kauai guide: the north shore

Where do you go when you need a relaxing vacation, without having to deal with passports (if you live in the U.S.), traipsing miles and miles around a new city, trying to see everything while FOMO nips at your heals???  Hawaii of course!  All of the Hawaiian islands are unique in their own way, but my favorite is the north shore of Kauai. It's lush with countless cascading waterfalls and is home to the Na'Pali Coast, Kauai's mysterious and dramatic coastline. Here are my favorite places and tips for planning your visit.

simple heirloom tomato salad

Here’s a simple salad that you can throw together for a quick lunch or dinner, or bring as a side at a gathering with friends and family. It was so hot in London last week that I made this heirloom tomato salad practically every night for dinner, refusing to turn on the oven or stove without A/C in our apartment! If you do eat dairy, burrata or buffalo mozzarella are a welcome addition. The salad has minimal ingredients, so make sure to shop for top quality produce.

vegan and gluten-free chocolate pie

I should probably be posting something for the 4th of July, but it’s really hard to be festive when we’re across seas, and the holiday falls mid-week. The mere thought of The 4th makes me miss home instantly—barbecuing, hanging out bare-legged in summer attire, the scent of sunscreen…Alas, there’s always Labor Day! But, if you are re in The States, just pop a few blueberries and red berries on top and and voila!

5-day meal plan + grocery list | june

Happy June! Here’ another 5-day meal plan for this week or next. You can pick and choose which day you want to cook each recipe. For example, if you’re avocados are ripe, you may want to move up the avocado toast to earlier in the week. All the recipes outlined in this meal plan are quick—most take about 20 mintues, some 30 (including inactive cooking time) to get on the table. Enjoy!

rhubarb crisp {v+gf}

This rhubarb crisp takes less than ten minutes to throw together—an easy but seriously scrumptious dessert. The tanginess from the rhubarb mixed with the vanilla and orange zest, is the perfect complement. Finish it all off with a scoop, or two, of vanilla ice-cream. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by rhubarb, wondering how those giant celery-like stalks could be appetizing. It seemed to go out of vogue for a while, but now it’s having a moment…sort of like brussel sprouts a few years ago and now cauliflower.

how to reduce single-use plastic

Here are some tips to help you reduce single-use plastic. Even if you just do one step at a time, you can make a huge difference. Try not to penalize yourself for slipping or not being able to implement all these steps immediately. I’m sure you’re doing a lot of them already! For me, it’s especially difficult when I travel or am in a new place. However, just being conscious of plastic use is the beginning of improvement and change.  Taking small steps to work toward a larger goal.

5-day meal plan + grocery list | may

I'm not someone who does an entire day of meal prep at the start of the week. I usually don't even plan out my meals. Of course, I do have a few repeat offenders that I cook from week to week that guide my shopping. But other than that, I just buy produce that looks good at the market, or whatever I’m craving at the moment, then look up a recipe later at home. It’s likely that all these items are showing up at your farmers’ market or local grocery store. If not, I have made options for substitutions in the downloadable grocery list included in the post. Once you get your groceries, you can pick and choose what days you want to cook, leaving room for flexibility.

how to build a vegan charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are perfect for a light meal when you’ve had a big lunch, or something to nosh on pre-dinner when entertaining. Traditional charcuterie boards are easy—you buy an array of meats and cheeses, some soft, some medium, some hard…throw in crackers, olives and perhaps seasonal fruit. Vegan charcuterie boards can be a little tricky—I tend to lean toward Mediterranean fare when preparing them.

vegan + gluten-free skillet lasagna

One pan dishes are my FAVORITE…especially ones you can prep ahead of time and then just pop in the oven whenever you’re ready to eat. This vegan and gluten-free lasagna is healthy and satisfying dish, layered with a lentil-mushroom sauce, herbed tofu ricotta and dolloped with walnut pesto.

