• Pinspiration: October Treats

    Roasted Garlic Sage Pesto Pumpkin Soup // Recipe here: Half Baked Harvest

    Happy October!

    Here are some pins that are inspiring me for October. Originally, I was going to pin things that inspired me for Halloween but I think my sweet tooth kicked in so I ended up pinning mostly desserts haha! These all look so good!

    Sticky Date Chocolate Chip Pudding // Recipe here: The Moonblush Baker

    Rosemary Peppercorn Fizz // Recipe here: A Thousand Threads

    Apple Crisp Stuffed Baked Apples // Recipe here: Creme de la Crumb

    Pumpkin and Maple Pie // Recipe here: Donna Hay

  • Recipe: Zucchini + Squash Pasta

    Here is a recipe for a quick and easy vegetarian friendly meal! What’s nice about this recipe too is that if you live with someone who eats meat it wouldn’t be hard for them to add meat to their meal while you can enjoy yours meat free. I like this recipe because it’s simple, pretty quick to make and also filling! My boyfriend, Scott, made this one night for me and I was like I have to put this on the blog! So here it is!

    *Recipe makes for 2 (Double up if making for four)

    Ingredients:

    • Linguini
    • 1-2 Large Zucchinis
    • 1  Large Yellow Squash
    • ½ - 1 cup of Grape Tomatoes
    • Basil (About 4-5 leafs, or more if you like basil)
    • Garlic (About 2-3 cloves, again, more if you like garlic)
    • Pine Nuts
    • Parmasan Cheese
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    *Optional to add: Sautéed Spinach and/or White Beans or Garbanzo Beans (Great for extra protein for those of you who are veggie!)

    Directions:

    • First bring a pot of water to a boil. (About 3-6 cups depending on the size of the pot)
    • While waiting for you water to boil, wash your veggies and cut them up. (I like to cut the zucchini and squash into quarters. It feels like you’re eating way more food when you cut things into smaller pieces, just a little trick I use!)
    • Then get a skillet heated up with some olive oil. (About 1 Tablespoon)
    • Once your water is boiling toss the pasta into the pot. I use about a handful of pasta. You can also add a dash of salt to pot of pasta.
    • While the pasta is cooking you can put your veggies (zucchini, squash and grape tomatoes and spinach if you choose to add that as well!)) in the skillet pan with the olive oil. I like the heat pretty high so the veggies get a little darkened but that’s a personal preference. You can cook them so they get a little less dark and more “steamed” looking.
    • After you put all the veggies in the pan peel your garlic and use a garlic press or finely chop your garlic and add to the pan of veggies. You can also add a little more olive oil too if you’d like.
    • Wash some basil. Chop up a few leafs and toss them into the skillet with the veggies. Use as much basil as you like, same goes for the garlic. Sometimes adding a lot more makes it a lot richer and better tasting. This also depends on how much you like basil and/or garlic. ;)
    • Add in a dash of salt and pepper to the veggies.
    • By now your pasta should be finished, but test it to see if it’s done. Some people like their pasta very soft, like myself, and others like it al dente. Again, another personal preference. Once your pasta is how you’d like it pour it into a strainer to drain the water.
    • You can add the pasta back to the pot and toss the veggies from the skillet into the pot and stir, mixing everything nicely together or you can just serve the pasta into bowls (or onto plates) and then put the veggies on top of the pasta.
    • Finally, top your pasta with some pine nuts (about a tablespoon) and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you are vegan you can obviously, skip the cheese part and it would still taste just as great! : )

    If you liked this recipe you might also like to try Spaghetti Squash "Pasta" or Greek Orzo Pasta Salad.

     

    Credits:

    Recipe by: Scott Diorio

    Styled and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Choosing the Best Juicer

    Happy Tuesday everyone!

    I’ve been asked many times what is the best juicer or which juicer should I buy. I usually recommend the one I use, Hurom. Everyone is different though and this may not be the juicer for you. Buying a juicer is an investment and so there are some things to consider before making such a purchase.

    • Price - How much do you want to spend? If you plan to use it a lot then you will get your moneys worth when investing in a pricier juicer. If you don’t want to juice that often but want to have the option to once in a while, that is something to consider as well.
    • Warranty – How long is the warranty on the juicer you are interested in. Some juicers have a one year warranty, others have up to fifteen year warranty.
    • Quality of Juice – This is obviously very important as well! Most of the juicers that create the best quality juice are generally on the more expensive side. At the same time if you are going to invest you might as well invest in a juicer that gives the best quality juice. I also believe though that any juice is better than no juice or juice that has a long shelf life, so it really depends on how you see it and what is most important to you.
    • Sound – Do you plan on getting up early and juicing before work but you’re a afraid you might wake someone up in your house or apartment, then that is also something to consider when buying a juicer. Some of these are super loud!
    • Amount of Juice/ Yield – Some juicers create more foam than juice and vice versa. That is very important when choosing a juicer.
    • What will you be juicing? – When choosing the best juicer for you it’s a good idea to think about what type of juices you want to make. If you want to make a lot of root juices or use a lot of apples or cucumbers getting a centrifugal juicer is a better option because you can practically put the whole fruit or veggies down the chute. Whereas, with the masticating (or slow juicers) the food chute opening is much smaller so you have to cut some of the fruits and veggies before tossing them in. The benefit of the masticating juicer though is that you are able to juice leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, romaine, etc.) and get way more juice than you would with a centrifugal juicer. You can still juice leafy greens with a centrifugal juicer but you will end up with more pulp and leafs than actual juice.
    • Time – How long will it take you to make a juice using that juicer? Some juicers are slow juicing and take a lot more prep and time, while others are fast juicers and it doesn’t take much time.
    • Multi Uses – Do you want your juicer to have multi uses or do you just want it to make juices? Some juicers along with juicing make nut milks, frozen sorbets, baby food and even juice wheatgrass.
    • Cleanup – I think the most obvious answer is a quick cleanup! ;)

