Coconut water fruit popsicles

Coconut water popsicles with fruit

Today officially marks the first day of fall, and to some parts of the country this means chilly nights, cute scarves, and pumpkin flavored everything. To Los Angelonians, not the case. We’re currently enduring an extremely obnoxious heat wave. Over the last couple months, I can’t remember a single day it was below 80 degrees, and I remember way too many days nearing 100. So as I sweat my ass off in my air conditioned(less) studio apartment, the mere thought of a pumpkin spice latte makes me nauseous—and not just because they’re actually not very good (sorry).

In lieu of the heat, I present you with a frozen treat to keep cool (for like 5 minutes). I spotted these popsicle molds at the store, and it immediately brought me back to making homemade Kool-Aid pops as a kid during the summer.

My version steps up the homemade popsicle game a bit by using real fruit and the ever trendy coconut water, which is known for its hydration capabilities—crucial for surviving a heat wave. These frozen pops are super easy to make, and surprisingly tasty for how healthy and simple they are. The natural sweetness of the coconut water compliments the bright and tangy flavors of the fruit, perfect for a cool treat that’s not overly sweet.



  • coconut water
  • fruit of your choice, such as:
    • kiwi
    • mango
    • pineapple
    • strawberries
    • raspberries
    • blueberries
    • dingleberries


Chop up all the fruit into small pieces. Fill the molds halfway with coconut water, and drop the fruit in. Add more water/fruit to the mold until it is evenly filled to the top. Insert the sticks and put in the freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.

You may need to run a little hot water over the mold to loosen the pops.

*Currently taking donations for an AC unit. Cash accepted. Make checks payable to Lauren Regnier. 

My adventures with Neapolitan pizza pie

*Forewarning: this entry is long. If you’re just looking for the dough recipe, skip to the end. But you’re missing out on lots of laughs and fun. Bye. 

Lately I have been obsessed with pizza. But not just any pizza, I’m talking authentic, Neapolitan style pizza cooked in a wood fired oven at extremely high temps with a thin, chewy crust, topped with simple, rustic ingredients. This obsession came to head when I was visiting my best friend, Carissa, in Boston last month.  Her dad (Eddie Spaghetti), being the awesome Italian that he is, has a wood fired pizza oven in his backyard—cue praying hands emoji. So, you better believe I made Spaghetti whip me up a couple pies while I was there. Not only was it the best homemade za I’ve ever had, I also learned a lot about authentic, Italian cooking.

Of course, being on the East Coast also meant I had to try the local pizza, since LA pizza pales in comparison, according to every East Coaster, ever. Verdict? They’re right—kind of. The reason I say kind of is because I’ve come to realize that the east and west coast aren’t going for the same result when it comes to pizza, so it’s not really fair to compare the two. I discovered this when Carissa’s brother, Paula (his name is Paul, but I call him Paula because it’s cute) said that the West Coast tries to be “too fancy” with their pizza. The East Coast is good at keeping it classic with the basic, simple ingredients (think: cheese, pepperoni,  and basil) whereas the West Coast tries to elevate their za with exotic ingredients (think: truffles, goat cheese, and duck bacon).  So, if you ask me which one is better… I’d probably still say the East Coast, who am I kidding? But, I do have an appreciation for California’s creativity.

za collage 2 And so, taking all my newfound knowledge and experience with pizza making, I ventured to the kitchen to create my own (sort of) authentic, Neapolitan style pizzas with a California twist. I dragged my brother along with me cause God knows I couldn’t be trusted with measuring cups alone.

Story Time

My brother (Stephen) travels a lot for work, so when he’s home we take advantage of spending time together. For us, this usually consists of cooking and drinking, usually simultaneously. So last week I proposed the idea of getting together to make some homemade pizza. I told him all about the pizza Spaghetti made on my trip, and suggested we try out the dough recipe. He was all in. Since the dough takes two days to rise he asked if I wanted to make the dough by myself, I repeat by myself, and then bring it over to his place when we were ready to cook. I politely reminded him that I need adult supervision when it comes to measuring, and then politely forced him to help me.

