Three of My Favorite Things to Eat For Balance

Appetizers, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian, Whole 30

True story: I love butter and cakes and cookies and pasta.

Also true story:I eat healthy most of the time.

I don’t follow a diet nor am I paleo, whole30, vegan, keto or any of that. I like to think that I attempt to practice balance and moderation. It’s something I’m not always great at or successful at achieving but it’s what I strive to do and it works for me. I have a hard time eliminating things completely from my diet, so I eat literally everything, I just don’t eat ALL of it.

Most days I eat pretty healthy and that’s because it makes me feel better about myself. It makes me feel lighter and brighter and keeps my energy up.

These are my three favorite things to keep me feeling all sprightly!

My morning smoothie:
I love having my morning smoothie an hour or so before a later morning workout OR right after a early morning workout.

And then there are mornings where I don’t work out at all and I still drink it.

Here’s what I add:
2 scoops of Vital Proteins Banana Collagen + Whey Protein Powder (I like Vital Proteins because it doesn’t have stevia and just tastes like banana and vanilla)
1 banana (frozen or room temperature)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon cacao powder
Small handful of frozen kale or spinach
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries or ice
Small handful of walnuts (more for the top)
1/2 cup of almond milk

I add a few teaspoons of chia seeds and more walnuts on top because your girl likes texture!

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I ❥ Tokyo, Japan! (Honeymoon Post Part I)

Adventures

When Josh and I were talking about where to honeymoon, I was a big advocate for beach-y areas. I wanted to chill on a beach with a frozen drink of some kind. And Josh wanted to do more of a city. So we compromised and did both! First Maui, Hawaii and then Japan. It was the best combo ever.

We spent a week in Maui with our friends Cassie and Burke and then took a flight from Maui to Honolulu (shortest flight!) and then flew from Honolulu to Tokyo. It was a pretty short eight hours that I barely noticed because I watched a few movies and ate a Quiznos sandwich.

HOTEL

We spent the first three nights in Tokyo. We stayed at the Andaz in the Toronomon Hills area of Tokyo and it was an incredible hotel. Maybe the nicest one I’ve ever stayed in—I loved it. It’s definitely a splurge price-wise but we were lucky enough to have my brother-in-law and sister-in-law book it on points. It was a little wedding gift to us.

JETLAG 

Is it weird that I wasn’t that affected by the jet lag? We got in around 3pm and we both made ourselves stay up until 10pm that night so it’d force us to get on the Tokyo schedule. We were walking zombies that night but I’m so glad we did that because once that first night was over, we were ok. We got up super early each morning (around 6am) but it was super nice to be up early and have a leisure morning.

FIRST NIGHT 

We got in around 3pm and by the time we got on the train and got to the hotel, it was around 5pm.

We rented a pocket wi-fi from the airport and I couldn’t recommend it more. We absolutely needed it the entire time. Not sure what we would’ve done without that thing. It was $80 for the week with insurance.

We took the train to the hotel (I’m not sure I would do this again because of our bags). A cab would’ve been around $200 (eeek!) but there are limousine air bus shuttles that drop off at a bunch of the hotels and they’re much more affordable. We bought a J-Rail Pass (for our trip to Kyoto) so the train for us was included in that pass.

When we got in, we wanted something chill and comforting. Josh found this soba place called Soba Sasuga. We had our concierge call and make a reservation for us.

We showered and took the subway to Ginza where the soba noodle place was.

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Seven Layer Pasta Salad

Appetizers, Dinner, Salads, Summer, The Holidays

I love a regular, classic salad. Yes, I do.

But sometimes I like to choose fun. And for me, that means adding pasta into the mix. Pasta salad is the best kind of salad. We all know this.

I also love the very American seven-layer salads. They look like traditional Americana dishes to me. Something I never grew up with. My mom didn’t make American foods like this, which obviously made me even more curious.

For this post, I teamed up with French’s. Their Classic Yellow Mustard is a summer (and beyond) staple that adds a pop of flavor into all kinds of summer dishes. I usually make dressings with Dijon mustard but this is proof that yellow mustard also has its place in dressings. This one is a creamy herbed dressing that can be used instead of ranch.

I like my pasta salads to have texture, texture and more texture. The radishes and sugar snap peas add lovely texture. It makes it super refreshing and on the lighter side, which might be surprising considering the fact that it’s a straight-up pasta salad.

