Father’s Day Weekend in Photos

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Hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend. Mine was certainly filled with good food, that’s for sure:


On Friday night, we made a deeelicious dinner. Chicken and shrimp in this soy-marmalade glaze, accompanied with sesame grilled veggies (sauteed a ton of veggies & just added sesame oil at the end), corn, and cilantro-lime rice. I love being able to make a “fancy”, more involved dinner on Friday nights. Usually during the week I only have energy to cook a chicken breast, put some fries on the side and call it a meal.

We also enjoyed some great Pinot and watched approximately 283974 hours of Raising Hope and the final season of The Office.


For the second week in a row, I trekked out (ok ok, it’s only 4 blocks from my house) to the Midtown Farmers Market. There were a few strange finds, including green cauliflower (there was also a yellow one) and a Kombucha truck that had several kinds of Kombucha on tap! I haven’t yet joined this health-food bandwagon, but if they’re there again next week I might have to give it a shot!

I also fought the urge to buy another $5 thing of Avocado-Cilantro Hummus from Zena Foods (possibly the best dip to ever enter my mouth), because I’m hoping to try to recreate it myself soon. Keep a look out 🙂

20130617-100147.jpgAfter some shopping and EDC DIY-ing with my friend Lisa (she’s the one attending EDC…I’m just helping her bedazzle her outfits!), T-Man and I saw This Is the End with our friend Amanda. Definitely worth seeing in the theater. An enormously stupid movie, but it kept me laughing the entire time! Afterwards, we grabbed a beer at a new-to-us dive bar, The Hideaway.


Had a nice hearty breakfast on Sunday morning…scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and some cherries from the market. Then, I went to get some ingredients for Father’s Day dinner and FINALLY found some Chobani Flip at Safeway!!! Wahoo! I snagged one at Blend Retreat last month and accidentally left it in our hotel fridge haha. I haven’t tried it yet…waiting for a morning when I don’t have time to prep overnight oats the night before. #ChobaniNerd

Quick stop at kickball: {click to view video}


We almost won a game for once! We usually get creamed…like…shut out creamed. But we ended up losing 6-7 at the bottom of the 6th (which is the last inning). I think it’s because my dad came to cheer us on! 🙂 Also maybe because it was only 90 degrees outside, and not 113.


Flash forward to Father’s Day Dinner. Much like last year, most of the meal was cooked on the grill: chicken, veggies (carrots, summer squash, and green cauliflower), and Pacific snapper…because my dad loves fish but never gets it at home! I brushed a mango-cilantro sauce onto the meat…it was soooo good. Might have to recreate it for the blog soon! Finished it all off with a kale salad with strawberries, gorgonzola & poppyseed dressing. Perfect summer meal! Hope my dad enjoyed it!

What did you do for Father’s Day?

When you have time to spend on cooking, what is your meal of choice?


Weekend in Photos

Oh Monday, you tricky tricky devil.

I’m actually in a pretty good mood this Monday morning, considering it’s Monday and all. I got a surprisingly good amount of sleep this weekend (though nowhere close to the 9-10 hours per night I desire. I really love my sleep, people!) and for every barbecued piece of meat I ate this weekend, I also got in some good exercise, despite high temperatures of 97 and 96 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Not too shabby!


Kicked things off on Friday with Concerts in the Park! Every Friday night during June-July, Cesar Chavez Plaza turns into a free mini music festival of sorts, complete with local bands, beer and food trucks. In the above picture is Lindsay Pavao, who was on The Voice a couple seasons back. She’s from Sacramento and apparently works for Radio 94.7 now! Fun fact. Another fun fact: I did not get sunburned this weekend! Major victory. Thanks to my team of sunscreens that come with me everywhere.


The headliner on Friday was !!! (Chk Chk Chk). We saw them last fall at Launch Festival and they’re really fun to see live. Here’s an example of their music, super up beat and fun! There was a huuuuuge crowd there, since !!! is probably one of the most high profile bands they got to play this year.


I woke up around 10:30 on Saturday morning and decided to go for a run…it was already 80 degrees outside. It was in the mid-80’s by the time I got out there. I was only going to run about 2.75 miles, but then I saw that they were setting up for the Womens Fitness Festival 5K at the Capitol. I immediately felt guilty for not signing up [the race ran right by my house on Sunday morning!], and for some reason decided I would be running my own 5K…….in the 88 degree heat. Thankfully, I survived.


A few hours later, we went to our first BBQ of the weekend at Mikhail’s house. It was Mikhail’s birthday weekend (hi Mikhail!!) and T-Man found himself manning the grill, as per usual. Delicious!


The rest of the evening was spent at the Xoso 5th Anniversary Pub Crawl. The dress code was to wear a Xoso shirt…I clearly have plenty to choose from. I ended up hacking one up into a crop top so I wouldn’t die of heat exhaustion.

Fun times as always! Not pictured are all the selfies I took of me wearing my friend’s stolen Raiders hat after I got home. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

There is this gem though:

Clearly we could use some practice on taking effective photo booth pictures.


Sunday was barbecue day at Kickball! I opted for a hot dog this time. Also, upon lugging a 17 pound bag of charcoal while biking home from the store I think I finally realized, “Maybe I should get a basket for my bike”.


After 6 grueling innings of kickball (we were shorthanded so everyone got plenty of at-bats), I called my parents and practically begged one of them to come pick me up so I could hop in their pool. Of course, no visit to my parents’ house is complete without some of my mom’s pasta and homemade sauce! I also spent some time admiring her yearbook (my mom is the yearbook advisor at my high school). When I got home, I prepped breakfast (overnight oats) and lunch (a veggie-loaded salad) for today.

What did you do this weekend?

Hot dog or hamburger? (or for vegetarians, tofu sausage or veggie burger? :-P)

Summer Recipe Ideas

The season of barbecues and grilling is upon us, friends!


We are officially moving into the high 90’s, and there’s no end in sight. Such is life in Sacramento during the summer months! We get an average of 22 days of 100+ degree temps every year, according to the National Weather Service. That first day might be tomorrow!

And fortunately, I’ll actually be able to enjoy the weather this weekend: included in this weekend’s agenda are at least two barbeques, Concerts in the Park tonight, and a pub crawl tomorrow. All of a sudden, my social life has seemed to perk up! Funny how a little bit of sunshine will do that 🙂

If you’re curious whether I followed my “Getting Back on Track” meal/exercise plan for the week, I actually did pretty awesomely! All of my meals were more or less planned out [except last night I ended up having fries before dodgeball T-shirt pickup, and a salad after…I was supposed to have chicken, fries, and veggies. Not too bad, right?], and I stuck with the workouts. I surprisingly managed to run 2.7 miles on Wednesday at a 9:15 pace (my longest/fastest run since my 5K in March), and did a pretty killer arms & core workout yesterday. I’m definitely feeling like I’m back on track, though we’ll see if I can carry it over into the weekend full of food, booze, and fun!

In celebrating all of our social lives becoming active again, I decided to put together a little collection of summer recipes. Some are recipes I developed, and others are recipes I’ve pinned over the last year or so. Some are entrees that would be perfect for dinner tonight, others are sides that will make you the hero of any barbeque. I’ve got desserts and drinks too! Enjoy!

Main Dishes


Fried Green Tomato BLTs with Spicy Ranch Spread – I made these on my birthday weekend this past year and they would be perfect for a summer meal on the balcony!

Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce Chicken Salad – That sauce sounds out of this world!

Salmon with Lemon, Capers & Rosemary – This Giada recipe is the first fish dish I ever made, and it’s been my go-to ever since! Cooking salmon in foil packets on the grill is foolproof and so delicious.


Spicy Smoky Black Bean Burgers – My most popular recipe, and one of my favorites. Once you get the hang of it, making veggie burgers at home is really easy.

Grilled Veggie Tacos – The perfect summer meal. I made this so many times last summer!

Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo – This recipe has been pinned on one of my boards for over a year now. I think it might be time!

Side Dishes/Appetizers


Southwestern Quinoa Salad – definitely a recipe that should be in everyone’s repertoire!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn & Avocado – Finally I can make zucchini ribbons, now that I have a microplane!


Roasted Garlic Hummus – Now that I’ve perfected my hummus recipe, I am totally going to make it all summer long!

Grilled Corn & Cheddar Quinoa – I couldn’t believe how delicious this was. Possibly my favorite quinoa dish ever.

Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Olive Pasta Salad – Ashley has managed to develop my most perfect ideal pasta salad EVER!


photo courtesy of Heather Christo Cooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake – I’ve never made an icebox cake, but they sound so easy and perfect for warm weather…no oven required!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies – Quickly becoming my signature cookies! I am looking forward to revisiting this recipe this summer and updating my pictures.

Zucchini Almond Chocolate Bites – My favorite thing to do in the summer is sneak zucchini into everything. These bites are a perfect vehicle!

Coconut Shell Fruit Popsicles – What a cool idea. I might have to do this now that I got a huge amount of coconut oil in my Blend swag bag!


photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – Whiskey and lemons is a favorite combo of mine. It’s like a warm weather hot toddy!

Watermelon G&T – It sounds a little labor intensive to make the watermelon syrup…but I have a feeling it’d be worth it.

Iced Green Tea Mojito – What a cool idea. The healthiness of the green tea totally cancels out the alcohol right? AND there’s green stuff in it. It’s healthy!

Raspberry Beer Cocktail – This sounds like a hangover waiting to happen…and a delicious one, at that.

Citrus-Strawberry Green Tea – So you all can’t say I only included alcoholic drinks 🙂 Though this does sound like it’d be great with a splash of vodka!


What is your favorite thing to make in the summer?

What are your plans this weekend?

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday, all! Today is Columbus Day (or so I hear)…I am always surprised when it rolls around, ’cause we never got Columbus Day off when I was in school!

Anyhizzle, apparently I was up to a lot this weekend, because I have lots of pictures to share. Let’s get to it, shall we?

After it was 100 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, by the time Friday rolled around it was finally sweatshirt weather! (Does anyone else have one super ratty cozy sweatshirt they’ve owned for years? I bought this one my senior year of high school, when I went to Spring Open House at UCSB and decided I’d be attending in the fall :-D) In our sweatshirts, we played board games…kind of a typical weekend night for T-Man and I!

Not so typical……the fact that I bought a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree with! I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavored things (blasphemy! I know), but I’m determined to try out some REAL from-scratch stuff this year and see if it doesn’t change my mind!

After the pumpkin roasting and pureeing was done, I hopped in the car and headed (through traffic, when this picture was safely taken :-P) to Napa!

T-Man’s mom and I belatedly celebrated our birthdays (they’re on the SAME DAY!) with a little bit of bubbly at Domaine Carneros. We each got Sparkling Wine Samplers and shared a smoked salmon plate!

Later, we enjoyed the view from her backyard, barbecued up a storm, (drank more wine, of course) and played with her German Shepherd, Kona!

Once a Harry Potter lookalike, always a Harry Potter lookalike 😉 And Kona again!

I returned the car to my parents with more gas than it started with (have my fellow Californians seen how expensive gas got last week?! It rose .40c in like 1 day!), and used some of that pumpkin puree to whip up some muffins for them. The muffins turned out great for me…read: not too pumpkiny. Recipe to be shared soon 🙂
What fall things are you excited for? Sweatshirts? Apple pie? Pumpkin spice lattes? Hot cider? My favorite hot drink has to be mulled wine…So warm and fragrant, plus it reminds me of living in France! I usually have to wait until winter for that, though 😛

Meatless Monday: Pesto Chickpea Burgers

It’s October.

So here’s the deal.

I know everyone’s ready for pumpkin, apple cider, hot cocoa, and the like.

But I’m not.

And neither is Mother Nature, apparently:

Yeah. HIGH NEAR 100F today. Greetings, October! may we interest you in a sauna?

I wore boots to work on Friday in protest of the heat. Contrary to my super realistic expectations, it didn’t make fall arrive…it just made my feet hurt. So I’m not protesting anymore. I’m embracing the heat. I’m makin’ some burgers.

I’ve made veggie burgers before, and I’ve made chickpea patties before…But this time, I put the 2 together and something magical happened.

I was inspired when I bought these Oven Fries with Olive Oil, Rosemary & Garlic from Alexia Foods…I knew I wanted to eat them with a sandwich or burger, and I wanted it to be something that would complement the herbs in the fries. I decided something with pesto would be best, and I used garbanzo beans because they were what I had on hand. (I’m sure this recipe would be just as delicious with black or white beans!)

The pesto works as a great binder for the burger (no egg or tahini needed for this one!) PLUS, it adds a powerful flavor punch and a pretty (or is it creepy?) green hue.

I used the same pesto recipe from the pasta I made a couple weeks back, but you can make or use whatever pesto you want!

Let summer live on. Make these burgers.

Pesto Chickpea Burgers
makes 4 small patties, or 5 sliders

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed, drained & skins removed
1/4 cup chopped eggplant (see note below, use whatever you have on hand to add some texture!)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pesto
water, if needed

Gather about half of the beans in a bowl and coarsely mash. Don’t make it too smooth, but you definitely don’t want to have any fully intact beans. Next, stir in remaining beans, eggplant and rolled oats, being careful not to overmash. Next, add pesto and again stir to combine. If it seems like the mixture is not moist enough, add a tablespoon of water to help everything come together.

Form into 4 equal sized patties.

To cook on stove, heat a small amount of oil on pan at medium-high heat then add burgers. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted buns! (I used whole wheat sandwich thins)

I wanted to cook these on the grill to avoid adding more oil than they already had in them (due to the pesto), but I’m not so confident that they wouldn’t fall apart. You could probably bake them successfully too!

Notes: I used eggplant because it was what I had on hand, but this would be great with diced onion, mushrooms, or shredded zucchini. Also, this makes some pretty small burgers…a potato side dish is key to making it a complete meal!

Farmer Fresh Fiesta Friday

There are so many wonderful things about summer. Sunshine, swimming, bright colors, barbecues, vacation, weddings…just to name a few. But since this is my first summer of living on my own out of college, I’m learning there’s another great thing about summer: all the best produce is fresh, cheap, and bountiful!

This is the weekly Certified Organic Farmer’s Market at Capitol Park next to the State Capitol (and my office). Every other week, I usually stop by and get a few things like fruit and veggies for myself, or almonds and pistachios to share at the office. Pretty much every day of the week, there is at least one Farmer’s Market going on somewhere in Downtown Sacramento!

Normally I only need to stop by every other week, though, because I have another farmer supplying me: my dad! Check out how his garden looked a few weeks ago:

Doesn’t it all look great? I’ve pretty much stopped buying zucchini at the grocery store or farmer’s market because every time I go to my parents’ house, I come back with a zucchini the size of my face. No, seriously:

I have a feeling tomatoes and corn are next!

Check out some of the ways I’ve been using up all my Farmer’s Market finds:

Grilled Veggie Tacos that I showed y’all on my Day of Eats

After my Mexican Pizza recipe, I think you all know that I’m a fan of piling things on a tortilla and calling it a pizza. In lieu of refried beans, I often mash some avocado instead! Above is roasted veggies, below is steamed/sauteed (with my favorite coasters!).

Charred corny goodness.

OK this is not at all Farmers Market fresh, but I just wanted to share this tip I recently tried: add a touch of french vanilla creamer in your plain oatmeal! What?! Amazing!

Fudgey ZUCCHINI cookies from Two Peas and their Pod! The zucchini is perfectly hidden by all the chocolate!

Inspired by Edible Perspective’s Curry Zucchini Roll ups, I tried my hand at Caprese Zucchini Roll ups (they have basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella & a bit of avocado stuffed inside!), but kind of majorly failed. They wouldn’t stay together, but at least they tasted good!

Last night’s dinner: a kale salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and homemade balsamic vin all over the bowl. Kale isn’t exactly in season right now, but for some reason I keep buying it at the market…

Now, I’ve covered Farmer Fresh… Why the Fiesta in the title?

This week is Fiesta in Santa Barbara! A week of parades, carnivals, parties…….and confetti eggs.

I will use a few photos of my friends and I in 2010 as a demonstration:

They seem unassuming enough, right?

We thought so too…

But then…

…the aftermath!! (p.s. not my hair! Don’t worry, I didn’t turn into a brunette in a matter of minutes ;P)

And even though I don’t live in Santa Barbara anymore, I’m still feelin’ the Fiesta — the law firm I work for has their California headquarters in Santa Barbara, and gives all California employees a half day on “Fiesta Friday”! Ole! Have a great weekend!

Also, I’ll just leave this here.

A Day in Food (and Exercise)

Thanks all for your likes, comments, and views on my last entry! Glad to see there are many others who find body image to be an important topic to discuss.

I also spent most of Wednesday messing around with my blog layout. I like this one much better, because it allows a more visual picture of all my recent posts, and not just the featured ones. Let me know what you think!

Earlier this week, I decided to chronicle what I ate for a day. Though I’ve used calorie counting apps before, doing this really made me realize how much I snack! Literally all my meals had a snack in between. I’d like to think I at least kept them healthy though 🙂 It’s hard not to snack at work these days, since the CA Legislature is on recess and my bosses (they are lobbyists) are off taking their vacations. Boredom definitely –> snacking, in my case! Regardless, I’d say this was a pretty typical food day for me.

Breakfast: Yoplait Strawberry Greek Yogurt with Granola (only 230 calories, and the granola makes it super filling!)

Snack: Small handful of macadamia nuts and almonds

We’ve obviously made a dent in this bucket over the last month, ha.

Before I ate lunch, I worked out for a little bit. I ran the stairs only ONCE (8 floors/16 flights) and that was enough to make my legs scream…I’m really out of shape from not running. (Thanks, broken hand) Followed it up with 20 minutes on a stationary bike and crunches.

And also….a photo shoot in the gym whose soul purpose was to see how gross and muscly I could make my legs look.

Mission accomplished, obviously.

Lunch: Black Bean Soup (I also continuously refill my mug of green tea throughout the day)

Snack: Oreo Cookie

Because these are the other snack options in our break room…(I’ve had enough Nature Valley granola bars to last me a lifetime!)

Dinner: Grilled Veggie Tacos, again inspired by Edible Perspective

Everything was grilled! Zucchini, Onions, Jalapeno, Grape Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Pepper and Avocado…. + a healthy squeeze of lime juice! I also had some fresh blueberries on the side. (I didn’t want them to go bad)

Dessert: IPA & Fries (haha)

After he got off work, T-Man and I stopped by Rubicon, a brewpub by my apartment for Pint Night. We both got IPA’s, and he got a Caesar Salad (with a side of balsamic vin mixed in, his fave!) + criss-cut fries…of which I stole many.

That was pretty much it. I also walked home from work and to/from Pint Night, which is about 1 mile total. Being forced to walk everywhere since T-Man works and I don’t ride my bike as often with my cast has definitely helped me feel a little more active in this period of inactivity!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. This weekend is Launch Festival in Sacramento, excited to see Chromeo for a second time as well as DJ Shadow and some other awesome acts! NOT TO MENTION the OLYMPICS start tonight! So unbelievably excited! I love watching gymnastics, swimming, diving, basketball, track and field…the options are endless!

What about you guys? What are your fave Summer Olympic sports??

Meatless Monday: Spicy Smoky Black Bean Burgers

My college had amazing dining halls. Each one had 4-5 different stations with varied entrees, a complete salad bar, and one dining hall even had a taco/tostada bar. Oh and unlimited fro-yo or ice cream, depending on which dining hall you chose.

There may have been fruit too. But I (along with the Freshman 15 I gained in 2006) wouldn’t know anything about that. 😉

One of the coolest things about our eating options was that each section offered a vegetarian alternative alongside each carnivorous entree. Most of the time, I would scoff at these options. But there was one thing that always caught my eye: black bean burgers. More flavorful than their typical veggie burger counterpart, I always looked for these guys and grabbed one every chance I got.

Living on my own in the “real” world, I no longer have the luxury of someone to do my dishes 3 meals per day, or cook 4 different options for me for every meal. Most of my meals are are more like an episode of Chopped: “You have beans, sesame seed paste, and breadcrumbs in your pantry…You have 20 minutes to make an entree…GO!!”

Enter: Black Bean Burger. Continue reading

Quinoa 3 Ways

QUINOA. Say it with me now: Keeeeen-wah.

Have you tried it? Have you ever had one of those grocery market deli counter pasta salads with the little crunchy balls in it and you didn’t quite know what they were? Yeah, that was probably quinoa.

Quinoa is a protein-packed grain similar perhaps to couscous (in shape/size). It starts out looking like seeds, then you cook it like rice and it puffs up, evolving into tiny balls.

After my mom and I took a cooking class at the Co-op, they gave us gift certificates to the actual grocery store part of the Co-op and we had a grand ol’ time scouring the bulk bins. While my mom went for a bunch of freshly ground spices that we had learned about in the class, I went straight to the quinoa and scooped up a pound or 2, which has lasted me all the way until this month!

I used to only make cold salads with quinoa, but when I bought that huge sack of it at the Co-op, I decided to branch out. Here are some ways I’ve prepared it. I’m sorry these photos are abysmal…they are iPhone photos and I have a broken hand!! Give a sister a break!

Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Continue reading

Weekend in Photos

I don’t know about you guys, but the weather was just lovely in Northern California this weekend. It cooled down on Friday (and even drizzled a little!), which made way for a beautiful weekend in the mid 70’s. Made me feel like I was in Santa Barbara again!

Except that I’m not 20 anymore, I’m not in college anymore, I would not touch Natural Light beer with a 10 foot pole anymore, and I can’t just roll out of bed onto my bike to get to class or work anymore whoops, I still do that 😉

Apparently I can still have fun, though, as evidenced by these photos!

Met some friends + T-Man’s coworkers at my favorite bar-that’s-2-blocks-from-my-apartment-&-has-over-200-beers! — There, we caught the end of the A’s-Giant’s game. The Giants had an awesome comeback in the top of the 9th! — Then we went to my place and played a 3 hour game of Carcassone. In-tense. Continue reading