Tag Archives: Learn to Cook


30 May


 My friend Kate announced to me a few months ago that she had an amazing chicken curry dish to teach me before I turned 30- she even called it “Curry before 30″…isn’t she clever? I thought so. Well, such as life it took us months to actually make it happen. In her defense, she did just get married and all and in my defense I drove across the country, so we’ve been a little busy.

 I have known Kate since kindergarten!! Yes, kindergarten. I still can’t believe I have people in my life today that I have known since I was five years old (and I really still like them too, honest!) It’s such a sweet and comforting feeling to know somebody for most of your life. We have so many memories together…play-dates, sleepovers, ballet classes, the craziness of Jr. High…first boyfriends, tears, triumphs and we even have France. When we were 13 Kate came with me to the south of France for a few weeks to visit my grandparents. It was one of the best memories form my childhood. I think we only argued once. We skipped through olive orchards, got crushes on French boys, ate nutella crepes by the truck load and pretended to practice our French. My grandfather Matt named us the “Dupli-Kate’s” and my grandmother Cass made us amazing French toast every morning.

I have always known Kate to be an extremely smart, funny, creative, honest and direct soul. For all those reasons I have always been a fan of hers (alright maybe the time she got a better role in our ballet recital I felt differently, but other than that I am a fan). Sadly, after high school graduation we lost touch. But then, viola!, with the power of facebook and this crazy blog, she’s back in my life and I could not be happier about it. Her funny sense of humor has become even funnier (borderline raunchy) over the years and her direct and honest attitude towards life is refreshing- she’s just fun to be with.

What’s that, you say? Why aren’t I talking about curry? Sorry, I got a little sidetracked but I wanted you to know the back story. So, back to curry before 20 (a typo I have decided to let stay- wishful thinking maybe?)- last week Kate invited me over to her house and we made curry, drank wine and laughed a lot.

My first lesson about curry…it’s a bit of a needy dish. It does not like to be left alone for too long and wants constant attention (again, I am reminded of my early 20’s). But don’t be scared off, all your hard work will pay off in the end…in a very delicious way.

We spent 2 hours adding ingredients or, as Kate called it, “layering” and stirring the pot of goodies. The aroma that filled the kitchen was amazing but the dish was even better. It was spicy, sweet, tender and comforting.  I was in curry heaven.

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Recipe and finished dish up next!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook


26 May

Things that have been making me happy recently…

Things that have been making me happy recently…

1. summer is around the corner

2. learning a new recipe from my dear friend Kate! She taught me how to make a curry dish and it is unbelievably good. Post coming soon!

3. the fact that I am 43 days away from 30! I’m actually getting rather excited to turn 30 and be done with the 20’s…they were fun but oh so exhausting!!

4. cozy date nights spent…at home

5. feeling healthy

5. my first yoga class after a month

5. emailing with Jen who’s very far away working with All Hands in the Philippians.

6. my girlfriends

7. cucumber & mint margarita’s 

8. pop physique classes!

9. It’s frozen yogurt season again! yipee!

10. this post by my favorite blogger

What’s been making you guys happy recently??


365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook


21 May

I woke up this morning to this note from the universe and it could not have been more perfect considering I am 48 days away from turning 30 and my crazy journey is coming to an end.


The very best moment in any long journey that makes your dreams come true, Kate, comes not on the day you realize they have, but on the day you realize how little they matter compared to loving the adventure they’ve inspired. 

Don’t ask me why, I just know what I know – 
    The Universe


365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook


6 Mar


Teacher : My Mom-Mom aka my Grandmother

Dish: Chicken & Dumplings

My Mom Mom has been making this famous dish of hers for the last 50 years! Can you believe that?? She’s been making chicken and dumplings for fifty years! I think it’s safe to say she’s perfected her recipe at this point. She started making chicken & dumplings many moons ago back in Delaware to feed her large family (one husband and six children to be exact) because it was cheap, easy to make and the results fed a lot of people. Considering I will probably never have six children (I think I would have had to start by now), I will make it for dinner parties instead!!

The dish is so yummy…imagine the best chicken noodle soup you have ever had and then times it by 100- the “melt in your mouth dumplings” are heaven and the chicken is so moist. Making the dumplings was so much easier than I thought it would be! Mom Mom gave me a quick lesson about how to handle the dough and passed the baton to me but stood by to oversee my work- I think she was pleased with the results.

 My Mom Mom is such an incredible lady- she’s smart, lively, funny and opinionated. She loves her family and at 89 has raised six children (3 boys & 3 girls), has six grandchildren (5 boys and me) and one great-grandchild (who happens to be the cutest little lady you may ever meet). She likes to call people “cute as a button” and the way it rolls off her tongue you can’t help but smile. When we were cooking it hit me how thankful I was for this experience. It’s only recently that she moved from Delaware (her home for over 85 years) to Los Angeles and I have had the joy of seeing her more often…lucky me!
This cooking lesson will be up there as one of my top favorite memories from the year because learning how to cook from people I love isn’t just about the food. I love the conversation, I love to hear the stories, I love the laughter and I love the warmth. I also love that my Dad used to eat this dish when he was a little boy and to think that I will make it for my children one day warms my heart (as cliché as that may sound!).
During our afternoon I was also struck by how thankful I am for 365 til 30. It has brought so much joy and brought me closer to everyone in my life. As funny as this may sound, it’s brought my life to life! I cherish these moments with the people I love and learning their favorite dishes has become one of the best parts of 365 til 30.

