Endive Cups w/ Goat Cheese, Strawberries and Champagne Dressing

 

endive 1Two weeks ago I flew home to celebrate one of my best friend’s upcoming wedding. Getting ready for the bridal shower and thinking about all the bridesmaids made me realize that we have all known each other since kindergarten. Which is pretty impressive given the time, distance and challenges we have all faced since then. If you ask my friend, the bride, she would lovingly tell you a tale about my kindergarten “bully” self who apparently made her cry and then one day I was nice to her and she got so excited. We have been friends ever since.

endive 2We have served at several community service events together, traveled to Japan together freshman year in high school (bonded over missing our mothers), had a crush on the same boy (yikes!), went to countless dances together, “stalked” other boys by walking by their house just hoping that they would come outside (the things we do when we have crushes..), laughed, cried, shared, inspired, motivated, complained, supported each other through college and now we are here. At another momentous life event. I can’t wait to celebrate, laugh and cry with you. You are beautiful inside and out. YOU deserve a lifetime of happiness. I truly meant what I said at your bridal shower, hold each other accountable to your dreams and never stop adding to your LOVE STORY.

XOXO… two weeks and counting!

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Endive Cups w/ Goat Cheese, Strawberries and Champagne Dressing

Ingredients:

2 heads of endive, washed and dried (roughly 10 usable leaf per head, so 20 total)

5-6 oz of goat cheese

10 strawberries, washed and thinly sliced vertically (remove stem)

5 kumquats, washed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped pecans, raw, toasted or candied all work well

fresh thyme or other herb of your choice to garnish

Dressing:

2 tsp champagne vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tbs sugar

Directions:

1. Mix champagne vinegar, orange juice and sugar in a medium bowl. Soak the strawberry and kumquat slices in the dressing for about 10 minutes.

2. Cut each endive leaf from the head without breaking in the middle. Make a clean cut near the base of the head. Make sure all leaves are thoroughly dried.

3. Assemble leaves on a large plate. Crumble and distribute goat cheese evenly by placing the goat cheese in the bottom 2/3 of the leaf.

4. Mix the fruit in the dressing and then spoon the strawberries on top of the goat cheese. Next add 1-2 slices of kumquat. Spoon extra dressing over the leaves and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

5. Garnish with a small piece of thyme or other fresh herb of your choice.


Quick Roasted Carrots

Roasted Carrot Blog 1It was a bright and chilly morning when I woke up in Rome. I was sharing a room and an apartment with 11 other girls. I was taking risks (hello shaving the side of my head spontaneously), I was learning, I was growing, I was becoming even more of an adult. And my adult self felt inclined to get out of bed, go to the train station, look up inexpensive tickets, buy a ticket and explore somewhere new on my own. This was by far one of my favorite days I spent abroad. While the train was gliding through the countryside, I sat patiently waiting and reading. This has stayed with me for years and I often return to this passage.

“For the first time in my life i saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impact: the salvation of man is through love and in love”

– Viktor E. Frankl

Roasted Carrot Blog

Quick Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

6 large carrots, washed, both ends trimmed

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of cumin

1/4 cup of hummus to garnish (optional)

Roasted almonds to garnish (optional)

Fresh herbs to garnish (optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut carrots into chunk of about 2-3″. Cut the thicker end pieces into half lengthwise.

3. In a medium bowl, toss carrots, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin, making sure all carrots are coated well.

4. Place carrots cut side down on parchment paper and cook for 15 minutes or until they are tender and caramelized.

5. Let cool for 10 minutes and plate with hummus, almonds and fresh herbs if you desire.


Cherry Almond Gluten Free Cookies

GF cookie 6January is a HARD month for me and I think for many people. The holiday cheer is gone. The guilt about holiday weight gain sets in. The weather leaves a little something to be desired. You DON’T want to leave bed and go to work, because bed is sooooooo nice and cozy and inviting. These are my thoughts. I want it to be February already.GFCookies2This is what happens when I walk into the kitchen to experiment. Feel free to sub the dried fruit or mixture of nuts to your liking, but I would stick with the measurements I have used. These are pretty healthy, chewy and surprised me when they came out of the oven. The first time I actually left them raw and they definitely work as a raw bar, BUT when  you bake them and they come out of the oven warm, they feel so much more indulgent and satisfying, trust me.GFCookies5Hope everyone has a good weekend. I plan to have a restorative weekend filled with lots of relaxation, yoga, cooking and reading. Happy Friday!GFCookies

