Saturday, December 22, 2012

Venetian Cookies

Venetians—also called tri-color cookies or rainbow cookies—are a family tradition, and no one in this world makes them better than my grandmother, Mary. They are not too difficult, but definitely time consuming. So if you’re interested in trying to make these at home, make sure you carve out a good half-day. Take your time and have fun!


  • 1 can almond paste
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Food coloring : red, green, yellow
  • 12 oz. jar apricot preserves + 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 large bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Grease  three 13×9 pans (cookie sheets)
  2. Line with wax paper & grease again
  3. Break up almond paste in large bowl, add butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract
  4. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy – 5 minutes
  5. Beat in flower and salt
  6. Beat egg whites until peaks form in a small bowl.
  7. With wooden spoon stir in almond mixture
  8. Divide into 3  bowls, add food coloring to each bowl: one red, green and yellow
  9. Add more food coloring for a brighter color
  10. Spread in to pans, bake 15 minutes, or until edges are golden
  11. Allow to cool, heat apricot preserves, strain & spread ½ of the warm preserves over green layer, spread to the edges. Put yellow layer on top and spread with remaining preserves. Put red layer on top of yellow
  12. Melt chocolate over hot water, add 2 drops of almond extract a few drops of water to desired consistency, should be on watery side, not thick, so that it’s easy to spread
  13. Spread on top using half of chocolate. Refrigerate. When chocolate is hard, turn upside down and spread remaining chocolate on top. Let dry 30 minutes in refrigerator
Cut into one-inch pieces, and enjoy!
This post is cross-posted from Christina Does, a blog about shopping, beauty, fashion, travel, food, events, and more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Improvised Flat Bread

Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a girls’ night in – something I view as the ultimate cure for any excess of emotion (anger, stress, frustration, sadness, etc.).

Tuesday, after four hours of sleep and a grueling 10-hour day in the office, I was on my last thread. While I normally would have gone home and slept it off, I felt I needed to do something to replace the guilt I felt for being too tired to hit the gym.

Cue a quick trip to Whole Foods, Alycia and a bottle of wine. By 10 p.m. I was cured. Conversation, vino and our improvised flat bread wound up being just what the doctor ordered.

Whole Wheat Flatbread with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I walked into Whole Foods with visions of a gorgeous fig, arugula and goat cheese flat bread in my head. Apparently, and to my dismay, figs are out of season. I grabbed the first suitable substitute I could find – a package of sun-dried tomatoes, and made my way to our foodie date. Here is the final result:

  • Pizza dough (we used whole wheat dough from Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan flakes
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and prep the pizza dough according to directions on the packaging. We rolled our dough out into a nice rectangle large enough for roughly eight square slices.

Toss the arugula in the apple cider vinegar, and place aside for later.

Bake the dough for 5 minutes, then remove. Lightly coat the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the garlic evenly.

Layer the cheeses, sundried tomatoes and arugula on top. I know some like to hold the arugula until the flatbread is done baking, but we decided to try throwing it all in the oven.

Next, return the flatbread to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Remove from the oven, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

San Diego Eats

Isn't it funny how places are so strongly associated with their cuisine? When I travel, I always have a list of things to see and things to EAT. Visiting family is no different. About two weeks ago, I went to visit my sister in San Diego. The to-do list included Blue Water Seafood, In-N-Out Burger, Mexican food in Old Town, and so much more. I took so many photos with my new camera, here are just a few "foodie shots" from the long weekend.
Amazing seafood at Blue Water: grilled calamari appetizer//seared ahi tuna platter//swordfish platter//the best damn tuna melt ever
P1000280P1000287Wedding cake tasting at Babycakes: before and after
P1000276Red velvet pancakes at Babycakes (these were not ours, they just looked so perfect that I snapped a shot while the 'owner' wasn't looking!)
P1000236Taffy in a store in Old Town
Uhhhmazing Chilean sea bass at Peohe's on Coronado Island
...and the obligatory In-N-Out Burger
There are a few more photos still on my camera (including scrumptious pumpkin spice pancakes), but I'm sure I've given you enough to make your mouth water at this point.
These images are cross-posted from Christina Does, a blog about shopping, beauty, fashion, travel, food, events, and more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

(veggie!) Spaghetti & (meatless!) Meatballs

So it's been an entire month since our last post - which means the whirlwind of the holiday season is certainly in full-swing!  From the end of Fall through the Thanksgiving tryptophan coma, we certainly ate our way through November and are backlogged with great blogs to post!

With all of the heavy eating that went on last month and with Christmas and the New Year still ahead of us, I took a time out for some light eating that would still satisfy my comfort food cravings so that I wouldn't feel deprived.

Below is a really great recipe for low-carb 'spaghetti' (aka spaghetti squash) and protein-packed veggie quinoa 'meat'balls for a flavorful, filling lunch or dinner.

1. Cut spaghetti squash length-wise, scoop out seeds and roast 1/2 (reserve the other 1/2 for later up to three days uncooked depending on how much you need) after rubbing with olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt and pepper in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

2. While roasting, make quinoa balls:

- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 5-6 large button mushrooms, cleaned & thinly sliced
- 1 small drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 cup onions, diced
- 2 tbs pine nuts (or any nut of your choice!)
- 2 eggs, one for egg wash
- A couple generous pinches of crushed red pepper (omitted in mine since I didn't have any, didn't notice!)
- 1/2 tsp fresh oregano*
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary*
*fresh is so important here, totally makes a difference!
- Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa according to package using water and set aside to cool a bit.
2. Fry up the onions & mushroom slices in some olive oil until softened and browned, set aside.
3. In the same pan, wilt the spinach until is softens
4. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, spinach, red pepper and onions.
5. Add oregano, rosemary and crushed red pepper, salt & pepper to taste.
6. Add pine nuts and combine mixture.
7. Add cooled quinoa and mix in of the eggs.
8. Shape mixture into even-sized balls and place on a greased and foil lined baking sheet.  make an egg wash by mixing together remaining egg and a splash of water.  Using a brush, paint the meatballs with the eggwash.
10. Bake at 400 degrees until they are cooked through, browned and slightly crispy (15min or so.)
(This awesome recipe originated here.)

Once both items are finished, top spaghetti squash with quinoa balls and your choice of tomato sauce and some cheese (I used creamy goat cheese) if you'd like.  Enjoy and feel like you're indulging - guilt-free!

Feel good,