slowing down


i’ve been pulling out my camera a lot more these days to capture little snapshots of life as it is. i think it has to do with the fact that i’ve been trying to slow down a little bit more. i’m always busy, running around trying to complete a million tasks at once. i forget to stop and smell the flowers, as they say. but once i do, i suddenly find myself appreciating the little things, like the simple act of preparing a meal. i had just bought beets and figs when i came across this recipe by five and spice on pinterest, so i decided to give it a try. my rendition is pretty much the same, except i swapped out the grilled kale for fresh spinach. the original is obviously much prettier than mine, but it still felt really good to put it together, and i was still really proud of myself for trying something new.

and isn’t it funny how the moment we slow down a little, we actually end up being more productive? when i try to work too hard, i just end up spinning my wheels. and when i try to make everything perfect, i just end up hampering my own creativity and drive. so here’s so taking a few deep breaths before taking on the week ahead.

the toddler-friendly version of most meals usually involves a little platter with all of the ingredients separated out so adam can pick and choose what he’s interested in tasting. it usually also includes something i know he will like. he’s been eating blackberries by the carton lately!


boba guys


no, i haven’t been to san francisco lately, but a little piece of sf did make it’s way to me in the form of a few blends by tea people. if you aren’t familiar with the brand, you may have heard of their sister company, boba guys. the whole company started back in 2011 as a pop-up shop. it was so wildly successful, that the put their heads together and launched their first shop in the summer of 2013 and have since grown into two tea companies with multiple locations. i never got a chance to go there when i was living in the bay area, but i have seen many an instagram photo of a frosty mug filled with delicious bubble milk tea. it’s almost enough to make be book a one-way ticket back to my old home! but since i don’t have any real plans to visit at the moment, i can pretend i’m there by attempting to hack their famous recipe.

i started by brewing the boba guys blend no. 1 as the base, which was designed as a blend strong enough to match straus family creamery milk and still hold it’s flavor. from there, i boiled some tapioca balls until soft and mixed it all together with some half and half and a teensy bit of sugar.  i don’t know if it’s as good as the original, but it certainly satisfied my craving for boba. now all i need to do is find the right straws…


redlands city guide: à la minute


after moving back to redlands last year, i’ve been wanting to start a city guide series to highlight some of my favorite spots in town. even though i grew up here, i was never fully able to appreciate just how charming this southern california town really is. at least not until moving back as an adult. unfortunately, this lofty project has been much harder to plan and execute than i thought, and the whole thing ended up on the backburner as a result. my series of photos from local ice cream shop à la minute were a casualty of this shuffling of priorities, and i feel really bad that i never posted them despite the fact that we shot them back in october! better late than never?

since à la minute opened shop on citrus ave. a three years ago, they have expanded their ice cream empire to include sister locations in historic downtown orange and the charming college town of claremont. they boast a delicious menu of ice cream flavors made with whole milk from straus organic creamery with many of their flavors being seasonally sourced from local businesses. each serving is made-to-order in a kitchen-aid mixer using liquid nitrogen to freeze all of the ingredients together right in front of your eyes. it’s quite novel to watch them flip on the machine and listen to the quick whir of the paddle as a billowing cloud of white smoke pours out, and your little cup of ice cream emerges. current flavors on the menu include orange honey made with locally sourced farquar farms citrus and soffel farms honey, and chocolate lavender made with chocolate from nearby shop parliament chocolate. this in addition to a rotating menu of seasonal delights.

so on one warm weekend morning, i met up with sisters and creative duo joy and promise newell to snap a few photos of this beloved local spot.



recipe: the greeña colada


back when i was living in los feliz, i couldn’t resist stopping by the punchbowl a few times a week for their delicious greeña coladas. needless to say, i was pretty sad when we moved away because i no longer had quick access to my smoothie fix. their menu says it’s made with coconut meat, kale, pineapple, avocado, coconut water,  and coconut nectar. so i went about my way sourcing the ingredients in an attempt to recreate it. i had a bit of a rough time finding the coconut meat, but finally found it in the freezer section of my local health food store. i don’t even know what coconut nectar is, and i still haven’t been able to find it, so i had to skip out on that one! then it was just a matter of tweaking the ratio of ingredients to taste. there’s really no right or wrong when it comes to this, but here’s the way i’ve been preparing it.

greeña colada

8 – 10 chunks of frozen pineapple
half an avocado
2 – 3 frozen kale leaves
1 large piece of coconut meat
coconut water varies, usually around 1.5 cups

simply toss all of the ingredients into a commercial blender or food processor and add coconut water to desired consistency. because i like my smoothies to be icy cold, i usually put the pineapple and kale into the freezer before blending, but you can also just throw them in fresh. i’ve also noticed that i prefer the drink to be heavy on pineapple so i can taste the tartness through the creamy avocado and bitter kale. then just grab a nice big straw and enjoy!


