Tag Archives: Kitchen

baking project – apple cake

19 Jan

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( my sous chef )

As I mentioned in a previous post I thought maybe I would try my hand at baking with all this free time I have until the babe arrives in May. I figure I taught myself to cook (although, I still wouldn’t considering myself a master chef but at least I’m not afraid of the kitchen anymore) a few years ago when I started this blog, I may as well teach myself to bake too. As a working fit model I kept my consumption of baked goods to a minimum but as a pregnant lady I’m pretty open to them! So what better time to become a baker, right? This past weekend Brian was out-of-town for a bachelor party…in Hawaii. I know, I know…I felt terribly bad for him as well. Poor, dear. So with the house to myself and nothing but grey skies on Sunday morning I decided to tackle a recipe. I had plenty of recipes to choose from via my pinterest account. I seem to have an addiction to pinning sweet treats. I settled on an apple cake recipe because it seemed easy enough for my first attempt. I turned on a movie, The Time Travelers Wife,  to keep me company.  Have you ever seen it? Not sure if it was my raging hormones but I sobbed through most  of it. Such a sweet movie about love. I devoured the book when I read it many years ago and I think they did a beautiful job translating it to the screen. Anyway, back to the apple cake…

It was a very easy recipe- I didn’t get overwhelmed and freak out once while making it (that’s the true test) and it turned out quite good! It was a nice mix of cinnamon and apple flavors and it was incredibly moist- especially tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The only problem is my crust ended up a tad burnt. Maybe I didn’t grease the pan enough? Any ideas? Because the rest of it was cooked perfectly so I’m not sure what I should have done differently?

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Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
powdered sugar, to dust

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 x 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
-Melt the butter in the microwave and combine with the sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add vanilla.
-In a mixing bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until combined and smooth. The batter will be very thick, but that’s ok.
-Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Using a palette knife, spread to make an even surface and place apples in a single layer over the top. Gently press them into the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the top and carefully lever the surface. Scatter the rest of the apple slices over the batter and press them lightly into the surface.
-Bake for about 45–55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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let’s eat!

27 Jan

This post is dedicated to my love of eating out & my slight interest in cooking at home. Hey, at least I don’t hate being in the kitchen anymore.

LA EATS! 

During the week I am pretty dedicated to eating clean. I mostly eat protein & veggies at every meal (so boring I know but it comes with the territory of working as a fit model). But on the weekends I let myself go a bit (all about balance, right?) This past saturday that involved eating lunch with Brian at our local pizza joint, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, where we shared their chopped salad with pepperoni and salami & the sausage party pizza (fennel sausage / salumi & bacon 
 tomato sauce / fresh mozzarella / saba)- a glass of chardonnay for me and a beer for Brian. Can you say meat fest? OY. It was so yummy though and they have a beautiful outdoor patio to eat in. It didn’t hurt that it was also 80 degrees in LA this weekend,  making the patio the perfect choice for a late lunch.

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LET’S EAT AT HOME!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tried out a few new recipes at home- my top favorite being a halibut dish that I cooked in parchment paper. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this parchment situation sooner?? Hands down one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever tackled. You basically dump a bunch of fresh ingredients on the piece of parchment paper, wrap it up (kinda like a little present) and stick it in the oven where it steams itself- and VIOLA! you have dinner in 15 minutes. I picked halibut because salmon is pretty much the only fish I work with at home, so I thought I’d totally break all my kitchen rules and not only work with parchment paper but also with halibut. Breaking barriers people!

