Kale, sausage, and white bean soup

What do you think of when you hear the word wild? 

You might think of Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, which is totally fine. Or you might think of Artemis running through the Greek la-la lands with her bow and arrow, and that's fine too. For whatever reason, the wild has been on the brain, and I'm here to blog about it. 

Part of the reason might be because of my new addiction to hot yoga. Before hot yoga, I would not consider myself a sweaty person. In a hot yoga classroom it's impossible not to be. There are moments, like warrior 3 or hunkered in goddess, when the sweat drippy drops down my arms and I feel so natural and so IN TUNE with how my body is supposed to function. It's GROSS but COOL. 

I've also been reading lots of excerpts from Women Who Run With the Wolves, which is likely another contributing factor to my latest obsession. I just finished the chapter on creativity and it was delightful. According to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the author creativity is not an option. It is something we must do when our love for something is overflowing. It need not be a person (though broken-hearted songwriters do quite well when it is), but it can be an idea, image, or land. It can be a word. 

And thus, when are were so inspired, a sort of "wildness" consumes us. Dr. Estes says:

Women's eyes flash as they create, their words lilt, their faces flush with life, their very hair seems to shine al the more. They are excited by the idea, aroused by the possibilities, impassioned by the very thought, and at that point, like the great river, they are meant to flow outward and continuously on their own unparalleled creative path. That is the way women feel fulfilled.


The leaves have been inspirational, and coming home from yoga (already feeling animalistic), and seeing the leftovers from the trees has made me obsessive. I'm bookmarking soup recipes up the wazoo. I'm standing over saucepans of mulled wine while listening to Fleet Foxes. I haven't had a pumpkin spice latte yet, but I plan on doing so when the moment is just right.  Until then, I'll make soups. 

The act of making soups inspires both a sense of creativity and femininity. I can't help but a feel a bit maternal as I nurture a soup, is that weird? I don't think so. A good soup recipe combines lots of textures and flavors. This one does the trick; it's got kale for a plant factor, parmesan for cream, pillowy soft northern beans, canned tomatoes for acid's sake, and some ground turkey for the heavy lifting. The real treat is the process. Standing over the pot 5pm on a Sunday eve is cozy and inspiring.  A little creative exercise, if you will. It's finding inspiration, gathering the tools, creating, watching, loving, relishing, and feeling very very wild. 

kale, sausage, and white bean soup

in a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. chop and add the onion and cook until lightly browned and translucent, or about five minutes. Chop the carrots and add to pot. Cook for three minutes. Mince the garlic and add the the pot, and cook for one more minute. 

Add the white wine to deglaze and then add the sausage, stirring to break up the meat. Add the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the turkey is just browned. 

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes (along with their juices). Bring to a boil and then allow the soup to simmer for ten minutes. Chop the kale into pieces. Add the kale and beans and cook for another 12 minutes, or until the kale is tender.

Taste and add spices accordingly. Serve with parmesan cheese, and crusty bread, if desired. 




olive oil

1 half onion 

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots

1/4 cup dry white wine

8 ounces turkey sausage

2 tablespoons italian seasoning (I used dried oregano, basil, and thyme)

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups chicken broth

1 12-ounce canned diced tomatoes 

3 large bunches of kale

1 12-ounce can northern beans 

parmesan to garnish 


- stay cozy AND RUN WILD!!!!!!!!!!

virginia beach blue crab salsa

Atlantic ocean, it was great to see you. I had forgotten about the flat spread of white sand, the smell of salt and old bay, and the dance of the reeds on the lumpy dunes. Virginia is humid by nature, but the stretch of land along along the shore the weather catches a sexy lil' breeze. And as crazy as it sounds, I sort of enjoyed the humidity?? I like being an occasional sweaty mess; it warrants good reason to indulge in the infamous orange crush.

I flew back to my geographical roots to witness the marriage Chris Palmer (I can't not use his last name) and my good friend and former roommate, Kristen. Also in attendance were the other 8 girls I lived with in college, in an adorable four-storied rustic house with a broken porch swing and a a family of squirrels living in the ceiling. I've talked about them here and here, and I'll likely be talking about them for the rest of forever. 

The (NOW!) Palmers (!!!!) are two of the coolest people I've ever met.  I remember them getting me to like mushrooms one night when I stumbled home from a party and entered our kitchen at 1am to them eating mushroom/pepperoni pizza from the local delivery joint, Chanello's. They offered me a slice, and my obsession with mushroom pizza and their company exploded in parmesan confetti.

Our menu this weekend was a mixture of classy beach treats and college throwbacks (Chanello's did make a reappearance on the evening of the Bachelorette party), consisting of gourmet take-out from Taste, homemade mango margaritas, smartfood popcorn, neptune's pillow-y scallops from Dockside Willie's, champagne champagne champagne, sweet potato biscuits with butter and prosciutto, key lime cupcakes, and ALL THE CRAB.  

The mid-atlantic knows how to do crab. It's not that stringy and sad Red Lobster crab, but the mermaid-kissed crab fresh out of the Chesapeake bay. It's salty and fat, delicious when it all smooshed together and panfried with butter and green onions. It's also great on a picnic table with a hammer and a corona. And now I like to put it in my salsa.

BLUE CRAB SALSA! I've seen it at the grocery store, but this recipe lets you make your own. It's a smooth, restaurant-style salsa, but you could choose to keep the crab meat whole and make it chunky (simply add it to the salsa after pulsing everything else in the food processor and stir). Also, the spice/salt ratios may change based on your personal preference.  Serve it with corn chips, on top of eggs, oron a Chanello's pizza. 

virginia beach blue crab salsa


add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender. pulse until smooth. 











1 lb jumbo lump crab meat

1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin 

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, finely chopped and seeds removed

2 teaspoons salt, plus to taste

1-1/2 teaspoon old bay

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Chris and Kristen were married at the Hermitage, which is where most of these pictures were taken.

Also! Hipster Barbie makes some really good points regarding instagram, and Molly Wizenberg talks to Alice Waters and both women talk about the importance of passion. 

- stay cozy!

Farro salad with peaches, goat cheese, mint, and arugula

It's the last day of August! Oh my god! I've never really understood August as a month, but it's also intrigued me in that, "classic image of summer" kind of way. I don't know why. I like the image of children running around a backyard playing manhunt while our parents get drunk off shandies and grill things. I also think "the end of summer" can be super poetic, if you think about it that way. Regardless, I've always longed to understand August in the way that I understand months like December or April and it hasn't yet happened. My relationship with August is simple, like with that of your sophomore year boyfriend. My relationship with August revolves around peaches. 

Peaches and I have a history. When I was nine years old, Mish and one of her best girlfriends took our families (my brother and I, plus two little girls of similar ages) out to the more rural horizon of Virginia for peach pickin'. Mish's friend had a daughter named Jessica,  who was 11  and so cool in that special "I AM IN MY DOUBLE DIGITS" kind of way, so our peach pickin' consisted largely of sitting in the trees and acting like hot shit. 

"You can tell a ripe peach cuz it bounces when you toss it to the ground," We joked. Little did we know, my sweet and vulnerable baby brother was standing below the branches, holding a peach in his hand and thinking "Ohhhhh! Good idea, Sis!" His paper bag was soon soaked with the juice of several bruised peaches and my heart was full of shame. Mish thinks I tricked him on purpose, but I do not remember doing such a horrible thing. I'll push that thought aside for now. 

Luckily,  my brother has since learned that not everything I say should be taken literally. I have learned to favor fruit over looking cool and respect the peaches. I think that peaches are very picturesque of stereotypical Americana. Maybe it's because they, like watermelon, are the ideal "summer kid food." You give your child a fresh peach, push him or her out to the curb, and you've got yourself an edible babysitter. Woo-woo! Go peaches. 

But we've got to get a move on, people, as peaches are only in season for a few more short weeks. This means peach cobblers and peaches n' cream in my oatmeal and frozen peaches dipped in cinnamon. It also means cold salad that are perfectly squeezed into a lunch shift, like this farro and peach combo. 

Farro is a grain that was often consumed by the poorer families of Tuscany, but then the "rustic" trend caught on and everyone was like, "woah, those peasant families with the good-smelling soup sure look thin and healthy", and thus the glory of farro spread throughout the world. It's nutty and slightly sweet, softer and nuttier than rice and more texturized than pasta. It likes to soak itself in vinaigrettes, making it an ideal platform for summer salads.

I used some peaches from a California orchard, along with fresh arugula and chevre from the Mar Vista Farmer's Market. The cold goat cheese and the peaches are sweet and tangy, and the arugula adds a gentle slap of pepper. There is also mint, which I really like. With a cold vinaigrette they are magical, and ideal for lazy lunches or pre-dinner foodstuffs. I recommend them with cold white wine, if you are not eating in this in the back alley of your coffee shop job. 

Find the recipe located on Wanderlust, located here. Thanks, Wanderlust for inviting me to play with such a fun ingredient! Farro is the yummiest.

- Stay cozy!

"Yeah, go ahead and throw it in there" bruschetta chips

Italians, I have learned, like to eat.

It is not ambiguous as to why; food is great. Even better when enjoyed in the company of friends, lovers, or extended family members over a stone table as you paddle back in forth from pool to kitchen for more sun and more sangiovese. Dining is an experience, one as sacred as a Sunday Mass, but without the pesky limitations of a dixie cup of wine. 

Last night provided tangible proof of such a mindset.  Aaron and I spent the evening in Florence and had our dinner at a local place recommended to us by my friend Sergio. The place, called Trattoria Da Tito and located a convenient block way, is "good for the young people and good for the meats," or at least that's how Sergio described it. Not only do the Italians at Tito's enjoy a solid meal; they provide a vibe and energy that fuses into one magnificent, pomodoro-scented "experience." We were greeted with a hearty, "CIAO" and then a fat jug of a super tuscan, followed by three courses of utter euphoria, and then a liquid dessert of limoncello. The space between each course was timed perfectly, so that we were never hungry or overcrowded with plates (which illustrated profound consideration for the diner). At midnight, our waiter turned 26, and he rode through the restaurant on a bicycle and asked us to partake in more shot-taking. Um, duh. 

Besides, waste is frowned upon. Which is why I most recently prepared a snack using an amalgamation of leftovers found in our cucina. 

I made these "bruschetta chips" a few days ago, on the afternoon of our first full day in San Gimignano. The night before we had been searching for a grocery store, navigating our u-haul-sized Fiat through the mockingly narrow streets, and finding only small markets that sold small things. We were tired, expressing common familial frustration, and the place sold wine and bread and cheese and a few vegetables. Just fine. My mother is a wonderful chef, and she and my aunt were able to combine these beautiful babies to create a heavenly, Tuscan pasta dish. 

The next day, the grownups took a trip to the actual grocery store (a mere 20 minutes away!), and I rummaged through the leftovers to make them something yummy. There were fresh tomatoes of the roma and cherry variety, diced red onions, black olives, and parmesan cheese. The owners of our home had gifted us a bag of toasted bread wedges, that depicted a bland exterior, but were actually very good. Bruschetta was soooo possible. 

