super simple summer caprese salad

I love caprese anything, but all that cheese just makes something so yummy seem so unhealthy.  Last night I got my Farm Fresh to You box** and it was full of tomatoes!  Seriously, 2.5 lbs of heirlooms and a box of cherry tomatoes.  Look forward to a recipe using the heirlooms, but this is one with the sweet cherry tomatoes.
I love bulgar, it makes great tabbouleh salad and is packed full of protein and fiber, with none of the fat.  I love the nutty flavor and now the simple cooking of it, thanks to Trader Joe's 10 minute bulgar.  Tonight I combined these two loves to make this yummy, healthier take on a typical caprese salad.  It's super simple and delicious.

Super Simple Summer Caprese Salad
(serves 2-4)

1 c. bulgar, cooked and cooled
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 bocconcini mozzarella ball, cut into small pieces*

1. Mix together olive oil, vinegar, and basil in a medium bowl.
2. Toss cherry tomatoes and bulgar with the oil mixture.
3. Add the mozzarella right before you serve.  Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.
4. Serve over a bed of fresh baby spinach.
*make it vegan by changing the cheese to chickpeas or tofu.

I told you that was simple.

**If you live in a part of California that supports Farm Fresh to You delivery and you are thinking of starting it, use Promo Code 6164 and share my name "Taryn Bone" as the referral.  You get $10 off and so do I!  Thank you in advance!


L.A.: Oh the Places You Should Go

As we find ourselves deep into summer, it is about time for all the visitors to come flocking out to spend time with their daughter/son/friend/cousin/acquaintance who lives in lovely Los Angeles.  My mom just visited, followed directly by a friend of Danny's from undergrad, and Danny's parents will be out next month.  This got me thinking about all the places that everyone not from L.A. thinks they want to go (Hollywood) versus where they should actually go.  So here you have my top 10 things L.A. visitors should do.

1. Venice
A top tourist destination, yes.  Still worth it?  Absolutely.  You must take a quick stroll down the boardwalk to see all the crazies.  If you don't get asked to buy weed from a Doctor in green, hassled to "listen to my new dope track," or see a showing of the street performance of the jumping guys then turn around and do another loop, but make it quick, because Venice has much more to offer.
While on the Boardwalk do not miss Schulzie's bread pudding, a personal favorite of mine, and with so many flavors, I doubt anyone could say this is not the best thing on the boardwalk.  Also check out the skate park, where there are always really great boarders.

2. Bike along the beach, the whole beach.
You can easily include this in your Venice trip, but you must go all the way to Manhattan Beach if you want a few hours of beach time.  El Porto is where you will see some amazing surfers in the morning, and little further south and you won't see any tourists, just beautiful, uncrowded beach in front of multi-million dollar homes.  Once you are done there, bike up to the southend of Malibu to see the beautiful waves crash against the rocks.  For this trip, I recommend parking on one of the side streets in South Santa Monica where they aren't metered, so you can stay all day.  Plus it puts you almost in the middle, so you won't get too tired if you aren't used to biking that many miles (approximately 30 miles, all super easy and on a bike path)

3. Grand Avenue, Downtown LA
This is where all the architecture of Los Angeles is at, at least the big, cultural, "star architect" architecture, but it is worth the trip, nonetheless.  Start at the East end of Grand Park, gazing from City Hall West upward through the relatively new and heavily used park.  Walk through the park and up to the DWP building.  Here, you can walk around the building, admiring Northwestern views across the city.  Go South for the Disney Concert Hall by Gehry and (soon!) the New Broad Museum by DS+R.  Go North for the Cathedral of Our Lady The Angels by another Pritzker winner, Rafael Moneo.

4. The Getty
Great views, nice architecture.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the views.  Oh, this place is a museum?  Who knew...  No one goes here for that and you probably shouldn't either.  Just enjoy the views, they are breathtaking.

5. Griffith Park+Observatory
Go take a hike near the Hollywood sign, see views all around the city, get your workout on and learn a thing or two about the stars.

6. West Third Street Shopping, from the Grove to the Beverly Center
The mecca of shopping and little cafes in Los Angeles.  The Grove and Farmer's Market will be packed with tourists, but sometimes it can be worth it.  There are a number of great furniture stores along 3rd street, along with other designer goods.  The Beverly Center is completely commercial, but if you are into that scene, it is worth it.

7. Main Street Santa Monica (+the pier)
The best part of Santa Monica.  This is the part of SM that quickly turns into Venice and it definitely feels like it.  You can walk around for hours going in and out of cute designer and beachy shops, sip on coffee from dozens of coffee shops and eat at some really delicious restaurants.  My personal fave is Manchego, a tiny tapas restaurant where you bring your own wine or beer, no corkage fee.

