Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yummy Christmassy Dinner Party

The table was beautiful, as were all the dishes before we dug into them, but oh my god I forgot to take pics so, here are the "morning after" (aka leftover) pics of the Tomato Goat Cheese Tart and the Salted Caramel Pie (with peanut and chocolate additions):

This Tomato Goat Cheese Tart is amazing.  The crust is fantastic, and I think I'll use it for other things.  Crunchy, flaky, perfectly cheesy and seasoned.  Next time, instead of Italian herbs, I'll use just rosemary to see.  Couldn't more highly recommend this recipe.  I couldn't find my mini-tartlet pans for the life of me so I made a large one.  It turned out great, but next time I will do the minis, because I think it will work better with the goat cheese filling.  Either way is great:

To start the meal I made this Mario Batali Pappa al Pomodoro -- Tomato & Bread Italian Soup.  It's more thick than most soups, so I gave everyone smaller portions so as not to fill them up too much: actually made the tomato base -- pre water and bread additions -- the night before so as to fully steep with flavors.

Then for dessert, this great Food & Wine recipe for Salted Caramel Pie.  I added peanuts (Salted Blistered from Trader Joe's) to crust and stirred in a big handful of semisweet chocolate chips into the caramel at the end also.  Then I added chopped nuts and chocolate to decorate.  I served with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Ice Cream.  Also, I hardly put any sugar in the topping because the pie is so sweet.  It offset the sweetness well.  Finally, I whipped 3 cups of cream instead of 2, as recipe states:

So, the full menu:

  • Cocktail -- Prosecco, Orange Liqueur, Juice of one Tangerine, and Pomegranate Juice Cocktail (slices of tangerine in glass) -- all to taste
  • Italian Tomato Bread Soup
  • Tomato Basil Goat Cheese Tart
  • Salad with Parmiggiano and Toasted Almonds (balsamic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and juice of one tangerine)
  • Green Beans sauteed with garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, yellow tomatoes, lemon juice
  • Warm Sourdough Bread
  • Salted Caramel Pie + Ice Creams
Buon Yummy Natale!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do You Know a Trader Joe's Virgin?

My lovely friend Peter lives in London and my constant postings about Trader Joe's have been driving him crazy for a long time.   But, he need suffer no more.  He is going to New York and wants some guidance on how to approach his first Trader Joe's visit.  So, this one's for Peter.... and Tara who is in Canada, too, who I think is equally frustrated with my darned Trader Joe's ingredient lists.

Peter took me for a lovely walking tour all over London a couple months ago.  When I think of embarking on the Trader Joe's tour, I find it almost as daunting as a city tour!  There are so many hidden gems, off the beaten path, and so many areas you might accidentally miss due to other bright and shiny things being right near by.   So, I'll break the store up into sections:

1.  Fresh Flowers -- Really inexpensive here. I suggest making your own flower arrangements.  For instance, they often have tulips and gerber daisies and some sort of lily.  Mixing these all up is lovely.  They also often have calalillies -- purple, white, pink and yellow...lovely.
2.  Fresh Veggies and Fruits -- Gams you might miss are Broccoli Slaw which is broccoli stems and carrots mixed together in the crunchiest, yummiest mix.   Just throw vinegar and olive oil on it, some salt and papper, and a few toasted nuts.  They also have a bijillion kinds of lettuce.  My current favorite combo (sold separately) is butter lettuce and arugula.  Also, they always have regular green beans, but you want to get the Haricot Verts in little plastic bags.  These, as well as several other veggies sold like this, have bags that can be snipped and thrown in the microwave for quick veggie treat.  Bottom line: take your time in this aisle.
3.  Cheese -- Trader Joe's Started with nuts, chees, and wine, so they know how to choose 'em.  Trust them.  Current faves are the Aged Gouda, and for the holidays, the goat cheese logs rolled in Cranberry or Blueberry -- both are amazing.  The Blueberry is a little sweeter. 
All the goat cheeses are incredible.  Another daily fave is the Whipped Goat Cheese (look for little blue and white tub).  You can't go wrong with anything that draws you...OMG like the Baked Brie they already
4.  Nuts/Dried Fruits --   My faves: dry toasted almonds (two cuts available), toasted salted Pepitas (OMG what an amazing snack or salad spicer upper), dried cranberries with orange flavoring (must try, great on salads in this season especially), and the very best peanuts on planet Earth:

Old Fashioned Blister Peanuts.   Just literally don't leave the store without them.
5.  Chips/Crackers -- Current favorite cracker is the Pita Crackers -- they are so thick and crunchy and exquisitely salted.   The Low Fat Cheese Crunchies (a cheeto rip off that is so much better than the original, much cheesier and yummier) are hard to put down.  Every chip I've ever tried was absolutely delish.  They have a bijillion potato chips and a bijillion tortilla chips to choose from.
6.  Frozen Foods -- The pastas in a bag are remarkable good.  Throw a handful of fresh spinach or other lightly sauteed veggies to just kick them up a little and they are spectacular.  New favorite the Bento Box -- gloriously spiced and balanced, a lovely light supper.  Something you will ALWAYS find in my freezer -- Jasmine Rice.  Each box has three bags.  Pop in the microwave and miraculously perfectly cooked rice is ready to bless any dish!  The frozen thin pizzas are my faves in that section. 
7.  Chocolate and Cookies -- Peter-- YOU WILL BE IN HEAVEN -- you will need a while to slowly linger down this aisle.  The chocolates and cookies, by the way are all above the frozen foods.  So, dress accordingly, as you will be here for a while.  My most favorite new thing at TJs are these unbelievably brilliant Chocolate Mint Wafers.  Imagine this: ice cream cone wafer about an inch in diameter, covered with divine dark chocolate and sprinkled with teeny tiny candy cane bits.  Two different kinds of crunch and lots of richness.  Also, I'm sorry but TJs food creators are GENIUSES:

The other aisles are Coffee/Tea, Dry Goods (pasta, canned foods, etc.), Liquor, and Dairy... all things delicious found in all of them, but I think I've hit all the "stars" of Trader Joe's that are must-visits, or must-buys if you can fit them in your suitcase!

Everyone else: free to pass this on to all the "Trader Joe's Virgins" you know.

Buon Joe Appetito!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tangerine Dreams & Chocolate Orgasms

I will tell you right now that people's Facebook updates affect me.  The media genius, lovely, wonderfully talented Summers McKay, was posting about her recent trip to Mexico.  Therefore when I opened up my latest Food & Wine magazine I was SUSCEPTIBLE to the following three recipes that I simply HAD to make for friends:

Now, why do I only have a picture of the table the day after?  Well, because I had to taste the first inspiring recipe before my guests arrived and was pretty damn drunk after only 1/2 a TANGERINE MARGARITA!  I highly recommend adjusting this recipe by adding maybe twice as much fresh tangerine juice:   Oh my God were they delicious once I added more tangerine juice.   I should say -- if you are a lightweight like me, you may want to adjust the recipe.   But what is more delightful a task than juicing wondrously ripe and wonderful tangerines?  Nada!

Next, inspiring dish by the same chef:  Crunchy Cabbage Icebox Salad.  And, for those of you on Weight Watchers -- it's only 4 points a serving.  YUMMALICIOUS, crunchy, healthy:

Then, in my inimitable Lazy Way, I just threw on the counter for the guests to make their own taco or quesadilla the following:  roasted chicken (from Ralphs, who one of my guests said makes the best roasted chicken -- being a vegetarian I was happy to hear I hit the mark!), grated cheese, olives, three kinds of salsa, chopped cilantro, chopped chives, beans, sliced avocado with lime juice to preserve them during cocktails, and two kinds of tortillas. 

For dessert, another Jenn Louis genius recipe from the same Food & Wine spread: Honey Roasted Pineapple:  So delicious and for maybe less than a point, especially since I halved the honey. 

To go with the light dessert, I found -- also at Ralphs (you never hear me mention anything but Trader Joe's but today they are the stars!) -- CHUAO CHOCOLATE!  I had no idea they were in stores now. I have been to their boutiques a few times always for multi-chocolate-orgasmic experiences.  To find them in stores is nothing short of a Christmas miracle -- and it turns out they are EVERYWHERE NOW --

To end the Mexico-inspired evening I chose my two very favorite blends that both have some good heat.  FIRECRACKER is a must, must, must, must, must -- did I say MUST?  I'm not kidding you must try Firecracker.  I make people close their eyes when they first try it because it's literally as if fireworks are going off in your head when you eat it!  OUTRAGEOUS!
The Heat Is On Chocolate Bar Set

So, thank you Summers McKay for an evening of deliciousness and dreams galore.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

June Cleaver is a Lazy Woman!

I had a very un-lazy day on Wednesday, when my washing machine caused a huge flood, and ensuing six hour clean-up.  But, I had a very lazy Black Friday when I walked into a brand new electronics store, famous here in Southern California for having good deals.  Recommended by a friend, I went over there after searching for the best deals online, stopping at Sears.  I walked in and there was hardly anyone there because it's a brand new location for the chain.  I was helped immediately, and realized I could actually have my dream washer and dryer. 

I did my first load of laundry in it today and I may just sleep outside with it tonight, I love it so!  It's gorgeous and so efficient and my clothes haven't been this clean in year.  I think I should apologize to anyone I even brushed by in the last two years because I realized my clothes haven't really been clean for that long. 

I was so excited by my new appliances, I cleaned out the utility room where the washer/dryer are, then went to the garage, cleaned and organized even more, and brought in all the Christmas decorations.

And, then, what did June Cleaver still have energy to do?  Bake a birthday cake for my friend's 92 year old mom who is in the hospital recovering from a hip operation.  I googled "Best Chocolate Layer Cake Ever" and found this well-reviewed recipe.  It truly is fantastic.

The only change I made was to cut the sugar in the frosting by 1.5 cups -- so 4.5 cups instead of 6.  I also chopped up about 10 Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Crisps and put them on top of the frosting between the layers to add some very dark chocolate and for some extra texture. 

I got to taste it because I had enough batter to make extra cupcakes.  Yummalicious!

Buon Lazy Chocolate Appetito!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seriously People...Best Carrot Cake Ever in History of Mankind -- with CHOCOLATE CHIPS!

I had a very big cooking challenge on my hands this week.   I was throwing a birthday dinner party for my friend who looooooooooooooooooves Carrot Cake.  He told me the best carrot cake he ever had was at a restaurant in Kansas City that no longer exists.  I tried tracking down the recipe to no avail.  I was even in Kansas City recently and hunted around a bit.  No go.  It turns out my friend paid the chef for the recipe many years ago and makes the cake, but I didn't want to cheat and ask for it.

So, I then did the next best thing: I googled "best carrot cake ever" and found this recipe from Southern Living 1997.

My friend is from the south so I thought that might do the trick, and it called for something I had never seen before -- a buttermilk glaze that you put over all the cakes prior to the cream cheese frosting, thus locking in the moisture. Super creative, plus adding another level of flavor with the buttermilk. I then thought "hmmm.....what about chocolate chips mixed in?"  So, I put chocolate chips in just one of the three layers -- to test it out.  I know it was risky for an important Birthday Carrot Cake, but it turned out amaaaaazing.   I put chocolate chips in only the top layer, and then.....drum roll....I put crushed the Chocolate Crisps between only the bottom two layers.

The verdict?  This cake recipe is so divine, it definitely doesn't need chocolate, but it really adds a supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness to it.  You don't need a lot.  I'd say 1/2 to 3/4 cup for the whole thing so each layer is "dotted" with them. 

But, you could also just do the crushed Crisps in between all three layers -- I'd say crush up 10 to 12 crips for each in-between layer spot.

Also, I made two alerations to the recipes -- I cut the sugar in all three elements -- cake, glaze and frosting -- by 1/4.  AND, I added about 1/4 cup -- maybe 1/3 (needs to remain spreadable, so be careful) -- buttermilk to the frosting.  It made it particularly creamy, and gave it an extra kick to offset all the sweetness.

Buon Sweet Carrot Appetito to all!

P.S. Sorry I didn't take a photo fo the cake all purdy and looked amazing I promise!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winter Yum Soup

I am in the middle of a 3 1/2 day meditation retreat that I am participating in remotely, via phone and web.  It's fantastic, especially because I can do things like I just did!  We had a 15 minute bathroom break, an hour prior to the two hour lunch break.  Already hungry and craving a warm vegetable soup, I threw this soup together in just about 8 minutes.  All of this can be found at Trader Joe's, but all stores have all of these ingredients, except possibly the broccoli slaw, which could actually be replaced with normal ol' cabbage slaw.

2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 - 15 cans pinto beans (or whatever your favorite bean is -- this happens to be mine)
1 - 32 oz vegetable stock (or other stock if you prefer -- I'm a vegetarian)
1 - 28 oz can of water (i.e., when you empty it, fill it with water and throw that in!)
1 - 10 oz bag of sliced mushrooms (I chopped them up further)
1 - 13 oz bag of broccoli slaw
1/2 cup red lentils (I just threw them in for texture and color)
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
2 Dashes Lemon Pepper
Salt to taste

After 1/2 hour it was actually ready to go, but I turned the heat very low and let it simmer for a full hour.  It just gets better and better over time.  And, super miraculously the broccoli stays crunchy!

Obviously you can add all kinds of yummy extras that meet your taste wishes and needs.

Buon Cozy Appetito!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When You Have Your Health....

All those adages about how lucky we are when we have your health, always knew they were true, but this last year was the absolute proof.  I have been sick for just over a year, with the last four months being nearly intolerable, and boy was it a difficult journey. 

Last week, though, I finally found a doctor who prescribed the right medicine!  I was trying homeopathy, naturopathy for 8 months and then it go so much worse I sought out Western medicine.  Four doctors later, and I am finally taking the right meds!  Hallelujah.   I feel like I am born again!  It's a whole new world having my health back. I'm not even at 100% yet, and I'm so blissed out.

I have always had deep compassion for people dealing with long-term pain or illness because I have had brief experiences in my life with both and I know how intolerable even a month or two month long flirtation with either can put a dent in your life force.  Fighting pain or illness takes it all out of you, leaving little bandwidth for things like creativity, love, giving, and expressing all that you want to express in your life.

I look back at the last year and I can report that my productivity and creativity have been gravely affected.  Projects that were born but never grew to fruition, dinner parties cancelled, parties missed, relationships waning as I couldn't give them proper attention, and even, in the last couple of months, lost hope of ever being well.

One day I was speaking to a doctor on the phone and he said "We will figure this out."  As he spoke those words I watched a hummingbird poise itself right outside my office window at the bottle brush only feet away from where I sat.  I dared to have hope when I saw that sign.  My heart lifted for a moment, and then my mind said "why hope?" and then my heart won and I held onto that hope, clinging to it like a vine Tarzan would grab to cross the jungle.  It was the next day that I met the doctor who would prescribe me the winning solution. 

I am blessed. I was blessed when I was sick and I am blessed now that I have my health again.  I feel prarticularly blessed to have the energy to express myself.  I will write more here, and give back a whole lot more than I have been, and live, live, live....with extreme gratitude.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lazily Dealing with Loss

I didn't expect 9/11 to hit me so hard.  It feels like NPR and the news shows were running stories for weeks.  Trickling tears leading up to the floodgates. 

9/11 was also the six month mark since my break-up, a kind of marker that I had been looking forward to so that I could take my dating temperature.  Synchronistically I had one of my first dates the day before, almost like God said "See, you're doin' good!"  I am doing better than good, I think, fully healing mind, body and spirit after a tough relationship ending.  I feel more whole and ready for a whole and healthy man. 

Yet, this little anniversary marker of a loss, an ending was also poignant and touched my heart.  It's never so easy as just one loss.  One loss drips into your heart and touches off the river of another loss that runs even deeper, and so on, and so on. 

I have many people around me dealing with loss right now, and their losses are touching off my own.  I wrote about a couple of losses that are perhaps once removed from my life, but still touched many people deeply.  Here are the links to The Morton Report stories of two extraordinary men, one bravely battling brain cancer, the other recently taken shockingly without notice:

These two men are bright shining stars...forever.  The thousands we lost on 9/11, more shining stars forever. 

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday in honor of 9/11 and I think it is worth reposting here:

"There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow." - The Talmud

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Lazy Summer Ice Cream Recipe

Usually when I make ice cream I do it the old fashioned way, making a custard base on the stove, etc.  But, I found a most miraculous recipe that really tastes almost exactly like ice creams that you slave over with very little effort at all. 

And, guess, what, when I did my one stop shopping at Trader Joe's, I found that the strawberries were not up to snuff for making ice cream the same day (yesterday), so I mozied over to the frozen fruit section and got a bag of frozen strawberries because I knew those would be very ripe, and heck they were going to be frozen in the end again anyway, right? 

Here's the recipe:  I made this very easy recipe even lazier -- use frozen strawberries.  I just used a pastry cutter to chop them all up in a bowl, instead of cleaning, hulling and chopping fresh ones! 

The other two variations I made were at the end of the freezing process I added probablhy 1/4 cup of Cointreau....and the piece de resistance....I took a normal grater, i.e., large holes, like if you were grating a big hunk of cheddar cheese, and grated a 3 oz. bar of deep dark chocolate.  I added the shavings of the entire bar into the ice cream for the last couple of minutes in the ice cream maker.

If you grew up in Southern California you may remember Thrifty's Ice Cream.  They actually still make it and you can buy it at most Rite Aid stores.  Rite Aid took over the Thrifty's chain, but the ice cream is made in same factories apparently with all the same recipes.  They make my favorite mint chip ice crea because the chocolate chips are more like thin shavings and they are very dark chocolate. 

I was inspired to mimic those shavings, so that every bite of the creamy strawberry ice cream had a dark chocolate edge to it.  My guests say I succeeded!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where Has the Lazy Woman Been!!??

I was asked to write for The Morton Report in June, and because I moved in July I've been mostly spending my writing time over yonder, but I wanted to pass on the links to my most recent articles, just in case you want to know what the heck this Lazy Woman has been up to....