And so with a juice glass of grenache and dripping pool water on the kitchen floor, I chopped and tossed and stirred and made one of the easiest things in the world: bruschetta dip! The juicies from the tomatoes and olive oil create a lovely pool at the bottom of the bowl, perfect for soaking into crunchy bits of bread and filling them with the smooth tang of earth and acid. It's romantic and sexy and I want to feed bites of it to my nearest and dearest. 

I recommend it on a day where you can do nothing but read and eat, preferably in a bathing suit or something just as playful. It pairs well with a dry rosé. 

"Yeah, go ahead and throw it in there" bruschetta chips

Chop the tomatoes into tiny squares (depending on desired chunkiness) and add to a medium-sized bowl. Chop up any of your mediterranean fixins and add the the bowl, along with the onions. Chiffonade (or finely chop) the basil and toss that guy in there. Add the balsamic, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Shred the parmesan over the bruschetta and stir. Taste. Add more. Add whatever. Go out into the garden. You've got this. 

Serve with wedges of crusty, toasted bread. I like to break the bread into small bits, because I find it fun to consume this dish in a "chips and salsa" fashion. 




1 lb of cherry tomatoes

4-5 roma tomatoes

1/2 cup red onion

anything mediterranean that you've got (sundried tomatoes, capers, olives)

basil , 


olive oil  

coarse sea salt


parmesan cheese

toasted baguette pieces (for serving)

- Stay cozy!



"New babe" browned butter and vanilla banana muffins

Greetings from Tuscany! I'm writing from the long wooden table of our temporary home in San Gimignano, a tiny town of cobblestone streets and sun-soaked vineyards. Queen Anne's lace bursts from the sides of the dirt roads, and at night, you get to gaze out the window, listen to the croaking frogs, and imagine what is must have been like to lust after Romeo from a second-story balcony. (I don't think the height difference was beneficial. Things would have been hotter if they could have snagged an "accidental" arm stroke, just saying.)

Since arriving in Rome Thursday morning, I've eaten four flavors of gelato, freschi ravioli con funghi, freschi ravioli con pomodoro, apricots buffalo mozzarella from a buffalo, a million sheets of prosciutto, melanzane grigliate, a milka bar filled with butter crackers, pizza, pizza, pizza, and more. Also, in an effort to "culture" myself, I'm going to the Colesseum, reading lots and lots, and staring thoughtfully at Renaissance paintings. But I'll get to all that later. 

Before I left, there were muffins! And a new baby! My friend Jessica, who is the glorious new mama, and I were playmates in the heyday of our youth. We transformed her basement into the streets of New York, pretending to be famous models who were also homeless, and hanging paisley sheets across the bars of the treadmill to build a makeshift shelter. Our families once took a shared vacation to the Outer Banks, where we stuffed our sea salt-crusted mouths with trolli sour octopi to recuperate from an afternoon of boogie boarding. Now she's got a kid of her own and will need to stuff his mouth with sour trolli insects. (When he gets teeth, I guess.)

For now, the family has muffins. 

Not just any ordinary muffins! Browned butter and vanilla and (if you dare) semi-sweet chocolate! The browned butter adds an enveloping sweetness, one that curls its arm around you like a slightly flirty but mostly friendly old Italian man. 

I think banana bread is quite sneaky, because it can tiptoe into the breakfast category of life even though it is clearly cake. If you painted these guys with a cream cheese frosting (which would be delicious, BTW), you would have a cupcake fit for any occasion. I would pair them with midnight fairy picnics, a sweet white wine, or strong espresso. 

"New babe" browned butter and vanilla bean banana muffins

Heat the oven to 350. Fill 12-16 muffin tins with paper liners. 

Add the butter to a medium pan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt, using a rubber spatula to occasionally swirl it around the pan. Once the butter is fully melted, allow it to sit until the sizzling dies down and remove from heat. The browned bits (yumyumyum) will sink to the bottom of the pan. 

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine.

To a food processor or blender, add the brown butter, bananas, eggs, brown and white sugars, yogurt, orange juice, and vanilla Blend until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold to incorporate. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using. Add about 1/4 cup to each muffin cup. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes, checking within the last few minutes of baking. Allow the muffins to cool for 20 minutes, and then top with powdered sugar, if desired. 


1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt 

2 very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar 

1/3 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

powdered sugar (optional)


Cheers to the middle of summer, beautifuls.

- Stay cozy 

"Tastes like a sleepover" homemade reese's cups

I came back to Virginia for a bit. Last night Tina and I sat on the back porch until 1am, where we drank white wine in the black muggy air. I'm amazed at how dramatically the trees have grown since we've moved to this house back in 1995. It's beginning to feel like we're planted among a small forest. When you sit in the backyard now, you're completely surrounded. I like that. 

The summer is moving like it's on crack!! We leave for Rome (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Wednesday at 5pm, where I'm planning on indulging in Zzzquil and the New Yorker until it all kicks in. When I wake up, it'll be nothing but vino tinto and gelato and bike rides. I've spent the last few months attempting to relearn my college Italian, so lets hope the locals can understand my shakey "Dov 'e vigna, per favore?!" I can hope my experiences matches that of Hillary Duff' re: The Lizzie McGuire Movie. 

Before flying back to Virginia so that I could fly to Italy, I made peanut butter cups. I remember these being the coveted Halloween treat. They possess the perfect chocolate-to-PB ratio. At room temp, you can puncture the smooshy center circle of peanut butter out through the top and finish with those adorable pleated ridges. Occasionally I keep the mini ones in the freezer and eat them without sitting down or shutting the refrigerator door. 

