Strawberry mochi with red bean & A trip to Strawberry Land!

date07.28.14

Strawberry Daifuku

Based on the sheer number of strawberry desserts I churn out every summer, you probably already know that I’m a strawberry fangirl. So when the California Strawberry Commission invited me and nine other bloggers down to tour a Santa Cruz strawberry farm to learn about California’s sweetest crop, you can probably imagine how giddy I was. I mean, I’m ecstatic when the organic strawberries drop to $2/lb at our local market, but this was the opportunity to get up close a personal in strawberry land, eating juicy berries right off the plant. I may have squealed.

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Ginger zucchini noodle egg drop soup

date07.23.14

Zucchini Noodle Egg Drop Soup

Zoodles! Oodles and oodles of zoodles! You know what’s got me so fired up over here? We grew a zucchini! In a bed now covering our pig roast pit. An enormous feat for the girl with the black thumb who has killed two rosemary plants and a few succulents. Indestructible plants, my big toe! I can definitely take care of your cat or probably even your baby, but it’s not the wisest idea to trust me with your garden. Signs so far indicate that I did not inherit my mom’s green thumb.

BUT we grew a zucchini!! Well, if I’m being truthful, Lucas grew it and I occasionally reminded him to water it, sometimes even nervously pulling out the hose myself when he was in China. Then after a few weeks of most everything else in our garden deciding it hated our soil clay and shriveling up, a zucchini grew!

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Backyard mint cantaloupe ice cream

date07.20.14

Mint Cantaloupe Ice Cream

I never go to the grocery store without a plan. Sometimes that means sitting in my parked car in the market parking lot searching for recipes and jotting down a last-minute shopping list on my phone. Without a list, I’ll go to the store for strawberries, whipped cream, and vanilla, but end up walking out with a box of fruit snacks and chips instead. It’s like going to the grocery store hungry. Except all the time. Shopping lists simultaneously allow me to distribute my cognition so I remember the things I actually need for a recipe, while preventing my snack-fiend stomach from guiding me directly to the ice cream and chips.

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Food lover’s guide to Taipei & Juifen

date07.15.14

Taipei Tea Gardens

Contrary to popular American belief, if you have a family of four with a fluffy dog, you don’t need a minivan. A scooter will do. Just one of the many fact jewels from our trip to Taipei.

Also, carry an umbrella at all times. And your friend’s light-weight waterproof jacket you can shove in your purse (because you don’t own one yourself). And maybe a poncho. In a pinch, you can snag one from the shopkeeper next to the bus stop who keeps a box for surprise storms. Business is great on rainy days.

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Ginger peach mojito mocktail

date07.10.14

Ginger Peach Mojito Mocktail

Do you have a friend who just won’t shut up about how great life is and how everything’s so perfect – blahblahblah- and you just want to punch her in the face every time she opens her mouth? You do now. As soon as July hits and the Monterey Market’s bins fill up with summer produce, I’ve got a running list of 101 reasons why I love California ready to spew at you at any moment. #1 on the list: stone fruit! #2: this ginger peach mojito mocktail.

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Chicken pesto zucchini noodles: Introducing OmieBox with a weekly healthy lunch menu

date07.07.14

Pesto Zucchini Noodles - OmieBox-1

My mom packed me a turkey sandwich for lunch every day of elementary school. And every day I threw my sandwich in the trash. I’m not sure why I never told her to just stop packing the sandwich. I could have saved her a fortune on bread and lunch meat. Maybe then she would have gotten me that pony. Or let me go ahead with my bedroom add-on I’d carefully sketched out.

Turns out I’m not alone: lunch food is the #1 waste produced by schools each year. If only an insulated lunchbox like OmieBox existed when I was a kid, she could have sent the healthy food I’d actually eat. And it’d still be warm at lunchtime! Dishes like these chicken pesto zucchini noodles, healthy turkey and veggie chili, or even cauliflower macaroni and cheese. (See my OmieBox weekly healthy lunch menu below).

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The best ever baked cauliflower macaroni and cheese

date07.05.14

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

You all keeping cool for the 4th of July weekend? We ditched city life and the convenient cell phone service & wifi that comes with it to escape with my parents to their woodsy lake cabin for a long relaxing weekend. As nice as it feels to disconnect from the outside world for a few days, we weren’t prepared, and after 36 hours, we find ourselves enjoying an iced tea and the free wifi at the Peninsula Market.

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Chocolate candied bacon ice cream

date06.28.14

Candied Bacon Ice Cream

On this Saturday a year ago, we were melting in the 110°F sun while exchanging forever and ever vows in front of all our friends and family. Best and hottest day ever. A friend recently asked, “is Chico always that hot? When I think of Chico I think of scorching heat that I never want to go back to ever again.” I assured him that was a fluke. An unexpected heat wave that should never have happened that day in June. THAT day in June is usually in the low 90s, I promised.

If it happens two years in a row, can we call it a fluke? Chico’s planning to get up to a cool 101°F tomorrow. You know, to commemorate our anniversary. Recreate the experience. What do you do when the world is melting outside? Bust out the ice cream, that’s what. A double scoop of this chocolate candied bacon ice cream will cure any and all heat ailments. Maybe I’ll make homemade ice cream an anniversary tradition.

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