Artichoke-Tomato Halibut en Papillote (aka artichoke- tomato halibut in parchment paper)

Ingredients
2 (4 ounce) halibut fillets, boneless
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 lemon slices, ¼-inch thick
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed and drained
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place one piece of halibut on a 12×12 inch piece of parchment paper. Drizzle each side of fish with 2 teaspoons olive oil and top with 2 lemon slices. Arrange half of the artichokes, tomatoes, and basil on top of fish. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Repeat the process for the second piece of halibut.
Fold up parchment paper like a package, sealing in the ingredients. With the seam at the top, tuck the ends underneath. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes for a 1-inch thick piece of fish. Add 15 minutes of baking time for each additional inch of thickness.
Transfer to a plate and carefully open the package to release the steam before serving

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weekend

12 Jan

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This weekend was one of the most relaxing weekends I can remember in a long time. We pretty much did a whole lot of nothing for two days straight. The fact that it was grey and rainy in LA most of the weekend definitely helped. We stayed in Friday night with take-out food and watched the last few episodes of our new favorite show on Netflix “Marco Polo”. Have you seen it? It’s soooo good. This coming from a girl who isn’t normally a fan of historical television shows. We watched the entire first season in a few days- it’s safe to say that we are addicted.

Saturday we made an attempt to get out of the house and took a drive down to El Segundo to hit up a warehouse sale that Restoration Hardware was having. We are on a hunt for new lighting fixtures as well as counter stools for our kitchen island. Sadly, the sale was a total bust. They mostly had leather couches and canopy beds for sale- neither of which we are in need of. When we got home from our El Segundo adventure it was decided that we wouldn’t be leaving the house again, other than to pick up Thai food for dinner. We spent the afternoon doing stuff around the house…Brian researched how to build a desk for our office (a project that he will hopefully complete next weekend!) while I organized our kitchen cabinets and laundry room. I’m on a serious organizing kick at the moment. Maybe it’s because I’ve cut out sugar, gluten and alcohol for the month of January and need a distraction but I am an unstoppable organizing machine at the moment. Need anything organized at your house??? I’m available.

On Sunday we kept the weekend nesting theme going and spent the whole day in again. Well, other than a trip to the market to grab a few things I needed to tackle a chicken recipe for dinner that evening.  I decided it would be nice to cook dinner for Brian since I would be forcing him to sit through five hours of Golden Globe coverage.

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a friendly golden globe bet... I won.

a friendly golden globe bet… I won.

Every time I make him sit through an award show I think of the first time I made him watch the Golden Globes with me and recorded some of the things he said…

“Oh look it’s Brad and Angie! Yay!” said with total disdain

“If Ryan Gosling didn’t open his mouth I think I would like him much better”

“she’s hot”

“That’s a really stupid headband” said about Michelle William’s headband

“How many other boyfriends and husbands do you think there are in the world that are being forced to watch the Golden Globes? Id love to know the number- I bet it’s big”

“Did you finish your cookie?”

“Stupid show”

“That’s a horrible dress”

“Don’t worry I’ll take a nap in a few minutes and stop talking”

Me…”Really?”

Brian…”No”

“Like Steven Spielberg needed another award”

“He looks tan!”

“That’s her husband?!”

As he grabs the controller from me he says “If we have to watch this then it should at least be on HD”

“We are watching the A team at 8 o’clock”

me….”I didn’t know you wanted to see that”

Brian…”I don’t really…I just know you don’t want to see it”

Keeping with tradition I jotted down a few things Brian could be heard muttering during this years Golden Globe awards…

“She looks super pretty!” – regarding Naomi Watts

“Wait! They’re married????” – regarding Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber

“Yes and they have two kids.” – me

“I bet they have really attractive kids” said Brian thoughtfully

“Like he needed another way to make money.” – said with disgust in response to Ryan Seacrest wearing a suit made by his own fashion label

“He’s aged quite well.” – regarding Ethan Hawke

“My crush looks terrible.” said with shock in regards to Kate Mara

“I have no idea who he is.” – while shaking his head

“I mean, how can you not love her, right?” – regarding Emily Blunt

“You’re a woman without chardonnay, sugar or carbs…trust me I won’t take watching the Golden Globes away from you.” – said to me

“Jude law cheated on her???”

no words…just whistling…upon seeing Kate Hudson

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dinner club – moroccan food!

