Baking at Work

bakeryI bake in an open kitchen at work. I am the only chef in a sea of people who do post production. People flock to the kitchen as soon as they hear the sound of my mixer or the smell of something baking. If they happen to linger, I’m not shy to put them to work. Hold this, mix that, chop please! It’s a family environment and I love it.

(Blurry photo taken when coworker stole my camera)

(Blurry photo taken when coworker stole my camera)

IMG_9705My two favorite ways to use sad spotted bananas is making banana bread and freezing them for smoothies. Lately this banana bread with jam in the middle and a coconut nutty crumble on top has been making a regular appearance. It requires a little more time and a little more patience, but it’s so worth it. I tried coconut sugar this time with a little coconut oil and I really enjoyed it. IMG_9707If you don’t follow me on Instagram yet, please do! You can find me at and tons of photos of food and adventures!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


Banana Bread with Raspberry Jam and Coconut Macadamia Nut Crumble

Adapted from Cooking Light Classic Banana Bread


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

6 tbsp butter, softened

2 tbsp coconut oil, softened

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed really ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup raspberry jam

1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/4 cup shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan. Measure all flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl, whisk and set aside. Combine nuts and coconut in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter, coconut oil, sugar and coconut sugar until well combined (at least 1 minute). Add one egg at a time and beat well. Combine the yogurt, vanilla and mashed banana. Add this to the wet mixture and mix well.
  3. Next add the flour to the wet mixture and beat on low speed until the flour disappears.
  4. Measure half of the dough into the loaf pan and spread all of the jam down the center of the pan. Add the remaining dough on top, making sure it covers all the jam. Sprinkle the coconut crumble all over the pan and gently pat down.
  5. Create a tinfoil tent for the loaf pan that will cover the whole pan. Pinch it in the center to create a tent and cut a few holes to ventilate. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake covered for 30 minutes. Pull out uncover and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, checking part way through. If the crumble is getting too brown, cover gently with tinfoil until finished baking. Check the dough right under the crumble with a toothpick. Bread is done when it comes out mostly clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. I recommend cutting with a serrated knife.


Ricotta & Plum Toast

IMG_9281Growing up I didn’t really celebrate Father’s Day because I was raised by my mom and hardly spoke to my father. So when Father’s Day would roll around, I would acknowledge my friends’ dads who I admired and go on with my day. But that changed a few years ago when I found myself with two father figures in my life who grew to mean so much to me. Last year was both a beautiful and difficult year for me. I celebrated my mom’s wedding and gained a stepfather who treated me like a daughter long before he was obligated to. In that same year I experienced a devastating loss of a truly great man who welcomed me into his family and also treated me like a daughter. IMG_9300Father’s Day will never be the same for me for many reasons. I will cherish the memories, the love and support that I have received and continue to receive from the wonderful fathers in my life. Celebrating you always.


Ricotta & Plum Toast: serves 2

4 slices multigrain loaf
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
4 tsp apricot jam
2 plums, washed and sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped hazelnuts
2 tsp. agave


1. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat for 30 seconds. Toast bread in butter 2 minutes, flipping after 1 minute. Set on plate.
2. Spread 1 Tbsp. ricotta on each piece. Add 1 tsp apricot jam and top with plum slices.
3. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and drizzle with agave.


Sourdough & Rye Strata

Strata3copyI try to switch up the breakfast menu at work whenever I am feeling uninspired by the regular routine of items I have on rotation. This Sourdough & Rye Strata is a beautiful result of needing to do something different. I have made a lot of frittatas lately, but this whole strata thing is new to me and I love it! Strata4 copySpeaking of love, my sister took some photos of Daniel and myself when we were on a family vacation in Capitola. She shared the pictures with us and it almost made me cry. It made me realize that we didn’t have any professional pictures of us.Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.28.26 PM(Photo Credit: Sorella Muse Photography)

So thank you Nikki for capturing these special moments, I can’t wait to print them!

Sourdough & Rye Strata: serves 6


4 pieces of sliced sourdough bread

2 pieces of rye bread

10 large eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup half and half

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half vertically

1 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives


*This dish has inactive time of at least 6 hours to chill in the fridge before baking.

