I’m loving this whole blogging thing so much that I’ve decided to move to my “om” sparkly new website! Yep, I’ve packed up all of my posts and images and am already moved in to the new site and some new additions have been added that you will enjoy. I’m so excited to share it with all of you! And I’m one very lucky gal to have a graphic designer/web developer for a boyfriend, who has been super supportive throughout all of this. Thank you, Sam. And thanks to all of you! I love that we’ve created a great little community here in this small part of the internet.
If you currently subscribe to my blog, make sure to resubscribe to my new and improved blog by adding your email address over on the right side. And if you have not subscribed to my blog yet, you should. It’s a lot of fun:) Check it out:
This is one of my simple and delicious go-to dishes that I make for myself, but usually I eat whatever variation of this recipe I make right when it’s ready and hot. But now that the temperatures have risen in Orange County, I’ve been chilling it in the fridge before I dive in and it’s even more delicious cold. The mustard vinaigrette dressing is what makes it for me; the lemon adds a lot of tangy flavor, while the Dijon mustard makes it really creamy. This recipe also makes for a fantastic side dish, as Sam and I had this dish (he calls it Joaquinoa Pheonix) with little filet mignons one night and it was super yummy! The recipe is below and is versatile for whatever kind of flavors you’d like to add. Enjoy!
Cold Quinoa Salad (Serves 1 meal or 2 side dishes):
1/2 cup of white quinoa
1 cup of chicken stock
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. of Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. or so of chopped chives (flat leaf Italian parsley is good-any green herb of your liking would work)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash the quinoa in cold water (this helps give it a fluffier texture). Bring the chicken stock, quinoa and juice from half of the lemon to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the seeds get fluffy. You will see the white rings separate from the seed. If you taste it and it’s still too crunchy continue to let it simmer until it has a softer texture. You want a little bit of chewiness, but you don’t want to feel like you’re eating bird seed.
While that’s cooking, combine the rest of the lemon juice, Dijon Mustard and red wine vinegar and whisk together. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture to make sure the oil is nicely incorporated into dressing. Add salt, pepper and most of the chives to your dressing and stir. Once the quinoa is looking nice and fluffy, pour the dressing on top and mix it up in a bowl. Let it cool down a bit before chilling it in the fridge. Cover the bowl and poke a hole to let steam out and chill for around 45 minutes or so. Add the rest of your freshly chopped chives and dig in!
Summer is just starting to hit me! I was starting to worry I wasn’t going to be able to get into the summer spirit, but luckily my seasonal enthusiasm came just in time. I love putting together images of what is currently making me happy. So here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to and are inspiring me this summer.
-Watching Noah and Allie’s complicated, summer romance in The Notebook for the gazillionth time-
-Reminiscing of sunny days in Catalina-
-Tulsi mala beads: believed to have strong healing properties that bring peace and harmony to one’s life-
-Old-timey circus photographs-
-I like to imagine I’m in Bali when I’m practicing yoga-
-Eating mint-chip ice cream; my favorite!-
-Wishing I owned all of Reese Witherspoon’s costumes/outfits from Water for Elephants–
Annual Silver Lake trips started with Sam’s family when he and his sister, Sara, were very young. Somewhere along the way the trips came to an end, but three years ago they decided to bring the family vacation back to life! It’s been amazing in the last three years to sort of experience what Sam’s childhood vacations were like in Silver Lake. And it seems that with each year, the trips get better and better. I’ve known Sam and his family for nearly five years now and we’ve been very close from the beginning, but I am constantly in awe of how lucky I am to be a part of this family.
This vacation was really special for me–maybe even the best of my life, so far. I felt like I was in this calm and spacious mind-set to fully appreciate every ounce of what happened during our trip. There were so many moments that I loved and I was usually right there to capture it with my camera. I realized on this trip how much I love to document the awesome moments of my life. I wrote in my journal of all of the great experiences of the day and I had two cameras with me: my new Nikon SLR and my smaller Sony camera for situations when I couldn’t take my bigger SLR.
