Meal/Menu planning July 27, 2015

I tried a different style video this time. A story on how I come up with my menu for dinner parties or even everyday meals.

menu planning, watercolor


I thought it would be a fun way to show how I prep before having people over!

See the video here:


Recipe on the video:

Pappardelle with Summer Squash and Arugula-Walnut Pesto

3/4 cup walnut halves
4 cups packed arugula leaves (4 ounces)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish
Kosher salt
12 ounces pappardelle
3 firm, fresh medium zucchini and/or yellow squash (1 1/4 pounds), very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
handful fresh cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

In a small skillet, toast the walnuts over moderately low heat until golden, about 
5 minutes. Finely chop 1/2 cup of the walnuts; coarsely chop the rest for garnish.
In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of the arugula until finely chopped; scrape into a large bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of olive oil, the garlic, grated cheese and finely chopped walnuts. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the pesto in the bowl. Add the zucchini and toss to evenly coat. Stir 
in the lemon juice and the remaining 2 cups of arugula and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the coarsely chopped walnuts and cheese shavings.


Weekend Eats July 24-26

Thanks for checking out my blog

See the video for this weekend:


Recipes mentioned:

Burnt Eggplant with Tahini– Cookbook: Plenty

1 large aubergine ( I used 3 small)
1/2 c tahini paste
60ml water
2 tsp pomegranate molasses ( I used balsamic)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 mini cucumbers
90g cherry tomatoes
a little olive oil to finish
salt and black pepper

Burn eggplant under broiler. Peel off burnt skin, once cool enough to handle. Put in strainer and strain for about 30 minutes. Using a knife roughly chunk eggplant and add rest of ingredients in a bowl stir and finish with lemon and olive oil. Serve with bread or veggies or both!

Cauliflower Steak with Olive relish and Tomato Sauce

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 cup pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 plum tomatoes, cored, quartered


Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into four 1/2″ “steaks” from center of cauliflower (some florets will break loose; reserve). Finely chop enough loose florets to measure 1/2 cup. Transfer chopped florets to a small bowl and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding tablespoon oil to pan between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, return skillet to medium-high heat and add garlic cloves and tomatoes, one cut side down. Cook until tomatoes are browned; turn tomatoes over and transfer skillet to oven with cauliflower. Roast garlic and tomatoes until tender, about 12 minutes.

Transfer garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 tablespoon oil to a blender; purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide tomato sauce among plates. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate; spoon relish over. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Mint- Grapefruit Granita 

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (from about 3 medium grapefruits), strained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons), strained

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, mint, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. In a blender, combine fruit juices and mint syrup and puree on high to combine, 30 seconds. Pour mixture into a nonreactive shallow 2-quart baking dish and freeze until solid, about 6 hours (or up to 3 days).
With a fork, break granita into large chunks. Transfer to a food processor and pulse to form small crystals. Serve immediately, with mint leaves (or cover and freeze, up to 2 hours).

National Hot DOG day

We celebrated National Hot DOG day eating Brats:

Recipe for Brats:

Wisconsin Beef and Cheddar Brats

4 tablespoons butter
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 12 -ounce bottle beer
Vegetable oil, for the grill
8 beef-and-cheddar brats (I used regular brats)
8 dark rye sesame rolls (I used regular ol’ hot dog buns)
Stone-ground mustard (I used Coleman Mustard)

Set up a grill for direct cooking over high heat. Melt the butter in a large skillet on the grill or side burner. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beer and cover; cook about 10 more minutes. Uncover the skillet and simmer until most of the beer has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and oil the grates. Grill the brats on the grates 4 to 5 minutes per side. Lightly toast the rolls on the grill. Serve the hot brats on the rolls, smothered with the onions and topped with mustard.

Wednesday July 22, 2015 eats

Check out my latest video:

Here are the recipes I mentioned:

Zucchini and Dill Pancakes

zucchini and dill pancakes

  • 2 medium zucchini (12 ounces total), shredded on large holes of a box grater
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
    2 tablespoons fresh chives or scallions
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

  • Place the zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and squeeze the zucchini with your fingers until dry. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the flour, dill, chives, salt and egg to combine.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Using a number-18 ice-cream scoop (the equivalent of 3 tablespoons), or a scant 1/4-cup measure, place 4 to 5 mounds of zucchini mixture in the pan, flattening with a metal spatula to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, lowering the heat if over browning. Repeat with the remaining mixture.


Perfect Rice Krispie Treat Recipe

5 Tbsp butter
8 cups, plus 2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Krispie Cereal
½ tsp salt

  1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large post over low heat melt butter. Once butter in melted add in 8 cups mini marshmallows, stirring constantly.
  3. Once the marshmallows are just melted remove from heat and stir in your cereal and salt until just coated in marshmallow mixture. Now stir in the remaining 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in evenly.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Best if served same day.

Thursday Weekly Eats Recipes

Watch my Thursday Video:


See the recipes below:

Tomato and Watermelon cubed salad

  • 3 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh
  • 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used Trader Joes Lemon Olive Oil)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cube ingredients and put on a plate. Drizzle olive oil, salt, herbs and pepper

Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers 

5 poblano peppers
1 pound chorizo sausage
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups grated  Monterey Jack cheese
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (or homemade diced green chiles)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds. Save the tops and set aside with the peppers.