So, cut to, we’re in my kitchen very diligently measuring out the all ingredients (there’s four ingredients in this recipe) when he gets a phone call and leaves the room. I decide to carry on with the measuring and before I know it, I’ve added two tablespoons of salt instead of two teaspoons. Oops. He looked away for five seconds and I’ve already ruined everything. When he comes back to the kitchen he simply picks out most of the salt with his fingers (genius) and we call it good.

Now that we’ve combined all the dry ingredients, it’s time to add the water and form the dough. Stephen pours the water in little by little while I mix it together with my hands. So far, so good. When we near the end of this process, Stephen thinks the dough looks too dry and suggests we add more water. I don’t really think it needs more water, but I enthusiastically agree anyway and we add the water. Oops numero deux. The dough turns into a sticky, hot mess. I’m a little worried at this point, but secretly happy I wasn’t the only one that made a mistake, today. We both decide that adding more flour seems like a legit solution, so we keep adding flour until we feel it looks right.

Next comes the fold and stretch. The recipe does not describe how exactly you’re supposed to “fold and stretch” the dough, so Stephen just decides to stretch the hell out of it at all angles and mangle it into a ball. I think I have a better idea of how to do this, so I try it out and Stephen agrees it’s more civilized, and we press on.

Alas, the dough is done. We wipe the sweat off our brows and high five each other in the form of downing a bottle of wine. We deserve it.

Pizza Time 

The recipe makes about four pizzas, so we both came up with a couple ideas for each pizza, all inspired by noteworthy zas we’ve encountered in the past. We split it up into four courses. I created courses one and two, Stephen did course three, and we both (along with Stephen’s girlfriend, Adriana) created the fourth course.

  • Course one: Margherita
  • Course two: Mushroom, truffle oil, and arugula
  • Course three: Roasted curry carrot with beets and shaved Brussels sprouts
  • Course four: Proscuitto, sage, and fig jam

Unfortunately none of us have a wood fired pizza oven, or a backyard for that matter, so we decided to grill the pizza instead of putting it in an oven (with the exception of course four).

Course one: Margherita



bufala mozzarella
fresh basil
red sauce*

*whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, kosher salt, and oregano (blended). Do not warm, sauce cooks in the oven. 

Making this pizza was important to me because I wanted to make a truly authentic Neapolitan style pizza, like the one Spaghetti made for me in Boston. So, I called him up and he helped me out with the sauce and all the essentials.

IMG_1193I love this pizza because the ingredients are so simple, but the flavors are so vibrant. What I’ve learned about Italian cooking is that they like to keep things simple, fresh and rustic. They use good quality ingredients, and let them shine on their own.

Course two: Mushroom, truffle oil, and arugula 



cremini mushrooms
goat cheese
truffle oil
olive oil

The inspiration for this pizza actually came from the restaurant I work at in Culver City, called the Overland. We recently added flatbread pizzas to our menu and my favorite one has mushrooms, arugula, and burrata cheese. I wanted to recreate that, but put my own spin on it.

IMG_1228I added truffle oil and used goat cheese instead of burrata. I thought that the tanginess of the goat cheese would pair nicely with the peppery arugula and cut through the pungent, rich flavor of the truffle oil.


Because we didn’t use a sauce for this one, we thought it came out a bit dry. If I were to make it again, I think I’d make a bechamel (white sauce) to put on it as well, which is actually what they do at my work. You win this time, Overland. Luckily, I had plenty of sauce left over from the Margherita, so we used it as a dipping sauce.

Course three: Roasted curry carrot with beets and shaved Brussels sprouts



shaved Brussels sprouts
toasted hazelnuts
goat cheese
carrot curry sauce*

*I have no idea what’s in this sauce, you’re gonna have to wing it or call my brother.