8. Little Tokyo
I may be a bit biased because I live here, but there are so many restaurants and bars, little shops selling fun Japanese gadgets, and the best sushi in town.  There's also the MOCA Geffen and The Japanese American museum, among many other things.  Do yourself a favor and eat at Sushi-Gen, Komasa, or Hama.  You will have to wait, but if you like sushi, these places will not disappoint!

9. See a taping of something
Danny and I recently saw the X-Factor taping at the Galen Center next to USC.  I don't watch that show, in fact, I hate all shows like that, but the taping was really fun.  Also, the tapings are FREE!  I've also been to Wheel of Fortune twice, but I was a contestant, so it was maybe a little more exciting than it would have been otherwise.
Sony Studios, Culver City- Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy tape throughout the year, a few days a week.  Taping will be 3-5 hours at a time.

10. Eat from a food truck or other famous chef establishment
Trucks:  Guerrilla Tacos and Coolhaus
Restaurants: Osteria Mozza (Mario Batali), Bestia!!!, and Border Grill (Susan Fineger)


home-made burrito bowl

I received so many goodies in my Farm Fresh to You CSA delivery this week and I'm feeling more creative.  This recipe, though simple, was 100% me.  I was inspired by Chipotle's burrito bowls, of which I am a fan.  As I assumed from a quick search online, Chipotle's veggie burrito bowl will cost you well over 500 calories, if you add on just about anything yummy.  My recipe will be less than 500, and if you skip the avocado because yours is not ripe enough to eat yet, which was the only reason I skipped it, this meal will be under 400 calories.

Potato and Gypsy Fajita Bowl
makes 4-6 servings

cooked brown rice
juice from 1-2 lemons, depending on how much rice you use
1 t thyme**
1 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
2 t cumin
1 t seasoned salt
1 t thyme
1/4-1/2 t cayenne
4 gypsy peppers, sliced
2 c fingerling potatoes, sliced into small rounds
15 oz can white beans
1 T sriacha
1 t onion powder
1 t basalmic vinegar
lettuce, scallions, greek yogurt*, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, guacamole, whatever your heart desires...

1. heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the onions and cook until tender, then add the garlic, cumin, seasoned salt, thyme, and cayenne.  mix thoroughly and cook a minute more.
2. add the gypsy peppers and mix thoroughly, cook another minute.
3. add the potatoes and stir to mix well, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water and put a lid on it.  Stir occasionally for the next 5-10 minutes, or until water is soaked up and potatoes are cooked. Remove from heat
4. Rinse the beans well and put them in a bowl.  Begin mashing the beans as you add the rest of the ingredients.  You can mash these as much, or as little as you want.  I was going for the "refried" bean texture.
5. Add the lemon juice and thyme to the rice, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
6. Scoop about 1/2 cup of rice into a bowl. Spoon a few tablespoons of the beans mixture on top of the rice.  Place approximately 1/2 c of the fajitas mixture on top of the beans and rice, then finish with toppings of your choice.  I went with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and Greek yogurt.  I would highly recommend avocado, but mine were not yet ripe enough.

**for more traditional flavor, use lime and cilantro.  I normally would have but I didn't have either available at the time of cooking, but the lemon and thyme work well with this dish too!
*I love me some Greek yogurt and have been using it in place of sour cream for years now (even my niece who loves sour cream and is super picky had no idea it was something else).  This is a substitute I recommend to everyone because it is so much more nutritious and if you go with the 0% one, like I do, it has no fat either.  If you are vegan or just want to eat even healthier, I recommend you replace the "sour cream" with this delicious cashew cheese recipe from "Clean Food" by Terry Walters.

Cashew Cheese
1/2 c cashew pieces
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 T canola oil

1. In a food processor, grind cashews to a fine meal.
2. Add nutritional yeast and process briefly to combine.
3. Add oil and process until a moist meal forms, do not over process or it will become doughy.


current in my kitchen

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes. I got into a bit of a funk where I wasn't cooking, but was eating out constantly.  With my budget and desire to stay fit, I have finally gotten back into the kitchen. Here's what I made yesterday:

I've never had sticky toffee pudding before, but I wanted to make something with dates, so I went to one of my favorite blogs, Oh She Glows, and searched for sweet recipes using dates.  Angela, the writer of Oh She Glows is the one who turned me onto dates in the first place with her delicious riff on vegan twix, which I have made multiple times.

So this recipe intrigued me due to it's claim to be "sinless."  Though it is vegan, I can assure you that it is anything but sinless.  I counted up the calories with my ingredients, and the whole thing is nearly 4000 calories, which means I had to cut it into 12 squares in order for each to be what I would consider acceptable, calorie-wise for a dessert.  Twelve is small, but it is rich and I think this size of serving is probably for the best!  If I made this again, I would probably omit the brown sugar, as it is high in calories and I think the dates provide enough sweetness.