Looking for Mr. Morgan
My Dogs Would Do That

Laziest Dessert of All = Tiramisu

Lazy Technology: ClamCase is Pearl in the Sea of iPad Cases

All My Children: Lifelong Fans Become Part of a TV Family

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Have Exactly What You Need

I have received a great lesson in the last couple of days, as I have discovered repeatedly that I have exactly what I need. 

I am still getting settled in my house and put a bunch of pots around an area where I'm creating a "moment" -- a lovely little spot to view from afar that will just make me happy.  I thought I needed to get about 10 plants to fill up the arrangement of pots.  But, because I didn't have the energy to get to the Farmer's Market this weekend, and I decided at 8 p.m. last night that I wanted to get it done, I found that I had exactly what I needed in terms of plants for the pots.  I had plants that were too big for their pots.  I had plants sitting around here and there that were just waiting for my attention.  In 15 minutes of pillaging and re-purposing, I made a beautiful arrangement of potted plants. 

I finally decided to put art up on the walls yesterday also.  I was waiting to finish configuring my rooms, but decided I was putting way too much focus on what a few inappropriate nail holes would do to the house!  My God, Bridget, get your priorities straight!

Usually I like to have a second opinion when hanging art, but I just went for it, and while I imagine things will change over time, I am very happy with my results and because I was in the flow of things I was able to hit the mark on my first nail hammering.  All are hung in the perfect spot!  And, boy do I feel more settled with the art up. 

I thought what I had wouldn't be right for this space, but again, I have exactly what I need for this space.

I tend to think "I want this, I want that...more, more...I want more!"  I really am so much more content when I live with what I have.   Not that I haven't bought new things for the new space --  new lovely mid-century furniture to match the house from an estate sale that fits the space perfectly -- but overall I have exactly what I need.

Whole and complete as we are....just as we are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lazy Woman Cooks - Even Right after a Move!

I had the gall to have people over for dinner only one week after I moved, but I did the usual Lazy Woman trick -- an Italian spread.  Meats, cheeses, a big salad, and a super easy pasta.  The only cooking I did was cooking the mushroom and artichoke ravioli while I sauteed up some mushroom, artichoke hearts, asparagus and herbs.  And, for dessert, I threw together another Strawberry Tiramisu:   I always put way more sliced strawberries in it than listed, and I also put it in a glass vase instead of on a serving plate as pictured.

Tonight, though, I'm taking a Tiramisu to a dinner party and offered several options to the host.  He chose Chocolate-y, Crunchy and Nutty Tiramisu.  So, I made up this's DE-FRICKING-AMAZINGLICIOUS and so incredibly easy to make.

Buon Appe-Lazy-Tito!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grandma's Message

Moving is annoying and cool for one reason: it makes you purge.  Because I only had a couple weeks to prepare for my move, I didn't get to go through everything I needed to get through.  I did a whole helluva lot, but now as I set up my new house, as I unpack, I am purging even more now.  I now have several more give-away boxes.

Along with trash and donations I am also finding little gems like the one I just found that prompted this post.  A nearly illegible note that I had scrawled on an envelope several years ago.  It was a note I had taken during a conversation with my grandmother at the end of her life, when she was in and out of clarity, and seemed to be spending a good deal of her awake time in a very happy, though not earthly plain. 

I remember grabbing the envelope and pen as if it happened only hours ago.  She had just made me laugh really hard.   I remember thanking her for always making me laugh.  She replied:

"I had to make you laugh.  It's not from me, you know.  It's from somebody you love.  I'm talking about God."

I very nearly threw this envelope away.  I'm glad I was really taking my time and going through this lot of stuff with a fine tooth comb.  Sometimes quiet and calm pays off big.  And, sometimes the pain of moving has many hidden gifts.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Figs: God's Gift to Planet Earth + Me

I am always shocked to hear that people don't like figs.  My friend, Christina, was in town last weekend with her sweet 11 year old daughter, Gina.  I had expected Gina would be a kindred foodie given her vegetarianism.  Yes, she has been a vegetarian since she was 9 years old!  Pretty cool if you ask me.

Anyway, I was showing them the bounty of foods I had bought in their honor and was about to pull out a big bowl of figs when I exclaimed, fully expecting a resounding cry of agreement, "Gina, do you like figs?!!!!!"  She was trying to hide her disappointment in having to disappoint me.  It was a 1/2 second round robin of guilt, as I put the figs on the counter. 

Then she saw them and said "Those are figs?"  These were fresh green figs.  She had only had the deep purple mission figs.  I suggested she might want to try the teensiest bit of the green fig.  I had just made her a piece of toast with goat cheese on it.  I asked if I could put the tiniest smidgen of green fig on her goat cheese lathered toast and she said, courageously and with a twinkle in her eye "YES!" 

Well, folks, she LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED it!  Who knew that the two figs would taste so differently to her young, acutely-tuned palate.  The next day we actually all three did a taste test.  Gina still hated the missions.  Christina and I took our time mulling over the delicate differences between the two.  Missions are definitely more woodsy to me.  I love them both, but I think if I had to be caught on a desert island with only one I would choose the green figs.  

After they left I was missing them a little so I made a little snack for myself with both kinds of figs.  I swear I can't not be happy when I'm eating figs. 

The memory of Gina really made me smile too.  I love kids who are open to tasting anything.   It's so brave, and their taste buds really are so very sensitive. I especially love kids who are open to having their minds.  What a delightful young lady we have on this planet.  And, now the sweet green figs of this planet are lucky to have her love.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Love Me Some Free Stuff!

I love free stuff and in the case of Weight Watchers, all fruit and most veggies (potatoes, avocados and a few other things excepted) are ZERO POINTS which to me means FREE! FREE!  FREE!