I brought these into Toms and kept them in the back fridge alongside the cold brew and free samples of Perrier. We ate them on a slow Sunday when customers were out of sight, standing in the doorway and munching on these gems of childhood. They taste like piñata explosions, the school lunch after Halloween, and a Fourth of July parade. 

homemade reese's cups

I just pumped out this recipe on Wanderlust, along with other childhood delicacies (cool ranch dorito popcorn and fruit roll ups, hello!) //

I'll be blogging while I'm out there, but in the meantime, I wrote about delighting in your body for the Five Tattvas. And I know I'm about to go to Italy, but these FRENCH APRICOT MACARONS! Eep!

Listening to Damien Juradao and thinking of road trips and long walks. I like looking out plane windows, so I'm looking forward to that. 



"A million things to celebrate" strawberry granita

What a week! I just returned from three days of babysitting, which included an overwhelming amount of toaster strudel and flag football, ate Pacific Northwest oysters, and, most importantly, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Holy COW!!!! I want to stand on the rooftop and of my apartment and squeal and then run barefoot through the sand and toss it up into the air and squeal some more. I want to stomp on Twinkies because I know that's what my best friend Alex and I would do. I'm really happy. 

I think of my Uncle David who took me to my first Broadway show and introduced me to Momofuku's cereal milk ice cream. I think of my best friend Alex, and when we climbed over the fence on our walks home from school, and when we rode our bikes along the coast of Porto. I think of my college roommate (also named Alex) and all of the times that we watched Memoirs of a Geisha while nursing hangovers. I think about the progress towards equality, and that makes me smile very wide. Kind of like Frances, when she gets her bread and jam.

Uncle David worked in Chez Panisse along with David Lebovitz. In addition to teaching me to how to apply red lipstick, David provided an arsenal of culinary advice. I spent many summers at his beach house on Fire Island, where we made lamb burgers, peach piña coladas, and grilled mussel pizza. David believed in eating well and eating seasonally. He would be proud to know that I was celebrating the strawberry in all of it's gemstone-y glory. 

These little earth rubies are a summertime staple. Just outside of Tom's, there's a man who sells strawberries (and other fruit varietals), and he often offers us free samples. They taste different each time. Sometimes I get flowers and juice, and other times the berries are straight up candy. It's a much different experience than eating the ones from the grocery store. For your sake, I recommend investigating the local strawberry outlets. 

Wes and Dylan have a strawberry patch in their backyard. On Sunday night, we wandered out in our bare feet, using our hands to push back the leaves on our hunt for a flash of red. Some of them were the "smooshy guys", aka they got too ripe before anyone found them..... :(. But no matter. They served a different purpose. Wes likes to smash them and make his hands look bloody! Hooray!

I packed the freshly picked strawberries into the boys' lunches, but, after dropping them off at camp, I headed straight to the farmer's market to pick up some of my own. My mother has been urging me to make strawberry granita, and in celebration of summertime and Uncle David, I decided to give it a try. 

Granita!!! Holy woah! It's delicious fruit ice made from real fruit. And when you use strawberries from the farm, the flavor is so potent and the color so beautifully red. I eat it plain, but I can imagine it would also work well mixed with ice cream, a la Rita's Frozen Ice. 

Speaking of David Lebovitz, I adapted his recipe, and I really like it.  Here it is.

"A millions reasons to celebrate" strawberry granita 

Slice the strawberries and add to a large bowl. Drizzle in the agave and stir to coat. Allow the strawberries to sit for one hour. By the end they should be a juicy red color. 

While the strawberries are sitting, place on large, shallow glass or metal pan into the freezer. Once the hour is up, purée the strawberries along with the water and lemon juice in a blender. Pour the mixture into the pan and return to the freezer.

Check on the granita in 30 minute intervals, using a fork to scrape down the sides each time. It should take a total of 2 hours or so to freeze completely. 

1 pound of of stawberries, rinsed and hulled

3 tablespoons of agave nectar

1/2 cup of water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

- Stay cozy!

"June-y isn't so gloomy" black cherry/vanilla iced tea

A few days ago I called my parents, feeling homesick for a back porch bloody mary and Saturday morning trips to the local patisserie (croissants and boozy tomato juice go hand-in-hand), and thought fondly of Virginia summers. As if answering my prayers, Los Angeles has responded with a sudden wave of humidity that has curls frizzing by the fistful and condensation on the walls of every vinyasa class.

Not that I'm complaining. I love when the stereotypically sunny city of Los Angeles melt into something new; it's like everyone is in complete awe of the weather. It becomes all we talk about it. "Hey, did you see, it's cloudy today?" Or, "Woah, how weird was that raindrop?" For a minute, everyone forgets about who was in _______ or what ________ is wearing and just looks up at the sky. It's kind of adorable. 

Even though Los Angeles can be fairly consistent in it's delivery of sunny and seventy-five style afternoons, there's still a degree of unpredictability when it comes to Mother Nature. For instance, earthquakes. You can't predict that shit. All of the sudden the earth starts moving, and you just have to hope and pray it's not going to hit a San Andreas fault sort of level.

It's a nice metaphor for teaching us to roll with the punches, play with the cards we're dealt, and making lemonade for when life tosses us a handful of lemons. Oh, speaking of lemonade, how about some iced tea??!!!

With the exception of my international friends, most people are welcoming in the summer months, aka the perfect season for iced tea, lazy afternoons with friends in hammocks, and sitting in the backyard examining the beauty of your naked legs. This lemonade is made with green tea (energy!) and black cherries (superfood!) and all sorts of other yummies. The taste is sweet, tart, and dark, as if you were to run out into a summer storm with your heels digging into wet soil. The lightning above lights the way, and the roll of thunder provides badass melody.

Cheers, to those summery nights, unexpected rainfalls, and black cherries. It's summah-time!