Super Sinful Sticky Toffee Pudding
(recipe adapted from Angela's sinless sticky toffee pecan pudding)
Makes 12 servings

1 1/4 c. dates (chopped)
1 1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 c oat flour
1/4 c Earth Balance (softened)
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c toasted pecans
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt

3 T maple syrup
3 T brown sugar
3 T Earth Balance
1 T vanilla

1. Toast the pecans in a preheated oven, 325 degrees for about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make your oat flour by blending oatmeal in a blender until you get 1 1/2 cups of flour (will probably take about 2 cups of oats)*
3. After pecans are toasted, change oven temperature to 375 degrees and grease an 8x8 square pan.
4. Bring almond milk to a simmer and add the dates.  Lower the heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Remove dates and milk from heat and add baking soda.
6. Mix together the Earth Balance and brown sugar in a separate bowl.  Once completely mixed, add to date mix and mix well.
7. Add the oat flour, 1/2 cup of pecans, cinnamon, and salt to the date mixture.  Do not over mix!
8. Pour mixture into greased pan and place in the oven for 28 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, make the sauce by bringing the four ingredients to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce to low and whisk constantly for a few minutes.
10. Once cake is done, let it sit for a few minutes before poking it a lot with a fork.  Poke it all over, really stab that cake.
11. Pour sauce all over the top, allowing it to soak into the cake.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c pecans on top.  Serve.
*I like to use Country Choice Organic Hot Cereal, Multigrain. It is a mix of rye, barley, oats, and wheat and you can find it at Trader Joes.

I also made this take on a bubble and squeak, which I wouldn't actually call that, but it was really delicious.  I plan to modify this recipe more and have another go at it, then I will post the recipe.  Until then, enjoy the photo of it, and check out the recipe here.


Birthday Freebies

Yesterday was my birthday and I would like to share with everyone the freebies that I have been awarded this year.  There is nothing better than getting free/discounted stuff the month of your birthday.  I would love to know if anyone knows of others that I did not list, I will partake next year and post a new list.

1. Sprinkles
I received an email the night before my birthday with a code to claim my free cupcake at any Sprinkles location on my birthday.  I went to the downtown LA location and was pleasantly surprised to see an "off the menu" cupcake.  I had never seen this before and asked the girl behind the counter about it.  She said they do this once or twice a week, it's never a set day or anything.  This one was belgian chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting and a palm tree shaped sugar candy on top.  It was delightful and made me especially happy to get to try something new on my birthday, and for free.

2. Native Foods
As a native foods member for the past 2 years I have received rewards in the past, $10 credit after $200 of purchases, a few free drinks and desserts here and there... But I was really excited and surprised to get an email about a week ago saying that a $10 credit had been placed on my card to be used 7 days before or after my birthday.  That's 2 weeks around your birthday that you can get a free meal from Native Foods.  Score!  I went on my birthday and enjoyed the new wild jackalope BBQ sandwich, a spicy vegan take on a pulled BBQ sandwich with a hefty serving of jackfruit slathered in spicy BBQ sauce, topped with cool and crunchy slaw.  Free always tastes so good!

3. DSW
With already highly discounted prices, free shipping, and almost always having a $10 rewards certificate at my fingertips, the special $5 coupon they sent to my inbox for the month of June for my birthday makes me want to buy another pair of shoes, even though I really have enough.

4. Anthropologie
I love this store, but the truth is that I only shop there in June because of the 15% coupon they give me for my birthday.  They have such great stuff, it's just expensive.  You have to be an ANTHRO card holder (free membership, see clerk in store to sign up) and you can use the 15% on total in store purchase any day the month of your birthday.

5. Victoria's Secret
In addition to their usual semi-monthly coupons for $10 off bras, free panties, etc.  They also send a $10 off coupon for the month of your birthday (in store purchases only)

Anybody have others that I should be aware of for next year?


Paddleboard Yoga, Marina del Rey

Until last summer I had never been near a stand-up paddle board or the water in the Marina.  Now I can't imagine not being on a sup board again.  Now that I have discovered yogaqua.

Californians always seem to be inventing new ways to exercise outside and this is my favorite.  Practicing yoga on top of the water in the Marina is relaxing, challenging, and breathtaking.  I am in love with paddle boarding, so much that I looked up prices to buy a paddleboard, then quickly wished I were rich.

The classes aren't cheap, but I always find the deals.  It started with a Daily Candy deal I found last summer for 5 classes.  Now that I am on their mailing list, I am notified about other deals they offer, like the 2 for $55 in May deal (still expensive, I know, but totally worth it)

For anyone interested in trying it out, but not wanting to dip into your savings to do it, go to one of their two remaining Newport beach parties this summer.  I plan to attend the July 28th one if I can. At the party, you can try out a shortened version of the class for $15, plus they have all sorts of freebies and fun on the beach.

