Food + Drink


My Best Recipe Yet: Tomato + Cheese Toast

Every once in a while I’ll create a recipe so good that I bring this blog out of hibernation to share it with my many, many, and I mean many, followers.

Today I bring you tomato and cheese toast, and man oh man is it GOOD. But I can’t take all of the credit. This recipe was inspired by Grossy Pelosi’s stuffed baked shells I made sometime ago. The stuffing was a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, goat cheese and parmesan. I ended up with a bit too much (just enough?) so I ended up putting the cheese on toast the following day and it was good, really good, but this time I upped the ante.

It all started when my mother gifted me some bread from the farmer’s market this past week, as she does–a rosemary and garlic sourdough. Last night I toasted the bread in EVOO and butter. I made Grossy’s cheese mixture, sans parm, using equal-ish parts goat, mozz and ricotta and added a bit of salt to taste. Then I heated up some cherry tomatoes on the stove in the same EVOO + butter mix and added a bit of garlic salt. Once they were blistered and delicious looking I took them off the heat.

For assembly, I simply topped the toast with cheese, then tomatoes and a few basil leaves. Voila! One of the world’s simplest and most delicious recipes, if I do say so myself.

Kids, I simply can’t express to you enough how good this recipe turned out to be. All I can do is encourage you to make it yourself (or come over to my place, I gotchu fam).

This Mini Quiche Cured My Depression

...Just kidding. But this recipe was there for me when I was going through a rough time and it just might do the same for you.

✨Mini Quiche✨

1.5 cups AP Flour
4 oz Salted Butter
8 Eggs
S & P
+Whatever you want! I added 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and green onions.

Set oven to 400 F.

Combine flour and butter using your hands or a potato masher until it resembles bread crumbs. Add about 1/4 cup cold water and combine just until the dough sticks together. You may want to add a few more tablespoons of water until there’s not a lot of excess dry flour and butter mix hanging out on the outskirts of the bowl. The dough shouldn’t be wet or super sticky.

Spray or grease your muffin tin. Take pieces of the dough and press them into the muffin tin until the sides are even in thickness and form to look like mini crusts. Pop the muffin tin with the crusts into the preheated oven while you work on the eggs.

Add eggs, a bit of milk, about a 1.5 tsp of salt and pepper each, and whatever else you want to a container and combine until eggs are scrambled. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and pour eggs into the crusts (to the top). Place muffin tin back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until eggs puff up and become golden.

Note that some ingredients may sink or swim in the container. To be safe, you can add additional ingredients to your quiche once eggs are poured into the crusts.

Remove the muffin tin from the oven and carefully run a knife along sides of the quiche to pop them out easier. Plate and serve.

Just Call Me MacGyver

The other night I was making a favorite recipe of mine–Pollo Saltado. I often order it from a local Peruvian restaurant (Inka Mama’s). It’s basically delicious chicken and french fries combined with tomatoes and red onion on top of white rice. It’s ultra comforting, filling and yum. What takes this dish to the next level is the aji sauce that goes on top. It’s a spicy, creamy and cilantro-y salsa that’s bright green. I essentially can’t eat this dish without it.

I started making the dish and was ready to start working on the aji sauce when low and behold, I can’t find my blender. It then hit me–I threw my blender out about a month ago because it had gone kaput and I hadn’t purchased a new one. I also don’t own a food processor. Thing is, the aji sauce requires blending. I was about ready to go out and buy a new blender with the chicken already on the stove because I was not having this dish without aji sauce.

I’m thinking and stressing, then I have a brain blast. Two words–coffee grinder. My husband said it wouldn’t work, and after cleaning out the grinder and it still smelling strongly of coffee, I almost didn’t think it would work either. But it had to work. I first tested my theory by adding water to the grinder and pulsing. It didn’t leave me anymore hopeful as the water started to spill out the sides.

Still, I trudged on and added my ingredients. There was no turning back. I started blending but the ingredients weren’t getting chopped up. So I used a spoon to press the ingredients down, returned the lid and began pulsing. It took a bit, but wouldn’t you know, it worked! I could only fit a small amount of ingredients in at a time due to the small size of the grinder, so it took a few rounds of doing this before I had a sufficient amount of sauce, but it worked! The aji sauce came out perfectly and didn’t taste like coffee. Huzzah!

Moral of the story, if you need to blend or process something and you have a coffee grinder on hand, go out and buy yourself a new blender or food processor because I don’t want to be responsible for your coffee grinder breaking. With that said, please enjoy this recipe for Pollo Saltado, inspired by


2 chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small red onion, cut in thick slices
3 roma tomatoes, cut in thick slices
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
⅓ cup chicken stock
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
Cilantro for garnish
2 cups french fries

To make the french fries, peel, chop and soak the potatoes for a few hourts to remove starch and make them crispy. Afterwards, let them dry on a towel, heat your frying oil over medium and fry until golden brown. Meanwhile, cook your rice. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to pot over medium heat for two minutes. Add chicken and turn, cooking, all sides. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, chicken stock, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add onions and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and soy sauce mix. Turn off heat once chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F and toss in french fries.

~Aji Sauce Ingredients~

¼ head iceberg lettuce
1 jalapeno (or ½ if you want it mild-medium)
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ bunch of cilantro
¼ tsp salt

Chop up lettuce and jalapeno into small pieces and add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

To assemble, place chicken and fries over a bed of rice and top with aji sauce.

**chef’s kiss**

Original Recipe

British Food On Account of The Cooler Weather 🇬🇧

A combination of the cooler weather (low 70s F for us Southern Californian’s) and rewatching my favorite BBC production-Lark Rise to Candleford-on Hulu inspired me to dip into some British recipes I’ve had saved. If the cool weather has you thinking about Meghan & Harry & Kate & William as well, or you want to pair something wonderful with your tea, these recipes might be just the thing for you.

Disclaimer: All recipes were inspired by BBC Food.

🇬🇧Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge🇬🇧

This recipe comes to you from the queen of baking herself, and it couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. I first had a slice at a London coffee shop and was immediately hooked. While this recipe calls for whipped cream, you can also use clotted cream (aka Devonshire cream) which I’ve found at Whole Foods before.


4 eggs
8 oz granulated sugar
8 oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
8 oz unsalted butter at room temp
Raspberry preserves (highly recommend Trader Joe’s)
Heavy whipping cream
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the sides of two 8 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Combine eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and butter using a mixer and don’t over-mix. Divide batter evenly in cake pans and cook for 20-25 minutes. Poke the center of the cake with a fork-if it comes out clean, it’s ready to remove. Let cool for 5 minutes, then gently remove each cake from its pan. To assemble, spread preserves copiously on both halves. Make whipped cream by beating cream for 2 and half minutes on high or until it reaches whipped cream consistency. Then add a copious amount of whipped cream to one cake. Place the other cake (preserve-side down) atop the cake with cream. Dust powdered sugar onto the cake and enjoy. Be sure to refrigerate and eat within a few days.

🇬🇧Shepherd’s Pie🇬🇧

While this isn’t my mum’s recipe, shepherd’s pie is a dish she made often and continues to, to this day. It’s hot, savory, delicious and incredibly comforting on a chilly day. Holy cow, is this recipe a good one. It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to make, but boy is it well worth the wait.


1 oz vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1lb 2 oz ground beef
1 tbsp plain flour
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 can of peas
1 can of carrots
16 oz beef stock
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper
1lb 9 oz potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 oz milk
3 oz butter

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat then add chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and ground beef until beef is browned. To the onions, add flour, bay leaves, thyme, canned tomatoes, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Add ground beef, canned peas and carrots to the sauce mixture. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 45 minutes. Stir regularly. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and peel and cut potatoes. Once water is boiling, add potatoes until softened, then drain. Return potatoes to the empty pot and add milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until smooth. Once the meat is done, add it to a 2.5 pint ovenproof dish, and spread mashed potatoes over it. Heat in the oven at 400F until the potatoes are golden brown.

🇬🇧Paul Hollywood’s Jam Tarts🇬🇧

Do, re, mi, all it takes to make this recipe is 1, 2, 3 ingredients. And yes, it’s very easy and delicious. Best enjoyed with tea.


3 oz salted butter, cold
6 oz self-raising flour
Raspberry preserves (Trader Joe’s)

Preheat oven to 400F. Rub together butter and flour in a bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in few tablespoons of cold water to form a dough. Press dough evenly into cupcake tins. Add a small amount of preserves to each tart (less than a spoonful, I overdid it). Bake for 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Wait 5-10 minutes before removing.

Fav Non-Alcoholic Bevs

While I do enjoy a glass of red wine or a cocktail on occasion, I gotta give it up for these bevs. They feel special, taste yummy and most importantly, look plain cute in the fridge. When you’re working from home and need an afternoon pick-me-up, these pre-5-o’clock drinks come in clutch. Not to mention, they’re great for guests. That is, unless they opt for water. Like what? Let me wine and dine you with my incredible drink selection, geez. And another thing, when you’re at my house, you don’t have to ask for a beverage. Please head straight for the fridge and take anything you’d like. Rob me.

〰️Topo Chico or San Pelligrino sparkling water
〰️GT’s Kombucha
〰️Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer
〰️Mini Cokes
〰️Tejava (with a slice of 🍋)

The Only Way To Cook Rice + Grains

Thank you Bon Appétit for yet another life lesson. I was recently reading one of their recipes, as I do, and they included a tip about cooking rice and grains like you would pasta – until al dente. This in turn saves you from having to memorize a host of rice/ grain to water measurements and cook times and ensures you get perfectly cooked rice and grains. I don’t know about you, but despite following directions, my rice typically comes out undercooked. Not anymore thanks to this wonderful tip. 

This method does require a fine mesh colander to drain your grains which I’ve linked to below. Note also that this method requires you to keep testing what you’re cooking until you reach your desired level of chewiness. 

Admittedly, I have not tested this method on a wide variety of grains as of yet – just different types of rice and my beloved farro – but so far, each thing I’ve cooked has come out perfect. And lastly, don’t be surprised when you cook rice this way and the water turns really goopy.

Fine Mesh Colander

How To Make An Adult Lunchbox (aka To-Go Charcuterie)

Does this really need any explanation at all? Just grab your favorite cheeses, nuts, crackers, what have you and put it in a tupperware box.

I do have a few tips though. If you have a jar of plain olives, add EVOO, red pepper flakes and a diced clove of garlic. Include something sweet - I packed chocolate and a little container of honey. Lastly, try and keep things compartmentalized.

The adult lunchbox is my fancy snack of choice for beach days, park hangs, a work/ school snack, road-tripping, etc.

And that’s all I have to say about that. 🧀

This Dish Got Me Through Quarantine

While in quarantine I decided to throw together some ingredients. What exactly? Farro, kidney beans and a homemade vinaigrette. The result? Terrible. I doused my farro and beans with the vinaigrette and the result was super vinegar-y.

But rather than throw everything away, I packed up the farro and poured the remaining vinaigrette on my beans. The next day I re-tasted the beans and my my, what a difference an overnight marinade makes.

In case you’re unfamiliar with farro, it’s a delicious, chewy, carby grain that’s low in fat and high in fiber, antioxidants and protein. It has a taste similar to pasta and is amazing in grain bowls.

The vinaigrette I made turned out herby, garlic-y and slightly sweet the next day. I‘ll be using this vinaigrette on salads as well.

Lastly, beans + vinaigrette = magic ✨. You could use any beans for this recipe.

To take it up a notch, add some grilled veggies or meat, along with other fixings like fried, crispy onions, corn, avocado, whatever you’ve got.

This meal has seriously been so amazing this quarantine. I typically make a big batch of farro and marinated beans at the beginning of the week and throw this together for lunch. Quick, delicious and healthy.

P.S. The longer the beans marinate, the better they get.


Beans (in a can)
Red & white wine vinegar (you can use any)
Olive oil
Neutral cooking oil (I use vegetable)
Garlic clove
Italian seasoning
Herbs (basil, thyme, chives, whatever you’ve got)

Boil farro in salted water until al dente. About 10-15 minutes. Drain using a fine mesh colander.

Make your vinaigrette to taste. My recommendation is, however much vinegar you use, add double the amount of oil. Also add a large dollop of honey and not too much garlic. Whisk until combined, then pour into a container with your beans and marinate overnight.

Assemble by topping your farro, rice or grains with beans.

**chefs kiss**

At Home


If You’re Not Yet Composting, What’s Stopping You?

I tell you, there’s something about composting. Turning my kitchen scraps into rich soil gives me the same warm fuzzy as recycling. It’s a feeling you get when you do something to lower your environmental footprint and it’s a bit addictive, at least for me.

Unlike recycling, however, you can see and enjoy the results of composting for yourself. Watch and be amazed as those banana peels, apple cores and egg shells decompose, turning dull dirt into rich, dark soil. Then, put that soil to work by planting seeds, or better yet, propagating kitchen scraps. On numerous occasions, I’ve composted tomatoes only to have tomato sprouts crop up. One of my favorite items to propagate are store-bought herbs and alliums, that way I always have ingredients to make my dishes more flavorful. Plus, whenever I buy herbs I typically only use a small portion of them for one dish, then they die quickly and become composting material. No bueno.

If you don’t have a yard like me, get box planters or containers to compost in. If you do have a yard, I must say I envy you for all of the compostable space you have available and highly encourage you to use that space.

Composting does not require you to purchase any special tools or products. All it takes is some dirt, a container and your kitchen scraps.

〰️What can you compost?〰️

- Plant matter (I.e. potato peels, apple cores, rotting fruits and veggies, dead plants, leaves, etc.) 🥬🍎
- Paper (I.e. cardboard, printer paper, paper bags, etc.) 📜🗞
- Egg shells 🐣
- Coffee grounds and filters ☕️

〰️How to compost〰️

Put a layer of dirt at the bottom of your container, then add a layer of compost, then another layer of dirt. Water thoroughly and repeat the process. You should end with a layer of dirt on top rather than uncovered compost, as this may attract animals and pests. Water your compost every 1-2 weeks.

If you’re composting in the yard, dig a deep hole and follow the steps above (layer compost then dirt, water, repeat).

You can speed up composting by turning the soil with a shovel, rake or what have you. Some recommend composting in a round trash bin with a lid and rolling the bin on its side every so often.

Earth worms also help the composting process and enrich the soil. If you have kids, make an activity out of having them find the earth worms. While you’re at it, involve them in composting with you to teach them this important life lesson and skill.

Compost on ✌️🌎

3 House Plants That Might Survive The Apocalypse

I’ve killed a lot of house plants and dealt with some pretty finicky ones, but these three have all withstood my cluelessness when it comes to proper plant care.

From left to right, the Peace Lily, Snake Plant and Pothos. The Peace Lily literally lets you know when it’s thirsty by wilting. I try not to let it get to that point by keeping its soil moist, but if it does wilt, it quickly crops back up once it gets a drink. The Snake Plant needs to be watered once every month or so! You could practically forget about this plant and it will survive. And last but not least, I water the Pothos once every other week. My apartment unfortunately gets limited natural sunlight and these three plants have still managed to thrive. Yay plants!



Nature Walks That Give Me Life 🌱

I love nature walks, but you probably already knew that if you peep my IG stories. Most days, when the work day is through, Steve and I pack up the boys and go to any one of the incredibly beautiful parks or trails that are everywhere here in South OC. It’s a really nice way to transition out of work especially when WFH, but also, the fresh air and being in nature is so good for you.

A year ago you’d probably find us at the beach most of the time, but quarantine has given us a renewed appreciation for these lovely parks and trails. Here are our fav spots.

1. Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
👉 Large lake where you can fish, beautiful creeks and rolling hills. Our favorite park which also happens to be 3 minutes from our house.
❌ A lot of geese and geese poo.

2. Seaview Park Trail And Overlook, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
👉 Gorgeous, picturesque ocean views. There is another trail that you can continue on which takes you to another viewing area of Laguna Beach. My fav spot to watch the sunset.

3. Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Alicia Parkway, Aliso Viejo, CA
👉 Beautiful hiking, mountain biking area. It’s very large and there are a lot of side trails.
❌ Usually crowded. If you go off on a narrow trail, be prepared to encounter fast bikes. Mountain lion warnings everywhere.

4. Canyon View Park, Canyon Vistas, Aliso Viejo, CA
👉 Another entryway to Woods Canyon. This park has beautiful views of the forested hills. Very large and clean with plenty of play space. Great family park.
❌ Witnessed multiple incidents here of dogs behaving badly.

5. Badlands Park, Isle Vista, Laguna Niguel, CA
👉 One of the prettiest ocean views featuring tons of wildflowers. Another great sunset spot.

6. San Clemente Beach Trail, San Clemente Pedestrian Beach Trail, San Clemente, CA 92672
👉 A clean, beautiful beach trail. I typically start at North Beach, walk to the pier, grab a coffee and walk back to North Beach.

7. Trabuco Creek Trail, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
👉 Pretty nature walk that includes creeks, a “waterfall,” train tracks, historic farming equipment and beautiful nature views. Plenty of room to explore here.
❌ Homeless people and signs of sketchy activity.