Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays!

So I am a couple days late with this post... The last two days have been a fury of cooking and present wrapping, present opening, eating, and general good times having, pair all of that with the 75 degree weather we've had in San Clemente plus the fact that my husband is home from work for the next two weeks... well, I'll back on January 2nd ready to start a new year, and with a few healthy recipes.
Until then, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats || Tastes so Good Blog
Rice Krispie treats are the perfect thing to make if you don't have a lot of time or interest to get into a baking project but you really need (want?) something sweet. These are easy to make and basically fool proof. Note: This mixture is STICKY and will get on everything and anything if you let it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog || Tastes so Good Blog
I didn't grow up drinking eggnog, so it's never been on my list of favorite drinks. Its usually too thick, too sweet and cloying, and when spiked, its almost always too strong, ( to those that know me, I realize how confusing that last statement must be.) Last year, we decided we'd give eggnog a try, so the afternoon of Christmas Eve I drove to the store bought rum and walked over the dairy aisle only to find that all of the eggnog was sold out. Fail. We had Mai Tais that night. This year, the urge to drink the nog hit us earlier and two great things happened.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thai Chicken Pizza

First things first, my apologies for the terrible photo of this amazing little pizza, while your eyes may want to high five me, in the face. With a chair.  your taste buds will be apologizing. This Thai chicken pizza is ridiculously delicious and easy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Books About Food

When I'm not cooking, eating or drinking, I like to read things that trick my tired brain into thinking I'm cooking, eating and drinking. These food books aren't full of recipes in the traditional sense but I promise you, you'll learn as much (maybe more?) from these than any cookbook.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chicken and Vegetable Pasta

Chicken and Vegetable Pasta | Tastes so Good Blog
Last Monday seemed like the coldest day we've had in Southern California in a long time. I had big plans to go out to the park, the grocery store and a few Christmas related errands but given temperature there was no chance I would be leaving the warmth of our house. Lunch time came around, and a hungry and impatient baby doesn't  leave room for preparing dishes that take too long to throw together. This pasta dish is perfect because you can throw in anything you have in your fridge like: broccoli (or broccolini in our case) zucchini, squash, bell peppers, (unfortunately, I was out of bell peppers.) I often will make this dish without any chicken, but if you have it why not add it?!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Weekend!

I'm happy to be back after my laptop died on Monday. I am going to sign off early this week to prepare for a little holiday party we'll be attending on Saturday, I plan to wear this, some Christmas shopping (and wrapping), lounging in front of the fire with a cocktail, and (hopefully) a little holiday photo shoot for Emma. And remember that redesign I talked about earlier this week? Turns out it's going live over the weekend, yay! I'm so excited to share what Sara has done for this little blog. Until Monday friends, have a great weekend!

*photo via

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Unfortunately, my computer fizzled out yesterday. Posting from my phone or iPad really won't cut it, I promise to be back ASAP!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quick: A Note

Happy Monday! It's in the 30's!!! this morning  and I'm quickly working through my first cup of coffee. We put up our tree on Friday night, and then decorated it on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, decorating with a nearly one and a half year old leaves much to be desired.. We went to my in-laws' new house here in town on Saturday and I made a pretty tasty dinner, but after two mai tais I forgot to take photos... groan. But, I'll be making it again later this week, (It was that good) so the recipe and photos coming soon!

I've been thinking a lot about this fresh little blog, I am working with Sara on a little revamping and have realized that I want to change things up a little bit. I will be posting everyday instead of the M,W,F scheduled I have been sticking to. I also plan to roll out a new weekly series or two. There are a lot of ideas floating in my head that I am anxious and excited to execute... Back to brainstorming today.. See you tomorrow!

* graphic by Sara Mueller for Society 6, buy it here

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Weekend!

