Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffins

Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffings I am a bonafide breakfast person. I am useless at work if I don't have a meal before coming into the office. I need food in the morning, but I also want sleep! Smoothies are my typical go-to weekday breakfast drink, but sometimes I want something that's even easier, that doesn't require the 5-10 minutes of prep time a smoothie can take.

I have browsing the New York Times Cooking app recently, and I came across a blueberry muffin recipe that grabbed my attention. I love blueberry muffins, but they are often filled with sugar and fat. Traditional blueberry muffins are a favorite on the weekend, but during the week you want something more wholesome that will give you energy for the day.

These blueberry muffins actually have cooked oatmeal in the batter, giving them a fiber boost for the day. The only additional sugar is a quarter-cup of maple syrup which has a lower glycemic index than traditional white sugar.

Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffings
You are going to love these muffins--they are delicious, easy to make, and even easier to eat on the subway or on your walk to work. They are great with your morning cup of coffee.


Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffings

Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffins

From The New York Times

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cooked steel-cut oats
1 cup blueberries, tossed with 1 teaspoon flor

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and position the rack to the upper third position. Oil, spray, or butter 12 muffin cups. 

Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. 

Quickly stir in the dry ingredients with a whisk or spatula. Do not beat, just mix, stirring up from the bottom until you can no longer see flour. 

Fold in the cooked oats and blueberries. 

Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffings
Spoon into muffin cups, filling them just below the top. Place in the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Favorite Finds: Mother's Day

Today's Favorite Finds post is dedicated to the lovely woman who helped raise you, your mother! As many of you know, I lost my mother when I was young. Mother's Day is always a reminder of the that, but I also spend the day saying thank you to other wonderful women that helped raise me and shaped me into the woman I am today.

Here are my favorite gift ideas for this Mother's Day...

1) A tea subscription service, at just $20 a month, is the Mother's Day gift that will remind her every month how wonderful she is.

2) This beautiful necklace for $65 is a tribute to all of the cookies she made you growing up. 

3) Nothing like a great card to tell Mom exactly how you feel, for $4.50. 

4) She's already a great cook, but this cookbook, at $35, will inspire even more health and tasty breakfast ideas

5) Make your mum brunch with this delicious blood orange and vanilla marmalade, at $12.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Happy Friday!

How do you recharge on the weekends? Last weekend was a lot of "me" time; Noe Valley Farmer's Market, watching the new Cinderella movie (which was quite good), and shooting lots of upcoming recipes. This weekend I am hoping to be a little more social. I am celebrating a friend's birthday on Friday, and then I will spending Sunday exploring the city with Vivian. 

Hope you have a good weekend filled with both rest and friends. Here are some links to get you to 5pm!

Blue Bottle just keeps getting better. {link}

Feeling inspired after watching Oprah's talk on a meaningful life. {link}

Loved loved loved this take on bring apart. {link}

Did your favorite state food make this map? {link}

How to work less and get more done. {link}

What the drought means for avocadoes. {link}

20 delicious salads for spring and summer! {link}

Where to eat along the PCH. {link}

New studies on what to eat to prevent Alzheimers. {link}

Image via

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Minty Pea Soup

Mint Pea Soup

Pea soup reminds me of my father and my grandmother. My dad actually hates peas; he refuses to eat them. And my grandmother probably never made this soup.

Mint Pea SoupApparently, my grandmother would buy canned peas, boil them to death, and then serve the boiled pea mush to my dad. No wonder my dad hates peas.

If my dad ate this soup growing up, he would like peas. Because this soup is delicious, fresh, and slightly creamy. It's perfect for the spring!

Z liked this recipe so much that he actually suggested we make it for dinner one night. Any time Z recommends a particular recipe, instead of just saying, "I don't know what I want for dinner, Hilary. Make anything," means that we have found a winner.

Mint Pea Soup
This soup is easy enough to make for dinner on a weeknight, I promise! I'm including the recipe with frozen peas, because who really has time to shell fresh peas?


Mint Pea Soup

Mint Pea Soup

from Ina Garten

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and green parts only (about 2 leeks)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock
2 10-ounce packages of frozen peas
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly chopped chives

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and the onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. 