The instructor for the class I went to last week was Emily and she was really supportive and a fun instructor.  Sarah is the owner of Yogaqua, and was my instructor for all the classes that I did last summer.  She is great too.

Big thanks to Brent for the photos and shout out to the other lovely ladies in class: Allison, Elizabeth, and Rachel.


The Salk Institute

Architect: Louis Kahn
Year completed: 1966
Location: La Jolla, California

All hail Modernism's great material master.


San Diego Weekend

The first time I ever went to San Diego was a turning point in my life.  I was a 6 year old little girl from Doniphan, Missouri and I immediately declared that I would live in California when I was grown up.  My Aunt and cousin's houses were like something out of a movie: big, just miles from the beach, with their own community pools!!!  There was fresh fruit galore, the food we ate was like nothing else I had ever had, I tried Chinese food for the first time as well as Sunchips (in 1996 Sunchips were the healthy alternative to regular chips) I was in heaven.  I knew that the day to day life of San Diegians was like a vacation and I wanted to be part of that lifestyle.

This past weekend we went back to where all of my dreams began.  I finally got to experience Kahn's Salk Institute, we drank absinth for the second time from the same restaurant where we tried it the first time 4 years ago, Currant American Brasserie, and we got to experience everything with Napoleon, because San Diego is the most dog-friendly city on the planet.

The Food and The Dog Friendliness:

Currant was great for happy hour.  We happened to be there on a Friday, so we also took advantage of the $8 Lucid Absinth Friday deal (normally $15)  We could barely get it down.  Why is absinth so gross?  It's like licorice, but worse.  Ah, but I just love the process.  The waitress lights the sugar cube on fire.  The sugar cube is cradled above the absinth and when the flame goes out you begin slowly dripping ice water over the sugar until it has completely dissolved into the liquid below, turning the once green drink into a cloudy white.  Oh Chemistry.  We also munched on the garlic and chive tots which came overflowing in a giant bowl with two scrumptious dipping sauces: chive buttermilk ranch, habanero ketchup.  All for the happy hour price of $4.75.  After all that, we still had quite some time before our dinner reservation, so I ordered the house red wine which came to me in a large glass with enough wine for two people.  Best. happy. hour. ever.  But, the greatest part of all?  Napoleon was welcome to join us on the patio.  That's right LA, ON the patio, not tied up outside the patio on the sidewalk next  to our table, but at our table, on the nice patio.  The waitress brought him water.  Take note LA restaurants, you will have happier customers if you would allow this more.  (Earlier in the day we had a quick lunch at a random Thai place in the Gaslamp District and they allowed this as well.)

For dinner we went to Salvatore's Cucina Italiana.  The maitre de was very pleased to have us and promptly took us to our corner window seat.  We saw that if you checked in on yelp, you got a free glass of Prosecco, so that was our plan! (Danny even got the app just for this reason)  Before we got the chance to do so, the manager greeted us and asked how found out about the establishment to which we replied "yelp."  Then he told us he was going to bring us each a glass of Prosecco because "we love our yelpers!"  The bread, balsamic, and olive oil were all amazing, probably the best white bread I've ever had.  I ordered a salad and Danny a spinach ricotta ravioli, both were delicious and filling, but you know we had to leave room for dessert!  I had the tiramisu, he had the creme brûlée.  Best creme brûlée ever.  Really really good tiramisu.  Oh, did I forget to mention that they filled up our glasses with Prosecco again, on the house?  Love this place forever.

The hotel:

We stayed at the Westin Gaslamp and I normally would stay at the W, but this time they were being dicks and said we would have to pay $25 extra a night and a one time $100 cleaning fee for Napoleon to join us.  That is bs and they should take a lesson from their sister (another starwood hotel) the Westin, who does not charge you a thing for your little one to stay with you.  They also provide a dog bed (as if Napoleon would ever sleep there) and food and water bowls.  They only ask that you not leave your dog alone in the room and you will have to pay if you do that and your dog disturbs others.  Napoleon is an angel, we had no such problems, therefore: free dog stay!  The "heavenly bed" at the Westin makes me want to throw my mattress out the window.  I seriously can't sleep well since we've returned.  Luckily you can buy everything they use to make the "heavenly bed" online, for a pretty penny.  Oh well, I suppose I will have to continue to sleep terribly until I return to the Westin.

More Dog-Friendliness:

There are many dog beaches in San Diego, compared to the one I know of in Los Angeles, plus maybe one other in Malibu?  Come on LA, step up your game!  We took Napoleon to a really popular and huge one called Ocean Beach Dog Beach and he loved it!  It was overcast, June Gloom never ceases to amaze me at how it knows it is June 1st...  Napoleon enjoyed frolicking in the sand and didn't just stand by Danny and I the entire time, which is what he always does at a regular dog park. I think this guy was made to be at the beach.