I think I have this drive to capture moments that I love on camera or in my journal because I always want to remember them and hate the thought of letting those little things–and even the big things–dissipate into my life’s history without remembrance. To be able to have something to look back on and remind myself that this small, yet incredible, thing happened one day when I was in Silver Lake, is very important to me. Ergo, I’m a serious moment captor. Some of the highlights of the trip: the Supermoon, celebrating my 25th birthday, Sam and Sara dancing to “Billie Jean,” Sam and his niece, Ella, playing spy, boat fishing, mornings at the cafe and beautiful sunsets on the lake.
I’m officially a college graduate! Finally! It’s been a long road for me and academia, but it was worth it. And being able to walk across the stage, as my name was announced over the loud speaker, was a great way to conclude my journey as a college student. I prepared myself mentally for the big day with the intention to simply remember to breathe through the experience and to have fun. And unlike my usual self in easily getting overly stimulated by constant noise and crowds of people, I mostly remained calm all day (it was heart pumping to realize that I’m about to walk across a stage, in heels, in front of thousands of people with my family and friends intensely watching). But it felt like I had a thin bubble around me all day that sort of blocked out all of the chaos and allowed me to completely soak in my own experience. But the best part of the day was the fact that my family and friends came together to celebrate with me. They all have been such a huge part in getting me to this point, so it felt good that we all came together to eat, drink, laugh and celebrate. It was a fantastic day!
I’ve developed quite a love affair with this dish, but it’s been a bumpy road for me and my hippie soup. After being told, by the Ayurveda specialist I was seeing, to strictly eat this soup for a month or so, as part of the cleansing process for me, I initially was not so keen with the flavors of the dish (realistically, I made this soup 2-3 times a week and supplemented it with cooked veggies and grains). But after making this recipe consistently for several months now and tailoring it to fit my preferences, I’m in love with this soup. It was a couple of weeks ago when I realized that I hadn’t made myself any mung bean soup in awhile and that, to my own surprise, my taste buds actually missed it! I crave the flavors now, especially the garlic, ginger root and lime. And it’s pretty great that everything in this dish keeps my body happy. I also have a lot of fun making this dish, so I always look forward to the nights I get to prepare a comforting bowl of this deliciousness for myself. Below is my recipe. Give it a shot! Hope you enjoy!
Mung Bean Soup (Serves 1):
1/3 cup of green mung beans, soaked overnight in cold water.
2 cups of water
1.5 tbsp. of olive oil
1/4 tsp. of mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. of cumin and coriander powder
1/4 tsp. of tumeric
1.5 tsp. chopped ginger root
1.5 tsp. chopped garlic
1.5 tsp. of lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Bring the beans and 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the beans open and up and get soft.
Once the beans are finished cooking, heat the oil in a pot and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add bay leaf, cumin, coriander, tumeric, ginger and garlic and stir. Add the cooked beans and another 1/2 cup of water, depending on how soupy you want it. Bring to a boil. Add the lime juice and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!
I first discovered farro at True Food Kitchen (one of my favorite restaurants!) when it came with the delicious roasted chicken dish I ordered. I was blown away with how tasty it was and yet I had never even heard of — excuse me, waiter, how do you pronounce it? — FAHR/roh! Once you get the hang of saying it, you can put some of the Italian accentuation back into it because it is indeed an Italian grain (and the oldest cultivated grain in the world). And it’s a godsend in my book because it’s delightfully chewy, super versatile and easy to make. You can do so much with this antioxidant-filled whole grain (it has gluten but has weaker levels than wheat, making it easier to digest) since the grain absorbs flavors really well. So this was my attempt at recreating one of my favorite side dishes at True Food Kitchen and, as a meal, it turned out super yummy! Here’s my recipe:
Dried Cranberries (a handful)
Spinach (a handful)
Pine Nuts (walnuts work too)
Combine one part farro and three parts chicken stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Bring the heat down to low and toss in your dried cranberries. Let it simmer for 15 minutes and you’ll see the cranberries plump back up. Once the stock has almost been absorbed, add your spinach and let it wilt for a minute or so. Dish it up and sprinkle some chopped pine nuts on top. And presto! You’ve got yourself a healthy and tasty meal.