Tag Archives: photography

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal, but during the week I fly through the house getting ready for work and can only manage to grab something quick. At the most I scramble a few eggs or an omelet. Just so you know it is a really crazy looking omelet that is actually just fancy scrambled eggs. For those of you that have kids, my hat is off to you. You are pretty friggin’ amazing in my eyes, because I can’t even imagine how frantic my mornings would be if we had kids.

Ahh but that wonderful feeling on the weekends, where I wake up slowly and I plod down the stairs to my quiet kitchen. Turning the knob on the stove, hearing the clicking of the igniter, seeing the crown of blue flames warming the water kettle; I know coffee will be coming soon.

This morning as I sipped my coffee, I decided I would like to bake some bread. Baking bread permeating the house is one of my favorite smells.  And the smell of cinnamon sugar swirled in the middle takes it to the next level. Yum!


1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
5 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup raisins

To make the dough I combined all of the dough ingredients in my bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough. Allow dough to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.
While the dough is rising, make the filling by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 6″ x 20″.
Brush the dough with the egg/water mixture, and sprinkle it evenly with the filling and raisins.
Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the ends to seal, and pinch the long seam closed.
Transfer the log, seam-side down, to a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover and allow the bread to rise until it’s crested about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after the first 15 to 20 minutes. The bread’s crust will be golden brown, and the interior of the finished loaf should measure 190°F on a digital thermometer.
Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

Skillet Fried Breakfast Potatoes

I love making this dish for a filling and delicious breakfast. Plus it is very economical. Win Win!

creative noshing

My yoga teacher is pretty inspirational, she is constantly trying to beat positive thinking into our heads with her little “isms” that she throws out during an intense pose. I like it because I need the positive reinforcement to keep me at it. Of course, I show up to get rejuvenated, but most of the time I leave enlightened.

This last class, two of her statements stuck out to me that I thought was pretty cool. In the beginning of class after basic stretches, we normally go through a couple of sun salutations. On that particular morning, it was pretty overcast and she said, “Remember guys, you may not see it, but the sun is shining behind the clouds.” It made me smile, because it was an updated version of my mother’s “And this too shall pass…” It is true, each storm in our life will move on and the…

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Mediterranean Farro Salad

Though we are young at heart (i.e. super immature), my husband and I are now trying to keep up with our metabolisms that are seeming to slow down at a much quicker rate than we would like. In our 20s and early 30s, we could eat anything and not really worry about exercising and we looked fine and felt fine.

My husband turned 40 this year and I am close behind him for closing out this decade and we have noticed changes in our overall health. Which is why we are desperately trying to hold onto any remnants of our youthful selves that we can. My husband has started running everyday and I have joined a pilates studio.

My pilates instructor told me that only about 20% of a healthy lifestyle happens during your workout. 80% happens outside of the class, mostly what you put in your body. Booooo! I want to eat birthday cake every night for the rest of my life. WHY CAN’T I HAVE THIS REALITY? WHY!!!!

Okay, reality in check, the other week, we went to Costco and loaded up on bulk items. I love having a stocked pantry that you can make up all kinds of wonderful meals. In the past  year, my husband and I have started focusing on having healthier pantry items in order to be able to whip up more quality meals for ourselves. During that trip we picked up a large sack of farro to test out and a flat of canned garbanzo beans because my husband has a fabulous hummus recipe that I love. If any of you have farro recipes, send them my way!

Farro tastes like rice and barley mixed together. It has a nice chewiness to it. I made this cold salad out of it which was such a delicious side dish to grilled tri tip, but also can be eaten on its on as a lunch. Anyway, enjoy everyone.



Continue reading Mediterranean Farro Salad

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Here is the perfect dish for a cold winter day.

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Today, it is a rainy, cold day across much of the United States.  It is definitely one of those days where you want to snuggle up on the couch, under a blanket, and watch a really good movie. Personally, Ferris Bueller is my go to rainy, day movie, but to each their own.

