As I was browsing one of my favorite blogs yesterday, Elements of Style, I kept reading something about posts to pinterest and I had no idea what that meant.  I’d like to think I’m pretty up to date on all the latest social media sites, as it is part of my job, but this one slipped by me!  I went to the site: www.pinterest.com and set up an account right away.  The concept is amazing!  It allows you to “pin” your favorite images and save them to your customized boards.  I lost hours today going through other people’s pins and repinning them to my boards – one on food, one on interior design and one on fashion.  There are a ton of different categories you can pursue – everything from architecture and cars to sports and weddings.  It’s a great way to organize your favorites from around the web – or follow other people who seem to be really good at finding the good stuff.  Trust me – it’s worth checking out.  If you’re looking for some inspiration for recipes, table settings or holiday entertaining – this is a great place to start – and you can follow me! Follow Me on Pinterest


Pefect Fall Menu

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love the changing leaves, the cool, crisp air, the smell of fireplaces and the sound of football (somewhere in the background).  But the best part about the fall is the food!  Pumpkins and squash and apples and cinnamon – all are fresh and in abundance – and they just smell so good when you cook with them!   Now’s the perfect time to start experimenting with some of these ingredients, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a new recipe for Thanksgiving this year.  So, why not invite a few friends over for the Pefect Fall Dinner and enjoy the best season of the year.

I scoured the web to come up with the Perfect Fall Dinner menu.   Enjoy and send me your favorite fall menus! 


Apple Pear and Walnut Salad 

     source: Sunny Anderson on the Food Network

Side Dish

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash (skip the risotto if you’re short on time)

     source: NY Times

Main Dish

Boneless Pork Chops with Apple Chutney (you can easily switch out boneless chicken breasts if you prefer….i do!)

     source: Martha Stewart


Figs with Orange and Ginger

     source: My Recipes


Hi my friends!  It’s been a long time. Almost a year since my last post. But I’m feeling reinvigorated to start blogging again! Somewhere between moving to the west coast, starting a new job, and having a husband traveling non-stop, I stopped cooking fun, inventive meals. It’s just not as much fun to cook for one! I’ve had many nights of going to yoga class and coming home to eat cereal/ salads for dinner since they don’t require any pots and pans 🙂  But I miss cooking those wonderfully delicious and healthy meals.
Now that I’m back, I’m going to approach this whole blogging thing a little differently. As opposed to always coming up with my own unique recipes, I want to write about some of the best recipes, tools and culinary lessons that inspire me in the kitchen. This week’s inspiration: Kale!
Not only is Kale one of the most nutritious vegetables (read more here about the health benefits), but when prepared right, it’s almost addicting. Really! Tip: remove the stems – always!   Hopefully that’s not where all the good vitamins are, but I find them tough and a little bitter.   Here are 3 of my favorite Kale recipes.

Orecchiette with Kale

I found this recipe in cooking light and it looked so good, I had to give it a try.  When I made this recipe, it was the first time I ever bought kale.  I skipped on the bacon and used cherry tomatoes instead of sun dried.  Both ways I’m sure are delicious.

Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Kale Chips:

These actually taste like potato chips.  And are definitely addicting.  If you’re serving them at a party, buy an extra head of kale – they will get eaten.   Have fun with the spices and come up with some unique flavors.  Just be careful not to cook too long – they can get a burnt taste.

Picture of Smoky Kale Chips Recipe

Kale Salad

The dressing on this reminds me of a caesar salad – expect it’s better for you!  I even like to add a little Dijon mustard to give it a thicker consistency. Since I discovered this recipe about 3 weeks ago, I’ve been making it at least twice a week.   And it’s from one of my favorite blogs – 101 cookbooks.   Love it!

Raw Kale Salad Recipe

Would you believe Southern California is experiencing the worst rain storm system in over 10 years?  Since we’ve moved here, there have been a handful of really beautiful days, but for the most part its either been really cloudy or rainy!  But sometimes it is nice to have an excuse to watch movies and stay in bed all day.  Because it’s been cold and rainy all weekend, I wanted to make something that would be warm and comforting.  My mom has been making this cornbread casserole for as long as I can remember and everyone always loves it!  I do love the cornbread part, but she makes hers with ground beef, which I don’t eat.  So I decided to switch it up tonight and try it with roasted chicken.  I’m pairing it with my favorite chicken toritilla soup – that sounds like the perfect comfort food combination to me.


  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup cooking oil
  • 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)
  • 1 can (10 oz) cream style corn
  • 1 small can Mexican corn
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups sharp shreaded cheese
  • 2 or 3 Jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • Shredded roasted chicken (I just bought a pre-made chicken and shredded the white meat.  If you want to try it with ground beef, use 1 lb.)


