Archive | November, 2013

quinoa with mushrooms + arugula

10 Nov

This post is for my friend Tom who recently asked me for a really good quinoa recipe. This dish is for sure up there in my top 3 favorite quinoa recipes! The meatiness of the mushrooms and the thyme & garlic paired with the peppery arugula make this quinoa taste super gourmet. It is the perfect side dish to any meal!

Hope you like it, Tom 🙂

Quinoa with Mushrooms + Arugula

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1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups arugula, roughly chopped


In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, heat oil. Add garlic and thyme; cook until they begin to get fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and salt; cook, stirring, until mushrooms are soft, brown and begin to make a squeaking sound. Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl. Add quinoa and arugula; stir. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe adapted from Self Magazine

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Buon Appétito!


allie + race for the rescues

7 Nov


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Several months after losing our beloved Golden Retriever Annie, my family rescued another 4-year old Golden named Allie. She had been kept on the side of a house in a cage for 4 years, and we’re pretty sure she was just used for breeding. When she first got to the rescue, the founder told us her ears had been in the worst condition she had ever seen. They immediately started giving her medication to treat her infected ears and any other problems that had been neglected.

The first time I met her, she belly crawled over to me and I instantly started crying. I felt so sorry for her because of how terribly she was treated, but I knew that she was going to have the best rest of her life with us.

When we first brought her home, she was absolutely terrified of everything and her coat was so thin you could see her skin through it. She didn’t even know how to play, use the stairs or doggy door, and while she has gotten to be a pro at the stairs & doggy door, she still needs a little work on the playing part. After a month or so, her coat also came in and it is now super healthy & thick!

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Allie is so appreciative of everything… the belly rubs she had never gotten before, the freshly cooked chicken chopped up for dinner, the constant love and attention..she soaks it all up and deserves every bit of it! I can honestly say that she is the sweetest dog I have ever met. In return, I am also so appreciative of Allie and what she has done for my life. Every day I cannot wait to get home to her! No matter what mood I’m in or what kind of day I’ve had, she always makes it better. I truly cannot imagine my life without her.

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So in honor of my precious Allie, on Sunday, November 10th I am running in the Race for the Rescues 10k at the Great Park in Irvine. All of the donations will be used to help save the lives of dogs, cats and horses and to help them find their forever homes. Donations are also used to prevent cruelty to farm animals and providing important programs to the community, such as veterinary care for pets of low-income families and free spay & neuter clinics (source).  I could not think of a better reason to get up early on a Sunday and run 6.2 miles!

For those of you who love to run, please come join me and sign up here.

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veev spirits

1 Nov

VeeV Spirits

I talked briefly about my experience with VeeV Spirits a little while back and now the time has finally come to share my recipe with you! This week my recipe and the delicious Fig & Honey cocktail are on VeeV’s Facebook Page. I am so excited about this and seriously had the best time working with Sharie! I also had a blast taste-testing and trying to come up with the perfect fall recipe to complement this drink. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!


Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini



Makes approximately 20 individual crostini


1 large French or sourdough baguette
6 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 medium red or sweet onions, sliced thick
1 tbsp. sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1 small butternut squash, peeled & diced into small cubes
1/2 cup roasted & salted Marcona almonds, finely chopped
Store-bought Balsamic glaze
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Whip together goat & cream cheeses. Lightly season with salt & pepper. Set aside.

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Peel & cut butternut squash into small cubes. In an even layer, spread butternut squash on a half sheet pan. Use approximately 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss the butternut squash to make sure it is evenly coated with the EVOO, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

While the butternut squash is cooking, heat 2 tbsp. of EVOO in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat. Sauté onions with rosemary and sage for 30 minutes or until dark golden brown. If using, add garlic in last five minutes.


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Cut baguette into 1-inch thick slices. Put in an even layer on a half sheet pan. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Place in oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

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Spread a thin layer of cheese mixture on toasted crostini. Top with caramelized onions, butternut squash, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and chopped Marcona almonds.

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Fig & Honey Cocktail


2 oz VeeV Spirits
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Honey or Agave
Ginger Beer
1 Fig


Muddle fig in a cocktail shaker, add VeeV, lemon juice and agave/honey and shake with Ice.

Strain contents over ice into a your glass and top with Ginger Beer.

Slice half a small fig to place on top as a garnish.


Buon Appétito!

pumpkin seed + pistachio pesto

1 Nov

Happy Halloween! 


Last night I tried a new recipe from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan that looked insanely good when Karena posted it last week. I am always looking for new healthy recipes to add a little variety and this one is definitely going to work itself into the rotation. Not gonna lie, the kelp noodles got a little old after a while so I next time I will eat them in small quantities, but it was really the pesto that stole the show. I am a sucker for anything with pesto so this was right up my alley! I did tweak their recipe (which is why I am posting it) to make it more my own. The original doesn’t call for pistachios or Parmesan, but I thought they made a great addition! I served it up with a side of sea scallops, broccoli and salad. It was the perfect weeknight meal!

Pumpkin seed + Pistachio Pesto

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1 1/2 cups fresh basil

3/4 cup spinach

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup roasted & salted pistachios

Juice of 1 lemon

3 small cloves of garlic

3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (depending on the consistency you like)

3-4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients except the Parmesan cheese & olive oil in a good processor. Slowly add in the extra virgin olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Put into a serving bowl and stir in grated Parmesan cheese.

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Buon Appétito!


After work today I went for a great 7-mile run! Now I can eat as much candy as I want 🙂 Well, that’s my logic anyways…


Have a great night!!