Mint Pea SoupAdd the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the peas are tender. Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper. 

Puree the soup in batches, one cup at a time, and pour the pureed soup into a large bowl. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives, then taste for seasoning. Serve hot! Top with additional creme fraiche if you would like. 

Mint Pea Soup

Monday, April 20, 2015

Favorite Finds: AFAR MAGAZINE

When I was traveling back from Washington, DC, I stopped by the newsstand at the airport looking for my usual copy of Glamour, The Economist, and Porter magazine (great combination, I know), before heading onto my flight.

One magazine stood out though that isn't party of my usual selection. I heard about AFAR through Instagram actually, but I hadn't picked up a copy yet.

AFAR covers travel in a fresh perspective and feel. Expect them to cover the highlights of a particular city and country, but also expect off-the-beaten-path suggestions. AFAR has beautiful and inspiring pictures, pulling you into a particular locale. After reading the magazine, I was left wishing my flight was headed to Europe or Asia instead of San Francisco.

I personally loved their food content. When I travel, I admittedly am a little too focused on where I am going to eat each meal. AFAR's restaurant and food choices were a wonderful mixture of traditional and contemporary. Yes, I want to experience the traditional flavors and aspects of a culture's food, but I love the more modern interpretations of those flavors.

Next time you are at the magazine stand, pick up a copy! Also, their online content is equally great, and you can check them out here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekend Reading

I know I am usually all smiles and happiness on Fridays, and it's typically a very accurate reflection of how I actually feel.  This week was not fun. I started getting the cold that everyone on my team at work has, and then I hit my head and have been suffering from headaches ever since. Oh, and Z left very VERY early this morning for India! The highlights of the week included seeing an old friend of DC and spending some "me" time at the nail salon. Here's hoping that this weekend is more relaxing than the past week...

Why Uber's job creation stats aren't what they seem... {link}

Time released their 100 Most Influential People of 2015, and I particularly loved this food-related bit. {link}

Worried about food-borne illnesses? The FDA is on it. {link}

This is going on my must-make-now list; I'm obsessed with any vaguely Mediterranean food. {link}

The best wine to pair with chocolate. You're welcome. {link}

Loving the idea of this peanut butter snack cake. {link}

Could you survive on just $29 a week for food? {link}

Tempted to make this part of my daily routine. {link}

In the spirit of #ask4more, advice that I should start listening to. {link}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quinoa & Kale Pilaf

Kale and Quinoa Pilaf
Life recently has been getting the best of me. "Gym" has been a foreign word recently, and I break my no white sugar/flour M-Th rule pretty frequently. I've just felt...blah. There's no better way to put it. I'm in a funk, you now?

Kale and Quinoa PilafWhen I feel this way, I immediately reach for whole grains and vegetables. 

This recipe is great because it is so healthy, can be made in one pot, and it has a lovely lemony dressing. It's now a regular in our dinner routine!

Now, will this quinoa pilaf help me get to the gym? No. Still working on that one!

Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

From Food52

2 cups salted water
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped into 1" lengths
1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Top with kale, and then re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, and then let sit for 5 minutes. 

While the quinoa is cooking, take a large bowl and combine the lemon zest/juice, scallions, olive oil, pine nuts, and goat cheese.
Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

Check the quinoa and kale mixture to make sure the water is absorbed, the quinoa is tender but firm, and the kale is bright green. Fluff the quinoa, and then dip the quinoa and kale into the bowl. Toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Favorite Finds: Linea Carta

I always walk into Anthropologie wanting to buy something. I'm such a sucker for the smell (Blue Volcano!) and the aesthetic. I walk in and I am practically begging them to take my money.

The truth is though, as much as I want to buy something, I almost always leave empty-handed. Something is always just not quite right. Often an item is too expensive or doesn't fit properly so I just give up. I'll wander around the store for a good hour or so, but then end up leaving when I realize there's nothing I actualy want. 

A few weeks ago, I was doing my usually lingering at Anthropologie when I spotted the perfect mug. It featured sketchings of San Francisco that had water color layered over on top of it. I was smitten. 