This pizza was designed by my brother after eating at one of his favorite places in New Orleans called, Domenica, which in Italian means, Sunday. It’s hilarious to me that he chose to make this one because it’s rare that he eats vegetarian pizza. He one time said and I quote, “I need meat. I’m not in the mood for a f***ing farmer’s delight,” when we were deciding which pizza to order. Yikes.

IMG_1261Anyway, I guess one of the locals at this place suggested the Roasted Carrot pizza and he was in the mood for a f***ing farmer’s delight that day. He said it was one of the best pizzas he’s ever had, so here we are. I don’t know what the pizza at Domenica tasted like, but if it was anything like this, I suggest you check it out if you’re ever in New Orleans.

IMG_1280I’m a huge fan of the beets and goat cheese combo, so that made me happy right off the bat.  The nuttiness from the hazelnuts paired well with the curried carrots, and the crunch of the sprouts made it all come together. Not only was it tasty, but it was beautiful as well. I love how rustic and bright this pizza is.

We decided if there was one thing we would change, it would be to add some sort of cream element to the sauce to make it a bit more, well.. saucy. But I think that’s what makes cooking fun. People think they aren’t allowed to make mistakes, but that’s how we learn and become better cooks. Speaking of mistakes.

Course four: Proscuitto, sage, and fig jam



fresh sage
mushroom brie
fig jam

This was sort of our “we have four pizzas, but only three ideas, what the hell should we put on the last one?” pizza. I decided proscuitto would be a good idea, and then my brother and Adriana came up the rest by running across different items at the grocery store. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these ingredients have the potential to make up a very yummy pie, but the failure came in our execution and maybe one too many glasses of wine.

IMG_1294What I believe our thought process was, was to make it more of a dessert pizza since it was the final course. Smart. What we did to make this a dessert pizza, was simply douse it in copious amounts of fig jam. Not so smart. The end result was a much too sweet, sticky mess, that was kind of similar to eating a spoonful of jelly. We really just should have smeared some PB on it and called it a day.

However, this was the only pizza we made in the oven, and I thought it most resembled the way a Neapolitan style pizza cooks in a wood fired oven. So that was nice

My brother was so determined to not let the pizza go to waste, that he decided to repurpose it and make bread pudding. If you’re baffled as to how/why he did this, join the club. I’m sad to say I never tried the pudding, so I can’t tell you myself how it tasted, but I just talked to my brother and he said it’s still sitting in the fridge, untouched—it’s been a week. I’m making him try it, now. Stay tuned.



Okay, he just called with the verdict. His words, “Dude, this is f***ing bomb.” So there you have it, folks. If at first you don’t succeed, make that shit into bread pudding. #wordsofwisdom

And, finally, here’s the recipe for Neapolitan style pizza dough (2 day method). Enjoy.


  • 5 cups Italian “00” flour (you can find this at Whole Foods)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 14 oz room temperature water


Add all dry ingredients to large mixing bowl and stir. Add water and mix for about 2 minutes. I used my hands, but you could use a Kitchenaid mixer if you have one.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, and then mix for another 2 minutes.

Take the dough out of the bowl and stretch and fold dough into a ball. I’m not 100% sure on the correct way to do this, but I just kind of stretched it apart and then folded it under, tucking it into a ball shape. Cover the dough with a bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.

Perform three more stretch and folds every 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl big enough for it to double in size. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

The recipe says to take the dough out and divide it into 4 sections and form into balls at this point, but I just left it in the fridge for the additional 24 hours and cut it up into balls when I was ready to make the pizzas.

When you are ready to make the pizza, take the balls out of the fridge and bring them up to room temp. Flour a large, flat surface, such as a counter top, and begin forming the pizza. I just gently stretched the dough apart using my hands until I formed a shape/thickness I liked. You want it to be thin, but not so thin that it will fall apart when you put your toppings on. Transfer the dough to a pizza paddle or something that’s easily transferable to your cooking source. Top the pizza with any ingredients you like. Feel free to try out some of mine, above.

