simple creamy-miso lentil pasta {v+gf}

This simple creamy-miso lentil pasta is one of my go-to weeknight recipes that comes together with items you probably already have in your pantry, save maybe the miso…but don’t leave it out, it’s the star ingredient here, and gives the dish that nice umami flavor. The pasta is relatively bright for the fall, brought on by the citrus notes from the lemon and peppery arugula, not to mention packed with protein and healthy fats from the lentil pasta, olives and cashews. Californians will definitely want to add an avocado to the dish (I do, and you should!), but it’s not necessary.

pomegranate and pistachio breakfast toast

Fall’s here and just like that, berries and peaches are gone from the markets and pomegranates, apples and grapes are a plenty. Although I’ll miss the vibrant summer produce, here’s a little piece of heaven that comes together with five ingredients—two pieces of toasted bread, a slab of nut butter, a sprinkling of pistachios and pomegranate seeds, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Badda-bing, badda-boom.

homemade almond butter

Spoon it. Spread it. Dip it.

There are many ways to consume almond butter and I participate in ALL OF THEM. It’s no longer recreational; I’m addicted. And, like many things, once you go homemade you’ll never go back. Almond butter is the perfect addition to overnight oats, this nut & seed bread or perhaps a rice cake with sea salt flakes…you can eat a spoonful as a snack or spread some on an apple or celery stick—the possibilities are limitless! Add in any additional ingredients you fancy—sea salt, maple syrup, honey or cinnamon. But it’s nice to keep it simple, and add the other stuff later depending on what you feel like. Do you want something savory or sweet? That may change from day to day so it’s nice to keep your options open.

healthy breakfast muffins {v+gf}

You know when you want to impress others by baking something yummy but just don’t feel like putting forth too much effort? Or you want something warm and cozy for breakfast but also healthy-ish? Or if you’re like me and stocked up on the last peaches of the season and are wondering how to implement them into yet another recipe—this one’s for you kid! These peach and almond breakfast muffins are easy to make, subtlety sweet, nutty and downright delightful. Eat them straight out of the oven or with a little “butter” or butter. Perhaps drizzle some honey or maple syrup over the top for some added sweetness?!

easy homemade hummus

This hummus is creamy, smooth and delicious. Plus, it takes less than five minutes to prepare without the additives found in store-bought hummus. Just toss all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, pulse on high-speed and voila—you’ve got yourself some homemade hummus. So easy, yet others will be impressed.

fig crumble bars

Soft, slightly sweet crumble bars with golden, lightly crisped edges (for those who like the corner pieces!). Kind of like cookies, but with more depth and less guilt. Eat these bars for breakfast, an afternoon delight or post-dinner treat a la mode. Sub any ripened fruit you like!

tokyo city guide

There are two sides of Tokyo: the bright lights of Shinjuki and Shibuya, and the cozy side, nestled in back allies and hidden nooks throughout the city.  People here tend to find a craft and master it to perfection. Whether it be making coffee, sushi or glass blowing--everything is done with precision and care.  You could spend years in Tokyo and hardly scratch the surface.  Here are some tips as well as my favorites places, but by no means even close to a comprehensive guide, merely things I skimmed off the top.

superfood smoothie with seed cycling

What do you make when you want to eat veggies but don't realllllyyy want to eat veggies? When it's hot and you need something refreshing but also filling?  When you feel like you should make something healthy, but just can't put forth the effort to chop and prep or clean up after yourself? Smoothies! Smoothies are my friend and they can be yours too.  Don't think too much, just toss it all in the blender and and drink up.

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

It's strange to think of non-tuna tuna, but OMG let go of your doubts and fears.  When I first made this recipe, Joshua and I kept looking at each other with each bite, shaking our heads in both disbelief and delight.  The chickpea tuna has a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds, and the capers add a tuna-esque flavor without the fishiness.  Sometimes plant-based meals can leave you feeling like you didn't get enough of something...but this salad is completely satisfying.  There are plenty of fats from the olives and olive oil, and lots of protein from the sunflower seeds and chickpeas.  And, the crispy potatoes fulfill your carb craving Everything, minus the lettuce, does well served as leftovers.  You could also use the leftovers to make “tuna” salad sandwiches with smashed avocado, cuz why not???

nut & seed loaf {gf +v}

Nut & seed loaf—Bread? Check. Low-carb? Check. Vegan and gluten-free? Check, check! Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. All day. Every day. Slab a heap of nut butter on top, followed by fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup in the morn’.  Smash an avocado on there, finished with sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the afternoon. Use it to scoop up a big bite of saucy-deliciousness in the evening. This is your vehicle and the world is your oyster.

kale salad with cherries & walnuts

Cherries are everywhere now and they'll just as quickly disappear when their short season ends.  I bought so many at the market I've been stewing them down into sauces, blending them into smoothies and tossing them into this kale salad.

It's such a simple recipe and one that will do just fine served as leftovers.  The ripe cherries burst in your mouth and the walnuts provide a nice crunch.  Shaved grana parma will make the salad elegant for a dinner party but if you want to keep it dairy-free it’s great without it.  Make sure to give your kale a good massage with the vinaigrette, this breaks it down and yields a tender texture. If your cherry season has already ended, swap the cherries for fresh peaches.

pasta elbows with pesto and fresh tomatoes

'Tis the season for barbecues, pot lucks and social gatherings.  I'm always racking my brain for dishes that can be made ahead of time and don't necessarily need to be heated or chilled upon serving. And on such occasions, particularity when it's hot, it's best to make a dish that's simple and requires no baking.  This elbow pasta fits the bill and is oh so delicious with sweet summer tomatoes and a vibrant pesto sauce.  If you find some amazing tomatoes at the market that you can't fathom cooking, just forgo that part of the recipe and slice them up, mix them with some good olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic and add them to the pasta that way.

