Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lazy Way to Deal With Pain -- Physical, Emotional or Spiritual

The holidays have a knack for bringing up pain, even if only in the renewed awareness of those that we have lost.  I read a book recently by Sharon Anne Klingler that has been helping me prepare for my first marathon, both physically and emotionally. 

The book is called "POWER WORDS" and the author gives us Power Words, Trigger Words and Uplifting Words, to be used according to our need.  Inspired by this book I stumbled upon one for myself that has been very helpful to me. 

I wrote an article about it for the Huffington Post.  I hope it comforts you in some way:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Best ____ Recipe EVER!

When I search for recipes I always google the "best [fill in the blank] recipe ever."  Usually within the first five hits, I have the magic one. 

Last week I wanted to make a warm wintry soup.  I wasn't in the mood for mushroom, and had just recently made squash soup.  But I really craved both of those ingredients actually.  So, I was delighted to find that the Best Winter Soup Ever had both of these yummy ingredients, plus kale, white northern beans and tomatoes, among other yummies.

This really is the Best Winter Soup Ever.  It hails from Alton Brown.  It isn't often anymore that a recipe gets a full 5 stars.  This one does:

And, oh my god look what I found when I was googling the recipe!  A video from none other than Brown saying that this is the BEST THING HE EVER MADE! 

Even he knows!

Buon Winter Appetito!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Super Easy Pumpkin, yeah, it's perfect for the Holidays!


My uncle's favorite dessert is Pumpkin Cheesecake and since he drove a long way to our Thanksgiving celebration he deserved his fave.  So I looked for the top-rated Pumpkin Cheesecake and it was Paula Deen's (

It was amazing.  I didn't quite have enough graham cracker crumbs so I substituted about 1/3 cup of the 1 3/4 total in pecans for the crust.  Yum, and the texture didn't suffer one bit.  I brought the crust up about halfway up the sides. 

It is not a disgustingly heavy cheesecake as one would imagine by looking at the ingredients and its chef source. It is light -- really light.   And it really is pumpkin-y even though I thought it didn't seem like enough pumpkin to make a difference. But it is yummy light pumpkin-y delight!  For Christmas I would add a warm cranberry sauce over it for color and holiday sprucing.

For Thanksgiving it was perfect exactly as it was. 

Only warning about cheesecakes if you've never made one before -- don't overbake it. It should be shaking in the middle.  The baking completes once you take it out of the oven.  It's not intuitive, so just thought I should mention just in case!

And, don't be scared of the recipe.  It's unbelievably fast to throw together.  The baking time is what takes long.  This is LAZY DELICIOUSNESS.

Buon Holiday Appetito!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Looking for Thanksgiving Light Fare for Pre-Feast Time?

If you are looking for some great light fare for Thanksgiving Day, this is a spectacular soup that you can make as spicy as you wish by adding extra chipotle peppers.  It is unbelievably easy to make, particularly with Trader Joe's pre-bagged squash cubes. 

It's not just for Thanksgiving, of course. It's perfect for any day you want to warm up.  Don't skimp on the cilantro and lime.  They really add yet another layer to this already many-layered flavor fest.
And, it's super healthy.  It's even vegan for those who bend that way!
My favorite thing is it's another reason to use these amazing peppers that I was introduced to when I received it as part of a Christmas present. Yummalicious. 


 The recipe from a cool blog I had never been to before, and one I hope to frequent:

Happy Thanksgiving Lazy Women!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Biscuits

OK people.  Biscuits are apparently not my forte.  They don't rise, it turns out.  I thought they would.  And, even more so than pie crust, you need to touch the dough as little as possible.  The first batch are the ones in the heart shape.  The second batch -- in the center -- I decided to hardly touch to make them as flaky as possible.  So I just made them generic lump shape!

They are incredibly flavorful.  They don't necessarily taste like pumpkin, but they are more interesting than plain old biscuits and you dust them with parmesan.  They are easy, particularly since you barely touch them!

I wanted to do a Buttermilk Biscuit too so these are groovy and, again, I decided to not touch them.  Very flaky and lovely.

Happy 20th Anniversary Food Network!

Crise de Foie: Not a Good Way to Start the Holiday Season

An old French friend of mine years ago would often weakly moan the morning after an evening out "I'm having a crise de foie."  He explained that his liver was in "crisis" because he had had too much fatty food and drink the night before.  It was a foreign concept to me but I was certain I never wanted it to happen to me.

I'm not into fatty foods, other than ice cream and fries which I rarely allow myself and never at the same time.  I hate oily, buttery or mayonnaisey foods and always have.  The only time I ever use butter is on restaurant bread.  Even for my baked potatoes I used whipped goat cheese. 

