Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dinner: Swordfish Tacos

I made swordfish tacos last week for dinner is celebration of the summer-like weather. Tacos are great year round, however, I like to grill the swordfish outside and the dish is light and perfect for warm temperatures. (When it's cold, I saute fish and do this dish inside.)

I love this recipe...feel free to use all or some of the vegetables in the slaw--it's meant to be flexible. The chipolte  sauce is delicious and works really well in this dish.

Swordfish Tacos(or any firm fish)

Fish: 4-6 ounces per person

Grill any firm fish until done, let cool a bit, then crumble into small pieces


2 flour per person, grill lightly on grill or gas stove or heat in oven


Red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded

Red onion, thinly sliced or shredded

Tomatoes, cut into small chunks

Cucumber, sliced thin

Lettuce, thinly sliced or shredded

Avocado, cut into small chunks

Mix together and toss with some sauce, below

Recipe for the Chipolte Pepper Sauce (4-6 servings)

1 cup sour cream / Greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayo

1dried diced chipotle pepper soaked for 30 minutes (seeds removed) or powder

1 small garlic clove chopped

Zest of one lime and juice

2 Tablespoons of salsa


Mix all ingredients 

To assemble: Put fish, slaw and extra sauce on each tortilla.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops and Green Flageolets

I was in an Asian market a few days ago and spied dried Green Flageolets—a kidney bean from France—they looked cool, so I bought them. Ditto on black quinoa (I love the color black in foods because of the contrast they provide with other food). I also scored Chinese Yardlong beans—they are really long and come tied in a bunch. I like them because they are less starchy than green beans and have a really great taste. As far as I know, only Asian markets carry them. I was going to use the quinoa for dinner, but wanted to use the baby Yukon potatoes I had before they got soft.

My husband grilled two pork chops (grass fed and free range) that we ate two nights in a row. The second night, I put the leftover meat on top of the flageolets, added a bit of water and steamed both. 
The meat is so good that I like it best simply grilled outside.

Note that I recommend a cast iron pan for beans and potatoes. I love using cast iron because you can cook on high temperatures and brown food. The potatoes and beans, when cooked on a cast iron pan, get brown and crispy and delicious.

The flageolets were really good! (That said, if I didn’t have them, I’d substitute kidney beans.) The first night, I mixed up the ingredients and served it cold, but decided the garlic tasted too strong raw. It was much better when heated the next day. The recipe, below, is the improved version.

Note that I don’t have amounts on all the recipes…just use your judgment. I love rosemary and use a ton of fresh from my garden for the potatoes. (Dried is also very good.) The rosemary gets all brown and delicious when cooked with some butter.

Grilled pork chops
Warm green flageolets salad
Sautéed Chinese Yardlong beans
Sautéed baby Yukon potatoes

Grilled pork chops
Salt and pepper both sides, grill until slightly pink inside. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Warm Green Flageolets Salad
1 1/2 cups or 1 can cooked flageolets or kidney beans
3 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup parsley, chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
On low heat, sauté garlic in oil until soft, then add all remaining ingredients but lemon. Heat through, turn off heat and add lemon. Serve warm or room temperature.

Sautéed Chinese Yardlong beans
Chinese Yardlong Green Beans, haricot verte or regular green beans, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Garlic, minced
Peanut oil
Heat a cast iron pan or wok on high and add peanut oil until hot. Stir-fry beans until they begin to brown, then add garlic. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice.

Sautéed baby Yukon potatoes
Boil whole baby potatoes 12 minutes and drain. Sauté, preferably in a cast iron pan, in butter, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper till browned.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Feng Shui Your Kitchen

There are numerous schools of Feng Shui, and what it entails. Generally speaking, not much is said about Feng Shui in the kitchen, and that’s too bad, because it is a very important room. When Feng Shui is discussed, it centers around the stove, and it is generally concerned with the direction or placement of the stove.
My advice is to consider the placement of the stove solely in relation to what works from a design and practical point of view.

The remainder of his article focuses on Feng Shui from and how it will make your kitchen flow well with good energy. The following will give your kitchen “Feng Shui.”

