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DIY All-Natural Carpet Refresher

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Baking soda & organic essential oils make an excellent, inexpensive DIY carpet refresher and deodorizer.

Baking soda & organic essential oils make an excellent, inexpensive DIY carpet refresher and deodorizer.

Hello and welcome to the softer side of Randy. If, like myself, you find yourself on the hunt for ways to keep your house smelling fresh, you may have purchased carpet refreshers or carpet deodorizers in the past. Simple enough, they’re powders that you sprinkle onto your carpet before vacuuming to absorb odors and leave a nice, pleasant scent behind.

But what exactly is in them? I don’t know. My guess is that it’s some scientist’s cocktail of somewhat natural and obviously artificial ingredients that I don’t want lingering around my abode and getting into my lungs. (If you’ve got pets or small children running around, I’d be doubly concerned.) The good news is that there’s a cheap, easy alternative that was so brilliant, I had to share.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Organic essential oils

Yes, that’s seriously it. I took one box of baking soda, dumped it out into a mixing bowl, added 30 drops of organic bergamot essential oils, stirred it around to equally distribute it and break up any clumps, then returned it to the box. Now, I’ll sprinkle the mixture over my carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb any odors, and then run the vacuum to sweep it all up. Fresh scent, no foul chemicals… done and done!

And it’s far less expensive than buying the pre-made stuff! Yes, the essential oils will set you back anywhere from $9 to $12, but a little goes a long way and you’ll have plenty leftover for more boxes of baking soda, to add to your bath, or for a whole lot of other interesting uses. I chose bergamot, which is an excellent deodorizer and one of my favorite scents (bergamot is the added flavoring in Earl Grey tea and it’s used widely in the cologne industry) but you can certainly use whatever essential oil or blend of essential oils you like.

All the kudos for this brilliant idea go to OverthrowMartha.com. There’s also a tutorial there for how to make your own shaker using an old mason jar, some paper, and a hole cutter should you want to get a little fancier than my ghetto “toss it back in the baking soda box” method.

Now that I’ve gotten this domestic bliss and essential oil talk out of the way, I feel like I should go crack a beer or something. Maybe put a monster truck rally on TV…

L.A. Sriracha Festival event information

The 1st Annual L.A. Sriracha Festival

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L.A. Sriracha Festival event information

 

Yes, it’s true! I’m putting together a Sriracha Festival in downtown Los Angeles with my good friend Joshua Lurie from FoodGPS.com!

The 1st Annual L.A. Sriracha Festival is taking place on Sunday, October 27, from 3 pm to 6 pm at LOT 613 in the downtown L.A. Arts District. This chef-driven, all-inclusive, 21+ event spotlights the world’s most iconic hot sauce in a casual industrial setting. Multiple stations allow guests to enjoy a variety of Sriracha themed dishes, including desserts, at their own pace. Local craft beer, cocktails, and sodas help tame the heat while a live DJ set helps create a fun and unforgettable food and drink experience.

Some of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants participating in this year’s event include:

  • Wesley Avila— Guerrilla Tacos — “Best Tacos in LA Under $10”, Time Out LA (2013)
  • Nadav Bashan — Bashan — “Most Underrated Restaurant in LA”, Eater
  • Neal Fraser — BLDFritzi DogICDC, Redbird at VibianaThe Strand House Top Chef: Masters (Season 5)
  • Gabe Gordon — Beachwood BBQ & Brewing — “Best Brewpub in Southern California”, RateBeer.com (2013)
  • Eric Greenspan — The Foundry on MelroseGreenspan’s Grilled CheeseThe Roof on Wilshire — Iron Chef: AmericaThe Next Iron Chef
  • Tai Kim — Scoops — ”10 Best Ice Cream & Gelato Shops” (#8), LA Weekly (2011)
  • Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso — Mexicali Taco & Co. — “The Best Tacos in Los Angeles”, laist (2013)
  • Christian Page — Short Order — “5 Reasons to Get Out and Explore LA”, Bon Appetit (2012)
  • Tui Sungkamee & Jazz Singsanong — Jitlada — Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants (#9), LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants (2013)
  • Chloe Tran & John Vu Cao — East Borough — “One Perfect Day in Costa Mesa,” Sunset Magazine, opening restaurant in Culver City
  • Ernesto Uchimura Plan Check Kitchen + Bar — “Chef of the Year”, Los Angeles Magazine (2012) — also featuring a cocktail from Matthew Biancaniello

Beverages

To drink, Eagle Rock BreweryBeachwood BBQ & Brewing, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will be pouring craft beers throughout the event. Inventive bartenders Josh Goldman (Soigné Group) and Matthew Biancaniello are serving creative cocktails in the main festival area and at the Plan Check Bar booth, respectively. Los Angeles Ale Works has created artisan ginger ale (with or without Sriracha!), Pure Water of Los Angeles is providing beyond-green purified water from their water systems.