More than watching a movie, I LOVE having something warm to put in my tummy. This kicked up soup, layered with spicy flavor, will definitely warm your belly on these lingering cold, gray winter days. I used leftover black eyed peas, but you could use any cooked bean hanging out in your kitchen. Get creative and make it your own!

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp thyme and 1 bay leaf

1 ½ cups celery, chopped

1 ½ cups carrot chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

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Life Hits Hard

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky BalboaIMG_0392

Steak Tacos

I love taco night. Here is a delicious version!

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This weekend, we went hiking through an ecological preserve. Lots of different bird varieties are here right now, especially Mallard ducks. We must’ve seen at least 50 of them. We also spotted a few rag tag attempts at shelter, surely from homeless people in the area. Certainly disconcerting and sad.

After a few hours of traipsing through trails that led into open alcoves of low lying foliage where we threw tennis balls to the dogs, we decided to head back home. On the way home, my husband offered to cook us a delicious taco dinner. While I cook most of our meals, he knows his way around the kitchen and especially loves to grill on the weekends. Sometimes it is nice to sit back and be cooked for, especially when it is as delicious as this.

Steak Tacos

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Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

I have always love green beans. Even the soggy ones that were served in the school cafeteria as a kid. These are so much better!

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I love fresh green beans in any shape or form, but when you can mix them with bacon and caramelized shallots, I mean come on. It almost seems like I am cheating. I mean getting this much yummy flavor into something shouldn’t be this easy!

You get the sweet caramelized shallots bring out the sweetness of the green beans and the smoky saltiness of the bacon mixes well with the bites of ground pepper. The grassy-ness of the parsley brings out the fresh earthiness of the green beans while the lemon brightens the flavors, giving the meal a little zip.

Enjoy everyone!

Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

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Farro Salad

Every month we take a trip to Costco to load up on bulk items, such as flour, rice, canned beans, and canned tomatoes, etc… I have to admit, I love shopping there. Sure at first the crazed busy shopper experience got on my nerves, but now I am a pro. I know how to navigate the store, going in a counter clockwise direction around the store. This navigational trail seems to put us out of the course of frenzied craziness and only on the outskirts of traffic. If you must put yourself through the gauntlet of traffic, wait no, you want to swim upstream at this store!

Anyway, last week I picked up a large sack of farro, thinking hmmm… I have never had farro before. Looks healthy… says its organic… I wonder what that tastes like… Sold! (So if any of you have farro recipes, send them my way!)

Farro tastes like rice and barley mixed together. It has a nice chewiness to it. I made a cold salad out of it which was such a delicious side dish to grilled chicken, but also ate it on its on as a lunch. Anyway, enjoy everyone.



Continue reading Farro Salad

Argentinian Inspired Empanadas

These Argentinian Empanadas are so delicious. I like to add extra veggies to them to make them more well rounded.

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I have had a pretty blah day. Nothing much happened except I watched a few movies that I recorded over the weekend. I pulled a muscle in yoga class the other day. Went too deep into a back bend, so I am out of commission until I re-cooperate.  It was stupid and I was foolishly trying to be too competitive with myself. I should have known when my yoga instructor said, “Wow, you are really going deep into your back” and my chest swelled with pride that that was a bad sign. It isn’t the first idiotic thing I have ever done and by far it is not the worst. A saying that we had at my last job was, “for every idiot proof system devised, a new improved idiot will arise and overcome it.” Oh well. So I bring you an empanada that I made last week to use up…

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Berry Smoothie

I love smoothies! Especially when I have a sweets craving and I don’t want to turn to a cookie.

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Below is my favorite smoothie recipe. Of course you could add a few of your favorite fruits: mango, papaya, pineapple, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, etc… That’s what I love about smoothies, they are so versatile.

If you have any leftovers, you can place in a container and freeze. Later you can scrape it for a delicious fruit ice similar to a granita. A healthy and delicious sweet treat.

Today in yoga, our instructor read a Rumi poem called the guest house that really struck a chord with me. Enjoy!


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out

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