 The best take away from the evening other than a full belly was the hand-written recipe she wrote for me. I’m a sucker for hand written recipes…especially one that was signed with this…

For my one and only darling Granddaughter, Kate

Mom Mom with Love. 

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thoroughly wash organic chicken and place in roasting pan with chopped celery and onion/ Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours/to prepare dumpling mix add 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 3/4 cup warm water/ roll out on lightly floured surface/ drop in one inch pieces and cook for 7 minutes.


2 Mar

20 things that have been making me happy recently…

1. 365 til 30

2. my hot pink nails

3. when Brian wakes me up in the morning with a kiss

4. cooking with my grandmother

5. iced coffee

6. conversations with Chantal even though she’s far away.

7. fun meetings

8. this note from the universe

The presumption, Kate, at all times and under all circumstances, should always be that you are good enough, worthy enough, and lovable enough. And that you are exactly the right kind of person, in the right place, at the right time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been instilled with such dreams in the first place. 
Love you, The Universe

9. cooking a Mexican feast with Taline

10. celebrating Brian’s birth

11. eating chocolate cake for breakfast

12. researching hotels for the road trip

13. this Rumi poem


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

14. a hysterical date night with my little brother.

15. the smell of jasmine

16. writing post 129

17. long slumbers 4 nights in a row

18. clear focus

19. babies giggles

20. sessions with Maggi

What’s been making you guys happy recently??


22 Feb


Since you all survived yesterday’s terribly long post, I thought you deserved something a little lighter today! Remember when I said I wanted to cook a Julia Child recipe after watching “Julie & Julia” Sunday night? Well, I kinda did. We had to improvise a bit because it was impossible to find a recipe that we actually both wanted to eat!! Everything either had heavy cream, cheese and butter (Brian despises them all…I know, isn’t that strange? I mean who doesn’t like cheese?), involved bread (it’s my body, not my soul despises gluten…sad but true) or was something along the lines of a Duck-leg mousse (and we both had our limits on how far we would take this Julia Child night). I was not going to give up though, I was dead set on having a French themed dinner night! So we searched the internet for other French recipes and finally found one that didn’t include heavy cream, cheese, gluten or butter (we are so LA with all our food restrictions huh??)- fish Provencal!

 With the dish finally settled on we headed to the most magical place on earth…whole foods. Six hundred dollars later….kidding…we were back home with French music playing, a martini (for him), a glass of wine (for me), lots of candles and fish to cook. Some of my favorite evenings spent with Brian are in the kitchen. As much as I enjoy cooking by myself I much prefer making dinner with my partner. It’s the perfect activity to do as a couple- you chat, cook, drink wine, laugh, and then you eat!

The meal was a success! The dish was soooooo good in fact that we ate all of it! Happy to report it was also terribly easy to make and looked pretty impressive on a plate. In case you can’t see from the ridiculous picture above…I’m looking at that fish with love.

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My favorite song from the night….


I fennel bulb

1 shallot

4 garlic cloves

4 tomatoes


1 1/2 cup white wine

1/2 lemon juice

salt & pepper

1 pound of white flaky fish


chop garlic/ slice shallots and fennel/boil tomatoes then blanche and peel/heat olive oil (medium heat)/add fennel & shallots & saute for a few minutes until they are soft/ add garlic for 2 min/add wine, turn up heat to medium-high and boil for 3 minutes/add tomatoes & boil for 3 minutes/submerge fillets @ bottom/add salt & pepper to taste/cover, reduce heat to low for 10 minutes until fish easily flakes/add lemon juice, top with parsley and serve


27 Jan


I had a rather stellar week. Why, you ask? Alright, I’ll tell you. I finished my book proposal! Pretty thrilling, huh? I am not sure who is happier about this…Brian or me. Can’t say he seemed too sad when I said I was finished. I think he’s happy to finally have the “normal” me back. The other Kate was snippy and loved to sit around in her pajamas all day on the weekends writing. She was pretty exciting, not to mention sexy, I’m sure.  So yeah, I’m happy I turned it in. The process of putting it together was fulfilling, exhausting and exciting. I’m scared to imagine what I will be like when I am actually writing the book. Brian may want to go on an extended vacation to India at that point.

What inspired me this week?

The movie “Finding Forester”

The movie “The Lie”– loved the performances in it.

Volunteering at PATH

My new book Revive

Road trip planning with Rachel…here we come open road and adventure!

What am I grateful for this week?

Finishing my book proposal. Yahooo.

Brian for being such a good-natured and lovable guy

Erin of Well In LA for teaching me a few new healthy recipes!

The amazing notes I received from readers. They put a huge smile on my face. It has been so nice to hear your thoughts and connect. It makes it so much more fun. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way!