1)  Mix corn meal through next 7 ingredients (corn meal through salt).
2)  In a large greased dish, pour half of the corn meal mixture in the dish. Add chicken, layer the onions, red pepper, jalapeno peppers, and 3/4 of the cheese. Finish with the rest of the corn meal mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
3)  Bake for 1 hour at 350°

One of the first restaurants Joe and I went to when we moved here to California was a Thai restaurant in Corona del Mar called Bamboo Bistro.  I had the most amazing basil chicken dish infused with garlic and lemon!  I do love basil, but must admit I was a little worried the basil would be overpowering.  It wasn’t.  The dish was so good, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  Well, tonight I decided to come up with my own version of the Basil Lemon Chicken, and while you won’t find this on a typical Thai menu, it is really incredible.  Not only is it packed with the wonderful basil, lemon, and garlic flavors, it was quick and easy and required very few ingredients.  A great dish when you come home from work and don’t know what to make! 



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (diced)

1/2 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small zucchinis

1 bunch basil, loosely torn

1 lemon

2 Tbs Soy Sauce (approx)

2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar (approx) – I was supposed to use rice wine vinegar, but grabbed the wrong bottle – didn’t realize til I was done cooking! 

Salt/ Pepper to taste

Olive Oil for cooking


1.  Sautee onion and garlic with pinch of salt and pepper until opaque over med-high heat.  About 3-4 minutes.

2.  Add diced chicken and sautee on med-high heat until browned on both sides – about 5 minutes .  Once browned add zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.

3.  Make sauce using juice from 1 lemon, soy sauce, and white wine vinegar.  Start with 1 Tbs each and then adjust to taste.  Whisk and add to pan along with bunch of basil. 

4.  Cook for a few more minutes on low heat.  Taste chicken/ zucchini and make sure there’s enough sauce.  I ended up adding a few more dashes of vinegar and soy.

5.  Serve along with brown rice and Enjoy!

Guess what?!  We’ve relocated to Southern California, which explains the lack of posts the past two months.  We’re finally getting settled here – it took us awhile to find a place we liked and could afford 🙂  I got a job offer with Oakley (yes, the sunglass company) and Joe and I decided to take the plunge and move.  So far we love it here!  I did miss the fall in Connecticut, but not enough to go through another winter.    We moved to Corona del Mar and are about a block from the beach – doesn’t get any better.  One of my favorite parts about living here is I can walk to a really great farmers market EVERY Saturday ALL year long.  How awesome is that?!  And the produce at the grocery stores here is way better than anywhere else I’ve lived.

So, Joe’s traveling again – he’s in China for a month.  When he’s gone I usually don’t cook big meals.  It’s not as much fun to cook for one!  I have very little in my fridge right now, and really wasn’t expecting this meal to be very good – I’m not sure I’ve ever made stuffed portabella mushrooms before.  Lucky me, I didn’t have to revert to cereal because this meal was awesome.  I’ll probably make it again tomorrow for dinner.  If you’re ever having lunch for your girlfriends – this would be a perfect choice.  Hearty, but not too filling.



Baby portabella mushrooms (as many as you’d like; 2-3 pp)

Mixed Romaine

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Reduced fat feta cheese

Chopped sundried tomatoes

Extra virgin olive oil (for dressing and cooking)

White Balsamic Vinegar

Dijon Mustard

Salt/ Pepper to taste


1)  Make the dressing.  Combine a squeeze of dijon, white balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt pepper.  Whisk together then mix in olive oil.  I was making this for one, but usually when I make salad dressing I use a 1/3, 2/3 ratio of vinegar to oil.

2)  Clean the mushrooms. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

3)  Combine mozzarella, feta, and sundried tomatoes (herbs would be great addition, but didn’t have any on hand).  Drizzle a little of the dressing in each mushroom then fill with the cheese mixture.  Reserve the rest of the dressing to toss with the mixed romaine.


4)  Preheat broiler to Hi.  Heat olive oil in skillet and add mushrooms to hot pan.  Sautee for 2 minutes.  Add to oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese starts to melt.


5)  To serve, you can either pre-slice the mushrooms or keep the whole.  For presentation purposes, it looks better to keep them whole!

I love the size of the baby portabella mushrooms, and personally I like the texture better than the regular kind.  Hope you like them as much as I did!  ENJOY!


