the times they are a-changin’

Ive been a little quiet on the blog lately.

Part of the reason is our move from Los Angeles to Chicago….. and then the subsequent move from our temporary apartment in Old Town to our new, permanent apartment in Chicago’s Gold Coast a month later. We are finally settled in and the new place is finally feeling like “home”.

But, another reason Ive been a little quiet on the blog is because there have been some exciting behind-the-scenes changes happening here at coffee.wine.andyoga. too!

We are getting close to introducing the changes to the public, so stayed tuned in the days to come…. things are going to look a little different here very soon!

life in an instagram.

There are lots of new & exciting changes in the works for Aaron and I which has kept me away from blogging for a bit.

In a nutshell: Aaron and I will be relocating to Chicago at the end of August.

This means that we have been trying to check as much as we can off of our “LA to-do” list while also making sure we visit our favorite spots in LA one last time. I thought a nice way to catch everyone up on our crazy last few months was to post some instagram shots… some of which date back to April!

here is what we have been up to:

ec1d1c62d1ee11e2b07922000a1fbd9b_7[at Kimberly & Guy’s beautiful wedding at The Bel Air Hotel in April]

35217a36d53511e2902222000a1fa52b_7[Zig, my brother and I spent several days lounging around Laguna Beach]

562546fed9fe11e2b57222000a9e07e9_7[my summer has been filled with LOTS of yoga & pilates]

db86e7d2d60f11e28ea222000a9f1946_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit the weekend before Aaron’s 30th birthday, we lived liked kings by staying in The Beverly Hilton Penthouse, eating at The Bazaar, and drinking some fantastic wine]

6e3a0e02d6eb11e2914322000a1f984e_7[even Ziggy approved of the Penthouse]

b0a1f752d61211e2a52422000aaa0a0f_7

0bfe9910d63c11e29a8222000a1f8ccf_7[one of my most-favorite things at The Bazaar- the Caviar Cones]

3be894aed86311e2a64f22000a1f968e_7[Aaron’s actual birthday was gorgeous, so we went for a hike north of Malibu and then took in the beautiful Pacific Ocean on our drive back home]

edf6fb32d86211e2b4e822000a9f130c_7

8360ddc0d88e11e282c522000a1fa433_7[Aaron’s birthday dinner at Gjelina. It was incredible.]

63dd59d0dc7911e2938922000ae8007c_7[the weekend after Aaron’s birthday my parents surprised him with a sailing adventure]

aeb5c640dc7911e2a2fe22000a1f8ce3_7

ee1d4bb4dc7911e2b60722000a9f09f0_7[he loved it]

ed7fb208dc8011e28e8222000aa82017_7[Justin Wine & Sweet Lady Jane cake for the birthday boy]

df7af9b8d1dd11e29efd22000a1f9a07_7

c8d68dd2e19411e280ce22000a9e05dd_7[I ended my running hiatus with a fun & blazing-hot 5k in Pasadena]

5e0a066ae65211e2b7e922000aaa0a96_7[Ziggy and I headed to Mobile, AL for a week of R&R]

9bebaaa8ec8611e28a8922000a1faffc_7[….and he took full advantage]

85d64f64ece711e2b96122000aa802d9_7[I returned to LA from AL (without Ziggy) and Aaron and I celebrated our new adventures with a great meal at Sotto and great bottle of wine]

1a216facf0d811e2a52322000a9e02f9_7[then we did it again at Fig & Olive]

468c8d98ed5311e2997822000a1fd57c_7[then the packing & organizing process started]

1d8c5608f23a11e282b622000ae912ed_7[lots of coffee has been consumed]

318fc42ef34711e28d7d22000a1f981a_7[we enjoyed one Monday night on our friend’s rooftop in Angelino Heights with more great wine]

5dac12b0f34711e2900e22000a1f96c7_7

42e9c34af7c611e2a13a22000aaa05ca_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit us in LA one last time before we head out and we were able to go see the Endeavor Shuttle and check another thing off of our “LA to do” list]

76db257adffe11e28b6c22000a1f8db8_7[and now we are putting all things moving related on hold so that we can focus on prepping for our 3 week adventure in France that begins on August 1st]

Au revoir!

help create a new standard for our country’s food.

