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Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes

These marbled cupcakes are sure to impress — no mixer required! Make the separate orange and espresso batters then swirl in the cupcake tins to create the gorgeous marbled effect. Top with the orange espresso buttercream for the perfect treat for the adventurous dessert fanatic in your life — or you know, just to have around as a quick snack!

Peach Cobbler

A delicious peach cobbler with a hint of cinnamon. This recipe uses fresh peaches, a buttery batter and brown sugar for the ultimate summer dessert.

Creamed Spinach (Vegan)

Yes, this is a no cream Creamed Spinach recipe! One of my favorite vegetable dishes, creamed spinach is something I dearly missed being dairy free. After some research, I came across this Vegan Creamed Spinach recipe from Detoxinista.com. Let me tell you, it is GOOD. Really, you could make the cashew garlic cream sauce and…

DIY Chocolate Syrup

Chocolate Syrup – versatile & delicious. Make chocolate milk, hot chocolate or drizzle over ice cream. How about a fun fondue night? Cut up strawberries, berries, whatever fruit you fancy and use skewers to dip into a big pot of this homemade chocolate syrup. Since discovering my unfortunate sensitivity to processed sweeteners (looking at you…

How to Cook Dried Beans

No soaking required. This recipe is geared toward the use of an Instant Pot. However, you can make dried beans on the stove as well (soaking will speed up this process). As meal prep became more of a fixture in my life, I began looking for ways to cook things economically and in large batches.…

Rainy Day Recipes

Here on the Central Coast, we’re in for a week (or longer…) of rain and social distancing. All this time at home is the perfect opportunity to dig into some recipes and learn to make some of your favorites at home, or try something new! This is an assortment of some of my favorite recipes…

Homemade Pizza Party

It’s pizza time. Here I’m going to share with you my favorite recipe for homemade pizza dough, along with some tips and tricks on how to create your own tasty pizzas at home — no wood-fired oven required! The Dough My favorite recipe for homemade pizza dough is King Arthur Flour’s The Easiest Pizza You’ll…

Ultimate Banana Bread

This recipe is an adaptation of the Banana Loaf recipe in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I’ve made a few minor adjustments, converting the self-raising flour to accommodate all-purpose flour instead. I’ve yet to come across self-raising flour on the supermarket shelves, and this bread comes out as cakey and light by making your own. You’ll…

Far Western Tavern

Contemporary California ranch cuisine in Orcutt provides the perfect date night. ***** On the edge of Old Town Orcutt stands Far Western Tavern, housed in a two-story building, illuminated by romantic twinkling lights on the corner of E Clark Avenue and S Pacific Street. Enter in the high-ceiling double doors to be greeted by a…

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Pumpkin season is well upon us. Take a break from pumpkin pie with this savory, creamy and a little spicy Pumpkin Curry Soup! This dish was inspired by one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pumpkin Curry, which uses a Kabocha Squash in a smooth and spicy curry. Here, I’ve borrowed the flavor profile and used…

Finding a Hapy home

My search for the perfect Greek cuisine leads me from a Pasadena hole-in-the-wall, through the streets of New York to a wine bar & restaurant in Pismo Beach. 2008: Pasadena, CA The front of house is about the size of my living room. A thin countertop runs parallel to the order counter, happy customers perched…

Miso-Marinated Pork Chop

Sized for meal prep, this recipe uses an overnight marinade of fresh lemon, white miso, ginger, soy sauce and onion to tenderize and infuse the pork chops with layers of Asian-influenced flavors. The steps are quite simple: Make the marinade in a blender or food processor. Marinate the pork overnight (at least 12 hours). Cook…

Marinated Cucumbers

Look no further for a hydrating, crunchy, salty snack. Prepare in a large batch and portion to eat throughout the week as a quick and easy meal prep snack! It’s no potato chip to be sure, but these marinated cucumbers do satisfy the craving for crunch and salt! I am a fan of cucumbers and…

Red Curry with Tofu

My take on a veggie-packed tofu red curry. I adore curries of all kinds – Thai, Indian, you name it, I’ll try it! This is an easy-to-make, simplified tofu curry that can be thrown all together in the Crock Pot (see recipe notes), or cooked on the stove. Make it for meal prep or for…

Lemon-Lime Simple Syrup

Citrus season! Suddenly I found myself in possession of a plethora of ripe lemons and limes. I could not eat them raw. What to do? Make a jam? I do not have that kind of time. Candied slices? Delicious, but again, too much time! Alas – I found a solution: LEMON-LIME SIMPLE SYRUP. It’s all…

Apple Spiced Chai

Chai is one of my favorite beverages of ALL TIME. The beauty of chai is that it varies region to region, between coffee and tea houses, and even within families. It’s a staple that is personal, amorphous and somehow, always delicious. If you’re in the Grover Beach area, please visit Red Bee Coffee and order…

Date Syrup

Two ingredient date syrup! With the consistency of applesauce and the sweetness of powdered sugar, date syrup is a versatile all-natural sweetener that may quickly become a staple in your kitchen. I discovered date syrup in my ongoing quest to create a palatable No Sugar Added cake (full recipe to be posted at a later…

On-The-Fly Fruit Crumble

Crumble vs. Cobbler. The main difference: Cobbler uses a pie crust or dropped biscuit dough on top of the fruit, while crumbles use a streusel topping, typically some combination of oats, flour, butter and sugar. Now you know! This On-The-Fly Fruit Crumble is my go-to when I need dessert STAT. If using berries, you can…

Zucchini Fritters with Central Coast Creamery Cheese

It’s the season of the fritter! Zucchini fritters are everywhere right now. This recipe uses ingredients specific to the Central Coast, particularly the Central Coast Creamery Goat Cheddar Cheese. This cheese is truly the best of both worlds! It has the characteristic, unapologetic tang of classic goat cheese combined with the sharpness of cheddar, bringing…

Sweet Peach Cake

It’s peak peach season! Optimal time to make this ultra-moist sweet peach cake. Ripe fresh peaches are quickly blanched, skinned, then sautéed in brown butter and sugar. A whole peach is chopped and folded into the batter, for double peach delight! There’s a secret ingredient in this cake. Don’t be afraid! I discovered a traditional…

La Bodega

La Bodega, (meaning The Cellar in Spanish) is a tapas restaurant & wine bar located in downtown Pismo Beach. On a sunny summer Thursday night, the wait at well-known Giuseppe’s is 45 minutes long. Stroll down the block and across the street to La Bodega, an oft overlooked gem, hiding in plain sight. La Bodega…

Creamy Tzatziki

Need an updated dip for your veggie tray? How bout a step up from the usual mint jelly for your lamb chops? Tzatziki is a versatile dip/sauce traditionally served with Greek food (Gyro and Falafel etc). Typically made with Greek Yogurt, Tzatziki is tangy and flavorful with a thinner consistency. This Tzatziki uses cream cheese…

Blueberry Nice Cream

Nice Cream! Its a no lactose, no sugar, no animal product ice cream you can make in about 5 minutes. It’s virtually fool proof and all over the internet right now. Here is a quick step-by-step of a Blueberry nice cream I threw together after our blueberry picking adventure. I had some bananas sliced and…

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry-Mascarpone Filling

Some moments in life deserve a special celebration. And every celebration deserves cake! I made this decadent chocolate cake, adorned in pastel floral accents for Nana’s birthday. Nana loves chocolate, and this cake was the perfect combination of rich chocolate and light, fluffy cake. Pastel gel food coloring gives the piped rosettes their bright yet…

Steamed Whole Artichokes

Artichokes! With this easy-to-follow steam and spices recipe for preparing artichokes, I hope you’ll reconsider these hearty flowers not as intimidating to cook, but as an accessible side dish for any entree. I may be biased — I grew up eating artichokes — but I consider artichokes one of the tastiest vegetables. Of course, the…

Ember

Ember is a wood-fired farm-to-table fine dining establishment, that boasts a monthly seasonal menu change. I recommend Ember to everyone I meet. The two things I hear most: the wait is too long; and skepticism of a menu that typically is an equal balance of the familiar (deconstructed, reconsidered and rearranged) the foreign and the…

Garlic Tahini Dressing

This creamy, tart salad dressing is packed with three key ingredients for maximum flavor and for improving your health: 1. Fresh parsley. 2. Fresh lemon. 3. Raw garlic. Parsley is rich in Vitamins A, C and K. Parsley is one of my favorite herbs because it is affordable, accessible, has a long shelf life, provides…

Kale & Chickpea Pasta

Light and refreshing, Chickpea & Kale Pasta contains no dairy OR tomato sauce (only a dab or two of tomato paste). Olive oil and seasonings allow the pan-fried chickpeas and kale to shine in this dish. Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) contain a plethora of nutritional benefits, including protein, fiber, Vitamin K, calcium and iron.…

Half-Mashed Baby Potatoes

About Half-Mashed Baby Potatoes I must tell you three things. 2. Affordable. 3. Delicious. What more could you want from life?! This is a great healthier alternative to butter and cream-laden mashed potatoes and still simple enough to make in a big batch as part of a balanced meal prep lunch or dinner. I served…

Spring Harvest Rice

Warning: This recipe is a large batch. Of course, that’s the point! Make this recipe on a Sunday and snack on this delicious rice throughout the week. This is a meal prep recipe that can easily be adapted to supplement different proteins and side dishes throughout the week, or to be used as is for…

La Locanda

Off a quiet side street in downtown San Luis, La Locanda provides a quaint and relaxed dining experience. The restaurant is small and leaves you feeling you’ve had an incredible meal at a close friend’s house. We visited on May 12 (Mother’s Day) as a family outing. The pizza oven was in need of repairs…

Flour House

Authentic Italian with a Coastal Vibe. Flour House is unassuming — it’s name and decor is simplistic, sleek and modern. A stark contrast to the food, which is, as a whole, vehemently steeped in Italian tradition, executed with compassion, care and obvious knowledge of the cuisine. This place does not look like your run-of-the-mill ‘upscale’…

Ricotta Vegetable Quiche

It’s the weekend. You are busy doing laundry, cleaning the house and laying on the couch catching up on Netflix (the most important chore of all). You want to serve up a show-stopping breakfast with minimal effort. Never fear: the Ricotta Vegetable Quiche is here! This recipe was born from a tub of ricotta cheese…