Cherry Almond Gluten Free Cookies: makes 18 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw almonds

½ cup raw cashews

½ cup raw or toasted macadamia nuts

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

3 tbs coconut oil, divided

1/4 cup golden raisins, divided

½ cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water for 2 minutes, patted dry and divided

¼ cup cacao nibs

1/3 cup shredded coconut

3 tbs honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Process almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, ginger, 2 tbs of the coconut oil, ¼ cup of the cherries (patted dry), 2 tbs of the golden raisins in a food processor for about 1 minute. You want the nuts and the overall mixture to remain a little chunky, so I leave my food processor in the middle of the thin to thick scale. If you don’t have that on yours, stop every 20 seconds to see what the texture looks like. It should break down nicely, but should not be smooth. Scrape down the sides and process for another 30 seconds.

3. Add the last tablespoon of coconut oil, the other ¼ cup of cherries, ¼ cup of cacao nibs, the shredded coconut, 2 tbs of golden raisins and honey. Process until the mixture begins to clump together. It is done when you can press the mixture firmly and it sticks together.

4. I used an ice cream scooper (3/4oz) to scoop out these cookies. Fill the scoop and press down firmly. Gently release the mixture onto the parchment paper. I prefer not to press them firmly because I like the way they look when they aren’t perfect. I put 9 cookies per baking sheet.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Let them cool down slightly and then enjoy!


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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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!


Earl Grey Poached Pears w/ Whiskey Pecans & Maple Whipped Cream

Poached PearI’m on a Halloween sugar high. Whoops! I made an indecent amount of dessert today for the office. But we had kids come by to trick or treat and I can admit, I got jealous. Kids get to have all the fun. SO….. I remedied the situation by making a ton of popcorn balls, rice krispy treats and dirt chocolate pudding cups with oreos and gummy worms. Oh and some spiked apple cider! I feel better. Less envious of the kids and more content with warm apple cider and chocolate pudding in my belly. Now I’m just waiting for the evening festivities! Daniel is dressing up as Freddie Mercury and I waited until the last minute to come up with something, so my co-worker fashioned me a mask and black beanie so I can be a burglar. Poached Pearclose upMy mom asked me this morning if I was excited for tonight, whether I had a costume and if it was one of those “sexy costumes you wear in your 20s because you can get away with it (kind of) costume”. I laughed pretty hard. Truth is, I have no desire to go in some skin tight or skin baring-going to be freezing all night costume. I would rather be bundled up, warm and cozy. Just saying. So this pear recipe came out of need to make something for clients at work, but I had minimal ingredients on hand and decided to improvise a recipe. It turned out pretty well and I for one, am kind of obsessed with these pears. They are light and delicate while offering so much flavor.Poached pear verticalIt is definitely the kind of dessert I would make for a dinner party and would be great for the upcoming holidays! I hope you take as much enjoyment in making these as I did. Happy Halloween!!!

Earl Grey Poached Pears w/ Whiskey Pecans & Maple Whipped Cream: serves 6

Ingredients:

For the pears:

2 cups 2% milk

3 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

4 earl grey tea bags, label or paper removed

3 medium Bartlett or d’anjou pears, cut in half, do not remove core yet.

For the pecans:

2 tbs butter

1 ½ shots whiskey

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbs maple syrup

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbs maple syrup

Pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Bring milk, water, tea bags and cinnamon stick to a simmer over medium low heat (do not allow to boil) in a large saucepan. Place pears cut side down and make sure they are mostly submerged in liquid (if not, add more water and milk in equal proportions). Keep at a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out easily and pears are tender.
  2. While the pears are cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the butter, brown sugar and whiskey together over medium heat. Stir frequently as it begins to caramelize. Lower the heat and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and put the pecans in the pan, making sure to coat them well. Dump the pecans onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and break apart nuts if they are stuck together.
  3. Remove the pears from the liquid and place on a plate lined with parchment paper. Put the pears in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool down. Remove from freezer and take out the core (leave the stem) and make sure to keep the sides of the pear in tact. Return to freezer for a few more minutes.
  4. To make the whipped cream, pour cream in a large bowl and use a whisk attachment of either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Mix on high until the cream begins to thicken, then add maple syrup and cinnamon. Continue to mix until the cream is thick and stiff peaks form when you pull the whisk attachment out of the cream.
  5. To assemble: remove pears from freezer and place on a serving plate, dollop a big spoonful of whipped cream in the center of the pear, place a few pecans on top and on the sides and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Green Tea Smoothie

green tea smoothie 2My fridge was bare this weekend. I opened it on Saturday morning looking for something for breakfast and found a very sad and mostly empty fridge. The few items I was staring at were: almond milk, cold green tea, bananas that needed to be used that day, peanut butter and spinach. So I thought why not throw it all into a blender because I am desperate for food and can’t fathom going out of the house yet. Imagine my surprise when it actually tasted good! I have already made this smoothie two more times, so I think it is worth sharing. You might find it odd and you might want to omit the peanut butter and that’s ok.