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Please join Vani Hari (from Food Babe), Lisa Leake (from 100 Days of Real Food), myself, and thousands of others in the fight for eliminating dangerous chemicals, additives, and food dyes from our food.

Sign this petition on Change.org to get the message out to Kraft Foods (and many others) that we, as a nation, don’t want to consume these dangerous (and deceptively hidden) ingredients! Especially since these same companies send out additive & chemical FREE versions of these foods to other countries who have already voiced their concerns over these ingredients and have successfully banned their use.

For more information on this issue please read Food Babe & 100 Days of Real Food’s informative article:
How Food Companies Exploit Americans With Ingredients Banned in Other Countries

 

Are you as passionate about this as I am? Then…
Get involved.
Sign the petition.
Help create a new standard for our country’s food.

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a birthday weekend.

so, this post is nearly a month late. oops.
I blame it on Spring semester starting and Aaron being on hiatus. ha

February is a busy birthday month. Not only is it my birthday (on the 9th), its my Dad’s birthday and my former roommate Ashley’s birthday (both on the 21st) and my Mom’s birthday is the 29th (leap year) however, since 2013 isnt a leap year, she celebrated on the 28th.

Luckily my birthday fell on a Saturday this year. Which meant I was able to have a day full of fun actually ON my birthday; instead of a day or two after.

my day started with a delicious cup of coffee & snuggling Ziggy while I shopped for shoes on my iPad.

my day started with a delicious cup of coffee & snuggling Ziggy while I shopped for shoes on my iPad.

for breakfast, Aaron made baked eggs and toast (with my homemade ciabatta) topped with Aaron's grandmother's homemade jam.

for breakfast, Aaron made baked eggs and toast (with my homemade ciabatta) topped with his grandmother’s homemade jam.

I was super excited about my birthday outfit (a custom made tutu!) but I had to send this photo so several friends, my mom and Aaron's mom to help me pick out which shoes to wear.

I was super excited about my birthday outfit (complete with a custom made tutu!) but I had to send this photo to several friends, my mom and Aaron’s mom to help me pick out which shoes to wear.

Aaron and I took a walk over to The Grove to grab a birthday donut from Bob’s Donuts (the donuts we had at our wedding in lieu of cake), we walked back home and then Aaron drove me to my appointment at the DryBar on Montana Ave. After my hair appointment, we ran a few more errands and then came back home so that we could shower and I could start the process of getting ready.

We had dinner reservations at Roof on Wilshire which is a restaurant and bar on the rooftop of the Hotel Wilshire. We became fans of chef Eric Greenspan’s after going to The Foundry; so when we found out he was behind the menu of Roof on Wilshire we knew we wanted to check it out. As it turns out, the Roof on Wilshire ended up being the perfect space for a birthday gathering as well. So it all worked out nicely.

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invites via Paperless Post.

cocktails by the fire pit.

cocktails by the fire pit.

I went with the pink shoes.

I went with the pink shoes.

Dinner was lovely (I love that any menu associated with Eric Greenspan contains a grilled cheese!) and I am so grateful that so many of my friends were able to come share a cocktail with me on my birthday. The weather was a little chilly to be hanging out on a rooftop, but thanks to a few heaters and the fire pit I completely forgot that it was cold. While the Roof on Wilshire’s cocktails were a little pricey; they were tasty and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was nice having friends from several different parts of my life (yoga, school, my former career as a costumer, my former roommate, etc) all come together and have a fun evening.

Thanks to everyone that helped make my birthday so special!