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Agua Fresca (Watermelon, Canteloupe + Honeydew)

Drinks, Summer

I’m currently flying in the sky headed to Florida to visit some family for the 4th of July. It’s going to be a quick and snappy trip—just how I like it.

And I was going to wait to post this recipe next week but I’m having some flight entertainment issues. I downloaded a bunch of episodes of season seven Drag Race for the plane and they didn’t actually download, unfortunately, so I’m bored. I figured I’d share this recipe instead of being bored, so here’s to hoping you have time to make it before the 4th!! If not, then maybe you can make it this weekend or the weekend after. Summer isn’t going anywhere.

In fact, it’s just gearing up. This weekend it’s going to be 105 degrees F in LA. WHUUT! Yes, and I’m getting back just in time for the beautifully warm festivities. You best believe I’m making a big batch of all three for the weekend.

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Spicy Chipotle Chicken Cemita Sandwich

Dinner, Sandwiches, Snacks, Summer, The Holidays

True story: Josh was TERRIBLE to date. Especially in the beginning. He’d do that thing where you text someone and they start to text back so you see the bubble show up and then it stays like that for a few minutes, so you wait, expecting a long, meaningful message. AND THEN, the bubble disappears and no text is sent. For days.

When I brought this up to him and told him that I had other people who would be better texters and who actually liked animals (that was a lie, I had no one), he told me he wanted to apologize over cemitas. Everything with Josh was an excuse to just eat something that has been on his list. So I agreed. Josh and I worked everything out obviously. But my takeaway was that cemitas are delicious.

For this post, I teamed up with French’s. Their Classic Yellow Mustard is a summer essential, we all know this. You know how to make a grilled hot dog even taste better? Add yellow mustard. A pretzel? Salad? Yellow Mustard. I also love to add it to sauces and dressings and a myriad of other things for flavorful summer meals.

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10 Cozy Things to Make in July

Adventures

Hello, July!!

I am currently packing for a short trip to Florida, while the best show on earth plays in the background—The Great British Bakeoff. It’s back and it’s making me all excited for fall baking.

I know, I know. I’m supposed to be in the land of BBQs and watermelon but fall is when I’m at my best. It’s my land of cozy and I am the queen. Kinda. Haha.

Anyway! since it’s July, I figured I’d post some of my favorite summah recipes because we’re just getting started.

1. S’mores Pavlova – it’s 4th of July weekend. Speaking of which, do most people have tomorrow (Monday) off or do you have Wednesday (the actual 4th) off? This has me confused.

2. Creamy Elote Pasta – I love this pasta so much. I remember last year when we were developing this recipe and after we nailed it, we ate the entire thing between us two. It’s so good.

3. Mojito Cupcakes – These are perfect for a summer shindig because they’re easy and have a bright and airy flavor.

4. Eton Mess – I love the story behind the Eton Mess. Leave it to a dog to destroy dessert and make a whole new dish in the process.

5. Tahini Concord Thumbprint Cookies – Have you ever made concord grape jam? Don’t. Haha. Actually you can just know that since the grapes have skins and pits, it’s a bit time consuming. But like everything, it tastes so much better homemade. Whether you use homemade or store-bought, these thumbprint cookies are SO good.

6. Payday Lobster Cherry Tomato Pasta – You know that feeling when the direct deposit hits? Best feeling ever. It’s like a nice little recharge. Make this while that feeling is still present.

7. Strawberry Cream Cookies – I posted these last month and they were probably the most made recipe of June. They’re super easy to throw together and they taste like summer all in a cookie!

8. Chicago Dogs – Last week, while I was flying back to LA from Vermont, I had a super short layover in Chicago. As I was racing to the gate, I spotted a stand that served Chicago hot dogs. I wanted one SO badly but sadly I didn’t have enough time to grab one, but luckily I can make my own.

9. Camarones a la Diabla – I made this last summer approximately 50 times. I made a big batch of the sauce, froze it in a few containers and warmed it up when we wanted dinner. I would saute some shrimp and pour some sauce over it. It’s the fastest 20 minute meal ever.

10. Basil Pistachio Pesto Pasta – This is a recipe from last month that I don’t think got enough love, if I do say so myself! It’s so easy and delicious and it really uses cherry tomatoes that are everywhere this time of year.