28 Oct

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The dinner club that we have with two other couples has been very neglected in the past few months. Originally it was supposed to be a once a month occurrence and a fun way to try a new restaurant. But between work, honeymoons & a baby the six of us have been busy and we went many many many many months without doing it. But we resurrected it!!

Instead of going out and trying a new restaurant, we decided to do a Moroccan themed pot luck dinner at our house. Why Moroccan? I don’t know…why not, right??

It was decided that the Glodney’s would take the main course, The Garahan’s would take the salad & The Rocciho’s would take the side dish & dessert, with each couple also agreeing to bring an alcoholic beverage. Good plan, huh? Brian and I settled on a Moroccan chicken dish and a Moroccan kefta Tagine with lemon and saffron butter sauce (aka fancy meatballs). Preparing these two dishes took all afternoon between the shopping and preparation but it was totally worth it because both turned out delicious. Also, I have said this before but I will say it again- I love cooking with my husband. It’s such a fun way to spend time with him. We both assume our roles in the kitchen- Brian the executive chef and me the always happy to help sous chef. Brian is just more confident at tackling big recipes than I am. Let’s be honest if I was alone I would have most likely panicked half way through the tagine dish and opened a bottle of chardonnay while dialing the nearest chinese restaurant.

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Where I do shine though is setting the dining table. I went with a fall theme (it’s my favorite time of year after all!!) complete with tiny pumpkins, flint corn & gourds, oh and two tiny gold camels, which were party favors from The Garahan’s wedding in May. If I told you how much joy setting the table brought me you would probably laugh. It’s the little things in life, right?

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The evening was perfection…oh and the food was AH-mazing. Rachel and PJ brought a beet (that was prepared with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic & red onion), arugula, goat cheese & pistachios salad with a reduced balsamic salad dressing that knocked my socks off. Such simple ingredients but so flavorful. Loni & Mike brought a Moroccan carrot and quinoa salad that was not only beautiful to look at but so damn tasty- I devoured my plate of it (recipe found here) and for dessert they brought Moroccan date truffles which were tiny pieces of heaven!

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Do any of you guys do a dinner club?? It’s such a fun way to get together with friends as well as EAT!

 

my husband, the pickle man

1 Oct

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I’ve always said that Brian would make a better housewife (man) than I would. Seriously, he’s just better at it most home related things then I am. If he is left alone at our house for the day you can pretty much guarantee you’re coming home to a few loads of laundry done (and folded meticulously. Although he never manages to put any of it away? ), our garden pruned and watered (as well as all the bounty he picked in a big bowl on the kitchen island), Frank walked and bathed & the house straightened.

He’s kinda the perfect husband.

He also happens to be really good in kitchen. He can confidently follow any recipe as well as free style it with random ingredients in the fridge. But he really shines once a year when he pickles. He takes pickling pretty seriously. It all begins in March when he dutifully goes to our local Home Depot and buys a few special pickling cucumber seedlings and then spends many months nurturing them in preparation for his big pickling day in early September.

Sadly, I missed shooting the big day because I was out. He gave me no notice!! I happened to call him to check in and he said he couldn’t talk because he was busy pickling his cucumbers…oh and green beans & okra. Both new additions to his process.

Sure enough when I got home there were eight jars of goodness lined up in our fridge. I was so excited to try them that I quickly reached into one of the jars without thinking. I was reminded by the “pickle man” that I had to wait a week for the magic to happen.

Clearly, I am not a pickler nor am I known for my patience.

