Friday, September 30, 2011

Overcoming Uncertainty

“Do the thing you fear and keep on doing it…That is the quickest and surest way yet discovered to conquer fear.” — Dale Carnegie

I love reading something I can really learn from and take it to the bank. I enjoy a good story as much as the next guy, but there's something about learning something from a book I can use to improve myself or my life somehow that really just hits home with me. So in light of that, here's what I've dug up.

Uncertainty; risk; exposure to do you conquer these 3 crippling things so they dont block your path ??...  Or even better harness their power to help you achieve your goals?  I know I'm the first to act differently when I'm uncomfortable or know I'm being criticized. In your 20's and  30's especially , life is filled with these 3 almost every day. The idea behind this book is that properly understood,  fear and uncertainty can become fuel for creative genius rather than sources of pain, anxiety, and suffering.  Instead of offering an empty pep talk, the author delivers daily practices that can help you transform fear and uncertainty into confidence and creativity. This can be usefuland applicable to every type of person -- in business, art and life.

We’re afraid that to try something new because we don’t want to be criticized, and we don’t want to fail. But nothing great is accomplished without taking risks. Uncertainty, the book, explores methods for circumventing our fear of judgment and failure.

We have to stop being afraid of life- To take charge of our own destiny instead of waiting for it to arrive and to find confidence in the face of fear- in short to thrive on uncertainty. I haven't always been willing to take risks. Sometimes I've chosen the path of least resistance  or seemed safest but you know what that also didnt always make me happy. Sometimes we need a reminder of how and why we've managed to create the life we enjoy today.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Available at your local bookstore, library or here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The joy of Not eating crap


Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Let's get real. Just because your budget might not allow you to splurge on organic everything at Whole Foods doesn't mean you're stuck with Pop Tarts and Dr. Pepper. Cooking once a week is far better than not cooking at all.

The “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. Despite extensive government subsidies, overprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. With 2 million U.S. children classified as extremely obese, it's impossible to ignore kids' growing girth. I know how hard life can be as is, why make it harder by being overweight?? You can do something about it.

You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk or water for about $14, and feed four or even six people.  If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9.

Instead of turning on Jersey Shore or updating your Facebook status, spend some quality time in your kitchen. Make cooking a passion, not a chore. Nurture yourself in a good way <3

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Fall is right around the corner...I love making things that make it feel like the season and this is sure to warm everyone's heart and fill their belly's too. I think a home baked fall treat would be a great thank you present, too. You can add in different nuts, extra this or that and double the recipe to make a larger batch.

This is a pretty healthy granola recipe. if you like yours a bit sweeter I'd replace the applesauce for honey or add in a bit more brown sugar.

Pumpkin Granola


5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas


1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

*Note-serve granola with yogurt, milk, plain, put it in a jar with a bow and make somebody's day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brown Sugar-Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Love pecan pie, but tired of making the same old Thanksgiving dessert? Then bake these brown-sugar-pecan cupcakes with caramel frosting instead! Seriously, these cupcakes are the best dessert I've tasted in weeks. The fluffy batter is rich, but light with a distinct browned-butter flavor. Although it requires a little time to make, the caramel frosting is absolutely to die for. It's smooth and creamy with a sweet taste similar to caramel candies. The pecans tie the elements together and provide a breakfast-like texture to the cakes. GET INVOLVED.


For the cupcakes:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

  1. For the cupcakes: Put rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray; line with muffin cups.
  2. Whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped pecans.
  3. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  6. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. Do ahead Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.

  1. For the frosting: Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup turns deep amber, swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl. Very gradually whisk hot caramel into yolks. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat butter and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in caramel. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 1 hour.
  4. Spread frosting over cupcakes. Place pecans on plate. Roll edges of cupcakes in nuts.
Makes 12 bad little mofo's.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash

One of my fave healthy and good for you Fall veggies is butternut squash. It's incredibly versatile and lends an autumnal, pumpkin-ish flavor to everything from salad to soup to macaroni and cheese. It's great as a side dish to fish, chicken, and its also a great alternative to potatoes.

There are also plenty of ways to season these little earthy nuggets.  Fresh sage, thyme, or rosemary add an earthiness to the squash, while honey or maple syrup caramelizes the flesh. Doesn't experimenting with different flavorings and preparations sound like fun? You can truly be the chef.

1 butternut squash
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage, (optional)
honey or maple syrup, for drizzling (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the stem off of the top of the squash and remove the bottom. With a strong vegetable peeler, remove and discard the squash's skin.
  3. Cut the squash in half down the middle. Remove and discard the seeds.
  4. Slice the flesh into 1/4-inch dice and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  5. Liberally drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. If desired, sprinkle with the herbs and drizzle with the honey or syrup. Toss to combine.
  6. If using the squash for a salad, roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes (tossing once to rotate) until the squash is tender. If you plan on pureeing the squash, roast for 40-50 minutes until its very soft and beginning to brown.
Depending on the size of your squash, you should have 2-3 cups.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Warm White Bean Dip With Roasted Bell Peppers

Im always looking for a good dip. Its the perfect thing to bring to a party.  I skipped the gut inducing cream cheese and opted for a more tangy cheese — goat cheese. To give the dip more texture, I then added chopped roasted bell peppers and scallions. Finally, to further enhance the flavor, I warmed it up and browned the top just before serving. The result was gnarly-ness in dip form. Here I up the goods...

