Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Couscous Stuffed Yams

This was a vegetarian meal that even my husband (who eats meat at every single meal) loved!  I personally could eat this every night.  It's filling, full of flavor, and it made me feel like I'd never get sick again because I had so many antioxidants in my body -- which is really exactly what I needed after a [fabulous!] weekend in Vegas :)

I got the idea from Leslie Durso's recipe (via Pinterest), and substituted Israeli couscous for quinoa because that's what I had in the cabinet, and made a couple other adjustments.  (Btw, how cute is Leslie Durso? And an LA girl at that!  Can we be bff's?)  

Here's the adapted recipe if you'd like to try it out!

Couscous Stuffed Yams

2 yams
2 T. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package (1 1/2 cups) Israeli couscous
1 3/4 vegetable broth
1 T. cinnamon
2 T. olive oil
2 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Dash of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
Zest of a lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke yams all around with a fork, and when the oven is ready, put them in on a piece of foil or a baking sheet and set the timer to 50 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, chop 1/2 yellow onion.  Add the onion to a sauce pan with 2 T. butter and saute over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent.  Add the package of couscous (or 1 1/2 cups) and saute until it starts to turn golden brown.  Then add 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth and 1 T. cinnamon.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover.  Simmer until the liquid is dissolved (around 20 minutes).

While the couscous cooks, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add in a couple handfuls of chopped kale, 1/2 cup almond slivers, and 1/4 cup dried cranberries.  Saute until the kale wilts.

Add kale mixture to the couscous once it's done, and season with a dash of salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. cumin.  I also like to add the rind of a lemon for a little freshness.

Take the potatoes out of the oven, split them in half, and pile the couscous on top.  


Friday, January 18, 2013


I'm off for a girls' weekend in the city of glitter and sin!

I've got a suitcase full of my three Vegas-worthy dresses, my cheapest high heels, all the eyeliner I own, and a couple of 5-hours.  I'm all set!  ;)

Hope you all enjoy the long weekend!

P.S.  The last time I was in Vegas was the night I passed the Bar exam!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Tasting Kitchen, Take 2

Remember when I wrote about the Tasting Kitchen waaaay back in one of my very early posts?  And I told you about how we let the waiter pick out our whole meal, and about how the food was so good and it was such a great date place?

Well.  I was right.  You should believe me.

Brian and I went back again as a sort of [really] belated 2nd anniversary dinner.  We did the same thing where we let the waitress design our meal, which, I have decided, is truly the best way to dine.  The whole eating out experience feels so much more luxurious when someone else makes all the decisions for you!  Someone who actually knows what goes on back there in the kitchen!  It's like a mini brain vacation.

Anyway, I'll keep it short because I already told you all about the place last time, but let me just say:  ORDER THE PASTA WITH VEAL AND OLIVE PESTO.

Thank me later.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where My Head's At

I've been thinking a lot about what I want this year to look like.  It's a resolution of mine to pay attention this year -- to live deliberately, and to guide my days with purpose instead of letting them slip by.  It's exhausting sometimes, trying to figure it all out, trying to figure myself out.  But I suppose there's nothing worth struggling for more.

And so these early days of 2013 have been full and dense and quiet all at the same time.  That's where I've been.  That's where I'm at.

(Photo edited with the afterglow app - my newest obesssion!)

Monday, January 7, 2013


I loved that NYE fell on a Monday this year because it meant we had a whole weekend beforehand to celebrate!  THREE-DAY NEW YEARS FTW! 

We spent New Years Weekend in Napa with two of our friends from college who ventured out from Texas for a visit.  I had never been to Napa in the winter, and was surprised by how beautiful it was, even though it was past harvest time.  The valley was blanketed in bright yellow flowers (I was obsessed), and all the wineries and our hotel were still decorated for Christmas (so charming!).

We stayed in a hotel called the Vineyard Country Inn in St. Helena, and I would totally recommend it.  All the rooms were suites (with living rooms and fireplaces), and it was conveniently located so that you could walk into the main downtown.  As for wine, we tried to do a mix of mainstream and more boutique-y wineries, so we ended up stopping at Stag's Leap, Robert Sinskey, Mondavi, Opus One, and Rubicon (apparently now called Inglenook). 

My highlights:  Sinskey's wines are always my favorite (and I love that they give you treats made by Sinskey's chef wife, Maria with your tasting); the view from Opus One is amazing (but the wine is expensive); and the grounds at Rubicon/Inglenook are the best place to sit down for a  mini-picnic.

Here are some photos from our time - enjoy!

{Stag's Leap}


{Robert Sinskey}

{Opus One}

{this tree at Rubicon grew BOTH oranges and lemons!!!!}
(Thanks for the group pic Jessie!)

Sunday morning we woke up and went for a walk into the main town in St. Helena (in a desperate attempt to work off some small portion of the feast we ate at Greystone the night before, in preparation for our brunch res at Bottega...). 

The town is really just one little main street with cute home decor, food, and book shops, and a handful of cafes and restaurants thrown in.  Super cute. 
On the way, we passed this beautiful view of a vineyard and all those gorgeous yellow blooms:

I may have taken a picture or two...ha.

In sum:  We ate too much, we drank too much, and we did 2012 proud!

P.S.  In case you are planning a trip to Napa and looking for some recs, Artesa and Hess (which also has an art gallery) are a couple of my other favorite wineries we didn't make it to.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jan. 2

After that whole "carpe diem" pep talk yesterday, I have a horrendous cold/flu/demon-virus and all I want to do is sleep for days.

So that's Jan. 2 for you.

I leave you with this picture because Dec. 31 > Jan. 2.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jan. 1

Here's to a new day, a new year!

As you know, I live for new beginnings.

I crave the freedom of a clean slate; an open door; an unknown ending.

Jan. 1 is only a day, only the first of a month.  But it can be more than just that.  I see it as a break in the chain binding me to December 31, to the 51 days before that, to the past. 

Jan. 1 stands alone.

And best of all, Jan. 1 brings with it the opportunity to choose what Jan. 2 should look like.  It's a chance to make everything new again.

This life is yours; this day is yours; this year is yours.

Make it your best ever.

P.S. Jan. 1, 2012.