Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Hey guys, I finally moved over to my new blog "Beauty, Brains, and Balance"

Please check me out at http://www.beautybrainsandbalance.com and update your readers/feeds accordingly!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Okey dokey artichokey

I LOVE artichokes with all my heart. :)

So it's no wonder that on the first day of cold and drizzle, I had to bust out my famous Artichoke and Leek Soup.

I couldn't resist using my fancy pants new cutting board but my knife wielding skills are lessened by my injuries and I had to elicit help from Evan.

Artichoke and Leek Soup
3 small or 2 large leeks
3 golden potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 12oz package of frozen or canned artichoke hears (NOT marinated)
salt and pepper
4 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy or almond milk (or half and half)

1) Chop off and discard dark green leek tops. Split remaining leeks down the middle and rinse out and dirt thoroughly.
2) Slice leeks into 1/4 inch pieces and mince garlic.

3) Scrub clean and dice potatoes into medium sized chunks.

4) In large soup pot, sweat leeks and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.

5) Add potatoes and stir, cook for another 5 minutes.

6) Have your sous-kitty add in the broth and artichoke hearts.

7) Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are soft.

8) Puree in batches using a food processor or high-powered blender. HOT!!!

9) Return pureed soup to pot and stir in the milk.

10) Test for seasonings and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Extra milk/cream can be swirled on top as a pretty garnish, though I just went for some baby spinach instead.

It is ever so slightly green, which can be enhanced by adding some more of green part of the leek, or I may experiment with adding a swirl of spinach puree in next time too. It looks a bit like mashed potato soup and baby ... um, I am not going to finish that sentence.

But I promise it tastes good!!!

I also experimented with a nectarine cobbler of sorts but the improvised oat crust came out all kinds of wrong. Back to the drawing board for that one!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fallen Fruit

My posts will have to be short for a while until my hand heals. I currently still have my left hand and forearm wrapped and it makes typing (and doing everything else) more difficult!

I didn't realize how many things we use our thumbs for, I am definitely missing the full use of my left one.

I woke up early and hungry this morning, so Ev and I went out for breakfast. Not only did I want french toast, but I also wanted eggs so we compromised at Shakers.

I ordered the California style omelette and he got the french toast, halfway through we switched!

Since I was still exhausted, we took the afternoon easy. I managed to take a nap while Ev prepped work for the week. I woke up with an insane craving for fresh juice.

Carrot, apples, and celery. It ended up being awfully sweet due to all the apples, but I managed to guzzle it down in 3 seconds flat.

After that we followed some Fallen Fruit maps and picked a handful or two of local public fruit. What a neat idea! Fallen Fruit takes user submitted maps in various cities and plots out areas with public and private overhanging fruit that's easily accessible.

We got some green figs, lemons, guava, and a mystery fruit I have yet to research. Most of the trees were either finished fruiting or just starting to produce. I'll be excited to go back when there's more ripe pickings.

I was dreading replacing my bandages tonight and had to cut the gauze off a few places that it was stuck to. Luckily the little leftover gauze pieces came off in the shower, but ouch!

Another helping of Hearty Vegetable Soup for dinner! Now that I'm all re-bandaged and comfy it's time to watch the rest of Howl's Moving Castle before bed. 'Night!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I had a little accident today and now I have both hands in bandages and a left forearm bandaged as well. It involved this little guy...

(He's such an angel when he's asleep.) ... and a neighbor's cat and my arms/hands. I won't post any pictures or go into too much detail, but needless to say I have multiple scratches and a very deep fang puncture mark in my left palm. 

When tears and expletives were worn out and Evan lovingly bandaged my boo-boos, I knew I needed a drink. Tonic and lime, my go-to mocktail.

Heavy on the lime and ice. I have a feeling I'll be drinking a few more of these today!
But, before all the madness, I managed to have a long day of errands:
- Ikea
- Amoeba Music (got to Hawai`ian CD's)
- Glendale Library
- Goodwill

And an excellent meal with Evan at Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant on the west side.

We both got the vegetarian combo, which is a great mixture of lentils, tomato/pepper salad, collard greens, cabbage 'n' carrots, and some other lentil gravy which I can't place.

It's served on top of, and with a side of, injera. I could sit and eat this porous fermented teff bread all the live long day. It is also your utensil at this authentic restaurant, so you'd better have a lot of it!


The perfect bite of spicy lentil gravy. Although, I have to admit that my favorite is the collard greens. How they get them to remain so tender and juicy while still maintaining the deep green is beyond me.

Since my injuries took me out of comission for a lot of other activities, I think I'll just settle in and oil up my new cutting board!

