Maple Spice Granola


Oh, man! I wish you could smell my kitchen right now. It smells like heaven!

Surprising enough, for someone who loves baking and most sweet things, I’ve never tested my hand at making granola. But the other day, I was sitting around with some friends and a bottle of wine (or two) and the subject of breakfast came up. (They all like to eat as much as me, so it’s obvious we get along). Two of them said that their go-to breakfasts involved yogurt, and one of them said she couldn’t imagine breakfast without her mom’s homemade granola. I’m more of an eggs and toast person myself, but the more that they talked about homemade granola, I knew I just had to try it.

Since I’m in love with this time of year, I decided to make a granola that matched the season. All the ingredients I used I had on hand, meaning that you know I’ll be making this one again.



Maple Spice Granola

3 Cups of Instant Oats

1/2 Cup of Walnuts

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flakes

1/4 Cup of a Maple Syrup/Agave Blend

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar (if you don’t have coconut sugar, substitute with a little less than 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar)

1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup of Raisins

1/2 Tsp of Salt

2 Tbsp of Cinnamon

1/2 Tbsp of Nutmeg

1/2 Tsp of Ginger

1 1/2 Tbsp of Vanilla

2 Tbsp of Chia Seeds


Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet ingredients in another. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until fully mixed. If you would like granola clusters, make clenching motions in the granola with your hands. Carefully spread on a large baking sheet. I suggest using one with raised edges so you don’t lose any granola while it bakes. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, checking in every 6-10 minutes to stir the granola and prevent it from burning. Once the granola reaches a beautiful golden brown, take out of the oven and store in an air tight container.





Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

pslicecream3Though it’s officially fall, it sure doesn’t feel like it. While most of the U.S. gets sweater weather, the last few weeks in Los Angeles have been more like shorts and tank top weather. And though it’s one of the warmest summers/falls on record, I am determined to welcome fall in style with all the pumpkin and spice. So why not kick off pumpkin season right with a cool treat?

Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I used a trick (seen in last year’s ice cream post) that uses two main ingredients: heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. And though it’s as simple as whipping the cream until you reach the stiff peaks stage and adding in the condensed milk and mix-ins, I learned a few tips along the way that I thought I would share with you.

  1. Keep an eye on your heavy cream. If you beat it too much, you’ll end up with butter, which is great for toast…not so much for my ice cream making attempts. If you beat it too little, the sweetened condensed milk mixture will dissolve the air bubbles you whipped up, leaving you with a hard, icy block of sweetened milk rather than creamy ice cream.
  2. Make sure your sweetened condensed milk and mix-ins are chilled before adding to the whipped heavy cream. If it is warm, it will melt the whip.
  3. When adding the sweetened condensed milk into the mixture, very carefully fold it into the whipped cream. The more you stir, the less bubbles you will have in your whipped cream, resulting in a less creamy ice cream.

As I hope you can see, it’s really about how you treat the whipped cream. The stiffer the peaks, the better the ice cream texture. If you treat the whip right, you’re sure to be enjoying some of the most creamy, decadent ice cream you’ve ever tasted.


pslicecreamPumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream (inspired by Kevin & Amanda)

1 Pint of Heavy Cream

14 Ounces of Sweetened Condensed Milk

4 Heaping Tbsp of Canned Pumpkin

1 Tsp of Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp of Nutmeg

1 Tsp of Espresso Grounds


Whip heavy cream until cream reaches stiff peaks stage. While cream whips, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Fold slowly into the whipped cream, taking extra care to keep the same whipped consistency. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze until solid.




Mexican-Style Corn Salad


I was sitting in the airport waiting for my red-eye when I thought, hey, what better time to write a blog post! So here I sit, typing away on my phone, happy as can be, while i wait for at least one more hour.
Are there any foods that have the power to make you nostalgic with the first few bites? Well, thats how I first stumbled into this recipe. Let me explain.

A weeks ago, I was was at the store when corn stopped me in my tracks. I know what you’re thinking: How can something as boring as corn make you do a double take? I’m not a huge corn fan, but something about these cobs gave me a sudden longing for past summers full of bbqs and all day swim sessions. Since I don’t get to do much of either anymore, I decided to make something with my impulsive purchase.

(Side note: I love the WordPress Android app. It’s so easy to type away…okay back to the post).

I decided to take a twist on Mexican corn. If you don’t know what that is, stop reading this immediately and Google image search it. It will change your taste buds. With the perfect twist of cayenne, paprika, lime and fresca cheese, I’m sure you’ll find it hard to stop with just one bowl!


Mexican-Style Corn Salad
Two Ears of Corn, shucked
Cilantro-Lime Compound Butter
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 Avocado
1/2 Lime
Quesa Fresca
Extra Cilantro, as garnish

Generally spread the cilantro-lime butter over clean corn cobs. Wrap in foil and cool until a golden color. (Ideally you would do this over a grill, but since I no longer have one, I baked the corn at 350 degrees for 30 minutes). Set aside to cool.
While the corn cools, wash and dice the red bell pepper and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add diced avocado, lime juice and fresca. Toss lightly. Once the corn is cool enough to handle by hand, remove the kernels from the cob and mix in with your other ingredients. Top with extra fresca and cilantro to taste.

Serves 2.




Cilantro-Lime Compound Butter

cilantrolimecompoundbutter3There’s something wonderful about the aroma when you pinch off a few fresh leaves of the herb of your choice. I personally think it makes any meal better. But since I didn’t inherit my Dad’s green thumb (every plant I have tried to take care of has died), I usually buy my herbs from the store.

The problem with store-bought herbs is that I usually don’t use the whole bushel before they go bad … that is until I discovered compound butter. It’s super simple to make — especially with the herb scissors my brother recently gifted me (found here on Amazon) — and easy to store in the fridge until the cooking fancy strikes. And, since I love the cilantro-lime combination, I decided to play with those flavors here.

I realize that this is just one of many ways to use up your herbs. In fact, I’ve been wanting to try herbed ice cubes like our friends did over at the Halfsies blog, but haven’t got around to it yet. How do you use your leftover herbs?


Cilantro-Lime Compound Butter

4 Tbsp Butter, softened

1/2 Tsp Lime Zest

1/2 a Lime. juiced

Cilantro (to taste)


Rinse, dry and finely mince cilantro. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients until fully mixed. On a piece of wax paper, mold butter into a brick and tightly wrap. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hard. Use to season your meals.


Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops


This summer, my friends and I are challenging each other to stay active and healthy by going to the gym at least 4 days a week. So for the last few weeks, my mornings have been filled with 6 AM gym calls and very, very sore muscles.

And while I’m finally getting the hang of waking up early, I can’t seem to shake my sweet tooth. It’s a daily struggle. How do I find a balance for my insatiable sweet tooth without derailing all my hard work at the gym?

That’s where these popsicles come in. Even with no added sugar, the popsicles were still very sweet. I alternated layers of strawberry with raspberry yogurt so that I could taste both the sweet and tangy (a bit like the original flavor frozen yogurt, but with less sweetener).

I bought the popsicle molds at Daiso last year — see last year’s popsicles here — but any mold will do. Just adjust the recipe slightly to make sure you have enough ingredients to fill your molds.

What’s your favorite way to satisfy your sweet tooth?



Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops

Strawberry Layer

2 1/2 Cups Strawberries

1/3 Cups Water

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp Powdered Stevia

1 Tbsp Flour

Raspberry-Yogurt Layer

1 1/2 – 2 Cups 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Tsp Powdered Stevia

1/3 Cup Raspberries


Rinse, pat dry and slice tops off strawberries. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, water, vanilla extract, stevia and flour over medium heat. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined. Lower heat to low and cook until strawberries turn into a jelly — approximately 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

While the strawberries cook, rinse, pat dry and finely chop raspberries. Combine with greek yogurt, stevia and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set in the fridge to chill until you are ready to pour into the molds.

Once the strawberry mixture has cooled, carefully spoon into your popsicle mold. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then spoon an even amount of the raspberry-yogurt mixture into the mold. Place in the freezer for another 15 minutes. Repeat both mixtures until you reach the top of your molds. Freeze for an hour or until completely solid.

Serves 4.




White Bean Coffee Cake

whitebeancoffeecake4I’ll be the first to admit it – for the past few weeks, I’ve been neglecting this blog. With all the busy-ness involved with moving apartments, work and my recent trip to Asia (read all about the Thai cooking school Hailey and I went to here), I took a much-needed blogging hiatus. Now I’m back and even more excited to show you guys what I’ve been cooking (or in this post, baking) up!

A few weeks ago I threw a little house party, where I served this coffee cake. But this isn’t a normal coffee cake complete with blocks of butter and cups of sugar. No, this cake was made mostly with…white beans!

You’re probably thinking, “white beans?!?! Cathy’s finally gone off the deep end.” Well, my friends, that wasn’t a typo. I made a coffee cake where the main ingredient was white beans.

I first heard about this bean cake from a co-worker who raved over the recipe. Her son is obsessed with coffee cake, but she wouldn’t let him have it often because – let’s be honest – it’s not the healthiest thing in the world. And after listening to her rave about the recipe, I was sold. I needed to try it.

This coffee cake is the perfect blend of moist cake and crunchy crumble, which is surprising given that the recipe only calls for 1/3 of a cup of coconut flour. That said, the cake is not as “cakey” as it could be if made with tons of flour and sugar. But hey, that’s the sacrifice we make for healthy alternatives. M I RITE?

In short, I’ll definitely be making this guilt-free cake whenever the sweet tooth hits – so every day.



White Bean Coffee Cake (adapted slightly from Pamela Salzman)


2 1/2 Cups of Walnuts

2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar

2 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon


2 Cups of Canned White Beans, drained and rinsed

6 Eggs

3/4 Tsp of Liquid Stevia

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup of Melted Coconut Oil

1/3 Cup of Honey

1/3 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/2 Tsp of Salt

3/4 Tsp of Baking Soda

1 1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder


Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, combine walnuts, coconut oil, brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend until the texture looks crumbly. Remove from the blender and set aside.

Again in the blender or food processor, combine beans, eggs, stevia, coconut oil and honey. Blend until fully mixed. Add the dry ingredients and mix fully.

Spread batter in a 9X9 or 10X10 greased pan, and sprinkle the crumble topping on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (My new apartment’s oven has a mind of its own – and is very temperamental when it comes to consistent heat – so I suggest checking you cake after 35 minutes and at 5 minute intervals until done.

Serves 9.

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A Taste of Chiangmai: Asia Scenic Cooking School


Pad See Ew

 A couple of weeks ago Cathy and I were in Thailand for an annual trip we do with our girl friends from college. Last year we went to Spain, and this year we decided to give Southeast Asia a try! We had a wonderful time, starting in Bangkok, heading north to Chiang Mai, and finally south to the islands Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. One of the highlights of our trip was a Thai cooking class we took in Chiang Mai. 

Cooking Stations

The cooking class was run by a company called Asia Scenic, and we would highly recommend the experience. We started the day at the local market where our guide showed us where the locals would buy their ingredients, followed by a garden tour where we learned about and harvested all sorts of Thai spices and herbs including three types of basil, lemongrass, green onion and chives.

In the cooking class, as a group we had to decide on a few categories and within that we could each choose our own dishes. Personally, my menu went as follows:

Stir fry: pad see ew

Soup: tom yum

Vegetable spring roll

Curry Paste: panang 

Curry: panang with chicken


Panang Curry and Tom Yum Soup

The teacher taught us how to chop and grind the ingredients for prep work, and we each had out own wok and cooking station outside where we followed demonstrations and cooked our own dishes! The class was very well organized and informative. We learned all sorts of interesting tidbits along the way. For example, did you know that Thai people rarely eat Pad Thai? The natives tend to eat more curries and rice dishes rather than noodles, which you would never guess from looking at menus in all of the restaurants in Thailand!

Cathy and I realized how easy most Thai dishes are to make (with the exception of fresh curry pastes- it took about 20 minutes of hard labor to pound the fresh chilli peppers and herbs!)   

Showing off the finished product!


Pounding the chillies for curry paste


The best part about the class was that they gave us a cookbook at the end, so we can continue to make Thai food at home!

And just for fun…here’s a picture of us at Patara Elephant Reserve!   

A Taste of NYC: Union Square Cafe


I recently finished reading Danny Meyer’s book “Setting the Table.” Danny Meyer is a New York City icon within the food industry, and one of the greatest restauranteurs of our time. His philosophy on business and hospitality is unique and noteworthy, and his work in the industry has been an inspiration to me personally. I highly recommend this book, especially to those immersed in the New York City food scene, as it offers fascinating insight into the thought process and labor behind Danny’s restaurants, menus and impeccable service. For instance, you get to learn about Danny’s lengthy research journey across the US to sample the best burgers and custard, and the long hours spent in the kitchens of Eleven Madison Park developing the perfect frozen custard concoction for Shake Shack with the help of Eleven Madison’s pastry chef at the time. Every time I bite into a Shake Shack burger since reading “Setting the Table,” I think of Danny’s long journey to create the perfect blend of sirloin, chuck and brisket, and I understand the reason it’s so good.

Danny Meyer opened his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, in 1985. Being Danny Meyer’s original restaurant, it has obviously been on my “list” since I moved to NYC, however reading “Setting the Table” was what finally pushed me to make the reservation. Union Square Cafe is a product of Danny Meyer’s year spent in all of the finest trattorias in Italy and brasseries in France in his 20’s after he left his successful career in sales. Danny took all of his favorite elements of the European dining experience and brought them to life in NYC with his vision of Union Square Cafe. Today USC may not be the trendiest spot in NYC, but it sure is reliable. Reliable is serving some of the highest quality yet simple Italian cuisine, coupled with some of the best service in the city.

It was truly a unique experience to dine at Union Square Cafe after reading the book and truly having an understanding of Danny Meyer’s story. I noticed things about the dishes and service that I otherwise would have overlooked had I not gained a sense of Danny’s fine-tuned attention to detail, style, and philosophy through his book. USC met all of my expectations. (Note I did not use the word exceed simply because I have the highest expectations for Meyer’s establishments based on experience). Bravo Union Square Cafe, a New York classic with outstanding food and service. 

Union Square Cafe $$$

21 East 16th St. New York, NY 10003

What to Order: Fritto misto, any pasta (I had the spaghettini with flaked sea bass), roasted chicken, cannelloni beans, broccoli rabe




A Taste of NYC: Traif

Traif 3

I’ve been wanting to try Traif for quite some time, but I get lazy on weekends and it takes a lot to get me out of Manhattan. (Note: Traif is in Brooklyn). Furthermore, Traif is a fairly hard reservation to get, so some advance planning has to go into it. Luckily my good friend did plan ahead, and made a reservation for 6 and dragged us all to Williamsburg for the night!

And I’m sure glad he did…Traif was absolutely incredible. It’s a small and cozy restaurant with a charismatic open kitchen and a backyard patio. The food is served tapas style (my favorite), so you get to try a bunch of different things. There was not a single dish I didn’t absolutely love, which is rare for a small plates place; I usually find that there is at least one dish I could have done without. The waiter suggested about 2-3 plates per person, which ended up being a perfect amount of food.

A few things to note about this restaurant: 1) It is NOT vegetarian friendly. Pretty much everything was heavy on pork, shellfish or some other kind of meat (hence the name, Traif which means non-kosher). No complaints from my end, but don’t bring your vegan or kosher friends here. 2) Most of the dishes are served in multiples of 4, so I would suggest going with a party of either 4 or 8. We had a (ravenous) group of 6, which was a bit tough and resulted in fighting over the last two pieces of each dish.

I’d say if I HAD to pick my favorite dish, it would be the baked muenster, pictured below. Keeping in mind I am a cheese lover, this was the most decadent and delicious melted cheese plate I’ve ever had. It was literally a pot of thick, baked muenster cheese, so thick that you couldn’t dip like fondue; we had to use knives to cut pieces of the cheesy, gooey goodness. This is one not to be missed, but then again I could say that about so many other dishes here as well!


Traif $$$

229 South 4th St. Brooklyn, NY 11211

What to Order: Spicy Bigeye Tuna Tartare, Hampshire Pork Belly, Strawberry-Cinnamon Glazed Ribs, Baked Muenster Cheese, Broccoli Rabe

*Note: The menu seems to rotate quite a bit, but these were some of our favorites in April 2015!

Traif 2

Traif 5 Traif 4

Traif 1



Simple Kale Avocado Salad

Simple Salad3

Guess what everyone? It’s officially T-3 weeks until bikini season!! (For me anyway…). Cathy and I leave for Thailand right after Memorial Day Weekend, so it’s crunch time for getting that summer bod ready. And believe me, it’s been tough. NYC is FINALLY beautiful out which means everyone wants to get rooftop drinks…all the time! That’s sure not helping anything. I’m really trying to be good before I leave on my 2+ month summer world tour, just so that I don’t feel guilty about eating all of the pad thai, baguettes + fromage, and kebabs I want on my travels through Southeast Asia and Europe! The good news is that I’ve been testing out a bunch of easy, healthy recipes to keep me fueled throughout the day.

This is one of my new favorite go-to lunches. It’s extremely nutritious, surprisingly filling, and vegan-friendly. It’s also a very quick meal to prepare, and I have portioned out the ingredients to be perfect for a single-serving salad. The dressing takes inspiration from my time studying abroad in France, where my good friend adopted the recipe from her “host mom” who pretty much used it on everything. (One interesting tidbit: I became obsessed with French dijon mustard while in France, and the only brand I’ve found to be close to what they served in France is the Trader Joe’s brand! So clearly that’s what I used for this dressing).

I hope you enjoy this French-inspired healthy salad, and good luck to everyone trying to shed that winter layer!

Bon Appétit!

Simple Salad1

Simple Kale Avocado Salad

1 Cup chopped Kale

1 Cup shaved brussels sprouts

1/4 Cup Toasted Almond Slices

1/2 Avocado, sliced

5-7 Baby Carrots, chopped


1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Pinch of Salt



Assemble all of the salad ingredients onto a plate. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Drizzle the dressing onto the salad to your liking.

Simple Salad 8

Simple Salad2 Simple Salad Simple Salad 4