Three Fresh Homemade Juices

Juices for days

First it was putting kale into everything, then quinoa for days, then it was on to the smoothies. Now, I have a new obsession – juicing.

I know, I know, another kitchen gadget?! Our kitchen is small enough, that it’s been hard to find the space for all my appliances between the mixer, the blender, the toaster, the french press, etc. etc. etc. But I do love a good gastronomic trend, and I found a pretty inexpensive juicer with great ratings. Juicing really isn’t as bougie as it sounds, and honestly doing it at home is MUCH cheaper than those crazy-expensive juice bars. Plus, you can be 100% sure what you’re making is fresh and high quality, based on the ingredients you’re using.

Juicing is great because it takes the nutrients from the fresh and vegetables, and puts them in a form that is very easily digestible by your system. Plus, even the green juices loaded with spinach taste yummy when combined with an apple and some ginger.

I’ve played around with a bunch of fruit and juice combinations, and wanted to share with you three of my favorites, along with my ridiculous names I’ve decided to give them as of 5 minutes ago:

Juices for days

Magenta Explosion

  • 1 beet
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 4-5 strawberries
  • 1 inch piece of peeled ginger

Juices for days

Quiet Orange Sunrise

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 medium carrot

Juices for days

Lean Green Machine

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 1 inch piece of peeled ginger

I think my favorite thing about these juices is their color- how freakin’ gorgeous are these drinks?

Do you have any favorite juicing combinations? I’m always looking for more!

Happy juicing 🙂

European Buttercream Frosting + a lesson with Chef Frederick Aquino

Cake Decorating Class by Chef Frederick Aquino at Smith & Chang

I had a really unique and exciting experience at a local antiques and home store this past weekend- a cake decorating class from the Executive Pastry Chef of the Standard Hotel, Frederick Aquino! Smith & Chang General Goods, an awesome little shop right down the block in Hamilton Park, Jersey City, held a fun and informative class all about cake, frosting, icing, piping and smoothing… just in time for a sweet Valentine’s Day treat!

Chef Aquino was a great teacher, and gave us lots of tips on how to make amazing frostings and cakes. But as you may know from my previous exploits with cake making, I make a TERRIBLE decorator. That’s why I was so excited to take this  class, and learn the tricks of the trade from a real expert. I’d say I’ve made some improvements!


We learned the basics of adding icing between layers of cake (about a half cup between each layer for a 9″ cake), crumb-coating (applying a thin layer of icing to the outside of the stacked layers so the sides are smooth), and my favorite part, piping. I still have yet to learn how to get the icing in the bag without getting it all over myself, but I’m excited to keep trying 🙂


What do you think of my cake? HAHA, just kidding. This one was Chef Aquino’s. Mine is the little guy up at the top- my little treat for my little valentine 🙂

Cake Decorating Class by Chef Frederick Aquino at Smith & Chang

Chef Aquino was generous enough to give us his recipe for European Buttercream Frosting. This is some seriously awesome stuff! If you’re hesitant about using raw egg whites, Chef Aquino says you can use pasteurized egg whites instead. However, since you are heating the egg whites over the double boiler, I don’t think there is too much to worry about. Just make sure you are using fresh eggs, and you should be a-okay.

4.3 from 3 reviews

European Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 sticks butter, cut into pats
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Over a double boiler, heat egg whites, sugar and salt, whisking constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Transfer to a stand mixer and whip on high for about five minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks and is cooled. Turn speed to medium and slowly add in butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla last, and beat one more time to get everything incorporated.

I attended the workshop with my future sister-in-law, Amelia. Maybe she can help decorate my wedding cake this October… What do you think, Miel???


This was such a fun event, and many thanks to both Smith and Chang and Chef Aquino for hosting!

Happy Eating 🙂

Meyer Lemon Tart with Raspberry-Thyme Sauce + a GIVEAWAY!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Raspberry-Thyme Sauce

In the family of cookies, I think shortbread is the forgotten second cousin who’s often overlooked for her prettier, chocolate-loaded familiars. Kinda like the Edith of the Crawley sisters, don’t you think? Jan of the Brady Bunch? Meg of the Griffin family?

In other news, I watch too much TV.

But you know what? I freakin’ LOVE shortbread. I always order a box of Trefoils from the Girl Scouts (ok, maybe there are a few Thin Mints in that order too), and there’s just something so simply delicious about the buttery sweet taste with a hint of salt. And Walkers is the BEST when it comes to shortbread- just four simple ingredients (butter, flour, sugar, and salt), a long tradition of making amazing shortbread, and oh yeah, their treats are AMAZING!

That’s why I was so excited when Walkers was generous enough to send me a huge box filled with shortbread treats- all different kinds:


Speaking of sweets, one of my absolute favorite desserts is a lemon tart. When Walkers asked me and a few other food bloggers (hello Kayle and Susan!) to come up with some new recipes using their delicious shortbread, my mind immediately went to lemon bars- with a twist. I used Meyer lemons- their slightly sweeter, less tart cousin that is rumored to be a cross between a mandarin orange and a regular lemon. I also decided I wanted to make a sauce of raspberries, combined with earthy, lemony thyme as an accompaniment.