To bake the pizza

If you’re using an oven:

Preheat your oven to the highest temperature it will go for 45 minutes with a pizza stone in the oven (you can use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone).  Put the pizza on the stone and bake until edges are charred and the dough and toppings are cooked through.

If you’re using a grill:

Oil the grill (not with spray) to prevent the dough from sticking. Briefly cook the dough on both sides creating grill marks before adding the toppings. Take off the grill to add all the fixings and then transfer the pizza back on the grill until toppings are to your desired doneness.

*These methods were an experiment for us, so you may find a method that is easier or works better for you. Be creative. Best of luck. 


Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins (gluten free)

Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins

Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again, and again), baking and I do not get along. We are like that annoying couple who hate each other, but keep trying to work it out as if things are going to change. Every time I get it in my head that baking is a good idea, I immediately regret it when I’m choking on flour as if I’m in a dust storm at Coachella.

Pretty sure the only time I’ve ever been really proud of my baking was when I was going to college in Minneapolis, I made this amazing loaf of banana bread. It had that perfectly moist texture where the top was almost sticky. I was so pumped to have my roommates try it to prove that I could actually bake, but before anyone got home my roommate’s dog jumped on the counter and ate the whole thing. All of it. Gone. You better have enjoyed that, Trooper!

Anyway, I’m not going to give up on baking. I mean, did Shaq give up basketball just because he couldn’t make a single free throw? No.

A while back I decided to try my hand at making banana muffins. I looked up a few recipes and landed on one that used ground up rolled oats instead of flour. The recipe said to grind the oats in a food processor to form a flour-like powder. Easy, right? Well, not if you don’t have a food processor. I thought, no problem, I’ll use my extremely cheap blender instead. Long story short, I’m an idiot. It is possible to use a blender for this process, but it took a long time and I ended up having to mix the rest of the batter by hand while my blender laughed at me for relying on it to do anything productive. Moral of the story, invest in a food processor.

I wanted to change up the recipe a bit to make it my own, so I threw in some peanut butter, not really knowing what would happen to the composition of the muffin–I have about zero scientific knowledge about what makes baked goods do their thing. To my surprise, they turned out quite well, fluffy with a nice, subtle peanut butter flavor. I would’ve liked them to be a touch more moist, so if anybody has any suggestions on that, I’d be happy to hear them! I only put peanut butter in half the mixture to see which ones tasted better, and hands down PB won. But feel free to omit it, if you are boring.



  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2-3 large spoonfuls peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a food processor (or a blender, if you must) pulse oats til they form a powder. Add all remaining ingredients to food processor and blend til a smooth batter forms. If you do not have a food processor, add ground oats and all remaining ingredients to a large bowl and whisk (and whisk, and whisk) until you get the batter as smooth as possible.

Divide batter evenly between the muffin tins. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert it in the middle of a muffin.

Confessions of a tomato snob

Heirloom tomatoes

Heirlooms <3

When is it okay to act like a snob?

  1. Is it okay to hate on someone who hasn’t waxed their eyebrows in two months (or ever)? No.
  2. Is it okay to seat yourself at a restaurant because you have the patience of a 5-year-old and can’t wait 13 seconds for the host to direct you to a table? No.
  3. And, is it okay to say that something is perplexing instead of confusing. Hell no.

There’s only one instance when it’s okay to act like a snob, and that’s when it comes to food. I’m not talking about judging people who hit up Taco Bell and BK in the same trip, or the all-stars who eat squeeze cheese right out of the can. I’m talking about refusing to buy produce that tastes like the plastic fruit your mom used to keep on the dining room table. For some food snobs this may be buying dark greens over iceburg lettuce or portobello mushrooms over white button, but for me it’s all about tomatoes.