My fav notes of the week-

“I hit 29 less than a month ago. I feel the pinch, too. I’m trying to meditate, cook, volunteer, learn Spanish and garden. I’m really enjoying your blog, and it’s giving me some more ideas to add to my self-improvement list. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us, it’s nice to know there are other 29 year olds sans mortgage, etc. Or should I say…merci!”

“I love this concept! At 27, 30 is starting to feel frighteningly close. I’ve always thought of 30 as the year by which I would have it “all figured out”. Now that 30 is looking like a real, and near, prospect… well. I’ll be following your blog now to see how it all goes”

“Thank you for this post!! Working on my own list right now and this is completely inspiring.
And thank you for sharing your journey. The sweetness of your heart shines through… and I know it must take a good shot of bravery every now and then to do everything you’re doing. Rock on lady
much Love”

What surprised me this week?

Enjoying cooking dinner. WHO. AM. I? Not the Kate McClafferty I used to know.


“Everything you want, also wants you”

Jack Canfield


26 Jan


My friend Erin of Well in LA was nice enough to teach me a recipe for 365 til 30. I love everything about her company especially the motto, “Life is short. Live WELL”…now doesn’t that say it all? Well In LA is a full service shop for wellness coaching, eating, cleanses and consultation. I find her approach toward a healthy lifestyle very inspiring and her easy attitude about it all, refreshing. You can’t even fault her for being so cute and healthy and fit and…and.. and…because she is so nice!

Days before our cooking date Erin sent me a list of ingredients and after reading it I knew I was in for a healthy afternoon considering I didn’t know what half of them were. I also noticed that it was a Martha Stewart recipe. We all know how I feel about Martha Stewart after cooking a stew from her book last month. I think she’s a liar. Plain and simple. I think she makes things seem easier than they are and lies about the timing of things. Although I will say this, I now know what a parsnip looks like after tackling the stew- this time I walked straight over to them at the market with confidence. Progress! I hit a wall with a rutabaga though. Do you know what they look like? I didn’t. I roamed the aisles again until I found a helpful produce man to point the way for me.

Erin taught me a whole days menu! : a juice for breakfast  (carrot, beet, apple and fresh mint), salad for lunch (raw kale with cranberries, sauteed onions and toasted walnuts) and vegetables for dinner (brussels sprouts, sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, rutabaga). I’m sure many of you just read that and thought –there is no way in hell that these meals were tasty and I am here to tell you that they were seriously yummy. The kale salad was my favorite and it wasn’t because I had to massage the Kale either (Although that was a highlight from the afternoon) When I got the direction to “massage the kale”…it took all my might not to laugh. Did you know you are supposed to massage kale with olive oil before eating it to make it taste better? News to me!

As I left Erin gave me a book called Revive by Frank Lipman that she thought I would like. I have been reading it the last two nights and love it. I am up for more vegetarian cooking after reading it!


Ingredients:1 small beet, chopped-5 carrots, chopped -1 apple, cored and chopped-1/4 fresh mint springs



Click HERE for salad (#4 (subbed cranberries for pom seeds) and roasted veggie recipe (#6)

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25 Jan


So last night I was listening to music (Alabama Shakes), drinking a glass of wine (pinot) and MAKING DINNER all by myself! I had an AH-HA moment and I thought- oh my God you’re making dinner all by yourself and you are actually enjoying yourself! I was moving around the kitchen with ease. I was handling raw chicken like it was no big deal. I was grilling veggies like I had been doing it forever and it made me smile. Such a very teeny tiny step for mankind but such a huge step for me and I felt proud. I saw my progress- I can cook now. I can actually cook now. When Brian walked in the door and saw the scene he smiled and hugged me…I think he’s proud too and probably SO thrilled he doesn’t have to cook all our meals anymore.

By the way, this doesn’t mean I wont continue learning recipes from fellow epicureans  (Keep them coming! Tomorrow’s cooking post with Erin from Well In LA is going to be great!) It just means that I saw a difference in myself and I liked it.

Ok I am off to put the finishing touches on my book proposal and volunteer at PATH- that’s a pretty good Wednesday if you ask me! Below is the song that I was jamming to while cooking last night by the Alabama Shakes. I love them…they are so lively and I love her voice.


14 Jan


Yay for the weekend! Today I will be holing up to work and write. Yay me. But I will be breaking free tonight! We are headed to our friend Alex’s house for a dinner party- a dinner party that I will be helping Alex cook for so I can learn how to make his Moroccan Chicken dish!! I may have actually forced him to have this dinner party so I could learn this dish.Thanks Alex! I have had it before and it is to die for.

Alex sent me an email yesterday that finished with this…

“Lots of handling of chicken tomorrow. Get ready.”

Clearly, he is aware of my chicken phobia.

TOP 5 moments this week…

1. The look on Brian’s face when I told him that my newly rented movie “Thelma & Louise” was road trip research/ inspiration

2. When I told Rachel to watch her step going down the stairs and then fell down them

3. When I said “meditation shitting” instead of “Meditation sitting”

4. My Dad’s email. It really got a laugh out of me.

5. After sitting here for 20 minutes I realized that sadly I don’t have a 5th.