Last week, we were in California for a quick business trip. We decided to stay the weekend on Laguna Beach as an impromptu baby moon. We stayed at the lovely La Casa Del Camino which was a Spanish style boutique hotel just steps from the beach. Before we left, we took a quick drive up the PCH. The weather was perfect. The beach was beyond. And we really fell in love with the warm California welcome we received while we were there. We both took notice at how friendly everyone in California seems to be. Here are a few of my favorite highlights from the trip.
~dinner with a view (after a long week) at Splashes~~a parade of birds overhead at the beach~~mocktails that do the trick at Nick’s~~overlook on laguna beach~~necessary stop at In-N-Out for lunch~
It’s been a while since my last post and given the dreary weekend weather, I decided to share one of my favorite rainy day recipes. Lentil Soup has always been my go-to comfort food on a rainy day. I love the traditional combination of lentils with fresh carrots, celery, and onion. Lentils are one of those things that you either love or hate and I’m a super fan. I love that they pack in plenty of fiber and protein and are a great source of important minerals. Check out the recipe below and I hope you enjoy! Lentil Soup: 1lb lentils (sorted and rinsed), 4-5 large, peeled carrots (I used multi color, organic carrots), 1 large organic red onion, 2 stalks organic celery, 3 cloves organic garlic, 32oz organic chicken or beef stock, extra virgin olive oil. Chop carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Place into a pot and add a drizzle of olive oil. Let the vegetables sweat for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add in the stock and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender (about 35-40 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with a garnish of pecorino romano cheese and a sprig of parsley or cilantro.
We’ve been super into health shakes lately. I’ve been making them every morning and I love changing up the ingredients each day to keep things exciting. Today, I hit on a pretty delicious combination which has kept me energized throughout the afternoon. I honestly use whatever ingredients I have in the house and today was no different. I mixed a combination of organic baby spinach, apples, frozen blueberries (I always have bags full of frozen fruits in the freezer for this very purpose), a banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, and some OJ as the base. I also like to throw in some ice cubes because I like my shakes to be cold and refreshing.
When we began planning our honeymoon, we had a few requirements: we both wanted to go someplace far away, we wanted it to include at least some beach time, and it needed to be a place where neither of us had ever been. Since our wedding was in April, we were limited on where we could go that would be warm enough to enjoy the sea. With this in mind, we narrowed down our choices to South Africa, Australia, and Thailand. Ultimately, we chose an amazing 2 week getaway to Thailand. We began our trip in Bangkok, then it was off to Koh Lanta, (which was our favorite) with our final stop being Phuket. These are a few of our favorite pics…
~various fruits on the streets of bangkok~ ~travelling through one of the floating markets just outside of bangkok~~one of thailands many temples~~the largest reclining buddha: wat pho~~view from the sky bar at the top of the lebua state tower~
~speedboat to our koh lanta resort: pimalai resort & spa~~arriving at pimalai resort~~i loved all thai fruit but my favorite was rambutan~~pools, beaches, and sunsets at pimalai resort~~the best pad thai on koh lanta~~lounging by the pool~
~we stayed at point yamu by como in phuket~~amazing massaman curry~~exploring the caves via canoe~~amazing breakfasts~~floating our krathaong~~midday snack: mango coconut ice~
PS: Some other wedding posts here, here, and here.
We’re braving the blizzard in the suburbs cozied up by the fireplace. Since the snow seems to be inching up the windows hour by hour, I’ve officially gone into full comfort food mode and whipped up some super delicious cookies to enjoy since it seems we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I hope you are all cozied up at home with your loved ones and in case you are looking for a sweet treat, here’s a simple recipe that’s sure to be a hit.Recipe: 1 cup of almond flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and I threw in whatever dried fruits and seeds that were house: dried currants, sunflower seeds, and cacao nibs. Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!
The other day, I got to thinking about some things that I use and love in my everyday life that I simply could not imagine living without. For me, the number one thing would have to be coffee (I typically consume only one cup a day, first thing in the morning). My love affair with coffee began in college. I remember attending FIT in my freshman year, trekking through the streets of NY in the frigid winter while grasping onto my grande coffee from Starbucks. Today, it’s still the first thing I look to each morning for that quick pick -me- up (I’m talking to you, fellow non-morning people) and it’s the thing I count on most to get me going.
Since I always find it interesting to hear about what others are currently into; whether it’s the latest beauty item, a favorite new kitchen gadget, or simply an old, super comfy pair of boots that can’t be parted with. I asked some friends about “the one thing they can’t live without” and this is what they said:
My food processor is my sous chef. Most days I run my sandwich shop alone and leaving my veggies to be chopped with my food processor leaves me feeling like I have a third hand. While there is a therapeutic element to slowly chopping veggies & fruits by hand, when in a bind for time, enters the wonderful processor. From a quick pico de gallo for a breakfast burrito or lots of garlic for hummus, not only will a processor cut your prep time in half but also leave your fingers free of stale odors. Dressings, soups and sauces combined beautifully in a whirlwind of excitement inside the mighty food processor. This is the one item I can’t live without.
I couldn’t decide between these 3 makeup items because they’re all equally important to me. I couldn’t live without my eyelash curler, eyebrow pencil, or bronzer. I love my eyelash curler by Shu Uemura. I started using it in 2003 (after trying every brand out there, this is by far the best)! It’s super gentle and curls my lashes beautifully! Dior makes the perfect eye brow pencil; it’s retractable so you never have to sharpen it and it glides on smoothly. Their bronzer is amazing too. It gives me a sun kissed look in seconds! It’s a pretty compact to carry and never leaves my bag. I highly recommend these 3 perfect items.
For the past ten years I’ve turned to my little green friend as a cornerstone to my overall wellness and beauty routine. Wheatgrass is a nutrient rich plant that helps to oxygenate the blood with its chlorophyl and keeps your immune system strong with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. It also contains iron and minerals such as zinc, copper, potassium, manganese and selenium. It’s great for bolstering metabolism and keeps skin and hair looking shiny and healthy. It’s a really simple and effective way to be good to yourself everyday from the inside out.
I’ve always been the type that can somehow manage to whip together a few key ingredients that are simply lying around the house and turn them into something yummy. I think this trait comes from my Italian heritage because if you know anything at all about us, you know that you can simply pop in on us at any time of day, and we will feed you. Quite simply, Italians have a knack for taking what’s in the fridge and turning it into a meal. Unexpected guests? No problem. An Italian will simply rummage through the cabinets and in just a few minutes, Walla! You have the most delicious snack. From cutting up some fresh mozzarella, drizzling it with some good balsamic and a touch of olive oil and serving it up with a simple tomato salad and some bread, a delicious, improvised meal is a sure thing.
The other morning, I woke up to find some overripe bananas on the countertop. Rather than let them go bad, I thought of what I could do with them. Immediately, I decided to put them to good use in the form of a homemade banana bread. I decided on a light version without butter or oil, substituting some Greek yogurt instead and along with some flour, brown sugar, eggs, and walnuts, the results were quite delicious.
~a glimpse of our tree~
The Holidays are in full swing over at our place. Our first annual Friendsgiving was a success, our tree is officially up, and now I’m in full Christmas shopping mode. Our social calendar has quite the range of Holiday parties which totally has us in the holiday spirit and I’m definitely looking forward to celebrating our first married Christmas with friends and family. Here are a few things making me happy.
~Friendsgiving appetizers: cheese plate, homemade hummus, and wine~ ~the cutest mexican worry doll~~suburban winter skies~~the start of an epic stuffing~
As the 11th marked 7 months since our wedding, I thought I’d share a little peek into our big day. Our ceremony and reception was held at The Garrison up in the Hudson River Valley. With it’s sprawling mountain views, it truly set the stage for a picturesque and naturally beautiful backdrop.As we are both lovers of nature and the outdoors, we knew almost immediately that The Garrison was the perfect venue for us. Our ceremony was held outside while the reception room was almost entirely all glass looking out onto the river and the mountains. We chose not to do a “First Look”, instead, seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. As our guests enjoyed cocktail hour, we took our first photos as husband and wife. Some of our favorites being shot in my husband’s parents vintage red car. We danced our first dance as the sun was setting in the background to Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” performed by the super talented, “Silver Arrow Band”. The food was delicious and we loved that the venue only held one wedding at a time which made the event personal and warm. As our wedding was in April, I chose white cherry blossoms as the centerpieces. Meanwhile, the bouquets and decor were also shades of white and beige with the only “color” being the green from the leaves. My bridesmaids wore sequined rose gold dresses which were accented by the rose gold candlestick holders at each table. The boys wore slim fit, black tuxes with grossgrain details and hand-tied bowties while my dress was by Israeli designer, Berta. Our favors consisted of home jarred honey and at the end of the evening, our guests were transported via school bus back to the hotel, where we continued the celebration with cocktails in the lobby. The next morning, we all gathered for a mimosa brunch before saying our goodbyes.Overall, the simple beauty of the venue and nature was most important to me. Therefore, I didn’t detract from that and made sure that my theme was neutral, classic, and elegant. The juxtaposition of the modern yet rustic elements of the venue really drew us in and made the day feel so personal and so “us”.
Some more wedding posts here and here.
(All photos in this entry by Robert Carlo New York)
Some of my most creative dishes have emerged from the moments when I’ve seemingly had nothing in my fridge. It’s in those moments, when it’s either pouring rain and you don’t want to leave the house to go get groceries or those times when an unexpected friend pops in for a visit, that you make do with what you have at home and end up making something simple yet delicious. Today was one of those days for me. I had leftover organic apples in the fridge and I was thinking of what I could do with them. I went through my pantry and pulled out oats, dried apricots, chopped walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. I combined the ingredients and stuffed them into the cored apples. I put a dab of butter on top and baked them in the oven. Once they were done, I garnished the apples with a drizzle of molasses and a final sprinkle of ground cinnamon. It was the prefect way to combine the flavors of the season and it left the house smelling like the holidays.