Monday, April 9, 2018

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley
By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky to spend a few days exploring Conejo Valley for a Father/Daughter Getaway. Now we (sheepishly) admit up until this time we had only driven through this area of SoCal on our way to more “well know” (READ: overcrowded) vacation destinations. But with a few days of R&R on the docket, we decided to catch a break in Conejo Valley.

Known as a home away from home, Conejo Valley is located less than 30 minutes from the beaches of Malibu and 45 minutes from Los Angeles. It's the ultimate drivable daytrip! It's all the fun of Santa Barbara or Paso Robles, yet none of the crowding of nearby destinations.

Conejo Valley is a multifaceted gemstone full of majestic views for hiking (or just enjoying while sipping a glass of wine), eclectic dining venues for the foodies (minus spending 30 minutes in line parking your car), and boisterous breweries to have a good fun time (perfect for Pappa Thomas)! So here's a few experiences we had while discovering Conejo Valley!

BTWs: in case you were wondering (because we were) Conejo means “Rabbit” in Spanish! ;-)

The first stop on our visit to Conejo Valley was the brewery and showroom, 14 Cannons in Westlake Village. Constructed in 2017, 14 Cannons produces beer by award winning brewer Nic Bortolin while also showcasing the industry’s leading vendors. Full of “Independent Spirit,” the name 14 Cannons is a tribute to the owner Marshall Haraden's great, great, great, great uncle, Jonathan Haraden who captained the American war ship Tyrannicide in 1777. The ship was part of the Massachusetts State Navy fleet and was infamously armed with 14 Cannons. This spot was the perfect place to christen the weekend! In between games of Skeeball (a Ab Fab favorite of the New Jersey native Thomas Gals), we sipped on some Bestlake Blonde (their version of a Blonde Style Ale that is perfect for 365 days of Sunshine) and Peanut Butter Cup Dessert Ale (a Sweet Stout that reminds you of the day after Halloween).

Lure Fish House
It was then off to Lure Fish House, a restaurant that was recommended to us by three separate Locals! East coast class with a relaxed California vibe, Lure Fish House featured fresh and sustainable seafood right from the ocean. Lure prints their menus daily to reflect availability and guarantee freshness. With four locations (including the Thousand Oaks space we dined at), it featured a full bar with specialty cocktails along with an oyster bar serving mollusks galore! While there we ordered multiple bottles of Wente Chardonnay, which paired perfectly with our seafood smorgasbord of Calamari, Fanny Bay Oysters, and 3-lb Lobster we dined on!

Westlake Brew Co.
After the rocking meal we had a Lure Fish House, it was off for some live music at the Westlake Brew Co., aptly names as they were also in Westlake Village! ;-) With live music every Friday and Saturday night, the brewery offered libations for those looking for live music and the craft beer culture in a modern warehouse location. Their philosophy: to always be in pursuit of something better. Something they must be doing pretty well as the packed space had the ultimate good night vibe with cover band jams, shuffleboard games, and craft beer suds.

That night we settled our sleepyheads at the fantastic Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks. The newly renovated Courtyard by Marriott Thousand Oaks, CA hotel is TripAdvisor Award of Excellence winner. It's located off US-101 for super duper easy access. Their spacious lobby, which includes media pods and a full bar, was the perfect place for people to chill on a Friday night (it was definitely kicking when we returned from Westlake Brew Co. around midnight). And unlike Los Angeles hotels parking was included. The Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks' outdoor heated pool and spa, surrounded by lush landscaping, were perfect for hours of entertainment Saturday morning. There's nothing Pappa Thomas enjoys more in hanging out in a hot tub while playing tunes on the speakers. Needless to say they were, extremely accommodating... it's definitely a hotel that allows you to have fun and doesn't get in your way!

After a delightful nights rest, we were ready to hit the deck for Day Two of Visit Conejo. We were off to experience a bit of American history at the renowned Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is one of Conejo Valley's most unique and treasured attractions. Located in nearby Simi Valley, visitors can step aboard Air Force One used during Reagan’s presidency and view an exact replica of the White House Oval Office.

Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of Conejo Valley, the Library's 300 acre site, represents the "shining city on a hill" often referenced by President Reagan. Air Force One, a 2700 Boeing 706, guards a 65-foot window with views as expansive as the legacy of this eight term president. The plane was the official travel of seven US Presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush. The Reagan Library received 27000 in a decommissioning ceremony on September 8. 2001 at the San Bernardino International Airport. It was disassembled over a nine-week period by nine-person crew from The Boeing Company into the following sections fuselage, tail, stabilizers, engines, main landing gear, and wings. It is now celebrated at the Gipper's library as a monument to the location that also serves as the final resting place of the nation's 40th President.

Along with taking a fabulous tour of Air Force One (a favorite of Pappa Thomas) exhibits are presented at the library throughout the year, their newest arrival and only Southern California stop: Genghis Khan! The Genghis Khan exhibit showcased hundreds of artifacts from Genghis’s 13th century Empire, the largest collection ever to tour. The one-of-a-kind exhibit portrayed Genghis’s reputation as the greatest conqueror in history as he dominated three times more land in his lifetime than Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.

Finney's Crafthouse &Kitchen
Our final meal of this fabulous two day Father/Daughter Getaway was at Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen in Westlake Village (and coming soon to Santa Barbara!). With a slogan of “Craft Beer Spoken Here,” the combination of chef-inspired food and their craft bar makes the space an inviting gastropub that attracts guests of all types, especially the locals. It's the perfect place for day drinking on a Sunday or a afternoon Saturday date night. Offering 30 craft beers on draft, a full bar featuring hand-crafted cocktails, fine California wines, and a menu to die for (Get the Bacon Blue Burger: Roquefort, onion strings, bacon, house-made BBQ and a pretzel bun – Super Duper Yummm!). Keeping it fresh, flavorful and at times, unexpected, Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen hit it out of the park!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway Trip to the Willamette Valley

Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway Trip to the Willamette Valley
By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

The second part of Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway trip brought us to the Willamette Valley for a day of whimsy, wine and waxing poetic of the expanding state of Oregon vineyards.

A few years ago was the 50th anniversary of the first planing of grapes in the Willamette Valley by Eyrie Vineyards David-Lett. Today this wine region is home to 530 wineries and almost 20.000 acres of planted vineyards. It’s been quite the evolution, leading to Wine Enthusiast naming Oregon’s Willamette Valley as its “Wine Region of the Year” in 2016.

Hey, Locally Produced, Hey! If you’re looking wine snobbery don’t stop here! Pretentiousness is out the door in the WIllamette Valley. The soul of the area is really a farming community, according to Dave Specter, owner of Bells Up Winery, a community that embraces the soil, weather, and people to create wine full of craft!

All the wineries Edible Skinny visited were in the Chehalem (pronounced “Sha-HAY-lum”) Mountains AVA.  Located between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, this AVA is more than 100 miles long and spanning 60 miles at its widest point. This area is defined by Laurelwood soil, a basalt base covered with ice age windblown sedimentary soils. It is superb for the cultivation of Pinot Noir, contributing rich and intense flavors to the wine.

Our first stop was the micro-boutique estate winery Bells Up. Making just 400 cases annually, Dave Specter left his Cincinnati legal career in the Midwest to put down winemaking/growing in the Valley in 2012. Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir with grapes sourced primarily from the northern Willamette Valley. Dave, a former french horn player, names all their wines after french horn dominant musical pieces. The winery name references the music term of lifting up of the french horns, a bells up movement.

Bells Up is 100% self funded with Dave and his wife Sarah running all the tastings. Dave quickly notes, “it’s not about volume; it’s about creating an experience. Tiny producers are the soul of the Willamette Valley.” Their slogan: micro-boutique un-domain. Bells Up focuses on versatile wines that are food friendly. “The best compliment I can get is that it’s really yummy. We have one customer who’s favorite food pairing with our Rosé is Doritos.”