I've (almost) made it through my first week home with Emma or 'retirement' as my husband calls it. It has been both tiring but most importantly fun, with trips to the park, lots of playing, and numerous on demand readings of the book, Opposites. This weekend I'm looking forward to going out to get our Christmas tree, (which reminds me, does anyone have any advice for keeping a 16 month old from ripping ornaments off?!) We'll also be decking our house in what might be an obnoxious amount of decorations. We're expecting rain tomorrow, with temperatures in the 50's through the early part of next week, so we'll be hanging out in front of the fire with a cocktail and filling our bellies with something warm and delicious, (yet to be decided, but I'll be sure to share next week!) Until then, something to think about:

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."    - Nelson Mandela

*Image by Erica George Dines for Atlanta Home and Lifestyle

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pasta: Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage

I'm going to be honest, when I first made this it just wasn't doing it for me... it was very 'one note.' It was missing something, something to mellow out the sweetness of the butternut squash, the answer? Why, the answer to almost all of life's quandaries of course, bacon! The bacon not only balances the sweet with salt, it also gives it some crunchy texture. Another confession, until this, I had never cooked with sage, but after crisping it in the rendered fat from the aforementioned bacon... I will never-not cook with sage again!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Salad: Persimmon and Watercress

In case you missed my announcement on my birthday a few weeks ago, Friday was my last day at my job, (we were all in a food coma from the day before but if the market is open so are we.) As of today, I am a stay at home mom, yay! Unfortunately,  in my absence the last few weeks, (tying up loose ends at work) I missed posting some amazing Thanksgiving recipes... [sad face] but! today's recipe tastes so good (see what I did there!!) you'll want to make this tonight, tomorrow night, and every night this winter, (or until persimmons are out of season.) I added some toasted pepitas, (shelled pumpkin seeds) for added crunch and depth, you'll want to too... please, please, take my word for it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I quit my job.
(Responsibly, with notice of course!) 

Today is my 30th birthday.

I am happy (and incredibly lucky) to start a new decade of my life home with Emma, free to pursue my passions.

" For what it's worth: It's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find you're not, I hope you have the strength to start over again."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

image via

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Essentials: For the Table

My mother-in-law will be hosting thanksgiving this year, but I've offered to take over the decorating duties for her. This year it's all about a table set in neutrals to allow the food to take center stage.

1. Bendt Basket || 2. Gravy Boat with Saucer || 3. Owen Pillar Holder small & large|| 4. Portrait Black Platter  || 5. Nattie Everyday Glass || 6. Boos Large Carving Board || 7. Kelsey Linen Napkin || 8. Double Old Fashioned Glasses || 9. Lotus Platter || 10. Wood Place Card Holders || 11. Onyx Place Setting

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Am I Failing at Motherhood?

After reading this mom's confession, I was inspired to share a little something I think about more than food; my daughter, and my own guilt.

Three days after Emma was born, we took her to the doctor to have her jaundice checked out, her levels were back to normal, but we were faced with another problem, her weight had dropped by about 8%. My hormones, lack of sleep and the new found responsibility of the little peanut in my arms coupled with the nurse's lack of tact followed by her announcement that I would have to supplement with formula if she had lost any more weight at the weigh-in the next morning had me in tears in that doctor's office, I was certain my fears were right, I already couldn't take care of my baby. I felt guilty that my body was failing us. I woke up and fed Emma every one and a half hours that night. The next morning, when I placed her little naked body on the scale she had gained 5 ounces. I had won that battle, by the war with myself and my emotions was just beginning.

In the 15 months since that day in the doctor's office, I have said out loud the words: 'guilt', 'guilty', 'bad mom', 'worry' and 'failing' to myself, my husband, and just a couple of friends hundreds of times. It got so bad that a few months ago at the insistence of them all, I found a therapist I now see twice a month.

The spectrum of my guilt is wide; is the TV that we keep on in the evenings impacting her development, or it creating too much noise for her to handle? Is she eating too many cheerios? Are her meals balanced? Do I spend too much time cooking dinner, and not enough time with her when I get home? Should I have had that 2nd (or 3rd) glass of wine last night after she went to bed? (What if there had been an emergency and I was half a bottle past sober?) Emma doesn't have any little friends, how will she learn to play/share? She needs to be outside more, is she getting too much sun is she is outside?