San Diego, you are a great get-away.  Could I live there?  Maybe, but realisitically I don't think there is much in the way of jobs and things to do like there is in Los Angeles, but you are beautiful and I love you still the same.


the power of pinterest

I'm on day 10.  I hate squats.  However, this plan is really building up my leg muscle memory and I am doing squats for the first time and not hating life.

This is the power of pinterest.  Since I began using pinterest in December 2011, I have "pinned" over 1100 things, I have 32 boards, and 130 followers.  I started out just using it for recipes and quickly my "foodie" board got so full I had to be more specific in my categories.  Now I have "desserts," "vegan," "sandwiches & burgers," "pizza," "breakfast," and "vegan desserts," and I think I need more.

Then of course is my "fitness" board, the entire reason for this post.  This board has changed my workout routine in such a great way.  When I am in the gym, I just have to have my phone with me and I open the pinterest app to find whatever workout I want to do that day.  I used to be that girl in the gym looking at the folded up magazine clippings to figure out how to do the workout routine, now I'm just a normal person with my iPhone.  Everyone has workout apps, so it's not strange to be looking at your phone in the middle of a workout...

If you are a guy and you are reading this, you probably don't get it because pinterest is definitely catered toward the girls in your life and not you.  Pinterest is geared toward those of us who worshipped magazines in our youth, filling our scrapbooks/journals with their clippings, not those of you who played video games and looked at Playboy.


new website, check it out!


After only a few days of work, my website is officially up!  It may seem unlikely for anyone who knows me, but I do know a thing or two about html and css code.  Blame it on me being a total loner at the age of 12 and teaching myself so that I could have a super cool BSB fan site.  Don't judge, times were different in 1997.


The cupcakes you didn't know growing up

Los Angeles had made some impressions on me over the four years I have lived here, mostly just heightening the obscure things about me that were always there and just needed coaxing out: my inner yogi, vegan, foodie, outdoor enthusiast...  But nothing about Los Angeles has changed me more than its immense amount of cupcakeries.

These are NOT the cupcakes that you had at birthday parties during your childhood.  These are made to be savored, sought after, and eaten with a fork.  Yes.  A fork.

I thought of all this yesterday as I moseyed over to the (newish) Sprinkles downtown.  Sprinkles, for those of you don't know, claim to be the first cupcakery.  By that, I mean the first shop that not only specializes in cupcakes, but that is all they do.  Candace Nelson, the owner, had the right idea.  A cupcake is the perfect size and has an appropriate icing to cake ratio.  Cupcakes are hand held, can be made of any flavor combination, and cheaper/easier than a cake.  Cupcakes are genius.

My first year in LA, I became a cupcake connoisseur, and it all began when a vender brought a few boxes of cupcakes to my office for everyone.  That day I learned what Sprinkles was and sampled almost every flavor.  I learned the importance of a Black & White in my life, and that everyone in LA loves red velvet (although I don't really understand why....)  At the same time I was really getting into yelping and in doing so I learned of the many cupcake shops all over LA.  I won't say that I tried them all, because that would be too much of a challenge for me.  However, I did try enough to know that Sprinkles is not overrated like some people think, they are second best in my book to Frosted Cupcakery, which has the moistest cupcakes I have ever tasted.  There is also an annual "cupcake challenge," which I have attended twice, just to verify my connoisseurship.

Yesterday, for the first, I bought a doggy cupcake for Napoleon from Sprinkles.  I usually buy him pupcakes from Three Dog Bakery a few times a year.  The one from Sprinkles had a softer, more human-cupake-like cake and a harder frosting.  It seemed to be top heavy, causing Napoleon to have to save the best for last and eat the icing after the cake.

Some things to know if you live near a Sprinkles: Check their twitter before you step inside, there might just be a "secret" word of the day that will get you a free cupcake or a buy one get one free.  Get their app from ilovesprinkles.com to learn about upcoming flavors of the month like their current Margarita and Salted Caramel (one of my faves.)  And if ever in LA, go to the Bev Hills location if you want the "experience" of waiting in line at the flagship near Rodeo drive, or to use their cupcake "atm," which I have yet to do.  If you don't want to mess with all of that and you just want some delicious cupcakes, go downtown to their new 7th and Fig location and you will not be disappointed.


BIG news for cupcake and coffee fans

I was hanging out downtown today, waiting for Napoleon to be groomed at pussy and pooch, the overly elite pet spot downtown.  He now smells like blueberries because they spray him with blueberry dog cologne...