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. Seyval Blanc (Not Available Online) - The only varietal planting in the Willamette Valley and only the second planting in all of Oregon this wine was developed in New York for cold tolerant climates. A teeny tiny harvest, “I created one jug,” exclaims Dave, the flavor is bright earthiness. As if you played in mud, and then took a shower.
  2. 2017 Prelude Rosé ($22) - Sourced from the first-ever harvest of Bells Up's estate vineyard, this fuller-bodied rosé is named for Franz Liszt’s “Symphonic Poem No. 3: Les Preludes.”  With a nose of fresh strawberry, “bada-bing” cherry, and sunshine, it’s the perfect late afternoon patio wine. A white eyelet dress with silver bangles catching the low sun over Aix-en-Provence.
  3. 2015 Titan ($40) - Named for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Titan tastes of bebop jazz and a brown leather couch. Created during the hottest year in the Valley in decades, the taste is a juicy winner. Oh and it received a Wine Enthusiast score of 90.  
More Info at:

Our next stop was a stone’s throw away from Bells Up Winery (literally up the hill) at Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast for a scrumptious lunch. Set on a hill overlooking the Willamette Valley, this upscale 10 year old bed-and-breakfast is within 10 miles of a dozen or more wineries. With decks overlooking the stunning mountainside and a view that’s the ultimate Selfie backdrop, Kelly and I thought we might never want to leave.

Owner Kristen only uses handmade and local ingredients, down to special jams and jellies you won’t find anywhere else. The day we dined there our two spread options were Pear Cranberry jam and Grape Jelly made from Pinot Noir grapes from Bells Up Winery. Kristin, a Cordon Bleu school trained chef, usually offers up a fruit dish, bread dish, and an entrée to her guests everyday, with dishes that are familiar but, “tweaked a bit.” She even won a Bed & Breakfast award for being the most accommodating B&B-er to food allergies. First of the menu was hearty Pumpkin Scones with the aforementioned jams and jellies. Then onto Kiwi Parfait with Vanilla Yogurt and Homemade Hazelnut Granola, naturally made with local Oregon hazelnuts. This was followed by a Cheese Souffle with Tillamook Cheddar and Thyme from the garden, paired with a Fennel Orange Salad. Can we say Yumm!!!

Afterwards we got a tour of the 5-bedroom property. Staying in a B&B is slightly adventurous in nature, and with that in mind Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast inspires its guests to explore, both the local area and the other guests that are residing inside its walls. There’s a common area to meet people and no TVs in any of the rooms. The cozy rooms have themes inspired by the state itself from the Oregon Coast to Oregon Wine Country. Go green, there’s a 20,000 kilowatt array, that creates 80% of electricity. Oh and did we mention there are fresh baked cookies everyday? This is a the B&B you want to retire to!

To Book a Room:

Our next winery to experience was Alloro, which set it sights on bringing Old World allure to Oregon.  Alloro’s 80-acre estate is an homage to Italian tradition, from its Tuscan farmhouse and culinary gardens to the heirloom sheep that graze the vineyard. The word Allor is Italian for Laurel Leaf, a reference to the Laurelwood filled soil upon the winery resides. This winery sides on the boutiquey side of producing around 3,000 cases a year of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Alloro’s wines are 100% Estate Grown from one vineyard site.

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. 2013 Pinot Noir ($35) - This wine tastes like an Ivy League college interview with a black headband and string pearls. This wine has what is considered a classic Oregon profile with expressive aromas, elegance, and great balance. It’s a blend of the most important blocks from the Alloro Estate, showcasing their site’s distinctive personality including flavorings of Black Cherries, Oregano, and Rose Petal Aromas.
  2. 2014 Pinot Noir ($35) - This was a warmer and earlier harvest than the 2013, making it riper in style. The result was a more masculine wine with a velvety savory palate profile.
  3. 2014 Reservata ($45) - A special barrel-selection that delivers darker fruit, more mid-palate weight, and finer texture—with persistence on the palate and a classic take on the flavors of their site. It tastes like a leather booth lean-in on a captivating conversation.
Along with their wines Alloro is also known for their Whole Farm Dinners. Open to the public, this intimate 40 person event pairs delicious food with Alloro wines at their long farmhouse table in the fermentation cellar. 95% of this 5-course dinner is sourced on Alloro property. The winery works with a particular chef in the Spring, planting what they will serve in September.