As a child I detested mayonnaise so much that I would order tuna sandwiches without it.  Once out on a "date" with my boyfriend at age 7 I ordered this crazy item at the restaurant.  My dad was there, of course, since my boyfriend, though very mature for his age could not drive.  Useless Patrick!

I ordered my mayonnaiseless tuna sandwich and Patrick ordered his normal one.  After a long while, apparently when the arguing in the kitchen subsided and someone finally gave in to the insane request, the two sandwiches were delivered to our table.  A few minutes into eating, my dad recounted a few years before he died, it became obvious that neither of us was happy.  We had each gotten the wrong sandwich. But, being on a "date" neither of us wanted to appear difficult or less than perfectly polite, so neither of us admitted aloud our disgust with our overly or underly mayonnaised sandwiches. 

Last night we had an 80th birthday dinner at Cafe Stella in Silverlake.  It is very French, from the slightly distanced way the staff treats you ("I'm a little too cool to be full on friendly to you, but I will be perfectly delightful and professional so that you will keep ordering and be inclined to return.") to every last morsel you put in your mouth.  It was exquisite food and transported us all back to Paris. 

I ordered Truite Almondine, because in my humble opinion French restaurants and/or chefs know how to prepare it best.  It was the best I'd ever had.  With the first buttery, melt-in-you mouth bite, though I knew I wanted lemon to cut the butter a little.  But I hesitated to ask.  I was transported back to the the late 60's in the restaurant with Patrick Woodward and my dad.  Don't want to ruffle any chef feathers, I thought.  But also, in my defense, every time I looked up from our lively discussion at the table our waiter was nowhere in sight.

The salad was also brilliant. The dressing one of the best French mustard based dressings I have had. But, I had forgotten to ask for "light" application.  It didn't stop me from eating the whole thing though because it was ridiculously delicious.  Still, it was far richer than what I am used to with my lemon only salads at home.  At most I put on the lightest amount of oil, so for my system this was the fat equivalent of taking a morning shower under Niagara Falls. 

A chocolate pot de creme drizzled with caramel finished off the evening.  It was inspired.  Seriously, who ever thought of drizzling a deeply rich chocolate pot with caramel?  Unreal.

Later that evening as I prepared for bed I was thinking about my French friend.  I was experiencing my first "crise de foie."  I could hear my liver yelling from deep inside me "What the hell were you thinking?"

I am fine today. Never mind the fact that I had the best drink I've ever had, the "Ginger Rogers" (gin, fresh ginger, etc.) at the Chateau Marmont earlier in the evening, champagne just before that and a Stella Artois with dinner.  That's an enormous amount of alcohol for me.  More Niagara Falls on my sweet innocent liver.

It was worth it though. It was a divinely yummy evening.  But, really?  Was it the best choice the week of Engorgement Day?  

It was my first crise de foie.  So, I'm just going to eat very light for the next three days -- another very French thing to do, for women at least - and pretend I'm French.  I'm also going to run 734 miles.

If you want to pretend you are French, I could not more highly recommend this LA gem:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Looking for Thanksgiving Fun? Try a BLOW TORCH!


I had been thinking recently how I'd love to use my blow torch again soon.  I was also contemplating what I'd be making for dessert on Thanksgiving.  My uncle likes Pumpkin Cheesecake so I should do that for him.  I like Pumpkin-Pecan Pie or Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie.  But, the other day as I worked out I was listening to NPR and they did a most delightful spot on the pie.  They mentioned Bon Appetit's recipe for Bruleed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie. 

I was working out so I wasn't listening as carefully as I should have been but I do believe I heard the chefs say that they made it three times before they really got it right.  So, I'm guessing this is going to be a challenge, but I don't care.  Can you see that photo???? UNBELIEVABLE!  MUST MAKE!

In case you want to pull out your blow torch (or go buy one for the event) here is the recipe:

The very best part of this story though is that i told my 95 year old friend Adelaide about how excited I was to use my blow torch on Thanksgiving!  She then suggested that I might want to let a turkey loose in the yard and run around chasing it with a blow torch.  In my mind's eye I saw myself running around doing exactly that.  As a vegetarian, of course, my fantasy was that the turkey was always a good 20 feet ahead of me.

Good times.  Good Turkey Day Times.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Deeeeeescrumptious Chocolate Cake Doesn't LOOK Lazy but it IS!

I love making everyone's birthday dessert wishes come true.  For my friend Robin she said she wanted anything chocolate and joked about a many layered chocolate cake from Le Bernardin.  I found Eric Ripert's recipe for a molten cake but it had parameters on how far in advance of baking it could be made, so that was out.  Then I think I googled "best chocolate cake" and found Ina Garden's recipe for what she says is "the best chocolate cake that [she] has ever made."  How could I not try making that!???