Before: dirty face, overgrown, smelled kinda of like a dog

After: clean, fresh, smells like blueberries

Anyway, as I was waiting for him to be ready, I ran into the Big Man himself, Chip Brown, owner and creator of Big Man Bakes cupcake shop(s).  I told him I love his cupcakes (true story, they are delish) He told me that they will now be opening at 8 every morning, serving Handsome Coffee.  Um, ok!  That sounds awesome, but wait, there's more: This week if you buy a coffee, either size, you get a free mini cupcake.  Maybe one day after yoga I will wander over that way and be bad with an old school or a black & white with a coffee.

I ordered Big Man Bakes mini's for Danny's surprise party that I threw him in March.  All the flavors are great and I highly recommend giving the cupcakes a try.  Frosted and Sprinkles are still my favorites, but his come in a close third.

While I'm on the topic of treats, let's talk yogurtland.  I always get  Taro with kit kat bits and mochi. Always.  However, this summer they are doing this thing where they have "scoured the globe" to find new flavors.  This flavor quest has brought some really awful flavors, such as the sticky toffee pudding, creme brûlée, and the spiced chai, all of which I tried samples of and all of which taste nothing like what their actual counterparts should.  Therefore, I was a bit apprehensive when trying the Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor last night.  Big surprise, it was delicious!  I actually mixed it up and did half Taro, half Mexican Hot Chocolate, plus the kit kat and the mochi, of course.  I hope that Mexican Hot Chocolate is a flavor that sticks around at my local yogurtland.


yoga in the park

Grand Park is this awesome little spot between City Hall and the DWP building with grass lawns, pink tables and chairs, trees, and fountains.  On Tuesdays, you will find a small farmers market on the eastern-most lawn.  On Wednesdays and Fridays you will find me getting my yoga on in the western-most lawn.

I loved Grand Park from the moment I first experienced it during the grand opening last fall.  While I enjoy living downtown, the West Side was much better about not feeling like one is stuck in a concrete jungle.  Now we have Grand Park, and this girl could not be happier!

As soon as the semester was over, I began going to every Wednesday and Friday yoga session.  In a city where you could pay upward of $40 a class, I don't turn down free yoga!  The classes are from 12:15-1:00, mats are provided if you don't have your own, and it's really relaxing.  This is not the Vinyassa style power yoga that I am used to, this is a slow-paced, muscle concentration yoga.  It is as tough as one chooses to make it, concentrating on holding the poses correctly, the teacher is great at explaining where to tighten, how to breathe, etc.

I'm sad they will be ending yoga at the end of May because of the heat of the summer...  Sounds silly if you ask me.  A week ago it was 90 degrees and I was fine!  Who in SoCal doesn't want a tan?  What am I supposed to do now, start paying for workout classes?  Oy vey!  But guess what?  Soon after yoga ends, boot camp classes will begin!  Starting June 18th, from 5:30-6:30 pm there will be boot camp in the park every Tuesday evening.  Hopefully this will continue until yoga starts back up in November.


for the fickle hearted

Ask my friends, I have a thing about fickleness.  I won't go into my philosophy here, but suffice it to say that when a restaurant named Fickle opens next door to my apartment, I'm going to be intrigued.

Fickle by night, The Sandwich Smith by day.  Fickle's menu changes often, depending on what is readily fresh and available at the farmer's markets.  The Sandwich Smith has a new special everyday (meat and veg!) and you choose how you want your sandwich or salad.  Now you tell me that this place is not fickle!

Here is the best part: As soon as you sit down, the waiter brings out a big bowl of kettle corn.  This is not your typical kettle corn, but so much more.  It's kettle corn with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and butter then sprinkled with two kinds of thick sugars.  It's extra sweet, extra spicy, extra delicious.  Our waiter was kind enough to bring a second bowl once we polished off the first. 

While I have yet to try their dinner (I'm waiting for a special occasion,) their happy hour is great!  $5 house wines (they have a pinot and a red,) $3 draft beer (they have a Hef and an IPA )  $1.75 oysters, if you like that sort of thing.  My favorite (so far) is the buffalo cauliflower with bleu cheese crumbles, $5.  All of my friends got this same thing and loved it as well.  It's a big hit, you must try it.

What else must you try?  The tiramisu cheesecake!  The chef and maitre d' generously sent one to our table, after I told them I am a blogger aaaand my friend Kirsten let them know how she felt about her previous experience with the profiteroles and the panna cotta (she didn't think they were up to par with the rest of their food she had tried)  I'm not a big fan of cheesecake, but I am a huge tiramisu lover, and this is the perfect pairing.  The thick lady finger/espresso crust on the bottom, the dusting of spices on top, and the creamy, not too rich, cheesecake in the middle made for a lovely dessert for me.  We also tried the baked Alaska, which I was not as into.  It is very good, and if you are a fruit dessert person, you will most likely love it.  The meringue was perfect and thick, the strawberry prickly-pear sauce was quite yummy, but I wasn't feeling the passion fruit sorbet in the center.