My name is Lauren and this is my story.

I am a tomato snob, and I am proud to say it runs in the family. When my dad was a kid growing up in Illinois, his uncles had a huge tomato farm right down the block from his house. He’d find himself posted up in his Radio Flyer wagon, salt shaker in hand, enjoying the fruits of their labor. In the 70s, when him and my mom were in college, they created their own tomato heaven on a farm outside of Ladysmith, WI, where they’d harvest at least 100 tomato plants each year. They didn’t really have a choice as all their college buddies relied on them to provide the tomato juice for bottomless bloodies on football Sunday. Hello, Wisconsin!

Even after they moved off the farm and started a family, they kept the tradition alive. Growing up, summers in my household meant digging holes in the soil and endlessly filling up watering cans from the hose. But all that hard work paid off in the fall when you’d pick a tomato straight from the vine and bite into its warm, juicy, tomato-y deliciousness. You automatically thought, now this is what a tomato should taste like.

Until I moved to college and started buying my own food, I didn’t realize that tomatoes from my dad’s garden tasted different than tomatoes from Aisle 12. I remembered the word “heirloom” spewing out of my dad’s mouth when he’d draw up blue prints for his garden each year, so whenever I saw those at the store, I’d ditch the 99 cent Romas and splurge on the heirlooms. Other than that, I didn’t really know why I was a tomato snob, I just knew that I was one.

Seven years later, I finally decided to pick my dad’s brain to see why I am so prejudice against Roma tomatoes.

Side note: If you buy Roma tomatoes, we can’t be friends. It’s like trying to pass off the $16 boyfriend watch you bought at Target as Marc Jacobs. Stop it.

This is what I learned.

Heirloom vs Hybrid 

So, the reason my dad’s tomatoes taste so good is because they are of the “heirloom” variety (or “old world” as my dad says). This means that they have never been crossbred, which results in a bolder, more natural flavor. Contrarily, the reason that most of the tomatoes at the grocery store taste so bad is because they are of the “hybrid” variety. This means that they have been crossbred to have specific characteristics, such as resistance to pests and disease and a perfect uniform shape. Although hybrids may look pretty, they lack the flavor that heirloom tomatoes provide. On the other hand, heirlooms may be misshapen and more susceptible to disease, but they produce a richer flavor.

Norm’s fav heirloom varieties

I asked my dad to share some of his favorite breeds and their characteristics from his own garden, and this is what he came up with.

  • Brandywine – BIG. Yellow and red in color. Juicy.
  • Pineapple – BIG. Orange and yellow stripes. Juicy.
  • Prudence purple – Purple, green, and red in color.
  • Old German – Orange/red in color.
  • Green zebra – Green stripes.
  • Black Russian cherry – Green and purple in color. Sweet. Larger than average cherry tomato.
  • San Marzano – A juicier, way better version of the Roma tomato. (exact definition)
  • Amish paste – A larger, juicier, way better version on the Roma tomato. (exact definition)

3 best ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes

Tomatoes can be tossed in anything from salads to sauces, but here are a few of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy freshly picked tomatoes.

1. Plain Jane—Cut tomato into thick slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Old school sandy—Spread butter on a piece of white bread. Layer with thick slices of tomato, sprinkle with salt. Top off sandwich with another piece of white bread.
3. Caprese crostini—Layer sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil on a large platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly toast crostini and rub with raw garlic clove. Assemble tomato, basil, and mozzarella on top of crostini.

Paprika chicken in a white wine butter thyme sauce

Paprika chicken

I’m sure ya’ll hate the saying “winner winner, chicken dinner” as much as I do (except you, Guy Fieri), but this dish is seriously a winner chicken dinner. It’s elegant, rich, and savory. Not to mention, beautiful. When I made this, I felt like I was on a date with myself. So, for any of you who actually have dates, please make this for them. If they don’t love you already, they will. Maybe. Don’t hold me to that, actually.

