Sunday, October 31, 2010

sunday supper: happy halloween

I did it! I completed all 7 days of the Cabbage Soup Diet/Cleanse. There were times when I didn't think I'd make it, when I thought surely I'm going to cheat, give in to my cravings and let me tell you those moments were intensified by the many grumblings and rumblings of my tummy, and when the thought of eating another bowl of cabbage soup made me want to throw up. However challenging these past 7 days were, it was worth it. I feel really good. I don't know if I lost any weight, which I am o.k. with because what I didn't lose in weight I gained in discipline and I was also able to examine my relationship with food. This girl loves to eat, but she also loves to fit into her jeans.

For my first "real" breakfast in a week I made Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oatmeal. I've never cooked steel cut oats before. Come to think of it, there's only been one another time that I've eaten steel cut oats. They take longer to cook than regular oats and use more water, but other than that they're pretty easy to make. And I think I like them better than regular oats. This was a very hearty breakfast and a delicious combination of fall flavors! However, next time I'll use less cardamom because I didn't add any maple syrup (I'm watching those calories!) to my oatmeal. But, I did add a teaspoon of peanut butter to tame the aromaticness of the cardamom. A dollop of coconut yogurt would have been delicious too.

Maybe because it's Halloween or maybe because of my yummy breakfast, but I have pumpkin on the brain. So here are some pumpkin recipes to wish you all a Happy Halloween!!!

Pumpkin Seed Cakes
Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin-Spiced Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Martini

Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed French Toast
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Spinach, Pumpkin and Feta Salad
Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Lasagna
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Rosemary Cream Sauce
Zucchini & Caramelized Onion Pizza with Pumpkin Crust
Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Pumpkin Roll
Pumpkin Bars with Cranberry Crumb
Pumpkin & Chocolate Cookies
Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake

Friday, October 29, 2010

such great heights

Ebert and I are "waving from such great heights" today and since "everything looks perfect from far away", I think "we'll stay"...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

etsy love

I really do love etsy. And if I were to create a cute fall outfit this is what I would wear. All the featured etsy shops are local Chicago-ians. Just another reason why I love Chicago!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

sunday supper: cabbage soup

and Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday...

I'm doing this all week. Needless to say, it's going to be a long week. However, to make it a bit more exciting, and to try to curb my growing hunger as much as possible, I've found these recipes to try. Of course, I'll have to alter the recipes since there are so many yummy ingredients I'm not allowed to eat this week, but it should still be good.

Butternut Squash & Argula Salad Zucchini Carpaccio SaladBasil VinaigretteBeetsRoasted Butternut Squash and Apple SaladCauliflower and Brussel Sprouts SaladSquash & Pea SauteLemony-Garlicy Green Beans

Friday, October 22, 2010

never believe it's not so

This past week has been kinda rough for me. I realize that it's not the rough that a lot of people have to deal with on a daily basis, so before I go further in my explanation I want to stress that I am very, very grateful for my life- I have an amazing and supportive husband who I love dearly, I have wonderful family and friends, I have my health, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table. I have many more blessings to be thankful for than I do complaints. But, even with all these blessings there are times when I am just not feeling my life. I question my purpose, I doubt if I am on the right path, if my dreams will ever come true. To put it simply, I stop believing in magic.

And this was one of those weeks when I didn't feel the magic, when I couldn't trust that magic even existed, when I just wanted to give up on all this magic talk. How could I possibly trust magic when I didn't get a callback for the play I would have been great in? I mean, not even a callback. How could I possibly trust magic when I didn't get the barista job that I am clearly overqualified for? I mean come on, it was a barista job. Back in the day I was the best shot slinger and milk foamer there was.

Then 2 things happened this morning that changed my perspective.

I received this email from Ebert, it was a letter written by Christopher Walken to his fans. I've definitely experienced more of "and then it wasn't" as an actor and I'm really looking forward to having a "busy year". But, I don't know, just hearing that a great actor like Christopher Walken has to deal with "the not so busy part" of being an actor gave me hope. I could feel the magic stirring.

And then when I checked my Facebook I had quite a few 'likes' and several lovely comments from friends in response to my status update yesterday: "is closing her eyes tight shut and wishing and wishing for the magic that she has to believe is right around the corner."