Sponsors

Huy Fong Foods, Inc. has generously come on board as a presenting sponsor. David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods and mastermind behind their Sriracha, will be making a rare, special appearance at the event. Uber is offering festival guests a free ride valued at up to $20 for first time users, and Ten Speed Press is giving a copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook to all VIP guests.

Charity

A portion of proceeds from the L.A. Sriracha Festival will directly benefit Food Forward; a North Hollywood-based charity whose mission is to rescue and donate fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Over 1.6 million pounds of food has been gleaned since 2009, which goes to local food pantries, helping feed over 40,000 hungry Southern Californians each month.

Ticket Information

General Admission tickets are $49 per person in advance, and $59 per person at the door, if still available. Tickets are all-inclusive, and enable attendees to sample freely from all food and drink vendors as they please.  Tickets are only available for people 21+.

VIP Tickets for the event are $80 in advance, and $90 per person at the door, if available. They include reserved seating, one-hour early admission from 2 pm to 3 pm, and a signed copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. Tickets are only available for people 21+ and are for sale exclusively at LAsrirachafestival.nightout.com.

Parking

Valet parking is available at nearby 619 Imperial Street for $10 per car, and free street parking is also an option.

Location

LOT 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90021,www.lot613.com

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About The Sriracha Cookbook: Randy Clemens released The Sriracha Cookbook in January 2011, incorporating his favorite hot sauce in 50 unique recipes. The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook recently launched in July 2013 with an additional 50 recipes, all plant-based in nature.

About Food GPS:  Josh Lurie founded Food GPS in 2005. Since then, his Los Angeles-based website has remained dedicated to pinpointing the highest quality, best-tasting food and drink, regardless of price or cuisine, and sharing stories of people behind the flavor. Food GPS, Inc. also produces unique culinary events.

FOLLOW THE 1st ANNUAL L.A. SRIRACHA FESTIVAL UPDATES ON:

Facebook: facebook.com/TheSrirachaCookbook | facebook.com/foodgps

Twitter: @SrirachaBook | @foodgps

Instagram:  instagram.com/foodgps

Hashtag: #SrirachaFest

Recipe: White Bean and Kale Salad with Lemon

Recipe: White Bean and Kale Salad with Lemon

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I love a good salad, but sometimes I want something a little heartier. This is when salads boosted with beans, grains, or rice come to the rescue. They’re cool and refreshing, don’t take much time to put together, and they are indeed filling.

When my fancy friend Colleen mentioned that she was making dinner with white beans, something clicked. I had no idea what I was going to eat, but white beans sounded delicious, so I went straight to my nearby Whole Foods and picked some up along with a few other ingredients that inspired me. (All organic, of course.) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Recipe: White Bean and Kale Salad with LemonWhite Bean and Kale Salad with Lemon

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 bunch green kale
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans (I used cannellini), or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained
  • 8 plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, or 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill, or parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Finely mince the zest of 1/2 of your lemon. Prepare the kale by removing and discarding the tough, thick ribs running down the center of each leaf. Coarsely chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the kale with the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a healthy dose of black pepper. Massage and squeeze the kale firmly so that the leaves begin to soften as the fibers break down. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the white beans, tomatoes, shallot, dill, and chia seeds along with the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon, the reserved lemon zest, and the remaining 2 1/2 tsp olive oil.

After the kale has rested, give it a few more firm squeezes to ensure that it’s nice and soft. Toss with the bean mixture, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. You can eat this right away, but the flavors improve if allowed to sit for at least an hour. This recipe will keep for up to 5 days if stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha Cookbook

The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: Now Available

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The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha CookbookIt’s still a little surreal to get to announce that my third book, The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, is now available on better bookstore shelves everywhere. It seemed to be the natural progression, since I went vegetarian a little over three years ago, and my love of Sriracha certainly hasn’t died down in the slightest bit. All the recipes are vegan, but it isn’t chock full of gross fake meat soy nugget crap. Nay! This is an ode to the almighty vegetable! Stuff from the earth. It isn’t just for vegans or vegetarians; it’s for anyone looking to incorporate a little more produce into their diet without skimping on flavor.

My third book… it sounds crazy to think it, let alone say it. It’s hard to believe that my first little restaurant review for the now-defunct Sherman Oaks Sun newspaper back in May 2005 would become the genesis for hundreds of magazine pieces, ultimately encouraging me to pitch The Sriracha Cookbook to Ten Speed Press back in October 2009. (more…)

My beautiful mom, Bonnie Clemens (right), with her friends Joanne Maginn (center) and Laura Desmond (left)

Goodbye Mama. You Did Great.

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Mom’s eyes closed forever last night around 10:30pm, and her last breath in this life was full of peace and relief. I had just left home about 20 minutes before, but said a good-bye just in case she passed while I was out.

