What To Wear

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It’s Spring in most cities, but in San Francisco there’s still a chill in the air.  We call it “Fake-out February” for a reason.  Feb was gorgeous.  This happenes every year, you’d think we’d know better by now… everyone gets excited when the sun comes out in February and starts shopping for summer dresses, lightening their hair and painting their toes.  Well, that sun is hiding behind the fog until September.  Out comes Fall wardrobe: sweaters, trench coats, black pants and dark textiles!

Maybe I’m just being dramatic because I just got back from Baja – sun surf sand and ceviche every day for 2 weeks!

Stay warm in style my San Franciscan friends..

Photo from Marjan

 

Heart Healthy Link Love

This weekend came across a few inspiring and helpful articles embracing healthy living.  Including mind, body, nutrition and spirituality.

Mind Body Green:  9 foods that heal your body and belong in every kitchen HERE

Bella Life:  4 steps to creating a life you want to live HERE

TIME Magazine: 100 ideas that changed the world HERE

Feasting At Home:  A guide to seasonal produce HERE

Warriors Playoffs! highlights HERE

Just Do It, video: When you need motivation to sweat HERE

Her Future: Change Yourself, Change the World HERE  as I ask myself, “should I hop on a plan to Baja and help feed the hungry?’

 Happy Mothers Day Weekend!  I swear we do more than eat and drink…

Picnic at China Camp with Comforts Chinese Chicken Salad.  Mom’s favorite dessert from the 60’s: Pineapple and marshmallow Whip (went to 4 stores before finding it…people really still eat this?).  Mindee (my cousin/best friend) and I take our moms (sister) to the Lyon Street Steps for Champagne and A16 for dinner.

 

Pairing Bites with Bubblies in Baja!

So excited to share with you a few appetizers (vegetarian and gluten free whootwhoot) that I paired with bubblies at the GastroVinos Food and Wine festival this weekend.

 

Pairing 4 appetizers with 4 bubblies from the Freixenet de Mexico vineyard.

First of all, absolutely LOVING the sun, sand, salty water, surfing, not shaving my legs in 2 weeks, dirty hair and chipped nail polish :) I could get used to this for sure! Never thought it’d be possible, but was actually sick of chips and salsa by day 3 and am seriously considering changing my name to Ceviche and Spice!

Anyway, to the important stuff… I was so honored when my best friend since childhood, Mac asked me to come down to Todos Santos as a guest chef and pair a few appetizers with a local Mexican winemaker of Guadalupe Valley at his annual wine festival. I fell in love with Baja wine 3 years ago when Mac and I toured the wine valley in Ensenada for a week, so being able to work with the wine makers and vineyard owners again has been such a wonderful experience.  I was faced with a few bumps in the road though: Pairing food with bubblies is something I’m not familiar with.  Had no idea what produce would be in season and local here.  I don’t speak spanish or know how to drive a manual car.  Where exactly would I be cooking food for 50 people.  However, to my pleasant surprise, it all turned out fine, people like the food, and I didn’t crash the rental car! phew

The Menu and Wine Pairings:

(all ingredients were grown locally)

Nona’s Sevilla Green Gazpacho with Lime and Cilantro Gremolata and Crispy Tortilla (pictured) with Gran Resserva

Mamma’s Italian Sun Marinated Tomatoes and Basil Bruschetta with Rose

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Avocado Creme on a Rice Round with Chardonnay

Stewed Strawberries and Vanilla Chia Pudding with Semi Seco

Representing Californian Cuisine and my passion for healthy, clean, vegetarian food in Mexico has been such a wonderful experience.  Thank you Mac!

 

A few other Baja highlights:

Sun and Sushi at El Ganzo Hotel 4th story infinity pool and a Beautiful Room

Party at El Ganzo Hotel…we were the only 3 gringos :)

 
Dinner at Flora Farms where everything in our drinks and on our plates were either grown, raised or produces on the farm!
La Bodega de Todos Santos Mac’s wine shop
 
 Friday Night’s dinner was delicious 4 course meal at Hotel California paired with wonderful artisan wines of Cava Maciel
from left to right: Wine makerchef and event creator (and mamma bear)

4 courses paired with wine.  second course was duck…cooked perfectly

 

Meatless Mondays

Coming at you from BAJA BABY where I’m practicing the importance of what it means to LIVE what you LOVE  (because when my best friend living here presented me with the opportunity to be a guest chef at his Food and Wine Festival, how in the world could I say no!?) So far lot’s of fish tacos, wine, surfing and dancing!