1. Grease a loaf pan with butter. I used a 10×5, so cooking time will vary depending on the size of your dish.

2. Cut bread into big chunks and place in bottom of buttered dish.

3. Whisk eggs, milk and half and half together. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.

4. Pour half of egg mixture over the bread. Press the mixture into the pan firmly and then pour the rest of the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of cheese. Top with cherry tomatoes (cut side up) and butter.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours before baking.

6. When you’re ready to bake it, remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake strata uncovered until puffed, golden brown and the middle is set (about 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of your pan). I quickly broiled the top for 1 minute to finish setting the middle.

7. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle fresh chives on each slice before serving.

Pear and Buckwheat Muffins w/ Coconut Crumble

IMG_8656If I walk into a coffee shop, chances are I am not going to choose the muffin. They never seem interesting enough for me and there is always another pastry that looks way more enticing. If I had my own bakery, cafe, cool coffee shop, awesome-hangout-kind-of-spot, I would want every pastry to be this interesting.pearmuffin3pear muffin4My co-workers have said they would come to my store for the baked goods and especially for these muffins, so that is enough incentive to make them, right? Dreaming of a bakery and space where delicious and interesting pastries live and I get to eat them all the time.pear muffin foodgawker2 copy


Pear and Buckwheat Muffins w/ Coconut Crumble

Makes 18  muffins


1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup buckwheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar

¼ cup coconut sugar or raw cane sugar

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup half and half

½ cup + 2 Tbs milk

2 large ripe pears, cut into small chunks (I used D’anjou)


1/ 4 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped

¼ cup shredded coconut

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ cup rolled oats

¼ cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two muffin pans with 18 muffin liners and spray each liner with baking spray.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (both flours, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon) and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, coconut sugar, melted butter and melted coconut oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a small bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt, half and half and milk. Whisk until well blended.
  5. Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture and whisk until well blended.
  6. Fold the chunks of pears into the wet mixture and then fold in the dry ingredients until well combined and set aside.
  7. Make the crumble in a small bowl by mixing the seeds, hazelnuts, coconut, cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  8. Distribute the batter evenly among the 18 cups. Next add a large spoonful of the crumble to the top of each muffin and pat down slightly.
  9. Immediately TURN DOWN THE HEAT to 375 and bake muffins for 18- 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  10. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove and let cool on rack for at least 15 minutes.



In My Kitchen: Superfood Smoothie

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI have given you Chocolate Stout Brownies and Rosemary Focaccia lately, so to even it out, I am giving you this smoothie recipe I have been making at work. I put it on the menu as “Superfood Smoothie”, but one client has renamed it to “Life-Giving Smoothie”! Whatever you call it, it is healthy, filling and starts your day off right. I make this as an individual serving, but it is easily doubled or tripled!

Superfood Smoothie


1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 frozen banana, cut into chunks (you can use an unfrozen banana if you don’t have frozen. Frozen bananas have a creamier texture, so I like to keep a bunch in the freezer.)

1 heaping Tbs of hemp, cacao and maca powder blend (such as Navitas Superfood blend) *this should only be 1 Tbs TOTAL of the combined powder

2 tsp of unsweetened raw cacao powder

1 small handful raw cashews

1 tsp agave

3 ice cubes


1. Put milk in blender first.

2. Add frozen banana, superfood blend, raw cacao, raw cashews, agave and ice.

3. Blend well. The cashews and banana should be fully blended into the smoothie.

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich copyYou see, in our house, there is sleeping in, there is coffee and there is a hearty breakfast sandwich to look forward to. At least on the glorious weekends there is. During the week I stay in bed until the last possible minute and then stumble my way through my 5-minute morning routine and race to work. That’s why I look forward to the weekend so much; I take the time to make myself and Daniel a nice breakfast instead of catering to other people. Daniel is in charge of the coffee. Always. Bless him for that. Then we jointly tackle our breakfast sandwiches. They are always different. It depends on what is in the fridge or whether we purposely purchased new ingredients when we want an extra special breakfast. This particular sandwich is actually from three years ago! We made heart shaped biscuits…. and I was kind of blushing because this was BEFORE we even said I love you… so there were hearts just staring at us, but they were cute and delicious and we gobbled them up! BTW it took us three or four more months to say I love you.