Set a large skillet (this skillet will be used to cook the peppers so make sure it’s big enough to fit all the stuffed peppers) over medium high heat and add chorizo. Break up the sausage and cook until lightly browned.

Add in sweet corn and black beans. Cook until warmed through. Remove mixture from the pan and add to a bowl.

Add the same pan back to the stove and add in diced tomatoes, diced green chiles, chili powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder, kosher salt and pepper. Stir to combine, lower the heat to medium low and simmer while you stuff your peppers. Remember to stir the sauce a few times while you are stuffing. It should cook down a little while you stuff your peppers.

Fill each pepper half way with filling, 1 tablespoon grated cheese, more filling and another 1 tablespoon cheese. Put the top on the pepper and use a wooden toothpick to secure the top to the pepper. Do this until all the peppers have been stuffed.

Add peppers to the tomato sauce and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, remove the oven, cover with leftover shredded cheese and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is browned and melted.


Weekly Eats- Video Version

Lots of new things going on here! I’ve been in a creative slump recently. I’ve been super busy with admin type work that I just was not making the time for my blog or video. But I just bought a new editing software to use with one of my clients and I have since been re- invigorated to start making videos again.  I’ve also been doing a lot of perusing over the internet and stumbled on these vloggers- The Michalacks. I’ve been totally inspired by Stef’s work and so I decided to start making more “vloggy” style videos. Plus I thought it would be fun for the time being to document my life as it is now and just see where it takes me!

Here is Monday’s Vlog:

Tuesday Vlog:

Also as promised in the youtube description box here are the recipes I used in the vlog:

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

  • 6 large ripe peaches (4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the broiler on high and position a rack about 6 inches from the heat. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar and scrape them onto a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the peaches for about 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until caramelized and juicy. Let the peaches cool slightly. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and, with your fingers, rub it into the mixture evenly. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla. Refrigerate the crumb topping.

In a bowl, toss the cooled peaches with the lemon juice; Sprinkle with the crumb topping and bake until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling, about 20 minutes.


Almond Madeleines 


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I did not use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, optional
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almond meal (I got mine from whole foods and I feel like it made a difference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted


Special equipment: two 12-mold madeleine pans (24 molds total) or mini- or regular-muffin pansPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 12-mold madeleine pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,cream together the eggs and granulated sugar on high speed until the mixture thickens and develops a light pale color, 3 to 4 minutes.

Beat in the almond extract, lemon zest if using, flour, almond meal, salt and baking powder. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix until everything is incorporated, but don’t over mix.

Divide the batter evenly between the molds in the prepared pans. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 8 minutes.

Let the madeleines cool for about 2 minutes in the pan, and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


Eating Adventures: Tomato Cracker

 I love walking into my local Asian Market and searching the snack isle. I saw these crackers the other day and wanted to test them out. I’ve totally been in a tomato mood since my garden has been producing pounds of them!

It turns out they were more “fake” tomato flavor than anything. But, hey you can’t win them all.

Watch my video on youtube to see my reaction

No Sugar Breakfast Bars

I am always on the go in the morning and I like to grab a breakfast bar and a piece of fruit in the morning on my way to meetings or classes. This recipe combines the 2 in a healthy and convenient package.

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or more)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups milk
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup applesauce
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ large banana, diced
handful of raisins or dried cranberries
Next time I will add bout 1/4 chopped nuts

preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 8×8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, combine the milk, applesauce, egg, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be very wet. Fold in the diced banana and nuts, then pour into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until thickened and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool, cut into bars and serve or wrap for freezing.

White Chocolate and Lemon Popcorn

white chocolate and lemon

Lately, i’ve been in a major love affair with homemade popcorn. My friend Shelby reintroduced me to the fresh made stuff, popped with coconut oil and for about 6 months it’s been my go to snack. While simple salted buttered popcorn will continue to be my go to flavor, sometimes I crave something sweet. I decided to make a video and show you guys exactly how I flavor my sweet go to popped corn!!!


1 T Coconut Oil
enough popcorn to cover bottom of pan
white chocolate
lemon zest

Pop popcorn in pan, spread onto baking sheet, drizzle over white chocolate, lemon zest and salt!!



Puffed Millet Cereal Bars


This recipe is based off Green Kitchen Stories post on Nut, Quinoa & Chocolate Bars.  If you havent had a chance to check out their website yet, do. I have LOVED everything i’ve made from their site, especially their No recipe Curry post.

Pit dates and mash, add to the sauce pan together with the nut butter and coconut oil. Stir around until it all comes together and cook for just a few minutes on low heat. Remove from the heat. Add chopped almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and puffed millet. Taste and add salt if needed (depending on how salty the nut butter is).

Line baking dish with parchment paper and scoop the batter into it. Use the palm of your hands to press everything together. Put in the freezer while melting the chocolate on a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars and use a spatula to distribute it evenly. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and put back into freezer until cold and firm. Enjoy!