Thursday, December 11, 2014


When I recently read about Roy Choi's new restaurant in Koreatown I was so excited to try it! Choi is the chef credited with founding the food truck movement that is so popular in L.A. through his flagship gourmet Korean taco truck, Kogi.

His latest restaurant, Commissary, is housed at the Line Hotel in Koreatown. The restaurant is on the second floor and is made to look like a green house. It is so beautiful in there, my photo doesn't even do it justice. And I'd imagine a rainy day might be the perfect time to come here! 

Here is the menu:

Just images - no descriptors. Though the wait staff will gladly go into detail about what is in a particular dish. (My lunch mate is a vegan, so we stuck to the vegetable side. The other side of the menu is mostly animal protein.) Choi wanted to make customers feel as though they are visiting someone in their garden. 

I was so busy enjoying the food that I forgot to take photos!! But we ordered the carrots (roasted with added balsamic over a green chimichurri sauce), quinoa (served with dried fruit), pumpkin (served as a stew atop rice and other veggies) and brussels sprouts (chopped finely and served in vinegar with fried okra.) It was all so good!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

kids t-shirt

Well, I finally put some of that jersey to good use and made t-shirts for Doodle!

And one in this blue and white striped pattern. 

Mr. P. gave his brother a hug yesterday while he was wearing the green shirt and said, "Your shirt is so soft! MOM, can you make me one?" Music to my ears. Yes, yes I can!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

thanksgiving 2014

So, for the first time in about twelve years, my husband and I relinquished Thanksgiving dinner hosting duties and just showed up as guests this year and I have to say, it was magical! I awoke Thanksgiving morning, danced off to hip hop class and spent the rest of the day playing with the boys and not stressing about food!

Our oldest family friends have a place in Malibu right on the beach. You couldn't have made up a more beautiful backdrop for dinner. 

The kids loved playing on the beach and the sunset was incredible:

We brought wine and this gluten free, dairy free, no sugar added chocolate pie with coconut cream. Here is the recipe I used,  from Oh She Glows, but I added a whole banana. I had never made this before but it turned out really good!!

That's my sister on the left! She and I did some blurry cuddling post dinner. 

I could very well get used to being a guest for Thanksgiving!! However, we did manage to cook a Thanksgiving dinner Friday night for a "second Thanksgiving" with my parents and sister. 

In addition to our little turkey, we made brussel sprouts and bacon, sweet potato rounds (from Smitten Kitchen), fingerling potatoes, my mom brought a salad with cranberries and I made this roasted carrot dish from Circa Happy. Everyone was very nice and forgave the fact that somehow, the carrots never made it to the oven. They added a nice and surprising crunch, I suppose. I'd like to try this dish again and actually bake them the next time around.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

what i ate #19

Just busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. 

Birthday party to plan, holidays to sort out, parents having surgery (Everyone is fine!), dogs to train, a house to build, libraries to volunteer in, an author website to build, a book to publish……like I said, busy busy busy. 

But there's always time to eat!

I've been trying hard to stick to my no sugar, no wheat, no dairy policy. Halloween threw me for a loop, but I'm back on track. And thank goodness Starbucks now offers coconut milk! Coconut milk lattes are delicious!!

Here's a few things I've had over the last few weeks:

There's been no shortage of pomegranates over here and I've been trying to incorporate them into everything I eat! (we are even adding a pomegranate tree at our new house)

kabocha squash soup with pomegranate and pepitas

kabocha squash is my absolute favorite. The pepitas add a nice crunch and the pomegranates give it a pop of flavor. 

This has become my go to salad. In the photo below you'll see I've substituted roasted broccoli for the cauliflower. Whatever is in the fridge. What I love about this salad are all the interesting flavors and textures together: apple, cabbage, herbs, radishes and scallions….

These lamb meatballs sprinkled with mint and pomegranate are so good! Substitute turkey for lamb. Add some heat and dip in a yogurt sauce to cool your mouth. 

Cod with raw beet and carrot salad. Stick an edible flower on a plate and I'm sold. 

