This past weekend, I went to an annual Thanksgiving potluck party at my friend Brittany’s house. For the potluck portion, I made Joy The Baker’s mac and cheese! I added extra bread crumbs on top to give it a crispier finish. I think everyone really liked it!

photo (6)

More importantly, the décor was so thought-out, it was a Pinterest dream! Talk about being crafty, check out a few of the pictures I took of the decorations below. I must remember some of these ideas for the next time I host.

Rosemary tied to mason jars and leaves as place cards.

photo (7)

Painted antique antler candleholders and carved squashes for tea lights.

photo (8)

Thankful for cards which we left anonymous and read at dinner.

photo (9)

How are you going to decorate for Thanksgiving?


Come over for dinner – kabocha squash farro salad

FullSizeRender(2)I am scared of gourds. I am scared of how hard they are to cut, how to cook them properly and their overall mass just terrifies me. Yet it’s October so I thought I would face my fear head on and buy a damn kabocha squash from the Fort Mason Farmers Market. How did it go? Well…

FullSizeRender(1)Pretty well! I kept it easy and roasted the squash in the oven then tossed it in a farro salad. Here’s what I did:

1. Cut the kabocha squash into 1 inch thick wedges. Add salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool.

2. At the same time, cook 1 cup of farro on the stove top and let boil for 10 minutes. While they cooked, I chopped up tomatoes, chives, basil and shredded 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. I also made the vinaigrette (1 tbsp. dijon mustard, 1/3 cup sherry vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper).

3. After the farro is done, I put in the tomatoes, chives, basil, cheese, 1 cup of arugula and dressing and tossed all together. I then cut the cooled squash into 1 inch bite size pieces and mixed. Delicious! I’m looking forward to tackling more squash recipes this fall. I’m thinking a pumpkin cookie is in my future. Happy Autumn!


Come over for dinner – it’s Pizza Night!

My family makes homemade pizza ON.THE.REG. We can’t get enough. It is super tasty and practically guilt free since you know everything going in/on the pie. Well, homemade is only half true. But shhh, I’m sharing my family recipe. We prefer the Trader Joe’s dough, Trader Joe’s sauce, Trader Joe’s cheese and just for kicks, Trader Joe’s veggies, too!

You can choose between the herb crust, whole wheat, and white. Tonight, we got one of each.

These are the few simple steps to our tasty meal.

  1. Spice it up. Add plenty oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to the sauce. For me, the spicier the better. I add more than enough (4)
  2. Flour flour flour. Sprinkle flour onto the counter (today, we put foil down) and knead the dough. It is best if the dough is left in room temperature for a bit to make it easier to knead. Once it starts behaving, i.e. laying flat without curling back up, you are ready to transfer it to the pizza pan. Be sure to do one final round of stretching it out to the ends once the dough is on the pan. We like it to be thinly spread before it bakes.IMG_6284
  3. Par Bake. Bake the dough at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it is mostly baked, to get it crispy. Tip – if you poke a few holes in the dough with a fork, it keeps it from bubbling. We talk about getting a pizza stone all the time but we really don’t need one with the way our dough comes out. After the par bake, add a sprinkle of olive oil down on the dough to keep it moist.IMG_0578
  4. Sauce it up & Top it up. Leave some extra sauce on the side for the crusts if you don’t spread it all the way out. Add ample veggies and cheese. Veggie pizza in our house always includes jalapenos, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Today, the bell peppers are minced for some reason. And for cheese (the most important part), we use two different types. Sprinkle some Quattro Formaggi from TJ’s and their shredded mozzarella onto each pie.
    photo 1 (10)Here you can see how the dough curled up a bit.
  5. photo 2 (9)Bake. Broil. Eat. It only takes about 10 more minutes to bake and a quick 1 minute broil to get the crust extra crispy and the cheese golden brown. photo 3 (9)Enjoy!


What’s Cookin’? – Shutterbean’s Honey Mustard Fried Chicken Sliders

I like to wander blogs and magazines for dinner inspiration. One of my go-to’s is Tracy Benjamin of the beautiful blog, Shutterbean. She’s a Bay Area food and photography blogger who makes healthy and sometimes indulgent, simple food that is really beautiful. Her step-by-step photos and lighthearted writing makes each recipe seem totally within reach.

This week she shared scrumptious looking sliders. I don’t eat a lot of chicken nor am I a huge slider fanatic but what I am is a honey mustard LOVAH. And I also figured, if I’m going to cook chicken, it might as well be fried. I think they’d be great for an easy night in or next time I host book club. I think I’ll add avocado to it.

Here’s the link to the recipe and a photo that’ll make you drool. I’ll share my own version when I get around to making it!

shutterbean 9.8