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Make Your Life a Love Story!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Sure, it may be a holiday that was made up to sell greeting cards, chocolate hearts and long stemmed roses…but we are always huge fans of any excuse to celebrate and spread more love in the world! But if we’re being totally honest, even just the word “love” can be challenging for a lot of people. We all have different interpretations of what love is from our own history and experience—how we’ve “gotten” it, how we’ve “lost” it and how well we have or have not managed to give it to others and ourselves. Love can also feel like a lot of pressure, inundated since birth with so many versions of what love “should” look like from, let’s face it, not necessarily the best sources. It’s left many people feeling confused about how to love and be loved in a healthy way that leaves us feeling joyful, secure, fulfilled and freely self-expressed. While, oh yeah…also having some fun.

This is the simplest guide to love that I have been able to distill from years of spiritually counseling people: get present. Forget about trying to figure out how to generate love and what it all means and where it’s all going. Just get present. This is how you make your ENTIRE LIFE romantic. Your life itself becomes a great love story when you drop away thinking about your life and simply be in it instead. If that sounds fantastical, it is. Life experienced this way becomes wonder-filled, awe-some, magic-al—all those words from childhood when the world was still brand new and full of hope and possibility. Becoming present requires a willingness for a return to innocence. Allowing yourself to be a beginner again, giving up what you “know”, being willing to see things differently and allowing life to be a constant state of curiosity and discovery.

So how do you just “get present” in our over-stimulated, over-extended, over-whelming modern world? Literally just start by opening your eyes and opening your heart to the beauty all around you. That means put your phone down, step away from the computer, put the video games away, turn the TV off. Step outside and watch the sunset in your front yard for ten minutes at the end of your day. Watch the pink clouds swell and fade as the stars twinkle to life and the moon begins to rise in the night sky. Feel the breeze on your face, the fresh air rushing into your lungs. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Pet your dog or cat. Feel your own heart beating. Allow yourself to just BE. The big secret of life is that all of its sweetness is hidden in the silence. When you allow yourself to get still with life, you are inviting intimacy.

It’s the same exact thing with people. When you invite stillness and a space for quiet listening, intimacy blooms. If you want to create real intimacy with the people in your life, you need to learn how to bring stillness into your relationships. When was the last time you really took in your partner, just looked into their eyes? Or the last time you shared secrets and dreams under a makeshift blanket fort? Vulnerability and a deep sense of connection blossom whenever we feel: seen, heard, valued and cared for (the four things all human beings crave most). So take a moment to just look into your partner’s eyes without having to do anything. Allow yourself to just enjoy the feeling of their touch, like the first time you ever held hands. Just breathe and be still together. Watch the sunset outside. Build that blanket fort and giggle. Just remember that life is meant to be lived in the here and now—which means collecting ALL of your five senses and bringing them into each and every moment.

So if you want to create more love in your life, this is your assignment: for this entire week, practice bringing your sense of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to as many moments as you possibly can. Feel what happens when you slow down, stop thinking about your life and allow yourself to fully experience it with every part of you instead. We promise—your whole life will become a beautiful love story!!

Wanna see what happens when you get present & gaze into your partner’s eyes? Watch our celestial stop motion fantasy below! Click arrow in center of screen for your Valentine’s Day Love Story! 

 

 

HAPPY LOVING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


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Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

Video by  Sarah Prikryl & Christina Huntington

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sounds Like Love!

Happy Month of Love! In these parts, we like to take the entire month of February to celebrate love in ALL its forms. To kick things off right, we’d like to offer you a little mood music to help set the scene for whatever type of love you want to indulge in this month…with your self, with your partner or with the world. Anything that uplifts the heart and soul uplifts the whole world! In these chaotic times, take a moment to reconnect to the simple things that bring you joy and make you FEEL GOOD. We promise these tunes will start moving you in the right direction…

DREAMY NIGHTS // MONTH OF LOVE PLAYLIST ~

 

And stay tuned for this month’s articles on the many ways to celebrate and spread more love in your life! 

