Nov
25

Oh hey, it’s me. And apparently I’m the only blogger around who hasn’t made an extensive list of EVERYTHING you need to make for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been that into the traditional Thanksgiving meal up until a few years ago; before that my Thanksgiving consisted of Mom’s stacked enchiladas, posole, spanish rice and empanadas.

The only thing traditional we had was pumpkin pie (because I requested it of course). And who could get sick of those kind of leftovers? Not me.

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Oct
07

Sometimes I go on a french fry craze. Like get out of my way, I’m going to eat that entire plate of fries because I haven’t had them in nearly a month, and they look pretty dang terrific.

Welcome to the world of a girl who is in love with food.

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May
07

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing - light, lovely and so delicious!

I’ve been getting back into vinyassa yoga lately. Most of the time I do yoga sculpt classes with weights, but recently I’ve needed some deep stretching and some major stress relief. The mind-body connection that yoga brings me is often times my favorite part of the class; I’m more self-aware, compassionate, and thoughtful with each class. I’ve also noticed that my anxiety diminishes.

The other day my instructor was talking about how you have to be brave in order to become your true self. How you have to go beyond what you think you’re capable of if you want to make something happen. Take a chance on something or someone.

Little conversations like those push me to be better. I’m happy to have the ability to to make choices, change my future and create opportunities that I would have never thought possible. Thus on my journey to having a clear mind with less stress, I’m also focusing on having a healthy body. Eating clean, preparing my meals, and taking care of myself is so important.

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing - light, lovely and so delicious!

This past weekend I made a big batch of this summery salad (with fall flavors?) My mom came over to help taste test, and she absolutely loved it. We enjoyed it cold served with some greek yogurt.

This salad was inspired by my favorite little meal at Whole Foods made with couscous. Every time I’m there I search for it.

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing - light, lovely and so delicious!

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Jan
08

Oven roasted green beans with garlic, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes – the perfect side dish!

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Green things! Finally, right?

For the last month, I ate way too much Mexican food, drank too many bottles of wine, and consumed wayyyy too much sugar. Talk about an overload. What I really need in my life (and maybe yours, too) is a little balance.

The good news is that work finally seems to be slowing down and I’m planning a couple of things including a blog redesign and a trip to Australia!

Yes, my boyfriend and I are headed down under for almost two weeks next month! Our trip starts in Sydney, then we’re road tripping from Brisbane to Byron Bay, then back through the Gold Coast, and finally ending in Brisbane for one of my darling friend’s wedding. She just sent me a picture of the bridesmaid’s dress and it’s beyond gorgeous!

Monique at Byron Bay

Even though I briefly lived in Australia and explored, I’m excited to head back and do some adventuring! Above is a picture of me at Byron Bay, the most eastern point of Australia; it was where I first learned to surf!

If you have any recommendations of things to do, see, or visit – please leave a comment or send me an email! I’d love to hear them!

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Feb
24

So this weekend I shoveled snow in my heels because I didn’t have any boots with me. It was completely ridiculous but also a little riveting as it proves I’m a total badass. Call me Beyonce.

Just kidding, please don’t do that.

Something that’s actually ridiculous though? My complete obsession with brown butter. It’s life-changing, and I have a slight feeling that I may be responsible for introducing many of you to the magic it can create in a recipe. How can something so simple be that delicious? I don’t ask questions I just try and put it in as many things as possible.

Now I enjoy making my own sweet potato fries, but if I’m in a bind I’ll purchase Alexia Sweet Potato Fries; they’re delicious and a great option if you don’t feel like peeling and cutting your sweet potatoes. Plus, you can always spice up your fries to your liking. My favorite sweet potato fries are heavily dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They remind me of the flavors of Thanksgiving, like I’m eating a slice of sweet potato pie.

But do you know what really takes it over the top? Drizzling them with a brown butter marshmallow glaze.

I think need to repeat that. A BROWN BUTTER MARSHMALLOW GLAZE. I feel giddy every time I think about it.

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Feb
03

Are you a french fry lover? I sure am! Good quality french fries of all shapes and sizes are one of my favorite ways to indulge on a Sunday.

In my experience, some of the best fries can be found at your local burger joint — you know that hole-in-the-wall spot everyone loves? In Minnesota there’s a small dive bar called The Nook and my goodness… it is completely amazing! I don’t even eat beef burgers, but I would totally devour a Juicy Lucy (a burger stuffed with cheese) if I was there. Oh and their fries? Heavenly, hand-cut, and rich with flavor to balance out that juicy burger. Please go if you ever find yourself in the Tundra.

And now that we’re onto the subject of restaurant fries, we should chat about Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California. This place is one of my favorites and truly has some of the best fries I’ve ever tasted in my life. I should also mention that MB Post makes bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits that are so good they make you want to cry, which is another reason you should stop by. Just please don’t forget the seriously huge steak fries that are so effortlessly perfect for dipping. Mmmm I just lovvveee them!

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Now of course, I can’t go around eating hand cut french fries at restaurants allll the time. That’s why I love that Alexia Foods makes frozen fries that come out perfectly crisp when you bake them in the oven. Their sweet potato waffle fries were my go-to snack during the Super bowl and I made an incredible spicy dipping sauce to go with them. It’s essentially love at first bite. And no, I’m not just saying that.

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Jan
29

Have you ever wondered what type of recipe would pair perfect with my Teriyaki Salmon? Or perhaps my Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps?

Or even your own crispy baked chicken fingers?

I think it’s obvious what the answer is: this coconut rice!