More Info at:

Our final stop was Ponzi Vineyards. This founding Oregon Winery has been a leading producer of benchmark American Wine for nearly 50 years, crafting some of the world’s finest cool climate expressions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. In the late 1960’s, Disney Imagineer Dick Ponzi, along with his wife Nancy, uprooted their young family from their home in California to pursue their dream of producing world class Pinot Noir. After many research trips to Burgundy and an extensive search for the ideal location, they purchased 20 acres on small farms southwest of Portland, Oregon. Contrary to the existing school of though, the Ponzis believed the climate, soils, and vineyard site met every need of noble cool climate grape varietals. The Ponzi family planted their first Pinot Noir cuttings, and in 1970 Ponzi Vineyards was founded.

Today the winery makes 55,000 cases a year. The Ponzi sisters (who were some of the first females educated on wine in France) continue a half-century legacy of winemaking excellence, innovation and community.  In 2013 Ponzi’s 30,000 square foot tasting room opened. Set atop a Northwest facing Chehalem Mountains slope, surrounded by the majestic Avellana Vineyard, the faculty houses a state-of-the-art winery and modern tasting rooms. Designed by Dick Ponzi himself, this facility is the realization of a 40-year-old-vision with fireside seating, covered terraces and bocce ball courts.

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. 2014 Tavola ($27) - Ponzi’s everyday table wine is made entirely from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, aged in French oak barrels and blended for a delicious early release. A blend of younger vineyards, this cuvée present a nose of graham cracker and lavender and a palate of salted caramel, black tea, and strawberry balsamic.
  2. 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve ($65) - Created to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Ponzi Vineyards. This cuvée showcases the finest fruit from Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. With aromas of cinnamon bark, chai tea, maple syrup, and baked apple with a palate of light tannins and notes of black licorice and vanilla powder.
More Info at:

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Friday, March 2, 2018

Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway Trip to the Weirdest City: Portland

 By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

Keep Portland Weird”
--Portland’s Call to Action

A few weeks ago, Edible Skinny was lucky enough to have The Thomas Gals do a “Girls Getaway Weekend” to Portland, Oregon and the Willamette Wine Valley (more on that next week!)

The claims of Portlandia are true “The Dream of the 90's is Still Alive in Portland,” as this city is full of eccentricity and weirdness (redundant I know, but this city definitely contains both!). Stumptown might be Oregon’s largest city, but it has a small-town feel with a rainbow of sparkly beautiful people, places, and food! Here’s some of the FAB-U-LOUS-NESS we encountered while checking out the very rainy Rose City.

We felt like we were taking a trip back in time when we stayed at the historic sailor’s hotel, lovingly restored as “The Society Hotel.” Located in the heart of Portland’s Old-Town/Chinatown, this hipster hotel is within walking distance to everything that’s popping in Portland.

In early 2013, four friends channeled their love for transformation and purchased a long-forgotten property with hopes of bringing a new hospitality concept to Portland – stylishly quirky, affordable, and (most definitely) friendly. Private and boarding room style guest rooms are restored to be just as you might have found them in the 1880’s, only with all the modern amenities and comfort we now expect! ;-)
In true Portland fashion, it feels like a meeting place for the hip and hipper. With decor that reminds you of a handlebar mustache, no details has been overlooked. Reclaimed materials are utilized throughout the building. Fresh white linens mixed with dark word makes you feel like you've stepped in a speakeasy. There are interactive art installations involving dry erase markers, coloring templates, and a spotlight (which led to hours of creative fun!).

The house bar offers handcrafted coffee, beer, wine, and spirits on hand. This makes the lobby the perfect place to sip a cup of coffee and lose yourself on a leather couch next to the fireside glow.

We started our city food tour with some killer coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Portland is nicknamed Drip City for the more than 40 roasters within city limits. In the mid-19th century, Portland’s growth led residents to clear a lot of land quickly, but the tree stumps were not immediately removed; in some areas, there were so many that people used to jump from stump to stump to avoid the muddy, unpaved roads. Hence the nickname Stumptown! Over a hundred years later, Stumptown Coffee Roasters was founded in 1999, helping pioneer the Third Wave of the coffee movement (First Wave = Folgers, Second Wave = Starbucks, Third Wave = Cold Brew Single Origin Coffee).

Focusing on direct sourcing single-varietal beans, Stumptown Coffee is coffee richness where you can taste the roast. This tidal wave of coffee now has four cafes in Portland along with Seattle, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. With dark and rounded flavors, it's the perfect way to start your day!