Green Tea Smoothie: serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond milk

3/4 cup cold green tea (I used Trader Joe’s brewed unsweetened green tea)

1 banana cut into chunks (preferably frozen)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use pea protein powder)

1 big handful spinach

1 tbs natural peanut butter (optional)

few drops stevia liquid or 1 tsp of honey

2 ice cubes

Directions:

1. Throw everything in blender and blend well (at least 1 minute).


Hazelnut Fig & Chocolate Energy Balls

energy balls1Last week was crazy and fun. I took over the Popover Instagram for a few days and documented the process of getting ready to cater a screening party at work. My days were very demanding. I was on my feet most of the day, running to the grocery store multiple times a day and trying to calm myself down. I was nervous about how many people were supposed to show up for this party and scared it wouldn’t all come together. energy balls 2I find it extra difficult to eat healthy during these types of stressful situations and I reached for whatever was convenient and fast. Reflecting on last week, I wish I had a snack that was both filling and healthy and didn’t make me feel bad about eating it. So it might be a little late now, but I am so glad I have this recipe in my back pocket for the next catering week! energy balls3Thanks to all of my amazing co-workers, we were able to set everything up before people arrived and it looked beautiful (see below)! I feel so relieved to have this experience under my belt and so ready for more! energy balls 4

energy balls 5These energy balls are the perfect snack to have on hand and grab for a quick bite or on your way out the door. I hope these help you stay satisfied and on track with your health goals! Here is a picture from the catering event!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Hazelnut Fig & Chocolate Energy Balls

Makes 14-18 balls

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw hazelnuts

16 dried mission figs, stems removed and chopped (If they are really dry, soak them in hot water for a few minutes, drain and continue)

1 tbs + 1 tsp coconut oil

1 pinch sea salt

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbs honey

½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put almonds and hazelnuts into a food processor and process until the nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Add the figs, coconut oil, sea salt, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and honey. Process until the figs are broken down and the mixture begins to clump together. If you are using chocolate chips, add them now and pulse a few times to distribute.
  3. Take a small amount of the mixture and press between your fingers. If the mixture stays together, it is ready. If not, add a little bit more honey and mix. This is a crumbly mixture. Take a big spoonful and press firmly between your fingers and palm 4-5 times. Gently press it into the shape of a ball. DO NOT try to roll the mixture into the shape of a ball, it will fall apart. Continue this process until you use all of the mixture.
  4. Place the balls on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or put in freezer for 15 minutes if you’re too anxious to eat them like I was!

Fig & Nut Bars

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetYesterday was my birthday! I feel so loved by the outpouring of cute messages and heartfelt wishes for my coming year. It has definitely been a period of love and gratitude around here. My mom just got married last weekend and I had the honor of being a bridesmaid! We had a very simple, yet beautiful and intimate backyard wedding in northern California. I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere. It was so humbling and encouraging to witness my mother and my new step dad exchange vows. They were raw, honest, loving, hopeful and kind. Both of them have kids and have been married before. But I was overcome with joy to see two people persevere through hardship and still have the courage to open their hearts and love again.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetDo you get swept off your feet by witnessing and experiencing love at weddings? I certainly do. Not in the way that I think to myself, “AHHHH…I MUST get married right now!”, but rather, in a way that makes me see more clearly what I already have in my relationship and my friendships. It makes me love harder and appreciate more so than I did before. So thank you mom and Alan for opening my eyes and making me more present and aware of my own joy and happiness. I wish you two the happiest and best years ahead! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSpeaking of love, I have FINALLY figured out my kind of granola bar. It is not too sweet, has a good mix of nuts to oats and lots of flavor! I have been recipe testing a lot at work and this particular mix is my favorite so far. If I am feeling fancy or crafty, I will cut some parchment paper and baker’s twine to make it look pretty. If you package them, they can also make great little gifts!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAlso, thank you Daniel for the incredible birthday dinner at Osteria Mozza. You are simply the best partner in crime. photo 2

Fig & Nut Bars: makes 12 big bars or 24 smaller squares

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

small pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

12 dried figs, stems removed and chopped

1 cup hazelnuts, chopped (I used pre-toasted hazelnuts)

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (I used pre-toasted nuts) or pistachios, whichever you prefer

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

2 tbs coconut oil, softened

1/2 cup +1/4 cup honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl combine oats, salt, cinnamon, all nuts and dried figs. Stir well.

