Signature Dish

I love trying new recipes. I know you’re not supposed to test new recipes out on guests, but there are so many great things to be cooked out there, that I often do just that. Besides, I LOVE researching things. Anything, really. But combine my love of research with my love of food, and you’ll often find me online or pouring through books to find new ways to combine ingredients to make a fantastic meal.

I went home to visit my family in New York last fall. While there, my mom took me to a dessert baking class being held at my family’s church. I ended up sitting next to a woman who clearly had the same love of cooking as I did. We got to talking and she asked me, “What is your favorite thing to make?” I thought about it for a second, and ended up telling her that I love trying new recipes so often that I rarely make the same things twice! She laughed and said she did the exact same thing.

It got me thinking, though. If there was a dish that I would describe as my “signature dish” or my favorite thing to make, what would it be? Most of the time, the super fancy things are saved for holidays and are either made once a year or just once, period. Like the time I made homemade croissants for Thanksgiving. Probably won’t do that again.


Or even the pesto egg casserole that I make every year on Christmas morning. But that’s not my signature dish; that was something that my parents made every Christmas, so I have adopted the tradition.

egg souffle recipe

Family recipe (with notations) passed down

I guess if I had to choose, it would be two things. One is my granola. I’ve made it for brunches, for new moms, brought it on ski trips, and even thought of starting my own granola business to sell at our farmer’s market (where I was told that the farmer’s market is for farmers only, thank you very much). And second is my mediterranean chicken dish. Nothing super fancy or elaborate, which may be why it’s my go-to dish. It simply needs to be marinated for a few hours and then thrown into a pan and baked. But it’s delicious. This dish is loved by those who are convinced they hate olives, and despite the use of prunes (which sounds so unappealing; amirght?), people get hooked.

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The recipe originally comes from Deborah Norville, but was given to me by my mother after she made it on one of my visits home. Again, it’s super easy, and you can definitely play around with different ingredients or amounts if you like. (I tend to go heavy on the olives and capers!) I find that the bone-in, skin-on chicken breast works very well for this, but I’m also partial to dark meat, so occasionally I’ll throw some thighs in with it as well.

Give it a try and see if it becomes one of your staples as well!

Mediterranean Chicken

  • 5 or 6 pieces of chicken (bone-in works best)
  • 3/4 cup dried prunes
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except for brown sugar and place in a zip-top bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a baking pan and pour marinade over top. Sprinkle sugar evenly over chicken. Bake until the chicken breasts have reached a temperature of 165, about 50 minutes. If chicken skin is not golden enough, turn on the broiler and let it brown up for a few minutes – keep your eye on it!

Note: I have accidentally left off the brown sugar and it still comes out delicious!

Love More

“How would your life be different if…you decided to give freely, love fully, and play feverously? Let today be the day…you free yourself from the conditioned rules that limit your happiness and dilute the beautiful life experience.” – Steve Maraboli

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. Sometimes when I look back on the last few years it seems as though nothing has changed and other times it seems like everything has changed. It’s like when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while and they ask, “How are things?” The usual answer seems to be, “Oh you know, same old.” It can be overwhelming to explain to someone you haven’t seen or talked to recently what all you have been up to. And it’s easy to forget, too.

My husband (yes, I’ve since gotten married… you know, same old) and I were recently trying to remember what we did for my 30th birthday last year. Both of us had trouble remembering and ended up going back to old credit card statements to jog our memories. And it was a fantastic birthday weekend! Awesome brunch, beach bar bicycle crawl, amazing french dinner, NBA game. But we get so wrapped up in the day to day that we forget to take the time to remember the good stuff. And there is lots of it.

We just got back home to Santa Monica from Boston after hearing of the unexpected death of my father-in-law. If there is one thing that everyone seemed to take away from the trip it was, why wait? How often do you say that you want to do something, only to put it off thinking that there will be a better time? Whether that be visiting family, calling a friend, learning a new language, starting a new job.

For me, writing is something that I really enjoy, but sometimes find it hard to come up with “worthy” (whatever that means) topics to write about. I’d like to make an effort to live a life that leaves itself open to interesting writing. And that doesn’t mean extravagance. It simply means doing the things that give us fulfillment – visiting family, cooking good food (my love language), seeing friends, and most importantly, loving more.

While I don’t necessarily make resolutions at the beginning of each year, I’d like 2015 to be a year of documentation. Something to look back on and remember what it is we’re doing here. It’s not just about trudging through life and making it to the weekends. Yes, that is part of it. But let’s look for the good stuff. It’s in there, now let’s go find it.

Summer-like Grillin’

Grilling has been a consistency ever since we got our grill about two months ago, but something about last night’s BBQ with friends really felt like summer. Maybe it was the glass(es) of cold white wine I drank (I only ever crave whites during warm months), or the fact that the entire meal was eaten with our hands – no utensils required. Whatever the reason, the menu was a winner. Here’s how it all came together!

11:00 – Wandered through the farmers’ market on my way home from the gym (kettlebells for the win!) and picked up some perfectly ripe avocados and deliciously in-season fresh figs. I looked for corn, but no luck today.


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Friday Favorites: Summer Finds

Alternate title – Friday Favorites: Saturday Edition

Alternate title 2 – Friday Favorites: It Was the Longest Day of the Year and I Still Couldn’t Get a Blog Post Up

Now that summer is officially here, how about some Favorites to get us in the mood? Summer to me means lighter fare, fun atmosphere, and fresh flavors. Let’s get started, shall we?


While getting our apartment set up, Numero Uno and I went to the local hardware store to purchase a simple outdoor furniture set and gardening supplies. In the process, we found other goodies (shocker). We came home with this beverage cooler and it has been providing chilled refreshments to our guests ever since. Before a party, we buy a large bag of ice and are able to keep beers cold out on the porch without taking up valuable fridge space. Continue reading

Friday Favorites: Host/Hostess Gifts

It is always nice to bring a little something as a “thank you” to the host of a party that you’re invited to. Here are a few ideas besides the usual flowers or wine/champagne (tried and true for a reason!) to keep in mind so that next time you’re invited somewhere, you’re not scrambling around last minute for a gift!


This is a gift that Numero Uno and I got at our engagement party. The giver knew that I love to cook, so a nice cutting board and beautiful Wusthof knife were absolutely perfect. If you know what kind of hobbies your host enjoys, gearing a gift towards that theme will be a sure winner.


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Recipe: Best.Cake.Ever.

I’ve never been much of a cake fan. Growing up I always requested either a pie or an ice cream cake as my birthday treat. Cake always seemed too dry and airy. I like my desserts dense and rich. Like a good thick, chewy brownie… mmm. I’ve since discovered that cake doesn’t have to mean dry and light and have found a few that really make my heart sing. This is one of them. And oh dear god, does it fit the bill.

Butter Cake Mastros

Enter the butter cake from Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. Continue reading

Friday Favorites – Decorations

I’ve lived in a lot of apartments. Seven since college, if I’m counting correctly. And they all have had one thing in common. Bare, white-ass walls. Unless you do something to cover up some of that white, you always feel like you aren’t living in your own space. We have yet to check with our condo’s owner as to whether or not we can paint in our new place, but for now, we’re doing our damndest to make this place look like our own. So here are a few ways we’ve perked up the ol’ homestead.

Mask Collage

I love pieces with an international flare. They often add color and tend to be a good conversation starter. The mask in the bottom left corner, the red dragon on the bottom right, and the middle right-hand one are all from a trip my family took to Indonesia 13 years ago (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO???). The top right hand mask was a gift that we just received from my parents after their recent trip to Guatemala. The other two masks were ones that I picked up at World Market to fill in the collection a little bit. The only downside to purchasing items from the country they were actually made in verses at a local store is seeing the mark-up here in the US. Although I guess after flight and hotel costs….. details, details. We have these lined up vertically along a wall next to our fireplace.

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Perfectly In Season: Rhubarb Crisp

This past weekend we had a group of family and friends in town for our engagement party on Saturday night. On Friday, we had all the travelers plus a group of locals over to grill out at our apartment. We figured relaxing and having a few drinks at our place was easier and more laid-back than trying to get a large group into a restaurant. Much easier to socialize with everyone too.

Numero Uno and I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up the usual suspects – hamburgers, hot dogs, organic chicken sausage, corn on the cob, avocados (for homemade guac) and asparagus. As we were checking out, I began thinking that we needed a dessert to make it a little more “special”. Something nice to end the night with. As we were walking out the door, I noticed bunches of rhubarb in the produce section and a recipe for gluten-free berry rhubarb crisp I had just seen on Spontaneous Tomato sprang to mind.


I ran back inside, picked up a few pounds of the bright pink celery-like stalks and a pint of vanilla ice cream. As soon as I got home, I pulled up the recipe. In the post, another recipe for rhubarb-only crisp by Mark Bittman is referenced. I ended up making a mashup of the two, since one of our guests is allergic to strawberries and is going gluten-free for 90 days. I already had almond flour on hand, so this was a no-brainer.

Recipe time! Continue reading

Friday Favorites – Wine Accessories

I have family and friends in town this weekend for mine and Numero Uno’s engagement party on Saturday evening. Tonight we’ll have everyone over for a relaxing barbeque and to spend time with those we don’t get to see nearly often enough! I’m sure several bottles of wine will be opened, so for those of you also enjoying the good stuff this weekend, here are a few of my favorite accessories!

We’re lovers of the red in this house. Especially so after a wine trip to Sonoma. The last vineyard on our trip was Truett Hurst, and there we discovered and sampled some lovely Zinfandels. We were hooked and joined their wine club, so now we receive 6 bottles of wine every 3 months. Their reds really are fantastic, but often need a little breathing room to open up and fully develop their flavors before drinking (like most reds). Pouring the bottle into a decanter prior to serving allows this process to occur. I’ve seen these come in all sorts of funky designs – even an antler-shaped one, but that may be a bit much, even for me 🙂

If you’re looking to get the same effect as decanting your wine, but don’t necessarily want to pour off the whole bottle (who am I kidding?), the aerator is your new best friend. This little tool serves the same function as the decanter, but at a much quicker rate. When wine is poured into the spout, air bubbles flow through it and helps open up the wine. It also seems to serve as a great party trick, as guests really seem to like to decant their own wine. Continue reading

22 Things We Have To Stop Sharing On Facebook


Thought Catalog

1. Weirdly intrusive pictures of your children that you know damn well they would not want the whole world to be looking at if they had the choice/awareness about it.

2. Passive-aggressive posts about the problems you’re having with a significant other.

3. Even more passive-aggressive statuses about how you don’t really care what anyone thinks, even though you are clearly dedicating the energy to write a mini-rant on the subject in public view.

4. Racist and sexist memes you got from some terrible fan page.

5. Updates on a really banal meal that you’re eating because you have literally nothing else to talk about. (Hint: If your first reaction is to tell everyone that your re-heated pasta goes nice with some fresh greens, it probably means you should just take the evening off from telling people about your life.)

6. Humblebrags that are so clearly trying to be actual…

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