Happy Loving!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


FOLLOW US ON SPOTIFY FOR EASY LISTENING FROM ANY DEVICE!~ https://play.spotify.com/user/sirensandscoundrels

Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

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Words & Playlist by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

Setting Goals From Your Soul

Written by Alicia Lipinski of Quietfire Healing

Photography by Sarah Prikryl  //  Featured Photo by Gina Cholick

Welcome to February, dear Sirens and Scoundrels! Around this time, you might be revisiting the goals and intentions that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. You might be congratulating yourself for all the progress that you’ve already made or you might be berating yourself for not having done more or for already falling off the wagon. Or if you’re like me and many of my clients right now, you might see so many things that you want to change, both in your life and the world at large, that you feel paralyzed with fear and indecision and don’t know where to start.

There is a very real, biological reason for this. In times of stress or panic, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in, sending our body into fight or flight mode. This response doesn’t require being chased by a bear. It can be triggered by a daily pile-up of stress at work or in your personal life. We’re even seeing this play out in the current political landscape.

In the wake of the election, some people took immediate action by organizing protests, attending marches, calling their elected officials and rallying around the causes that they believe in. Their natural instinct was to stand and fight. On the other hand, you may have heard others say they want to move to Canada or England or anywhere but here. Their natural instinct was to flee. Now let me make this clear: neither response is better than the other, so please don’t judge yourself for not reacting the same way as someone else. Both of these biological instincts are completely natural and appropriate.

Yet another common (and much less talked about) instinct is to feel totally immobilized and unsure of how to act. This is known as the freeze response. You’ve probably heard the phrase “like a deer caught in headlights.” In this instance, we feel so scared or overwhelmed that we can’t seem to think or react clearly. We physically, emotionally and/or psychologically shut down in order to cope. Remember, we’re not just talking about lions, tigers and bears here. This same thing can happen when we find ourselves faced with a goal or challenge that feels insurmountable—like wanting to solve all the world’s problems but not knowing how.

They say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But when your line looks like an Everest-size peak, it’s easy to feel frozen. So how do we make that massive mountain of change feel more like a molehill? We break it up into a series of steps. We choose small, manageable, sustainable actions that we can take on a daily basis. In time, these actions add up to our larger goal. In yoga, we call this process Vinyasa Krama.

You want to write a novel? Congratulations! Instead of worrying about finishing the entire book, start with writing for 10 minutes a day. Then gradually move up to 20 minutes, then 30, then maybe a full hour. You want to start a new fitness regime? Instead of feeling like you have to go to the gym every single day or else you’re a failure, start by committing to even just a day or two a week, then gradually increase the number or length of your visits over time if that feels appropriate. You want to take that big trip you’ve always dreamed of but don’t have the cash? Start by setting aside a few cents or dollars at a time. It doesn’t have to be a whole paycheck or last night’s lottery winnings.

We have a tendency to want to change everything overnight: our job, our relationship status, our body, our habits, our world. Just remember, whatever your goal, you don’t have to do it all in one day. As an intuitive healer and life coach, I’ve seen time and time again the synchronicities and absolute miracles that can occur when you begin to take even the smallest steps toward your dreams and the callings of your spirit. With every action that you take, the energy and momentum builds. Before you know it, your tiny snowball of steps has turned into an avalanche of action that completely changes the landscape of your life.

On the evening of the Women’s March, a friend asked me to do a tarot reading for our country—to look at where we are collectively and what we can be doing as individuals to make an impact right now. So I pulled a card from my favorite tarot deck and flipped it over to reveal the 10 of Wands. The image on the card is a woman climbing up a steep mountain, carrying a heavy burden on her back (the ten wands). Although the mountaintop is within sight, she is not looking at her final destination. She is focused on the next stone step that she is about to climb and reaches one hand out to steady herself on it. To me, this card doesn’t signify rapid movement but, rather, a slow and steady progression. It reminds us that even the tallest mountain can only be climbed one step at a time.

Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the step that you are currently on and to meet yourself WHERE YOU ARE AT and not where you think you should be. What can you do, right now, with what you already have and who you already are? What talents and resources are available for you to use in this very moment? (For help with this, try the exercise below.)

To continue with our climbing metaphor, maybe you’re the Eagle Scout who knows how to light fires out of twigs when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. Or the baker who filled her backpack with homemade granola bars to hand out when hunger strikes. Or the cheerleader who encourages everyone else to keep climbing when they feel tired or discouraged. Or the navigator who can help steer the group up the safest and most direct path.

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert at everything or take on every cause. As you focus on sharing your unique talents and passions with the world, you leave room for others to fill in the gaps with their unique talents and passions. This is how we all come together as a community, as vital pieces of a whole, finding ways to work together towards our individual and collective goals.

EXERCISE: Take Inventory of Your Time, Talents and Treasures

In your journal or on a blank sheet of paper, free write your answers to the following questions. Don’t censor yourself or overthink your answers. Just put pen to paper and see what comes out. The answers may surprise you.

Time: Where can I make time in my schedule or space in my life for my goals, passions and the causes that are important to me?

Talents: What am I good at? What skills, trades or training do I have? What do others compliment or praise me for? What do I enjoy doing? What lights me up? When do I feel fulfilled?

Treasures: What physical and financial resources do I currently have access to that I can use in service of my goals? (This might be money, locations or equipment.) What relationships do I have and what communities am I a part of? What are my hobbies and passions? What do I value in life? What causes are meaningful to me? What issues are close to my heart?

Every morning, you can then ask yourself this simple question: how can I best use my time, talents and treasures today? What one small action can I take toward my goals and the life I want to create for myself?

As you then move through your day, if you find yourself getting caught up in that fight or flight response or feeling frozen in fear, pause and take a few deep breaths to re-center yourself and calm your nervous system. Come back to the present moment—to the step that you are on—by simply noticing how you’re feeling and what is happening around you.

With daily focused action from your soul, you’ll find yourself up on that mountain peak in no time! 

sarahprikryl-aliciaweb-sq-1

Alicia Lipinski is a gifted intuitive healer and spiritual counselor based in Los Angeles. She is also a certified Holy Fire Reiki practitioner, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor and herbalist who brews her own tonics and tinctures. She has studied a wide range of healing modalities, including Ayurveda, nutrition, life and wellness coaching, tarot, aromatherapy, crystal therapy and various forms of energy work and incorporates elements of each into her healing work. Yet her real medicine is her ability to see others for who they truly are and reflect that truth back to them.

Sign up for Alicia’s newsletter:  Quietfire Healing


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for more health, food & travel adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sirens & Scoundrels

What Now? ~ Your Positive Action Plan!

So that happened. We officially had a transfer of power this weekend. We now find ourselves in a nation seemingly never more divided…while simultaneously never more united. As with everything in life, it all comes and goes in seasons. Each season leads into the next in cycles we don’t have to fully understand to know that eventually life will always find a way of rebalancing itself. Amongst massive change and upheaval, it is more important than ever to find time to care for yourself and those around you. To focus on what you want to be creating, what positive forward movement you can make towards actualizing your hopes, dreams and visions into reality. It may feel like a long road ahead, but you can start with just a few small steps. Here’s a helpful guide on what to do this week and in the weeks to come to take care of your heart, your dreams & your world.

SELF CARE SURVIVAL TIPS~

  1. Just through Friday, get off of Facebook. Call or meet up with friends instead. Real life togetherness brings connection and a sense of well-being you can’t get through a screen. Put the metal machine away and go be with other humans. Human touch is one of the most healing powers in the world (studies prove it). We are supposed to receive a minimum of EIGHT hugs a day just to keep a baseline level of happiness. So go rack up your eight hugs each day. Your heart will thank you for it.
  1. Practice some random acts of kindness. Say “Hello” to at least three strangers a day while you’re out in the world. Ask your neighbor how they’re doing, for real. Help someone get their groceries in their car. Offer to babysit for your friends with kids so they can go have a night out together. Call a friend you’ve had some distance with and reconnect. Apologize to someone if you owe them an apology. Volunteer with a local charity in your community. In Los Angeles, we love The Midnight Mission, which serves three hot meals a day to our homeless community and has a program to help get people off the streets and back into life. http://www.midnightmission.org . These are all small but powerful ways to make your immediate world a better place.
  1. Make a list of all the nice things you meant to do for yourself over the Holiday break but never got around to. An all-day pajama day? A massage? Alone time to read or journal? Give yourself the gifts you had most wanted but ran out of time for. Let Santa come reeeeeeal early this year.
  1. Take some Positive Inventory in your life. Take a moment to acknowledge your successes from this past year and envision what you want to create for the year ahead. Look at where you’ve come from, what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve grown. Then envision your 2017 goals—from your deep heart and soul instead of your head. Our mind tends to fill our New Year’s Resolutions list with “shoulds” that are often based in fear and lack mentality. Let’s circumvent all that and go straight to the heart and soul of the matter to discover intentions that feel inspiring, invigorating & in alignment with the absolute Truth of who you are. Listen to our New Year Envisioning Meditation to guide you and help chart a course for an enlivening and fulfilling 2017!

