients to make one in your kitchen!

Over the years my wife and I have gone through several morning rituals. We went through a toast and jam phase, a coffee phase, we bought an expensive juicer and did the juicing phase, but the one that’s stuck around and stood the test of time has been making healthy smoothies with our blender every morning. It’s the easiest and the healthiest way to start your day off right.

I’ve included a few of my favorite recipes below but feel free to get creative! Anyone can make a healthy smoothie with three simple ingredients. Here is a list to get you started, but again, feel free to experiment with different combinations and add to this list as needed.


Step 1: Add a Liquid

The base of your smoothie is the liquid. Liquids like milk and Coconut milk are great options because thy add an extra boost of protein.  You should avoid juice if possible because of all that added sugar.

Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Water, Fruit Juice, and Vegetable Juice are great ways to start off a healthy smoothie.


Step 2: Add Produce

This is where the majority of your vitamins and minerals will come from so the more ingredients you can pack in the better. Raw and fresh is the key here but purchasing a bag of frozen berries or kale is a sure way to have smoothie ingredients on hand when you need them.

Kale, Spinach, Blue Berries, Strawberries, Black Berries, Mango, Banana, Orange, Tangerine, Cucumber, Beats, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Coconut Pulp, Avocado, Carrots, Fennel, Sea Vegetables, Zucchini, and Tomatoes are loaded with nutrients and break down well in blenders.


Step 3: Add a Protein

Adding protein to your smoothie will help you feel full and keep you from snacking a half hour later.

Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Coconut Milk, Flax Seeds, Seaweed, Oats, Chia Seeds, Milk, Yogurt (unsweetened is best), Pumpkin Seeds, Quinoa, Raw Egg, Soy Milk, Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Hemp Seeds, Cacao Nibs, along with a mile long list of available protein powders.

 

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Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Here is a shortlist of some of my favorite smoothies.

 

Banana Ginger

1 Banana, sliced

¾ c (6 oz) Vanilla Yogurt

1 Tbsp Honey

½ tsp Freshly Grated Ginger

 

Morning Sunrise

1 1/2 Cups Fresh Strawberries

1/2 Banana

Pulp of 1 Avocado

1 Cup Low-fat Milk

Honey, if desired

 

The Blue Banana

1¼ Cup Light Soy Milk

½ Cup Loose-pack Blueberries

½ Banana, Sliced

1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

 

Banana And Almond Butter

My favorite one is also the simplest.

1 Banana

1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter)

2 cups of milk

Categories: Recipes
Mar19
By Eric

Our First Los Angeles Wedding Catering Event of 2015!

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Eco Caters, your Los Angeles wedding catering and event design team, kicked off our first wedding of 2015! Take a looksy!

Cortney and Alec tied the knot in style with a soft pallet of pink and violet colors, finished with elegant details. The bride stunned guests with her backless wedding dress, designed by Katie May, while the groom could have made the cover of a men’s fashion magazine in his dapper suit and unique cufflinks by Steampunk Luxury. The wedding was a relaxing affair with infectious dance music by DJ Haute Mobile Disco and delicious locally sourced food by our Los Angeles wedding caterers.

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During cocktail hour our Head Chef, Rob, served a fun and savory parade of finger-foods fresh from the kitchen. Our Los Angeles wedding catering team tray passed our crowd-pleasing Grass Fed Beef Sliders with smoked cheddar and our special house cured bacon. Guests also raved over our Seared Tuna with Citrus Slaw and a yummy Chicken -N- Waffle drizzled with sweet maple syrup.

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Cortney and Alec, thank you for choosing Eco Caters as your Los Angeles wedding caterer, and for sharing your special day with our team! We would also like to give a special thanks to B&G Photographer for sharing these beauitiful wedding photos with us. If you’d like to see more photos from Cortney and Alec’s wedding or to see more weddings from B&G Photography please visit their website B&G Photography.

If you are interested in having Eco Caters at your next wedding or special occasion, we encourage you to reach out to us!  Our friendly team can create a custom menu for your budget and your tastes. Everything we serve is made with love, using the freshest locally sourced and organic ingredients.

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Los Angeles Wedding Catering: Eco Caters

Los Angeles Wedding Venue: Smog Shoppe

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer: B&G Photography

Los Angeles Wedding Flowers: Oak & the Owl

Los Angeles Wedding Gown and Veil: Katie May

Los Angeles Wedding Pearl Halo: Handmade by Sara Kim

Los Angeles Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Los Angeles Wedding Reception Dress: John Zack

Los Angeles Wedding DJ: Haute Mobile Disco

Los Angeles Wedding Cake: Eat Cake Cafe

Los Angeles Wedding Lighting: Stage Lab

Los Angeles Wedding Photo Booth: Paper Moon Vintage

Los Angeles Wedding Hair & Makeup: Mandy Perez

Los Angeles Wedding Groom Suit: District Homme by Deborah Sabet

Los Angeles Wedding Wedding Band: Christian Bauer

Los Angeles Wedding Cuff Links: Steampunk Luxury

Los Angeles Wedding Shoes: Boss by Hugo Boss

Los Angeles Wedding Bride and Groom Gifts: Little Okins

Mar10
By Eric

20 Fruits & Vegetables to Buy in March

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While March brings forth Women’s History Month and the Youth Art Month, it also offers our first burst of fresh and in-season fruits and vegetables of the year.

Why the importance on “seasonal” fruits and vegetables?