Paprika chicken with brown rice copy
I paired mine with brown rice, which soaked up all the rich, buttery sauce, hiding any evidence of its health benefits. But you could skip the rice and just drink the sauce after you’re done with the chicken if you want. In which case, we should get married because I love you.



  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • salt and pepper


Rub chicken breasts with paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Finely chop the garlic and remove the thyme from the stems.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and melt 3 tbsp of butter. Add the chicken and cook til a golden brown crust forms. Flip the chicken and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the remainder of the butter, garlic, and thyme and stir until softened.

Add the wine and reduce heat to med-low. Cook until the wine has reduced to a sauce and the chicken is cooked through. You may need to flip the chicken a few times throughout. Serve over any grain of your choice and garnish with a little fresh thyme.

*This recipe makes about 2 servings.

Zucchini cake Florentine with coconut oil hollandaise

Zucchini cake Florentine

There are two types of people when it comes to using up leftovers. The people that suck and let them sit in the fridge for 3 months til they turn to moss, and the people that are awesome who use them to create something innovative and delicious. I’m probably a bit of both, but for cool factor purposes I’m going to consider myself more of the ladder for this entry.

Last time, I presented you with the zucchini cake. This time, I have repurposed the cake and transformed it into a unique take on a brunch time favorite—eggs Florentine. For those of you unfamiliar with Florentine, it’s essentially eggs Benedict (if you don’t know what this is Google it, you should be ashamed of yourself) with the addition of spinach.

When I am cooking for myself, I like to see how I can lighten up dishes that are usually considered heavy/rich/sinful/decadent without sacrificing flavor.  And this, my friends, is a winner. I healthified (it’s a word) the hollandaise sauce by swapping out butter for coconut oil, and you can’t. even. tell. You can even ask my brother, who I assure you does NOT prefer to healthify his food.

Happy eating, everybody. And don’t waste your leftovers!



  • Zucchini cakes
  • eggs
  • spinach
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley (for garnish)

For the hollandaise 

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Reheat leftover zucchini cakes for about 20 minutes, or until crispy and warmed through.

Fill a blender with boiling water, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. This will keep the sauce warm after you make it.

Pour the hot water out of the blender and dry it thoroughly. Add the yolks and lemon juice (as much or as little as you’d like, you can always add more) and pulse. Quickly heat the coconut oil on the stove. When oil is hot, set blender to low and slowly pour the oil into the mixture. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and pulse to blend.

Heat olive oil over med-low heat and saute spinach until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Cook eggs any style you like. Traditionally, poached is the way to go, but I did sunny side up because I’m lazy. Layer the spinach and the egg on top of a zucchini cake and drizzle with hollandaise. Garnish with fresh parsley.

*This recipe only makes enough hollandaise for 1-2 cakes (depending on your preferences, of course). I would double or triple the recipe if making for a group. 

Zucchini cakes with lemon mint aioli

Zucchini cakes

First of all, my apologies for being MIA for the last month or so. In my defense, Carissa (my BFF who I’ve mentioned in multiple entries) moved back to Boston and my heart needed to cry and be pathetic for a while. But, I’m back now and gifting you with my most delicious recipe yet! So, let’s all move on and eat some zucchini cakes.

This is a great vegetarian alternative to crab or salmon cakes for all of you living by Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo’s mantra, “Fish are friends, not food.” They’re super tasty though, so you’re still going to love them if you’re an omnivore, carnivore, or even a cannibal. That was gross, I’m sorry.

If you can get them to be crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, you’re going to be a happy camper. The key is to make sure you really squeeze all the water out of the vegetables before forming the patties. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a soggy patty and a frown.

The lemon aioli lends a great tanginess to cut through the richness of the cake, and the potato make this a surprisingly filling dish. You can have them as an appetizer or serve em up between two buns as a burger. I actually used the leftovers for breakfast the next day to make zucchini cake Florentine. So bomb. I’ll put that recipe up soon.