Cornmeal Crust Tarts with Baby Kale, Currants and Pine Nuts

Meatless Mondays: Every week I create a vegetarian seasonal menu of 5 dishes (also gluten free!) and deliver to 6 clients here in San Francisco.  Last week I had the pleasure of cooking for a few wonderful local bloggers too:  Vanilla Extract, vmac+cheese, Polish My Crown and  Sweet & Spark.

I have really been enjoying coming up with a new menu every week and having a chance to get creative with local, seasonal, Bay Area flavors.  If you are new to my site, let me quickly explain my cooking style and philosophy… I keep it simple, fresh, clean and  easy.  You don’t need a measuring cup, ingredients can easily be modified to fit your taste preferences and you most definitely do not need to allocate your entire evening to making dinner.  I use the most basic ingredients and techniques so even the newbie-chef will have supper on the table in no time.

Check out Last Week’s Menu.  Was so delicious and worth sharing a few of the recipes:

Balsamic Roasted Portobellos, Raw Kale, Lentil and Pecorino Salad (BEAUTIFUL PIC)

Preheat oven to 425.  Drizzle Portobello mushroom with balsamic and roast for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile combine chopped kale, cooked lentils and pecorino.  Dressing: Lemon, Balsamic, Honey, Mustard, Garlic, and Olive Oil. Slice the Portobello and top with the salad.

Half Avocado topped with Fava Bean, English Pea Feta and Mint Salad (PIC)

Shell the English Peas Fava beans and blanch for a couple minutes.  Drain and toss with lemon, olive oil, chopped mint and lots of lemon zest.  Gentle mix with crumbled feta.  Serve over an avocado

Asparagus and Ricotta Crustless Quiches (adapted from William Sonoma)

Preheat to 300 and grease muffin tins.  I used mini tins.  Chop and Sauté 1 onion and 1 bunch asparagus (minus tips) in coconut oil. In a bowl combine 1 cup Ricotta, 1/4 cup Goat Cheese and 2 eggs.  Mix in cooked Asparagus and Onions. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile sauté the remaining aspargus tips.  When the quiches are done cooking allow to cool in tins for a few minutes on a wire rack before inverting upside down onto a plater to cool completely. Serve with the sautéed asparagus tops.

Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Chèvre, Sautéed Baby Kale, Currants and Pine Nuts

Cornmeal Crust Recipe HERE (note: I made in a sheet pan and cut into squares)

Meanwhile, soak currants in a little boiling water.  Sauté chopped garlic and shallot in coconut oil.  Add the Baby kale in batches.  Add the water from the soaking currants to help steam the greens. mix in currants.  Spread chèvre over the crust is still warm. Top with the greens.  Wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel and toast the pine nuts.  Garnish the pizzas with the pine nuts.

ENJOY! All of these recipes are perfect examples of meals that can be easily modified that ingredients swapped to fit your likes/dislikes… donot make it too technical… you can’t go wrong here… BE CREATIVE!  Chard in place of Kale.  Almonds in place of pine nuts.  Parmesan in place of pecorino.

 

 

Coming at you from Baja – live what you love!

Destinations, Words 1 Comment

 

 
Living Deliciously Mantra:
Live Life Doing What You Love
Life is too short to not love what you do… and everything in your life.
Love the people in your life.  Love your authentic self.  Love the food that nurtures your soul.  Love your body.  Love your higher being.  Love your freedom to choose.  Love your capabilities.  Love your imperfections. Love your hobbies.  Love the little things that make you happy.
What I love? I live for travel, adventure, being the foreigner, getting lost and making memories with the people I love.  Plus food & wine, of course.
These next 2 weeks will be full of my loves.
Let’s be real though.  Leaving SF for 2 weeks and “stepping away” (at a very exciting time in S&S’s life) has not been easy for me.  Allowing myself to “clock-out”  is something I’ve always struggled with.  I mean, I can’t even enjoy a movie at home without painting my nails, organizing the living room bookshelf, puttering and responding to a few emails (who wants a movie date with me? ha).
Relaxing has never been a forte of mine.
I think this is calling for another mantra…
Balance
Allowing work and play to live together, happily and without resentment and anxiety for one another.
 