I abandoned my fan brush about 30 seconds into the project. I had no idea the wood was going to be that porous and ended up just pouring and rubbing the oil in by hand. It's now a lovely rich golden brown and ready to go under the knife!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday love

Happy Friday! Can you believe this is the last Friday of September? I swear we were just celebrating New Years...

Friday morning started off muggy and humid, so I wanted an unheated breakfast.

OJ and a sandwich thin with goat cheese, honey, and cinnamon. My new fav combo!

Work went by slowly, as it normally does on Fridays. I took a short break for lunch around 1pm.

Packed and photographed last night. Spinach salad with goat cheese and roasted walnuts, and a mason jar filled to the brim with Hearty Vegetable Soup.

I may have also spend my lunch break shopping at the local thrift store. (50% off on Fridays!) You can't prove anything! Just, don't look in my closet.

5pm didn't come fast enough, but my patience was rewarded with stunning skies while driving home.


Truly beautiful. Hoping those guys bring rain soon! 

I had noticed all day that my shoes felt off, but I couldn't figure out exactly why. The reason became very apparent when I took them off and actually looked them over:

I somehow lost my little rubber heel and had been walking on the screw all day long. No wonder they were clicking more than usual! I swear we should be allowed to wear slippers everywhere. It would make life much easier.

Fridays mean date night so we went for comfort food which means anything asian.


Fuji is our go-to "hole in the wall" place. They have wonderfully fresh sushi and lots of Japanese/Korean home-style foods.

I always get a combo plate with rice and miso soup. Tonight I went for tempura (shrimp and veggie), fresh sashimi, and teriyaki salmon.

Devoured with lots of tea on the side! I think we're going to stay in tonight as I have hula early in the morning and a bit of a scratchy throat.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pralines pt. 1

Don't worry, I didn't forget about the recipe! 

And if you couldn't guess before, then you must know now that that little project I was working on was pralines! I started with Happy Herbivore's recipe, and modified it to my heart's content.

I couldn't help tasting them 15 minutes after pouring them out and they were very soft but very good. However, they will not set no matter what I do.

So.... no recipe right now, sorry. In the mean time, please enjoy this very cute picture of my cat:

Just try not to stare directly into his eyes or he might consume your soul.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Veggie frenzy

I woke up a bit later today than I wanted and didn't have time for a workout. But I did have time to grab one of these...

Soy latte in a Kerr jar, my favorite!

For lunch I had the rest of the spaghetti squash with marinara, it was very unphotogenic today! The redness from the sauce permeated every inch of the squash and it looked a mess. Still tasted great though!

We had an ice cream social today at work, so I indulged in some sweets in the afternoon. Bad idea! I had a tummy ache for the rest of the day, curse you lactose intolerance!!! (I'm usually OK with small amounts of non-cow dairy though.)

As soon as I got home I knew I needed some intense veggie action to soothe my body. Ev was over at a friends for dinner so I grabbed whatever soon-to-be-unusable veggies I could and decided on soup.

This is my favorite "kitchen sink" style soup. It has a very mild flavor (unless you add extra spices) and is easy on the tummy. You can add practically anything and it comes out great, I always add beans for extra protein and density.

Hearty Vegetable Soup
1/2 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 large or 2 small zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
5 cups broth of your choice
1 bunch kale
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 can canellini beans (white kidney beans)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1) Prep all your veggies first! Thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, chop the carrot/celery/bell peppers into 1/4"-1/2" wide chunks (or whatever you prefer), de-stem and roughly chop the kale, roughly chop the cilantro.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or high sided dutch oven.

3) Add the onion and garlic and sweat with a small pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

4) Add in the carrot and celery, stir to combine and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

5) Next, toss in your zucchini and bell peppers. Once again, stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes until the edges just start to get soft.

6) Add your broth of choice and a few grinds of pepper, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes (depending on how thickly cut your veggies are).

7) Turn off the heat and stir in your beans (drained) and the kale. Tuck the kale down into the broth as best you can.

8) Let sit for 3-4 minutes, till beans are warmed through and the residual heat has cooked the kale.

9) Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt or pepper if needed.

10) Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro before serving.

Other options/substitutions:
- 1 can of roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is my fav)
- a handful of washed quinoa or rice
- chickpeas
- shallots
- parsnips
- potatoes (sweet or regular)
- miso
- shredded chicken (if you eat poultry)
- chard or collards
- your favorite spices (oregano, thyme, sage, etc)

And in case you were wondering what that little dent in the bowl is for...

Nifty huh? It's actually Ev's chili bowl! Purchased at a local pottery event in LA. I knew I should have bought one that day, I am so jealous.

After that bowl + another 1/3 bowlful, I was still hungry. Dessert ended up being a whole wheat sandwich thin with a smear of chevre, drizzle of honey, and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Carby goodness in every bite.

Did you know that tomorrow is National Coffee Day? I feel like taking it off to celebrate!
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