First and foremost known for beer, the brew pub’s 26 taps feature Deschutes mainstays plus a selection of seasonal and experimental beers developed and brewed on site exclusively for their Portland pub. The Thomas Gals were tickled pink by their Red Chair Beer (which felt like a Big Sur Coastline and your favorite flannel).

But their food… this was classic pub food elevated to the next level! We had our reservations about eating at such a well-known brewery, but in the best surprises this was our most impressive meal in Portland. Deschutes didn’t miss a beat on craft or care when it came to food preparation!

Their Inversion IPA Pretzel topped with creamy white cheese and Black Butte Porter stone ground mustard was sublime. Kelly referred to it as the “most perfect baked bread consistency I’ve ever had. It’s golden on the outside, but like a cloud on the inside. It was soft and strong, like a woman.”

We then split their Bacon Brie Burger, two quarter-pound Oregon Valley Natural grass-fed beef patties, quince jam, triple cream brie, crispy onions, applewood-smoked bacon. Savory with a round creaminess, it tasted like an outside Sunday Brunch on a crisp autumn day. “I’m definitely going to tell you... it was the best burger of my life,” chirped Kelly.

It was then off to Powell’s. With two writers in a family of two we needed to swing by gold card of bookshops.

Powell’s City of Books is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown Portland, it occupies a full city block. This is a bookstore you can get lost in! Powell’s contains over 68,000 square feet (about 1.6 acres of retail floor space), has nine color-coded rooms, and over 35,000 different sections. CNN rates it one of the ten "coolest" bookstores in the world.

After getting our “Lit On,” we headed to another brewery (there’s 60 plus in a city with a population of a little over a half of million). This time it was to the beer drinkers haven: 10 Barrel Brewing Company. A brewery that gets everything right, from image to flavor (hence why Anheuser Busch bought them a couple years back).

On the quest to create beer ripe with flavor and personality, 10 Barrel started production in Bend, Oregon in 2006. They can now be found nationwide with 5 Brewpubs, including the Portland. With unique and uncompromising flavors, 10 Barrel offers a little something for everyone. A “non-beer beer drinker,” I delved into Bubbly, their flagship year-round Cider! Their description of when to drink Bubbly was so absolutely FAB we feel it's our duty to reprint it:
When to Drink Bubbly: when you master the Dougie. When you break level 100 on candy crush. When someone swiped right. When you find out 2Pac is alive and well. When you break out of the friend zone. Whenever you want. Best paired with one more.

In the three years since Portland's legalization of recreational marijuana, cannabis has become a thriving industry. There are 425 registered marijuana dispensaries in Oregon (that’s more locations than Starbucks). One of the jewels of the Portland cannabis scene is Serra (our hotel clerk told us it was like “walking into an art museum.”) This boho boutique-meets-pharmacy offers you “quality drugs and other fine cannabis accessories.” We delighted in their single serving edibles in Sativa, Indica, or both (which is hard to come by in edibles in Oregon as most companies don’t categorize at all). Serra also sells funky pins proclaiming their logo of “Quality Drugs,” so everyone can know you’re in the know! ;-)

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

HydroTab: Or How I Learned How to Free the Hydrogen Molecule from its H2O Shackles

HydroTab: Or How I Learned How to Free the Hydrogen Molecule from its H2O Shackles
Health and Wellness Editor, Edible Skinny

Two weeks ago, I found myself at Bulletproof Labs in Santa Monica to be a guest at a launch party for HydroTab. HydroTab is a tablet that is added to plain water to ‘free’ the hydrogen molecule from its H20 shackles and, once consumed, helps the body detox at the molecular level inside the cell.

To understand this, we’ve got to talk a little bit of chemistry and microbiology. While oxygen is a vital part of life (yay breathing), it is also a catabolic nutrient (think rust on a boat). To keep things simple, when we burn oxygen for any kind of fuel in the body, we create free radicals, or oxidants inside the cell. This gave rise to the seemingly never ending ‘antioxidant’ products on the market.

Antioxidants are still an important thing to consume regularly to avoid garbage from staying inside of us. But, it’s important to understand that we NEED some free radicals in our body. Cells need some buildup of free radicals to create just enough stress to either get stronger, or be replaced by younger and more robust versions. Another way to think about this is working out: we expose our body to a certain level of stress (and lots of heavy breathing), and the free radicals produced are what trigger the strengthening of muscle and the breakdown of fat.

Even more simply, if you take in antioxidants right after a workout, you run the risk of blunting a lot of the effects of a workout. No one wants that, right?

So, back to HydroTab, and the hydrogen molecule. Hydrogen is a super small atom, and in the body acts like an antioxidant with one important difference: it’s selective on which free radicals it targets, specifically the hydroxyl radicals. These special radicals can hide in the most annoying places in the cell (the mitochondria and the nucleus), and can gunk up the inner workings. The problem is, hydrogen is such a small atom that it’s hard to consume enough of it to really make a difference, and that’s where HydroTab comes in.

HydroTab is the largest concentration of molecular hydrogen on the market (up to 10 ppm for you geeks out there), which means enough of it gets into us to really make a difference. My personal findings really were dramatic. After two weeks of daily consumption, I find that concentration is easier, my energy is much more stable through the day, and my sleep has even improved. Big claims, yes. But allow me to close this post with an analogy.

Imagine having a grocery list, and only $100. You put one item at a time into the cart until you reach the limit of $100, but you find that there are still a few items that you can’t afford. At this point we’ve got two options: one is to get more money, and the other is to wait for a sale. Well, this is kind of what happens inside the cell. If things cost too much inside the cell, we’ve got to be selective on what processes we carry out, often short changing one or more processes.

By clearing out the gunk inside of small structures in the cells, the hydrogen basically reduces the ‘cost’ to do things. In other words, everything is on sale, and our $100 can buy everything on our list. And that’s how I feel after two weeks – because things are easier from the inside out, I feel like I still have money in the bank and I have more energy leftover for more creative things like writing this article without struggle!

HydroTab is 30 tablets for $32.50, and only one tab a day dissolves in water in less than two minutes. For me, I’m definitely going to add this product to my daily list of ‘hacks.’ For more information, check out, or if you’re a geek like me, feel free to check out the research at the

Omid Vojdani is the founder of Succeed With Omid, a program of complete personalized mind body health specializing in wellness, injury rehab, and relationship management. For more information check out

Friday, February 16, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Healthy Aphrodisiac Desserts for Your Sweetie with Amy Reiley's Eat Cake Naked

Healthy Aphrodisiac Desserts for Your Sweetie with Amy Reiley's Eat Cake Naked
By Kat Thomas

Just in time for Valentine's Day, make that perfect Aphrodisiac dessert for your Special Pumpkin, Apple of Your Eye, or Little Cabbage (it's a French idiomatic phrase...) with Eat Cake Naked by Amy Reiley and Delahna Flagg.

Amy Reiley is recognized as a leading authority on aphrodisiac foods. Her work as been featured in publications as varied as Playboy, National Geographic and The New York Times. Reilly decided to write a book of aphrodisiac desserts because “they’re the perfect thing to eat naked, and because dessert is my favorite part of any meal.” But when she told people that she was working on a book entitled Eat Cake Naked, they would inevitably ask, “Do you mean eat cake that has no frosting or do you mean strip down and eat cake in your birthday suit?”

Reilly meant the latter, but the former inspired her. You see, she's always had an issue with dessert as an aphrodisiac. Many ingredients used in typical desserts are historically considered aphrodisiac, but the problem is with how they’re combined, particularly in the United States. Staggering amounts of sugar, not to mention artery-clogging (and orgasm-blocking) fat, lead to depressive sugar crashes.

So Reiley partnered with Delhana Flagg to create an aphrodisiac dessert cookbook that is naked of all the classic roadblocks to a sexy good time in the bedroom later. So you can have your cake and eat it to, with delightful recipes including the below recipe for Bacon Streusel Pumpkin Cake!

So easy as pie, grab your copy on your Kindle for $9.99, and get baking for that perfect romantic Valentine's Day experience!