So going to Fickle is a must, but what about during the day when this very fickle place is a sandwich shop?  The sandwiches are huge, enough for two meals for most people, so don't let the $8-$10 price tag scare you off.  You will have a great sandwich. Here's what I've tried from The Sandwich Smith's menu...
-seasonal vegetable: roasted zucchini and roasted pumpkin, both VERY good.
-meats: Danny has had the fried chicken (which he loved) and the angus beef (not a big hit with him, the meat was pretty fatty/undercooked and just kind of strange on a sandwich)
-breads: honey wheat and walnut cranberry, both delicious.  The honey wheat is really soft, so make sure you get your dressing on the side.  My friend has had the donut bun, which he said is similar to a bagel.  If you were imagining a glazed donut, that's ok, I was too.
-cheese: goat cheese, duh!  I've also tried the chedder, which was great too.
-dressings: habanero lime, garlic aioli, and mint cumin yogurt.  All delicious, I'm not sure I could choose one.  I recommend getting your dressing on the side so your sandwich doesn't get soggy, particularly if you don't get one of the mayo based dressings.
-toppings: all are great and fresh.  Definitely go for the delicious tomatoes, anything else you get will be great, I promise!

elliptifit: the (soon to be) new workout craze

It's sweeping the nation!  Actually, as far as I know, it is currently one-of-a-kind.  I'm talking about a new kind of workout class, elliptifit.  Think spinning class, but with brand new, very high-tech elliptical machines.  I'm a sucker for any kind of group fitness class, (besides "boot camps") especially when there is a groupon deal!  I actually found out about this place from my friend Rachna back at the beginning of the year and was on the lookout for deals every since.  A few months ago I bought a deal for 5 classes for $35 and had been anticipating the end of my semester ever since.

I went last week for the first time, and without even texting her to let her know, Rachna was in the class!  What a small world...  The class is great, 45 minutes of cardio, mixing things up by concentrating on just your arms, just your core, just your lower body, and doing things like sprints/hills/etc.  Rachna told me that each class is slightly different so you never get bored.

The studio is clean and elegantly designed with a nice industrial modern flair.  The front and right sides of the room are lined with mirrors and there are 5 rows of ellipticals split into 3 per side (approx 30 total machines.)  There are kinda cheesy lights around the front mirrors, which my instructor, Jill, changed based on the pace/portion of the class.  I laughed to myself every time they changed, but it's a nice touch and shows that the owners really thought of everything!

After the class I was drenched with sweat and my legs were a little sore the next day.  It's not a killer strength workout by any means, unless you bump up the ramp/resistance far past your comfort zone, but it is a great new cardio workout and really fun!


what a handsome eggslut!

Los Angeles has a food truck for everything.  Eggslut is probably the best one I have found.  Breakfast/Brunch is my favorite meal, which I often eat for dinner as well.  I love eggs, as I think I made clear in this post.

Every Saturday and Sunday, thee eggslut parks itself in front of Handsome Coffee Roasters.  Handsome knows how to do coffee.  Unfortunately, because I don't drink cow's milk, I can only have their black coffee, which is really really great, strong, delicious coffee.  However, they should really carry soy or almond milk, especially being in the Arts District.

Not in the mood for coffee?  Yesterday I was not, it is summer after all, so I just helped myself to a lovely juice from Press Brothers Juicery.  All of their juices are great, but my personal fave is "drop acid" which contains: Apple, cucumber, arugula, lemon, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and habanero!  So spicy, so delicious.

I've had two different items from the eggslut.  The first I ever tried was "thee slut" which is an egg, soft baked in a small mason jar, over potatoes, sprinkled with salt and chives, served with three pieces of toast.  It was really really tasty, but a bit too small for its price.  So the next time I decided to give "the Fairfax" a try, and I have been sold ever since!  The Fairfax is soft scrambled eggs (very tough to do) on brioche with caramelized onions and spicy mayo.  Might I recommend adding tomato and avocado? I always do.

The great thing about this set-up is ordering your eggslut, going inside to order your coffee and grab a seat, then getting eggslut and just hanging out at Handsome with your friends.

You can find eggslut at Handsome Coffee Roasters Sat-Sun 9-1, as well as (I just found this out!) M-F 12-4!!  So i guess one can have her eggs for lunch or dinner if she so wishes...

Big shout out to Jordan Squires for introducing me to the slut!


heart run

my running route yesterday morning.  How cute!

the mighty chia seed

I was thrilled whenever Trader Joes' began selling chia seeds.  I had seen them in recipes all over the place but I didn't feel like going out of my way to search for them.  I use them everyday in my breakfast smoothies.  You can throw them on top of a salad, put them in a healthy dessert to add crunch, or make this pudding.  (Oh She Glows is one of my fave recipe blogs!)

my version of Angela's Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

T-Bone's Everyday Smoothie

1 T chia seeds*
1 banana
3/4 c frozen strawberries
1/2 c frozen mango, raspberries, or blueberries
1-1/2 c almond milk

1. combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. enjoy a delicious and healthy glass of yum!