Back to the breakfast sandwich. Our general recipe goes like this: good bread + delicious cheese (cheddar, gruyere, provolone) + protein (bacon, turkey bacon, tofu, you name it) + greens (kale, arugula, or spinach) + fried eggs in coconut or olive oil + pan-fried veggie (mushrooms are our favorite) + sauce (garlic aioli, spicy sauce) + DEVOUR IT 

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich: makes 4 sandwiches


4 eggs

3 tbs+2 tbs olive oil

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

6 slices turkey bacon

4 biscuits, English muffins or slices of toast 


  1. Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Salt and pepper to taste and then reduce heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Set mushrooms aside.
  2. In two different skillets start your turkey bacon and eggs. For the turkey bacon, I don’t use any oil. So turn on that skillet to medium heat and cook each slice of turkey bacon a few minutes per side. Next heat 3 tbs of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Crack 4 eggs directly into the pan. Salt and pepper the tops. Spoon hot oil over the top of the eggs around the yolk to cook the egg white. When your egg white is no longer runny, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and turn the heat down to low. You can take your eggs out whenever you like, depending on how you like the yolk to be cooked.
  3. Assemble the sandwich. Egg on bottom, chop the turkey bacon and place on top of egg. Spoon the mushrooms on top. Add any hot sauce or spread that you like.

Heirloom Tomato Frittata

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetRemember when I made my sister, Nikki of Sorella Muse Photography a birthday brunch way back in April? Welllllll I’m finally getting around to sharing this recipe with you! Frittata is something I have come to rely on for an awesome breakfast/brunch. It never lets you down. Ever. And it is SO versatile. I am constantly making different versions depending on what produce I have on hand and I pretty much love them all. So here is a gorgeous vegetarian version.

Heirloom Tomato Frittata


½ yellow onion, diced

1 tbs olive oil

12 eggs

1 tsp dried basil

¼ tsp black pepper

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup half and half

1 cup shredded cheese (Gruyere, Swiss or White Cheddar)

¾ cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 12-inch tart dish w/ olive oil spray.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Sauté onion in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Remove from pan and let cool.

3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add basil, pepper, salt, and half and half. Whisk the eggs for 1 minute.

4. Pour the eggs into the tart dish. Sprinkle the onions over the eggs. Place the tomatoes cut side up on top of the eggs (they will sink in a little bit. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the eggs and tomatoes.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until the center is set and doesn’t jiggle. The top of the frittata should be lightly browned.

6. Let cool for 10 minutes and then slice into 8 pieces and serve.

Asian Pear Bowl w/ honey and hazelnuts

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetHere is my truth. The truth is that when I think about my blog, I think it is this wonderful reflection of the way I eat, beautifully documented, several photos to show off each angle of the dish with lots of natural light bursting through the window and effortlessly making my food look Pinterest-worthy. But real life is more complicated. The winter is hard. The days are short. I work full time and take iPhone snapshots of what I make in the kitchen while at work. I try to carve out time on the weekends to make, create, photograph, write and document. But I also value spending time with Daniel and my friends, getting OUT of the kitchen and LIVING. It takes hours upon hours to pull off a perfect food post. And food blogging has become crazy popular with tons of people dedicating their time to make an awesome food blog. Congrats to you if this describes you. I am still trying to figure out the balance for myself. Right now I know that I want this space to be more reflective of the way I eat day to day (even if that means some iPhone snapshots, not totally styled pictures), my experiments in the kitchen at work and home, the lessons I have learned and continue to learn, and what currently inspires me.

So cheers to 2015 and I hope you want to celebrate good food and learn a lot with me in the new year!

Asian Pear Bowl w/ honey and hazelnuts: serves 1


1 cup greek yogurt + 2 tbs milk of your choice (optional. But I like to thin out greek yogurt just a little)

2 tsp honey

1 ripe asian pear, chopped (discard the core)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbs hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup rolled oats


1. Mix the yogurt and milk in a small bowl until creamy. Mix in 1 tsp honey.

2. In a medium bowl (you are going to eat out of this), Layer the chopped pear on the bottom, then spoon the yogurt over the pear.