A few days ago it was finally time to try the pickles and let me tell you they were SO good. Although, I am warning you now that he calls his recipe “Brian’s Atomic Pickle Recipe”. They are spicy as shit! We love them but I realize not everyone has a death wish so if you do indeed use his recipe, feel free to tone it down.

ps...Brian was very reluctant to share “his” special atomic pickle recipe. HA. He made me agree last night that if he gave me the recipe I would promise to ask readers to share any pickle recipes they might have. He’s clearly trying to start a pickling movement and community!! So, if any of you have one…please share! Although, he also wanted me to make it very clear that he does not like sweet pickle recipes. So, there you have it folks.

(photo taken last year on pickling day when I was actually present)

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Brians Atomic Pickle Recipe

Ingredients

8 cloves garlic peeled
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh dill still on the stem
8 cups water
3/4 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 to 1/3 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, quartered or sliced in rounds
Hot peppers to taste (I use 4 halved cayenne peppers per jar)
Instructions

Combine the water, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, and dried dill in a large pot and bring to a boil and cook until the salt dissolves.
Meanwhile, place peeled garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, peppercorn and 1/2 of the dill on the bottom of a 1 gallon jar or two 1/2 gallon jars (divide ingredients evenly if using 2 jars). Pack cucumbers in jar(s) and put remaining dill on top.
Pour the brine over the cucumbers and cover the jar(s). Let the jars sit on your counter, but not in direct sunlight until cooled, about an hour, and then put them in the fridge. The cucumbers will have begun pickling after 24 hours, but wait a full week if you want them to be fully pickled.

 

trust your gut….

14 Apr

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This past Saturday I went to my first yoga class since my mini surgery a few weeks ago. Honestly, I’m not sure if I was technically “ready” to get back to working out but seriously I HAD to. I was so sick of being stagnant! I’ve also been missing the calm that my yoga practice gives me and considering I have been in a F-ing storm recently…I was craving the calm. Clearly, Brian (my loving and super cautious husband) did not think going to a yoga class with incisions on my belly was a smart idea but I assured him that I would mostly go just to “stretch”. It all got very dramatic…I even draped my hand over my forehead and said, ” If I don’t go to yoga,  I WILL DIE”. So, I went to yoga Saturday morning.

The minute I walked in, I was overwhelmed with negative thoughts….maybe I’m not ready to get back?…what if I make a fool of myself because I actually can’t do this?….what if I hurt myself??? But, I kept walking up the stairs because my heart needed it.

When I saw the teacher, Audra, I immediately informed her of my situation. She kindly listened and with a big, loving and gracious smile said…”trust your gut, literally!” Such a simple reminder but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I haven’t been trusting my gut recently- sadly, I’ve been silencing it. Over the last few weeks I’ve been delivered many blows and I think I could have avoided a few of them if I just listened to my gut.

I knew the minute my gallbladder attack hit that it had to come out. I KNEW IT IN MY BONES. But, instead I smiled, listened to the doctors, took the vicodin prescription, went home and planned for my best friends bachelorette party (It came out in emergency surgery a week later). During recent arguments I have silenced what I know to be my truth in hopes that I wouldn’t offend. (Never good). Recently, I have lost a few big accounts (Oh, money and bills…I hate the control you have over me) but instead of trusting my gut that it’s all happening for a reason I’ve been in a tailspin. TOTAL TAILSPIN.

My yoga practice was slow that morning (I spent a lot of time in child’s pose) but my practice has never felt more honest. My ego about performing was gone, my gratitude for being able to move my body (I have been naive enough to assume that this is a given) was strong and my love for my journey was deep.

Moving forward I promise myself that ….I will always trust my gut. So, thank you verrrrry, tiny little organ for teaching me…again…to always trust my gut…oh, and for making me pause.

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This is when the magic happens: right when you feel like everything is going wrong, shift your attitude to accept that it’s actually going right.

If you’re going through a storm, hold the belief that it’s the perfect storm for you.