Here’s to a great last year in my 20’s.
and, who knows how I will celebrate the big 3-0 next year….

a peek inside our kitchen: refrigerator, freezer & pantry

I’ve had several questions regarding our refrigerator, freezer and pantry situation.
Things like “how much space do you have?”, “how much food do you typically keep on hand?”, “how do you store your bulk goods?” and “how big is your freezer?!”

so, I decided, what better way to answer those questions than with photos?

Here’s a peek into our refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and the area on our counter-top designated for produce.
Feel free to ask any questions regarding what you see (or don’t see).

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Spicy Chipotle Hummus

Hummus is something that we go through a lot of for snacks, lunches, and even dinners if Aaron comes home late from work and just wants a little something before bed.

We have tried dozens of brands and flavors of hummus. From Whole Foods, to Trader Joe’s, to Ralphs, etc we have tried them all. And the one we kept coming back to was the Spicy Hummus at Trader Joe’s. The problem is, we rarely shop at Trader Joe’s anymore; and it was getting to the point that their Spicy Hummus was one of the very few items that we would even purchase there.

Then, Food Babe pointed out that most commercial hummus’ contain preservatives as well as canola oil (which is likely laden with GMO’s!) instead of olive oil. Sure enough, when I checked the [rather lengthy] ingredients list on our beloved Spicy Hummus there it was “oil blend- containing canola, sunflower and/or safflower oil”. Our household is really trying to limit our intake of foods that likely contain GMO’s (and unnecessary preservatives!); so we decided that from this point forward we would be making our own hummus.

So far, this recipe is the closest that we have gotten to the delicious flavor of the Spicy Hummus we love[d] so much.

Spicy Chipotle Hummus

Ingredients:
1 can Eden Organic garbanzo beans
1/2 can Chipotle Chilies in Adobo sauce
1/4 organic Tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbls paprika
1 tbls cumin
2 tbls fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Add all ingredients into a large food processor; process until smooth.

Freezes well; and lasts about 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

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Recipe: Spicy Tomato Soup

I really love this soup. Its creamy but contains no dairy (or milk alternative), its filling, it has a slightly spicy undertone, and its a great thing to have around your house during all seasons.

We made a big batch yesterday and ended up freezing the entire thing. Its just so good to have on hand if you’re in need of a quick meal, an additional to a meal, or perhaps even a dose of comfort food (tomato soup will always be one of my go-to comfort foods).

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Spicy Tomato Soup
(adapted slightly from Food Babe)

Ingredients:

1 tsp of olive oil
1 medium white onion chopped
4 carrots chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you want it spicier)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh basil
24 ounces of pureed tomatoes
1 quart of vegetable broth or stock
1 can of Eden Farms white beans (can be Cannelloni or Great Northern) strained and rinsed
2 cups water
diced fresh tomatoes (optional; if you have them around the house)
1 bunch Dino kale, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot
  2. Add onion and carrots and cook for about 4-5 mins
  3. Add garlic next and cook another 2 mins
  4. Add spices, broth, water, and tomatoes to pot and bring to a boil
  5. Once soup is at a boil, reduce to simmer and add beans
  6. Simmer soup for 25 mins
  7. Puree soup using an immersion blender

Food Babe recommends adding a bunch of chopped kale to the soup just prior to serving, and I have to agree. The addition of kale not only adds tons of great nutrients to the soup, it also adds a wonderful flavor and texture to it as well.

Pair the soup with crackers, roasted veggies, or even a grilled cheese sandwich (the second part of my go-to comfort food dish).

Freezes well!

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a day of cooking & baking.

We try to keep a variety of food in the freezer for daily use. Sauces, soups, muffins, cookie dough, fresh fish, etc that we can defrost and use on the days that making everything from scratch just doesnt work.

Our food reserves were running a little low, so we chose to have a “cooking & baking” day yesterday in order to stockpile some foods for the coming weeks. I try to have a freshly cooked homemade meal ready for Aaron when he comes home from work, but there are days when time just wont allow it. So, on these days, I rely on our freezer to help me with a homemade meal.