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Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Chipotle Hummus

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Summer, Vegetarian

I’m not gonna lie, I actually didn’t even know how to use a grill until 6 months ago. I’ve always had a gas grill or no grill at all. I lived in Los Angeles for years and years with no outdoor space so please don’t hold it against me! But a few months ago, I got a grill. A bright, pretty red one and finally purchased one of those chimney things and learned how to use it properly. It honestly couldn’t be simpler so I have no idea why I was a little intimidated by it.

The best part of summer—besides copious amounts of watermelon and popsicles—is grilling. I love grilled foods. And I could eat a grilled veggie sandwich every single day. They are so good and light-feeling.

For this post, I teamed up with La Brea Bakery! I love their bread; in this recipe, I used their Telera Take And Bake Rolls, and you can find a coupon to purchase on their site and more summer recipes here. I baked the bread on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then sliced the rolls in half and grilled them.

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No-Churn Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sundaes

Chocolate, Desserts, Quick and Easy

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the best part of making cookies is trying the dough right after it’s all mixed up. I do this every.single.time. And often times, have to stop myself from eating huge balls of cookie dough because, well, it can lead to a bit of a tummy ache and, um, really needs to be baked because you shouldn’t eat raw eggs! But I found a solution! Actually, the solution found me.

Enter: Just Cookie Dough. Crafted by a team of Michelin-starred chefs, it is egg-free, dairy-free, non-GMO cookie dough and contains no artificial flavors or high-fructose corn syrup. It’s safe to eat raw or bake it up. Whatever you prefer, you can feel good about indulging in Just Cookie Dough. I also love their Just Mayo and Just Dressing.

In fact, I use their mayo a few times a week because it is SO good. If you check my “highlights” on Insta Stories, I shared my favorite tuna salad with arugula and Just Mayo is what I use.

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Mini Summer Galettes with Walnut Streusel

Desserts, Summer

As a self-employed person, weekends aren’t always weekends. I actually like it this way. I know it may sound strange but I love doing work on the weekends because it means peace and quiet and zero emails! WOOHOO! This weekend was a combo of work and relaxation and it felt really nice.

I’ve been put on Queer Eye Season 2 and started to edit all the photos that exist on this computer. Josh was like, “why are you putting on that show because you’re gonna cry?” I was like, NO I’M NOT. And then literally seven minutes into the show, I started crying. Lol. It’s emotional!

Let’s talk about the recipe. I haven’t alway been a big fan of galettes. I kinda always thought they looked a little sloppy and I preferred and perfect-looking pie. And then I just embraced that them looking kinda sloppy is exactly what galettes are all about!

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How To Freeze Cookie Dough

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, DIY

I would like to confess something to you all: I use to be anti-freezer.

I didn’t like the idea of freezing food. I have no idea why. It sounded stale and not “fresh.” I was also a very single person for a long time and really had no need to freeze anything. But I’ve since found my freezer to be a true gift. I freeze all sorts of things: sauces, cakes, muffins, pie crust…and cookie dough!

I always get questions about why I scoop cookie dough so close together. People ask me if I bake them that close together. NO, SILLY! If I did that it’d be one gigantic cookie (not a terrible thing).

I scoop them out because I usually make a double batch of cookies and freeze most of the recipe for later use. It always comes in handy when people come over or we have a party to go to. I can usually reach in my freezer, bake off some cookies and have something to bring.

Here how I freeze cookie dough:

STEP 1: Make the cookie dough. Now this works best with cookie that needs to be scooped out and baked. It can work with, say, shortbread but those are different directions all together.

STEP 2: Per the instructions, I transfer it to the fridge to chill for 1 hour. You can chill it for longer, it just gets tougher to scoop out the colder the dough gets. So I always say an hour is good. This will also depend on your recipe.

STEP 3: Scoop out balls of cookie dough. My favorite cookie scoop is this medium-sized ice cream/cookie scoop from OXO. It’s the perfect size. It measures about 1 1/2 tablespoons.  It makes it super easy.

The edges of this cookie scoop are very sharp, so it easily cuts into cold cookie dough.

I place the scoops right onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and I place them super close together, though none of them are touching.

STEP 4: BAKE..OR FREEZE. If I’m baking the cookies, I’ll line another baking sheet with parchment paper and just transfer about 6 cookies to the tray and stick it in the oven. While those cookie are baking, I’ll usually transfer the cookies to the fridge, especially if it’s a hot day.

It makes the baking process much easier because once the cookies are done, I line another baking sheet and keep going. I reuse the parchment and baking sheet, I just allow it to cool a bit before adding the cookies to them.

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