The longest and most brutal fight with myself is over my work/life balance. I work full-time with a thirty minute commute each way. I leave my house by 7:00 am and return by 5:30 pm every weekday. I get home, pack Emma into the car and drive our nanny home (about 5 minutes away) then it's time to make dinner, eat, maybe 30 minutes of play time after dinner and then bath, book and bed for the little one. Feeding my family nutritious home cooked meals is very important to me, but is it a determent to Emma? I feel guilty that I'm spending so much of my time cooking and not focused solely on her.

We love our nanny Isabel, and she loves Emma and Emma adores her too. But this morning my heart was in my stomach when we walked out to greet Isabel in the kitchen, (We're lucky to have Isabel arrive about 45 minutes early each morning so that I can get ready for work.) Emma took one look at her and started shaking her head 'no' and turned on her heels, arms outstretched, morning had come too soon, and she still wanted mama. Her protests about being with Isabel lasted only a few seconds, and then she was back to her happy self in her wonderful nanny's arms, but I was so sad as I walked to our bedroom to get ready for the day. In an ideal world I would stay home with Emma, while still working from home a few hours each day so that I can help fulfill that need most of us have to eat and pay bills. Unfortunately, my current job requires that I be in the office. My husband and I have had many conversations about this over the last year and while he is supportive either way, I feel guilty about not pulling my weight financially. And to be honest, earning a paycheck is really gratifying, I like knowing that I can buy cute things for Emma or myself without having to worry about the impact it may have on our family budget. But one part of Erin Hill's essay has really stuck with me:

'The same script plays in my head every morning: 'It's just temporary. We just need to get through this week, this month, this summer, this school year',And then: "They wont wait for you. Their childhood is now and they are not getting what they need. You aren't giving them what they need. They need you, and you're not here."

I guess the point of this post is part venting and in part casting a line to see if there are any moms who have found the wok/life balance I am struggling with finding. How do you handle the stress of motherhood and work?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday Links

I'm back from our trip to the river in Parker, Arizona where my in-laws have a boat. We spent four days in the sun enjoying time away from our phones, email, social media, and with a few brief exceptions, TV. Suffice to say, we all had a blast. Every night a group of wild burros would make there way to the river shore where we were staying and they fearlessly ate from our hands, and perhaps even from my mouth... too much? Emma came home with her first ever cold (and fever, yikes!) so forgive me for bowing out early this week, taking care of my sick babe is priority number one. But, I'll be back Monday with ideas for Thanksgiving and maybe more birthday demands err suggestions. A few links to peruse until then...

I really like Sara's aesthetic and blog, and she's offering a blog design special for a limited time.

This hot chocolate looks delicious.

This latest trip has really reinforced that I need to a.) practice taking better photos of Emma and b.) invest in a good camera... my iPhone really isn't cutting it.

A timely lesson for keeping a well stocked wine fridge this season.

Fun flats for staying comfortable during holiday hosting duties.

And, lastly, a friendly reminder that now is the time to start forcing Paper Whites if you'd like blooms for Christmas.

Photo by me

Monday, November 4, 2013

On My List: Birthday Edition

My thirtieth birthday is later this month. Let this serve as notification, I would love everything ( a few things, somethings, one thing?) from this list. Everything is relatively affordable (a good thing with the holidays around the corner, and would be put to use immediately in my kitchen... Happy Shopping!)

1.) I love the subtle shape of these wine glasses. I drink wine just about every night, the probability that I will drop and break one of these glasses is 100% at about $4.00 each, an easy price point to replenish as necessary.

2.) I love these blanket stitch napkins, they're simple enough for weeknight dinners through the fall and winter.