1 (15 ounce) can of white cannelini beans, drained
3.5 ounces of goat cheese
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 roasted bell pepper or 1/2 a jar of roasted bell peppers, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. While the oven is heating, combine the beans, goat cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Process until completely smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil to the bean and goat cheese mixture.
  3. Put the mixture in a small bowl and add 3/4 of both the roasted bell pepper and the scallion, and a generous sprinkling of salt. Mix well.
  4. Place mixture in shallow ramekins and bake until warm about 15 minutes. If desired, use your broiler to brown the top. Garnish with remaining bell pepper and scallions, sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately with vegetables or crackers.
Serves 6-8 people that dont suck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Computer Beauty Sleep

Q. Should I put my computer to sleep or shut it down when I’m finished using it?

A. Shut it down.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, running a computer at night is akin to leaving on about 10 lightbulbs. You turn off lamps before you go to bed. Why not do the same to your PC? That simple click saves energy and money. For every household computer you shut down, you could cut $10 to $30 off your annual electric bill.  Sleep mode uses less juice than full power, but shutting down has the added benefit of increasing your computer’s functionality,. It gives your hard drive time to cool off (prolonged heat shortens its life span) and allows for automatic software updates. If you just snooze, you lose.

Blue Zones- Where People Live to 100 and Stay Healthy

I love to read, you should too. Here's my recommendation, I loved this book and found it extremely interesting, if you aren't a healthy afficionado...don't fret, this book makes a great easy and interesting read, great for flights and great for a gift.

This book is about something called blue zones – places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth.  Several of these blue zones exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years is common.  And they aren’t just living long either – these people are living healthy – without medication or disability.

Five blue zones have so far been identified and thoroughly researched by journalist Dan Buettner in a partnership with National Geographic during more than five years of on-site investigation.  So what is the secret to longevity and health underlying these fascinating communities?  Do they possess modern technology, do they take massive amounts of supplements, do they run on treadmills, do they have special genes?  As you may have guessed, the answer is none of these.

The five blue zones are as follows:
  • The Italian island of Sardinia
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula
  • Ikaria, an isolated Greek island
The “secrets” to blue zone longevity and health are no surprise.  In fact, for many years now it has been known that choosing the right lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on longevity and health.  The hard part (for many people at least) is actually doing it!

I don't want to spoil it for you, but I will say this.... Although it may seem hard to achieve this lifestyle, the absolute simplicity and power of it should actually be refreshing and uplifting.  People are always thinking that complicated medicine and expensive modern technological therapies are required to live long and healthy.  But it simply isn’t so.  The gift of a long and healthy life is already in the hands of each and every one of us. 

If you are really interested, you can see the National Geographic Article here

Roasted Figs

The other day when I was at Whole Foods, I couldn't help but notice the arrival of fresh figs. When figs are in season-- take advantage of the delicious fruit and serve it as an uncomplicated, but decadent appetizer. All you have to do is pop them in the oven until soft and juicy. They're wonderful on their own or even mixed into a salad.

I think they're best when topped with cheese and drizzled with honey and balsamic vinegar. I used goat cheese, but gorgonzola or ricotta would also be great paired with figs. Entertaining couldn't be easier when you serve them on a rustic wooden board with a glass of chilled Champagne.

Roasted Figs- Total time 20 mins.

6 to 8 Mission figs, halved
goat cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the figs, cut side up, in a baking dish. Top each fig half with a 1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon of goat cheese. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and honey butter over the figs. Season with salt and pepper and roast in oven until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!!

Happy Hour: Cranberry Margarita

While I'm a fan of the classic margarita, I like to enjoy its Thanksgiving-themed cousin, the cranberry margarita.  It's festive yet familiar. Instead of craving tortilla chips and guacamole, I found myself wanting something elegant and savory. Thus, I paired the cran marg with a warm crab dip. Shake and serve straight up, or pour over ice.

2 cups tequila
1 1/3 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange-flavored liqueur (triple sec of Cointreau)
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

  1. Combine the tequila, cranberry juice, orange liqueur, and lime juice in a large pitcher. Shake over ice.
  2. Strain into margarita glasses or low cocktail flutes. Alternately, strain into low tumblers filled with ice.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dont settle

Reasons to love LA

As if you needed any more...traffic sucks, no doubt and it costs a pretty penny to live here, but..but...these may be some of the reasons why.