Find this recipe on Wanderlust, along with one for Indian Mango Black Iced Tea and Dandelion, Lime, and Pineapple Iced Tea. //

Also, some super cool yogi philosophers and myself are writing up a storm on the new embodied philosophy blog, The Five Tattvas. Anddddd my best and smooshiest friend, Alex is taking over Saveur with so many things and his impeccable writing style. AlSO, ALSO THIS! I really want to try tasting the world.   I met Marissa Ross and she met orange wines and everyone is just meeting everything cool. And why we need more female road narratives. AKA, girls: get in your caravans and go. 

 - Stay cozy!


"Eat this when you're alone, or not" GF funfetti mug cake

I just got back from San Diego. It was amazing, and the fish tacos and the sun were so right. Today I told my friends at Toms about my solo trip, and Emma said, "You like to be alone, don't you?" HMM. 

It got me to thinking about loneliness. Not the Edgar Allan Poe, typing in the dark loneliness, but the actual act of being alone and what it can feel like. Maybe it occurs right before you fall asleep, either laying solo or with a lover, and able to witness the privacy of your mind. Maybe it happens when you're making art, or showering, or driving. Whatever. Sometimes being alone is great, like during bathtime or when your parents send you a box of Whitman's Sampler and you've got 2 episodes of This American Life to enjoy. But other times being alone can feel intimidating, and, well, lonely. 

We're in our own brains from life until death, so in that way, yes we are alone. Our specific thoughts are private, and it's up to us whether or not we share them. But then there are the universal human emotions, like joy and fear and heartbreak and anxiety and enthusiasm that unite us in a stereotypical kids-holding-hands-around-the-globe-style-embrace. You tell a friend, "I was so heartbroken I felt like I was punched in the stomach and had to throw up at the same time" and, if they've been heartbroken as well, nod, raise a beer, and say "Yup, been there." Artists, musicians, and poets then work to create something that translates that feeling of being alone, and hundreds of people are rattled by the work. Despite being alone in our minds, there are waves of emotion and experience that connect us like the endocrine system. 

So yes, I do like being alone, but I also really love creating intimacy with my fellow humans. There are times where I feel so brother-and-sisterly connected with others that I just want to stand on the table and demand everyone do capri-sun kegstands in honor of humanity. One of these said times occurs when in the presence of funfetti.  White cake with multicolored sprinkles by definition, but funfetti is so much more than that. (Just check out this funfetti gallery!!)  Funfetti cake is if someone collected laughter and sprinkles, went inside a fairy kitchen, and threw the entire amalgamation into an easy bake oven and cooked it with sunshine. It's champagne and childhood and freckles. Everyone likes funfetti! And it's hard to feel alone when you're eating funfetti cake (maybe because you're dining with your inner child). 

I made this recipe for a series of recipes on mug cakes with Wanderlust, because 1) I love mug cakes 2) Some of my GF friends have been looking for mug cakes for their diets and 3) I can't justify making an entire funfetti cake every day of the week. This recipe calls for coconut flour and sprinkles and makes a super-quick, super-yummy funfetti cake for one. I like coconut flour because it's full of protein and fiber, which gives me an excuse to eat cake before the gym.  

 Wanderlust mug cake recipes, woo woo woo! //

(I brought this topic up with my amazing friend John last night when I called him at the beginning of my drive home from San Diego and we proceeded to talk about tacos, cross-generational relationships, and 3D printers. At the end of the conversation he said, "See, Amanda?!! We just talked for 2 hours on your drive home. You're not alone!" John only eats meat and nuts, otherwise I would dedicate this cake to him. Thanks, John!)

Also, thank you Hozier, for making loneliness so sexy. (Nostalgia) 

As always, 

- Stay cozy

"Truth-telling" chamomile and honey scones

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Stephen King's On WritingI highly (!!!) recommend it; the book was more humorous than I anticipated, illustrating Mr. King's wit and immaculate ability to weave a story. The first half of the book was a memoir of his career as writer, and the second half consisted of advice to aspiring writers. Much of what he had to say was very useful (kill your darlings, nix the thesaurus, and the road to help is paved with adverbs), but what I really took away was his fervent encouragement to tell the truth. 

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." 

Of course, nonfiction plays a similar game. Cheryl Strayed says that good creative nonfiction comes with the universal transcends the personal. So these two genres possess one similar objective: find the truth, and then share it like a box of Wheat Thins. 

I originally started this blog to have an outlet where I could write and be free to write without working for the opinion of anyone else. I would write simply to write, just as I had as a child on my family's first Windows Desktop. Occasionally there might be a recipe and a travel story. Since then, this blog has transformed into an online profile of sorts, and a place where I practice reporting, photography, and telling stories. But sometimes when I'm only one glass of wine in, I'll lift my hands of the keyboard and pause. Too much? Which leads to a question that maybe other bloggers begin to wonder: "how much truth do I tell???"

Here's the challenge: I think we should tell all of it.  Part of the fun is finding creative, beautiful, inspiring ways to share the most human and scary things ever. It's not easy. It's very, very, hard to communicate life's most intimate moments in a way that's not over share. But truth can be communicate in a clause, image, or tune. There are many photographers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who are wildly successful at achieving this, but they find a gentle way of connecting to those universal heartstrings. Simplicity works. 

Last week, when I was visiting K1, we spent part of our last day with one another in the town of Spring. I was sad that our time together was nearing an end, especially because it was likely the last time we would be spending with one another for a long while. He had been sick, and I had been a overly-romantic  24-year old, but in the midst of my pouting and his need for cough drops, we found a bookstore bathed in emerald vines and smelling like glue. The selection was impressive, and featured a plethora truth-telling writers. It was melancholic and a little rainy and I was happy that this bookstore existed.  We made our way to dinner, and music played as he drove and I read. And then we had margaritas. And the next day we said goodbye and I got a plane and read some more. And then I had scones. 