NEW YEAR ENVISIONING MEDITATION (click arrow to play)~

TAKE ACTION!~

If you are feeling inspired to take action for our country, there are many ways to get empowered and get involved!~

  1. Find out who your representatives are and call them to weigh in on the issues that matter most to you. Experts suggest making six calls a day—to your two Senators & one Representative at both their D.C. and local offices. Speak to the person who answers the phone and tell them what issues you are calling about and where you stand. Pick 1-2 issues to discuss each day, favoring the ones that will be voted on soonest. You can find all of your elected officials here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.
  1. Show up at town hall meetings or anywhere your representatives will be meeting with the public. This is the single most productive way to have your voice heard. Stand up, ask questions, ask them where they stand on the issues and let them know how you expect them to represent you. Sign up for your representatives’ email lists and social media pages so you can follow their appearance schedules and know when and where to show up.

  1. Donate to causes that will need your support now more than ever. Some of our favorites are:
  1. Many organizations will provide you with easy weekly action plans delivered straight to your inbox, taking all of the guess work out of it for you. Find the organizations that are right for you. These are two of our favorite progressive action plans:
  1. Keep showing up. If you’d like to continue being counted, come march on March 5th for International Women’s Day. https://www.facebook.com/events/221499078304152/

Now get out there, start creating your better world & get your eight hugs a day in!!

Sending you tons of love!

xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Words & Meditation by Christina Huntington // Photography & Video Images by Sarah Prikryl

 

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sirens & Scoundrels

Meet the Sirens~ Our One Year Anniversary!

We have so much to celebrate! Aside from welcoming in a brand new year, we also recently rang in our one-year anniversary over here at Sirens & Scoundrels! It’s been quite a wild ride, bringing you our most beloved local, travel and food adventures every week! We are thrilled to see our readers answering the Siren call—seeking out our favorite places in your own lives. Our greatest hope is to inspire you to get out into the world in a bigger way. As Californians, we are so incredibly lucky to have all the Best of the West right at our fingertips! We can’t wait to bring you along on many more beautiful adventures this year!

To celebrate our 1-Year Anniversary, we are taking a little inside look at the real Sirens behind all the adventures. We sat down for a joint interview to reflect on our favorite moments from the past year and what we are most excited to share with you in the year ahead. Thank you so much for all of your love and support. We’re so happy to have you on board this incredible journey…we’ve got a lot of living to do!

Q: What was your favorite adventure from 2016?

Christina: Well, the first Adventure Project hike to Running Springs in all that deep winter fog was really special. And our trip to Bodie Ghost Town made my inner history-loving nerd crazy happy. But if I had to pick just one, I’d say our trip to Zion. It felt like entering the land of unicorns and dragons—it actually felt more weird that we didn’t see them flying around there! Every inch is just jaw-droppingly stunning. I don’t remember ever feeling so deeply serene in every moment for so many days on end. I spent my birthday sitting in the Virgin River watching the sun set and the moon and stars rise behind those giant mountains and it felt like time could just disappear forever.

Sarah: Mine was Sierra Fall Colors for sure, that was a magical trip. Not only did we get to play in a Technicolor dreamland, we saw breathtaking views and gazed at landscapes that didn’t feel like we were on Planet Earth. I will never forget laying in a bed of golden yellow leaves in a white wooded forest, watching the clouds blow by overhead. We saw a breathtaking sunrise, sunset …and on our late trek home, a double NIGHT rainbow appeared lit by the glow of the full moon! I didn’t even know that existed in real life! I couldn’t believe we were the only ones on the road seeing this wonder—like it was just for us. The two of us, standing on the side of Hwy 395 for 45 minutes just staring in awe and then it dissipated and was gone. But that will forever live as one of my favorite life moments and a lesson in what a gift it is to be present–present enough to notice magic when it’s happening right in front of you.

