Monday, October 31, 2011

Things You Make in Your Kitchen

I get really flattered when people send me emails containing photos of their attempts at making my recipes. I love to know that what I produce is able to be re-created.

Katie and I making Sunday dinner
Today's fan decided to take an Italian spin on my Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.
Can you say Holy Meatball?

Friday, October 28, 2011


Creativity at its best. Great success!!! Best flamingo ever :)

Happy Halloween everyone!


Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner
This post is in response to some questions people have been asking me recently. My closest friends know that I cook... a lot. But what even surprises them most is how much of what I make comes from my head. I never went to culinary school, but I payed close attention to my parents cooking my whole life. And I was always the girl that asked questions.

I guess what I am trying to say is, these recipes come from me. Or my family. Unless otherwise noted, like my most recent Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. That was a variation of a recipe from Epicurious. But this goes without saying, that even with inspiration, I always "doctor" what I do. And even without culinary school, I have a great understanding of baking and cooking basics. Hopefully this comes as some inspiration to those of you who want to cook. You can always be self taught and learn from observation.In fact, I find that to be an even better way; once you have the fundamentals, your creative genius really is endless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween: What will you be?

I love Halloween. For one day of the year, I get to be someone I normally am not. This year, I have decided to be a flamingo. Don't worry, I will post photos up after I figure out how this will be accomplished.... anyone have a lot of pink boas?

 I hope everyone has a bewitching evening!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Layout Revamp

This will be short and sweet...

I REVAMPED MY LAYOUT! Not only that, I added a few cool features to make the site easier to navigate.

1. Facebook Like Box- If you haven't liked my facebook page yet, do so now!
2. Twitter Feed- Up to date information on what I am tweeting about, what I am eating, and where you can follow me.
3. "Top of the Page" Button - If you look at the bottom right corner of the screen when you are scrolling the page, you will see a Black Up Arrow. Clicking that makes it easier to get to the top of my blog.
4. Universal Shares- Whether its Facebook, email, Google +, etc, you have the ability to share my posts with anyone you want. Remember, Sharing is Sexy.
5. Print- The Blog is now Printer friendly! Just look for the green PRINT box at the end of posts. This makes printing recipes a lot easier.
6. Email- I have my own blog email now. You can click the EMAIL icon under my profile to the right of the blog (near the top). Or, please email me at

Thank you for being patient with me. If you have any suggestions for how to make my pages read better, just write me a comment or shoot me an email at

The Blue Dog Beer Tavern

For all the amazing places I have written about, I can't believe I haven't written anything on the Blue Dog Beer Tavern. For one, its 2 blocks from my house. And for how amazing it is, I am lucky to have this within walking distance. If you are in the LA area, more specifically Sherman Oaks, this is a place you have to go to.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

Butternut Squash and Barbeque Charred Chicken Lasagna

Trying to deny that fall is here when you still wish it were summer? You know I am. Which is why this recipe is a great meld of the two seasons. Introducing my Barbeque Charred Chicken and Butternut Squash marriage in this delicious lasagna. Perfect cold evening yummy-ness.

This recipe may sound odd but let me tell you why it works. Think about how most of the time, when you get a butternut squash ravioli for example, it is partnered with burnt butter. Why? Because the smokiness and the fat of the butter balances out the sweet of the squash. So how was I inspired? I went to my boss's annual BBQ this past weekend and walked away with 3 large pieces of long time barbecued chicken, and started thinking about what I was going to do with my leftovers. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese as a Holiday Gift

Who doesn't love cheese? Who doesn't love pasta? And who wouldn't want to get amazing macaroni and cheese that they could make at any time as a gift? I know I would.

If you haven't checked out my recipe for my Macaroni and Cheese, click here! I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I make a mean mac. One of the things I mention in the bottom of the post is the ability this mac has to be frozen and reheated. But it can also be made into individual portions. Here is what I am trying to say...

Instead of giving someone a gift they may not like this year or giving people you work with cookies, how about giving them macaroni and cheese in individual ramekins that they have the ability to cook anytime them want. This is perfect for those of you who aren't really into baking!

Photo from here.

Friday Morning Pick me Up

After a crushing Bruin loss... it is time for a morning pick me up. No, its not coffee... its this...