the year in review: things i made

hard to believe it, but i’ve been writing this blog since december of 2008, which means i’ve just celebrated 6 years as a blogger. and for most of that time, it’s been pretty exclusively about my personal style and forays into fashion. but 2014 was a year of firsts, and i finally opened up a little and shared some of my interests outside of fashion. true, some of it was fashion-related, like my adventures trying out indigo dye and making baby-friendly jewelry. but i also started food blogging including a family recipe series for the holidays. i even shared an easy bath salt diy.

at first, i was pretty anxious about sharing something new because blogging about anything other than my outfits was kinda out of my comfort zone, but i’m really glad i gave it a try. working on projects like these can be really therapeutic for me, and they help me to break free from the sometimes monotonous routine of staying home to take care of the baby. i definitely plan to continue this trend, and i’m especially excited to finally start sharing some glimpses inside my home as i work on our interior decor! and i would love to start talking a little bit more about my adventures in parenting as well. so here’s to many more fun lifestyle posts in 2015!

family recipes: mexican hot chocolate

i’m kinda cheating with this latest post in my family recipe series because even though we grew up drinking mexican hot chocolate, we never actually made it from scratch. our real “recipe” would normally consist of buying up a box of abuelita from the grocery store, chopping up a few cubes, and whisking it into some warm milk in a saucepan. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing just that, but over the weekend, my sister and i decided to try out our own “healthy” rendition of this childhood favorite.

“healthy” mexican hot chocolate

2 cups milk or milk-alternative of your choice
2 – 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder*
2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt

simply pour all of the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat and whisk until warm! for this recipe, i really like using an almond/coconut milk blend, but if you wanted something really rich and creamy, then go for whole milk. we also tried adding various other spices beyond just cinnamon, but found that if you start adding things like nutmeg and cloves, it really starts to taste more like pumpkin spice. that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but after tinkering with the recipe quite a bit, i personally prefer to keep it simple.

*a note about the cacao: we tried this with unsweetened bakers cocoa and it just did not taste like the mexican hot chocolate we grew up drinking. i think that using real, raw cacao powder (or nibs that have been ground to a powder in a food processor) is the most important element of this recipe. it’s what will give you that strong, slightly bitter flavor that is associated with the drink.

oh, and i think i may have cancelled out the healthy part of this recipe but adding a big dollop of homemade whipped cream. you gotta live a little, right?

family recipes: albondigas soup

it’s the time of year to celebrate family, so i’ve decided to share some of my favorite family recipes for the month of december. i grew up on mexican food, with all of the recipes being handed down from generation to generation on my mother’s side. and as soon as the weather gets chilly, we all start craving a pot of caldo (soup) to warm our bones. albondigas (meatball) soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods. in fact, after adam was born earlier this year, i asked my mom make a giant pot for me, and it was literally the only thing i ate for at least a week after i got home from the hospital. i just didn’t have the stomach for anything else. she would serve me a warm bowl of soup with a rolled up tortilla, and i would be in heaven.

last week was grey and rainy, so it was the perfect time for us to practice our family recipe. my sister and i made a big pot of soup under my grandmother’s supervision so that we could share the recipe with you. mind you, this is a recipe that we’ve all committed to memory, we eyeball the measurements for all the ingredients, and each of us tweaks the recipe to our own personal taste. there really are no rules, especially when it comes to making soup! i’m offering you the base for how we make it in our family, but feel free to add or subtract whatever ingredients you prefer.

albondigas soup

for the meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped mint
garlic salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

for the soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup rice
1 tbsp crushed garlic
cumin to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups of water
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cups cubed red or yellow potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
green beans or any other vegetable you prefer!

garnish (to taste)

green onions, chopped

after prepping all of your veggies and meatballs, coat the bottom of a large pot with a thin layer of olive oil. saute onions until translucent, then add crushed garlic and saute for another minute before adding the cumin. finishe sauteing for another minute, then add the vegetable stock, water, and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil.

once the soup is boiling, carefully drop in the meatballs. let boil for about a minute before adding in the vegetables. reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer until all of the ingredients are tender, about 30 minutes.

serve with cilantro, green onions, and oregano to taste. then warm a tortilla and enjoy!

a variation on candied yams

and just like that, thanksgiving is upon us. my family will be gathering at my grandma’s house for a traditional thanksgiving with all of the usual suspects: a giant turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, and steamed veggies. my grandma’s been making it that way her entire life, and we don’t tend to stray away from her tradition. but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a bit of fun on our own. my sister came over this weekend, eager to try out a recipe for “healthy” candied yams that she’d dreamt up the night before. it turned out so good, that we’ve decided that we might as well entertain ourselves with all of our own thanksgiving alternatives  in the days before and after this most gluttonous of holidays.