Q: If you had to choose just ONE place to take an out-of-towner visiting LA, where would it be?

SP: The Old Place. Its down-home feel in the wooded mountains of Malibu, live bluegrass, the great barbeque and wine-tasting next door…it’s so special. I’m from Austin, so that Old West vibe and the smell of smoked ribs surrounded by trees and peacocks wandering the grounds—it feels like a magical version of home to me.

CH: I agree, the Old Place is always the favorite for a special meal. But I think I might actually go with the Griffith Observatory because there are just so many cool things to experience, it’s a true one-stop shop. You start with a little yummy nibble and hot drink down at Trails Cafe on the Los Feliz side followed by a short hike up to the Observatory to get those 360° city views and a clear shot of the Hollywood sign. Stroll through the Observatory to see the Tesla coil and discover what your weight would be on Mars. Then step back outside to watch the sunset over LA as all the city lights come on. The first Friday of every month, the Observatory hosts a free space talk called All Space Considered that’s fascinating and entertaining. It’s space science with humor. Afterwards, you can go take a peek through the giant mama telescope and the smaller telescopes spread out on the lawn to see all kinds of celestial bodies right in your own eye! Seeing Saturn’s rings literally changed my life. It alters you somehow…getting that kind of immense perspective.

Q: What is your favorite West Coast spot?

SP: The whole stretch from Big Sur to Napa is Heaven on Earth. Northern California has the best food, wine and people. The natural environment there is a whole other world—cliffs meet the ocean inside the mountains, surrounded by ancient redwoods. I am always a “Yes” to traveling up the coast!

CH: Big Sur, hands down. It really does feel like you have left Earth completely. The whole town is set on these curving cliffs perched so high above sea level that you’re often looking down upon the ocean and even the clouds way below. That kind of perspective makes you feel like you have the angels’ view. The redwood forests are green lush fairylands. The community itself is filled with artists, philosophers and foodies. I highly recommend staying at Deetjen’s for the full storybook experience (and the best food in town). Then treat yourself to the midnight public bath at Esalen’s hot springs for something completely out of this world—totally mind, body and soul blowing.

Q: What was your funniest 2016 behind-the-scenes story?

CH: I have to say, most of our travel adventures really are as incredibly magical and dream-like as they appear. But being on the road can also bring unexpected kinks in your fairy tale and I think this moment from our trip to Lake Tahoe last summer brings a fair representation of both sides. After a long hike in the sun to a hidden beach without us drinking enough water, Gina (our fellow Siren & photographer) woke up the next morning with a crushing migraine right as the power went out in the little town we were staying in. She had to throw up in a pitch dark hotel bathroom while all the girls waited in the car because we had checked out and were moving on to our next destination. We had to stop at Walmart (a first for me) because it was the only place with any electricity and we needed to buy Excedrin and water for Gina. So Gina & I went inside to get her supplies and then went into the Walmart public restroom so she could brush her teeth and recover before heading out for another day of exploring. I took my first bathroom selfie ever to document the highly glamorous behind-the-scenes moment—the two of us standing with our plastic Walmart bags and Gina brushing her teeth in a public toilet. Luckily, it all actually helped. Gina perked up and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Bodie Ghost Town afterwards that truly was magic. So I guess, thanks Excedrin, Vitamin Water, Walmart and disposable toothbrushes for making it all possible! And to Gina for being a road-tripping, no-migraine-in-a-power-outage-will-stop-me badass!

