Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's always a sad day when you finish the last piece of boxed chocolates.  On the bright side, it means all the more reason to buy a new box.  :-)  Yes, I'm a chocoholic.  My boyfriend gave me a box from Trader Joe's and it was delish (he helped me out with it).  It had the perfect assortment of nuts vs. caramels, milk vs. dark, toffees, etc.  So many brands, so little time before it hits your waistline but other brands I enjoy are La Maison Du Chocolat, Jacques Torres, Vosges, Cadbury Fruit & Nut, Ghirardhelli peppermint bark, Lindt dark chocolate, Cadbury mini-eggs, M&Ms w/ pretzels inside and the list goes on...

What are your favorites?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Millet w/ Toasted Pecans and Currants

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Even though it was a short work week for me, I'm glad it's nearly done!  It's been crazy in office prepping for an upcoming photo shoot. 

Anyway, I'm finally posting a couple photos of my millet recipe.  If you're bored of couscous, quinoa or brown rice, give it a shot.  It's probably closer to the texture and bite of couscous or brown rice with a slightly nutty flavor.  The pecans add a nice crunch and the currants give it a hint of sweetness.

Millet with Toasted Pecans and Currants

-1 cup millet
-4 chopped scallions
-a large handful of toasted pecans
-a large handful of dried currants
-1 1/2  t. olive oil
-1 T. red wine vinegar
-3-4 basil leaves, chopped
-salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Boil 2 cups salted water.  Add millet to boiling water and bring to simmer.  Millet is done when it's soaked up by water.  While millet is cooking, toast pecans on cookie sheet in the middle rack for 7-8 minutes depending on your oven.  Let cool and chop into small pieces.  Chop scallions and basil leaves.  Once millet is done, add pecans, scallions, basil, currants and mix in olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Finish off with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve cold.  Serves about 4-6.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I FINALLY got my new Epson v750 scanner up and running so I've been scanning like a maniac.   For those of you interested in a short product review, I will say that it's AWESOME and definitely worth the cost.  Here are a few photos that I took with my boyfriend's old Yashika 35 mm up in Half Moon Bay a few years ago.  We visited Mavericks Beach which is a world-class spot for surfers in Northern California.  Word on the street is that is popular with sharks too!  Thankfully I never saw any but did capture a bunch of great photos.  I'll be posting more throughout the next couple days.  

I'll also be posting my recipe for Millet, toasted pecans and currants!!  Yum.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Get Your Veg On

I've been on a soup kick lately.  To feed my addiction, I created a variation to my soba noodle soup.  This soup is a bit heartier but it's just as fast and equally as satisfying. 

Here's the recipe:

Kale & Pasta Soup

-3 cartons of low-sodium vegetable stock
-1 small bunch of kale, chopped
-3/4 of a can of chick peas, rinsed
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-2 celery stalks, chopped
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-1-2 T. olive oil
-1 cup of pasta
-1-2 bay leaves
-salt and pepper to taste

Sauté carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil until slightly soft.  Add stock, bay leaves and bring to boil.  Once boiling, bring back down to a simmer and add chick peas and kale once the veggies are soft.  Add pasta that you've cooked separately.  Serve with crusty french bread/rolls.  Serves 4-6

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Soba Noodle Soup

At long last, I'm posting a recipe for my ridiculously easy soba noodle soup.  

Ridiculously Easy Soba Noodle Soup

-3 containers of vegetable stock (the large size)
-a handful of soba noodles (no exact measurement, it's just how you like it)
-1 cup of shelled edamamme
-2 carrots, peeled and diced
-2 celery stalks, diced
-1/2 onion
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 T. minced fresh ginger
-2 T. olive oil
-1-2 bay leaves
-salt and pepper to taste

Sauté diced vegetables, garlic and fresh ginger with olive oil.  Once softened, add vegetable stock.  I usually add one carton of low-sodium stock.  Let boil and then bring to simmer until vegetables are softened.  Add soba noodles and edamamme (I buy them frozen and toss them in the pot to defrost).  Done!  Makes about 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Garden of Plenty

Even in the middle of winter, the vegetables are ready for picking in Los Angeles.

Here are some photos from the vegetable garden in the South Coast Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes, CA.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Garden Stroll

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Blend of Seasons

Last weekend I went to the South Coast Botanical Garden and was surprised to see it in full bloom.  It was a bit fantastical because I saw everything from flowering trees, poinsettias, and a few colored leaves that had yet to fall from otherwise barren branches.  Here are a few photos...I'll post more over the weekend. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Planning Ahead

Here's what I'll be cooking this weekend.  Of course not all of it in one recipe but I plan to experiment with millet, soba noodles and red lentils.  Will be posting recipes next week.  In the meantime, I'll be posting some new photos from the South Coast Botanical Garden.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Recipes I Made Up And Liked

So my boyfriend Wendel (who is quite possibly the cutest guy on the planet) greatly appreciates my cooking - even when I try to make stuff up.  After pouring through piles of Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Donna Hay magazines over the years, I think I've gotten pretty darn good at it.

Well, he actually bought me a cool notebook for when I feel like playing "mad scientist" in the kitchen. 

So this weekend I made a delicious flatbread pizza.  And might I add, it was much healthier and tastier than Domino's or Pizza Hut.

-1 or 2 rectangles of Trader Joe's flatbread or lavash bread (plenty of grocery stores now stock this.  I just like their brand).
-2 sliced plum tomatoes
-Trader Joe's meatless meatballs
-Shredded mozzarella cheese
-Olive oil
-Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place 1 or 2 rectangles on large cookie sheet (depending on level of hunger).  Drizzle with olive oil.  Slice up tomatoes and place on top of flatbread.  Rinse arugula, pat dry and add to bread.  Garnish with cheese - I didn't measure it.  Just eyeballed how much I wanted.  Slice meatballs and place on top of bread.  These typically require 10 minutes of baking time at 375 degrees and if they're too difficult to chop when frozen, defrost them for a couple minutes before placing on flatbread.  Garnish with salt and pepper.  Bake in middle rack of oven for about 10-12 minutes.  Serve by itself or with a side of mixed greens. 

If you're feeling fancy, I sometimes serve the flatbread with a little bowl of tomato sauce on the side.  That way you can either drizzle it over the bread or rip off a slice and dunk it in the bowl.  Both methods work perfectly fine.  :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Veg Out

Having a 9-6ish job (not factoring in LA commute time) leaves me with little time for cooking extravagant dishes on the weekdays.  But I do believe in cooking healthy, eating seasonally and limiting the amount of processed food.  I don't think dishes need to be overly complicated to taste good.  All you really need are fresh ingredients, good olive oil, your favorite kosher/sea salt (I prefer Maldons) and cracked pepper. 

And there you have it, I just gave you the recipe for roasted brussel sprouts.  If you want to dress them up a bit more, I sometimes toss them in a little aged balsamic vinegar or a drizzle of maple syrup.  Roasted them on a lightly-sprayed sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.