3.) I have been eyeing these bottles for months. They're glass (no funny plastic taste or leaching into your water) with a silicone sleeve so they won't break,  This mint one will be mine.

4.) Dutch ovens are seriously the workhorse of the kitchen, I have larger ones but this 2qt dutch oven (In Flame, of course) would be perfect for making a little rice, quinoa or perhaps a little soup.

5.) This pocket sized collection of egg recipes by Ian Knauer (former Editor at Gourmet) Because, "Eggs are the superheroes of our refrigerators, just as essential at breakfast as they are at dessert."  This book is the first edition of the Short Stack Series that includes, Tomatoes and Strawberries with more on the way.

6.) What better way to ring in my thirtieth than with a glass of champagne?! I really love the idea of stemless for champagne, Especially when I'm indulging on a weekday or just because... A stemmed champagne glass feels almost too fancy?

7.) These three knives and maybe a serrated knife (for bread and tomatoes) are all you really need in a your kitchen.

8.) This gold serving spoon because, why not?

9.) marble board for all of the pastry dough that is sure to be rolled out this holiday season. And at a more affordable price that other boards I've seen!

10.) All Clad soup pot and ladle, perfect for making stock, or a big pot of the aforementioned soup, or for boiling pasta... again, the workhorse of the kitchen.

11.) These shimmery gold napkins. Please see no. 8 above.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Weekend!

We're on our way to Parker, AZ for a long weekend on the river. I'm excited for long boozy rides on the boat followed by lazy leisurely naps with Emma. We're meeting my in-laws and some family friends out there and each couple has been assigned a night to prepare dinner. We're grilling steaks which we'll serve with a quick olive oil/lemon vinaigrette drizzled over arugula and these potatoes.
For breakfast I want nothing more than biscuits and gravy from Badenoch's, a little place we dock our boat right up to. Throw in a bloodymary and my morning is set. Hope you have a good one!

image via

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mexi Soup (Sopa de Fideo)

I know I'm breaking food blogging rules by posting consecutively about soup, but I don't care. This soup is easy, warm and delicious. It seems like every Mexican grandmother has a variation of this recipe. Some add a can of El Pato a tomato and jalapeno puree while others choose to add garlic. My version is basic, I've been eating this since I was a little girl, then made with small shell pasta, but I now prefer fideo (cut vermicelli) because it's easier for Emma to eat. Either way it's delicious. (Both El Pato and fideo can be found at local grocers or online.)

note: The soup will thicken as it sits, I add a little water every time I reheat.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion roughly chopped
7oz cut fideo
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bullion I use the Knorr Swiss brand
Salt and pepper
Lime wedges

Heat olive oil over medium heat, in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, cook and stir until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the fideo and stir to coat all of the noodles in oil. Stir fideo until it browns, about 5 minutes. Carefully add water, crushed tomatoes, and the tablespoon of chicken bullion. Stir occasionally to prevent any of the fideo from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat add 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and partially cover. Simmer until the fideo is soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or pepper if necessary.  Ladle into bowls, squeeze a lime wedge or two into your soup and enjoy!

photo by me 
*remember to stir soup once you've squeezed lime into it prior to taking a photo to prevent the oil slick appearance. ack!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cold Weather Soup

Mondays are gym night for me, so I often shy away from cooking much more than a few chicken breasts to top a salad. Today is cold and dark out (we're expecting rain) so a big pot of warm silky soup would really hit the spot. Which reminds me, I've been eyeing these soup bowls and napkins for our table. Is there anything more comforting than a pot of soup simmering away on the stove? What other cold weather foods make you feel warm and toasty? A few more bone-warming soup ideas below.

The most perfect potato soup.

Camille's take on chicken tortilla soup.

I love lentils, especially this red lentil soup topped with olives and feta for a Mediterranean spin. 

I made this tomato soup a few days ago,topped with the Gruyere grilled cheese croutons It may be my favorite Ina recipe!

or a big pot of this chicken and barley soup.

image via Food and Wine