How delicious do these sound?  I have to admit, I did not come up with this one on my own – I found it through Coastal Living.  Click here for their recipe.  I made a few tweaks to make it a little healthier, and I paired them with my corn, lima bean, and potato salad recipe.  To my surprise, they went really well together!  What I loved about this recipe is the way they were cooked – you just briefly toss them to coat in a wonderful combination of butter, wine, and thyme, and then you bake them for 10 minutes.  Sometimes it can be hard to get the perfect golden crust on the scallops, but finishing them in the oven makes it really easy.


  • 2  Tbs. margarine
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh thyme
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large sea scallops (4 per person)
  • 1/4  cup  panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4  cup  finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil


1) Preheat oven to375.

2)  Melt margarine in hot pan.  Stir in wine, thyme, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. 

3)  Add scallops, turning to coat. Remove from heat.

4)  Combine panko and hazelnuts with a drizzle of olive oil so they mixture comes together.  Sprinkle mixture over the scallops.

5)  Bake for 11 minutes and serve with a garnish of thyme.

This would also be great over a bed of angel hair pasta or sauteed spinach. 

With Labor Day right around the corner, summer is soon coming to a close!  But what better way to end the summer with some delicious new ways of eating sweet corn?  It’s easy to find right now, so get it while you can.  I came up with the combination for this recipe because they are three of my husband’s favorite foods – corn (he’s from Indiana), lima beans, and potatoes.  This is a really an incredible dish, and I paired it with some delicious scallops.  Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow – they taste great with this fresh, summer salad.  I thought about adding black beans, feta, and basil at different points along the way, but it tasted so good, I didn’t want to mess it up.  They could be worth a try though.


2 ears of corn – de-cobbed (is that a word?!)

1/2 cup lima beans (I used frozen and thawed them out)

Fingerling Potatoes – diced into 1 in. pieces (as many as you’d like)

1 Leek – thinly sliced and soaked in water

1 clove garlic minced

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2-3 Tbs. Olive Oil (for dressing)

Salt/ Pepper to taste



1)  Bring saute pan to medium/ high heat.  Add 1-2 tbs. olive oil and saute the garlic and diced potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Salt/ Pepper to taste.

2)  Add the lima beans, corn, and leeks to the mixture.  Add a little more salt/ pepper – it’s always good to season as you cook so you can adjust along the way.  You might also need to add a little more olive oil if you need more moisture.

3)  Meanwhile, prepare the dijon vinaigrette.  Whisk the Dijon and the lemon juice, then slowly add the olive oil until it emulsifies.  I try not to add too much olive oil, since there’s already some in the veggies.

4)  After the potatoes, beans, and corn have cooked for 10-15 minutes, remove from heat and add the Dijon vinaigrette.  Toss and enjoy!

To see the final dish come together – check out my scallops later this week!

Lemon Lime Green Beans

One of my favorite bloggers, Heidi Swanson from 101 cookbooks, published this recipe in her new cookbook Super Natural Cooking. All of her recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients and are packed with flavor. These green beans are no exception. They are super simple to make – so simple I almost passed over this recipe thinking they might be too boring. So glad I didn’t! The zest from the lemon and the lime adds a nice punch of citrus flavor while bringing out the freshness of the green beans. I hope you like them as much as I do!

3/4 lb green beans – ends removed
2-3 green onions, chopped (Heidi calls for chives, but I didn’t have any on hand) 
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. water
1 zested lemon
1 zested lime
sea salt/ pepper to taste


1.  After trimming the green beans, chop them on a diagonal cut.  They should be about a 1/2 inch.

2.  Add the green beans to a hot pan and coat with the olive oil.  Add the water.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and add zest, green onions, and salt/ pepper to taste

There’s nothing I love more about Saturday mornings than to be able to sleep in, work out and eat a good breakfast.  It’s such a nice way to start the weekend feeling refreshed and healthy.  One of my favorite Saturday morning breakfasts is a fruit smoothie because I rarely take the time during the week to break out the blender.  Now, there are a million different ways you can make a fruit smoothie by changing the fruits, consistency, liquid (milk vs. juice), and other add ons (i love honey!).  So what’s the perfect combination??  Well, you’re reading the right post, because I’ve figured out my favorite way to make healthy, fruit smoothies.


1 1/2 cups frozen fruit – any combination.  here’s my usual:

  • 1/2 raspberries
  • 1/2 blueberries
  • 1/2 strawberries

1 1/2 cups skim milk

6 oz. plain or vanilla greek yogurt

A good squirt or two of honey

Protein Powder for the guys – I  don’t usually add.  The greek yogurt adds enough protein for me.


Blend until smooth!  Couldn’t be easier.

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