a variation on candied yams

  • 4 cups cubed sweet potatoes (you can also go half and half with butternut squash if you like!)
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil, or enough to coat the potatoes
  • 3 – 4 Tbsps maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans, lightly chopped

set oven to 400 degrees. toss the potatoes lightly in olive oil and bake in the oven until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. remove from the oven and stir in the orange juice, pecans, and cranberries. drizzle with maple syrup to taste, then return to the over for an additional 15 minutes, or until the dish has caramelized. let rest for a few minutes and enjoy with your favorite thanksgiving dishes!

stuffed squash

the weather is finally cooling off around these parts, bringing with it the opportunity to warm up the kitchen with all sorts of autumnal delights. my sister came over earlier in the week with a big butternut squash all ready to bake, so we whipped up a tasty stuffing to go with it. even though it’s a pretty simple recipe, it certainly isn’t short on flavor.

butternut squash stuffed with wild rice and brussels sprouts

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 cups uncooked chard
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 2 cup of cooked brussel sprouts (cut in half)
  • 2 tbsp roughly cut craisins
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • enough olive oil to coat squash/ sprouts/ pan to saute onions

heat the oven to 375 degrees. half the butternut squash, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. coat the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. pop it into the oven with the cut sides up until the flesh is tender, about 45 minutes or so. while the squash is baking in the oven, cook the wild rice to instructions. in a pan, saute the onion and chard in about a tsp of olive oil. roast the brussels sprouts in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. in a medium sized bowl, mix in the cooked rice, onion, chard, brussels sprouts, craisins, and slivered almonds. scoop the ingredients into your cooked butternut squash and serve!

homemade halloween candy

i know i’m diverging a bit from my usual path, but i decided to interrupt your regularly scheduled outfit post for something a little different. i can count the number of times i’ve posted about food on this blog with one hand, which is actually pretty funny considering the fact that i’m a certified pastry chef. that’s right, in another life long ago before i ever had a blog, i went to culinary school and worked as a cake decorator. it was a pretty fun time in my life, but i eventually moved on because i was young and still wanted to try out a few more things before settling on a profession.

fast forward a good many years and i’ve decided to have some fun in the kitchen again. mostly thanks to a great deal of persuasion from my sister, who’s convinced me to share some of our collective culinary prospects here on the blog. she’s been itching to spend more time preparing home cooked meals, and now that adam is getting a little older, i would really like to do the same. it’s a much healthier lifestyle because we tend to be a bit more conscientious about what we buy at the grocery store and put into our own meals than they do at the local burger joint. case in point: i suggested we try making some of our favorite candies for halloween. not exactly the healthiest idea, but once we started perusing recipes online, we pretty much knew that we wanted to try out healthier alternatives. we made almond butter cups with dark chocolate and no added sweeteners, and our own version of almond joy using agave-sweetened coconut flakes.

you’ll have to forgive us while we iron out the kinks, but hopefully these first two recipes will make a little bit of sense!

dark chocolate almond joy (adapted from tasty yummies)


  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate
  • almonds

simply toss all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix. the original recipe calls for less coconut, but i ended up adding more because my filling turned out too thin. i also ran mine through a quick whirl in the food processor because the coconut i bought was rather chunky. i then set the bowl aside in the refrigerator while i melted the chocolate.

for the chocolate coating, i melted 16 oz. of guittards dark chocolate (i used more than the recipe calls for because i was also making almond butter cups at the same time). i bought little pastilles that are designed for melting, but chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate block will also work. you just melt it in a double-broiler on low.

once the filling is cool, it will be more solid so you can roll it into little balls. i used a tablespoon to measure them out evenly and used my hands to roll them into shape. then simply dip them in the chocolate with a fork and place them on a wire rack so the excess can drip of. top each one with an almond and you’re ready to enjoy!

dark chocolate almond butter cups


  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil


  • 10 oz dark chocolate
  • sea salt (optional)

i browsed around for healthy almond butter cups and found a lot of recipes that called for a weird ingredients like protein powder or almond meal. i finally came to the conclusion that you really don’t need all of that stuff. so for ours, i simply mixed almond butter with coconut oil. i will tell you now that the brand we used (maranatha) is not my favorite nut butter. if you can, go to your local health foods store and get freshly ground nut butter. i find that texture to be the most pleasing and flavorful. once you mix the filling, it will be a good consistency for spooning into the cups.

set aside the filling at room temperature while you melt the chocolate in a double-broiler. for this step, i placed my paper cups into an appropriately sized baking dish so that they would hold their shape. it’s not necessary, but i think it helps. then simply spoon about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each cup and use your finger to coat the bottom and sides of the cup evenly. place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens. then spoon in the nut butter mix leaving about 1/8″ of room at the top. place them back into the fridge until the filling is solid, then top them off with more melted chocolate. i finished some of mine with pink sea salt to taste. then back into the fridge until they are ready to serve!