I LOVE the way these came out- the crust was perfectly buttery and sweet, the filling was tart and smooth, and the sauce was slightly sour and earthy. If you enjoy lemon bars, you gotta make these!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Raspberry-Thyme Sauce

5.0 from 6 reviews

Meyer Lemon Tart with Raspberry Thyme Sauce
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 8

For the crust:
  • ½ package Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread
  • ½ package Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread Raspberry Thins
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
For the filling:
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 3 Meyer lemons, zested
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
For the sauce:
  • 6 oz raspberries
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the shortbreads until they are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix together to coat the crushed shortbread, then press into the bottom of a tart pan. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator as you assemble the filling.
  3. In a saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs and salt. Heat up over medium heat, and cook, continuing to whisk, until the mixture is thickened- about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the pats of butter one at a time, stirring to combine. Pour the lemon filling into the prepared tart pan, and bake until the curd is set- about 15-25 minutes. Let completely cool before cutting.
  4. While allowing the tart to cool, make the sauce: in a small sauce pan, combine raspberries, thyme, and sugar, and heat over medium heat. Cook until raspberries have broken down- about 5-7 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, using a spoon to push against the pulp to get all the juice out. Discard pulp.
  5. Cut lemon tart into slices, and garnish with the raspberry-thyme sauce. Enjoy!

And now it’s time for a GIVEAWAY! 

I’m sending one lucky reader 3 boxes of Walker’s shortbread!

Please leave a comment for a chance to win, telling me what your favorite guilty pleasure is!

Additional entries can be earned by:

  • Liking my Facebook page
  • Adding me to your circles on Google Plus

If you do either of these extra entries, please leave another comment for each additional action!

This contest ends on Sunday, February 10th at midnight EST. Open to US residents only.

Happy Eating 🙂

Disclosure: Walker’s sent me a sampler box of product for me to test and enjoy. All opinions expressed here are my own.

My Favorite Salad

My Favorite Salad

Lunchtime for a working girl can be a dangerous activity.

Having worked in Manhattan for the last 5 years, I’ve eaten from a lot of subpar delis, overpriced salad bars, and super-salty “ramen” during my favorite mealtime of the day. Sure, occasionally you find the absolutely amazing hole-in-the-wall burrito joint, but it’s usually just a few too many avenues away to be convenient, or costs a few too many dollars than you’re willing to let go of, or, let’s face it, contains a few too many calories to ever be deemed a responsible choice.

(Side note: I might have made a spreadsheet to catalog all of the “good” places around my office. If you work near Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen, hit me up and I’ll send you the Google spreadsheet.)

I’m ashamed to say I often pick up and buy my lunch somewhere around my office rather than bringing it from home, and frankly, it’s been taking a toll on my wallet and on my waistline.

It’s just that I have a lot of expectations when it comes to lunch, and microwaved leftovers (especially microwaved meat… EWW!) just don’t cut it. So, because I’m still on the Standard Process Cleanse and most of the take-out options around here do NOT fall into anything I should be eating, I’ve had to innovate and come up with some kickass ideas in order to stay healthy and happy with my food choices.

Enter this salad- not just any salad, but my FAVORITE salad. Like, of all time.

It combines some of my favorite flavors (lemon, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes), with some nutrition powerhouses (kale/arugula, quinoa, avocado) and turns into something so much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

The best part is… it is filling, delicious, and so much better than anything I can find around Midtown!

My Favorite Salad


5.0 from 3 reviews

My Favorite Salad
  • 2 cups greens (I prefer kale, arugula, or a mix), chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 6-8 kalamata olives, chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon slice
Optional additions:
  • ¼ cup celery, sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted salmon, flaked

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with juice from the lemon slice, toss again, and serve!

Tip: An easy way to dice an avocado is to make hash marks in the avocado while it’s still in the peel, then scoop it out with a spoon:

My Favorite Salad

Need some other good and healthy lunch ideas? Lentil soup is one thing I don’t mind re-heating in the microwave, and is so yummy. Another favorite is lentil saladgrilled corn salad (accompanied by some grilled chicken or flaked salmon), or carnitas tacos. (I seriously have a phobia of microwaved meat, so I usually just toast up the tortillas in the office kitchen instead, then add the meat and toast some more to heat through).

What are your favorite bring-from-home lunch options?

Happy Lunching 🙂

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Mmmmm. Soup in the wintertime… a match made in heaven if you ask me.

It’s really getting cold around here, and it’s easy to fall into the rut of eating heavy, rich foods that may satisfy your craving for some warmth and comfort. The problem with a lot of these foods is that they will often leave you comatose on the couch, watching another 8-hour Say Yes to the Dress marathon.

Which got me thinking… is it possible to create a meal that is both filling, warming and delicious, that doesn’t make you want to curl into the fetal position and never put on a pair of skinny jeans again?

What if I told you that it IS possible, and that this hearty meal is also gluten-free, completely vegetarian, and even… woah… vegan??

Lentil Soup

It’s no secret lentils are my new obsession. I’ve made several different lentil dishes during my cleanse, including this lentil salad I posted about earlier, along with seriously red curry lentils from Pinch of Yum. There is something so yummy about this little legume that I am totally down with, plus they are so good for you and low in fat.

This soup combines a ton of healthy ingredients in one delicious package. I got this recipe from the back of the Standard Process Cleanse handbook, and I will definitely be making it again!

Lentil Soup
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 4

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.
  4. When ready to serve, stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts.
  5. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

Lentil Soup

This recipe can be easily halved, or you can store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Happy Eating 🙂

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