3. Next add the coconut oil and stir to evenly coat the mixture with the oil.

4. Add 1/2 cup of honey and stir really well so that the mixture becomes evenly coated and sticky. Add the last 1/4 cup of honey, making sure to drizzle it over the parts that look dry. Stir well.

5. Place the mixture in the parchment lined pan and press firmly into the pan, making sure it is even. I like to use the back side of a spatula or a piece of parchment paper to help press the mixture down.

6. Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour in the pan. Transfer to fridge and cool for at least an hour before cutting into bars, which will prevent them from crumbling.

7. I like to wrap them up and give them as gifts!


Lemon Rosemary Tart

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe first time I tried this tart I was over at a friend’s house. She had made it the day before for a dinner party and she pulled the leftovers out of the fridge when I came over. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that my friend and I polished off the rest of the tart. I couldn’t help myself it was AMAZING. So fast forward a few weeks later and I made it for my family. We all declared this tart the new family favorite and the must-have for family celebrations. Fast forward a year down the road and I felt the strong desire to share this tart at work.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHowever, I can’t take credit for this tart. I first saw it on the blog, Happyolks, which had a guest blogger submit the recipe. A few people in my family are gluten free, so I have adapted the crust to be a gluten-free version, but I will include the original recipe below with my adaptations. I also decided to make mini tarts because I got new pans that I wanted to try. I recommend baking it one big pan for your first time. Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

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Lemon Rosemary Tart

Ingredients: 

for the crust:

  • 1 1/3 cup spelt flour (I used 1 cup almond flour, 1/3 cup coconut flour)
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1-2 tablespoon ice water

for the filling

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

for the topping

  • fresh raspberries
  • lemon slices
  • fresh rosemary

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan and set aside.

2. Place the flour, sugar, rosemary, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse until little pea sized bits start to form. Add in the ice water, starting with just 1 tablespoon. Pulse a few more times, then check the dough to see if it holds together when pressed between your fingers. If not, add the 2nd tablespoon. The dough may still seem crumbly, but as long as it holds together when pressed it will be perfect.

3. Dump the dough out into the prepared tart pan. Starting from the center, work your way out to the sides by pressing the dough firmly into the pan. Make sure you press it up along the sides evenly. Pierce the bottom with a fork a few times and place in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes before filling.

4. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Place the yogurt and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon juice and zest. Whisk until smooth and everything is evenly combined.

5. Pour the filling into the crust and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the center is set and only slightly jiggles when shaken lightly.

6. Allow to cool completely then place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before serving (I personally like it to chill for a few hours). Tart can be made the day before and kept covered and chilled in the fridge. Serve with fresh whipped cream, raspberries or garnish with fresh rosemary and lemon slices if you’d like.

 

 


Ginger Chamomile Sparkler

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt is HOT outside. Like WOAH. 100 degree weather should not make an appearance this early in the year :/. It is undeniable that we have to say goodbye to certain traditions we have in cold weather times and drinking hot tea is one of them for me. A cup of hot tea in this weather is no longer comforting it just sounds unbearable. So in an effort to still enjoy my tea and feel refreshed, I have been working on a sparkling water and tea combination. Do any of you already do this? I think it is going to be my go-to for the summer! Definitely play around with the recipe and types of tea you use, I think there is great potential for unlimited combinations! And tell me  your delicious creations 🙂

Ginger Chamomile Sparkler- makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

2 ginger tea bags ( I used ginger lemon)

2 chamomile tea bags

2 cups boiling hot water

2 tablespoons honey

At least 16 ice cubes

4 cups cold sparkling water

1 bunch mint or basil, washed and patted dried

Directions:

1. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently press the tea bags and take them out of the liquid. Add the honey and stir well.

2. Pour the tea into a large pitcher that can hold more than 48 oz. Add the ice cubes and stir to cool down the tea. Next add the sparkling water and stir. If you desire, add the mint and/or basil leaves and stir. Taste and adjust. Maybe add a little more honey or fresh herbs!

Enjoy!