April 30, 2014
Last weekend was one of my favorites in recent history. On Saturday, my family drove down for a quick visit to my favorite plant nursery. My mom has good plant juju so I found 3 more plant children to add to my ever-growing collection. Which reminds me, should I do a blog post specifically about my plants? Anyway, good plant juju and the best nurseries on this side of the Mississippi means a super great Saturday.
On Sunday, a few of my friends came over for brunch, making me all kinds of happy and stuff. Hosting people at my house feels like it could be my life calling. I’m in the zone while hosting. I get myself. I understand my abilities and limits. I have crazy to-do lists, clean the house from top to bottom, and make 3 batches of biscuits from scratch – you know, none of the qualities I display on a normal basis, but throw me some guests to host and I’m like HELLO, let me make you a fruit bowl out of 8 different varieties of fruit. Ugh, I love it.
Anyway, I made some mini frittatas (but swapped the ham for turkey breakfast sausage, swapped the parm for sharp cheddar, and swapped the parsley for chopped spinach) and these biscuits. My biscuits did not look half as glorious as the recipe’s looked, but you win some, you lose some. Also, I panicked 15 minutes before guests arrived because it didn’t look like there was enough food for 8 peeps, so I made Kyle run across the street to a diner and pick up breakfast potatoes (what a good sport). Ok so maybe hosting isn’t my life calling after all, but I certainly do love any excuse to hang out with my friends and eat biscuits.
July 2, 2013
New favorite salad alert! Sometimes a great salad recipe comes around and you just gotta hold onto it tight and never let it go. Especially in the summer, when squash is aplenty and fresh Mediterranean flavors are exactly what you’re craving. I found this recipe on the Free People blog via Cookie & Kate and it’s seriously the best. Here it is, modified slightly since I only had zucchini and no yellow squash. Although I’m sure that yellow squash would kick this salad out of the park. PS, it’s even better the second day when all the flavors have intensified. TRUST!
1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous (I used a whole box from Trader Joe’s and just followed the directions on the box)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
1 cup chickpeas (or use the whole can if you’re like me)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta (or more if you’re like me)
10 kalamata olives, sliced (or more!)
2 medium zucchinis, sliced into super thin rounds using a vegetable peeler or mandoline (I used v. peeler and it was easy)
1/3 cup pinenuts, toasted
1/3 cup basil, chopped (I used a little less)
Ok I know that looks like a lot of ingredients, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.
To cook couscous, like I said, I just followed the directions on the box from Trader Joe’s, but here are C&K’s directions, which are slightly different: Bring 1 2/3 cup salted water to boil. Stir in couscous, cover, reduce to simmer. Cook for 18-20 minutes until couscous is cooked through and water is absorbed.
While the couscous is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, sea salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooked couscous and toss to coat.
Toss the couscous with the remaining ingredients (chickpeas, tomatoes, feta, olive, zucchinis, pinenuts, and basil) until mixed together.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Never look back.
P.S. Happy birthday to my AMAZING mother!
May 28, 2013
Avocados make the world a better place and if I may say so, I do believe they’ve revolutionized the toast game. Toast will never be the same. Buttery avocados mashed onto bread? Nothing beats it. Also, you can’t really mess it up. Top literally ANY ingredient on avo toast and it will taste better than anything you’ve had all day (slight exaggeration but you get the point). And I know we all have our iterations of this infamous toast, whether it be avocado-only or heavily-topped with secret ingredients, but my favorite is Cafe Gitane’s in NYC. They’ve created the perfect balance of avocado to bread to yummy toppings. Although I’ve tried recreating it’s goodness, my replica is certainly not up to par with theirs. BUT it’s pretty dang good so I thought I’d share!
Here is my step-by-step guide to avocado toast:
While your bread is toasting, grab these ingredients:
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt (or any other coarse salt)
With a fork, mash half of a ripe avocado on a piece of toast. YEAH, go crazy, use a WHOLE HALF.
Drizzle a spoonful of good olive oil over the mashed avocado.
Squeeze lemon juice liberally over it as well.
Sprinkle coarse salt over it. Go ahead, one more dash of salt.
And finally, the real kicker. A few pinches of chili flakes. Now my chili flakes are pretty tame so I need quite a bit to get some heat. If your chili flakes are hotter, use less.
And voila! Buttery avocado, tart lemon juice, and that heat from the chili flakes – ahh perfection in a bite. Repeat all steps again for toast #2. (everyone needs toast #2).
May 2, 2013
When we flew to New York, I made sure to pack LOTS of food for the plane ride. Not necessarily because it was a long flight (5 hours from LA to NY), but because we had 9 days of travel ahead of us and WHO KNOWS what we’d be eating during that time (read: poutine, pizza, and a fair share of bloody mary’s).
In addition to a hefty plane meal, I also stuffed my carry-on with healthy snacks so we could nibble on things during the trip. I don’t know about you but one of my biggest fears in life is being hungry in between meals #firstworldproblems. Here’s what I packed:
Mixed Nuts: I love the individually wrapped packets of trail mix from Trader Joe’s.
Granola: I had plans to make homemade granola but brought this delish TJ’s variety instead. And bonus: it’s packed with fiber and is gluten free.
Apples & almond butter: This is my absolute favorite snack combo. Also, I have a weird relationship with apples. I can’t live without them? So I brought a whole bag of mini-sized gala apples (like 7 apples) in my carry-on. And YEAH, I’m sure New York had apples I could buy but I COULDN’T RISK IT.
Bean dip w/ veggies: I got this whole idea to pack a healthy travel meal from this amazing blog post. I used her recipe for white bean dip, which was beyond delicious and full of protein. The carrots and cucumber sticks were great to snack on throughout the flight.
Farro salad w/ beets, sweet potatoes, and arugula: Now here’s where I REALLY packed in the health. This was our main meal for the flight to New York (FYI i packed 2 full ziploc bags of this salad – the mason jar was just my midnight snack). I roasted sweet potatoes and mixed it with cooked farro, beets, arugula, and chopped raw walnuts. For the dressing, I made a simple apple cider vinaigrette (the same one I used in this recipe). It keeps great at room temperature for a few hours.
Everything worked out pretty smoothly in the end aside from the fact that I made WAY TOO MUCH food for the plane ride. Next time, I will make half as much and maybe not bring a pound of apples?
March 14, 2013
I have a half-Asian boyfriend who doesn’t like Asian food so it’s really hard to cook around here. I LOVE it on the other hand. I grew up eating Indonesian food weekly (my mom’s parents are both from Indonesia) so it’s something that I crave on the regular. Don’t even get me started on basic white rice. Kyle refuses to eat it. You know what, he’s cute and that’s what matters.
Anyway, sometimes I’ll spice things up and make a curry dish (literally and figuratively). He’s usually pretty luke warm on the idea, but this soup, he actually liked! His only request was that protein be added, like chicken, shrimp, or even tofu. Woohoo! The broth was so rich and flavorful. These are exactly the kind of meals I love. Plus, it was easy to make and ready in no time at all. I’m adding this to my arsenal of regulars and can’t wait to make it again.
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled & diced
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tsp red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
1 box (32oz) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger or fresh minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
4oz udon or rice noodles
pinch of red pepper flakes (if you wish)
diced green onions
1. Saute onion and carrot in olive oil until tender. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add red curry paste and mix until evenly distributed. Add coconut milk, chicken/vegetable broth, curry powder, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar.
3. Stir and let boil. Then add spinach.
4. Simmer until the greens are cooked down, then add noodles and cook according to package directions (the less noodles, the better – you don’t want them to soak up too much of the broth!)
5. Add lime juice to taste (1/2 of a juicy lime) before serving and garnish with toppings.