Ok, my mouth is watering. I need to finish this and put some food in my belly.



For the cakes

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1/2 onion
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or whatever flour you want)
  • 1/2 cup Italian panko bread crumbs + extra to coat cakes
  • 2 eggs
  • coconut oil for frying

For the lemon mint aioli 

  • mayo
  • greek yogurt
  • lemon zest
  • lemon juice
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper


First, make the aioli by combining all ingredients to taste. I used a 1 to 1 ratio of the mayo to greek yogurt. Store in the fridge.

Trim the ends of the Zucchini and grate it. I used a cheese grater to do this, but it would be immensely easier with a food processor. Transfer the grated zucchini to a large mixing bowl. Peel and grate the potato and add to the bowl. Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl. Stir veggies well with your hands and transfer to a runway of paper towels and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. This step is SUPER IMPORTANT, so don’t be lazy about it.

Once dry, transfer the vegetable mixture back into the mixing bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add to mixture. Add all remaining ingredients (besides the oil) and mix with hands until the texture holds its shape when you form patties. Add more bread crumbs, if necessary.

Place the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes to make it easier to form the patties. I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to shape the patties, but you can use your hands, as well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the patties in the pan and cook until a golden brown crust forms. Flip and do the same on the other side.

Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and transfer the cakes onto it. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Asian chicken tacos with kale and broccoli slaw

Chicken tacos

Happy Taco Tuesday!

I absolutely love tacos–ALL tacos. I don’t care if it’s from Taco Bell or an authentic Mexican taco truck, I have no prejudices. Luckily, living in LA grants me infinite taco possibilities and plenty of $1 taco days. When I lived on the Westside, this bar near my place called Busby’s served up $1 tacos every Tuesday. My favorite was their Yukon potato taco with sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and salsa. So weird, but so delicious.

That’s the best part about tacos–they can be so versatile. They don’t have to stick to any standard or have any boundaries. I will say, however, that my favorite tacos contain some sort of citrusy slaw and spicy crema sauce. So, when I was craving tacos the other day, that’s exactly what I went for. I didn’t have any cabbage in the fridge for the slaw, so I improvised with kale and shredded broccoli. I tossed it with soy and rice vinegar to give it an Asian flavor. I also used Sriracha and plain Greek yogurt for the crema (traditionally, a Mexican style sour cream) to keep that same flavor profile throughout. I love the fusion of Asian flavors in what is normally thought of as a Mexican dish.

I encourage you all to get a little more creative on your next taco endeavor! And to all my LA friends, check out LA Magazine’s Tacopedia: A Complete Taco Encyclopedia of LA, to learn about the best tacos Los Angeles has to offer.



  • mini corn tortillas

For the slaw

  • shredded broccoli slaw (or cabbage)
  • kale (finely chopped)
  • cilantro
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • lime juice

For the chicken

  • boneless skinless chicken breast
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil

For the crema

  • Sriracha
  • plain Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)


First, make the slaw by combining all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well and season to taste. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to build your tacos.

Next, cut the chicken breast into tiny cubes and season with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Heat a pan over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. Because the chicken is so small it will cook fast, so keep an eye out. When the chicken is done, take off the heat and splash some soy sauce in the pan. Toss to coat.

While the chicken is cooking, make the crema by mixing the Sriracha with the yogurt. Adjust the amount of Sriracha you use, depending on how spicy you want it. Transfer the sauce to a Ziplock bag, squeeze it all to the corner and cut the tip off.

Heat a skillet over medium heat to warm the tortillas. When the tortillas are ready, build your tacos by layering the slaw and then the chicken. Drizzle the crema over the top and squeeze with fresh lime juice.

Baked sweet potato fries with spicy aioli

Baked sweet potato fries
I have a love-hate relationship with sweet potato fries. I enjoy them when they’re done right–crispy on the outside, soft inside, and seasoned well. But I seriously despise them when they’re done poorly–soggy, bland, and chewy.