I fell in love when I realized there was a matching London mug as well. 

I didn't leave empty handed that day, but instead left as the proud owner of two very cute Linea Carta mugs. 

Linea Carta is a Bay Area based design company featuring beautiful (and eco-friendly!) stationery and gifts. While you can find some of their pieces in Anthropologie, Etsy also has a ton of their stuff!

Below are a few of my favorite pieces from them...

2) MUG

Friday, April 10, 2015


Image via prettystuff.tumblr.com

Hello Friday, hello fun! This week has felt crazy--reunions with family, old friends, and going to the gym for the first time in a month (!) coupled with doctor visits. Whew! I'm ready for the weekend. 

If you are ready for the weekend as well, then check out these links below!

How much water goes into making your meal? {link}

Tea + Sugar + British Empire {link}

The best ice cream sandwiches in NYC, so more places to add to my growing list of places to try! {link}

Loving the idea of this weeknight past recipe {link}

An inside look at Scribe Winery {link}

Caviar is now delivering food within 10 minutes from restaurants! {link}

Check out these fruity beers for your next meal {link}

Hello, Shopbop sale {link}

I'm looking forward to trying this pizza place after Passover {link}

Have you tried Equator Coffee yet? {link}

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Matzoh Toffee

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

I'm warning you. This stuff is addicting. It's so good, that it's worth making even if you are sick of matzo or you don't have to worry about eating matzo this week!

This is basically matzo covered in a delicious toffee, then chocolate, and then flaky sea salt. It's basically the bomb dot com. 

Chocolate Matzo Toffee
I actually never grew up eating this. It wasn't part of my family's Passover routine. I didn't discover this recipe until college. Now, it's one of my favorite Passover snacks, but really as I'm eating it now I'm wondering why I don't make this all year round.

It's surprisingly easy to make--the hardest part is waiting for the toffee to cool!

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

Matzoh Toffee

From David Lebovitz

4 to 6 sheets of matzo
2 sticks unsalted butter, but into pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
Big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
Flaky sea salt

Line a baking sheet with foil and then parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375. Line the baking sheet with matzo. 
Chocolate Matzo Toffee

In a pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat. Once the butter melts completely, let the mixture boil for 3 minutes. 

Chocolate Matzo ToffeeChocolate Matzo Toffee
Off the heat, stir in sea salt and vanilla into the brown sugar and vanilla mixture. 

Then, pour the toffee mixture over the matzo. Make sure the matzo is covered completely!

Chocolate Matzo Toffee
Turn the oven to 350, and then put the baking sheet in the oven. Let it cook for 15 minutes. You should reduce the heat if it burns.

Take the baking sheet out of the oven, and then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee. Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt. 

Chocolate Matzo ToffeeChocolate Matzo Toffee

Now, the hard part. Let the toffee cool completely before eating. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Forage Family Meal

Forage is one of my favorite food companies--they deliver the ingredients to a delicious restaurant-inspired meal that can be made in under 20 minutes. You can read more about them here.

A few weeks ago, they invited my friend Meredith and me had dinner with the Forage team. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Forage and the cool stuff they are up to!

We met at their office, a commercial kitchen space in Dogpatch. We started the evening with drinks and a tour, including seeing all of the space they have for storing ingredients...so impressive!

After a tour, Executive Chef Stephen Beaumier (formerly of Cyrus, Quince, and Noma) walked through how Forage chooses meals and preps ingredients for all of their customers. I was so impressed by the quality of the meals--both in ingredients and in creativity.

Then, we split up into groups of four, and got to work cooking! Each group of 4 prepared a different Forage menu item. My group was in charge of vegetable ash carbonara.

When each of us wrapped up, we gathered around the table with each group's dish--potatoes stuffed with dried fruit and nuts covered in a delicious Indian sauce (thanks to DOSA), smoked soba noodles, delicious flatbread, and our vegetable ash carbonara.

We dug in to the delicious food, and then jumped into a great conversation about food. It was a wonderful night!