Bacon Streusel Pumpkin Cake
Serves 12
This cake is dedicated to all the bacon lovers in our lives. We wanted to come up with a way to use bacon in a dessert that didn’t involve chocolate. Our inspiration was an autumn breakfast: pumpkin pancakes with a side of extra crispy bacon. Could we translate that into a cake? We started with all the best things about pumpkin, like its combination of savory and sweetness and creamy, moist goodness. And then we considered the most seductive notes of bacon, like it’s crisp texture and lingering smoky saltiness. The result is something that goes both ways—as in savory and sweet. (What were you thinking?) It can be served as the ending to a holiday meal. But it could also be a show-stopping side dish at brunch or a midnight snack shared between starved lovers. There really is no history of bacon as an aphrodisiac. We know, it’s hard for us to believe, too. In fact, when people want to “talk aphrodisiac” with us, it’s the single, most-mentioned food. Many bacon lovers have sworn to us that the mere scent of cooking bacon can send them into the throes of passion. It’s definitely something to consider when you’re getting ready to bake this cake! Sometimes, it’s the timing that matters most.

For The Bacon Sprinkles:
2 oz applewood-smoked bacon (approximately 2 slices of thick-cut bacon)
1 tbsp brown sugar, lightly packed

For The Streusel:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp water bacon sprinkles

For The Loaf Cake:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup 2% or whole milk 1 tsp white vinegar
1 large egg 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 15-oz can pumpkin

To Make The Bacon Sprinkles:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Arrange the bacon strips on the baking sheet
  3. .Cook the bacon until crisp, approximately 18–20 minutes. (Keep the fires burning in the oven after you’ve removed the bacon. You’ll use it again in a few minutes.)
  4. Wrap the bacon in a blanket of paper towels and press out the grease. You may need to use additional towels to soak up as much grease as possible.
  5. Once the grease is removed, cut the bacon crosswise into 1/3-inch strips.
  6. Transfer the bacon to another parchment-lined baking sheet and tenderly coat with brown sugar.
  7. Return the bacon to oven and coat for 14–15 minutes until it’s ultra-crispy. (Keep oven hot for the cake.)
  8. Separate the bacon from the brown sugar and finely chop it until it resembles bacon bits. These bacon sprinkles will be added to your buttery streusel.

To Make The Streusel:
  1. Combine the flour, sugar and bacon in a small bowl.
  1. Sprinkle with the water and cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. 3. Squeeze it in your hands until it’s thoroughly combined then break into large, sugary bites with a bit of fine crumbs for a variety of texture. To make the cake: 1.Make sure your oven is heated to 350 degrees. 2. Coat a 9-inch (1.5-qt.) loaf pan with butter or baking spray.
  1. In the bowl of a mixer or a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and brown sugar.
  2. Add the vinegar to the milk and take it for a quick twirl. If you’re using a mixer, crack the egg into a small bowl then add it to the mixer (or to your bowl if you aren’t using a mixer). Add in the milk and oil and blend for 1 minute, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you’re working it by hand, make a small well in the center of the flour mixture. Gently whisk the egg in a small bowl then add it, along with the oil, to the milk. Pour the liquid into the center of the bowl and rhythmically stir until the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  3. Fold in the pumpkin and stir to a smooth, thick batter.
  4. Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan, gently smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the streusel,
  5. Transfer the cake to the oven. (The streusel may topple over the sides of the pan during baking. If you don’t want to risk having to clean your oven, cook the loaf pan on top of a baking sheet. Note that cooking may take a few minutes longer.) Bake for 70–75 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. *You can make this cake as 4 mini loaves or 12 muffins, but you’ll need to shorten your cooking time.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Let’s Talk About Sex: The AVN Novelty Expo at the Hard Rock Cafe

Let’s Talk About Sex: The AVN Novelty Expo at the Hard Rock Cafe

“I don't know the question, but sex is definitely the answer.”
--Woody Allen

Edible Skinny was lucky enough to attend the AVN Novelty Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino a few weeks ago.  The AVN Novelty Expo is the Adult Entertainment Industry's premiere B2B event. The AVN Novelty Expo brings together the latest and greatest items from a wide range of cutting edge companies such as toys, lingerie, lotions, sex furniture and other novelty items.  All and all, there were about 350 exhibitors are on the show floor this year, which runs tandem to the AVN Awards aka the "Oscars of Porn.”

This year, the four-day long show drew more than 50,000 people including more than 1,000 news agencies.  This number, a 20 percent increase from last year, was most likely inspired by the Wall Street Journal reporting on Jan 13 that Donald Trump’s lawyer paid Adult Star Stormy Daniels $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about a decade-old sexual encounter with the then Republican nominee.

This year I attended the AVN Novelty Expo with my giddy boyfriend.  This was Matt’s first time attending, he did get the obligatory picture with a 4 foot dildo but was more excited about getting free stuff then he was about the porn stars.  “This is like Christmas,” he proclaimed as he grabbed free lighters, t-shirts, and mini-dildos….  

Matt was cognizant to be very respectful of the performers, bringing a blossoming smile to one Adult Star’s face when he complimented her on how nice she smelled (versus all the other comments she received that day).  Which was good because in the wake of the MeToo Movement, all attendees, including media, had to read and sign a ‘Code of Conduct’ that warns against stalking, unwelcome physical conduct and harassing photography.  Those caught violating the code will be expelled and banned from future shows, according to the agreement.  

Consent may have been the watchword, but this four day long convention was still about exploring the world of sexy playtime.  So with that in mind be bring you some of the most intriguing aspects of the AVN Novelty Expo, because at the end of the day: relax, it’s just sex! ;-)

For Those Looking for The Girlfriend Experience Without The Girl: 1am USA Sex Dolls
The girlfriend experience without the girl.  Life-life sex dolls, such as the ones offer by 1am USA Incorporated, are not for the penny pincher.  These “Love Dolls” can run anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000 (for a custom job).  A bare basic torso aka the husband option (for the husband who wants to stash one in a suitcase in attic or closet for when the wife’s away) will set you back at least $900.

For this very reason 1am USA Incorporated has recently branched off into the smaller masterbator product (similar to a Fleshlight… and if you don’t know what a Fleshlight is go Google it…).  The 3v Starlet Stroke is a masterbator, that is fitted with realistic internal vaginal texture, has 10 vibration settings, and the actual voice recording of some of today’s hottest Adult Film Stars such as Carmen Valentina, Kat Dior, and Sadie Pop.  Plus it’s USB chargeable.  The 3v Starlet Stroke will be available in early March 2018.   

For The Person Who REALLY REALLY Loves Bad Horror Movies: Bad Dragon
Make your fantasy real!  Established in 2008, Bad Dragon specializes in fantasy based Adult Novelties.  Their sale associate, a pretty pixie cam girl of the name of Crystal Rivers, informed us that Bad Dragon has recently partnered with Troma Films, to create a line of sex toys featuring the famous monsters from this forty year old independent horror production company, in dildo form of course.  Rivers also informed us that our FREE gift bag (which my boyfriend happily gobbled up) included their famous “Cum Lube” that was up for “ "Lube of the Year" at the AVN Awards.   

For the Bearded Wonder: Thighbrush
Thighbrush is a funny filthy apparel and bearded oil company focusing of items of a sexy nature.  According to Urban Dictionary, a Thighbrush is a euphemism for a man’s facial hair (or beard) with the subtle reference to performing oral sex on a partner (for example “I’d love to have your thighbrush in between my legs.”)  Their Liquor Libations were described as labia libations, beard oils with a kick for her pleasure.  With options such as Gin and Juice, Jack and Coke, Malibu and Pineapple, and Peppermint Schnapps, there’s never a reason for bearded men to leave the the bedroom!

For Those Interested in Mister Greying their Life: The Lair
We then head upstairs to The Lair hosted by Mistress Cyan of Sanctuary Studios LA.  The Lair is the place to be if you have ever been curious about the BDSM Lifestyle.  The section of the AVN Novelty Expo is lined with fetish practitioners of all stripes, often standing next to leather benches and wooden cross-beams or welded-iron contraptions with hooks and eyelets and everything else needed to introduce Adult Movie fans to, what may be to them, an unknown variety of sex-play.  The Lair offered demonstrations, and training on ropes, flogging, suspension, and other forms of play that went beyond vanilla to other shades of grey.

For Those Interested in Being Laced Up: Laced Up Corsets
Find your perfect cincher!  Although corsets have been around for hundred of years and have evolved in style and design, they are no longer worn as undergarments. Corsets have now evolved to as an intricate part of fashion designed to enhance the female form.  Laced Up Corsets offers the ability to buy prêt-à-porter along with creating a custom design where you specify color, style, and design.  Ooh La La!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at