The recipe called for oil instead of butter so I was suspicious but soldiered on, because it's Ina.  Ina is never wrong.

Well, Robin was very happy.  So that is ALL that matters.  End of story....with one teeny tiny footnote.

I'm going to tell you why it wasn't my very favorite chocolate cake ever, while still encouraging you to make it.  If you like cakes that are a little more spongy in texture, i.e., more big holes to be seen, then you will love it.  You push down on it with a fork and it bounces up very quickly.  I prefer cakes that are more cakey, i.e., a bit smaller holes.  They are not in any way heavy but they bounce back a wee bit more slowly. 

And, yes it was still an awesome cake and I totally get Ina's adoration for it.  What I loved about it:  it's light, very dark chocolatey, and super duper easy to make.  It doesn't even require cake flour. 

It is a lazy fancy cake to make because -- I'm not kidding you -- you can't screw it up and it's fast to throw together.  Not all cake recipes are this forgiving or carefree to assemble.

NOTE:  Make 1.5 times the frosting recipe.  Just trust me, even though it's insane because that means you are going to use 3/4 of a pound of butter. But one recipe's worth does not make a great looking cake -- unless perhaps you are a professional baker.  Even then, though, the coverage is thin with one recipe. 

I always decorate my cakes with fresh flowers and signs but I added extra lavender to obscure the not-so-beautiful-cause-there-wasn't-enough frosting coverage.

Still.  Make it.  It's deeeeeescruptious.

Ina's recipe:

Buon Chocappetito!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lazy + Best Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER

This cookie is so good it tastes like it was plucked off of a vine created by God, so I had to dress up the plate to help celebrate its glory!

I always like to try new recipes so when I was yoked with the very serious responsibility of creating a "bazooki" for a friend's birthday recently, I thought it was the perfect time to try a new chocolate chip recipe.  A bazooki is a chocolate chip cookie served with ice cream, whipped cream and hot fudge sauce, or some variation on that depending on the recipe.

I googled what I always google when searching for new recipes.  I insert the word "best" or "most amazing" in front of the needed recipe.  So, this recipe is aptly named "Best Chocolate Chip Cookies."

My variation on the recipe was the following: 

1.  Instead of 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips, I added one cup of chips, one cup of semisweet chocolate chunks (from Trader Joe's) and about 2/3 cup of Trader Joe's new Peanut Butter Chips.
2.  Instead of 1 cup walnuts I added two cups of mixed nuts -- toasted slivered almonds, pecan pieces and walnut pieces. 

Oh. My. God.

And, this recipe does something new -- you dissolve the baking soda in hot water which I really do believe makes a difference in the texture.  As Dora, the recipe contributor notes they are perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

Buon Choco-Appetito.

Gratitude. Lazy Lovely Loving Gratitude

On Facebook lots of people are participating in a gratitude exercise, writing about something they are grateful for each day. I assume it goes until Thanksgiving and I'm along for the ride.

It's funny because even though I have been expressing my gratitude every day when I meditate, this little exercise is definitely expanding my sense of gratitude.  That's never a bad thing.  When you stand in gratitude, it's hard to not be standing in joy. 

Today I am grateful for my mistakes.  It was a big week, and I ended up dropping a lot of balls due to the very extra-ordinariness of the week.  On Monday I met iconic author Anne Lamott, a dream come true.  She inspires me every day to be a better writer.  On Tuesday I re-met Gloria Steinem at a glorious Ms. Foundation fundraiser which also celebrated Steinem's 80th birthday, another dreamy evening.   Steinem has been a beacon of light on my own path since I was 11 and my stepmom gave me a subscription to Ms. Magazine. 

After these two big long days, I had an important business trip where I would be required to kick some major ass on little sleep.  Then, yesterday, the day after my late night return from that trip I had a college reunion event, a hike.  It was a chock full week of kick-ass work and fun.

So back to balls dropping....I hadn't caught the destination of the hike.  There are a lot of great hikes off the Angeles Crest Highway, where we were set to meet.  I didn't pay attention to the destination since we were going as a group, and that wasthe point: fun and frolic in nature with old friends.

One of the balls I dropped was the nagging thought that haunted me all week:  Must make sure to get a couple cellphone numbers for peeps on the Saturday hike....just in case. So when I missed the meeting place, I realized I only had home phone numbers and emails. I shot an email and assumed it didn't even go through.  They actually did get it, after a delay, and tried emailing and calling but coverage was spotty so we missed each other. 

So I ended up on a hiking wild goose choice, searching for the "3 mile loop" hike my friends were enjoying.  Tulle, Lucy and I traipsed around the mountain on two different wrong path for a few hours. 

