Mexican Quinoa Salad


Quinoa salads come in all tastes and styles these days. But this version is one of my all time favorites .


It’s just one great blend of flavors and textures. From the crisp corn (straight off the cob), the creamy luxury of the the diced avocado then there is the little “punch” of heat at the end from the Jalapeño and Cayenne pepper. Topped off with a little squeeze of lime and there you have it- “Little Mexico in a Bowl” a healthy bowl that is.






Mexican Quinoa Salad
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salads
Serves: 6
  • 1 Cup cooked white quinoa
  • 3 Cups fresh corn (about 4 ears) cut from the cob
  • ½ Jalapeno , seeded and finely diced
  • 2 Green onions diced
  • ½ Cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
  • 2 Limes (Juiced)
  • ¼ Cup Cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • ½ Cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 Large Avocado diced
  1. In a large mixing bowl-Combine the Quinoa, Corn with the chopped Jalapeño, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, cottage cheese and a dash of Cayenne pepper to taste.
  2. Add the diced Avocado and top the salad with the shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve.


Triple Threat Brownies


All of us have a “Guilty Preasure” when it comes to food. For me my weak spot has always been anything chocolate.

A few years back I was introduced to the most decadent of desserts that came in the form of a brownie. This brownie is in a league of it’s own because it’s a compilation of the many layers of chocolate that made up most of my childhood. Think Nestle’s Toll house cookie’s , Oreo cookies and deep dark chocolate brownies.

I mean “What if” these three all decided to get together and become a new kind of delight that came to be “Triple Threat Brownies”?

Well I would call that genius! I would call that bliss!




I must confess that the original name of this incredible creation is called “Slutty Brownies” which truth be told cracks me up. But being that mama taught me to always be a lady. I thought I would would tweek the recipe a bit and land on the classy side of thing’s and rename them ……..Triple Threat Brownies because lets face it they are a threat!

You most certainly can’t be on anything related to a Adkins-Weight Watcher-Paleo- Vegan diet if it is your plan to dive right in and enjoy one of these life changing bars………….


Triple Threat Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert Bars
Serves: 16 Brownies
  • For the Brownie layer:
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups white sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • For the Oreo layer:
  • 1 package of Oreo (regular stuffed or double stuffed)
  • For the Cookie Dough layer:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups AP flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. For the Brownie layer:
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix. Set batter aside.
  3. For the Cookie Dough layer:
  4. Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Set dough aside.
  5. Assembly:
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Line the bottom of a 9x9 baking pan with tin foil and then spray the tin foil with a layer of baking spray.
  8. Layer the cookie dough on the bottom of a 9x9 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom of the slutty brownies.
  9. Layer as many oreos that will fit on top of the cookie dough. No need to overlap. One single layer will do.
  10. Pour the brownie batter on top of the oreo layer and make sure it's evenly layers on top.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. If the knife comes out clean, let the brownies rest before serving. If the knife comes out with batter still on it, allow the brownies to bake about 5 minutes more.












Indulge Today – Run Tomorrow


Caprese Chicken


I love Caprese Salad and I am always looking for new creative ways to make chicken dishes.

So here is a fun combo when you take the ingredients of the Caprese Salad and marry them with a seasoned grilled chicken breast. Ladies and gentlemen I now give you one very simple and delicious chicken meal that is not only very easy to make but is very pretty to look at. It all get’s finished off with the “drizzle” of a Balsamic reduction glaze.

True Beauty on a Plate.



Caprese Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (cut in halves)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic herb Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Slices of Soft Fresh Mozzarella Cheese 4 (1/2 inch thick)
  • Mini Heirloom Tomatoes sliced in half
  • Bunch of Fresh Basil Leaves - Chopped
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  2. Prepare the Balsamic Glaze Reduction
  3. Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.
  4. For Chicken:
  5. Pour Olive oil into a large cast-iron or ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the oil until a small droplet of water pops in the oil. Place seasoned chicken breasts into hot oil, fry for 2 minutes, and flip chicken.
  6. Place skillet into the preheated oven and bake until chicken is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear, about 12 minutes. Top each chicken breast with a slice of mozzarella cheese and return to oven and bake until cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer chicken breasts to a serving platter and top each with fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes and chopped basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze reduction.







Flying Solo – The Monterey Peninsula 2015


Processed with Moldiv
Processed with Moldiv

Many people believe that in order to have a “Grand Adventure” you would need to travel to a distant land to find something extraordinary .

This may be true at times but I also feel that there is so much one can find even closer to home if they are willing to “Dig” for small gems of travel .

As I have mentioned before in my previous posts I was born and raised in Southern California. The land of beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts and flip flops. We see sunshine over 300 days of the year. We eat well too. Our produce flourishes year round with an abundance of  Avocados, Artichokes, Strawberries, Squash, Table Grapes, Tomatoes , Oranges, Grapefruits and Lemons. To top it all off we are spoiled with some of the best wines in the world that are produced from the Central Coast (Paso Robles & San Ynez Valley) and Northern California (Sonoma & Napa). It really is a food lovers dream over here.

By the time August 1st hit this year I found myself pretty worn out from the previous 11 months of non stop activity and work. I wanted to escape to have a real break. I wanted to breathe in some fresh crisp ocean air , I wanted to go and explore , I wanted to hit the California’s (Hwy 1) heading North and most importantly I wanted to do all of this, Alone.



I pitched the idea of doing this alone to my husband D and from the get go he was very supportive of my plans (Thanks D- you are so sweet). D and I have always traveled well together but at the same time we have always been very independent in the sense that if there is something we want to go and see and the other won’t be able to join in because of (work or other commitments)  then we always do our best to support each other in our endeavors.

Did I get a little flack for wanting to to this solo? Well yes, a little bit.

I found that some of my friends and especially (My parents) couldn’t figure out why on earth I would want to take a trip alone. My answer is easy, “I wanted to”. Like most women my days are filled with an overloaded “To do list” and I am more than happy to put in long days and hard work for the benefit of others and especially my family. But sometimes I frankly want invite a little “quiet” into my life , a little disconnect in order to center and renew myself. So I came up with the perfect spot to do this. I would drive north to- Big Sur.

Big Sur has always been a very special spot to me since I was a small girl. It’s a landscape that is at times is just too “Majestic for words”. It’s where I feel I can stand on a mountainside, cast in glorious sunshine, and gaze down upon a Pacific Ocean completely blanketed by dense fog. It’s a view most of us would associate with being in heaven, or at least the window seat of an airplane. In Big Sur you can get it with your two feet on the ground.

Not much has changed here in the past 50 years. Sure, there are now some small grocers and restaurants around. But the nearest supermarket is still dozens of miles away. It’s a destination where cell phone coverage is nearly nonexistent. The nice part of this is that, whether you like it or not, you’re on vacation. If someone at the office needs to reach you, well, too bad. I can’t urge you enough that if you have never been for a visit (especially if you reside here in California) by all means pack up your car and hit the Hwy 1. It’s a journey that one needs to do at least once in their life and it is one that will definitely “Take your breath away”.






  • “I got to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more”
  • -John Burroghs-


  • McWay Falls – My Happy Corner of the World

McWay Falls is an 80-foot waterfall located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that flows year-round. This waterfall is one of only two in the region that are close enough to the ocean to be referred to as “tidefalls”, the other being Alamere Falls. The source of the waterfall is McWay Creek and is one of the few waterfalls that empty directly into the ocean. Originally the waterfall cascaded directly into the ocean but after a 1983 fire and 1985 landslides, the topography of McWay Cove was altered, forming an inaccessible beach. The waterfall now meets the ocean when the tide is in.

I must have taken hundreds of pictures , I was so hard to choose which one’s to share. It’s also so hard to describe all the joy and happiness I came home with. I was able to take in so much in one weeks time. I only scratched the surface of this most beautiful route. But as the old saying goes “All good things must come to an end”. There is one thing I know for sure and that is I will be back over and over again. I am a California girl to the core , I love the Pacific with all my heart…………………………

We will forever remain close!





There where so many spots along the way that made my trip extra special.

Here is a listing of some of my favorite places to STAY-PLAY-EXPLORE

 and most importantly EAT. 

For more information on each establishment feel free to click on each of the places described here it will connect you directly to their websites.

  • Santa Barbara

Canary Santa Barbara- Stay

A Spanish colonial Santa Barbara boutique hotel gem is located just steps from lively State Street, the heartbeat of Santa Barbara. Walking distance to many great restaurants and wine bars.

I found the rooms to be quit lovely and oh so pretty. It was perfect for a girly gal like myself.




Scarlet Begonias– Eat

OMG, OMG , OMG and did I say OMG ……Everything here is delish. Heavenly Breakfast served right here on earth. Many unique and beautiful dishes made here with extremely fresh and organic ingredients. Homemade granola, lemon ricotta pancakes, hot chocolate with hand crafted marshmallows, soft scrambled eggs with a light sprinkling of sea salt, maple/bacon biscuits, shrimp and grits I can be here all day listing all the items that can be adored here. The place is just that amazing……………………………………………run here #forreals


IMG_3924 IMG_3925


  • Cayucos

Brown Butter Cookie Company– EAT

Freshly baked brown butter cookies served right off the baking tray. Each is hand rolled by a dedicated staff of artisanal cookie makers. Beautiful blends of brown butter and sea salt. I have never tasted anything like it before. So unique and carefully made. You really taste the love in these cookies. They carry their signature brown butter and sea salt selection but they also have a very tasty array of other flavors to choose from (Almond, Lemon Poppy Seed, Cocoa Mint, Citrus and Espresso) to name a few.

They are located in the adorable little beach town of Cayucos. The good news is you can order these amazing cookies online and have them shipped to your front door! at




  • Big Sur


Ragged Point– Explore & Eat


This is a great spot to stop and take a rest from driving and stretch your legs. They have a little cafe here that serves really good burgers, shakes and coffee.

The best part about this place is walking out to the lookout. The views are absolutely breathtaking, looking north along the coast. Great spot to take photos.

They also have a little Inn here. I have never stayed here overnight but would like to one day in the future.




Ventana Inn & Spa– Stay

This was the most beautiful property I’ve ever stayed at in California. They hold many weddings here each year and it’s so easy to so see why (If I could get married all over again Mr.D and I would of done it here). They offer many outdoor activities here. From guided hiking excursions, you can have a guide take you out to the best point on the property to enjoy the sunset and if that’s not enough they have one of the best afternoon wine and cheese tastings I’ve ever experienced. The rooms are exquisite with the most amazing views.

Tranquility is found in every corner of the most memorable property.






  • San Luis Obispo

The Madonna Inn– Stay & Eat

I’ve driven past this place so many time over the years with out stopping to take a look. But legend has it that the place is notorious for there (50 shades of Pink) that is generously sprinkled everywhere through out the property all the way down to the infamous Pink Champagne Cake. I decided I would stop and check it out and , OMG I am so glad I did. The place is so over the top tacky and fabulous. Pink is EVERYWHERE. I was in Pink euphoria. After taking a walk through the pink dining room I was convinced that Liberace was the interior designer for this place…lol


  • Madonna Inn feels like a mix of one of those old roadside attraction postcards, the kitschy room Grandma didn’t let you in, that weird in-between area between Fantasyland and Frontierland.




You really have to see it to believe it. Whenever I think of the Madonna Inn, I remember one thing most of all. Pink Champagne cake!!



Buona Tavola– EAT

All is can say is thank God for Yelp. It guided me to one of the most delicious meals of 2015 so far.

I was really craving Italian and this place delivered in the most profound and life changing ways.

I have eaten in Rome, Parma, Florence and after one bite I  instantly felt “transported back to Italy” it was an A+ experience on every level. The service, the warmth of family who runs the place, the mezmerising smells that came out of the kitchen. The real mind blowing thing here is the food.  I ordered the Tagliata di bue salutare (a flat-iron steak grilled on fresh arugula with shaved parmesan and balsamic reduction sauce. It completely rocked my world. Please make sure if you are ever in the adorable little college town of San Luis Obispo that you make sure to stop here and have one of the most delightful dining expriences.





  • Paso Robles

Pasolivo Tasting Room & Olive Mill– Taste


From the moment you walk in, you could smell the wonderful aroma of the various spices & things. I thoroughly enjoyed my olive oil tasting. you pick your spices/salts & put it on a plate, then you’re provided with some bread & get to taste the different flavored olive oils. The ladies that work there are all very friendly & knowledgeable. They gave me recommendations of what spices to try with which flavored oil. They also have a ton of other products from lotions & soaps to different flavored balsamic vinegars & jams as well as wooden boards & bowls for serving.

o-1 o-2 o-3




Yes 5 stars! I visited Opolo based a recommendations from other wineries. This place is off the beaten path of 46 and has a nice desk/patio area that serves food as well (loved the outdoor Tuscan Pizza Oven). All their wines were good but their reds are some of the best we’ve tasted in the area. Nice bold reds! My favorites where the Sangiovese, Zinfandel and the 2011 Petit Verdot!!






  • Solvang

Wine Country Inn– Stay


Dutch-inspired ambiance enhanced with all the comforts of today. I very much enjoyed my little cottage. It’s located in the heart of the sweet town of Solvang. Walking distance to local restaurants, dozens of wine bars and Bakeries. The grounds are really green and pretty here. They also offer bike rentals to cruise around town.


Actors Corner Cafe– Eat


It all started with the warm welcome from the lovely Grace Lebecka (she is the wife of the chef Santo Cervello). It’s ambiance is romantic and all things beautiful from the fresh flowers on the table to the sounds of the outdoor fountain trickling in the background while you eat the most amazing food . Grace explained to me that she hand picks all the freshest of ingredients everyday from the local farmers market. This was very evident from the first bite of my butter leaf salad . Then came the Capellini Bolognese with Kobe beef. I told myself that there was no way I could possibly finish all of it but “I’m no quitter” This pasta was very special you were really able to taste the care and love that was put into that plate. I just know I will be back here soon, but next time I plan to bring along Mr.D I know that he too will fall in love with this place like I did. Thank you Grace! You are the very best and your restaurant can best be describe in one word………..AMAZING.




Quicksilver Ranch– Play


And I have saved the best for last. One of my last stops that was made on my trip was at the Quicksilver Ranch. Home of the Mini Ponies. The ranch is located only 3 miles outside the town of Solvang. These little ponies are too precious for words , they walk up to the fence and you can pet them. Walk around and you’ll find others more willing to get pet. The grounds are well kept and if you have children this is surely a place they would love. I could have stayed here all day just looking at all these cuties graze and eat grass.

IMG_4558 IMG_4575

Mini Breakfast Frittatas


Why do I love these little cuties so much?

Because they are the most tasty “Make ahead – Can Be Served Hot or Cold” Breakfast on planet earth. This recipe is for a standard Frittata 101 start.

But you can really change it up by combining so many delicious ingredients.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started!

Pancetta & Caramelized Onions

Tomat0, Basil & Feta Cheese

Sausage, Spinach & Parmesan Cheese

Bacon, Spinach & Brie Cheese


Mini Breakfast Frittatas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
  • Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked bacon chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray the muffin tin ( with 12 cups) with nonstick spray. Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the bacon, cheese, and spinach. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 15 to 18 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter. Serve immediately.


Eating Rainbows

health pizza

My Whole Food Discovery……..


I grew up with a mother who was very good at serving us a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to remember any dinner that she made us that didn’t include a salad. So needless to say I have always been a big fan of including  my “greens” or  “The Digestive Detergent’s” into my diet.

As the years progressed I became more and more exposed to all the many colors that could be found in the rainbow of the Veggie & Fruit World. With so many flavors and textures to explore. I found that you can taste natural hue of “pepper” in an Arugula salad, that a ripe heirloom tomato can really stand on it’s own or be turned into something extra special just by sprinkling a pinch of Kosher salt and The Avocado “Oh my word where do I begin” the affection runs deep.

So very recently I have found a whole new appreciation for Whole Foods (and I’m not talking about the grocery store). In the beginning of July , I embarked on a clean eating challenge via Fit Girls Guide. They offer a 28 day challenge to commit to clean eating and cooking. So I signed up and so far I’m halfway through the challenge and “Loving It”. Now here is my plain truth I have the worlds biggest sweet tooth. I also am addicted to cheese and baguettes. Yes not the the world’s healthiest of combos. So at first I fretted and maybe protested a bit in my mind. Then one day about two months ago at the urging of my friend Jessica I entered the front door of a local healthy eatery called Luscious Lorraine’s Juice and Food Bar. I ordered a Raw House salad that consisted of – Raw shredded beet, zucchini, carrots, cabbage on mixed greens, with avocado & avocado-tahini dressing. Simple and “Oh My” so full for beautiful flavor. Little by little I found myself going back over and over again. So then it came to me to “Go for It” and take a dive into the world of Rainbow Eating and it’s been once of the highlight’s of my summer so far!

So here are a few of the Veggie “Hits” I’ve prepared this month, that I am sure you too will find surprisingly delicious yourself. Believe me this whole clean eating got has been a very humbling experience so far. I had no idea that all this “Good for you Food” would rock my world like it has. I have so much more energy these days, my sleep has been solid and sound and my taste buds have been taken to new heights. So I encourage you to give some of these recipes a try. You might very well Surprise yourself!


First up is the “Mexi Power Bowl”




Mexi Power Bowl
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 Servings
  • 1 Bag Organic Green Mix
  • 1 Cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Cup cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 Avocado Diced
  • 1 Red Pepper Diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper Diced
  • 1 Cup Sliced Grape Tomatoes
  • ½ Cup Diced Green Onions
  • ¼ Cup chopped Cilantro
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • The juice of 1 Lime (freshly squeezed)
  • **Optional - a few shots of hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula)
  1. Layer all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with Oiive Oil, fresh Lime Juice and hot sauce.
  2. Add a sprinkling of Sea Salt for extra special flavor.



Individual Veggie Pizza’s



Individual Veggie Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 Whole Grain Pita Breads
  • 1 Jar Organic Marinara Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Carton Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 Red Pepper (Rough Chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Pepper (Rough Chopped)
  • 2 Cups fresh Spinach
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. To a pan add Olive Oil, Mushrooms, Peppers, Spinach and sauté until all veggies are soft (try not to overcook them) you still want the peppers to have a bit of a small crunch to them. Season with Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper. Set pan aside.
  3. On a cookie sheet line up the 4 pita rounds and spoon over Marinara sauce on each one. Then add the vegetable mixture generously to each pita and sprinkle with the grated Mozzarella cheese.
  4. **** For extra special seasoning you can add a small sprinkle of dried oregano , parsley or basil to the top of each pizza.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the pita edges are crisp.



Veggie Tostadas


Veggie Tostadas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 6 Organic Corn Tortillas
  • Olive Oil spray
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Red Tomato , chopped
  • 1 Cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Cup fresh spinach
  • 1 Large Avocado Cubed
  • 1 Carton of Crimini Mushrooms
  • ½ Cilantro Chopped
  • Sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese
  • ** Optional Jalapeno's in a jar for garnish and spice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees
  2. Spray the corn tortillas with Olive Oil spray on both sides. Line on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 mins or until crisp.
  3. Add Olive oil to a saute pan ,then add the spinach and mushrooms add a little and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until softened.
  4. To Assemble: Load the baked tortillas with the cooked veggies (mushrooms and spinach) then garnish with avocados, cabbage ,tomatoes, cilantro , jalapeño and cheese.
  5. *** Optional- squeezed a little lime juice and drizzle with hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula).


The “Cali” Power Salad




The "Cali" Power Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 Servings
  • 1 Package of Chicken Tenders (Cooked)
  • 1 Bag Organic Greens
  • ½ Radicchio - Shredded
  • 4 Mini Persian Cucumbers chopped
  • 1 Large Avocado Cubed
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • ½ Cup Pepitas
  • ¼ Cup Toasted Almonds
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste
  • Dressings that can be used on this salad are (Balsamic Vinaigrette & Green Goddess)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line the chicken tenders on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until tender. Once chicken tenders are cooled , Chopped into bite size pieces and set aside.
  3. Combine all the Greens, Radicchio, Cucumbers, Avocados, Dried Cranberries,Pepitas and Almonds in a large salad bowl. Season with Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.


Coconut Almond Joy Bites


Coconut Almond Joy Bites
Serves: 10 - 12
  • 2½ cups flaked coconut, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate for coating
  1. Pulse the coconut in a food processor until sticky crumbs form. Set aside about ¼ cup of the mixture.
  2. Mix the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir in the coconut from step one. Form the mixture into small balls by squeezing until a ball forms. The mixture will be crumbly, so it doesn't work to put the mixture in your hands and roll it. You have to squeeze it. There will be a little bit of excess oil - that's okay.
  3. Once you have the balls rolled, refrigerate for 1 hour or so until they are firm. At this point, if you want, you should be able to take them out and re-roll them to get the shape just right since they'll be firm and malleable.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut and shake or stir constantly for a few minutes until the coconut is lightly browned and fragrant.
  5. Melt the chocolate for a minute or so in the microwave. Stir it until it's smooth. Dip each coconut ball in the chocolate and remove with a fork, letting excess chocolate drip off. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and top with the toasted coconut from step three. Freeze or refrigerate to set the chocolate.
  6. These yummy treats taste great when kept in the refrigerator.

Good Health to you!


Pasta Carbonara

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Processed with Moldiv

My favorite pasta of all time has to be “Carbonara”. It’s the pasta that sits very near and dear to my heart. Simple and decadent at the same time. A girlfriend of mine tell’s the story that when she served it to her boyfriend for dinner  –      8 months later they where married!

Yes it’s that good…….

Iv’e had several variations of it over the years but below is the recipe that I feel captures Carbonara in the most authentic way in which it is served in Italy.


Pasta Carbonara
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Italian
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced into medium pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 3 large organic eggs yolks
  • 1 large organic whole egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
  1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook the guanciale until browned and crisp. Add the garlic and saute with the guanciale for a few minutes. Remove the guanciale, garlic and rendered fat from the skillet and set aside for later use.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 1 minute less than indicated on the package. With a ladle, scoop some of the hot water from the boiling pasta, and set aside in a small bowl. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it into a large serving bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks, whole egg, Parmesan, pecorino and some freshly ground black pepper. Whisk in the cooled guanciale with all of the fatty delicious oil. While the pasta is still warm, quickly add the sauce to the pasta and toss very well, then add a couple of very small scoops of the reserved pasta water to help create the carbonara sauce and its unique creaminess.
  4. Garnish the carbonara with some grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and serve.



Classic Lemon Mousse



Oh Lemons how I love you. – When the summer months arrive it comes naturally to gravitate towards light and refreshing desserts .

Especially ones that are citrus inspired and that are served in cute little mason jars. I used strawberries to give my lemon mousse a little twist. But you can feel free to use any kind of berry to add something extra special to this recipe. Try Blueberries, Blackberries or Raspberries . They all compliment this classic Lemon mousse well. Not to mention they look so extra pretty when serving them.




Classic Lemon Mousse
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 egg yolks
  • The zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 strawberries chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1¾ crushed graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  1. Combine 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, 8 egg yolks and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine.
  2. Over medium heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, about 7 minutes.
  4. Place lemon mixture in fridge and chill until cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and butter until well combined.
  6. Using electric mixer, beat heavy cream in medium bowl until medium peaks form.
  7. Gently fold whipped cream into lemon mixture until well combined.
  8. Divide graham cracker mixture between 8 serving dishes. Top with chopped strawberries or any berry of your choice (blueberries, blackberries or raspberries) or all three!


Baby Boy “Bubby”



My family life has pretty much always revolved around “Babies”.

When I was 13 years old my parents sat me down and told me that mama was pregnant. Which was so “Unexpected” because for years our family was made of up of – Mom-Dad- my brother Steve and me. Here my mom had 2 teens living in the house and here came “The Surprise” our baby sister Camille.

She was a beautiful baby girl. I loved being a big sister to her. I always felt so protective of my little “Sosi” as we call her. We did so much together. Because of our rather large age gap Sosi quickly became exposed to teen music playing in the house (after all she was born in the 80’s) she was a fan of U2 by the ripe age of 5, She loved to sing and dance, she loved taking care of all of her cats, she loved cheese and she like her dad and big sister loves chocolate.

Soon our family baby grew up to have a baby of her own.

Ian Jude was born on May 25,2011. He is the spitting image of his mama and his grandfather Carlos.

Oh to speak about this special little nephew of mine……Well he makes my heart swell. I love this little guy so much. I can’t believe he is 4 years old today.

I can’t imagine what life would be like without our little “Bubby” he truly is the apple of our eye!





By – Mindy Gledhill

Little boy, when you speak
I can’t help but kiss your cheeks
I love the way you grab my hands
And tell me all about your plans

Rocket high, comets fly
You and I could hitch a ride
And fly away to Neverland
And give our best to Peter Pan

When you reach for the stars
Don’t forget who you are
And please don’t turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life’s an hourglass
Life’s an hourglass

Story’s read, prayer is said
Close your eyes sleepyhead
While angels linger in your dreams
And hold you in their feathered wings
Just like you, I was small
Not that long ago at all
I wish you all the happiness
That God gives freely if you ask





Rustico Toscano on a Plate

As the years pass me by (ever so quickly) I’m often times reminded more and more about the beauty that there is to be found in “The Simplicity of things”.

Yes gone are the days of clutter and collection of stuff that was crowding my life with stress and chaos. For the last three years I have made an ernest effort to purge my life of all the excess stuff that was weighing me down. This new way of approaching a more simple life has gradually crept into my style of cooking.

It all began with my trip to Italy a year and a half ago. I spent a whole month eating my way through the cities of Parma, Florence, Como, Genoa, Garessio, Venice and Tuscany. What stood out most to me is how simple many these exquisite dishes where prepared. The most glorious meals that contained no more than 5 or 6 simple ingredients. The secret was that all of the ingredients where fresh or artisanal made.

I began to appreciate the fact that “Less is More”. What I appreciated most , was many of the dishes that I was able to taste and enjoy in the region of Toscano. Once I returned home I was eager to focus on that very fresh and simple approach to meals I would be preparing at home.

So you may wonder who could one turn to for true authentic Rustic Tuscan guidance in the Kitchen? Well my friends that’s easy it comes in the form a very true Tuscan Farmer and Cook by the name of Gabriele Corcos.

Gabriele and his adorable wife Debi Mazer are the hosts of the Cooking Channels amazing show Extra Virgin. Let me tell you this is true Rustic Tuscan Cooking at it’s best! I became a fan back in 2009 when they had a little podcast called “Under The Tuscan Gun”. Each week I would eagerly plug in earphones to my ipod and for a few hours each week I would educate myself on the cooking world of all things “Tuscan”. I was an instant fan and I was hooked.

This past March I was fortunate enough to score a reservation a tasting of a very memorable Tuscan dinner prepared by Gabriele while promoting his Porchetta Tour in Los Angeles. The event was held at the ever fabulous Mauro Cafe. Here is a peek at the menu that was served that night.









So let me share with you a basic Tuscan Meal 101

The Menu is as follows:

Seared Hanger Stake with Almond Sage Pesto

White Bean /Pancetta Bruschetta

Sautéed Zucchini

Sautéed Lacinato Kale & Garlic




Seared Flat-Iron Steak with Almond-Sage Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4
  • PESTO:
  • 1 cup raw almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • STEAK:
  • Four 6-ounce flat-iron steaks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  1. For the pesto: To the bowl of a food processor, add the almonds, olive oil, parsley, sage, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and pepper flakes. Process until smooth.
  2. For the steak: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and, when it shimmers, add the steaks. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove to plates and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Top the steaks with a dollop of pesto and serve.
  4. ***Cook's Note: Remaining pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.



“Tuscans have historically been called bean eaters, because they have often clung to staples that lasts longer, like dried beans. In Tuscan culture, nothing gets tossed out. Tuscan’s have been known to eat beans every day of the week if they need to and if it means more indulging in the round, buttery feel of Cannellini beans when they’re soft and lightly mashed, count us as being leaders, too. We love these beans, especially with rosemary and olive oil. – Gabriele Corcos


White Bean & Pancetta Bruschetta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ¼ pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baguette, sliced
  1. Heat fireplace to a medium heat. Adjust grill racks over the flame and heat a heavy dutch oven over the rack. Alternatively, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the oil to heat. Add pancetta and render some of its fat. Add rosemary and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Stir in beans, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash the beans with the back of the wooden spoon. Don’t mash them all smooth- you want some texture.
  4. Toast sliced baguette. Serve the beans on top of the toasted bread. Drizzle with Olive oil, if desired.

Zucchini Trifolati: Sauteed Zucchini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 6 small zucchini (very young zucchini with few seeds) sliced in half moons
  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Once hot add onions and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sauté while stirring until they are golden and soft, about 8-10 minutes more. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sauteed Kale & Garlic
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Gabriele Corcos as seen on Cooking Channels Extra Virgin, season 3.
Gabriele Corcos as seen on Cooking Channels Extra Virgin, season 3.