You are always taken care of, exactly where you need to be and your efforts are rewarded exactly when they need to be.
—Jackson Kiddard

daily happy recipe

11 Mar

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photo by One Part Gypsy

Maybe you’ve noticed by my lack of posting recently but I’ve been in a serious funk. Usually, my funks only last a day…at most a week, but this funk has really grown some roots. I’ve been buried by it and in turn I’ve been uninspired, pessimistic and just plain UN-fun. All of which is very unlike me. BLAH. But today for no reason at all I woke up feeling like my lighter, happy, connected and grateful self again. Making everything appear rosier despite nothing having changed. Ahhhh, perspective. It got me thinking about what actions and habits bring me joy each day. I decided to write them all down so I can be conscious of what I can do each day to make the world rosier and my heart lighter despite what else may be going on around me. It’s become clear to me that I haven’t been making a point to do a lot of these things recently and I’m starting to think that is part of the problem. Because I do believe we are responsible for keeping our side of the street clean.

My Daily Happy Recipe:

waking early – I fight this habit often because I love my cozy bed but I’ve realized that when I wake up early (think 6am instead of 730am) I feel better. It gives me some much-needed quiet time to get in touch with myself and set intentions for the day.

morning pages– have you ever read the book “The Artists Way”? It’s brilliant. One of my faves actually. One of the exercises in it is writing three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. They aren’t meant to be high art. They can be about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. I used to do them often but haven’t in months and I miss them. They provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.

meditate – nuff’ said. Again, this helps set the tone for the day. It helps center my crazy & anxious mind.

long walk with Frankie – I love our morning walks together. They bring me so much simple joy. We see a lot of the same neighbors and pups each walk and I love saying hi to everybody. I love the fresh morning air. I love watching Frank sniff every flower. I love seeing little kids heading off to school. I love the newness in the air.

jamming in my car – I’ve been on a Pandora kick recently and I’m loving my morning dance sessions in my car. It’s hard to be in a funky mood when you’re dancing and singing in traffic. Also, there is something about music that can turn any mood around and helps keep it light and playful.

working – I actually really enjoy working. As much as I complain about certain aspects of fit modeling there are parts I really love about it. I love the people I work with, being part of the creative process and contributing. I’ve also always enjoyed being independent…so financially supporting myself brings me joy.

connecting with my family and friends – making a point to call the people I love to see how they are and honestly sharing how I am in the process. There is nothing better than being reminded we are not  islands.

writing – It’s pretty simple…If I don’t write something…ANYTHING..each day I don’t feel as fulfilled. Writing is my medicine.

moving – for me this means getting to a bar method class or a yoga class each day. It makes me feel like I am taking care of myself. I also always feel happier after I move my body. Yay Endorphins!

cooking dinner– who would have thought I would have this on my daily happy list a few years ago- NOT ME! But I’ve come to love the process of making dinner each night. I watch the news while I cook…usually with Frank at my feet waiting for something to drop. Cooking has become a moving meditation for me. I feel fulfilled by having a nice dinner on the table for the man I love who happens to work much longer hours than I do.

eating healthy– for me this is light on the dairy, sugar and gluten. I just feel better physically and mentally when I do…and what’s more important than that?

connecting with Bri emotionally & physically– sometimes life gets hectic and it can feel like we are two moving ships trying to manage everything. But I find that when I really make an effort to connect with him each day I feel happier…more complete. He’s not only my lover…he’s my best friend.

watching tv shows with Bri – It probably sounds a bit silly to put tv on my happy recipe list but there’s some seriously good shit on tv these days! I also love cuddling with Bri on the couch with Frankie at our feet chewing on his bone. It’s the only time of day our little family of three comes together.

reading– I love reading a bit before bed. It can be a great book or an article in a magazine and it doesn’t matter if it’s a one page or 100…it just matters that I make the time to read.

Sleep – I’ve come to realize that I am nothing without a good nights sleep. NOTHING. Sleeping a solid & peaceful eight hours is important to my head space and overall well- being.

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So what’s your “daily happy recipe”?? Post below- I’d love to hear!

“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”
Alice Walker

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