These next couple of weeks will be a challenge for sure..
I see this as a perfect opportunity to practice balance.
Countless times I’ve chosen to stay home on a Saturday to create seasonal menus rather than join my friends for a night out.   Or write content, proposals and plan events on a Sunday instead of watching the Super Bowl.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I’m passionate about S&S and I’m so grateful to have found a career that brings me so much enjoyment and pleasure.
What’s more important in life?  Creating memories with friends on a Saturday night?  Or creating menus for an event on a Saturday night?
Itinerary: Guest Chef at Gastro Vino Wine Festival.  Pt on by my dear friend (since middle school) Mac.
Surf Camp with Mario for 3 days
Dinner and Dancing at Flora Farms
A night at Hotel el Ganzo 
In my carry on: grapefruit, chia seeds, reads, eye mask :)
 

Meatless Mondays

{Roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, tahini dressing and toasted walnuts.  Sweet potato black bean southwest burger.  Roasted Brussels French lentils feta salad.  Spaghetti squash roasted broccoli rabe and almond basil pesto}

Exciting biz news… In March I started cooking vegetarian and gluten free meals for a client here in SF.  I am really enjoying creating and cooking 5 new seasonal recipes every week!  And more so, this is the way I eat too (plant based gluten free) so cooking this type of food is much more enjoyable for me than meaty, saucy, porky, fatty heavy food.  You know that heavy slush feeling you get after eating pasta and burgers?  Well with my cooking, you’re left feeling energized and perfectly satisfied :)

A few of my favorite vegetarian bloggers are Kimberly Snyder, My New Roots and Whole Living.

{sweet potato and lentil stew.  Japanese Salad with carrot ginger dressing.  Shaved Brussels salad, blood orange pomegranate and pistachio citrus dressing. Cornmeal crust pizza, herb chèvre and roasted zucchini}

Beginning in June I will be expanding (commercial kitchen whootwhoot) and offering my Weekly Veg/Gluten Free menu to the public.  Shoot me an email if you want to get on the weekly mailing list…and get ready to have health delivered to your door

 

 

 

Living Deliciously

Spring has Sprung yeah!  Lunch is enjoyed al fresco… after a fun party at the Academy of Sciences, Big Gala last night

 and up at 5am to teach 4 spin/trx classes at Cardio-Tone

Today’s Living Deliciously Tip:

balance late night dancing and boozing with early morning exercising and veg-ing!

check list:

big salad with local eggs – SPF 45 – Anthropologie blanket – bowl dad made 50 years ago in wood shop class- basket I picked up in the South of France – getting inspirations for next week’s veg menu – lemon water – sun hat

Currently listening to on repeat Mayer Hawthorne, Designer Drug

 

 

3 Days of Satisfying Smoothies!

Benefits of Juicing: More energy (because body isn’t wasting energy digesting heavy foods).  Jump start metabolism.  Sleep Better. Detox your system from toxins and heavy processed foods.   These are NOT simply fruit and veggie smoothies… I ADD almond butter, chia seeds, acai berry, green tea, coconut milk and hemp protein powder (plant based full protein) for extra protein, omegas, vitamins and minerals.

ONCE A MONTH I offer a 3 Day Delicious Smoothie Cleanse.  Shoot me an email to find out more on this month’s dates and menu!

Not to worry, you are getting plenty of calories, enough to still workout and stay active.  You won’t even feel hungry or deprived at all.  Some of my clients don’t even finish their  juices in the day.  You will learn to start paying more attention and listening to your body.  Are you really hungry?  Or are you only eating because you are bored and the food is there or because other people around you are eating?

Need more reasons why juicing is so great?  Check out Kimberly Snyder HERE… I agree with almost everything she has to say…

A DAY IN JUICE 

 

Grapefruit, Carrot and Ginger – Breakfast (have with chia seeds- citrus needs fat to be absorbed by body)

Banana, Almond Butter and Spinach – Post Workout (potassium, healthy fats, salt and protein)

Berry Antioxidant – Lunch (with green tea and Acia berry)

Strawberry Coconut –  Afternoon Pick Me-Up (powered with electrolytes to keep you energized)

Avocado Pear with Lime and Mint – Happy Hour (tastes like a cocktail yum)

Green Goddess –  (spinach, romaine, green apple, cucumber, parsley, lemon. Need the C from lemons to absorb plant based iron in the greens)

I like this Hemp Protein brand and these Chia Seeds are great for on the run.

 

 

Seafood, Cake, Cocktails, Donations and Goats…

What is… My Birthday Weekend Of Course!

How the weekend went down…

Late Lunch at Swan Oyster Depot with a really great guy.  Swan  is a famous sea food spot in SF (10 min walk from my place)… it’s been around for years and still family run.  The guys running it grew up in SF and know my family so going there is a party in and of itself.  Let’s just say 2 hours later we’re the last people there and were taking birthday shots of fernet (bad idea).

I hustle home by 6, as friends are arriving at 8, and whipped up an amazing Chocolate Fallen Cake with Coconut Whip Cream and Fresh Toasted Coconut sprinkled on top.  Gluten free, obviously.  Recipe  from Bon Appetit 

My girls show up 10min to 8 with all the beautiful cocktail fixings, liquor, fresh fruit and herbs.  Party Tips: This is a great way to serve drinks and make a party more fun and interactive.  Your quests will enjoy getting to experiment with creating delicious concoctions too.