That is right, a cheese bagel with cream cheese. If I was superman, my kryptonite would be cheese. Add that on top of a carb, and well... I am one happy girl. On that note, what is your one food weakness?

So here is to the weekend! Happy Friday!!!
Watching the UCLA vs AZ game with Dianne and Natalie

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pre-Holiday Pilates

I am about to shamelessly advertise... because I can.

One of my best friends in the whole world is an amazing Pilates instructor. I have taken a class with her before (let me remind you I work out 3-4 times a week with a strength class) and I was hurting. Which is what you want, especially if you are going to be cooking and eating delicious food all the time like me.

This fall/winter, she is offering Private Pilates at her home at a great price from the beginning of November till the end of December. Essentially, I am telling you to try this out. This way, you stay fit for the holidays and don't feel guilty about eating that extra spoon of cookie dough :)

The Bruin Road Show

Season has started and I am so thrilled to be working for UCLA for my third year. The Bruin's first game is November 6, 2011, and this season we play on the road as Pauley Pavilion undergoes its last year under construction. Go Bruins!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curried Pumpkin Seeds, etc

I did a similar post to this one last year. My recipe is good, but this recipe from is REALLY good. Why? Because it is spicy and also adds this citrus flavor that is just so delicious. This was another recipe sent to me by my amazing friend Shira who obviously knows what I like. So this year, instead of making the same old boring pumpkin seed snack, try this! You will thank me.

This recipe was followed exactly except for one thing, the lime juice. I did not have any on hand, so I used lemon juice.

Pumpkin Carving Party continued...

The party was a success! And I am glad I did it. I feel like if you are going to do something fun by yourself, like carve pumpkins, why not extend the good cheer to your friends and all come together to share food and ideas. Because of course there has to be food. Delicious food.

The Weekend Wrap Up

Fall Festivals are here! Pumpkin Carving! Puppy Costumes! I love Halloween!

Veronica and I outside Hotel Erwin
The weekend was full of amazing food and holiday activities. Friday I spent some MUCH needed time with my best friend, Veronica. The plan for the night revolved around food (of course) as we both hadn't tried the burger with bacon caramel at the bar her boyfriend worked at. That is right... bacon caramel. Here are the details...

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

A few days ago, I posted about my upcoming Pumpkin Carving Party and mentioned I was going to make "Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good". The original recipe is posted here. I stuck mainly to the recipe, but added some of my own flavors. This recipe idea really is as versatile as the poster said it was. Also, I served it as the main dish that night, and let me tell you, I was not missing a big hunk of meat or side dishes. It was perfect, people had seconds, and everyone asked me how they could make it. That is all I could have ever wanted! Sounds like a perfect night to me :)

Sam's By the Beach: DineLA

I just wanted to write a quick review for my experience at Sam's on the Beach last week. My amazing BHIP workout group and I decided to do an intense regime after work, and then cancel it all out by eating a 3 course DineLA meal. Yum...

Like I have posted about before, if you don't take advantage of DineLA, you are really missing out. Sam's was delicious and I would go back again. Plus it is right on the water, making it ideal for date night. The portions are right, the food is just what you want. And the French waiters make you feel like you are not longer Dining in LA. All in all, an A+.

But what did we eat?... Well here you go!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Party

My boyfriend is a crazy good artist, which translates into being a great Pumpkin carver. I love decorating my home for certain Holidays, and Halloween really let's you get crazy. I plan on having him do at least 3 pumpkins to jazz up the outside of our house. These were our pumpkins last year...

Jacob did his by hand... amazing!
I used a stencil for mine.
This year, I thought it would be fun to have a get together at my house to carve pumpkins. The deal is that everyone brings a pumpkin and a food or drink, and we all get to eating and carving! I found a bunch of cool templates online which I printed out. You can also find some pretty creative decorations, like things for your windows, etc.

Happy Birthday John Wooden

The Wizard of Westwood would be 101 years old today. He will forever be one of the most revered, intelligent, and insightful Coaches of all time.
Happy Birthday Mr. Wooden!

Inspired every day...

You can get more information on the wizard of Westwood, plus an exclusive sneak peak into his life at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whiskey Spiked Hot Apple Cider

Its HALLOWEEN...Time to decorate the office!!!