This was my breakfast this morning, as it is most mornings -- a huge bowl of delicious fruits.  In California we are blessed with having watermelon and blueberries almost all year long.  The flavors of these fruits now are even more spectacular, of course, in the summer.   So, this bowl of deliciousness made with one stop shopping at Trader Joe's.  This isn't even all the different fruits I have in the fridge that I picked up yesterday, but these work so nicely together, and they make a purdy picture, eh?:

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Black Figs
  • Green Figs
  • Honeydew Melon
  • White Nectarines
Yummalicious!  Yesterday I actually had a big fruit salad twice before I had a late lunch at 3:30 p.m.  I was so in love with the flavors and really craved it again!  Today, my hunger level is higher, so I needed some protein earlier, but especially in the Summer, I like to start my day with a big bowl of free stuff!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm Dating A House

My very smart friend, Kathy, has been a great guide for me through the rocky, slippery, muddy, dusty landscape of the hills and valleys of my recent break-up.  She yanked me out of cavernous dark and humid depths on the days that I found out about yet another betrayal and was saying "How could I not have seen that?"   She pulled me up to the tops of insurmountable mountaintops and would proclaim, as if planting a homesteader flag in my heart: "You deserve better!"  

Thanks God for good, honest, down to earth friends!

Currently, Kathy is leading me through the hills and valleys of yet another landscape: finding a house.  I found out a couple weeks ago that I need to move in the next couple of months because my landlords are going to renovate this rental house and move into it themselves.  So, I'm running around Planet Los Angeles trying to find a quick sale or a good rental house.   The best of houses on the market for sale are short sales, which are not appropriate becuase the time it takes to complete a purchase of a short sale is anything but short and cannot be done in time.  Rentals, unfortunately, are hideously overpriced (more than mortgages if they are decent). 

So, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off searching for a decent house to rent or buy.  When I found out today I lost a house that I adored -- as most first time buyers do -- I was devestated. 

Kathy reminded me:  It's like finding the right guy, you got a date a lot o' losers until the right one comes.  And, sometimes you think he's the right one, and you find out that indeed there is a far better one, which is a much better fit, just around the corner.

So, for the moment, while my soul readies itself for men again, I am dating houses.

I hope these houses don't lie like my last boyfriend.  I hope the one I find truly is "what you see is what you get, no sneaky hidden termites, nothing swept under the foundation, just plain and simple: Honesty, Integrity, Light, Happy House.

I'll dress up nice and purdy to see if I can catch me one o' dem good houses.

Monday, July 11, 2011

WWgasm = Wearing Goal Dress!

I finally had an excuse to wear my "goal dress."  I bought this Size 4 Trina Turk dress at Nordstrom Rack in January.  It now fits perfectly, and even though I'm still losing weight, it will fit even when I get to my goal, so I'm very happy.

This was the premiere of my friend's movie, which I will actually be posting a link about later today.

In the photo I'm with friend Elisa B., who has the most amazing dress store in Pasadena -- Elisa B.!  Must go if you are ever looking for a hot dress, outfit, jeans, or jewelry in Los Angeles.  We are with our "line friends" Bob and Frank.  We met them in line and it turns out they know the director, my writing partner, as well.   Now they are our friends too!

Magic, magic, magic.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lazy Blueberry Thursday - With Figs!

Are you kidding me?  Figs are ZERO POINTS on Weight Watchers!  I would have assumed that their deliciousness level, not unlike the scrumptious heights of avocados, would cost me some points!  But, no, this bowl of crunchy, juicy blueberries plus several sweet, ripe, soft figs cost me a big zippo in points.

And, it really filled me up too! 

I am down 22 pounds in 23 weeks.  Very exciting!   Five pounds to go to my real goal but this is my Weight Watchers Lifetime goal.  Yep, I did it, I made it to my Lifetime goal today!  Fruits like these are making it very easy for me to stay within my points.

I bow to nature for giving us such colorful, sweet goodness.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Lazy Blueberry Monday: It's a Berry WWgasm Day!

Seriously, it's like eating candy!  What is more fun than a bowl of cherries?  A bowl of BLUEBERRIES!

For those of us on Weight Watchers, it's like they're paying us to eat them when it's ZERO points! 

This is a major WWgasm!  But, man even if weight loss is not your deal, run out and grab a couple cartons of blueberries.  Their flavor, texutre and pop just went up several notches this week!  Wooohooo!

Berry Beautiful Day to All!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lazy Blueberry Sunday!

Oatmeal + fresh yummy blueberries -- stewed together with a tiny bit of brown sugar.  Delightful breakfast that will stay with me through Bar Method class and up to late brunch with a friend.

I took a photo because it was such a bright purple against the green bowl, it looked shockingly like a deep purple hydrangea -- one of my favorite flowers.  It really does make such a difference when your food is beautiful.  We taste with our eyes too. 

So, don't forget to scoop up some beauty for the pleasure of your eyes at every meal.  It will raise the yum factor by 1000!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Give Up Your Favorite Foods in the Name of Weight Loss

It happened again!  I was looking for a Weight Watchers friendly chocolate chip cookie recipe and made my own twist on it to create one of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had!

If you are attached to any food, there is an alternative out there for something just as tasty and delicious -- if not more delicious -- than the original recipe. 

I refuse to make anything with fake butter, sugar, or anything even slightly other than whole, clean, good ingredients.  I don't want to forfeit taste, and I also want ingredients that are as close to what comes out of the earth or nature as possible.

So, I found a recipe that used real butter, real sugar, and lots of other really groovy stuff that I knew would give it good texture, like rolled oats.  I added toasted almonds and instead of chocolate chips I used the Scharffenberger Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar I got at the BlogHer Food Conference and chopped it up in varied shapes and sizes.

These cookies have the best crunch and texture of any chocolate chip cookie I've ever had.  Just the right amount of crunch with the right amount of soft, and not too sweet, and not at all heavy even with the whole wheat flour.


3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of chopped fine chocolate - I used Scharffenberger
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the first 6 dry ingredients and put them in Cuisinart for a few seconds to make sure the oats are pretty finely ground.  It will all look roughly like the texture of brown sugar after just a few seconds.

In another bowl, beat the butter until fluffy with a mixer.  Then mix in the next three wet ingredients until smoothly blended.

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until blended.  Add the chocolate and almonds. 