Beaches anyone? from Manhattan to Malibu ..

Where else in the US can you for real surf? Or look out to the beach and always see this?

Palm trees and flowers EVERYWHERE

Street Art

Skateboarding to shit constantly happening.

Hollyweird and Hollywood Nights

Santa Monica, Griffith Park, Runyon, Malibu Canyon..  Hiking

Santa Monica Pier

Sailing/ Marina Del Rey...seeing sea lions and dolphins daily..

Monday, September 12, 2011

Early September Playlist

Passion Pit - Swimming In The Flood
Cranberry - The Ruby Suns
Tiƫsto feat. Tegan & Sara - Feel It In My Bones
Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground
Black Keys - Tighten Up
Le Loup - Le Loup (Fear Not)
The Octopus Project - Malaria Codes
Robyn - Hang With Me (Starsmith Remix)
Wild Nothing - Gemini - Summer Holiday
Gardens & Villa - Black Hills 
Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place
Foster The People - Helena Beat
Foster The People- Don't Stop
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
AIR - J'ai dormi sous l'eau
EDWARD MAYA & VIKA JIGULINA - Stereo Love (Paul And Luke Remix)

Weekly Wisdom

“Be in love with your life. Every last detail of it”

-jack kerouac

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popsicles

There are certain things in this world that are a natural match made in food heaven; the pairing of peanut butter and chocolate is one of those combos in my book. There are lots of fall parties coming up as BBQ season comes to a wrap..Here is something fun around a fire, for halloween parties, football game cute and fun would these be to pass out to guests?

I used all-natural peanut butter since I had it on hand, but a traditional store-bought peanut butter like Skippy or Jiffy would make a better base, as the flavor is more intense. Since these little guys are exceptionally rich, keeping these popsicles on the miniature side is key (if you don't have small popsicle molds, use tiny paper cups or shot glasses instead). The chocolate shell needs to be cool to room temperature to ensure you don't melt the popsicles while dipping. Once dipped, however, the popsicles are ready to eat; alternatively, store them in the freezer until you're ready to serve them.


3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons canola oil


  1. Combine ingredients: Using a blender, combine the first 6 ingredients until well-blended and creamy.
  2. Fill popsicle molds: If using conventional molds, divide the mixture between the molds and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using shot glasses or other unconventional molds such as paper cups, freeze until the pops are beginning to set, then insert the stick and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Make chocolate for dipping: To create chocolate coating, microwave the chocolate chips for about 1 minute or until nearly melted. Mix in the canola oil, stir until thoroughly incorporated, and set aside until cooled.
  4. Dip popsicles in chocolate: Place the chocolate coating in a shallow dish like a small ramekin and quickly dip the frozen peanut butter popsicle into the chocolate. The chocolate coating will harden nearly instantly. Serve immediately, or return popsicles to freezer until ready to serve.
Makes 8 high five inducing popsicles.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Show me the Honey

Do you add a little honey to your tea? Good move. While honey contains a few more calories per teaspoon than sugar, the former has a number of healthy advantages over the latter.  Here's why runners should enjoy the sweet stuff...

FUEL PERFORMANCEA study on cyclists found consuming 60 calories of honey (one tablespoon) with water every half hour works as well as an energy gel in improving sprinting efforts at the end of a long workout.

Studies show that using honey over regular table sugar can help steady blood-sugar levels—great news for those with prediabetes or insulin resistance.

Compared to other sweeteners, honey has higher levels of antioxidants. In one study, subjects who drank tea with buckwheat honey showed a seven percent increase in antioxidant levels compared to subjects who had tea with sugar.

Using honey instead of sugar for two weeks can lower your "bad cholesterol" and reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation in vessels.

IMPROVE G.I. HEALTHHoney contains oligosaccharides, a type of sugar that fuels the growth of immune-boosting bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy intestinal tract.

Ways to use it you ask?

20 MINUTES: Bake energy barsMix 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 eggs, walnuts, orange zest, and 2 cups granola. Bake 15 minutes at 375° F.

15 MINUTES: Grill vegetables
Place sliced zucchini, peppers, and onions on hot grill. Brush with 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup white wine, and 1 teaspoon garlic.

10 MINUTES: Fruit smoothie
Blend together 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 ripe peach, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon buckwheat honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and ice.

5 MINUTES: Salad dressing
Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced scallions, and salt and pepper.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Think and Grow Rich

"There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality! Remember this in the beginning and it will hearten you when the going may seem difficult and slow.
Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up near the top of the ladder. Sometimes it appears there is a hidden guide whose duty is to test people through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying arrive; and the world cries, "Bravo! I knew you could do it!" The hidden guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the persistence test. Those who can't take it simply do not make the grade..
Those who can "take it" are bountifully rewarded for their persistence. They receive, as their compensation, whatever goal they are pursuing."

- Napoleon Hill, was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal success literature. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich...