Life is short. We seem to think that we’ll live forever. We spend time and money as though we’ll always be here. We buy shiny things as though they matter and are worth the debt and stress of attachment. We put off the so-called “trip of a lifetime” for another year, because we all assume we have another year. We don’t tell the ones we love how much we love them often enough because we assume there’s always tomorrow. And we fear. Oh, do we fear. We stick it out in miserable jobs and situations because we’re afraid of the risk of stepping out. We don’t reach high enough or far enough because we’re worried we’ll fail, forgetting – or never realizing – that it’s better to fail spectacularly while reaching for the stars than it is to succeed at something we never really wanted in the first place.

We think we’ve got forever and that these concerns that weigh us down are so pressing. We worry about the trivial to the neglect of the most precious thing we have: moments we’ll never see again. We talk of killing time, passing time, and getting through the week, forgetting we’re wishing away the moments that comprise our lives. We say time is money when in fact the time we have is ALL we have. Money can be borrowed, time can’t. We fear taking risks, unaware that the biggest risk we run in playing it safe is in fact living as long as we hope and never doing the things we dreamed of. And then it’s too late.

Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Your kids can come with you. Your job can wait. You can find someone to feed the cat. I know, I know, there are so many reasons we can’t and some of those reasons are valid. Life is not only short, it is also sometimes profoundly hard. But I think sometimes our reasons are in fact only excuses. If that’s the case, take stock. I talk alot about living the dream, and I’m an idealist, I know it. But it’s not self-help, positive-thinking, wish-upon-a-star. It’s the realization that life is short and no one is going to live my life on my behalf. And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze.

Life is short. Live it now. And live it with all your strength and passion now. Don’t keep it in reserve against a day you might not have. While the ember is still lit, fan it to flame. Be bold about it, even if your circumstances mean all you have is to love boldly and laugh boldy. Because now is all we have, and these dreams won’t chase themselves.

Life is short, therefore I will stop letting the fears I have for my future determine my happiness today.
Life is short, and therefore I will live in the present, learn from the past but harbor no regrets, have hope for the future, respect others and treat them with kindness and compassion, empower myself to discover and act on my dreams and not be discouraged, appreciate the little things and the big things, do more of what I love, be good to myself while constantly striving to be a better person, help make a difference in the lives of others whenever possible, love deeply and without judgement, let those I love know how important they are to me, take control of my fears, learn to make decisions with my heart instead of my wallet, be the person I want to be.

Life is short, therefore I will stop letting the fears I have for my future determine my happiness today.

Life is short, and therefore I will live in the present, learn from the past but harbor no regrets, have hope for the future, respect others and treat them with kindness and compassion, empower myself to discover and act on my dreams and not be discouraged, appreciate the little things and the big things, do more of what I love, be good to myself while constantly striving to be a better person, help make a difference in the lives of others whenever possible, love deeply and without judgement, let those I love know how important they are to me, take control of my fears, learn to make decisions with my heart instead of my wallet, be the person I want to be.

We’ve all been there.  Suddenly, you have a craving for something sweet, and you want it NOW!  The solution?  Mug cake!  You throw a bunch of ingredients together in a mug, stir it up, and microwave it for less than a minute….and TA DA!!  Let us eat cake!

And by using whole wheat flour instead of regular flour and applesauce instead of oil, you don’t have to feel too guilty about giving in to your sweet tooth!

Healthier Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake, adapted from Healthy with Heather

serves 1

ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 and 1/2 tbsp chocolate almond milk/regular almond milk/espresso/coffee
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Small handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Suggested Directions:

  1. In your mug, mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in the applesauce, almond milk and vanilla. Keep mixing until your batter is smooth – no lumps.
  2. Pour into the mug and microwave on high for 55 seconds. This could vary slightly based on the strength of your microwave. It is done when the center looks soft and cooked, but the outside edge looks like melted chocolate.
  3. Optional: serve with a scoop of ice cream and/or top with frozen or fresh berries.

Note: If you’d like to cook 2 at once, just add an extra 10-20 seconds to the cook time.  

Also, note that if you want a less moist cake that will be able to stand-up on its own like in the first picture, use less applesauce (see photos).  


It’s finally summer and cherry season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Why the excessive amount of exclamation marks, you ask? Well, I’ve always loved cherries for their sweetness and tartness. In fact, my childhood favorite flavor of Thrifty’s ice cream was always Black Cherry.  But this year, I’m especially excited about cherries being in season because I’ve been wanting to try cooking with cherries!!  