Bon appetit!

summer clean beauty brightening routine

While I embrace freckles and sun-kissed skin in the summer months,  I am not a fan of the blotchy pigmentation that comes along with it. A mix of hormones and sun damage over the years has caused hyper-pigmentation on my skin that I've worked really hard to remedy.  While it’d difficult to completely get rid of all discoloration, especially during the summer months, it has abated dramatically.  Depending on where you live, you may be experiencing a humid or dry summer--or if you're in Los Angeles, a bit of both!  Either way, I find that I have to tweak my skin care routine to adjust to the changing seasons. 
There are a lot of options out there for clean beauty products that will likely achieve the same results, but here are some that work for my skin, along with my summer routine.

grilled potatoes with lemon & parsley vinaigrette

Summer is in full swing here and so is the heat! I've relegated all cooking to the grill as our little kitchen gets a lot of afternoon sun and tends to collect the warm air throughout the house.  We've been making these grilled potatoes with a lemon and parsley vinaigrette, along with a giant salad every week since the heat rolled into town. The high heat of the grill gets the potatoes nice and crispy and the simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice plus the zest, and some salt and pepper is like a bright burst of flavors in your mouth.

summer greek salad with avocado

Saddled with this sluggish motivation this week and a persistent craving for something crisp, zesty, refreshing and vibrant, came this feel-good, healthy salad full of veggie-deliciousness.   Our productivity has suffered some what since our unbelievably comfortable couch arrived this week, but it's suffered in comfort at least. I made this salad two times in the past week, and added in some grilled potatoes (more on that later). I tossed everything (potatoes included) with a lemon-parsley vinaigrette--it's like summer in your mouth! If potatoes aren't your thing (you cray-cray!) you could add a grilled protein of choice, or perhaps some pepita seeds to "beef" it up.

Bon appetit!

sheet-pan lemon & broccoli pasta

I've been meaning to put this recipe up on the blog, as it's always in my weekly rotation in some form, especially during spring and summer.  It's crunchy, tangy, savory and all together one big sheet-pan of yum! Oh, and you'll want to serve this pasta right on the pan so everyone gets equal access to that crunchy top layer. You can prepare this dish in advance and then pop it in the oven just before serving. It can be enjoyed at room temp, making it a great companion for a pot luck or BBQ.

grilled apricot & asparagus salad

After a cold winter in New York and a month of traveling, it's been nice to settle back at home for the last part of spring in Los Angeles. Mostly I've just been enjoying reconnecting with all my kitchen tools (esp. my new Vitamix that I got for Christmas but haven't had a chance to christen!!!)...and family and friends, of course!

This dish is perfect to bring to an alfresco dinner party and can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.  The combination of texture from the raw asparagus, sweet and tart flavors from the grilled apricots and crunch of the roasted hazelnuts creates a perfectly balanced dish. Oh, and it looks pretty too!

Bon appetit

clean make-up routine {beauty}

I've  been in the process of transitioning to clean beauty products for the past few months and taking an active role in reading the ingredients on cosmetic labels.  The more I read about harmful additives used in most cosmetics (and beauty products in general) the more I want to encourage others to make the same change. If you're already feeling overwhelmed, I've put together a list of my favorite clean products in (more or less) the order I use them.  I suggest you make a day of testing the products that work for you...until then, here's a nod in the right direction.

amsterdam city guide

I underestimated how much time it would take to create a city guide, especially for a place as enchanting as Amsterdam.  After a whirlwind trip from NYC to Amsterdam and now in the quiet of New Mexico, as I write this, I finally have time to sit down and reflect on my favorite things.  This list is not close to being comprehensive--I'd need at least a year, but just wanted to share the places I happened to stumble upon and enjoy wholeheartedly.  In Amsterdam you can have no agenda but to wander the cobblestone streets and gaze at the leaning, off-kilter homes on the many canals that riddle the city.  The people of Amsterdam are open-minded and progressive. The food is fresh and locally sourced from one of the many climate-controlled sustainable farms in the Netherlands.  You can get most anywhere by bike or foot, and day excursions are accessible by an efficient rail system.  The city is so visually poetic, you'll be hard-pressed not to find a photo op at every turn--do try to resist and take it all in the moment. 

 

veggie chili with butternut squash

Since forever, I've been searching for a chili recipe that I more than just like. Like REALLY like. Or maybe even love.  I stopped making chili all together for a while; I just got tired of mediocre recipes...thought I might never make it again.  Over the years, after some more ups and downs, I finally found the crown jewel of ALL chili recipes (subjectively speaking of course).  For you skeptics, I don't blame you, I've been there before.  But I promise you this recipe won't disappoint!  I've been testing it on dinner guests for the last two months, watching their reactions with each chew and swallow.  Poor Joshua has probably had enough chili for a lifetime.  You can never really tell if someone likes what you cook, but after multiple requests  for this recipe--from vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and meat eaters alike--I decided it was time to share. The best part is that you can make it ahead of time.  The flavors continue to develop the longer it has to marinate in the spices.  Bon appetit!