3. Sprinkle the cinnamon, hazelnuts and oats over the yogurt and then drizzle with the remaining 1 tsp of honey.

4. Then make a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy!

In the Test Kitchen: Challah

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWhen I was in college my best friend Jenny and I would look forward to the days when fresh challah was being sold on campus. We would each buy one and devour them throughout the day, often resulting in stomach aches, but wonderful nonetheless. I fell in love with this new bread that I had never had before. But I also thought I would never be able to replicate it in my own kitchen. I was so intimidated by it. The braiding, potential fillings (chocolate, fruit etc.) and that whole yeast thing I had yet to conquer. Honestly, I am quite jealous of people who grow up knowing these types of recipes like the back of their hand because their grandma or mother taught them from a young age. So many fears to conquer in one recipe: yeast, double rise and braiding.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI am on a mission to teach myself more, to push myself more and be more patient in the kitchen. Thus, we have notes on my testing different challah recipes and what I have learned so far.

Lessons Learned

1. Be Patient. Wait for the yeast to activate properly (when it gets foamy on top when activated with warm water). If you don’t see it bubbling or foaming, try again and check that your yeast is in date.

2. Start with a simple braid. I did many simple braids of challah before I moved onto a 6 or 8 strand one.

3. Trust the amount of time you need to knead. At first, I didn’t do it for the full time and my challah wasn’t as light and airy as it could have been. The next time around, the texture was SO much better after I adhered to the correct knead time.

4. If your “ropes” or strands of challah shorten or shrink after rolling them out, let them rest a little bit longer before you continue.

5. Check the center of your challah, especially on a big braided beauty (like pictured above) because it might brown quickly and look done, but the center will still be doughy. If it gets too brown before the challah is done baking, place a piece of tinfoil over the bread and continue to bake.

6. Don’t skip the egg wash before baking. This is what gives it the beautiful color!

The pictures of the challah above come from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe on Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah that can be found here. Just prepare yourself that it will disappear within minutes!

Dirty Chai Latte Scones

Scones1Scones2I woke up Saturday morning and felt like I just had to bake something. But it wasn’t the type of thing where I wanted to look through cookbooks, go to the grocery store to get exactly what I needed, then return home and start baking. I just wanted to do something right away. So I went to the kitchen, opened my cabinets and realized I had spices, espresso, flour, sugar and milk. Immediately, I thought of the flavors of one of my favorite drinks, the Dirty Chai Latte. Scones3Scones4Scones5If you have never had this drink before, you are missing out! It is a Chai Tea Latte with a shot or two of espresso and it is amazinnggggggggg. So I suggest you do two things: go get a Dirty Chai Latte AND make these Dirty Chai Scones to go with it. Trust me, it is a perfect weekend plan and these scones make an excellent weekday breakfast. Scones6Scones9Scones10

Dirty Chai Scones: makes 8 big scones 


3 cups all-purpose flour (you can sub 1 cup of AP flour for whole wheat flour if you desire)

1/3 cup cane sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup milk (I have used both 2% dairy milk and almond milk, both work great)


1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp nutmeg

dash of allspice

2 tsp ground instant espresso


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles the size of peas (I use my hands to break the butter into the flour).

2. Next add the milk slowly and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times until the dough completely comes together. Flour your work surface again and flour the top of your dough. Roll out the dough to a 16 by 10 rectangle. If you are having trouble with the dough being sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on top and bottom.

3. In a small bowl mix the melted butter, cane sugar, spices and espresso. It will be a little bit chunky. Spread this mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border at the far end of your dough. You are going to be rolling the larger side of the dough. Tightly roll your dough towards the border and press firmly down on the border to seal the edges. Cut into two inch pieces, which should give you 8 pieces.

4. Place the scone pieces on the baking sheet, flatten out a bit with a gentle push from your fingers and sprinkle the top with a little cane sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire wrack on the baking sheet. Enjoy warm. Scones keep refrigerated for a few days in the fridge and are good if they are reheated in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.