And for my first attempt, this recipe turned out really spectacular!  The lemon really brings out the tartness of the cherries, while the agave nectar brings out the sweetness—and best of all, the thyme unexpectedly complements the salmon AND the cherries and ties it all together.  Win!!!

Salmon with Caramelized Cherries, adapted from a recipe from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 salmon fillet (approximately 1 pound)
salt and pepper
1 to 1.5 teaspoon(s) of olive oil
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
3 teaspoons lemon juice 
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon thyme (if fresh, chopped)

Suggested Directions:

Put a rack about 5 inches from the top of the oven, and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange the salmon skin-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, then bake for approximately 4 minutes.

Combine the last 4 ingredients in the measuring cup (or bowl) and toss to evenly distribute.

Carefully remove the salmon from the oven and change the oven setting to broil.  Scatter cherry mixture over and around salmon and broil until salmon is browned and just cooked through and cherries are juicy and caramelized, about 4 to 6 minutes (depending on thickness of the salmon).   Serve over a bed of greens or alongside a grain (e.g., quinoa salad).


I have a confession:  At 28 years old, I JUST figured out how the broiler works!!  Don’t laugh, but I used to think that the storage drawer under the oven was the broiler.  Not surprisingly, I thought the broiler was a really inefficient way of cooking things.  Today, thanks to google, I found out that the broiler is actually really strong heat from the TOP of the oven, and it’s great for charring things—like corn salsa!
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here’s a delicious recipe for fish tacos, topped with a delicious charred corn salsa, guacamole, and creme fraiche, served with lime-cilantro rice. This was a hit, and I would totally make this again!!!Quick tip: If you’ve got a slap-chop (and even better, a husband that loves using the slap-chop), it’s great for dicing the onions, and mincing the garlic quickly!!  Epic Fish Tacos adapted from The LondonerIngredients:4 filets of tilapia, washed and cut in half lengthwise (or any white fish, e.g., cod, mahi mahi, etc.)4 cloves of garlic, minced1/2 cup ciliantro, chopped finelyjuice and zest from 1 lime sea salt to taste2 tablespoons olive oilhandful of washed pea shoots or watercressfresh corn tortillas
Suggested Directions:1. In a large bowl, combine garlic, cilantro, lime juice and zest, sea salt, and olive oil. Mix well, and toss in fish to coat and let marinade for a bit.2. Heat a grill pan on high heat.  Without adding extra oil, throw the marinaded fish on the hot grill pan, and cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.3.  Serve fish tacos by asking guests to add raw pea shoots to each tortilla, top with fish, then top with guacamole, corn salsa, and creme freche (recipes below).
GuacamoleIngredients:3 avocados, peeled, pit removed, and mashed a bit with a fork1 clove of garlic, minced1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely1/2 of a small red onion, diced1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halfjuice from 1 lime1 tablespoon cuminsea salt to tasteSuggested Directions:1. Combine all ingredients and serve within half an hour.  If not serving immediately, put avocado pits in the mix until serving and saran-wrap tightly.  Do not prepare too far in advance, otherwise the avocados will oxidate and turn brown.  
Creme Fraiche adapted from The LondonerIngredients:2 tablespoons mayonnaise3 tablespoons plain yogurt1-3 tablespoons of hot sauce, optionalSuggested Directions:  Combine well and enjoy!Charred Corn Salsa adapted from FoodessIngredients:1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen) 1/4 cup red onion, diced1 cup red, yellow, and green bell peppers, julienned (jalapeno pepper, optional)1 tbsp olive oilsea salt to tasteSuggested Directions:1. Preheat broiler and put oven rack in highest position. Toss corn, onion, and peppers with olive oil, adding salt to taste.
2. Transfer corn mixture to a shallow baking pan, lined with foil. Broil until corn is charred, about 6-9 minutes.
Cilantro Lime Rice
Ingredients:3 cups of cooked brown ricezest from 1 limejuice from 1 lime1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro sea salt to tasteSuggested Directions:Combine all ingredients and mix well. 


I have a confession:  At 28 years old, I JUST figured out how the broiler works!!  Don’t laugh, but I used to think that the storage drawer under the oven was the broiler.  Not surprisingly, I thought the broiler was a really inefficient way of cooking things.  Today, thanks to google, I found out that the broiler is actually really strong heat from the TOP of the oven, and it’s great for charring things—like corn salsa!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here’s a delicious recipe for fish tacos, topped with a delicious charred corn salsa, guacamole, and creme fraiche, served with lime-cilantro rice. This was a hit, and I would totally make this again!!!

Quick tip: If you’ve got a slap-chop (and even better, a husband that loves using the slap-chop), it’s great for dicing the onions, and mincing the garlic quickly!!  

Epic Fish Tacos adapted from The Londoner
Ingredients:
4 filets of tilapia, washed and cut in half lengthwise (or any white fish, e.g., cod, mahi mahi, etc.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup ciliantro, chopped finely
juice and zest from 1 lime 
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
handful of washed pea shoots or watercress
fresh corn tortillas

Suggested Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine garlic, cilantro, lime juice and zest, sea salt, and olive oil. Mix well, and toss in fish to coat and let marinade for a bit.
2. Heat a grill pan on high heat.  Without adding extra oil, throw the marinaded fish on the hot grill pan, and cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.
3.  Serve fish tacos by asking guests to add raw pea shoots to each tortilla, top with fish, then top with guacamole, corn salsa, and creme freche (recipes below).

Guacamole
Ingredients:

3 avocados, peeled, pit removed, and mashed a bit with a fork
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1/2 of a small red onion, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon cumin
sea salt to taste

Suggested Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients and serve within half an hour.  If not serving immediately, put avocado pits in the mix until serving and saran-wrap tightly.  Do not prepare too far in advance, otherwise the avocados will oxidate and turn brown.  

Creme Fraiche adapted from The Londoner
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1-3 tablespoons of hot sauce, optional
Suggested Directions:  Combine well and enjoy!

Charred Corn Salsa adapted from
Foodess
Ingredients:
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen) 
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red, yellow, and green bell peppers, julienned (jalapeno pepper, optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste

Suggested Directions:
1. Preheat broiler and put oven rack in highest position. Toss corn, onion, and peppers with olive oil, adding salt to taste.

2. Transfer corn mixture to a shallow baking pan, lined with foil. Broil until corn is charred, about 6-9 minutes.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients:
3 cups of cooked brown rice
zest from 1 lime
juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro 
sea salt to taste

Suggested Directions:
Combine all ingredients and mix well. 

I love egg salad, and experimented with several different ways to season it before deciding that the combination of salt, pepper, olive oil, basil, smoked paprika, and celery seed was the winning combination!  Enjoy!! :)

If you’d really like to play jazz with this egg salad, sometimes I like adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes and/or chopped black olives!  

Egg Salad

Ingredients:

8 eggs
1.5 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch of celery seed
1 pinch of dried basil
1 pinch of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste 
2-5 stalks of spring onions, chopped finely.

Suggested Directions:
1.  Cook the eggs 8 minutes at a medium boil. Do not overcook.  The yolk will be soft and creamy.
2.  Run eggs under cold water, then crack and remove hard outer shells.
3.  Loosely dice up the eggs in large chunks and put in a medium-sized bowl.   
4.  Combine the rest of the ingredients with eggs and mix thoroughly.
5.  Serve either on top of greens with a little lemon juice or vinegar on top, or serve on top of whole wheat toast.  YUM!!

Soul Groove hosted the launch of BetaKitchen, a rotating lunch pop-up at John Colins bar, last Friday, and I was first in line!! 
Soul Groove played happy soul songs while they tried to put together food on a rickety table—okay so they probably have a few things to iron out still. The fried chicken waffle sandwich had a great maple taste, but unfortunately the photo looks better than it was in real-life since neither the waffles nor the fried chicken were made fresh, so it wasn’t piping hot.  That was a bummer, but I still really enjoyed it (not gonna lie—I even had my friends’ leftovers that they couldn’t finish).  Unfortunately, the waffle-nachos were not up to par—they were chewy and stale tasting because they weren’t fried up fresh, and the nacho cheese might as well have been cheese-whiz.  I was surprised they charged $12 for stale waffles with cheeze, olives, cilantro, and green tomatoes.
What I did enjoy though was the brilliant idea of using space at the bar that wasn’t being used at lunch, and having different chefs rotate in on different days!! Genius!! I will be checking this place out more often!

Soul Groove hosted the launch of BetaKitchen, a rotating lunch pop-up at John Colins bar, last Friday, and I was first in line!! 

Soul Groove played happy soul songs while they tried to put together food on a rickety table—okay so they probably have a few things to iron out still. The fried chicken waffle sandwich had a great maple taste, but unfortunately the photo looks better than it was in real-life since neither the waffles nor the fried chicken were made fresh, so it wasn’t piping hot.  That was a bummer, but I still really enjoyed it (not gonna lie—I even had my friends’ leftovers that they couldn’t finish).  Unfortunately, the waffle-nachos were not up to par—they were chewy and stale tasting because they weren’t fried up fresh, and the nacho cheese might as well have been cheese-whiz.  I was surprised they charged $12 for stale waffles with cheeze, olives, cilantro, and green tomatoes.

What I did enjoy though was the brilliant idea of using space at the bar that wasn’t being used at lunch, and having different chefs rotate in on different days!! Genius!! I will be checking this place out more often!

"LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!!  And by party, I mean pasta!"    
Quick Pasta in Cheesy Cream Sauce with Peas Ingredients:pastafrozen peascream cheese, lightbutter or butter substitutemilk or light cream shredded cheese of your choice 
Suggested Directions:1. Boil desired amount of frozen peas in a small pot.  Drain when cooked (about 5 minutes).2. Meanwhile, boil desired amount of pasta (I used 2 cups of farfalle) in a separate pot.  Once pasta is done, drain it and immediately put in large nonstick pan.3. Over medium heat, toss in a knob of butter (I used butter substitute) and 2 large knobs of room-temperature light cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon of light cream or milk. 4. Blend until butter and cream cheese are evenly distributed throughout pasta.  5. Toss in peas and desired amount of shredded cheese (I’ve used crumbled goat cheese, and shredded parmesan—both are good).6.  Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.

"LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!!  And by party, I mean pasta!"    

Quick Pasta in Cheesy Cream Sauce with Peas 
Ingredients:
pasta
frozen peas
cream cheese, light
butter or butter substitute
milk or light cream
shredded cheese of your choice 

Suggested Directions:
1. Boil desired amount of frozen peas in a small pot.  Drain when cooked (about 5 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, boil desired amount of pasta (I used 2 cups of farfalle) in a separate pot.  Once pasta is done, drain it and immediately put in large nonstick pan.
3. Over medium heat, toss in a knob of butter (I used butter substitute) and 2 large knobs of room-temperature light cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon of light cream or milk. 
4. Blend until butter and cream cheese are evenly distributed throughout pasta.  
5. Toss in peas and desired amount of shredded cheese (I’ve used crumbled goat cheese, and shredded parmesan—both are good).
6.  Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.

I <3 hearty soups.  This is definitely the most satisfying soup I’ve ever made, and it is so simple to make!  Bonus points for the fact that it’s super healthy (but doesn’t taste like it) and extra bonus points for Rod having two helpings!! 
I would recommend serving this hearty soup topped with grated cheese (we used a pre-shredded swiss/gruyere blend, but parmesan or asiago would be good too) and/or with crusty bread!
Kale, Sausage, and Cannellini SoupServes: 4-6 
Ingredients:4 chicken apple sausages, cut into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal1 onion, finely diced1 tablespoon vegetable oil2 thick carrots, peeled and diced (I like to cut into rounds, then quarter them)1 can of cannellini beans (or any white bean), including liquid1 small to medium sized bunch of kale, washed, stem and any tough-looking center parts removed,  remaining leafy parts cut up into 1 inch strips1 clove garlic minced1 teaspoon celery seedOptional: 4- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock. 
Suggested Directions:1. Heat large pot on medium-high heat, and add oil.2. Once oil is hot (about 1 minute), add garlic and saute until lightly browned.  Remove garlic quickly, set aside, and turn up the heat to high.3. In the same oil, saute the sausage over high heat, until nicely browned on both sides (about 5 minutes, stirring frequently)4. Add onion and saute with sausage for 1-2 minutes.5. Add carrots and kale and saute another 4-5 minutes, or until kale turns a brighter green.6. Add cannellini beans including liquid in the can, celery seed, and also add hot water to desired soup consistency (I added 4-6 cups of water—sorry I didnt measure—just kinda eyeballed it).  You can add chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water if you have it on hand. I found that it was not necessary. 7. Stir a little to blend everything and cover and bring to a boil, then let simmer on low heat for 15-45 minutes (I think the flavors blend together better and the kale is more wilted after 45 minutes, but it is perfectly edible earlier!)Enjoy!! 

I <3 hearty soups.  This is definitely the most satisfying soup I’ve ever made, and it is so simple to make!  Bonus points for the fact that it’s super healthy (but doesn’t taste like it) and extra bonus points for Rod having two helpings!! 

I would recommend serving this hearty soup topped with grated cheese (we used a pre-shredded swiss/gruyere blend, but parmesan or asiago would be good too) and/or with crusty bread!