I was really mad at myself at the beginning of the first hike of the day.  Bad Bridget.  Balls dropped.  Bad.    Then I realized it was probably the absolutely perfect thing to be alone in the absolute quiet, just me and Tallulah and Lucy in nature, contemplating life, reviewing my connection to God, nature, myself.  It was, indeed, perfect.   I actually needed it, and didn't know how very much.  It's like drinking water and realizing you've been dying of thirst for hours. 

We were on our way back to the car at the end of the second hike when we met two of the people from the group hike (who needed to leave early) at the all important junction of two paths.  So close.  I had seen that path and thought it was the wrong one, but in fact it was perfectly wrong and right.   So, we started back up that mountain on the "right" path and found the group. Hallelujah!

Lucy and Tulle were particularly grateful for the reunion because there were two other dogs so they were let off their leashes to roam free.  This pic is of them scaring the crap out of me as they ran up and down the ledge.  The other side: sheer rocky cliff.  This was the end of the hike so I knew I could manage the adrenaline rush this incited!

So, today I'm grateful for the reminder that as maddening, crazy or mean it seems that fate and destiny and life may be that everything really is absolutely perfect just the way it is.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lazy Gardening

No kidding.  Best salad.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.

This is a Tower Garden.  The first time I saw one was a couple years ago at a friend's house.  Then a friend got one.  She sells them now.  I became a distributor too, just to save money.  Anyone can.  When I first heard about them they were $1200.  Now they are $500 and that includes every single thing you need for your Tower Garden including the seeds!  In just days -- seriously less than a week -- I had the seedlings in the tower.  You are seeing the bright green seedlings with little miniature signs I made to remind me what was growing, in case anything didn't sprout.

I went to OSH and got extra different seeds in addition to what was provided.  Gourmet lettuces, tomatoes and herbs.  Everything is now - almost 4 weeks in burgeoning except the nasturtium.  Tomato plants are getting ginormous but no tomatoes yet.  But the plants are brilliantly healthy.

This was a shot I took several days ago when I went out to harvest my LUNCH!  Oh my God it was so delicious.  Last night I had people over and they loved it too, so I'm not biased!

And the super cool amazing thing about these Tower Gardens is they use a tiny percent of the resources used to grow these crops in the ground, and the nutrients are higher!

So many things about this are fun, especially since I eat one or two salads a day and have spinach and kale in my smoothie every morning, but man oh man is it LAZY and also just so incredibly satisfying to grow stuff -- any stuff -- but stuff you can eat every day -- WOW1
Can't more highly recommend to any Lazy Women out there!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Don't Want My Body To Break Up with Me!

I lost yet another friend far too soon.  He was only 56.  This keeps happening.  When we pass that mid-century marker, our bodies start breaking down from long-term stressors like weight.  When I heard about my friend I used it as a wake-up call to reassess my own weight.   I am blessed with health and energy, but it was a call to action to get back to my fighting size.   How dare I even have 15-20 pounds of extra pressure on my heart, veins, joints, ligaments?  I dare not. 

We demand so much of our bodies.   In some cases, the relationship between our bodies and minds is like a rocky marriage, where the husband and wife are essentially roommates after years of unexpressed feelings.  At some point though, maybe after a rich, heavy meal and a third glass of wine, the body chooses to express its long-term unhappiness and resignation to the mind: "Look, I've worked as hard as I could up to now, but you have just gone one day too many in taking advantage of me.  You have abused me on your worst days, neglected me far too much overall, and have not honored me as much I deserve.  I am no longer going to work this hard to keep you alive. "

I don't want my body to break up with me.  Frankly, I'd like for us to have a long and lovely run.   I knew I had two immediate issues to solve in order to heal this relationship.  First, since I haven't been able to work out at full throttle for 4 months due to a torn ligament, I have been unwilling to decrease my calorie intake for fear of being hungry.  Second, for a couple of years I've been battling one profoundly annoying hormone-induced symptom:  bouts of extreme hunger. 

I saw that the solution to both of these issues was in my developing a hot and juicy relationship with hunger pangs.   In honor of my friend I did what I hadn't been able to do.  I pulled way back on calories by doing the Isagenix 11 Day Cleanse that a few friends had done and loved.  I was hungry at first and started paying attention to my reactions to hunger.  Usually it triggered the thought "Something is WRONG here.  Must fix.  Must feed."   But a pang does not an emergency portend and it is clear that I will survive even if my stomach is growling.

I did the cleanse twice in the course of 5 or 6 weeks.  I lost 12 pounds and have kept it off now for over a month.  Isagenix really does keep all the cravings at bay and it gave me a brand new, recalibrated relationship with hunger.  

My relationship with my body is definitely on the upswing.  And, my new friendship with hunger is definitely on the mend as I learn to not make it bad and wrong, and embrace it as a signal that my ideal body is on its way back. 

