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Monday, July 22, 2013


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Native Foods Cafe in Encinitas

It seems like forever we’ve been waiting for this cafe to open, YES! Native Foods Cafe making some power moves down the coast and how lucky are we they picked Encinitas to open up shop. It’s well known that we do live in the yoga capital of the world so this is the perfect location for this popular chain of restaurants. The menu says they are America’s premier fast-casual vegan restaurant group serving made-from-scratch, chef-crafted cuisine to thousands of food lovers.” That said I guarantee you this place will be a regular haunt for us especially as my other half mainly follows a vegan diet with the occasional fresh fish meal for variety. And being that I’m not one to pass up on a delicious vegan meal I’d say I partake at least 75% of the time to his culinary choices and with Native Foods in the ‘hood now it just makes it easy. Check it, you’ll be enriched by the experience knowing you nourished your body with really good grub, there are gluten free options too.

We had the bistro steak sandwich which was really good, lightly fried crispy shallots over arugula and roasted tomatoes with thinly sliced Native seitan steak on a perfectly toasted bun.

And the Azteca salad was a great choice too, currants and quinoa mixed in with a salad tossed in a mango lime vinaigrette.


Of course I took dessert home for later. My favorite being the homemade apple pie, a buttery vegan crust with a light cinnamon creme was perfect. The peanut butter parfait was creamy with a bit of tang to it, I think next time I’ll pass on it though and just get myself a pack of Newman’s Own dark chocolate peanut butter cups, hands down peanut butter paired with dark chocolate is just kinda hard to beat.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chinese 5 spice roast chicken

On my recent trip to Costa Rica our friend’s mother, who authors a very clever blog for seniors made us an amazing roast chicken for dinner one night. We were staying at their vacation home on the beach so there was no option of a large pantry of ingredients, let alone spices, making do with what was around and oddly enough she had some Chinese 5 spice to work with, a bottle of honey and some fresh limes from their neighbor, Gary’s backyard. Three simple ingredients, two Costa Rican free range birds and dinner was a hit that night.


My beekeeper neighbor down the road gave me a bottle of honey a few weeks ago and this morning when I opened the cupboard the honey bear was staring right at me so here I am roasting  chicken for lunch today. Trader Joe’s now sells these organic brined birds, of course they do, it’s a good thing, dry birds are history now as the moisture and salt will always keep the meat juicy and the skin crispy.



Chinese 5 Spice Roast Chicken

juice of 1 lime

2 Tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder

1 organic chicken

coarse salt and ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Mix the lime juice, honey and Chinese 5 spice powder in a small bowl. Do not discard the limes after squeezing the juice out of them, instead stuff them in the cavity of the chicken before roasting.

2. Trim any excess fat off of the chicken, especially on the backside, rinse with cold water and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.

3. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan, breast side up with the wings tucked under its back, and tie the legs together to close the cavity. Pour the spice mixture over the chicken and thoroughly spread all over the bird. Roast at 300° for 1 hour covered with parchment paper tinfoil, until both the thigh and the breast read 150° on a meat thermometer.

4. Periodically keep basting the chicken with the juices that settle at the bottom of the roasting pan. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Return the chicken to the oven uncovered and roast uncovered until crispy and golden brown for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers at least 165ºF and the skin is browned. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Friday, January 11, 2013


SoCal welcoming me back from sunny, warm water Costa Rica with a frosty car roof my first morning back, really?! And also sad news, Bubbles, the neighbor’s fat cat entered the food chain, just right when the stitches from his nose being sliced off healed up, he steps outside to play and never made it back home. r.i.p. fat cat. Damn coyotes!


By far this is the coldest January I can remember down here, nothing close to as cold as where I grew up but cold enough that everyone’s talking. Woodburning stove’s going 24/7 and music, we’re gonna get through this cold spell.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

happy holidays from California!

We split and stacked wood for days,

aa 2

aa 3

at the beach


and despite a grey day the sky came through at sunset..showoff

aa 4

We passed on the traditional holiday fare this year and celebrated with good ol’ Chinese food; Peking duck (2 ways), imperial shrimp, salt and pepper squid, chow fun noodles with broccoli and an amazing Chinese coleslaw to offset our greasy spoons.




This salad dressing is perfect for a light coleslaw. It’s one of my favorite winter salads, so simple.

Maple Sesame Vinaigrette (from Gourmande in the Kitchen)

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or unsweetened rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced

To make the salad chop up (chiffonade) a head of savoy cabbage, a bunch of lacinato green kale and shred 2 carrots (I used a mandolin to thinly slice the carrots instead). Mix everything together and when you’re ready to serve toss in the vinaigrette and a large pinch of toasted sesame seeds.

Monday, December 24, 2012


We decided a messy tree hovering close to the house had to leave so we called in the pros, of course the morning of, it rains.


Our earth mover dude was back to dig some drains,



relocate the bamboo


and sculpt the yard too.


Some concrete waterproofing gets done as well.


Then our friendly landscaper neighbor dotted the yard with rescued plants, hint, hint, get planting folks! She’s just as sick as we are of staring at a dirt yard. Three olive trees, blueberries, grasses, yuccas, thanks Paige!


Of course digging holes to plant is not so easy when the dirt thinks its concrete.


Sometime during all this we found ourselves in L.A. having dinner at Mozza which always inspires me to whip up my own pies, so much so I know I went through one too many burrata pints that week.


We also tackled the mandatory ground cover the city insists we must have for drainage issues, grass seed was a temporary no-brainer to pass inspection.



Concrete dudes are back, pouring the concrete patio off of the guest house




and pathways to the front door


and the side door too.


and remarkably this neglected orchid I leave outside all year round comes back every year..who knew?


Saturday, December 22, 2012


Still here, still much for the Mayan calendar doom and gloom to kickstart our holiday this year, that and all the other heartbreaking headlines and noise this month. Getting through it and you know it only gets better, some things upsetting, some things wonderful, all said and done things moving forward. Peace! Love! Happy Holidays everyone!

A tree this year just didn’t feel right for me, I opted instead to find some tree branches and foliage from our neighbor’s yard, stick them in a large pitcher and voila! xmas!


A neighbor had too many xmas decorations and gifted us with a fresh wreath too, sweet!


A new neighbor also decided to cut down five 20+year-old eucalyptus trees. Kind of off to a scary start when the neighbor’s gardener decides to act as a one man tree service. 3 trees down, a section of our fence focused and he finally enlists some help. At the end of it all he was lucky to have broken only a few shoulder bones, a trip to the ER, his arm in a sling and he was back at it the next day, laughing at his near miss, could of been knocked dead scenario..maniac.


Free gifts of eucalyptus mulch and firewood for years now so we’ve been busy splitting and stacking wood. Not the most ideal task right now as the stronger of us has an injured shoulder but it’s gotta get done and help from our neighbor was really nice. We just started and there’s still so much more to go.


Let’s just all wish for a safe and happy holiday, safe with an exclamation mark this year! Take the neighbor’s fat cat, Bubbles as a prime example, one day he’s lounging belly up and the next night his nose gets sliced off in a late night brawl with what must of been a bobcat or something…oh the fat cat that thinks he’s a dog always learning the hard way.


Friday, December 21, 2012

odds and ends

So many finishings, catching up and the doorbells finally get people-friendly.


Stucco dudes squeezed us in between jobs and finally got the last part of the stucco done as well, the house is one color now.


The neglected cacti that were given to me over a year ago reminded me with pretty white fragrant blooms which the bees went nuts over that they’re still alive and well.



We moved appliances into the guest house and I got stuck peeling off the sticky protective film off of a fridge we bought over a year ago, of course not coming off easy. Bored of plain walls too and I told dude to rig up some large picture frames from scratch; once again cutting, sanding, staining to size.


Obviously we learned it wasn’t the best idea to put the first frame together on a wool carpet, took the sticky film off of acrylic and what a static mess.


Guest bathrooms get done too. Shower doors TAKE 2, this time without shattering the glass and then we cut, sanded and stained wood bases for towel hooks.


Wall sconces in the guest bathroom finally up..I thought they’d be a bit too high but the scale of the aged steel glass cloche filament sconce works.


and with a counter full of pineapples that meant the dehydrator was being put to work too, work never ends here.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day USA!

Turkey day! always involves a very long day of prepping, snacking and drinking and when you have family all over the world the phone just doesn’t stop ringing too, hours of catching up and all good wishes. There’s always so much to be thankful for and I’m thankful for dear friends and family, good organic food and today what seems like a marathon show of “Punkin Chunkin” on the Science channel. Passionate people building high tech versions of medievil catapults solely to launch pumpkins through the air to ridiculous distances, up to a 1/2 mile and spending at times upwards of $150k on their own dime, geeze we were seriously entertained for hours. As one finalist put it, “it’s great to know you are the best in the world” even if that best is something so incredibly obscure. Happy gobble, gobble day everyone!

And yesterday while picking up my weekly CSA box at the local Whole Foods I came across a shelf of Glutino’s gluten-free corn bread stuffing that they featured for the holidays. Being a sucker for obvious marketing I had to test it out and surprisingly it was good. Also being a bit of a scatter brain this holiday I made a batch of fresh ricotta cheese for a new pumpkin pie recipe I was gonna try. Of course having skimmed through a number of pie recipes I confused two recipes and the witchy kitchen pie recipe I would be making didn’t even call for ricotta, so yeah, there was plenty of snacking on home-made ricotta today, as a dip for carrots, on toast, you name it. And as for the pie it turned out delicious. The filling fell a bit flat though, it wasn’t very thick but it tasted good and it met the main criteria for me, a pumpkin pie filling that did NOT taste egg-y, it had no eggs, problem solved. But of course I was too stuffed to dig in so hence no picture..tommorrow’s dessert.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

It’s been awhile since my last post, there’s no reason, sometimes busy, sometimes not. The house is not done, there’s all those odds and ends still, dude smashing and breaking his finger on a surfboard out in the water kinda slows things down a bunch too. So yes, we’re stalled now as I’m not very skilled when it comes to table saws and routers and things, I’ll spare us the grief as it seems danger, danger lurks lately. Friends also visiting from far away and our youngest visitor of course gets wiped out by a wave, left with a mega elbow a.k.a. a supracondylar fracture…poor thing.

Then the earth rattled a bit over the weekend too, reminding us all who’s boss. I didn’t feel it on the floor, just the windows doing a sudden dance. It felt more like the impact of an explosion or something, scary but at least we didn’t topple, still standing. So much for my joking about completing the house and then getting wiped out by an earthquake, yeah, not so far-fetched of a thought now and how that would suck, no? And as for impact and things falling, the birds will keep that up around here, no need to wait for “the quake” as there’s not a day that goes by without a few birds flying into a window at full speed and all that’s left are feathers on glass

as they fall straight to their death.

And so in the spirit of collisions, broken bones and possible death around here I wish you a happy 4th! Topping it off with a eucalyptus framed fireworks show courtesy of the resort nearby and right from our deck, sweet!