Kale, Sausage, and Cannellini Soup
Serves: 4-6 

Ingredients:
4 chicken apple sausages, cut into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal
1 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 thick carrots, peeled and diced (I like to cut into rounds, then quarter them)
1 can of cannellini beans (or any white bean), including liquid
1 small to medium sized bunch of kale, washed, stem and any tough-looking center parts removed,  remaining leafy parts cut up into 1 inch strips
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon celery seed
Optional: 4- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock. 

Suggested Directions:
1. Heat large pot on medium-high heat, and add oil.
2. Once oil is hot (about 1 minute), add garlic and saute until lightly browned.  Remove garlic quickly, set aside, and turn up the heat to high.
3. In the same oil, saute the sausage over high heat, until nicely browned on both sides (about 5 minutes, stirring frequently)
4. Add onion and saute with sausage for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add carrots and kale and saute another 4-5 minutes, or until kale turns a brighter green.
6. Add cannellini beans including liquid in the can, celery seed, and also add hot water to desired soup consistency (I added 4-6 cups of water—sorry I didnt measure—just kinda eyeballed it).  You can add chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water if you have it on hand. I found that it was not necessary. 
7. Stir a little to blend everything and cover and bring to a boil, then let simmer on low heat for 15-45 minutes (I think the flavors blend together better and the kale is more wilted after 45 minutes, but it is perfectly edible earlier!)

Enjoy!! 

Went biking in the Mission.  After cooling off at Dolores Park and enjoying the view, we decided to go grab lunch at GrubSF .  Here’s a shot of my huevos rancheros.  It was delish, and so was the piece of fried chicken I had on the side. Overall though, I thought the restaurant was just ok. There wasn’t much on the brunch menu that was super appealing to me.

After biking back, we decided to drive down to look at Open Houses in San Mateo and Burlingame.  We recently started thinking about buying a home outside of SF.  Crazy, huh?  I know if you had told me 6 months ago, that I would be considering buying a home/moving out of SF in 6 months, I wouldn’t have believed you!  But it does make sense for us to think about this right now.  

Downtown Burlingame was cool and felt upscale.  Downtown San Mateo was surprisingly quaint, and had a huge variety of restaurants!  We stopped at Rave Burger and had crab cakes and sweet potato fries— delish!  Maybe moving to the ‘burbs ain’t so bad, afterall!

The other day, it was gorgeous out and so we spontaneously decided to bike down to the Mission District (which is a nice flat bike ride!) and grab some food.  We tried to stop at a few different places, but they were either too crowded or had drunk, homeless people outside heckling us.  

We ended up going to Balompie Cafe for some delicious pupusas, fried plantains with crema, and horchata.  These Salvordorian pupusas were super good!!! We chose 4 different flavors, and we both had our own favorites.  Mine was the shrimp and cheese pupusa, and Rod loved his stuffed with proscuitto and cheese.

On the way back home, we biked pass the SPCA, and decided to take a quick detour.  Even though we knew better, we looked at all the dogs they had for adoption, and totally fell in love with 2 month old Ronan (a chihuahua mutt).  We played with him and his sister for awhile and totally fell in love.  (Btdubs, did you know that dogs of the same litter can look totally different because they can have different fathers?  Ronan’s sister looked nothing like him—she had long fur and looked more like a terrier!).  It would be great to get a dog, but we’ll have to find a different apartment that will allow dogs.  At least we’re making steps in the right direction! I’m so glad Rod and I both liked the same type of dog (calm, not yippy)!  

I <3 Food Runners! They are a volunteer organization that helps alleviate hunger and food-waste in San Francisco!  Food Runners volunteers pick up excess food from local restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, bakeries, corporate cafeterias, and events and delivers that food directly to those that need it most.  Over 10 tons of food a week are picked up and given to agencies feeding people in need!

I am so excited to be a part of this organization.  Since I don’t have a car, I don’t do runs that often, but every now and then I’ll rent a Zipcar and do a run.  One of the most enjoyable runs is the Fort Mason Farmers Market run.  I got to do this run last weekend and had a great time!! I met tons of really great vendors who generously donated fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, and even meat to us.  Me and the other volunteer filled up both our cars, and we each went to separate places to drop off the food.

It was so interesting to go from the Fort Mason Farmers Market, in an affluent community, to a government housing agency in the middle of the Tenderloin.  The recipients of the food I brought were all so grateful and helpful in unloading the goods from the car.  It was a super rewarding experience, and I love that I was able to help those in need and also help eliminate some of the food-waste that inevitably happens day-to-day.