I requested one thing from people arriving and that was to bring something for the homeless.  Just blocks from my apartment is an area of town where people sleep on the streets and go all day hungry – breaks my heart that this is happening so close to home.  That’s a whole other story for another time.  Anyway, about 20 friends showed up with donations for the needy…so special.  Thanks, guys.

Saturday morning my brother took me to brunch.  Which was really tacos and margaritas at 10am at Nicks Tacos.  I love this place and during the day – great spot to watch a game.  Avoid after  6pm, as the place fills up the jocks and drunken obnoxiousness.

Tacos were followed by a 4 hour late lunch basking in the sun where the rosè  flows like wine and beautiful women flock like the salmon of Capistrano.  I’m talking about a little place called Delfina on Fillmore.  Thinking I could keep up with my friend (a giant athletic dude) we continue our adventure to Umami (the duck, oh the duck, heaven), Herry’s Bar (nasty), Hi-Lo Club (great spot for fancy cocktails), Big Foot (nasty) and ended at Bob’s Donuts (where I enjoyed  TWO apple fritters).  Best night ever, thanks Sito!

Sunday Birthday Picnic at the ocean, off Highway 1

My only birthday wish was to go to a goat farm, pet the goats and then eat their cheese.  So come Sunday my mom, aunt and Mindee (cousin, slash best friend) took me to Pescadero’s  Harley Goat Farm, about an hour south of SF, right off highway 1.  The drive alone is worth the trip.  We stop at a beach along the way to have lunch.  Mindee out did herself (as usual) and made a beautiful spread with beautiful birthday decorations.  Picnic Tips:  Pack salads in mason jars, use cloth, silverware and glass as it is more eco and wont blow away, decorate with colorful straws.  Lunch was followed by Harley Goat Farm.  Yes, I bought a blue plaid shirt just for the occasion :)

Aunt Izzy Loving the baby goat. Momma goat stuck in the fence.  Making cheese. My momma bear getting comfortable with the goats

 
 
 

Event: Help empower young girls by pampering yourself!

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This Thursday the 17th from 6-9  Social Beauty Co. will be hosting a night of spa services, appetizers (by ME), cocktails and all sorts of of fabulous free gifts!

The event is in support of Reclaim Childhood, a fabulous non profit (run by one of my dearest friends KK) that helps bring the power of sport and play to young girls and women in the middle east.

Free Fabulous Gifts:

Sarah Jenks (she’ll rock your bod)

Melanie Kluger (style session)

Margaret Elizabeth (stunning jewels)

Tulita Health (healthy and body)

Claudine Dagit (cooking lesson)

I hope you can join the Party!

 

Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Mint Chips (flourless)

oh yeah baby… easy peasy, chocolate, few ingredients, mint… whipped these bad boys up in 30 minutes before heading to our family’s Christmas Eve party.  Oooooey gooooey fudgey goodness.  They crinkly down a bit when cooled, but I promise you, they taste much better than they look.

Directions:

Combine and mix well 2 1/4 cups Confectioners Sugar, 1/4 t salt, 1 cup Cocoa Powder, 3 Large Egg Whites, 2 t Vanilla Extract.  1 cup Peppermint Chips

Preheat the over to 350

After mixing the ingredients well, let it rest for a bit.  I found the second batch turned out better when they waited for the first batch bake.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 1.5 inch circles about 1 inch apart, sprinkle with peppermint bark chips.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool completely on the pan

NOTE:  when I do not use peppermint I add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the dry ingredients.  This brings out the chocolate flavor.

 

Bourbon Bread Pudding

What else to do with Cinnamon Bread (gluten free), Bourbon, Eggs and Heavy cream on hand than make BREAD PUDDING!?

I completely winged the recipe and I gotta say it tasted great, however I made the mistake of   baking them in mini bundt pans.  They did not come out well… I should have known that.  Next time I’ll bake in a casserole dish.

Ingredients:

Combine 4 Eggs, 1.5 cups Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup Raw Sugar, 1/4 cup Bourbon, 1 T Vanilla. Mix in 4 cups Cinnamon Bread cut into cubes (I used gluten free)

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

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Wishing everyone a wonderful day with their family, friends and loved ones!

Christmas Eve was spent with relatives over a 5 course dinner (where every course we orbited around the grandparents like they were the sun) and a 2 hour session of White Santa… SO FUN!

White Santa gets pretty intense

 My brother and cousin….

Christmas morning…

Never too old for a remote controlled helicopters

…. 10 hours later, yes, they’re still at it