Sweet potato fries are hard to nail and I will be the first to admit that I land amongst the poor SPF executers. Until this batch, that is. The key for me was using a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Elevating the fries allows them to cook evenly from all angles, rather than having to flip them halfway through, crossing your fingers you’ll get the same crispiness on each side (which never happens, btw). I don’t think I’ve fully reached the pro SPF executers club, but I am much, much closer.

If you don’t have a cooling rack, talk about desperately wanting one in front of your best friend, family members, or significant other until someone finally buys you one to make you shut up. Not saying I did that, but it’ll probably work.

Okay, I did that. Thanks again, Carissa!



For the fries

  • sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper

For the aioli 

  • mayo
  • garlic powder
  • hot sauce (I used Cholula–duh)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut up potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. You can choose to leave the skin on or peel the potatoes before cutting them up. Generally, I like to keep the skin on, but I peeled them here. Toss the sliced potatoes and seasonings in a bowl with olive oil to coat. Be liberal with your seasonings as sweet potatoes have a very strong flavor that can be over powering if not seasoned well. Arrange the potatoes on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.

Pop in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the outside is crispy and the inside is soft and fluffy. I turned the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through to ensure an even cook.

While the fries are cooking, make the aioli by combining all ingredients to taste. You can use any hot sauce you want. I used Cholula here, but Sriracha, Tapatio, and Crystal are some of my other favorites. When the fries are done, sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the aioli.

Smoked salmon and asparagus scramble

Salmon and asparagus scramble

Being a twenty-something and living on my own, I really feel like I have my life together when I manage to make it to the grocery store. For the last three weeks I have ordered delivery about every two to three days, on average–not kidding. Luckily, living in Los Angeles means I have more options than just pizza and MSG ridden, Chinese food. Not saying I completely avoided those (3 a.m. pizza is the best pizza), but LA has plenty of healthier choices for those unwilling to pick up a bag of spinach at the store for three weeks. So basically I didn’t commit gluttony with my delivery binge, I was just being slothful. I really blame Billy Joel for teaching me that the sinners have much more fun.

Anyway, last week I decided it was time to get back into adulthood, so I dragged my ass to the store and checked “productivity” off my to-do list for the week. I can’t explain the joy I felt having a refrigerator full of fresh produce, meats, etc rather than half-eaten take out boxes. Cue praying hands emoji.

The first dish I made is what I am sharing with you, today. I rarely buy smoked salmon from the store, but I needed to yolo after my comestible dry spell. It pairs really nicely with eggs as their richness complements the saltiness of the salmon. And asparagus is a classic accompaniment to salmon, so it seemed fitting, here. My taste buds were super pleased with this dish, and happy to have something homemade again.



  • eggs
  • smoked salmon (I used Private Selections wild caught)
  • asparagus
  • red onion
  • olive oil
  • pepper (I didn’t use salt as the salmon is super salty)
  • avocado (for garnish)


First you’ll want to prep your mise en place (which will forever be engrained in my head thanks to miss Anne Burrell). Mise en place is just a fancy French word that means to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking. So in this case you should dice the red onion, cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, and pull apart the salmon into bite-size pieces.

Next, heat some olive oil in a pan over med-low heat. Add the red onions and let them soften. Next add the asparagus to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly soft and bright green in color. While the vegetables are cooking, crack your eggs in a bowl and scramble with a whisk or fork. I actually didn’t add any milk or water to my egg mixture, but feel free to do so if that’s how you usually prepare scrambled eggs. Crack some fresh black pepper and salt (if you you want–I found it to be salty enough with just the salmon) into the eggs.

Add the smoked salmon and egg mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the heat to be too high because the protein in the eggs with cause them to become tough. Cook through to your desired doneness and garnish with avocado.

*Not pictured: gallon of Cholula. Highly recommended.