I was offered the opportunity to partner with Campbell’s to make a recipe from their site, which to be honest, I didn’t even know existed until now!

I chose to make a coconut rice dish I stumbled upon, because I knew it would pair perfectly with many of the things I eat. And guess what? I loved it! It’s incredibly simple to make.

Basically all you do is start with chicken broth and coconut milk and bring the liquid to a boil, then add the rice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper (for a little spice) and garlic powder, then simply cover and simmer over medium low for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is sweet and tender. This side dish is then finished off by adding almonds and green onions, however I subbed in cilantro because I love the freshness it brings. I also think it’d be great to add chopped pineapple for a touch more sweetness.

Head over to Campbell’s website for the recipe, then check out their other simple and easy recipes that you can make or adapt to your liking.

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Dec
05

During my younger years, my Mom used to bring me along to grocery store while she went shopping. I was always excited to go on these weekly trips because I knew she would buy me the crispy wedge fries from the Deli counter. They were incredibly delicious and basically everything you need in your life at the age of four. Especially when you’ve got ketchup to dip them in.

I specifically remember the fries having this incredible crunchy golden brown coating on the outside with a hint of spice. But the inside? Pure bliss. An incredibly soft texture that I still remember to this day. We called them Joe-Joes; I’m still not really sure why.

Anyway there I’d be sitting and snacking delightfully on my little bag of Joe-Joes with a little (or A LOT) of ketchup all over my hands and face. I was probably grinning ear to ear.

Is it wrong that I kind of want to do that again? Probably. Well because adults don’t sit in shopping carts, nor do they have messy faces or hands.

Growing up is tough guys… especially when you grow out of eating joe-joes. However, I’ve realized that fries can be so much better with flavor combinations that could fill up an entire book and dipping sauces that are completely creative.

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Nov
12

Welp, it’s Monday. I have a lot of things that I need to share with you. So let’s just get to it!

1. I got an iPhone. My life has officially changed… I don’t know if it’s for the better since I’m pretty obsessed. This weekend my godson downloaded like 5 ninja apps. He also read my texts. Yes, quite entertaining. Oh and obviously I now have Instagram. I basically just take photos of food, brown butter, and things that don’t matter. SO COOL, right? Wrong.

2. I’m headed to NYC this week! Eeeek! Can you believe that I’ve never been before? I am SO excited. I’ll only be there a few days, but trust me,you are going to want to see the recap. We’re staying in the Trump tower! I also really need some incredible restaurant recommendations so send them my way puhhhlease?

3. My birthday is in like, a month and 10 days… but who’s counting? ANYWAY due to this immediate holiday coming up, I have to start thinking about what I really want to do. I have concluded that I need an incredible meal, followed by a HOMEMADE pumpkin pie served with real whip cream. Really, it’s all I want. Or a trip to Greece. Either one would work.

4. That being said, Thanksgiving is soon. There will be epic desserts on this blog in the next coming weeks. Bear with me as we expand our waistlines… OR you could just make the recipes for other people and give them yoga pants for Christmas.

5. This HUMMUS needs to be made by you. Also bonus points if you make homemade pita chips and eat it for breakfast because you know that’s what I did. I have to thank the fabulous Giada for the inspiration. I have to thank myself for slathering it over everything in sight.

 

My basil plant is still producing huge leaves, so I decided that it was time to use them up. Holy italian-hummus-love this is GOOD. The basil, garlic, and white bean hummus makes the perfect appetizer and is pretty great on just about anything.

Hummus on sandwiches. Hummus for breakfast. Hummus snacking is totally good. I would know, I dipped carrots, snowpeas, and every veggie imaginable in it. At one point I contemplated putting it on a granola bar, but decided that was taking it too far. But I don’t know. It might still happen.

Oh and the whole making your own pita chips thing? Probably the easiest thing you could ever do. I usually buy the 100 calorie whole wheat pita bread. Western Bagel makes an amazing high-fiber, lower-carb pita bread, but feel free to use any you like!

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Oct
30

There are certain things that we all take for granted. We easily forget how blessed we are to have caring people in our lives, to have good food on our plates, and to have opportunities in our future. Little things like a simple conversation with a friend or an embrace with a loved one may seem to always be there. We go through our day to day motions of buying overpriced cappuccinos and putting gas in our cars without a thought. We hardly ever think about how privileged we truly are.

There are days when we even take ourselves for granted. We forget what we love to do, those passions we all have, and get lost in the big world for a moment or two. Often, we put our dreams aside because we’re afraid to fail. We forget to say I love you to those who matter. And sometimes, we just forget to be ourselves. Our pursuit of happiness gets buried somewhere.

And so before we talk about super amazing things with bacon and maple syrup, I thought I’d write you a little inspirational post about how awesome you truly are. Because I think sometimes we all need a little reminder about the things we should never forget.

Never forget you’re beautiful and unique. You aren’t like anyone else on the planet, so don’t even try to be normal. Always, always be yourself. Embrace your quirks and weirdness. Be who you are and then you will find what you want.

Never forget to believe in yourself and those around you. This is life. We’re all just getting along on our journey; figuring it out and taking those uphill battles one day at a time. In some way, we’re all struggling, so offer compassion to those around you. Be encouraging to both yourself and others. Projecting kindness never feels bad.

Never forget to follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure, because it leads to success. Having a passion is daring, but it makes you inspiring and remarkable. Remember that part of life is pursuing a happiness. Forget what others think or say, go after what’s in your heart. Life is short and moments are always passing.

Never settle. On love or in life. You deserve something amazing because you are amazing.

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