healthy mediterranean stuffed sweet potatoes

These mediterranean stuffed sweet potatoes make the perfect healthy weeknight dinner. The sweet potatoes are cut in half and roasted face down, slightly caramelizing the flesh. The mediterranean salad is basically a lentil-based tabbouleh with refreshing mint and parsley, lemon, tomatoes, spring onions, dates and spices. All topped off with roasted walnuts, to add some crunch, and a drizzle of runny tahini.

winter citrus salad

This winter citrus salad is made up of vibrant grapefruit, tangerines, navel and blood oranges. A refreshing dish bursting with a medley of flavors—perfect to brighten up a gloomy day or embrace the approaching spring season. The avocado cuts the acidity from the citrus while the dates add a touch of sweetness; the walnuts give it a nice crunch. If you want to be decadent (and you should) I recommend topping it all off with a drizzle of good honey.

london coffee guide

From the independent roasters to the bespoke barista training academies, the bustling artisan coffee scene in London is continuously expanding. It’s difficult to narrow down the options to this one small list. In fact, there are books dedicated to coffee in London.

chocolate chip cookies

I was scouring the interwebs for a simple gluten and dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe…however, although the chocolate chip cookie is by far the most popular cookie, there aren’t many recipes out there in this category. With good reason I’m sure, as it took me a few tries to get the concoction just right. I used chunks of bittersweet chocolate rather than chips for a more dramatic effect. I wanted the chocolate to ooze out of the cookie rather than nestle neatly in its place . It’s also easier to find high-quality baking chocolate in bar form.

avocado smash

I’ve been making this avocado smash as an accoutrements to most meals I cook as of late. It’s tasty piled on top of toast or a plate of veggies, sandwiched between two pieces of [gluten-free] bread or scooped on top of a salad. It takes less than five minutes to whip up and keeps you satisfied.

blood orange upside down cake {v+gf}

We had our friend Jack over for dinner the other night, and this cake was such a hit, we all had seconds (excluding the pieces we had earlier that day when recipe testing). This blood orange upside down cake is one of my favorite recipes of the year—yes it’s only February, but still, I’m really excited about it. You can throw it all together in about 15 minutes, plus baking and cooling time. The color of the blood oranges is festive enough to make for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day (perhaps a romantic date night in to beat the restaurant crowd)…but you never really need a reason to bake a cake, do yah?

quick curried chickpea salad

This curried chickpea salad has been my go-to lunch as of late. I like to spoon it on top of an avocado half or eat it with sliced cherry tomatoes (they still have great tomatoes at the market here in London). It would also be delicious in a sandwich with some micro-greens, or stuffed inside pita bread (I just haven’t found any gluten-free versions yet). It takes no longer than five minutes to throw together and is a healthy alternative to the traditional mayo-laden comfort food. For at least 20 years I’ve abstained from any sort of creamy, chilled salad—I dislike mayonnaise with a passion. However, time and distance has allowed me to revisit the concept of a cold-salad sandwich, and create a modern take on it.

easy homemade tomato soup {v+gf}

It’s been so cold here in Los Angeles the past couple weeks, although nothing compared to most places experiencing winter, I’m sure. Alas, we are wimps in southern California and anything below 60 F is pretty much considered FREEZING. This easy homemade tomato soup will warm you up wherever you are, takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and is packed with bright, refreshing flavors from the vibrant tomatoes and sherry vinegar. For those of us trying to detox from the holidays, it’s a healthy and satisfying dinner or lunch option too.

cuzco top 10

I’ve been meaning to post this itinerary for about a year now, since Joshua and I took a trip to South America for my best friend’s wedding, but with some distance, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the experience through photos and personal notes. With it’s dramatic landscape, narrow cobblestone streets, brightly-clad-llama-toting women, and proximity to Machu Picchu, the Ancient Incan capital of Cuzco (also spelled Cusco) is a once in a lifetime, perhaps more if you’re lucky, destination that appears on many bucket lists. There are endless day trips, adventures and experiences to be had—here are my top 10.