SP: People always ask how we get our portraits of the two of us when we don’t have fellow photographers around. The truth is, we’ve had to learn to be self-sufficient out of necessity if we want to both be in a shot sometimes, so I’ve become an expert at the tripod selfie portrait. I have tried to buy MULTIPLE hand-held shutter releases, but they always seem to have some malfunction. So I’ve learned to set up my shot, framing, lighting, have Christina stand in for herself, then have her stand in for me and mark each spot. Then I set the timer on the camera and have 10 seconds to run to my spot, get in position and try to take a breath and look effortlessly relaxed until we hear the click. Then I run back to the camera and repeat 40 times and usually something comes out. So we have this weird system in place that is already funny and complicated but absolutely impossible without a tripod. So on one of our recent Mammoth shoots (which is about 5 hours away from LA), I realized I forgot my tripod mount for my camera. On a wing and a prayer, I had to call on my inner MacGyver to just make it work. Thus, the birth of the Toyota Prius tripod shot. This entails framing up my shot, backing my car into position with some precision driving, stabilizing my camera on the roof of my car on top of a sweater, climbing off of the roof and running into position. For the video version of this, it’s the same except for measuring if we are in focus by using a belt from my trunk to make sure the distance from the camera lens and car stays consistent.  The lesson here is that we just make it work, what ever you gotta do to be creative and get the shot.

Q: What are you most excited about for 2017 with Sirens?

SP: Creating art video content.

CH: Definitely video content for me too. And adding a bunch of new contributors to our roster—I’m excited to hear what kind of inside scoops they’ll have to bring to the table through their various expertise!

Q: What are your passions outside of Sirens?

CH: Meditation teaching, film making, writing. Anything that has to do with art, music and nature. Being cozy with my dogs. And dancing, of course.

SP: Photographing pets, chefs and food, directing art videos, a good meal with friends, frolicking in nature and spontaneous dancing.

Q: What did you want to be as a kid?

CH: I wanted to be the 1st female president. Seriously. I wanted to change the world.

SP: A superhero. My magical powers entailed the power of invisibility so I could see into people’s inner lives without disturbing them. I could also fly, morph into water and my dance moves could magically soften any villain’s angst.

Q: What might surprise people to know about you?

CH: I’m not a serene yogi—I’m really playful, I’m a dancing machine (I’ll go 4 or 5 hours straight without stopping just on pure natural joy) and can rap along to most Beastie Boys songs by heart.

SP: Maybe not a surprise, but I’m obsessed with dogs, trees and farm tables. I’m a Czech-Korean hapa. I didn’t have my two front teeth for a year when I was a kid because I fell and it took forever for my adult teeth to come in. My Grandpa nicknamed me “Open Gate”. I’m a secret living room hip hop dancer. I went to clown school. My brain loves the weird—the weirder perspective the better.

Q: What is your favorite song to dance to?

CH: Uh…”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Huston. Obviously.

SP: I’ll dance to anything from bluegrass to The Bangles, but I HAVE to stop everything and move if I hear any old school Missy Elliott.

Q: Any sage advice for 2017?

SP: Be present with yourself and others, you’ll be surprised by the magic that’s right in front of you. Speak up for what you believe in, be a voice against the bully. Always start everything with gratitude and compassion. A sense of humor and spontaneous dance sessions will make every situation that much better.

CH: Go big. Go bigger than you have before. Widen your reach. Help more people, make a bigger contribution. And…get curious again. Get excited again. Make your every day life an adventure.

Check out our “Meet the Sirens” 1 Year Anniversary video below! ~

(click arrow to play) 

THANKS SO MUCH FOR A BEAUTIFUL YEAR!  

MAY YOUR 2017 BE FILLED WITH LOVE, JOY & ADVENTURE!!

Love,

Sirens & Scoundrels xoxo


OUR EDITORS~

Christina Huntington~ Meet Christina, our resident content creator, writer, adventure babe and spiritual advisor! In her spare time between writing, directing and teaching meditation, our native Cali Girl can be found burning up any dance floor, curled up with a book and some Sam Cooke records, piling friends up in the car for an epic road trip and helping people live their best possible lives. Enjoy all her build-your-own adventure guides, travel tales and tips on the best things to do in LA to help make your life one big delicious beautiful adventure!

Sarah Prikryl~ Meet Sarah, our resident content creator, photographer, chef and adventure babe! Sarah’s whimsical art videos will put a smile on your face while her mouth-watering, easy, gluten-free recipes make all your foodie fantasies come true! A Cali Girl by way of Texas, Sarah can always be found dancing in her kitchen, taking iphone snaps of all the dogs and babies of Silverlake and organizing bountiful garden feasts for friends in her spare time. Check out all her video and foodie offerings to warm your heart and hearth!

Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Words by Christina Huntington // Photography & Video by Sarah Prikryl

Contributing Photography by: Becca Murray,  Daniel MansfieldChristina Huntington

Contributing Video by: Michael Peters

Music in Video by: Allah-Las , The Drums, Beastie Boys & Missy Elliott

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

stuffed zucchini by Sarah Prikryl

Stuffed Baked Zucchini (Gluten-Free)

Words, Photography & Video by Sarah Prikryl 

We recently had the opportunity to tend an organic farm in Santa Cruz, CA which was, let’s be honest…my foodie dream come true. Every day we would stroll down to the garden and pick fresh zucchini, squash and tomatoes fresh off the vine. My favorite kitchen experiment  during my dream stay in the mountains was my Stuffed Baked Zucchini recipe. I’m so happy I get to share this delicious gluten-free meal with you! Especially now with these wintry, cold and rainy California days, who couldn’t use a warm plate of healthy comfort food? Enjoy!

STUFFED BAKED ZUCCHINI


Serves 10-12

Prep & Cook  Time: 40 minutes

Bake Time: 35-40 minutes

Total: 1 hr. 10-20 minutes


INGREDIENTS


  • 1 lb. Organic Ground Meat (bison or beef; vegans can use 1 carton of diced mushrooms or pea protein meat substitute instead)
  • 6 large Organic Zucchini
  • 2 Organic Lemons
  • 4 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 4 medium Organic Tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked Rice (which is 1 cup of uncooked Rice)
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 5 cloves of Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)

 


A few quick notes:


*The zucchini, pictured above, was picked at the farm and was a massive giant.  When picking your ingredients from a farmers market or grocery store, look for 6 medium to large zucchini, preferably at least 8-10 in. long. The larger and thicker the better, so that once the core of the zucchini is gutted, there is still a large enough “boat” to fill with stuffing.

*Last week we featured my favorite food hacks to save you time in the kitchen. I love to use onion, garlic and herbs in a lot of my recipes.  Check out these game-changer tips that will save you time on this recipe and many more. (click HERE to view)

*For this Stuffed Zucchini recipe, you can use leftover rice or even pre-cook the rice a couple days before to save you time on the day. If you don’t have any leftover Chinese takeout boxes hanging out in your fridge, don’t fret. The rice can cook while you are prepping and chopping.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you do not have pre-cooked or leftover rice, start to cook your rice first, by adding 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water with a pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-18 minutes. The water should be fully absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside. If you are using leftover rice, there is no need to pre-heat it at this time.

While the rice is cooking, dice the onion into small chunks. Mince the garlic. Set aside. On the stovetop, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pot. Add the onion and allow to cook down until translucent. Squeeze half a lemon into the pot and allow the onions to caramelize. Add the minced garlic. While the onions and garlic are cooking, dice the tomatoes into small chunks. Add them to the pot and let them cook down. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally.

stuffedzucchini-9

Cut the zucchini length-wise in half. With a spoon, scrape out the middle “meat” of the zucchini until there is only enough of the zucchini boat left to keep its shape, about 1/2 an inch. Set the insides of the zucchini aside. It should be shredded from scraping with the spoon, but if you have larger chunks, dice them into small pieces.

On a baking sheet, place the zucchini boats, flesh-side up and sprinkle with salt. Let them stand 5 minutes. The salt will cause the zucchini to excrete moisture.

While the zucchini is resting, add the inner flesh of the zucchini to the pot and allow to cook down. De-stem and mince the rosemary. Add to the pot.

TIP: To see the fastest way to de-stem rosemary click on our Sirens Food Hack Article HERE or click the arrow below.

Add the ground meat to the pot. If you are vegan or vegetarian, add diced mushrooms or crumbled pea protein as a meat substitute. As the meat browns, squeeze the juice from the remaining lemons and zest the lemon peel into the stew. Add salt & pepper to your taste preference. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes to your spice preference. Do not overcook the meat (it will cook further as it’s baking in the oven). Fluff the rice with a fork and add it to the stew pot. Stir.

Dab any excess moisture off of the zucchini boats with a paper towel. Drizzle with olive oil and rub. Fill the boats with heaping spoonfuls of the rice stuffing. To keep the zucchini boats from falling over, place them close together so that they can rest on each other while baking.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Remove from heat. Drizzle the top with more olive oil, salt and pepper.