As difficult as it was at times to see her fighting against cancer, my good buddy Chris Cochran gave me some really nice perspective on my Facebook page:

“Not quite sure what to write and what to say Randy… and you know that’s not like me. However, you know it’s been almost two years now that I lost my Mom so unexpectedly, and I know what you’re experiencing. I think about the recent times you’ve shared with her, and how you two must have bonded like never before. Hold that dear and close to your heart. I never had that in my Mom’s last days and regret that she was here one minute and gone the next… but obviously her spirit and life live on, and always will in my heart.”

I actually sat across from Chris when I worked at Stone Brewing Co., and remember when he got that awful phone call nobody ever wants to receive. I’m so fortunate that I was able to spend these last few months with my mom. I got to witness her strength, and lend a lot of support, in some small way returning some of the care she showered upon me these past 28 years. Because we were so close, in such a small place, and I needed to play bad cop making sure she kept up on her treatment schedule, we began getting on each other’s nerves a touch (this whole experience reinforced my notion that I would NOT make a good parent… nowhere near enough patience) but we also shared some very special moments, like when we danced together during her stay at the Gerson clinic in Mexico. It was very emotional and we shared a damn good hug after that.

My beautiful mom, Bonnie Clemens (right), with her friends Joanne Maginn (center) and Laura Desmond (left)

My beautiful mom, Bonnie Clemens (right), with her friends Joanne Maginn (center) and Laura Desmond (left)

My mom always took care of others first and put her own needs second—even when she shouldn’t have—and it’s this trait I’m perhaps most proud of inheriting. (Though I’m learning that there are times when it’s perfectly all right to put my own needs at the front of the queue.)

Also up there in importance to me is how much she valued the Golden Rule. We were never a religious family, and I’m so glad that the manmade laws and hateful/intolerant doctrines present in most religious texts were never crammed down my throat. It all boiled down to one simple principle: Do unto others as you would wish others to do unto you. (Or as Wheaton’s Law states: “Don’t be a dick.”) Be tolerant. Be kind. Be strong. Be generous. Forgive others and forgive yourself for honest mistakes, but be sure you learn from them. Accept that people have different views, and it doesn’t mean that one has to be wrong and one has to be right… they can be simply that… different. Not only is that OK, it’s beautiful, and it’s why the world will never be a boring place to live. Approach it with curiosity, awe, wonder, humility, and excitement. This was our religion and it has served us incredibly well in our decisions, interactions, and undertakings.

There were many places she never got to go and many things she never got to do, and she sacrificed so much to make sure that I could have the opportunities I’ve been afforded. I was told to chase my dreams and passions, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that’s what I’ve done and will continue to do until I squeeze the very last drop of juice from my own life. I’ll take her with me in my heart always, and let her moral compass continue to be my own, guiding me and keeping me virtuous and on the level. I am the man I am today because of her, and for that, I am eternally grateful. May I continue to grow and learn, and inspire others to do the same. And beyond carrying her in my heart, she is scheduled to be cremated early next week, and I fully intend to scatter a small bit of her remains everywhere I travel so that she might continue to live on vicariously through my journeys, and leave an essence of her grace around the world.

When I first announced that she’d thrown in the towel and asked to stop her treatments, so many of the comments from those who’d never met her could instantly grasp the quality and caliber of her character simply by how strong and inspiring I’ve been. (Their words, not mine, but I’ll humbly and happily take the compliment since it does so accurately reflect what an amazing job she did raising me.) The support and words of encouragement for both of us from all of you has been nothing short of overwhelming, and it touched both of our hearts more than words can say. THANK YOU.

And thank you mom. For everything. Best wishes on your next cycle through life, and may you be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams, as I have been in this cycle through mine. I love you, and I’m so glad we got to be together until the end.

Bonnie Rae Clemens, née McDannold. 24 April 1952 – 06 June 2013.

You will be missed eternally. Namaste.


A memorial service celebrating her life will be planned shortly, and I’ll be sure to post the details here. No boring scriptures, no dressing in black… just food and beer and laughs recounting the warm memories we shared with her.

Also, in lieu of flowers, should you wish to contribute to her legacy and give someone else a renewed chance at life where hers ended, we’d begun a fundraiser to help others who may not be fortunate enough to afford the alternative Gerson Therapy cancer treatments we pursued after her unsuccessful round of chemotherapy. It is quite costly, and is NOT covered by insurance. While we were able to scrape together the money for ourselves, we really wanted to do more and turn this ugly circumstance into something positive. Click here if you’d like to contribute to our fundraiser and help those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to finance their recovery. We’re working with the Gerson Institute to find the perfect recipient for these funds and should have an announcement about that shortly. No amount is too small.

And you never know who may need the help, but chances are that someone close to you will. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will develop cancer in their lifetime; 1 in 4 males and 1 in 5 females will die from it. The time to change that statistic is NOW.

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