Friday, November 14, 2014


Here are a few photos from Halloween. Slim pickings as my camera phone ran out of space. My dad took some on his camera, but I haven't had a chance to get those from him yet, so you're left with Mr. P.'s homemade jester costume and the dogs as a taco and a camel!

I have to say, that jester costume was by far the easiest costume I've ever made. I constructed it as a vest so he just had to wear a long sleeve black t-shirt underneath. Stay tuned for Doodle's knight costume!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween!

Even though there's rain predicted in L.A. tonight, it's not going to stop us from having fun! The only thing scarier than a rainy Halloween is our crazy drought!

Here was this morning's costumes in action. No, I did not sew these costumes. 

But I did sew tonight's costume change!!! Photo to follow. 

The teachers all joined in in a Thriller flashmob choreographed dance that was amazing! Making braised short ribs and kabocha squash soup for dinner before we get out there. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Underwood Farms

I think this was our 8th year at Underwood Family Farms. 

Same kids, same gags.

But this time, we brought the puppy.

We now have pumpkins for days!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

very pinteresting: hanging bat

We made these hanging bats from a project on Pinterest. I didn't have any black fuzzy material, so instead, I recycled some fabric from Doodle's elephant costume from last year's Halloween. 

They're cute, these bats! And very easy to make. Click here for the tutorial. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

very pinteresting: body parts in a jar

I needed something for the Halloween table. Something spooky. Something vaguely disgusting. And I found it in the form of these body parts in faux formaldehyde. 

So spooky. So gross. So easy!!!

Click here for the original instructions I found on Pinterest. 

My ratio for the lime green liquid was about four drops of yellow to one drop of green food coloring. 

The body parts were just assembled from a pile of bones and body parts I've collected over the years. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

fish tank and glow in the dark pants

Doodle requested a tank top (he loves to sleep in them) with a fish on it, so I sewed him this:

They go nicely with his new, glow in the dark astronaut pajama bottoms I made!

And they make him act a little silly. Maybe it's not the new pajamas. Maybe it's just him. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dried Pears

We're still as enamored with our organic produce delivery box after a year. Everything gets eaten. The fruit goes into smoothies and gets snacked on. The veggies get roasted, sauteed and hidden in smoothies and green juices. Anything leftover gets placed with homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker for Sunday night soup. 

I was looking for something to snack on in the movie theater (we went to see Book of Life this weekend) since Paleo dictates popcorn is out, so I decided to try some dried / dehydrated pears. 

I don't own a dehydrator (and please don't take this as a hint to get me one…) but the oven, set to a low temperature, works just fine. 

I sliced the pear thinly using a mandolin (a gadget I will keep!) I soaked the sliced in a mixture of water and fresh lemon juice to prevent the pears from oxidizing and turning brown for about ten minutes. Setting the oven to 160, I placed the sliced on a baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil and baked them for about six hours. 

I took the pears off the pan before they cooled and then placed them into a plastic bag for the theater. They were crunchy and delicious!!! I think they could even have used an additional hour if you like them super crunchy. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

halloween costumes, continued….

So, after watching Project Runway, I was inspired to try and sketch out the boys' Halloween costumes. Tim Gunn would tell me my proportions are all off, but here you go…one knight and one jester. 

I had fun planning these costumes with the kids. They chose the color schemes and Doodle accompanied me to the fabric store to pick out materials. I went with mostly felt for the costumes as it's pretty sturdy, easy to work with and forgiving. 

We'll see how it all shakes out!

candy wine pairings

I love this chart found on the Kitchn. It helps you pair wine with Halloween Candy:

Halloween just got even more fun. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

duck in cherry reduction

Recently, I discovered an incredible, old fashioned butcher in Santa Monica. If you're local, it's called A Cut Above.

They have absolutely everything here, all so beautifully laid out. And the best part is, their meat and poultry is all hormone free, free range and locally sourced. They are so passionate about their product and have been very patient with me when I ask them all of my questions.

And their products are cheaper than Whole Foods.

They also sell chicken carcasses! What in the world would I want that for?? I've been making my own bone broth lately! (recipe to follow soon).

They make their own bacon!

And the last time I was there, they were selling something called lamb bacon. I haven't tried it yet, but I am definitely intrigued!

They also have a sandwich bar if you're looking for prepared food.

Anyhow, I decided to try making duck for the first time, so I came here to get it. I ended up making duck breast in a cherry reduction sauce with sautéed cabbage.  It was delicious! My 5 year old loved it so much he asked for it the next day both in his snack and in his lunch.

With all the new evidence coming out about how we're creating superbugs and resistance to antibiotics by pumping our meat and poultry full of antibiotics, I think it's an important discovery to find a quality and affordable hormone / antibiotic free, local butcher!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Tutorials

As I am planning this year's costumes for the boys, I thought I'd take the time to share photos and tutorials from Halloweens past in case any of you are looking for inspiration!

Here is a super simple tutorial for a bat T-shirt (although you could use the embellishment on anything…pillow cases? Tablecloth??)

If you're thinking of a Harry Potter Theme, check out my Wizarding Robe tutorial!

A wizarding wand to go along with your robe:

How about some easy spiders? Great for the under five crowd:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

see kate sew lookbook

As I was sewing the collar of my very first handmade coat this morning, I said to myself, "Never again. I will never make a coat again!"

And then I saw this newly released photo of See Kate Sew's ICON coat

Looks like I'll be in for one more coat (if I ever finish my current Collete Pattern one!) The 80 degree Los Angeles weather has certainly not been motivational. See Kate Sew's coat is done in herringbone (Which is what I'm using for my current coat) so I'll have to find another fun print. 

I also really like the DREAMER TOP made out of knit. She swears it's really easy! I like easy! 

And this two-toned ZIPPY top is so fun!!!

Can't wait to pre-order these paper patterns and get to work on a fall wardrobe! (If only fall would ever get here!!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

aip diet

September was crazy! In addition to the transition of getting the kids back in school, resuming my writing schedule, working on my forthcoming novel….the kids got sick, then I got sick and three weeks later, I'm still under the weather! This superbug is not so super!!

On September 2 I made a commitment to try the AIP diet for at least three weeks. AIP stands for Auto Immune Protocol and is recommended for people struggling with any sort of autoimmune disease. My goal is to avoid going on conventional rheumatoid arthritis meds for as long as possible, so I was highly motivated to try AIP. 

The idea is that foods can cause inflammation in your body, which can manifest, trigger or contribute to autoimmune diseases. If you can isolate your personal triggers and remove them from your diet, you can lessen or even get rid of your symptoms! Who wouldn't want that??

What I can eat: protein, fruit, vegetable, olive oil, coconut oil 
What I can't eat: dairy, wheat, alcohol, sugar, coffee, nuts, seeds, processed foods, grains, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)….I'm sure I'm missing things, but you get the idea. 

Sounds hard?? Well, it was….at first! But after 8 days, joints pain that I would have previously described as a scream morphed in to a whisper. It was kind of amazing! Three weeks in to the diet, I ended up eating out for my husband's birthday at a really nice restaurant. Not wanting to be the pain-in-the-ass at the dinner party, I just ate without asking questions. The pain was back the next morning. 

So now, I'm back on track. what began as a 30 experiment is quickly turning into a new way of life. The idea is to try and reintroduce foods one at a time and see what I react to. I've been okay with coffee in small doses and okay with a glass of red wine. I tried popcorn and immediately had major gastrointestinal pain, so that's out for now. 

Anyhow, in case you were feeling sorry for me and all the food depravation…..look through the recipes I've been using below! I've been eating like a queen!!!!

Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash

Crispy Sweet Potato Noodles

Roasted Fennel and Artichoke Hearts

Carnitas atop yucca cakes with avocado cream

Lime Ginger Coconut Chicken

Coconut Crusted Cod

Korean Short Ribs

Roasted Cauliflower with Figs and Olives

Not feeling so sorry for me anymore…huh???