Thursday, March 27, 2014

Avocado and Tomato Salad

I'm excited to share with you all an easy and simple avocado and tomato salad that I am absolutely obsessed with. This salad highlights two main {delicious} ingredients without adding too much fluff to it. I believe it encompasses Southern California in a bowl (avocados are a Southern Californian's best friend, didn't you know?), while also giving the feeling of (the fast approaching) summer.

What inspired me for this salad guessed it, guacamole. Guac is a staple food where I'm from and I can devour a bowl in ten seconds time. Really. I love it. The thing I don't really love about the dip though is that it is usually accompanied by a fried, salty, delicious tortilla chip. Now, tortilla chips aren't really in my "soon-to-be-in-a-bikini-all-day-everyday" diet, so to make traditional guacamole more acceptable to eat on its own, I decided to make things a little more chunkier while adding a different kind of crunch to satisfy that no-chip-needed attitude. Hope you all try out this tasty dish and comment on what you thought about it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Raspberry and Peach Bellinis

I have a soft spot in my heart for juices and the bubbly. My love for the two developed while I was in college up in northern California. Background: Now, some may say my school is a "party school," but after visiting many friends that were scattered across America throughout those four years, I'd say it blended perfectly well with every other university. What the students of our school benefited from though (and how we probably got that "party school" image) was that it's in an extremely walkable college town with drink specials seven days a week (not kidding, the local newspaper mapped out which bars offered $1 specials Sunday-Saturday, which my roomies and I had taped to our fridge). I'm talking about living within a four block radius from all of your best friends, bars, restaurants, the gym, and, of course, school. So, driving wasn't always (like, never) an issue.

Okay, back to my love of the bubbly. There is a place called the Breakfast Buzz in my good ol' college town. The Buzz for short. And it was my absolute favorite place, ever. Why? Because they offer $6 bottomless mimosas Thursday-Sunday and was three blocks from my house, that's why. Try finding a price like that in LA (and call me if you do!). Sure, it was usually a cheap bottle of Andres and some boxed orange juice but it did the job, and by job I mean got us {fun} drunk.  It was a very easy sell to get people to go to the Buzz too, so it was always a good time. And, maybe that's the root for my love (lets get psychological, now) of the perfect combination of champagne and juice, because I knew it was guaranteed to have brunch (also my favorite meal of the day), good friends and great laughs. OH, and drinking during the day was always a plus too; no heels, no problem.

After the best four years of my life were up, it was time to say goodbye to living within walking distance to everything I had learned to love, including the Buzz and cheap champagne. I knew I wasn't going to find a place like it in LA. Or Orange County. Or San Francisco. Or anywhere. And that did not make me happy. I immediately started a fancy internship in Beverly Hills after graduating and was always getting taken to just as fancy restaurants. (My college town had one nice restaurant (I'm sure there were more) so getting wined and dined in "no jean" environments had kind of become foreign to me.) There was one restaurant that I liked in particular, and always suggested it whenever the dreaded "Where should we go?" question came about. That restaurant was Mr. C's.

Mr. C's had just opened when I moved to LA. It is actually a hotel with a restaurant in it and owned by the brilliant minds of Cipriani in New York and Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy (aka the people who created the Bellini). It's a true Italian restaurant. Seriously, everything is little like in Italy; the chairs, the table, the drinks...I sometimes felt like I was in a chic toy house. Back to the story. Mr. C's is when I got introduced to the "Bellini." The first sip I took of this {tiny and cute, but tiny and $25} peach puree + prosecco mixture was pure heaven. It was just the right amount of sweet and the perfect amount of bubbly. It was me saying goodbye to my $6 bottomless mimosa self, and hello to the new, grown-up, college-graduated $25 per Bellini me. As silly as it may sound, it was a very imperative moment in my life. I drank to drink, and not to get drunk. Aka, maturity. Now my go-to drink (during the day) are Bellinis. And I love them very much. And I bet you will too.

So, in order to save my wallet (and yours) from $25 per Bellinis, I have come up with my own. And I must say, it's pretty darn delicious.

Twist: Raspberry and Peach Bellinis 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Acai Greek Yogurt Parfait

I love how quick and easy this acai parfait recipe is. I've been a huge fan of acai since high school. There's a place in Newport Beach called "Al Cap" that serves the best acai smoothies that you will ever have! Seriously. Perfectly thick and topped with yummy granola and a circle of banana slices. I stopped by Al Cap at least three times a week before school, and it was in the completely opposite direction. I'm talking about me living two minutes from school and driving 10 minutes across Newport to get these. (I may or may not have even treated my teachers to these babies whenever I ran a little (or a lot!) late to class; they're that good.)

When I went off to college (and away from my favorite breakfast spot) I was devastated to find that there really wasn't a place that offered a smoothie as good as theirs. I was acai deprived. Until, of course, I found out that you could buy the smoothie mixtures at specialty grocery stores. This is when I started to play around with the acai. Throughout all of my test runs, I fell absolutely in love with my acai parfait. Thick greek yogurt mixed with the acai and a little agave nectar goes perfect with my homemade granola and fresh fruit. It's pretty much a traditional parfait, but I like to think that the acai elevates it and give its the perfect lil' twist. Hope you do too!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chia Seed and Agave Granola

I've recently discovered Chia seeds. And I've recently fell in love with Chia seeds. They are kind of a super food which fills you up with protein and fiber and can even curb hunger(!). I've been adding them to a lot of different things lately and also eating them by themselves. As I was thinking of other great ways to incorporate this wonderous seed, I thought of a granola. As I was researching different kind of granola recipes, I was noticing a lot of them use sugar and other things that aren't really in tandem when I think of granola (aka healthy). So, doing what I do best, I made up my own recipe for a healthy granola using not only Chia seeds, but agave, coconut oil and flax seeds! Check it out below and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tofu, Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

I'm not going to lie, I have never been a huge fan of tofu. It kind of has a weird texture and doesn't really taste like much. But, I'm sticking with my New Years Resolution to eat healthier in 2014 so I gave it a go. And I'm glad I did! Mixing the tofu with the taste of a chicken lettuce wrap is a perfect leeway into this protein-rich food.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Macarons with a Beer Buttercream Filling

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and what better way to ring in this beer-centric holiday then with delicious macarons with a beer buttercream filling. I don't know why I have never seen this done before, but it gives the right amount of sweetness with just a hint of beer (AKA amazingness).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Coconut Almond Rice

This rice may be the best rice that I have ever tasted in my life. Bold statement, I know. The coconut milk paired with garlic, onions and toasted almonds brings the usual boring rice to the next level. Seriously, I don't even know what else to say. Try it yourself and tell me you don't agree.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It actually felt like winter this weekend down in LA. It rained for two and a half days straight. Swear to G. Thunder and all. I took advantage of this weather and cooked some cold weather food essentials. You can't get more traditional than chicken noodle soup. I've always wanted to make it fully homemade (I'm talkin' homemade chicken stock, oh yeah) and I think I've become pretty successful at it. My twist I put on this staple is...wait for it...cinnamon. My dad mentioned putting cinnamon in my soup and I straight up laughed in his face. Shortly after, I felt bad for smirking at his tip and popped a cinnamon stick in for 10 minutes, tasted it, and was pleasantly surprised. It's exactly what the soup needed. It gives your tastebuds a warm, cuddly feeling without being too cinnamon-y. I think all chicken noodle soups should include cinnamon; it may seem crazy, but it's just too good not to. Do it and enjoy :)


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