While one can can always find tomatoes, leafy greens, and essential fruits at the local grocery store, it does not always mean that it’s “fresh.” That limp head of lettuce may not have been grown nearby.  It may have traveled thousands of miles across the globe and picked over a week before landing in your fridge.  By this time these delicate living organisms have diminished in nutritional value, and flavor.

The main benefit of eating local, in-season produce, is the gift of maximum nutrition. In addition, you are investing in, and supporting, your community by purchasing from local farmers. Lastly, you drastically reduce your carbon footprint by not having your food shipped across the continent.

Lastly, purchasing in season fruits and vegetables just taste better!  They are fresh so they are typically riper and more crisp than products that sat in a crate for days on end.  Some of the best places to pick these in season fruits and vegetables is at your neighborhood farmers market.  It’ll give you a chance to compare freshness from different farms, and also give you the chance to talk directly with the growers.

Here are a list of 20 in-season fruits and vegetables you should add to your grocery list for the month of March.

1.  Carrots 

2.  Brussels Sprouts 

3.  Pears

4.  Artichokes

5.  Grapefruit

6.  Oranges

7.  Tangerines

8.  Lemons

9.  Celery

10.  Apples

11.  Cabbage

12.  Strawberries

13.  Asparagus

14.  Broccoli

15.  Spinach

16.  Greens

17.  Potatoes

18.  Beets 

19.  Cauliflower

20. Radishes

Feb24
By Eric

Junípero Serra Museum, in Presidio Park

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VENUE:  Junípero Serra Museum, in Presidio Park

STYLE:  Spanish Mission-Style

ADDRESS:   2727 Presidio Drive, San Diego

WEBSITE:  SanDiegoHistory.org

CONTACT:  (619) 297-3258

 

The Junípero Serra Museum, located in Presidio Park, is an ideal setting for a stunning and unique wedding or social event. The mission-style building was constructed in 1929 as museum, not a mission, and is located above San Diego’s historic Old Town.  Centrally located in San Diego, the museum boasts spectacular city and ocean views.  The rustic outdoor terrace and our intimate interior gallery creates a perfect historical atmosphere for any event.

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Feb24
By Eric

Beach Terrace Inn

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VENUE:  Beach Terrace Inn

STYLE:  Ocean Front Hotel

ADDRESS:   2775 Ocean St, Carlsbad, CA 92008

WEBSITE:  BeachTerraceInn.com

CONTACT:  1 (800) 433-5415

 

The Beach Terrace Inn is a small and intimate hotel, with a beach front location that is both privileged and rare.  The beach Terrace Inn specializes in beach weddings and they have a wonderful reception room that has a full ocean view.  A wedding with sand in your toes…  A poolside cocktail party… A wedding reception under the warm glow of a Pacific sunset…  You can’t go wrong with this amazing San Diego wedding venue.

 

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Feb24
By Eric

Humming Bird Nest Ranch

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VENUE:  Humming Bird Nest Ranch

STYLE:  Mountain Spanish Villa

ADDRESS:   2940 Kuehner Drive, Santa Susana, CA

WEBSITE:  HummingBirdNestRanch.com

CONTACT:  info@hummingbirdnestranch.com

 

From the sweeping vistas to the finest details, the Hummingbird Nest is an event venue unlike any other and it simply takes your breath away. Nestled in the Santa Susana Mountains less than a half hour from Los Angeles, this extraordinary property boasts an exquisite main villa with regal Spanish architecture and décor, a gorgeous array of outdoor spaces perfect for ceremonies, receptions, and private events for up to 5000 guests, giving guests a feeling of unsurpassed warmth and luxury.

 

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Feb24
By Eric

The Plaza At Cabrillo Marina

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VENUE:  The Plaza At Cabrillo Marina

STYLE:  Ocean Front

ADDRESS:   224 Whalers Walk, San Pedro

WEBSITE:  Cymcabrillo.com

CONTACT:  ThePlaza@cymcabrillo.com

 

The spacious, one story facility is the hub of the multipurpose complex that includes the scenic Cabrillo Marina, excellent restaurant and the elegant Double Tree Hotel by Hilton. From the Plaza, its patio and courtyard visitors to the Marina can watch activities of nearby Cabrillo Beach. Capable of hosting events for up to 120 seated or 260 standing guests and up to 750 for outdoor events, the Plaza features convenient parking in the Cabrillo Plaza parking lot.

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Categories: Venues
Feb23
By Eric

The 1909

The 1909 wedding venue

 

VENUE:  The 1909

STYLE:  Outdoor/Indoor

ADDRESS:   1909 North Topanga Canyon Blvd  Topanga

WEBSITE:  The1909.com

CONTACT:  Topanga1909@gmail.com

 

The 1909 is located in the heart of the Topanga National Park, hidden under the canopy of protected California oak trees, and nourished by the sacred waters of Topanga Creek. Centrally located off Topanga Canyon Blvd. The 1909 is an ideal location, only minutes away from Woodland Hills to the north, and Malibu to the south. The 1909 was envisioned to provide a unique platform for a variety of social and business events.

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Feb19
By Eric

Studio 1342

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VENUE:  Studio 1342

STYLE:  Indoor/Outdoor Warehouse Space

ADDRESS:   1342 S LA BREA AVE, LA 90019

WEBSITE:  OneThreeFourTwo.com

CONTACT:  OneThreeFourTwo.com

 

Studio 1342 is a fun space decked out with a fire pit, movie screen, and a little mid-century modern flair. The space has enough personality on its own but blank enough to add your own decor and vendors. Studio 1342 is a great space for a wedding and a great space to have a great time.

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Feb13
By Eric
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