I can't more highly recommend Isagenix.  I have started my day with smoothies for years and the Isagenix whey powders are the high quality equivalent of what I was getting from my accupuncturist.  Prices are better, quality just as high.  And, I love all the flavors of every product I've tried so far.  I became a distributor to get better prices and I'm glad I did because I use the products every day and love them. They curb my cravings and make my energy consistent. When that is the case, hunger pangs are real, they aren't misfiring cravings due to lack of nutrients.  I don't crave wheat and sugar anymore.  That is nothing short of a miracle.

I'm dealing with the emotional side, and Isagenix is taking care of the nutritional craving side.  It's a healthy little threesome: me, my body and Isagenix.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Super Lazy Birthday Cake AND Food & Wine Mag Redeems Self

After last week's Food & Wine fava bean debacle, you would think I would set it aside for a long, long time.  Alas, no.  Once I saw the photo of the Baked Alaska Birthday Cake in the recent mag, I had to make it for my dear birthday girl friend, Elisa.

Now, I will also admit that this recipe --  -- looks unbelievably complicated.  But, it's not if you buy the chocolate pound cake.  I couldn't find any, though, so the only un-lazy part of this process was scouring several stores for it.  I settled on store-bought, store-made sliced chocolate cake in the bakery section of my Pavilions.  It worked out just dandy.

The meringue also reads a complicated AND if you've never made it you might think "How could anything that dramatic be easy?"    And it is!   Ideally you will have a standing mixer.  It will make it super easy.  It's a 4 step process.  Make the sugar syrup.  Whip the egg whites.  Throw it on the cake.  Torch it.

So, yes, you need a kitchen torch. If you don't have a kitchen torch, let me tell you it is the absolutely most amazing kitchen tool. It is SOOOOOOOOOOO fun, easy to use and it creates drama in seconds.   

I didn't do the pastry bag application of the meringue because I was a wee bit tipsy after we had all gone out for the birthday dinner....but my buddy, Daniel, who played slightly tipsy assistant, did a great job of creating peaks with the back of a spatula. 

Don't be scared of this recipe.  Also, use the birthday boy or girl's favorite ice creams.  For instance, I found out -- sadly, after the fact -- that Elisa's favorite flavors are chocolate and peanute butter. I could have used that flavor ice cream.  So choose flavors that work for the honoree.

Once it's done you can add decorations and candles all holds up just dandy!

So even when you don't make your own chocolate pound cake, people may be eating it for seen in this video!  LOL!

Happy Birthday to all the Lovely Libras!!!!!  You guys are my faves!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Green Food Party!!!!!

This is the card one of my most amazing friends, Elisa, gave
me with a lovely hostess gift for the GREEN FOOD PARTY

Did you hear me screaming from the middle of my local Farmer's Market yesterday around 10 a.m. PST?  Well, I apologize for my internal scream that may have been heard around the globe, but the new issue of Food & Wine magazine has the most glorious looking/sounding recipe in it that I built my whole dinner party around. 

Check out this link to this Food & Wine recipe (which does not do the print copy of the photo any justice, by the way) for Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto.  The photo in the mag is of the most brilliant gorgeous green yumminess.  I had to create a GREEN DINNER in its honor.

The evil thing that Food & Wine does not admit is that fava beans are NOT in season. I went to five markets and the Farmer's Market.  So, I had to make a "twist" on the recipe and manipulated it to work with asparagus which oddly is still brought to the Farmer's Market each week in its most stellar flavorful form by one grower.  It was delish, but I can't wait to make the Fava Bean recipe, which will, of course, be a very different beast.

So, the menu I built around the missing favas:

·         Cocktail Hour

o   Agua Fresca with Vodka  (See recipe in previous Lazy Woman post -- it is the most brilliant gorgeous refreshingly delicious GREEN!)

o   Green Hummus  (with Cucumber, Celery, Broccoli, Edamame Crackers) (I make up my hummus recipes, but seriously you can take a basic hummus recipe and add a bunch of flat parsley. I add more lemon juice than called for as well.  It's lovely green!)

o   Green Olives from the Farmer’s Market

·         Dinner

o   Pea Soup – Crème Fraiche + Chives (recipe below)

o   Green Risotto (Asparagus instead of Favas with a rough employment of the F&W recipe)

o   Zucchini Pasta (Zucchini strips made with vegetable peeler and green spinach pasta noodles with avocado oil/pistachio pesto)

o   Salad with Arugula, Green Tomato + Avocado + Artichoke Hearts

·         Dessert

o   Key Lime Tart with Chocolate Salted Ice Cream + Lime Whipped Cream

This photo is horrid...pretend you can see the pretty green hues.  It was delish:

Table decorations were, of course, green.  Again horrid pic but wanted to show that everyone had their own little dish of dried/salted green beans. Little private dishes of things make people really happy -- including me!   And, oh my god the crunch.   (Thank you Trader Joe's Gods.)  Some people (including me!) sprinkled them on their Pea Soup. 

For me the hit of the night was the pea soup.  I forgot to take a pic last night when it was BRILLIANT GREEN.  Here it is today, still pretty damned green, but last night the soup was as brilliant green as the mint.  Not kidding.  But, I made it Friday night and put it in the fridge and was delighted that when I got it out to heat it up on Saturday night it was as brilliant as it had been.  Also, due to having little time I used frozen peas and the worked just fine as far as flavor.  Ina Garten is a fricking GENIUS:

The Key Lime Tart is phenomenal recipe.  My go to place for baked goods recipes is Smitten Kitchen.

I was driving to Long Beach for a meeting yesterday and got the inspired idea to serve the tart key lime tart with deep chocolate ice cream and whipped cream infused with lime (aka lime zest).  But I got home too late to go to my local amazing "creamery" for the Salted Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  I had to stop at TJ's for Vodka so their chocolate coconut milk ice cream would have to do.

This is when you know you have the best friends on planet earth.  One of my guests, sweeeeeet Robin, BROUGHT THE ICE CREAM that I had been dying to stop and get!!!!  Magical dinner party ensues.

And, the Seuss green eggs and ham card was finally opened at the end of the evening as the final black & white proof that I have the best friends on planet earth. Not only are they PSYCHIC but they are poets:

We love to chew green food
we do not think it's rude
(to chew green the nude)
We are wooed by your GREEN FOOD!


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer -- Perfect Lunch for a Hot Day!

It's been really hot lately in LA.  So coming up with a refreshing menu for a luncheon that would be light yet filling was a fun challenge.  Finding the right drink to greet people with at the door was key.
I can't more highly recommend this drink.  For those who need alcohol, it would be great with Vodka added, but it is one helluva refreshing delicious Summer drink.  It is the prettiest drink I have ever made.   I forgot to snap picture of the filled glasses!  OOPS!  Trust me:  GORGEOUS and so refreshing!  You can't go wrong with these three ingredients on a hot Summer day:  cucumber, lime and  mint.
Also, I used Agave instead of Sugar.  It was perfect.
And, finally, hours after the party ended I realized I hadn't cleaned the pitcher.  It was on a side table and I had missed clearing it.  There was a littleof the drink left in the pitcher. The integrity of that bright green color definitely diminished, but this was 10 hours after I made it (I made 2 hours prior to party starting), and it wasn't refrigerated. 
It was too hot for a tablecloth!!! 



The above salad was the starter.  My favorite meal in the Summer:  avocado, fresh tomatoes, lime, course salt and hemp seeds for a little bump of nutrition and texture.  

This pic is before I added the arugula and burrata...just had to take it because, come on, those COLORS!


Since my friend, Sa, turned me onto this Daphne Oz salad early this Summer, I haven't been able to stop making it.  People love it.  Don't put the red peppers on too soon, like I did today, or they will add a wee bit too much spice.  Also, I keep using shaved Reggiano for the sake of is (I can always find shaved and don't like grated in salad), but Pecorino is ideal balance for flavors.

I made this one up inspired by Farmers' Market:  tri-colored baby new potatoes, asparagus (super thin in thise case), fresh chives and parsley.  Dressing of walnut oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt.  Then toasted walnute on top.  OH MY GOD DELISH!

Smitten Kitchen is my favorite food blog. I did her Raspberry Ricotta Scones. I added candied ginger, only because I had a craving for ginger, but they are not needed. I also brushed them with cream at the end. Neither of these extra steps was necessary.


Scones were all just an excuse to taste all the JAMS from the Jam Fest we had on Friday night where three of us chicks got to jam making!  Wooohoooo!   Then fresh whipped cream with no sweetener.  Everyone loved ALL the jams. 

Normally I would have served sorbet or ice cream at the end of this meal, but I had ulterior motives:  SHARE THAT JAM!

Buon Cooooooooooooooooooling Appetito to ALL!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Dinner Party Exploiting Your Tomato Bounty + Lazy Summer Deliciousness

I accidentally forgot to take pictures of the food -- three amazing Summer recipes you will LOVE that looked absolutely bellissima -- so you are getting pictures of the flower arrangements instead.

For the first year in a long time I don't have tomato plants, but I found these adorable baby tomatoes on a vine at the Farmer's Market.  Check out how cool they look nestled in with flowers!  It's OK to snack on these arrangements!