* Great layout. When appliances are positioned well, there is adequate counter space to work, and kitchen tools and dining ware are thoughtfully stored, you will have a great space in which to work.
* Appliances are in good working condition. Energy Star rated is even better, as these appliances are more energy efficient.
* There is appropriate lighting for cooking, eating, and any other activities that take place in kitchen.
* The kitchen sparkles with cleanliness. Bonus points for using non-toxic cleaning supplies! See my handy guide to non-toxic products. Keep refrigerator clean and have a container of baking soda inside to absorb odors.
* There is no clutter. Go through your drawers and cabinets and remove anything you don’t use. Donate, sell or recycle whatever you can.
* Organize your kitchen for maximum efficiency. Give everything a designated space. Extra points for facing cans, bottles and other food items faced forward and lined up, like in a grocery store.
* Replace non-stick pans, which are carcinogenic when heated, with cast iron, enamel and stainless pots and pans.
* Use great quality knives. Dull or inexpensive knives make cooking a chore. Good knives—I recommend Wusthof—will last a lifetime.
* Store and cook wholesome, natural, organic foods. Avoid food with preservatives and artificial colors.

Norma Lehmeier Hartie is the award winning author of Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet. She is currently working on a book to help homeowners sell their property.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fiddlehead Fern Recipe

I love this time of year because, among other things, fiddelhead ferns are available! They have an earthy flavor, somewhat like a cross between asparagus and artichokes. You may be able to get them from your local farmer, and Whole Foods carries them.

Do not eat them raw. Rinse thoroughly, and remove the brown scales with your fingers. Cut off the brown tips and excess stems.

Simple Fiddlehead Recipes

Steam 10 minutes or boil 5 minutes fiddleheads. Melt butter in a saute pan and lower heat, stir several minutes, allowing butter to brown. Toss fiddleheads into pan and add salt.

Oilive Oil
Heat oven to 425. Dry fiddleheads thoroughly and place on a tray, one layer deep. Toss fiddleheads with salt. Rub olive oil on ferns. bake about 30 minutes, tossing twice, until fiddleheads begin to brown.

You can add ingredients like lemon and garlic, but I keep this treat nice and plain.

Your Home Can Help or Hinder your Landing a Job

Is your home cluttered and dirty? Is your home unwelcoming? If you answered yes to either of these questions and you are looking for a job, your home could be hurting your chances at success. Clean, remove clutter, and organize your home. Next, use the magic of Feng Shui and simple manifestation techniques to help you land the job of your dreams!

A home that is dirty, filled with clutter and unorganized is not a happy place to live in. The energy is stagnant and negative. Consequently, the people living in this environment will suffer. Clutter will literally bog you down and you will feel stagnant, unable to move on in your life. It will make you inefficient, because you are constantly searching for things. Stress, because searching for things causes anxiety. Lack of productivity and energy, as negative energy of clutter depresses.

This environment is hardly conducive to aiding you in a job search. If you are living in these conditions, begin by cleaning your home thoroughly.

Next, get rid of the clutter. Clutter is anything that isn’t used or liked. Sometimes, we hold onto stuff for sentimental reasons. Clutter can also be just too many objects on a given surface. If you collect stuff and don’t wish to get rid of those objects, another option is to rotate them. For instance, if you have six objects on a side table all vying for attention, store three away for half the year. Now, the three objects will look nice and you won’t have that cluttered look.
If you have things around that aren’t being used or enjoyed, that stuff is not giving off good energy and will make you feel stagnant in your life.
If the prospect of organizing is akin to a trip to the dentist, start with a small space. If cheap psychological tricks—like rewarding yourself for a job done—work, employ them. Conversely, do not try to organize a space so large that the project could take weeks—forcing you to look at depressing piles of things waiting to be organized or removed. Take that large space and divide it into easily managed projects.
The payoff for a clean, organized home or workplace free of unwanted clutter is immense. The energy in your home or workspace will change—stale and negative energy will be replaced with positive, powerful, life-enriching energy. The space will feel lighter. And that good energy will make you feel more energetic and happier. When you know where to find your belongings, you will find yourself with more time—to be more productive or to actually relax. Finally, a clean home—one that is as free as possible from dirt, mold and allergens—is a healthier space.
Once your home is organized and clean, you are ready for the fun and exciting part of your journey—using Feng Shui and manifestation to help you get your job. The following is a basic introduction to Feng Shui.
Bagua Map
It is beyond the scope of this posting to give more than a rudimentary explanation of Feng Shui, but I hope this will interest you to study this remarkable practice further. Feng Shui is based all about energy, or chi and the placement of objects to increase good energy.
There are two levels of Feng Shui; the visible and the invisible. Moving, removing or adding objects is visible, but changes also occur on the invisible level. When I go to my chiropractor because my back hurts and he realigns it, I instantly feel great. One reason is because the pain is released, but the other reason is that energy is now flowing properly throughout my whole body, so it adds to my sense of well-being. When an object is in the correct place, it too exudes positive energy, which radiates and fills the space. When a room is in proper alignment, you cannot help but to feel good in it.
Another aspect of the invisible level of Feng Shui is to first visualize a particular outcome that you would like as a result of making a change. For example, you will learn how to add objects to a room to strengthen or bring love into your life. When adding these objects, you need to focus your thoughts on the object and visualize having a strong and happy marriage or finding your soul mate.
To help you find a job, you will concentrate on the Career, Wealth and Helpful People categories. Picture the Bagua placed over your entire home or a single room. The door to the home or room must be in one of the three quadrants—career, knowledge or helpful people.
· Water flowing represents cash flow:
o Put a water fountain in entry room of your home..
o Put a water fountain in the wealth corner of the home or in the wealth corner of a room, like the entry or bedroom.
o Photograph or art depicting water
· Flowers
o Put fresh flowers anywhere in home for bright energy and to uplift spirits
· Fresh plants and bird feeders outside represent growth—as in career
When you add any of these objects, visualize yourself accepting the job of your dreams. Look at these objects on a daily basis and keep those positive thoughts in mind.
By the author of the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet, copyright 2007