If it's too dry to form little balls, add coffee as needed (a couple tablespoons will probably do it!) to give texture you can work with to roll into balls about the diameter of a quarter.  You will end up with roughly 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Bake for about 15 minutes.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lazy Loss: Happy Father's Day

It's only my second Father's Day without my dad, but somehow this one hit me much harder than the last.  Last year I was distracted by focusing on my boyfriend, celebrating him as a father, so I simply moved my attention to something else.  I tend to do that with pain -- look at a bright shiny object nearby so I don't have to deal with the dark feelings.

Today, I innocently went to Starbucks.  A lovely elderly man was ordering a latte, and just behind him, in front of me, was a rather dashing man of about my age.  At one point the younger man turned to me and I asked "Father's Day?" and he nodded yes.  Right in that moment, in  the midst of my heart being so full and happy for them and their little outing, I got nailed by a huge sense of loss that I wasn't in line with my dad.  His dad was paying and the younger man said "Senior Father's privilege" saying that even though he too was a father, the senior dad won.  My dad always paid for me too. I would have to do acrobatic sneaking around with waiters to get to pay.  My dad would laugh proudly at my ingenuity, but I could also see the glimmer of "Well, that won't be happening again." 

I started quietly crying right there in the middle of Starbucks.  It's been a while since I cried about my dad.  Mostly I've been appreciating a joyful relationship with him, in my dreams, meditations and even just in daily life hearing him whispering advice to me - particularly when dealing with the business he left me. 

He's helped me a lot with the recent ending of my relationship of two years. Even as I edge toward what I think is the tail end -- hopefully, please God -- of mourning this loss of love, he has been quite light and playful with me in my dreams.  Just the other day, my dog thankfully barked at some creature in the back yard around 3 a.m.  It woke me from a deep sleep where I was dreaming about my dad and my ex.  My dad was showing me with a bit of hilarity how grateful he was that I hadn't gotten engaged - as my ex had promised him -- to a man who told so many slightly frightening lies.  I woke up, albeit groggy, with a smile on my face. 

My dad was unmarried most of his life.  Two marriages - one about 6 years and another about 10 -- do not fill up a lot of years.  So, he learned to love to cook for himself and for guests.  He really did love to cook, and he was good at it too.  He had all the best cookbooks and experimented with them all regularly.  He had an ultimate passion for cooking soup, and toward the end of his life he passed this passion on to me. 

He also liked to bake from time to time.  And, he loooooooooooved him some bacon!  He would carefully stow away every bit of bacon grease he could get after cooking a rasher of bacon.  He always gave him a weekly treat: big Sunday breakfast.  He went to his favorite diner most weeks but loved to cook up a big American cholesterol rich breakfast.  This morning as I was thinking about baking some muffins to cure my recent craving for a good warm hot out of the oven muffin I thought "Wow, I wish I had made my dad big corn muffins with bacon grease and big chunks of crispy bacon in them while he was alive."

In his honor I made corn muffins.  Being a vegetarian, I added corn and toasted almonds instead of the bacon.  He would be laughing very, very heartily at that pathetic substitution!  I toasted my dad with yummy food, which is appropriate.  He'd approve of a toast with gin too, but muffins will have to do today.

I miss him so much today, but taking time out to honor him seems to make it a little better. 

Happy Father's Day Dad.  You were literally the best dad I could have ever had.  Had I ordered you up on a menu, you couldn't have been any more perfect. 

love, love, love,
your Lazy Daughter

Friday, June 17, 2011

Take 5: The Lazy Woman's Road to Meditation

One of my Lazy tricks I play on myself is "Take 5."  I make myself commit to just five minutes of some action that I don't want to do, just to get myself doing it.  Sometimes I'll commit to 15, but if it's something I really don't feel like doing I commit to just 5 minutes. 

Recently, when I decided I needed to start meditating on a daily basis again, I just started with 5.  I very quickly moved my minimum to 10.  And, usually I go way past the minimum I set up for myself.  Within just a few days I was actually craving my meditation, and wouldn't even think of doing less than 10.  Now, first thing in the morning when I get out of bed, I'm in the habit and wouldn't think of not giving myself those quiet moments to start my day in peace and power.  It's better than orange juice -- to start my day out right!  I am far more centered for my entire day because of my practice and I'm grateful that I started.

Whenever people tell me they want to write, or they have a book idea, I say "just take 5!"  I tell them to start with a bare minimum commitment: 5 minutes each day.  If they really are a writer or their idea for a book really has merit, they will WANT to write more than five minutes each day.  They will be pleased with their writing, with the process and will naturally move their minimum commitment up, up, and up, until soon they are inching toward their goal of having a book written.  And, they will be happy doing it.  It's like I wouldn't even think of only meditating for five minutes.  It's too delicious.  I want to do it longer. 

If my desk is a mess or my garage has an area that has gotten out of hand, I'll commit to a minimum of 15 minutes.  To protect myself, I set a timer for the 15 minutes.  If it rings and I want to keep going, I do.  But, if I don't want to do anymore, I maintain my integrity to myself: I gave myself my word that I only needed to do 15 minutes, so I keep my word to myself.  It's important that you keep your word to yourself.  It goes the other way too.  If you are about to fall asleep and you remember you didn't do your 5 minutes, get up and do it: keep your word.  Otherwise what you are saying to yourself is "That goal, that dream, that idea, etc. isn't that important."  Honor yourself, your brilliance, your ideas:  Keep your word.

And, be gentle with yourself.  If 5 is too much, start with 2 minutes.  As my pilates teacher says "you can do anything for just two minutes!"   She's usually saying this at the mid-way mark of a 4 minute plank!  LOL!    But, seriously, if 5 minutes is too much pressure, do 2! In being gentle with yourself to start, you can very gingerly move yourself into realms you know you want to go, but where you have some hesitation or psychological barrier. 

So, give yourself a break and have a breakthrough: TAKE 5!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Giddy Lazy Woman

I've been buying clothes to "grow" into -- aka grow thinner into -- for the last couple of months.   I haven't needed to buy much because I have a thin wardrobe, but when I've been in the mood to reward my losses and celebrate my renewed shape, I've bought some new items.

I was at Anthropologie a couple months ago returning a Christmas present and tried on a dress. I could sort of shove myself into it.  The sales lady swore it fit, but she wasn't my breasts. I knew breathing would become increasingly hard and fainting or perishing due to the constraint would be quite possible.  I loved it, though, and knew it would be cute when I shrank myself some more.

I wore it today for the first time and oh my god it was so fun.  I was giddy all the live-long day wearing it.  It's fun to wear clothes that make you feel good.  Wearing clothes that make you feel good that you know didn't fit until this week: priceless, giddy priceless.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I haven't weighed this little since my last decade, i.e., my 30's!  I am thrilled beyond belief!  And, my god the journey has been so steady and effortless. I've lost just under a pound a week, and have even had trips where food was a major focus during this 5 1/2 months. I didn't deny myself a whole heckuva lot along the way.  I tasted everything I wanted to, and definitely overindulged at a few several course meal events.  But, other than those few occasions, I pretty much stayed the course.

Being perimenopausal, though, I had my fair share of weeks where I gained even though I knew I had synchronistically done more working out, etc.  But, my hormones didn't care about my weigh-ins.  Weight Watchers does a really delightful thing on their site, where you can see the chart of your weight loss in graph or list form.  I love the graph because I can watch the ups and downs, hills and valleys that lead me to this point.  It was very steady, ups roughly every four weeks, followed by a bigger down. 

On the up weeks, I won't lie, I still felt like I'd done something "wrong" or that I had accidentally not logged something, etc.    I had to keep remembering that if I just stick with it, the loss will continue.  My body will catch up.  It always did.

The biggest coup is that I did almost no emotional eating over these months, even though several weeks into my loss I broke up with my boyfriend.  Normally, this would have been a grand excuse to indulge.  In fact, I had gained half of the weight I just lost after my father died because my childish mantra was "I get to do anything I want!  My daddy died." 

I give full credit to Marianne Williamson's "Course in Weight Loss" for taking away all the childish mantras, and for teaching me how to truly take care of myself.  Also, I give her credit for this 20 pounds.  My original goal when I signed up for Weight Watchers on January 5th was 13 pounds.  Marianne's book really got me to see that that would have been my "as good as it gets over 40" weight, not my ideal weight.   I got that I have been denying myself my ideal weight since my 30's. 

The truth is I didn't want to do the work to unveil all the conversations in my head that were keeping me from my ideal weight.  "It's not safe -- bad things happen to me when I'm thin."  "I can't, it's too hard over 40."  "This is as good as it gets, Bridge!"  "This is good: keep some weight on so you have an excellent excuse for not having the man you want!"  If you are struggling in any way, shape or form with your weight, I recommend this book more than anything I've done on this journey.

My goal is 7 pounds more.  My Weight Watchers leader suggested just 2 more.  I'll be looking at this over the next few weeks to see where I land, but I will say I am very happy to say I am feeling great, liking what I see in the mirror for the first time in a very, very long time, and am very proud of myself.   I don't remember the last time I said I was proud of myself.  It's fun.

I will say, though, that this has been one Lazy Ass Weight Loss process because I did the full court press: body, mind and spirit.  I needed to deal with all of them to get these results, and I found the laziest solutions for me in all those area.  You need to find the tools that work for you.  But, I do recommend you hit all three areas to get to the bottom of all that is related to your not being your ideal weight -- or for not having whatever you want in your life that you don't have.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lazy Weight Loss Tip = Eat Like a Baby!

I recently found these wonderful little olive bowls at Crate & Barrel.   At first I was drawn to them because when I do Italian dinners I always put out bowls of olives, and it's nice to have matching little bowls for the olive pits, right?  But, I bought several of them because I realized they were also a weight loss tool.  Small bowls and dishes are your weight loss friends.

I made another yummy Trader Joe's find this morning:  Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal.  The single serving is 1/2 cup and fits perfectly in my sweet little bowl.  (By the "weigh" for you Weight Watchers peeps -it's only 3 points for this 1/2 cup serving.  If you add agave or sugar, a couple toasted almonds, it's only another 1 or 2 points).  I savored it and it filled me up.  There's something about the psychology of having an overflowing bowl of warm yumminess that is so fulfulling!

When I was at the BlogHer Food Conference a few weeks ago, the Barilla company was showcasing their new line of PICCOLINI pasta.  Oh my god, they are adorable.  Not being a mom, I wasn't thinking about how much kids would love all the fun shapes.  I was thinking about how much more balanced a dish of pasta is with pasta and sauce, and how you can feel more satiated with far less when it's small bites like this.  They had samples out and it was fantastic. 

Later, when I read their materials I saw this is being marketed to moms who are cooking for little kids.  Well, today, I'm marketing it to anyone who wants to stay trim!  This is the perfect solution:  smaller, healthier, more balanced portions with all the bang for your taste buck!

I highly recommend the Piccolini line...try it, even if you're like me and don't have a kid nearby.  If you do have a kid in your house, they will love all the fun, tiny shapes, and your body will love it just as much.

Buon Piccolini Appetiti!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lazy Transformative Workout = Bar Method

I'm hooked.  Yes, I am officially addicted to the Bar Method. 

I had been hearing about tales of its virtues hailing from New York for a few years, but it finally made its way to Pasadena (, and I FINALLY caught wind of it being here several weeks ago. 

I've been doing it for about 3 weeks now and I will tell you that it is the quickest body transformation I've ever seen.  I saw fast, great results with pilates and HIIT (high intensity interval training) but nothing that effected all parts of my body equally, causing so swift a Michelangelo-like sculpting. 

People often paraphrase Michelangelo when he was asked how he sculpted the David.  He said he took away everything that wasn't David.  I think the Bar Method is taking away everything that isn't Bridget. 

I had my teacher take a picture of me about 10 days ago, roughly 5 classes in, because I am going to do my darndest to fit 30 classes into my schedule over 30 days.  I have a lot of travel, so I may not hit 30 in 30, but we will take a photo at the end of the month and I'll post the comparative pix.  I am already very happy with how much more toned I am.  I don't think the mirror is lying, or that I am having bar-delusions of a non-alcoholic type.  But, you will be the judges in a few weeks.

In the meantime, if you have a class near you, I highly recommend giving it a try.  Many gyms are now offering bar/ballet barre classes.  It is a great comprehensive workout. 

And, honestly, as always, I love it for one very big reason:  it's LAZY!  If I can get cardio and sculpting in one hour instead of having to spend 1.5 to 2 hours to get the same results, that is one Lazy workout solution.

Monday, June 06, 2011

People! People! Plantscription is Pretty Pricking Pantastic for your Peau (translation from French = skin)

I'm not kidding.  This stuff is pretty miraculous.

I am literally surrounded by women my age, younger, and older who are paying big bucks to manage the aging of their skin.  Even the least likely suspects are getting botox or are having intense laser or chemical burns.  The most likely suspects have met the knife. 

This is the LAZIEST skin care solution for fine lines and sun damage.  I think I've been using it for three weeks now and there is a marked difference in the sun damage on the left side of my face, a reduction in fine lines all over my face, and overall my skin is just so much softer.  No kidding.  I don't get anything out of this, people.  I'm just telling you because it's LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY!  So, check it out!

You can even order it on the website, get free shipping AND two sample size products right now.  Run, don't walk, your fingers to the Origins site:

It's so damn Lazy...and it smells good too!  Pure Plantscription bliss!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lazy Livin' Life -- Great Advice from Deathbeds

One of the purposes of many spiritual traditions is to prepare us for death.  The guru of my guru in India apparently on his deathbed simply exhaled on his last breath the mantra "So-ham" which means I am that.  The lesson was that his final moment of life was as pure and peaceful and in the moment as possible as he had spent so many of his life's moments present to the fact that he was indeed "so-ham."

A friend just posted this link to an article about people's regrets on their deathbeds.  I think it's stellar Lazy advice.

We never know when, where, might as well get your proverbial ducks in a row and live in this moment to the fullest, eh?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WWgasm = George (Forman) + Joe (Trader)

When I was going to acting school in NYC in the 80's my friend Fran and I would often pop into the diner around the corner from The Neighborhood Playhouse before school and get one of our favorite breakfasts: grilled corn muffin with peanut butter on the side.  It would come to the table with those beautiful black grill marks blessing it with charcoal goodness and the peanut butter would melt creating a gooey-crunchy-cakey filling and fulfilling breakfast that stuck to our ribs.

Well, just now I went into the fridge looking for a post baked potato/pea shoot salad dinner (yes, I am absolutely, unequivocally addicted to this meal!) dessert and I found that I had some leftover Trader Joe's Triple Bran Muffins (made from mix).  I cut one in half and put it on the George Foreman grill, made it nice and toasty with the proper grill markings, and slathered on 1 teaspooon Almond Butter just for a little twist. 

WWgasm = only 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus! OMG

So, find yourself a healthy muffin and try it for yourself with the nut butter of your choice!

Buon Skinny Appetito!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lazy Memorial Day -- Very Berry Ice Cream + Broccoli Slaw

On my way out the door, but wanted to quickly post pix of two of the three things I made today.

It was time to make ice cream and the berries looked lovely today so I used raspberries, strawberries and blackberries to make this:

Guess who licked the heck out of this:

And then I decided to make Broccoli Slaw...

Servings: 6 to 8

Two bags of Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw
1/3 bag of Trader Joe's Toasted Almonds (either cut you wish)
1 package of Trader Joe's Chives (chopped finely)
1 package of Trader Joe's Flat Parsley (chopped finely)
A few splashes of Red Wine Vinegar
One splash of Rice Wine VInegar
One splash of Balsamic Vinegar
A couple drizzles of Olive Oil
Pico De Gallo Spice (See previous post for a picture of this dry spice found in Mexican Food stores)


Toss it all together to make delicious spicy crunchy yumminess!

 No time to write up the recipe for ice cream right now but SUPER EASY!  Email me if you want it.  So so so so easy and scrumptious...creamy and not too sweet!

Buon Memorial Appetito!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lazy Spring Dinner = Pea Shoots + Baked Potato + Haricots Verts

It's Spring!  It's Spring!  It's Spring!  We are having literally the most delicious day in Los Angeles today.  Bright blue skies, white fluffy clouds, a sweet breeze to balance out the warm sunshine make it really hard to not keep a big smile on your face.  I stopped in the middle of my trip to Bar Method Class to pull over and put my top down (convertible top that is) because missing any part of this day would be a shame.

When I got home I popped a baked potato in the oven so it would be nice and crispy by the time I got home from walking the dogs.  When I got home, I took out the Pea Shoots I got at Trader Joe's!  Yes, Trader Joe's has Pea Shoots!  It's a miracle!  They are so profoundly delicious, and their season is so short, I decided to just toss them with fresh lemon juice, a tiny bit of oil, salt and pepper.

Then, I pulled out the baked potato and put my new secret weapon on it -- 1 serving of the Trader Joe's Creamy Goat Cheese -- only ONE Weight Watchers Points Plus!

Then I sauteed up a package of Trader Joe's Haricots Verts with just a tiny bit of oil, garlic salt and some red pepper flakes.  Throw them over the potato and ....Yummarifico!

Buon Springtime Appetito to all!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BlogHer Food Conference Take-Away -- One White Curtain Makes All the Difference in the World!

A few months ago I picked up this cute little white voile curtain at World Market.  I didn't have a use for it but I just had to have it and knew one day I'd want to cover one small window with it!  I just knew it!  Well, in the middle of my BlogHer Food Conference Workshop on photography, Sarah Amelar showed a photo of her home studio in her kitchen where she put up a simple white curtain to diffuse the directional light.   Brilliant! 

So, I got it out today and it works! 

I hammered a couple of brads above the window and haphazardly hung it because it will just go up temporarily when I shoot in there.  I threw it up in seconds!

And voila, my new obsession with Kale and Mushrooms...this time with more garlic and Italian spices....and much more beautifully lit than my last Kale-Mushroom posting! LOL!

Buon Well-Lit Appetito!!!!