One of the comments was a link to this video -

I've replayed the video and have reread everyone's comments several times already. By sharing their magic with me, my own magic has been inspired. To be was very magical! So, even when I don't feel it, I'll keep reminding myself to always trust magic, because it's not always the magic that I envision, but it's always more magical than I expect.
Ho, ho, ho, it's magic.

Never believe it's not so.

It's magic, you know.

Never believe it's not so.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

bakin' & eggs

I don't normally order oatmeal at restaurants. When I go out to eat for breakfast I want to indulge in pancakes, french toast, potatoes, omelettes - you know the real yummy stuff! I make oatmeal at home, I don't, however, make french toast for breakfast. So, when a friend and I recently dined at Bakin' & Eggs I was surprised that the oatmeal sounded like the most delicious thing on the menu. The banana pecan bread french toast sounded amazing as well, but I pushed aside my usual carb-spolsion cravings and gave in to the healthy temptation. As the heaping bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, streusel topping and a berry compote was placed in front of me I knew I had made the right decision. And I loved that all the fixings came on the side- on the side is very important to me. I was able to create the best combination of compote/streusel/brown sugar goodness to mix in to my oatmeal. It was so delicious!

Bakin' & Eggs is now serving a Fall Oatmeal- house made pear buttter, lovely pecan streusal and brown sugar. How amazing does that sound? Perfect for Fall. And you know how much I love the sounds, and colors, and smells, and tastes of fall.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sunday supper: super natural platter

When Ebert and I lived in Ojai, California (which seems like a lifetime ago) the Natural Cafe in Santa Barbara or Nature's Grill in Ventura was one of our favorite places to eat at. It's the same restaurant with the same menu, so I don't know why the names are different. Anyway, it was the best healthy option for dining out and one of us always ordered the Super-Natural Platter: corn bread topped with pinto beans, rice, steamed vegetables, butter and cheddar cheese.

When we moved from Ojai to Los Angeles (Glendale to be exact) we really missed the Natural Cafe/Nature's Grill because there weren't a lot of restaurants like this close to us. And we rarely ever wanted to drive over the hill to West Hollywood or Santa Monica to find similar restaurants. So, when we wanted a simple, yet healthy dinner we decided to make our own version of the Super-Natural Platter. Here's our wholesome and nutritious recipe -

Trader Joe's CornBread Mix + can of green chiles

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil




Red pepper

1 can black or pinto beans (optional)
Garlicky Brown Rice (optional)

lots and lots of Garlic - minced, diced, or crushed



Salt & Pepper to taste

Feta or your favorite cheese

Cook the brown rice. Bake the cornbread, with the added can of green chiles, according to the directions on the box. Heat up the beans. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bit size pieces. Slice the carrots. Slice the bell pepper. The quantity of vegetables you use will depend on if you want to have leftovers or not. Ebert and I rarely have leftovers because we always eat everything. Once everything is cut then steam the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a big pot. Then, saute the garlic and red peppers in a pan. Once all the veggies are cooked, mix them together in a bowl with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add as much as you like until the flavor suits your taste.

Once everything is cooked, cut yourself a big piece of cornbread and slice it in half. Then, top the cornbread with the beans, rice, veggies and cheese. Now, you have a delicious, yet simple and healthy meal. Doesn't this look delicious? For a little more kick you could also add some red pepper flakes to the veggies. This time we didn't add the rice and beans, but when you do it makes for a very hearty entree.

Happy Cooking!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

always trust magic

In case you didn't know, I adore Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She's my creative inspiration. And I was able to skype with her Friday morning and say those exact words to her. It was very exciting! But, the moments leading up to the video chat were a little nerve-wracking. I kept playing out, in my mind, how our conversation would go, it made me all teary-eyed with joy and anticipation. I had to keep reminding myself something Amy says, "Figure it out as you go.", so that's what I did and it was a lovely conversation.

Since moving to Chicago, I've joined her on the Going Nowhere Fast Train, which was my very first el ride, and I recently beckoned the lovely with her on 10/10/10.

It was at 'The Beckoning of Lovely' where I experienced first hand that you should always trust magic. During one of the 10 lovely moments we created and shared together, Amy had tiny members from the crowd pass out letters from the World's Smallest Postal Service that read "Make The Most of Your Time Here." Of course, I wanted one of those letters, but so did everyone else and it just wasn't possible for everyone to get one. Ebert knew that I wanted one of those tiny letters, so he gently urged me to go get one. But, Ebert and I were standing all the way in the back and the letters were being passed out in the front, I just didn't feel like forcing my way up or to call out to the kids "Over Here, Over Here" just so I could get a letter. I thought, if I'm going to get a one of those letters then I want to just trust that it will come to me. It didn't. Then, Amy announced that she had 2 gifts for the crowd - a piece of orange candy and a penny for us to make a wish in the fountain with. Well, I thought, besides an amazing experience, the candy and the penny will be my souvenirs from the evening. And I was happy!

We made our way to the candy first. And as the growing mass of other beckoners waited for their piece of candy that John Green was handing out, a security guard on a segway came over and made everyone leave because the park was closing. Oh well, I really shouldn't be taking candy from strangers anyway. But, as we were walking away a young girl, in her teens I think, turns around, looks at me with a lovely smile and hands me a piece of paper taped up as a sleeve with a mixed CD inside. I was bewildered, to say the least, not expecting to receive a random gift from someone in the crowd that I was only able to manage a muffled "thank you" before the girl and her mom walked away. I did not fully realize the magic I had just received. I still had my eye on what I thought was the bigger prize...a penny from Amy K.R.

So, onward we went to the penny and the fountain to make our wish. I did not want to be denied my opportunity to make a wish, especially since I've recently been feeling like I could use every wish-making chance I get. But, as we crossed the Pritzker Pavilion field we saw the green-haired girl with the red wagon full of pennies racing back towards the Bean. "Wait!" I wanted to shout. "I didn't get my penny. You're going the wrong way. The wishes are over here, at the fountain." But, away she went. Unfortunately, the fountain was already closed. There would be no wish-making for me, unless I wanted to trespass or attempt to throw my penny in to the fountain through the closed gate. I'll be honest, I was mildly disappointed.

But then as we walked back to the car with the city skyline as our backdrop it dawned on me what I was holding in my hand...a little bit of magic in the form of 12 lovely songs. Wow! Not more than 10 minutes earlier I said that I wanted to just trust that it would come to me and it did. It wasn't the magic that I had envisioned, but was even more magical than I expected.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

art institute of chicago

Looking for something fun to do this evening? Well, the Art Institute is FREE today from 5pm - 8pm, so check it out. I mean, come on, who doesn't like a little free now and then.

I want to see this exhibit and this exhibit before they end. This doesn't give me much time, seeing as the Pierre Huyghe exhibit ends next Sunday. How is it the middle of October already? Good thing the Art Institute is FREE every Thursday from 5pm - 8pm. I'd go tonight, but I have theatre tickets. Free theatre tickets to be exact. This will be my first time seeing a play in the city and I'm very excited!!!

And, in case you didn't know, chicks dig economy. Well, at least this chick does.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



I found this poster on etsy, isn't it great? It also comes in a pretty burgundy color, but I like the blue better - it just seems a bit happier. The creator of this poster is Laura George, a Chicago based artist and illustrator. She's going to have a solo showing @ Inkling in Chicago, November 12 - January 2. I'm definitely going to check it out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

happy monday!

Beckoning the Lovely and magically receiving a CD mix of 12 pieces of lovely just for me from a stranger in the crowd makes me happy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

sunday supper: basil, chicken & orzo soup

I've been sick all week. I hate being sick. I, especially, hate being sick when there is deliciously warm fall weather outside and I can't enjoy any of it. But, this basil, chicken & orzo soup is helping me feel better. I cooked garlic brown rice and added that to the soup instead of the orzo because I didn't want the gluten from the orzo when I have a stuffy nose. Although, I did have some bread on the side so my thought process doesn't make much sense, except that the garlic brown rice is so good and made the soup extra garlicky. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much garlic. And as gimmesomeoven says this is "wonderfully herb-a-licious" when you add more fresh basil the next day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

creating your happy

There are times (many, many times mind you) when I have zero idea on how to create my happy. I know what I want my happy to be. I know what makes my heart sing, but at times it feels so much bigger than me, like it's out of my reach and I have to wait for some magical force to appear. Now, here's a crazy thought- what if it is all magic? What if it's out of my reach because I've been reaching outside of myself, rather than searching inside myself for the magic. I told you it was a crazy thought. But, what's crazier? Believing I have magical powers to create my happy or doing nothing? Oh, I have doubts, lots and lots of them. I mean how can I possibly create my happy when I'm not getting auditions, or when I do audition not getting callbacks, or not selling any jewelry on etsy, or getting distracted by the piles of laundry on the floor that I think is more important than writing, or not being called in for "real job" interviews. The list goes on and on, and it can be quite distressing. But, here I am writing, creating something. Even if it's not very good writing, it's still creating. And, you know what? It does kinda feel magical.

Can you feel your own magic? What are you going to do today to create your happy?

Monday, October 4, 2010

the beckoning of lovely

Here's another reason why I love living in Chicago.

I'm very excited that I'll be beckoning the lovely with Amy K.R. and a bunch of other Chicagoians. If you live in Chicago you should join us at the bean at 10:10pm on 10/10/10. I cannot wait for Sunday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

sunday supper: the finer things club

The first meeting of The Finer Things Club is in session.

If you watch "The Office", then you know exactly what The Finer Things Club is- it's the most exclusive club. And just like the Scranton chapter, the Phoenix chapter of the FTC has only three members- my sister Ana, my cousin Andrea and my cousin-in-law Emilio.

I kinda feel like Andy in that I desperately want to be granted membership to this club, but sadly my geographical location prevents me from celebrating the finer things "in a very civilized way". My hope is that by sharing the events of the FTC's Phoenix chapter that I will become an honorary member, just like Jim.

I'm not sure what cultural and philosophical discussions take place during these meetings, but I do hope they dress fancy and talk in sophisticated accents. Whatever intellectual discourse takes place all I know is that they eat and drink very well. And really, that's what's most important, and all I want to share with you anyway.

So, without further ado I present to you the foodie awesomeness of The Finer Things Club.

Spuntino - Fig & Goat Cheese Crostini

Black Figs, Goat Cheese, Fresh Rosemary, Baquette, Honey

Mix goat cheese with rosemary and spread it on sliced baquette. Place sliced figs on each piece of toast. Warm in the over at 350 degrees for 5 - 8 minutes. Lightly drizzle honey over each piece.

Antipasto - Summer Tomato, Cucumber & Feta Salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 pint yellow pear tomatoes (halved), 1 English Cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped green onions, 2 - 3 cloves garlic (minced), 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, freshly ground black pepper to taste, ground red pepper to tasted, feta, salt to taste, olive oil

In a bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, garlic, basil, cilantro, black pepper, red pepper, salt and olive oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Toss with feta before serving.

Primo - Lobster Risotto

4 TB extra-virgin olive oil, 1 shallot (minced), 4 tsp. diced garlic, 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (blanched for 9 minutes), 1/2 cup white wine, approximately 3 cups chicken broth (kept warm), zest of 1 lemon, 4 TB mascarpone, meat from lobster, 4 TB chives, 4 TB shaved parmesan

Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until toasted, then add rice and stir for 30 seconds. Deglaze with white wine, then add chicken stock in 3 batches until creamy and the rice is cooked. Fold in lobster meat, lemon zest and mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives and parmesan.

Secondo - Tangy Grilled Porkchops with Pears & Blue Cheese with the Contorno - Creamy Polenta and Grilled Asparagus
Dolce - Carrot Cake
(this is my favorite carrot cake recipe with extra coconut and walnuts, safflower oil instead of canola oil, and minus the raisins)

I hope you enjoyed the first gathering of The Finer Things Club. I know my mouth is watering from all the delicious pictures. As you can imagine, I am eagerly awaiting the next FTC's event and the creative foodie geniusness of Ana, Andrea, and Emilio.

Happy Cooking, but most importantly, Happy Eating!

Friday, October 1, 2010

new logo


I've been busying creating a new logo for my etsy shop and, hopefully, for this blog as well. I just need to figure out how to upload a logo to a blog, it can't be that hard....right?

I've also been busy creating other stuff. Pretty stuff. Inspiring stuff. Happy stuff. It's all very exciting and I can't wait to share!

But, not yet...all in good timing.

Happy 1st of October!