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Distant or Remote Design Services

In addition to doing design consultations in the New York metropolitan area, I am now doing remote, or distant, consultations. This started because a woman from Cincinnati contacted me and asked me if I did remote work. With today's modern technology, doing distant design work is totally feasible. I charge by the hour and you can hire me for as little or much help as you need.

For more information on my services, go to my website.Some of my services:

Clearing clutter


Feng Shui

Interior Design/redesign

Staging to sell home

Curb appeal

Green design/home improvements

To Your Beautiful Home!

Norma Lehmeier Hartie

Friday, February 18, 2011

Remove Bedroom Clutter

It is important to keep your bedroom clean and free of clutter.

* If dirty clothes must be in the room, keep them in a covered hamper in a closet.

* There should be nothing but air under your bed! Energy must be able to circulate around the bed—and you—freely. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. The stuff under your bed emits its own energy, so whatever is under your bed will affect you. For example, if you store old bills beneath your bed, you are sleeping on past finances. You might feel overwhelmed with excessive money issues, or obsessed with the past. Clear the underbelly of the bed and enjoy the benefits of vital life-force energy surrounding you.

* Closets should be neat and organized. Discard what you have not worn in two or more years. Repair or discard torn clothing and shoes. Try arranging like clothes together; casual shirts, work shirts, casual pants, etc. and discover how easy it is to find everything!

* Organize dressers, discarding unused or torn items and neatly folding what remains.

* Store only personal items in the bedroom, if possible. If you must store paperwork, keep it neat and hidden in a closet or drawers.

* Sort and organize jewelry. Sell or donate what you do not like.

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment.

Clean Green Products

There are many non-toxic, natural cleaning products that are on the market or you can make your own. Check your natural food store or see "Resources" for online or mail-order shopping. With a few basic ingredients, you can clean almost everything in your home. The following cleaners are safe and work as well—or better—than the commercial counterparts:

All-Purpose Cleaners

  • Fill a spray bottle with half water and half distilled white vinegar; add a spoonful of biodegradable soap. This works on windows and mirrors, too.
  • Baking soda and distilled white vinegar: Combine when ready to use—mixing creates a science-project like foam. I love this mix and keep finding new things to clean with these two miracle ingredients. I never measure—use this mixture a few times and you will figure out how much to use for what project. Buy distilled white vinegar by the gallon and pour some into an easy to handle bottle and keep a large box of baking soda on hand.
  • This mix cleans all kinds of things, including:
    • Stubborn stains (let sit, then rinse)
    • Stainless steel
    • Water fountains
    • Silver
    • Brass
    • Stained glass
  • Purchase concentrated citrus cleaner from a natural food store. Mix with water in a spray bottle.

Antibacterial Spray

1 cup water

20-25 drops pure essence of lavender oil

Pour water into a spray bottle, add lavender oil and shake. Spray onto surfaces—no need to wipe. This spray is good for use on "high-touch" areas like doorknobs and phones when someone in the family is sick.

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners

Sprinkle several pounds of cornstarch or baking soda on a nine by twelve carpet or liberally on upholstery, let sit for an hour and vacuum. For freshly soiled spots, use soda water or make a paste with baking soda and vinegar or soda water and scrub dirty area. A water-only steam machine is also an effective method for removing stains and dirt from carpets and upholstery.

For a deep clean, rent a carpet steam machine and use 2 cups white vinegar and 2 ½ gallons of water to clean carpet. When finished, raise thermostat to make room really warm and use a fan to accelerate drying time.

Drain Cleaner

For clogged drains, a plunger, when used correctly, really works! The secret is to use water, as the weight of the water forces the clog to break through. To unclog pipe, cover drain opening, turn on the water and allow some water to collect. Continue to allow water to run, remove cover and begin to plunge.

If that does not work, pour ½ cup baking soda, then ½ cup vinegar into drain, wait five minutes and follow with boiling water.

Pet Products

Bathe pets with a natural shampoo from your natural food store or online store. If you get your puppy used to baths, bathing can be a non-event. In addition to shedding hair, an unwashed dog will embed dirt and odors into furniture, carpeting and rugs. Regular shampooing—monthly or more—can make a big difference in keeping your home clean.

If fleas are a problem, there are natural collars available at natural food stores. Instead of flea powder, wash the animal's bedding regularly.

Plastic feeding dishes leach chemicals into your pet's water and food. Replace plastic dishes with stainless steel or lead-free ceramic bowls.

Pots and Pans

Dish soap is fine for standard cleaning. For tough jobs, sprinkle baking soda and add distilled vinegar and let sit for awhile. This works miracles, even on stainless steel! On seasoned cast iron pots, water and mild soap is generally adequate. Always dry thoroughly with towel to prevent rust, and then apply a thin layer of cooking oil. For tough jobs, kosher salt works well.


Mix baking soda and white vinegar, rub on silver, rinse and dry. White toothpaste also works for smaller jobs like jewelry.


For heavily tarnished brass, put some baking soda on a rag, add vinegar and rub. Rinse and wipe dry. Lightly tarnished pieces can be cleaned with vinegar or other natural acids like milk, tomatoes, Tabasco or lemon juice. Rinse and wipe dry.

Window/Glass Cleaner

Combine 1 ½ cups white vinegar, ½ cup water and 8 drops citrus essential oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Add a small amount of alcohol for tough jobs. Spray on windows and wipe dry with a cloth or towel.

When cleaning numerous windows, pour 6 parts warm water to 2 parts white vinegar and 1 part alcohol into a bucket. Wash windows with mixture and dry with a professional squeegee. A squeegee saves both time and paper towels, but don't waste your time with inferior squeegees—they will drive you crazy, as they leave lines on the windows. I recently purchased one from The Clean Team (see "Resources") with additional replacement blades, and it works great!

Clean mirrors with a mixture of equal parts of alcohol and water.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Pour 2 cups of white vinegar in toilet bowl and let stand overnight. If a watermark still remains, rub stain with a wet pumice stone. Pumice stone will not scratch porcelain.

Furniture Polish

Mix ½ teaspoon light olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar and water to fill a one quart container. Apply mixture and wipe with a clean rag. Or, mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice in 1 pint of vegetable oil. Apply a small amount with a cotton cloth (old undershirts work really well) and wipe wood furniture.


You do not need to use any product to dust other than a microfiber cloth and a sheepskin duster with an extension pole. Microfiber cloths and dusting mitts are fabulous! They are positively charged and pick up the negative charge in dust. I even run them under my heater vents and they pick up globs of dust that stay put until I shake the cloth off outside. They can be used wet or dry and are available at houseware stores like Linens 'n Things.

Mold Remover

While chlorine bleach is effective at killing mold, bleach fumes are extremely harmful. A mixture of borax and water is a much less toxic approach. In the shower, spray or apply with a rag borax and water, and do not rinse—the borax residue will fight mold growth. Or, mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup water and apply with a rag or spray bottle. Finally, white vinegar, poured directly on mold, is eighty percent effective in killing mold.


If possible, freeze item that has wax drippings and peel off. If not, remove what you can. Then place newspaper below and above wax and iron on low setting. The wax will transfer to newspaper. Keep moving paper until all the wax is removed and then launder.

There are a number of natural cleaning products that you can purchase at natural food stores or online. In your grocery store, Bon Ami is all natural and works especially well on stainless steel and borax is a natural laundry booster and multi-purpose household cleaner.

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment