Archive for May 2012

May 29, 2012 Rosies Dog Beach


Basil really doesn’t like water.  Lakes, rivers, hoses, puddles.  He’s just not that into it.  But, being a California puppy and all, I thought he should at least experience the ocean.  At least just once!  So we headed down to Rosies’ Dog Beach in Long Beach.  And it.was.awesome.  Have you been here!?  It’s the only official off leash dog beach in LA.

I think he liked the water, but hated the swimming… his legs are just too tiny :-)  Mostly he loved chasing the other dogs and rolling in the sand.  Then he slept for two days. I love that pup.

muffins 007 Rosies Dog Beach

muffins 008 Rosies Dog Beach

muffins 009 Rosies Dog Beach

muffins 010 Rosies Dog Beach

muffins 011 Rosies Dog Beach


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Summers are my busy season, so I tend to spend from May to November completely focused on work.  Lots of shooting and even more time spent in front of my computer.  But I adddore summer.  I love sitting in the backyard and listening to the birds with a cup of coffee.  I like driving down the freeway with the top down and the music blaring.  I have visions of Chris, Basil & I going to the beach with a picnic and blanket.   While I stare at my screen, I day dream about the sun on my face.

So, this summer, I will actually do all of those things.  From Memorial Day through Labor Day I will breathe in as much summer as I can.  All of the things that are quintessentially summer!

JTH 5676 The Summer To Do List

(photo from our Traveling Heart Society Summer 2011 trip)

Revel in Summer 2012

1. Host a dinner party in the backyard.

2. Make a complete dinner from foods I grew.

3. Eat a picnic on the beach.

4. Take Basil to the dog beach.

5. Take a lovely vacation.

6. Go to a baseball game.

7. Rent sea kayaks (OK, I hate kayaks.  But my husband loves them and I promised we could do this for him!)

8. Run a 10K race.

9. Take a cooking class.

10. Host an outdoor movie night & project it onto the garage.


One of the best things about Farm Fresh to You is trying new things.  There’s usually one or two things that I wouldn’t necessarily buy at the farmers market.  But, once it’s in my fridge, I’m kind of required to make an attempt at it.  Rhubarb is one of those things.  It’s kind of a vegetable, but it’s sweet.  But it’s also tart.  It’s weird looking.  I’ve only really heard of it in pies.  I just don’t really know how to handle it.  And it popped up in the last two boxes… so we are overflowing with rhubarb around here!

So, I did a quick search on Pinterest (where I find anything that I would ever need in my life) and I found the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Rhubarb Streusel Muffins.  Heaven.  Literally, heaven.  They’re light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness.  I eat them for snacks.  For breakfast.  For dessert.  So.Good.

muffins 001 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

muffins 002 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

muffins 003 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

muffins 004 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

muffins 005 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

muffins 006 Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

May 18, 2012 Basil


His sad eyes make me so happy.

basil 048 Basil


I’ve always wanted to be one of those women who had an arsenal of really incredible beauty products.  The best products for my skin, hair, nails.  I wanted to have a really great response when someone asks “What product can you not live without?”  But, I don’t.  I use the stuff I’ve used forever… not because it’s the best, but because it’s what I’ve always used.  I have an irrational fear of trying something new.  That feeling that I’m going to spend too much money on something that doesn’t live up to it’s expectations.  Or that I’m going to have a bad reaction.  Or that I simply won’t like it.  And then I read about Birchbox… and it became my new obsession!

Basically, you pay $10 a month and they send you an adorable little box of great new products!  Something about those little samples make me so happy!   It’s such a wonderful way to try new things and either fall in love, or realize that the moisturizer I’ve been using for my entire life really is pretty great. And because I travel so much, I love that they’re perfect little travel sizes!

This month felt a little light… not as many products as there have been in the past, but some really delicious things!

birchbox 049 Obsessed: Birchbox

birchbox 050 Obsessed: Birchbox

BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray – It smells incredible!  Rich and perfect for an evening that involves ball gowns and diamonds!

fresh Sugar Rose Tinted LIp Treatment SPF15 – now this I might not be able to live without!  It’s smooth, smells delicious, just the hint of pink and makes my lips feel super moisturized.  Pretty sure this will be a new addition to my purse!

Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream + – I have friends that swear by Kiehl’s!  And I really like this moisturizer!  It’s light and creamy.  But, it doesn’t have sun protection, so I only use it at night.

Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 in Glow – um, it’s tinted treatment that is supposed to erase blemishes and scars on arms, legs and decollete.  It’s very, glittery.  I don’t know that I would actually use this… maybe for a sexy night out?

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Birchbox, nor was I compensated for this post.  Just a happy customer!


My friend Jess has the best book recommendations.  All books… novels, biographies, cooking.   And when she bought me Dorie Greenspans Around My French Table, I knew I was in for a good time.  It’s big and solid, something I adore in a cookbook.  And the pictures are so gorgeous.  And the recipes, so easy! And, well, it’s French.  Anything French and I’m all about it.

When my parents were in town a few weeks ago I made her gorgonzola-apple quiche.  It was perfect for breakfast after their 7 am flight.   Ahh!  So good!  Enjoy!

quiche 043 Apple Gorgonzola Quiche

quiche 044 Apple Gorgonzola Quiche

quiche 045 Apple Gorgonzola Quiche

quiche 046 Apple Gorgonzola Quiche

quiche 047 Apple Gorgonzola Quiche

Gorgonzola-Apple Quiche

From Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 9-9.5 inch tart shell made from Tart Dough, partially baked and cooled

1/2 small apple (a tart-sweet apple, such as Empire or Gala), peeled, cored, and cut into small dice

2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs


Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a small skilled over low heat and toss in the onion, Season the onion lightly with salt & pepper.  Remember, the Gorgonzola will be salty!  Cook until it is very soft but not at all colored, about 10 minutes; remove from heat.

Put the tart shell on the lined baking sheet. Spread the onion, with whatever butter remains in the pan, evenly over the bottom of the crust.  Scatter the apple over the onion.  Cut the Gorgonzola into small cubes and scatter it over the onion and apple.  Beat the cream and eggs together until well blended, season with salt and white pepper, and pour into the tart shell.

Gently slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is uniformly puffed (wait for the center to puff), browned and set.  Transfer the quiche to a cooling rack and allow it to cool and gather itself for 5 minutes or so.

Carefully remove the sides of the pan and slide the quiche onto a platter if you want to serve it hot, or onto a rack if you want to cool it.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


I don’t really have a green thumb.  I have brown thumbs.  No, I have black thumbs.  I’m really not so good at gardening and spend a lot of money to kill beautiful plants.  But, I’ve been working on it.  Working really hard on it actually.  Because I am obsessed with green backyards.  Lush and full of life.  I want to sink down into my backyard and be absolutely intoxicated by the delicious smells and pretty foliage.  So, I’ve been reading.  And researching.  And finding the absolute best way to keep things alive.  It mostly entails good soil.  And water.  And that’s it.  Ha!

I knew I wanted a lot of the backyard to be edible.  If I’m going to spend all this time and money on plants, I want to be able to eat them.  And it’s all organic.  And so pretty.  And I have such a sense of accomplishment that, not only is it not dying, it’s thriving!  And sprouting little flowers and fruits.  Pretty sure I couldn’t be prouder!

A few weeks ago Chris & I built three raised beds.  Because our backyard is mostly sand and clay, and I didn’t want to spend my entire life getting it all garden ready, we thought this would be the best way to go.  They’re super simple boxes with open bottoms.  Then filled with dirt.

Star Jasmine & corn.  Last year I killed the corn.  Hopefully this year will be better!

gardening 032 Attempting to Grow Things

Peaches & Eggplant.

gardening 033 Attempting to Grow Things

Mint & the very beginnings of Cantaloupe and strawberries.

gardening 034 Attempting to Grow Things

gardening 035 Attempting to Grow Things

gardening 036 Attempting to Grow Things

Squash & Kale

gardening 037 Attempting to Grow Things

Tomatoes & Jalapeno & Lavender.  I picked up this tip at the nursery while listening to two other ladies shop together.  Apparently if you plant jalapeno next to a tomato plant, it will keep the bugs away.   So far, it’s looking really good!

gardening 038 Attempting to Grow Things

Grapefruits!   We planted this tree a few years ago and haven’t gotten a huge return on it yet.  But this year is looking oh so good.

gardening 039 Attempting to Grow Things

Apples & Brocolli

gardening 040 Attempting to Grow Things

Oregano & Basil

gardening 041 Attempting to Grow Things

gardening 042 Attempting to Grow Things


I wish I had the will power to pull myself out of bed every Sunday morning.  Grab a list, a coffee and my little red push cart, and go to the Farmers Market.  I love going to the Hollywood Farmers Market.  The people and the food and the produce and the pies… oh the pies!  But, I want to sleep in.  Or lazily roll around the house whilst accomplishing absolutely nothing.  But, noon rolls around and I lament the beautiful fruits and veggies that are not currently in my refrigerator.  I feel sad.

So I tried a SavRaw, a CSA.  It was great!  And I tried all kinds of new vegetables that I’d never thought to buy before.  I opened my horizons to all of the things that looked interesting at the grocery store, but I’d never actually bought because I wasn’t quite sure how to cook it, or what to eat with it, or was simply intimidated by. But, the downfall of the CSA came soon enough.  I had to go pick it up every Tuesday between noon and three.   I can’t tell you how many times cocktail hour rolled around before I realized that I still didn’t have any beautiful fruits and veggies in my refrigerator. So I cancelled.  And went back to the regular grocery store.

And then one glorious afternoon, I got a Groupon email about Farm Fresh to You, a CSA delivery service.  Delivery!  I would never again fall victim to unretrieved bags at the CSA, or feel sad for sleeping in far too long on a Sunday morning.  When I wake up on Wednesday morning, there is a huge box of fresh, local and organic food sitting on my door step.  Literally, I can’t screw this one up.  There is always healthy, delicious and interesting food in my fridge.  And I don’t have to do anything to get it there :-)  (if you sign up, use promo code 6164 to get $10 off your first month!)

Farm Fresh 011 Obsessed: Farm Fresh To You

Farm Fresh 012 Obsessed: Farm Fresh To You

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with SavRaw or Farm Fresh To You, nor was I compensated for this post.  Just a happy customer!

May 2, 2012 Sourdough Bread


I have an unhealthy obsession with bread.  I can literally eat it every single day, for every single meal, and for a few snacks in between.  French bread, sourdough bread, wheat bread, white bread, olive bread.  Really, all the breads. It’s a problem!

So, I really wanted to learn how to make my own.  I started with a pretty simple French Bread recipe that my mom sent me.  And it’s incredible!  But then, I was sitting at my favorite wine bar, chatting with my favorite wine guy and he let me in on his sourdough secret.  We worked out a little plan whereby I handed over a few pints of homemade ice cream and he gave me two cups of his sourdough starter.

And then, after many many many loaves of decent loaves, I did something different and magic happened.  Honestly, I don’t even know what I did.  But apparently I’ve been doing it steadily, and the results make me so happy.  And fat.  Fat & Happy.

So, here’s the only issue with making sourdough bread from a starter.  It takes FOREVER.  Nearly twenty four hours.  So, it takes some planning, but it’s well worth it!

French Bread 001 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 002 Sourdough Bread


French Bread 003 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 004 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 005 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 006 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 007 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 008 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 009 Sourdough Bread

French Bread 010 Sourdough Bread


Brian’s Sourdough Bread Recipe:

7 cups unbleached bread flour (plus more for adjusting / kneading)
2 cups starter
2 1/4 cups water (plus more if needed)
3 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. barley malt syrup (optional but desirable)

Combine ingredients in a stand mixer bowl with dough hook and begin mixing, paying special attention to the moisture level–after a minute the dough should almost be finished coming together in a ball and this is the point to adjust the moisture one way or the other—you want the dough to just stop sticking to the bottom of the bowl but still be moist—without stopping the mixer try to assess and if necessary adjust  the moisture level—if its still stuck to the bottom add some more flour just to the point that it stops sticking—if it seems too dry dribble some water in, a few drops at a time.  Continue mixing for a total of 5 minutes.

Stop the mixer, remove the bowl with the dough from the mixer and cover for a 20 minute rest.

Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured surface for kneading–the dough should be soft and slightly sticky–hand-knead for two to three minutes adding a minimal amount of flour at the beginning to prevent sticking–until the dough is smooth and not sticky to the touch.  Dust the bowl with flour and return the dough to the bowl and cover (I use a kitchen/foodsafe garbage bag–just put the bowl in the bag and seal it up–they also come in handy in covering odd-shaped items like a tray of baguettes…)

Let the dough rise until fully doubled–usually 8-12 hours depending on the ambient temperature.  Be patient– you can tell when its done by feeling–it should feel flabby, like the arms of a fat baby(?!!)–also if you poke your finger into the dough it no longer has any springback.

Remove dough from the bowl back to a floured surface and gently squish the air bubbles out.  Divide and shape the dough into desired loafs.  Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 4 hours.   Completely pre-heat oven to 500 degrees (it should be radiating heat) and bake the loafs,  22-25 minutes for baguettes /small rolls or about 30 minutes for large loafs. The color should be a fairly deep brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool completely before eating or wrapping.

For Freezing – wrap each loaf completely in tin foil and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves, still wrapped in tin foil, for 30 minutes.  It should taste as good as freshly baked bread!


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