I’ve been told that I give off a first impression of being sweet and innocent (..that’s me! I promise!)  But others who know me well say I have a side of spice to me; I take that as a compliment.  Growing up with two older brothers very close in age, I’ve learned a few survival tips here and there.  I can throw a spiral football.  Drink a glass if whiskey.  And I have the BEST comebacks.  As an adult, I like to say that I’m a tomboy at heart with a polished exterior (queue boyfriend’s laughing now…!)
Anyways, this recipe slightly reminds me of myself (too cheesy?)  Seriously, though.  It’s the perfect combinations of sweet with mangos and agave nectar with just a touch of red-hot spice.
Just in time for summer.  We eat this stuff all. summer. long.  A little chips.  Some mango salsa.  A warm summer night.  Maybe, a glass of whiskey.  Kidding.
2 mangos, peeled and diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped
1 red, green and yellow pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of agave nectar
Chop mangos, tomatos, cilantro and peppers and combine in a bowl.  Add lime juice and agave nectar. Serve chilled.


I have a love-hate relationship with baking.  I love sweets.  And on any given Sunday, you can find me at the local bakery with a cup of coffee and a chocolate criossant or blueberry muffin.  (Embarassing, I know.) But I’m also a creative-type so it’s sometimes (…quite often) difficult for me to follow directions for a recipe –  a red flag for any baker.  I’m usually a “let’s try a little of this, and maybe a smidge of that…” type of baker which has caused me endless batches of watery cupcakes, burnt cookies and flat cakes.  Over time, I’ve learned to cross my t’s and dot my i’s when I’m baking, however, occasionally, I do like to test some new flavors.
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with this lemon cookie ice cream flavor at my local ice cream store.  It’s so perfect and refreshing for a warm summer day.  I thought this flavor might be perfect for cupcakes, too!
So I tried a traditional vanilla cupcake recipe and added a bit of lemon to the buttercream frosting.  Fun fact:  This was my first time ever using a pipping bag for cupcakes, how do you think the turned out?  I’m not going to lie, it was harder than I thought.  Scrumptious, though!


1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon rind
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line standard cupcake/muffin tin with foil or paper.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
Divide batter evenly among cups in prepared tin.  Bake until cupcake tops are golden around the edges; 20-40 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to the wire wrack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
(Cupcake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)


I love Pinterest.  I get so much great inspiration from the brilliance of others (…including you!) and I have to admit, I follow some brilliant friends!  So every Friday I have decided to share the wealth and post my top five favorite Pinterest picks in food and entertaning.  This week, as we are on the brink of my second favorite season, summer, I’m loving Sorbet with funky flavors, homemade popsicles, summer berries and the always-so-refreshing lemon in everything. Checkout how to use the best flat irons to make your hair look good and the best flat iron in the market is HSI professional.  You can read about it and let me know your views about it.
1. Apricot Sorbet from Annie’s Eats
2&3.  Raspberry Cream and Sprinkles Popsicle and beach chairs

4.  Summer Berries from My Baking Addiction


5.  Lemon and Cucumber from Rikki Snyder Photography




I love, love, love caramel popcorn.  Who doesn’t love, love caramel popcorn?  But I feel like people only eat it around the holidays.  My mother or mother’s mother or grandmother’s mother will send one of those big boxes of the multi-flavored popcorn for Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas and we’ll gobble it down in a days time, but we never think to buy it any other time of the year.  Until now.  {Queue evil laugh}


The other day I was at the local market and at one of the end caps I see some new snacks.  Now, I’m not a “salty person” as I prefer sweets, but this one shiny bag caught my eye, Organic Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn.  Honestly, it had me at “Caramel Popcorn,” but it was Sea-salt-flavored, too?  Brilliant.  So I bought it.  But, my only problem with Caramel Popcorn is that sometimes it’s not sweet enough.  Seriously.  I can’t describe it but it’s still almost a bit too salty for me.  So I decided to cover it in white chocolate…and let me tell you, yum!  If you think about it, the milky-vanilla flavor of white chocolate compliments caramel sauce just likes an ice cream sundae!

It’s easy to make.  I just fired up the burner on low heat and melted the white chocolate chips.  Then just drizzle over the popcorn.

 I even created these little snack cups to help portion my snacking using these cute cupcake liners from Wilton.
1 bag of popcorn, (Note:  I like 479 popcorn)
1 8 oz package of white chocolate chips
Caramel sauce
Turn the burner on to low heat.  In a medium sauce pan start to heat the caramel sauce, continously stirring for 8-10 minutes or until completely melted.  Use a spatula to drizzle over popcorn.  Let cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
In a seperate medium sauce pan start to heat the white chocolate chips, continously stirring for 8-10 minutes or until completely melted.  Use a spatula to drizzle over the popcorn.  Let cool.



I’ve been told that April is National Grilled Cheese Month.  How did I miss this?!?  I practically grew up on white bread and Kraft singles.  Even as my palette has evolved over the years, I still have an appreciation for a tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese-kinda-day.

Living in San Francisco, the foodie capitol of the world (says me!) I’ve seen a few interesting renditions of the American classic.  There is the mac ‘n cheese and bacon grilled cheese or the mozzarella and basil version.  Of course, there is also my favorite, the Parisian.  Some smart, creative, fancy-pants chef somehow managed to turn a childhood classic into a gourmet meal.  Warm brie melting around scrumptiously-sweet apples.  Yum!


What’s your favorite grilled cheese recipe?

2 slices of white sourdough bread
1 tablespoon of butter, salted
1 package of Brie cheese
6 tablespoons of fruit preserves such as cherry or apricot
1 gala apple, sliced

Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees.  Turn oven burners to medium heat and melt butter.  Place one slice of bread on a small frying pan and heat for 3-5 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Take off the burner and set aside.  Repeat for the second slice of bread.

On the inside of the first slice of bread, apply brie cheese and use a knife to smooth evenly across to the edges.  On the inside of the second slice of bread, apply the fruit preserves.  Add the apple slices to the piece of bread with the brie cheese and place the second slice of bread on top of the first slice to make a sandwich.

Place in the oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese and fruit preserves have melted.


I love this recipe!  I first saw it on the Pioneer Woman’s television show on the Cooking Channel.  Do you know her?  She’s fabulous.  Her recipes are fabulous.  And she, somehow, makes milking a cow look fabulous.
Anyways, her Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp is perfect for a light dinner on a warm summer night.  It has been oddly warm here in Northern California.  The children in the neighborhood are already out at the pool after school.  I can finally wear sundresses to work, well until the fog rolls in.  (Sigh, oh foggy city)  And the sauce is this delicious mixture of spice and lemon!
Take a note from me, just don’t forget the lemons when you’re grocery shopping.  True story.

2 pounds Raw Shrimp, Deveined, Shells On
2 sticks Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 whole Lemon, Juiced
*Recipe from

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles over the shrimp.
Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly.
Serve with hot crusty bread. Peel and eat the shrimp, then dip the bread into the butter in the bottom of the pan.


I love springtime! The green grows back.  The layers come off.  And we’re allowed to go outside again.  But unfortunately, it’s April 7th.  And you know they say, April showers bring May flowers.
Yes, it’s been stinkin’ gloomy and rainy in Northern California.  Usually, the weather in Northern California is most-often amazing, however, we do have our rainy season…and that season is now.  And I have cabin fever.  What to do, what to do?
I saw these Jello Cookies on I Heart Naptime and they instantly cheered me up.  The bright colors remind me that spring is coming (promise?) and the Jello flavors remind me of being a kid.  The recipe is very simple.  I actually had most of the ingredients in my kitchen.  I also bought four different Jello flavors, apricot, strawberry, cherry and raspberry – it’s fun to try each!
1 1/2 cups butter, salted
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 packages (3 oz)  of Jello
Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Divide dough into 4 sections. Sprinkle 2 Tb of jello onto each section. Knead together with dough. You may want to add a few drops of food coloring to make the dough more vibrant.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the extra jello from the packets. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten with bottom of bowl.
Bake 8 to 10 min at 350 on lined baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.


v1Every once in awhile I will have the house to myself while my boyfriend goes to a work dinner.  It’s like I’ve never been left home alone before, I’m a child.  I tend to get a bit mischevious on these nights.   I can’t describe it, I have this sense of urge to create trouble.  I find myself throwing on my pajamas the minute I walk in the door from work, no care to hang up my clothes.  I curl up to the television for a marathon of brainless Bravo shows such as the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or The Kardashians Take Miami.  And worst yet, I most times end up snacking on Twix bars and old apples for dinner.  For my entire dinner.  Help me I’m sick…Tonight is one of those nights.  I write this as I’m watching American Idol.  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills re-runs are already over. Twix bars in hand.  Apartment a mess.  I’m secretly so happy.  I think it’s nice, every once in awhile, to take a break from the structure of my day to day.
Anyways, in addition to my Twix bar, I thought it would be a good idea to have something a bit more colorful.  I saw a recipe from the brilliant Weelicious that inspired me to make this Graham Cracker n’ Strawberry snack.  Enjoy!
SG 1529


12 ounces of 2% greek yogurt, cold
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, packed
5 strawberries, fresh
8 graham crackers
With an immersion blender, mix together the greek yogurt, dark brown sugar and 2 strawberries.  Blend until very smooth.  Smooth greek yogurt mix on graham crackers.  Cut strawberries in half and place on the graham crackers with greek yogurt mix.



Guacamole is a family-favorite in my house.  It’s quite typical during the summer nights to find us gathering around the table to gobble down some guac ‘n chips.  Yum!  My only qualm is that every time I make guacamole, somebody has feedback for me.  It seems that guacamole is more a work of great art than an appetizer.  “I typically use more tomato!” “Did you put the cilantro in it?” or “I’ll show you how I make it next time.”  Ugh!  And my beloved boyfriend is the largest culprit.  Talk about a back seat chef! (Love you, though.)

My secret for survival?  A nice wheat treat.  But shhh.


So this year I am more than dedicated to finding the most amazingly-perfect, can’t-argue-with-me guacamole.  I’m starting early, but I think I’ve chosen my winner.  I’m welcoming feedback until the end of May.   Speak now or forever hold your guac-peace.

3 avocados, ripe
1 lime, juiced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup salsa, fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped



Peel and chop the avocados and place the pieces in a small mixing bowl.  Using a fork, mash the avocados until you have a creamy mixture.  Stir in the fresh lime juice.  Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and salt, and mix well.

Add homemade or store-bought sales to the mixture.  Mix in chopped cilantro.  This is best served within an hour or so of making it since it browns quickly.


Endive-orange-and-bleu-cheese-saladv2Do you ever have those Sundays where you just need to refresh?  Clean the house.  Do some yoga.  Wash the car? Today is that type of Sunday.  We’ve been busy {insert heavy sigh}.  I’ve been working late nights and ‘socializing’ too hard.  We’ve been busy!  A few people in my organization recently added itty-bitty bundles of joy to their families and while I am so overjoyed with happiness for them, we’ve beenbusy.  I’ve been so busy, in fact, that I’ve created this vicious cycle where I don’t have enough time to fit in my work out nor do I have enough time to leave my desk for lunch causing me to snack on teddy grams and cereal all day.

Despite my long days in the office (…did I mention we’ve been busy?) I am having some fun.  I recently attended a college friends Bachelorette weekend in San Francisco for three days filled with cocktails, night clubs and wine tasting.  The unhealthy habits continued as we then spent three days in Lake Tahoe for St. Patrick’s Day filled with guiness, green beer and the occasional skiing.
Endive-orange-and-bleu-cheese-saladv2 (1)So today I sit on the side of my bed looking at the beautiful sun shining in Lake Tahoe and I think to myself, it’s time!  It’s time to refresh my lifestyle with a clean house, yoga practice and some healthy eating and what better way to kick it off with a freshly-prepared Citrus and Endive Salad, adapted from Barefoot Contessa.
½ teaspoon grated orange zest

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heads Belgian endive
½ cup walnut halves, toasted
¼ pound bleu cheese, crumbles
1 sweet red apple, unpeeled, cored and medium-diced
4 ounces baby arugula
1 orange

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Cut the heads of endive in half lengthwise, remove the triangle of core at the base of each half so the leaves separate, and cut the leaves in half again lengthwise. Place in a large bowl. Drizzle the leaves with the vinaigrette and add the walnuts, cheese, and apple. Add the arugula and toss. Zest the orange into the salad with a strip zester. Peel the orange and remove the white pith around the orange with a small sharp knife. Cut the orange sections between the membranes and toss them on the salad. Discard the membranes. Sprinkle with salt and serve.