Doesn't my desk look amazing?!!!

The lanyard I made on my computer

Cuteness Overload

Isn't he the most adorable pup you've ever seen?!

That is all :)

Happy Thursday! Its almost Friday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Party Ideas

I love fall because of all the amazing Holidays. This is when I really get to some mean baking. But October is my favorite month for 2 reasons: Halloween is my favorite holiday and October is my last time for some breathing room before my work season starts and I have no life till April. Therefore, Halloween is a cause to go big!

Katie and I sporting our best Halloween spirit
Periodically, I post about ideas for parties, mostly when it pertains to food and gifts. Other than that, I scrapbook, but it isn't the best scrap booking you've ever seen, let me tell you that.

I am going to put down some of my Halloween party ideas today, and hopefully in the next few days, add some photos once the gift making and partying begins. I just want to leave instructions now so no one misses out on something cool and Halloweeny.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Weeknight Dinner: Honey Goat Cheese Vegetable Pizza

Pizza construction is simple. Most things go well on a pizza, but making one truely delicious is all about the sauce and the combination of flavors. I like to jazz classics up a little bit. Also, a good pizza stone makes a pizza crust really delicious.

I make pizza a lot because it is my boyfriend's favorite evening meal. That or a sandwich. This recipe is simple, the steps are the same. But the combination is so good! Try it out!

1 pizza dough
2 medium tomatos
1/4 a red onion
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 a cup tomato sauce
8 ounces shredded mozarella
4 ounces Honey Goat Cheese

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vanilla Rum Cake with Buttercream Frosting

My mom makes this sinful vanilla rum cake, that has orange peel and chocolate on top of the homemade butter cream frosting... Mmmmmm this is making me so hungry! Its just rummy enough and so moist that you could cut it with a fork. Friday happens to be my boyfriend's birthday, so this a perfect time to do some baking!

Last year I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla almond butter cream frosting. It was then sprinkled with coconut and silver edible sparkles. It was so good. And it looked so professional in fact, that the patrons at Flemings Steakhouse asked me if they could have some. I should have sold slices and started a baking business right then and there!

mmmmm Birthday Cake

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Restaurant Review: Marrakesh

As previously stated in this post about my ethnic identity, I am Moroccan. There are a few places to get good Moroccan food in Los Angeles, but the best and most authentic food and experience is at Marrakesh in Studio City. The atmosphere, food, belly dancing, and dinner preparation are spot on. If you are into Middle Eastern food, you will love it. Or, if you are looking to try something different, you will not be disappointed. This was the first time my boyfriend has Moroccan food and he loved it.

The dinner is prefix, but you want this. Essentially, you choose your main meal. And then any meal you choose comes with fresh baked bread, a soup, a salad, an appetizer, and then it all ends with baklava and Moroccan mint tea (which is the best tea known to man!!!). The description above is waning... this is not your ordinary soup. This is not your ordinary salad... this is a whole Moroccan experience.

Family Matters, etc

I have decided to do a post on me, myself, and I. This came after someone emailed me and asked me "what exactly are you?" This was in reference to me saying, again, that I am blah blah blah after my visit to Marrakesh (a Moroccan place in Los Angeles). I was born and raised in Los Angeles and find myself to be a quintessential California girl. But ethnically, I am a mutt of mutts... and find myself connected to so many cultures in different ways. Here is a breakdown:

My father is an immigrant from Morocco. He left when he was 16 to travel to France, where he learned how to cook. Eventually, he immigrated to America, met my mother, and had me and my sister. However, his father was Czechoslovakian, having met his Moroccan mother in Casablanca Morocco, marrying her and living there. So, ethnically I am 1/4 Moroccan and 1/4 Czechoslovakian.

My mother's father is an immigrant from Russia, that came to America during the Bolshevik Revolution (he was very blond and blue eyed). My mother's mother is a good old American woman; my family back east are all long standing Virginians. Essentially, a various mix of the old countries that made up Great Britain. Ethnically I am 1/4 Russian and 1/4 Great British. All this makes me one giant mutt.

My Mom, Me, My Dad on my graduation from UCLA
Most people say I look like my dad... But I can argue both parents

My mother (all the way to the left) and I and some family friends

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