*If you don't have easy access to chia seeds, you can use ground flax seed, oatmeal, or nut butter for that extra bit of protein and texture.  Today I added peanut butter with chia seeds for extra flavor.  If you choose to add oatmeal, start with about 1/4 cup, blend it first until it is almost a powder, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together.  Oatmeal will add a different, thicker texture.  Flax seed and chia will add a lot of protein and fiber.  Nut butters will add protein and give a different flavor.  Anytime I add peanut butter it always has a very peanut-buttery taste.


i made quiche!

I don't know why I've spent my adult life thinking that quiche was something difficult, like macarons or soufflé.  I guess I just assumed all French cooking was a task.  Quiche is not.

Perhaps I was also shying away from an attempt at quiche because I'm not a fan of pie crust...  In walks hash brown crusted quiche.  Yes please!

Check out my favorite quiche reference here.  And support marriage equality, because quiche is a brunch item, and no one does brunch better than the gays.

T-Bone's Farm Fresh Hash Brown Crusted Quiche 
(makes 6 servings)

3 c of shredded hash browns (thawed if frozen)
1/3 c melted butter or oil
1 fennel
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of maitake mushrooms (or whatever mushrooms you like)
2 eggs
1/2 c almond milk
handful of fennel leaves
salt and pepper
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1. preheat oven to 425
2. get as much moisture out of the hash browns as you can by squeezing with paper towels. (I am always so bad about this because I lack the patience to do it properly, but if you do it right, you will have a crispier crust)
3. press hash browns into bottom and sides of a 9" pie pan
4. pour butter or oil evenly over hash browns
5. bake for 20-25 minutes, or until hash browns begin to brown
6. in the meantime, chop the fennel and garlic and sauté in a bit of olive oil until soft
7. chop the mushrooms and add to the fennel mixture, continue to sauté for a few minutes until the flavors meld
8. in a small bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk together well
9. add salt, pepper, and chopped fennel leaves to taste
10. when hash brown crust is done, spread fennel mixture evenly on top, then pour egg mixture on top of that
11. place tomato pieces evenly throughout the quiche
12. reduce oven to 350 and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until egg is cooked to your desired level
13. wait 10 minutes, then cut into six pie slices and serve with a salad


flirting with veganism

I cook vegan a majority of the time since I don't do dairy milk and adding cheese just adds calories.  The main thing keeping me from turning full time vegan has always been the eggs.  I love me some eggs!  Not that I eat eggs everyday, though I probably could, but what is brunch without eggs florentine? a quiche? an omelet? a scramble?  So after watching Vegucated after Christmas break, already starting off 2013 with a vegan diet, just for the health benefits, I freaked out.  I couldn't eat eggs anymore unless I knew the farm they came from.  I won't go into the gory details here, suffice it to say that just because it says "organic, free-range, blah blah blah" doesn't mean you can trust it.  It's really about the terrible things that happen immediately after the hatching of the chicks which will someday produce those eggs.

So...was that enough to keep me vegan forever?  I really really thought so, and I was doing so well, but my busy life at SCI-Arc got the best of me.  You really have to have the time or the money to be vegan, I know others will argue, but for me it is true.  As soon as I have the time: easy!  I'm cooking vegan every day, no problem, I may miss my eggs, but it's totally fine.  If I were rich, I could be vegan during school, I would just eat at RFD, Sage, Native Foods, and shop at Whole Foods.  It would be fine and I could do it.  But when you don't have the time or the money, you do the best that you can, for me that is continuing to be a part time vegan.

Here's a raw vegan dish that I made the other night with some golden beets that I accidentally bought at the farmers market.  This dish is labeled as "ravioli" but let's be honest, raw foodies only do things like this to make it seem like they are eating something other than raw vegetables.  This is NOT ravioli.  In fact, I don't recommend cutting the beets into squares as shown, unless you want to take a pretty picture.  Just slice them into matchsticks and throw it together as the salad that it is.

Golden Beet Salad with Olive-Basil Tapenade
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

2-3 Golden Beets, thinly sliced on a mandolin, then cut into squares (or like I said, matchsticks)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T orange zest (don't grate off half of your knuckle like I did!)
1 c arugula

1 c pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c fresh parsley leaves
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
2 T capers, drained
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t red pepper flakes (omit or use less if you don't like spicy food)

1. toss beets in oil and orange zest, set aside
2. combine all tapenade ingredients in food processor until well blended but still chunky
3. put together the beets and tapenade atop the arugula
4. squeeze fresh orange juice on top
5. enjoy!