Gather your loved ones. Dinner is served. Toasted gluten-free garlic bread and a side salad of tomato & basil dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette make a wonderful accompaniment.  Sprinkle generously with grated parmesan. Break open that bottle of red wine and enjoy your rainy day comfort food feast!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: a friend of mine surprised me with a loaf of gluten-free sourdough for this meal. I am now addicted to Bread Srsly. It is wildly delicious. Cut a slice. Toast it. Dip it in olive oil & vinegar with a sprinkle of Maldon’s Salt. It will take this meal to the next level. You’re welcome!

Check out our many other Zucchini-based recipes from Zucchini Noodle Thai Soup to Zucchini Rollatini by clicking on our Recipe section or typing  “Zucchini” into the search bar at the top of the page (look for the magnifying glass).

BON APPETIT!~love, Sirens & Scoundrels


Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more fun videos! Click this link and hit “SUBSCRIBE”:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO7ED79LVOdMVvgmQn-LS1A


© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

 

 

 

Sirens & Scoundrels Food Hacks

Sirens Food Hacks

Words, Video & Photography by Sarah Prikryl  

Happy New Year!! In 2017, we want to inspire you to go have adventures, make some art, be present, instigate friend gatherings and always play with your food! To kick off the year, I’m sharing my most used Food Hacks to encourage you to cook up some fun. I hope this helpful video series saves you time in the kitchen and brightens your day!

One of my favorite painters is Giuseppe Arcimboldo. His playful still life portraits predominately feature the close relationship between humans and nature. As a true believer in the magic found in the ordinary, Arcimboldo’s paintings inspire me to dream big in the kitchen. So without further ado, here’s my Arcimboldo-inspired love story and my Top 5 Food Hacks for some foodie fun!  (Click the arrow for some inspiration.)

SARAH’S TOP 5 FOOD HACKS 


Sirens Lettuce Hack


The fastest and healthiest meal you can throw together is a savory and delicious salad. Did you know you can core a head of lettuce in about 3 seconds? Click the arrow to watch our Lettuce Hack Video:


Sirens Onion Hack


(Click the arrow to watch our Onion Hack Video.)

The kitchen question I am most frequently asked is: how in the world do you cut an onion without crying? There are a lot of remedies you can try~

  1. wear swim goggles
  2. freeze the onion before cutting
  3. chew gum

BUT, the number 1 always successful HOT TIP to avoid that red eye weeping…drum roll, please…cut the root out of the onion and discard quickly before slicing the onion into pieces. (See image below.) The root releases a liquid once cut that is the culprit for all those tear-stained cheeks. You’re welcome!


Sirens Food Hack: De-stem Your Herbs


If you look at my savory recipes (click to peruse our recipe section: HERE), many of them call for fresh herbs. Fresh organic herbs will always send a dish’s flavor profile over the moon! For the fastest way to de-stem your herbs, hold the stem in one hand. With your other hand, pinch your fingers down the stem, away from the grain, towards the root.

Click the arrow to watch our Herb Hack Video:


Ricing Cauliflower


My ricing cauliflower article was the first food-related article we ever published and I use these tips again and again. From substituting cauliflower for rice to making Cauliflower Pizza Crust or an Egg-in-a-Hole brunch dish, these hot tips can help you make this easy, healthy, delicious grain substitute. Click the article for my top tips for Ricing Cauliflower: HERE.


Sirens Garlic Hack


My Korean, Czech and Texas roots have engrained in me the need to use garlic in almost every savory dish I make. It can be very time consuming to peel those little cloves clean. There are two ways I like to peel garlic. If I need a clove or two, I place the flat side of the blade of a large knife over a clove and pound down with the butt of my hand. After they are crushed, the peel easily falls off and they are halfway to being already minced. I finish off mincing the garlic with the knife.

If I am going to use a lot of garlic, I like to peel the entire bulb at one time and this is the easiest and most fun way to do it! Click on the arrow to watch my Garlic Hack Video:

Happy feasting, all you sirens & scoundrels! BON APPÉTIT!!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more fun videos! Click this link and hit “SUBSCRIBE”:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO7ED79LVOdMVvgmQn-LS1A

 


© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels