Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sweet Caroline and Her Quince

shabby chic

Oh, sweet Caroline. Good times never seem so good.

Caroline has turned 15 and is blossoming into a beautiful young woman. She loves to read Harry Potter books and hopes to someday become a doctor. Snapping pictures of her was such a blast since her and I both share a love for all that is vintage.

Oh and if you are wondering where I got that sweet logo at the top of this post, it from Shabby Blogs.

harry potter, quince

harry potter books, quince invitations


healthy recipes

whole foods

photographer las vegas

las vegas food

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Young Women are like Flowers

A few weeks ago, four girls in the Young Women's program of my church completed their personal progress. As a reward for their accomplishment, the Young Women's President organized a fun retreat that included a one night hotel stay, goodie baskets full of treats and spa products, and a photoshoot at the temple. I had the honor of taking the pictures which was so much fun. I really love being part of the Young Women's program as it is wonderful watching the girls as they develop their spiritual growth. It is also very rewarding for me to know that I am helping to contribute to their knowledge of eternal principles and appreciation for the worth and potential of their own sweet souls.

The inspiration I received for these photos came from the beautiful flowers that are nutured at the Temple grounds. The delicate beauty of the flowers remind me of the Young Women as they have so many similarities. Just like the flowers, the girls of the Young Women's program are each special and beautiful in different ways. The values are like the seeds that have been planted. The seeds grow with each passing season until eventually each girl becomes a woman that works to make the world a better place through service and self improvement.








Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Squash Lentil Soup and Muffins


I originally made this Squash Lentil Soup and Squash Feta Muffins back in October but never got around to posting the recipe. The soup was really delicious so I decided to make it again over the weekend, only this time I added carrots, celery, and spinach which made it even better!


I had originally found the Squash Feta Muffin recipe on 101 Cookbooks where Heidi Swanson shared with her readers a self-published cookbook called Martha Goes Green. It was my first time making savory muffins so I wasn't entirely sure what to suspect. But since I had a huge 25 pound sweet meat squash sitting in my kitchen waiting to be roasted, I figured I had nothing to lose.


The muffins turned out incredibly scrumptious and they paired up so perfectly with the lentil soup. My husband really enjoyed it and he usually doesn't care much for soups. But after eating this meal, he was really stuffed! Any leftover muffins I froze and they actually do really well when you re-heat them in the microwave.


Its been really fun planning for the holidays lately and thinking about all the yummy recipes that I want to make and share with my family. During the entire month of November I thought of all the things I was grateful for in my life--my husband, my marriage, my home, my family, my job, my health and my friendships. I really wanted to keep a jar and drop a note of all the things I was grateful for each day to share the day of Thanksgiving aloud. Unfortunately I didn't get around to doing it so I think I will definitely do it next year.

This past weekend when we celebrated Thanksgiving, I was really happy spending time with loved ones. I felt like my heart was just swelling with emotion. The only family member missing was my step father since he spent Thanksgiving at the hospital. His health has been declining and he was hospitalized 2 weeks ago after having a colostomy reversal. Since his sugery, he hasn't been allowed to eat or drink anything--not even water. But I spent a few hours with him the day before Thanksgiving, reading to him the life of Gordon B. Hinckly at his bedside. I was hoping it would bring him some comfort and entertainment. Sitting next to him made me think of how grateful I was that he took care of my mother and helped her become the person that she wanted to be--spiritual, confident in speaking her mind, and generous.


Source: Inspired by The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Soup

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zucchini Ribbon Lasagna


This morning it was cold. It made it hard to climb out of my warm bed. I guess the chilly climate finally decided to come. In September the weather started to cool off, but then it changed its mind and it got warm again. The same thing happened in October. I thought for sure it would get cold by Halloween...but no, instead it was cool. We even had some rain in October. But today, the winds have finally changed. Now I can officially wear my cozy sweaters. Soon I'll have to start thinking about how I can avoid the flu season.

So in celebration of the cold, I decided to post this great zucchini lasagna recipe I found in my whole living magazine (A Martha Stewart Publication). Squash is in season so this dish is most appropriate. This delicious easy to make lasagna is very healthy and gluten free. You can even leave out the meat to make it vegetarian.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pear, Prosciutto, and Gorgonzola Pizza


Lately all of my recipes have been inspired by the fruits and veggies that I receive in my food co-op basket. A few weeks ago I received a nice batch of pears and I immediately thought of the Pear and Arugula Pizza I often get at Sammy's Woodfire pizza. So I figured I would try to make a version of that.


This amazing dish is such a delicious surprise since you would never expect pears on pizza. But trust me, its AMAZING!


But instead of using arugula, I used sunflower sprouts and purple basil. These are my favorite and I am always sure to pick up a small bundle at Molto's Farmers Market on Thursdays. But you can probably use any other kind of herbs like pea shoots.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Panna Cotta with Honey and Poached Pears


A normal day for me is waking up at 5:50 am to make the gym where I usually hit the snooze button and 25 minutes later I finally get up resigning myself to a short jog around the neighborhood. Then my day proceeds with work promptly at 9 am and when I finish at 6 pm, I either head to church to attend a Wednesday meeting, do my visiting teaching, or I drop by at a family members house to catch up. Otherwise, I head home to start dinner. With everyday jam packed with activities, finding time to relax has become challenging.


But lately I have discovered that when I find a quiet moment to myself, I really enjoy doing nothing. Sometimes it is for 2 minutes, other times it is for 1 hour. But either way, I allow myself a moment to sink into myself. Now don't get me wrong, I don't spend a whole lot of time doing nothing. I just give myself a time to take a mental break.


For a person who often thinks about the future and thinks about everything in the long run, a moment of doing nothing gives me a chance to appreciate the beauty of the present. I get to just let my mind wander to a warm and calm place. Without even realizing it, my mind took a mental nap. Then I snap back to reality refreshed ready to tackle the remainder of the day.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Figs


Figs are a fairly new food to me. I have heard of them but I have never seen them in a grocery store here in Las Vegas. This past weekend at the Farmer's Market I decided to buy a pint so that I might find out why these expensive little fruits are so coveted by food bloggers across the nation.

I decided to try bacon wrapped figs. I figured it was hard to go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon. I was a little unsure how they would taste...but they were surprisingly pleasant. This recipe was really simple so I think it would be worth tweaking the recipe a bit. Just to bring out more flavor. After a little research, I found that you can also use prosciutto and pancetta in place of turkey bacon. Also I have read that mascarpone or ricotta cheese gives the bacon wrapped fig a nice sweet finishing touch.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Doughnuts Cookbook Now Available on Amazon

I am so excited about Lara Ferroni's new Doughnuts cookbook! If you have never heard of her, she is an amazing food photographer and she offers fantastic photo tips and tricks on her blog.

To promote her new cookbook, she created this really cool little trailer. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Cupcakes and MMA


Its been 4 months since I stopped hitting the bags at the MMA gym. My contract had expired over the summer and I had decided not to renew. At the time Matt ha made the decision to go back to school and get his Ph.D, and I agreed to spend more time at home to be with him and support him. Now 4 months later I am out of shape and I find myself desperately seeking ways to release stress. MMA served as an outlet for me and I miss it terribly. I miss kicking and punching the bags, the rigorous work outs, the painful aches that ensued the following mornings after a tough work out, Miss sleeping better and I especially miss that feeling of being invincible. I felt confident. Now I try to get my fix by jogging in the mornings and by watching The Ultimate Fighter on Spike.

In this season of the Ultimate fighter, Mike Tyson pays GSPs team a visit. St. Pierre has been a fan of Tyson for years and Tyson is a fan of UFC. Tyson stayed to watch a fight and after GSPs team wins, he offers some words of advice. He said, "Its all about confidence. You start thinking better you start feeling better about yourself. You have to think day by day, in every way, better better, than better. Confidence breeds success, success breeds confidence...the whole name of the game is never getting scared." What he said really struck me as fascinating and I thought to myself, "I bet you could apply this idea to everything in one's life". I suppose it is important to train and install confidence in oneself in order to succeed at anything. Its a powerful thing to be able to influence yourself and others.

Although Mike Tyson had gone off the deep end a few years back, I have a profound respect for him as an athlete. If you are interested in wacthing the clip of Tyson playing Guru, here it is: watch


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple Tart and Thoughts About Beauty


My father has always said, “no hay mujer fea, sino mal arreglada” which means there are no ugly women, only women who do not care for themselves. I have always liked that saying because it implies that all women are beautiful. Beauty is about taking care of yourself, not looking perfect. There is beauty in the imperfect. I see it all around me.


An asymmetrical heirloom tomato is more interesting than a perfectly formed round and red tomato that is typically found in a grocery store. The heirloom has surprising colors and its story is fascinating.

When I go to the farmer’s market, there are so many beautiful yet simple foods. They come in all shapes and sizes—lumpy, irregular, and imperfect. The colors, shapes, and textures allow me to prepare recipes born from intuition.


The notion of finding beauty in imperfection is the opposite of what our society tells us. But it is a thought that is very compelling. The idea of abandoning perfection is very inviting. Its almost a relief.


In these pictures, I was inspired by the colors of this “pink pearl” apple. It is a heirloom variety. A heirloom vegetable or fruit means that the plant has been passed down through generations. The seeds are some of the oldest varieties of vegetables available. This particular apple is homely on the outside, but shockingly pink on the inside. Its as though they are keeping a little secret inside. The flavor is sweet-tart with a pleasant crisp. If you have not explored heirloom varieties yet, I encourage to do so. You will be pleasantly surprised.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sourdough English Muffins and Fall


This morning when I woke up, it was completely dark outside. My husband moaned when he observed this as if the transition of summer to fall pained him. I instantly knew that it is officially time to start pulling out my cold-weather clothes, boots, and Halloween decorations. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year and I want to get a head start at celebrating it with fun kooky d├ęcor. I try to savor every single day of it. Last year we decorated our house only a few days before Halloween, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that this year.


In the past when I was single, I used to dread the fall season. It was hard for me to be cheery when the day would disappear so quickly and darkness would fall at early hours. But now I welcome the changing weather. In my adulthood I have learned how to enjoy it. One of the things I find pleasure in is going outside in the early morning and looking up at the less than bright sky. I take a deep breathe and I can taste the slight chill in the air. This is usually how I know that the colder weather is creeping closer. It reminds me of the holidays and makes me think of family.

For this recipe I used a 100 year old sourdough starter. Its been in my step dad's family for a long time. My mom gave me a scoop of it and I have since then tripled it. After forgetting about it in the fridge for a while, I decided it was time to take it out for a feeding. Then before putting it back in the fridge, I used the left over batter for this recipe. The recipe was inspired by a an old recipe book that my mother-in-law let me borrow. It has really fantastic information about food storage and great recipes for making your own homemade yogurt, different kinds of starters, and baking with your own freshly ground wheat.

For more information on sourdough starters follow this link.