You can sign up for Forage meals here: https://www.forage.co/?ref=2f1aea4fdd

Monday, April 6, 2015

Favorite Finds: 2 Degrees Bars

Before flying out to Mexico, I met my friend M for dinner. We met at her work, where they have an amazing snack selection. Her office takes snacks to the next level--there's homemade nutella, coconut water, everything your heart could desire. 

Naturally, I stole a snack or two for the plane. I grabbed a 2 Degrees bar, which I had never tried before.

The next day on the plane, I unwrapped the 2 Degrees Chocolate Banana bar, and took a bite. It was so delicious! It tasted exactly like chocolate and banana, plus a nice crunchy contrast thanks to some chia seeds. 

If you're not a banana fan, there is also chocolate peanut, cherry almond, and apple pecan!
There's another reason to love 2 Degrees besides their tempting bars. For every bar you buy, they provide a meal to a child in need! I am a fan of the one-to-one model, and I love how 2 Degrees is giving back. 

You can give back yourself (or just try a tasty bar) by buying some here

Friday, April 3, 2015

Weekend Reading

Hi everyone! Hope you all are having a great start to your Friday. I've spent the past two weekends with family, first my sister and then my father. It was so lovely spending time with both of them. I flew out to DC (here we are at the historic Florida Avenue Grill), and then my dad came to visit Z and I in SF. 

This weekend will be spent with my friends who feel like family. I will be rushing home from work this evening to celebrate Passover with friends. Growing up, Passover is a true family holiday. Though I hated giving up bread, I always looked forward to the big family meal during Seders. I'm excited to start new traditions this year!

Meet my new life coach, Cookie Monster. {link}

What are your thoughts on Mast Brothers chocolate? {link}

A tech entrepreneur gives up her life's possessions {link}

Passover Seder's 4 questions + food justice = this. {link}

Have you been following this crazy story about Hapa Ramen? {link}

Next on my shopping list...{link}

SF events for April! {link}

A great introduction to the leading Democratic candidate for CA Governor. {link}

The sad truth behind college acceptances {link}

This recipe is getting added to my "must bake immediately after Passover list". {link}

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Back to Basics: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake

Passover is almost here, and if your previous celebrations are anything like mine, your Seders probably include some form of cake made with potato starch or matzo meal (to compensate for the lack of flour) that a family friend or relative brought for dessert.

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
I always loathe these cakes that look deceptively delicious, but then end up just tasting like a weird potato due to the potato starch. 

During Passover, yes, your diet is limited. You essentially are gluten- and corn-free, and for many Jews, rice and legumes are also a no-no. That being said, it doesn't mean your dessert options are limited!

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
My philosophy on Passover desserts applies equally well to any sort of diet that excludes gluten or other key foods. The secret is just to avoid recipes that try to replace flour with something else. There are lots of great desserts out there that don't require flour!

Today's recipe is a rich and perfectly imperfect flourless chocolate cake that will be a perfect addition to your table this weekend, whether you are celebrating Passover, Easter, or just the beautiful spring weather!

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
This cake brings a lot of flavor, and I love how rustic it looks. The cake puffs as it bakes, and then cools to almost create a crater of sorts. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, who calls this a "Chocolate Cloud Cake". 

I like this cake served with whipped cream, and you can find my recipe for that here

Also, here are some other gluten-free and Passover-safe recipes, like macaroons and chocolate mousse.

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

From Nigella Lawsone
Leaving the recipe in grams, so you can be more accurate!

250 grams of bittersweet (70% cocoa solids) chocolate
125 grams unsalted butter (softened)
6 large eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
175 grams white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate. 

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75 grams (1/4 cup) of white sugar, then gently add the chocolate and butter mixture. 

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
In another bowl, whisk the four egg whites until foamy, then add the rest of the white sugar (about 1/2 cup). Whisk until the egg whites hold their shape, but are not too stiff. I suggest using an electric mixer for this step!

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate CakeFlourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake

Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of the egg whites. Then, fold in the rest of the egg whites carefully. 

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake has risen and cracked, and the center is no longer wobbly. 

Cool the cake on a wire rack; it will sink as it cools. 

Flourless (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake
Remove the cake from its tin when ready to serve. Add whipped cream or powdered sugar, as desired. 


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