Yesterday morning while drinking our coffee, Aaron and I made out our grocery list and Aaron went to Whole Foods before things got too crazy (we have learned that its simply not worth going to the Whole Foods by our house on a weekend afternoon).

Aaron came home with our bounty and then we piled everything up on the counter top.  I added the items from our CSA that we were planning on using and then divided everything up based on which recipe it would be going with (organization is key!)

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Yesterday we made:
Spicy Tomato Soup
Roasted Tomato & Garlic Marinara (to be used as pizza or pasta sauce)
Spicy Chipotle Hummus
Whole Wheat Zucchini & Applesauce Muffins
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
Pizza Dough

Instead of putting all of the recipes on one single blog post, I decided to write up the recipes separately so that they are easier to reference.

Aaron and I plan to have one of these “baking & cooking” days about once a month or so in order to keep a decent amount of food in our stockpile. While, yes, it did take all day. We also had fun doing it. We were able to schedule the recipes out so that while one thing was cooking, the other person was prepping the next recipe or doing the dishes (and boy, did we do a lot of dishes yesterday!) We were also able to have the football game going, once the afternoon rolled around we popped open a beer, and just had fun being around the house doing two of the things that we love to do: cook & bake.

Recipe: Banana- Flax Breakfast Muffins

I made these the other day and YUM. These moist, fluffy, not-to-sweet banana muffins are the perfect snack or breakfast-on-the-go companion.

Banana-Flax Breakfast Muffins
(adapted from the Vegetarian Times recipe)

2 cups bran cereal
1 cup buttermilk (or soured soy or almond)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3 over-ripe bananas
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large organic, cage-free egg
1/4 cup walnut or flax oil (I use walnut; and-I strongly suggest avoiding canola oil at all cost)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Place cereal, buttermilk (or soured milk), and flaxseed meal in bowl of large food processor; pulse to combine. Let stand for about 30 minutes allowing the cereal to soften. Preheat oven to 350*.

Add bananas to cereal mixture and process until smooth. Add sugar, egg, and oil and then process until smooth.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in separate bowl. Add to cereal mixture in food processor and process until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/2 cup of batter and bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

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and, if you’re curious; this is the cereal I used in mine:

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Nature’s Flu Shot

I have never gotten a flu shot.
Ever.

and, while I may have gotten sick in the past; to my knowledge I have never been infected with the flu (of any kind or any strain). While I do believe that certain vaccines exist in the world to help us, spare us certain diseases, and promote overall world health; I am not one that feels that a flu shot is necessary.

My mom only had the flu shot once (in her entire life) and that just so happened to be the same year the she got the flu (for the first time). So, take that for what its worth.

I dont want to start any sort of debate on this as I know this is a touchy subject for some.
However, I have found that people don’t usually have mixed feeling on the issue of flu shots; in fact they fall into just two categories:
1. they’re firm believers in the flu shot and think everyone should get one.
2. they think the flu shot is unnecessary and driven by hype.

I fall into the latter category [obviously].

So.. when Aaron mentioned that a few of the crew members of his current show ended up with the flu, instead of running to the nearest pharmacy to get the flu shot, I decided to whip up a concoction to “immunize” our household without having to go anywhere but Whole Foods (and thank you mom for introducing me to this!)

Nature’s Flu Shot
juice of 6 fresh, organic lemons
1 bulb organic garlic (that’s right bulb, not clove!)
2 tablespoons ginger (preferably fresh, but can be ground)
2 tablespoons local honey
3 cups organic pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients in blender, pour into glass (or jar if taking it to work with you) and drink 1 cup of the mixture 4 times a day. Repeat a necessary until symptoms are resolved.

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If you’re interested; here is an interesting perspective on the Flu Shot by one of my favorite bloggers, Food Babe.

and here is an article from Vegetarian Spotlight that has additional recipes to make “Natures Penicillin” and and a slightly different recipe for “Natures Flu Shot” .