Like a moment of truth or a traditional margarita, scones are simple and good. Unlike some fussy morning baked goods (cough-cough, CROISSANT), scones come together all in one bowl and move all mellow yellow-like to the baking tray. They rise without ego and look a little lumpy. And they go really, really well with a book and a blanket. I made the recipe for a series of "relaxed" foods, for Wanderlust, and the article also includes recipes for rosemary popcorn and boozy blueberry and basil lemonade.

See the recipe on Wanderlust here //

Speaking of truth-telling and Toni Morrison, look how she's killing it over at The New York Times Magazine. Also, my friend Kathryn has recently started a lovely blog about going Zero Waste, and I'm so impressed with her ability to combine language and environmentalism.

Cheers for telling the truth! Fictional George Washington would be proud. 

- Stay cozy

"Hotel room" chocolate and orange brownies

I like to write about food because I like to connect the poignancy of certain moments with their associated flavors. The genre first came into my life when I read Molly Wizenberg's heartbreaking piece on her father's death and scrambled eggs, and I felt inspired by the combination of something so complex and universal, such as human emotion, with something so simple and universal, such as food. I took my own spin on it during a nonfiction class in my junior year of college, writing about pancakes and falling in love with my best friend. (who is now working at SAVUER MAGAZINE wearing a fancy assistant editor's hat and drinking fancy drinks on fancy rooftops!!!!) The piece was, like my adolescence, full of angst and complex carbohydrates. 

Feelings of love, kinship, attraction, loyalty, butterflies, heartbreak, bravery, and a handful of other things all tango with food to create potent memories. When I think of mussels, I think of Fire Island and Uncle David setting the porch on fire. The scent of fresh scones trigger memories of Sunday mornings, Oprah, and crawling back to bed after one too many Mike's Hard from our high school camping trips. And the combination of orange and chocolate sings of hotel rooms.

Over the last 18 months, I've written a lot about hotel rooms.  I like them. I like paintings of ducks, mini-fridges, and wandering down to the lobby at 10AM for free coffee. It almost feels like camp, or college. And hotel rooms have a very specific menu. Tiny boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, delivery pizza, and microwave popcorn, to name a few. When you're living out of a hotel room, and needing to amp up your food supply, you dive into luxury. Over the past 18 months, K1 and I have ventured into many hotel rooms, and brought along many, many snacks. Salads and beer. Strawberries. Wine. Greens. Microwave popcorn. And chocolate. Always chocolate. 

I recently returned from a three-night stay in Houston with K1. In addition to eating our body weight in Chuy's and attending a mead tasting (black currant mead!!! jalapeño mead!!!! ahhh!!!), we indulged in a dark chocolate and candied orange bar. It's a combination that is seldom appreciated, and sometimes shrugged off for the trendier salted caramel, or the exotic chocolate-and-chile powder. (No offense to both these flavors; we sell a pretty mean Mexican Spiced Mocha at Toms that I wouldn't kick outta bed for eating crackers.) That being said, the chocolate orange combo will always have a special place in my heart and on my palate. The candied orange adds a bit o' sunshine to the spooky dark chocolate. It reminds me of hotel rooms. And, maybe more truthfully, reminds me of K1. 

I don't believe nostalgia needs to keep us locked into the past. If handled properly, it can be a wonderful tool used to express gratitude. I like sharing moments with people so special that when I return to the images I fold my hands and sigh like a princess. And I like connecting the foods I eat to the people I love. Even moving past said moments, and acknowledging that they are over and now memories, can be more beautiful than sad. They can become brownies. :) 

In this recipe, I attempted to imitate that sunny and cozy chocolate-and-orange combo into a squishy, melty brownie. They are both bright and dark. They are good for late nights with red wine or early mornings with coffee. They are diverse and lasting, happy and sad. 

"Hotel room" chocolate and orange brownies

3 ounces of dark chocolate

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh squeezed oj

1/2 cup butter

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp orange zest, finely chopped

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, and set aside. 

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Add the orange juice, butter, vanilla, and cocoa powder, and stir until incorporated. Gradually sift in the flour, adding about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the baking powder and orange zest and stir. Last but not least, add in the melted chocolate and chocolate chips and mix. 

Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture into the pan. (You can also do two 8x8s for really thick brownies.)  Bake for 35 minutes. 

In  other news, Christopher Wray-McCann captures the beautiful grit of Los Angeles, I dance a little bit over at Wanderlust, and Day Without Shoes is happening May 21st, where you can do a lot with a little bit of social media. 

- Stay cozy

"Coachella" champagne soaked strawberries

After months of dancing to Jenny Lewis in my pajamas and lusting over giant astronauts, I am happy to report that Coachella is here!!!!! (Well, this weekend, but Lil' Ray and are in a non-stop text conversation, discussing sleeping pads and walky-talkies and the desired storage temperature of boxed wine...) Come Thursday we will pack Caroline with camping chairs and flower crowns and head off with our San Francisco caravan, mentally prepping for a week of little to no sleep and lots and lots of headbanging. 

Festivals and fairs are activities that have been enjoyed for a looooooong time. I remember them taking place in the the parking lots of community centers, and featuring cotton candy and ferris wheels with shoddy craftsmanship, but they've been around for much longer than that.  Everyone loves to walk (often in costume or, if you're in a 60s county fair, an adorable red-and-white checkered dress and oxford shoe combo), taste the treats, ride the rides, listen to the music, and converse with strangers. The first fairs took place in Rome, as a mini-vacay for everyone to drink wine and party hard. Then came the fairs of of the Middle Ages, which had more emphasis on God and less so on alcohol. Then the whole idea began migrating throughout the world, and now we have Burning Man, the Holi Festival , and Tomorrowland.  Woof! What a collection! 