 The recipes I tried were super easy other than chopping, which I happen to love to do and cleaning shrimp, which you can have done for you.  If you don't have time to wait as I didn't, you can just use it as a Zen meditation and/or sit in front of a movie.  It was very meditative to do while I listened to "The Women" (the original, of course),a movie I've seen a lot so I could look up from the deveining and shelling from time to time. 

I have never pickled nectarines before.  YUM!  And, with Burrata? You've got to be kidding!  The first two recipes were due to a miraculous find at the gym.  Bon Appetit Magazine August 2013 issue was miraculously laying around so I found these two during my bike ride:

I have never pickled nectarines before. YUM! And, with Burrata? You've got to be kidding!

Super duper easy and brilliantly inspired recipe.  I grilled ahead of time on an open fire with a grill over it to give extra smoky flavor and to have the grilling DONE before guests arrived:

A friend made this recipe recently for a dinner party I attended.  Just amazing.  I couldn't find currents so I chopped dried blueberries and cranberries up together.  Really great substitution.  Also I forgot Pecorino cheese so I used SHAVED parmesan.  I would not use grated cheese on this recipe, just because I'm not a fan of grated cheese on raw greens, but that's me. Genius recipe with just the right amount of heat.

Then I grilled corn also on the grill on the fire.  I left the fire going so I could throw them on right before serving to warm them up too.  If you aren't slightly retarded like I am you won't drop any in the fire!

I made herbed butter to slather on warmed grilled corn:

1 stick butter at room temperature
Course Salt
Cayenne Pepper
About 3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Do the salt and cayenne to taste, but it wasn't too warm.

All in all a very pretty dinner plate with all the colors: Greens, Reds, Purples, Oranges...oh my!

Buon Summer Appetito to all!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lazy Selfies

Did you see the recent viral sensation video the doting daddy made of the first year of his baby's life?  It's inspiring....and definitely inspired me to take a new look at my own life.

Check out my recent HuffPo article here:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lazy Ass Healthy Ass Mushroom Risotto Alternative

OK, I'm listening, I'm listening!  Barley is good, so let's get this Barley started!

I had a craving for mushroom risotto and I also had a craving for a Greekish salad.  And, I wanted all of this together, so I skipped the cheesiness in the barley.  I'll use wine and cheese on another day when I'm feeling a little more Italian, but for today this was a perfect dinner that gave me that yummy-risotto-feeling -- the Lazy Way!  If you've ever made risotto from scratch, you know that is a hands-on situation. It requires delicate babysitting skills.  This is quick, stress-free and healthy.

Olive Oil
1 pkg of Trader Joe's Chopped Onion, Shallots & Garlic
1 pkg Trader Joe's10 Minute Barley
1 pkg Trader Joe's Sliced White Mushrooms
1 pkg Crimini Mushrooms
1/2 Quart os Trader Joe's Vegetable Broth
1/2 Bottle of a rich beer...I used Negra Modelo (you can use a cup of white wine if you prefer)
Salt + spices you crave
1 pkg Fresh Parsle
Optional:  1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Sautee onion mixture in just a wee bit of olive oil until soft in a medium sized pot.  While that's cooking, chop up all the mushrooms in small pieces.  Add the mushrooms, and let them sautee until soft and liquidy.  Chop up the parsley for later.

Then add broth and beer (or wine), as well as any salt and/or spices you wish. Then, lower heat, throw in the barley.  Let it sautee for 10 minutes, then turn off heat, throw in chopped parsley and let it sit for another 10 minutes while it steeps and becomes beyond delicious.

I didn't add parmesan tonight because I knew I was serving this with a feta salad and knew the flavors were going to work well together. On another day, I would add shredded parmesan.

Instead, the salad I made to go with it, simply based on today's cravings:

Fresh Spinach
Garbanzo beans
Feta Cheese

I chopped all that up and threw in lemon juice, some red wine vinegar and salt. 

May I tell you how these two dishes go more than splendidly together?  Thank you!

Buon Barley Appetito!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lazy Way to Deal with Body Image

It's enough to deal with our own inner demons, but when they are reflected in others, it's a great LAZY opportunity to drop in for a listen.....

Latest Huffington Post article on this topic:

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Speaking of God and Dog this Sunday....

Sitting with your furry loved ones contemplating God this Sunday afternoon?  Well, this is my recent article on Huffington Post that you might appreciate:

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Summer Time = PIE TIME!

Blackberries and peaches, oh my! I love trying new recipes and found this Bobby Flay gem yesterday and had to try it.  I used to make Blackberry Peach pies professionally -- long ago, in my 20's -- with my own recipe including lemon juice, fresh nutmeg and just a little flour as a thickener. Simple deliciousness.
But, I have to say this was my favorite Blackberry Peach Pie possibly ever.  More complex flavors and stellar crust.  I never use shortening because shortening just plain ol' freaks me out and is so unhealthy, but it truly does make the best crust.  Because this was mostly butter, I braved it.   Great result even in the areas where I overmanipulated, i.e., the fluting.
The only thing I would say is that I drained the fruit, using a slotted spoon as directed and did NOT add any extra juices, as he directs, because I knew it would be too much. Next time I make it I will definitely add more tapioca because it was still a little too juicy.  Not bad in any way, shape or form, but a little more tapioca would have made the filling texture absolute perfection.
Flay soaks the berries in one liqueur - Cassis, and the peaches in another - Peach Eau de Vie (you can use brandy instead - I used Peach Schnapps because I happened to have from another recipe long ago).  And, those flavors really come through.  Lovely.
Here are the pics - pre and post - baking. 
And, yes pies are pretty lazy.  Not a huge amount of effort for a big bang effect.
Here's your link to bliss:


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie - Father's Day Delight

My dad lived in Alaska from the time that I was about 11 years old.  I visited every Summer until I went off to college.  He loved to garden and one of the magical events that happens in Alaska is a very short yet extremely robust growing season.  He always had rhubarb bushes and those stalks grew so big it was like they were out of a supernatural fairy tale. 

My dad loooooooooooooooooooooooved Strawberry Rhubarb Pie so the fact that my friend Bob loves it as his birthday "cake" right around Father's Day always makes me super happy.

I've posted this before, but I'm just reminding everyone that the most amazing recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is Smitten Kitchen's. She's a GENIUS.  Check it out:

Sadly, as hard as I tried to not manipulate this crust too much, the crimped edges came out tough.  But, the filling was, I think, quite perfect.  So, my only warning with the recipe is manipulate that dough as little as matter what, though, flavor is mighty deliciosa!

And, stress-free, easy, Lazy to make -- other than attention to crust needed.

Lazy Secret Ingredient Heats Up Chili....Just Right!

My brilliant friend Elisa gave me a delicious collection of culinary gems last Christmas.  As I was making a batch of vegetarian chili a couple weeks ago, I thought of this beautiful can sitting in my pantry:  La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce.  I chopped up the peppers, mixed them in and waited for a while to see how much heat they were going to release.  It was a bit pot of chili, but it really did heat it up.  Yet, there was room for more heat and deliciousness, so I added all the Adobo Sauce in the can too.  It was unbelievably delicious.

I went back to World Market last night as I was making another pot of veggie chili.  It turns out it's a seasonal item so I just ordered 12 cans online so I don't have to hunt for them, and will have plenty of this secret ingredient in my spice arsenal.

It's going to be fun to play with these with enchilada casseroles, etc.  For now, with weight loss in mind, they are a great flavor booster for my healthy chili.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Craving Pizza But on a Diet? Lazy PIzza Bowl is Here!

I've lost over 5 pounds in 10 days, so I wanted to deal with my pizza craving in a creative way.  I've been making big pots of veggie chili, big bowls of fruit salad with every kind of fruit imaginable, and big bowls of my favorite Sugar Snap Pea salad (recipe to come), so that whenever I'm hungry I have something healthy to eat.

I have cut out wheat and sugar.  My energy is spectacular all day long and I'm not limiting any of my food intake, just eating whole delicious foods.  So, I knew I didn't want to screw with my energy by having the bread in pizza, or the heavy cheese. 

I asked myself what I was really craving and it was the cheesy tomatoey-ness.  I wanted a "veggie pizza" so I thought I would make a veggie stew with garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic salt and throw a little smoked mozzarella on top.  All the spicy goodness of a veggie pizza with the awesome smoky cheesiness!

Lazy Pizza Bowl

1-2 chopped Onion(s)
Several cloves Garlic
4-5 Zucchini
4-5 Yellow Squash
1 head of Broccoli (head only used)
1 bag sliced Mushrooms
4 cans Chopped Tomatoes
1 can Sliced Olives -drained
1 can Artichoke Hearts - drained
1 or 2 teaspoons Oregano
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (or less/none if you don't put red pepper flakes on your pizza! LOL!)
Garlic Salt to Taste
1/2 oz to 1 oz -- Smoked Mozzarella

Sautee chopped garlic and onions in a little Olive Oil until soft.  Chop up all the other ingredients into bite-sized pieces.  Add veggies to the garlic and onions, cook for a few minutes.  Drain off excess water created by veggies.  Add all the spices, stir.  Add tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts and simmer until flavors are all set. 

I put the tiniest amount of smoked mozzarella on top.  Very thin slices melt easily with a quick microwave zap.  Very little needed for big cheesy bang.

Lactose Intolerant?  Plenty of yum without the cheese!

Buon Appetito!