Rachel and I will be camping, therefore surviving off of granola bars and beef jerky and these champagne soaked strawberries. It seemed appropriate to have something that would A) be celebratory and B) provide some sort of vitamin. Besides, when I think of the medieval fairs or Renaissance festivals, I imagine the knights drinking mead and the gypsies drinking grappa. The fairies drink champagne. The bubbles fuel them for flight. They need something airy to keep dancing and plucking daisies. 

So my fellow flower child and myself, I've prepped these little sugar bombs. Some people like to pat them dry and dip in white or dark chocolate, which sounds amazing, but not very realistic for a three-day camping trip in the desert. But if you're throwing a celebration and if you've got access to a fridge, but all means, go for the chocolate.

champagne soaked strawberries


2 pints of fresh strawberries

1 bottle of champagne


Slice the green bits of the berries. Place the berries into a large mason jar, or other storage container. Pop your bubbly and pour it on top of these lil' red guys. Cover and store overnight, or for up to three days. (Best served a day or two post prep.) 

If you aren't dipping the berries in chocolate, my friend  Simon recommends adding a drizzle of balsamic and a sprinkling of cracked black pepper. (He just had a book released, which everyone should check out! Simon has a brilliant way with food and words.)  These are best eaten under the stars, beneath a tapestry, or in the parking lot as you're waiting to go through security. ;)

Okay. I think I'm packed. Until then, I'll see you in a few days! I'm especially excited to these boys, this guy and this girl and also, also (fingers crossed), this song

"I wish I were at the beach" tropical granola

I can't stop. An addicting crunch, flavors of far-off places, and the image of a cerulean horizon have me constantly in downward dog as I pay my obeisance to granola. 

I know. The THRID recipe. But when it comes to granola, I feel like a mad scientist, sitting cross-legged on the kitchen table with a bag of dried something-or-other, and wondering how I can make into a crunchy pile of something delicious. 

I've talked about the little boys I babysit on here from time to time, but in case my explanations have been sporadic (as they often are), their names are Wes and Dylan. Wes, the younger at five years old, enjoys memorizing the names of hockey players and US presidents, playing the guitar, and the book Everyone Poops. Dylan, four years older, prefers neon colored sharpies and watching Master Chef Junior as we demolish package after package of seaweed. Both love dried mango. 

While dried fruit has a bad reputation as the less-healthy sister to fresh fruit, I think it has some solid redeeming qualities. It's got chew. It's got bite. It is nature's dehydrated candy that comes in gem stone colors and flavors inspired from the soil. Eating dried mango requires a pull of the teeth, a solid bite, a hearty chew. The experience cannot be compared to that of a fresh mango. They are two different entities and bring joy in unique and valid ways. 

So came the dried-mango inspired granola recipe. It tastes like a road trip along the PCH, a tropical night with your legs brushing across against a cotton dress, and the glow of tiki lights illuminating nature's path. Sprinkle it atop your favorite cereal, enjoy it with milk, or steal a few scoops before running up a mountain. 

beachy tropical granola


4 cups of dried oats

1 banana

1 cup of pineapple

1/4 cup of orange juice

2 tablespoons of cinnamon, divided

1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of coconut flakes

1 1/2 cup of dried blueberries

1 1/2 cup of chopped almonds

1 6oz package of dried mango, chopped

1/4 cup of brown sugar

salt to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon)


Add the banana, pineapple, orange juice, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla into a blender. Puree until well combined. 

Pour the oats into a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped almonds and coconut flakes and stir to combine. Add the banana-pineapple mixture to the oats, and stir to thoroughly coat.  

Pour the granola onto two parchment paper lined baking sheets, using a rubber spatula to spread it evenly across each sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring the granola after 10. After the first 20 minutes, add the dried blueberries and dried mango. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle this over each tray of granola. Gently stir and cook for another 20 minutes, again stirring at the ten minute mark. 

Allow the granola to cool before eating. (Or not. I fail miserably at this and end up with burnt fingertips, but that's okay too.)

*note! I like my granola salty, so I am heavy-handed when it comes to adding the salt. Use less if you prefer a sweeter kick. 

stay cozy!

Blood orange margaritas with rosemary salt

There so much joy to be had in rolling around on the floor.  

As we progress into adulthood, we learn to control our bodies ( to an extent), especially when out in public. Children, however, are different. They see their bodies as tools to express, things that reveal play and power using flurried hand motions and skips and dives and rolls. I see it all the time when nannying; these five and six year olds fling themselves off the playground and into the sand, allowing their bodies to make all sorts of contact with the earth. Maybe it's the excessive amount of sugar from a dunkaroo or choco-taco...who knows!! Regardless, I like it when Ashley, my yoga instructor, tells us to take happy baby. I look at my legs and toes and think "WOW, these things are COOL!" I feel like one happy baby!!

We began Ashley's class the other day by recalling something that filled us with pure joy. For her, it was a baby goat that she used to sleep with in her family's barn. For me it was a baby crane. 

Before my Ammie and Poppop died, they lived in a condo in Florida that overlooked a forest of tropical trees and a flat golf course. Their home was dusted with lemon yellow furniture and potted plants and the pantry was filled with the same staples that my father had grown up enjoying: TandyKakes, peanut butter, and english muffins. 

One year we spent our spring break at the condo. My brother and I slept in twin beds in the guest room, while my mother and father camped out on the pullout in front of a console TV. In the morning we'd have breakfast out on the veranda. Poppop would drink coffee and read the paper, his grapenuts topped with a sliced banana. I'd do the same, but swap the newspaper for a Judy Blume book. In these early hours of morning, occasionally a family of cranes would gently plow their way through the palms and the brush. The babies followed their mothers, trusting they were being led to nourishment, and opening their mouths in a hungry "KAHHH!" The orange trees held the fruits as if they were planets, floating among the green and bursting with their acidity. My brother and I would eat them and let the sweet citrus explode onto our skin. It was the definition of happy place.

Now that I am older, I still read Judy Blume and coo over baby animals, but I've found ways to adult-ify my citrus. This includes adding tequila, triple sec, and rosemary salt to blood orange juice, in order to create a beverage that feels like happy baby and vacation. Citrus is crazy in season right now, and we have about a month left, so get juicing! If you end up laying on your back, remember to admire your toes. 

blood orange margaritas 


4 ounces of blood orange juice(about 4 oranges, juiced)

4 ounces of silver tequila (i like Milagro, but you do your thing)

2 ounces of fresh lime juice (about 1 lime, juiced)

2 ounces of triple sec

1 teaspoon of agave nectar 

rosemary salt for the rim 

blood orange wedges to garnish 

rosemary sprigs to garnish 



Run a wedge of lime around the top of your serving glasss. Dip the top of the glass into the rosemary saltat a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes and set aside. 

Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, triple sec, agave, and juices. Shake for 20-40 seconds and strain the liquid into the glasses. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a sprig of rosemary, if desired.

*I got my rosemary salt from my friend Alyssa, who got it from The City Farm.  You can find a recipe here. 

-Stay cozy

A safe place, and some coconut flour pancakes

Last Saturday, post an evening of whiskey bar shenanigans, I attended a two and half hour handstand workshop at the neighborhood yoga studio with Rachel. NOTE: this was only possible because in between the whiskey bar and the handstands, there was buttery popcorn, 10 hours of sleep, and lots and LOTS of water. I am not the seven-shot superhero I was back in Freshman year.

Rather, in yoga, I felt more like a child. We started off class awkwardly gripping our ankles and rolling around like stoned infants,  eventually made our ways to our feet, and then back down to our hands as we cartwheeled across the floor to the tunes of Elbow and upbeat Iron and Wine. Full-grown newborns, we delighted in the way our feet looked clapping towards the ceiling. 

The heavy thud of feet on a wooden floor. The strum of a guitar. The ocean waves of breath. Our own symphony of yogis. 

Often in yoga classes, the instructor refers to the mat as a "safe spot." Your practice is always there waiting for you, like an immortal pup at the door, thrilled you have come back home. Recently, Ive felt the same way about this blog.  For me, writing and yoga are similar. They both offer their own unique challenges and moments of frustration. They have me (literally!!) falling down and placing my face in my hands and wondering "HOW?!" and sweating and sometimes crying and replenishing all that sweat and tears with copious amounts of chocolate coconut water. But like a long and winding marriage, I love them. I want to make it work. Like in all art forms, the critique works as a separate voice. We are the ones judging, not the writing craft or the practice or the music or the palette or whatever. All practices are unique; they have to be. Our bodies make shapes, our words make sentences, and together, we weave stories. 

Soooo to connect this to pancakes?! Let me try. I celebrate Julia Cameron's idea of "artists dates", or the general philosophy that one should make time to enjoy life's simple moments (aka, make yourself breakfast, homeboys and girls).  Simple moments = peace. The safe place of a yoga mat, or a blank page = peace. Pancakes = peace, duuuuuudeee!!!!!!

This recipe is from Foodie Fiasco, and I am very excited about it. I added sliced bananas and a rainfall of agave. The end result was moist, coconut-y cakes, nicely saturated with nectar. Good morning, indeed. 

- Stay cozy!




Sriracha cauliflower stir-fry

Back in California and the sun feels like a big ol' kiss. I had a lot of fun unpacking my Christmas presents and rearranging my room because it made everything feel neat and new. On Sunday, it was warmer outside than it was in the apartment (science!), and so I opened up the patio door, drank a beer, and hammered ariel's homemade dreamcatcher into the wall.

When it comes to food, I am rarely picky. I like to eat radishes and chocolate chips and hawaiian sweet rolls and dried apricots and granola and trout and bleu cheese. When I was 13 I couldn't stomach bleu cheese, but now I eat that shit with honey or riesling or totally plain and licked off a finger.  And as much as I love eating junk (DOMINOES) I also really love plants.

Plants!! They're so wonderful!! They come in a variety of colors, they make oxygen so that we can breathe, and they taste delicious. I love the way carrots tremble as the knife meets the cutting board and how tomatoes weigh down a palm like rubies. And when you're 24 and looking to keep your change purse somewhat sealed and your body healthy, plants are an affordable way to feel good. 

This recipe combines crunchy cauliflower, salty soy, and the sweet prick of sriracha.  It requires  a whole head of cauliflower, which is typically enough to feed a family of four as a side dish, but I make the entire thing and it's a meal.  If you need some protein, you could top this bad boy with a fried egg and call it a day. 

It feels good to taste the earth. 

Sriracha cauliflower stir-fry 

1 whole head of cauliflower

2 teaspoons veggie oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Splash of rice wine vinegar

1 lime, plus wedges for serving 

1 tablespoon sriracha

Break up the cauliflower into small and medium-sized florets.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the cauliflower and garlic. Stir the garlic and cauliflower, allowing it to get very brown on some sides. Cook for three minutes and turn the heat to low. Add the soy sauce and vinegar, and squeeze in the juice of the lime. Add a sprinkle of green onion, reserving the rest for a garnish. Stir the mixture and cook for 1 minute, and then add the sriracha and stir. 

Serve hot in a bowl. Add the remaining green onions and serve with lime wedges. 


This recipe came from the Pioneer Woman's delicious chest of recipes. Thank you!!

- Stay cozy!