     

    So here are the top five juicers out there in the juice world that everyone including myself love!

     

    1. Omega 8006 Nutrition Center

    The Omega is one of the most popular brands of juicers and probably the most loved. This particular juicer is able to not only make juices and juice wheatgrass it is able to make baby food, make frozen sorbets and nut milks. It’s a masticating juicer which means it gently kneads the fruits and veggies to get the juice out. It uses much lower RPMs, making it so the juice has a greater nutrition value.

     

    2. Breville Juice Fountain Elite

    Breville is probably the most popular amongst people who are just starting to juice or want to make juices fast. The Breville is a great starter juicer and requires much less prepping than the masticating juicers. Since this juicer is a centrifugal juicer, it is running at super high speeds to make the juice. And because of this it makes it one loud juicer!

     

    3. Omega VRT 350/350HD

    This is also a masticating or “slow juicer.” Being a masticating juicer it is very quiet when you use it, it can juice wheatgrass and make nut milks (such as cashew, almond, etc.) The draw back again to these is they take a little more time to make the juice because the food chute is so small, so you have to prep by cutting your fruits and veggies up. The pro though is that this is the best option for getting the richest juice and all the nutrients from the fruits and veggies.

     

    4. L’Equip XL

    This is another centrifugal juicer. Very loud but you are able to shove tons of fruits and veggies down the chute and don’t have to worry about cutting it up before. (This saves lots of time!) The downfall is that this juicer like other centrifugal juicers is that is runs at about 10,000 RPMs. So it will juice super fast but not have the same nutritional value as juice made with the masticating, slow juicers.

     

    5. Hurom Slow Juicer

    This is the exact same juicer as the Omega VRT 350/350HD. I believe Hurom and Omega are the same company, which is why this is. This is the juicer I have and I really love it! Read more about it here! It’s a masticating juicer as well so it’s able to juice leafy greens really well and juice wheatgrass. You can also make soups and desserts and nut milks. It’s very versatile. It’s is a slow juicer so it obviously takes more time to juice with this juicer than a centrifugal but it’s super quiet! You do have to cut up your fruits and veggies to fit them down the chute though, but you get a ton of juice from all the produce you use and much higher nutrition value juice!

     

    Before I purchased my juicer I spent a lot of time pro and con-ing. There are definitely pros and cons to each and you have to decide what will be best for you! Here is another place you can check out juicers on the cheap! ;)

  • Fall Magazines

    Here is a roundup of a few healthy eating magazines. To me there is something about actually holding a magazine, same goes for books. I don't know what it is but I prefer it. If you're looking for some healthy recipes for fall or just trying to get on the health bandwagon you should check out some of these magazines, if you have not already! I love Clean Eating magazine! They have some great recipes and they also simplify eating healthy for you. I also just ordered the print edition of Chickpea Magazine for Fall. Their magazine is quarterly and also available to buy for online viewing. (You can order their magazine here!) Some other health food magazines are Gluten-Free Living and VegNews. These are mostly vegetarian and vegan friendly magazines but there still is a lot of great information in them about eating healthy in general too! 

  • This post is dedicated to..

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    Today I’m going to switch it up a little. Blogging can be really interesting. There are people who have told me that a blog should be personal or at least you are sharing part of your life with your readers. Then there are blogs and websites I follow that I have no idea who the person writing is or what they even look like. I still frequent their blogs based on their content. I obviously like it so I go back, I don’t really get hung up on who they are or what their life is about. In some cases it is nice to know more about people and their background. I think in general as humans we are nosey and want to have as much information about people as we can. Times now have made things even more shared. We are sharing our lives all over the place.

    Those of you who know me or have read the long story I posted a while back know that I lost both of my parents. Today is actually my father’s birthday. And those of you, who do know, know he was a chef. While I never have considered becoming a chef or being in the food industry, I know I was somehow inspired by my father to start this blog. I was told I couldn’t do a blog about food if I had no culinary background. I honestly felt unsure about starting it for this reason. I still did it though. I didn’t go to school at the Cordon Bleu nor do I have any background in food, other then being around it my entire life. (And I mean this as being raised by a chef and my mom always baking or cooking.) But that is enough for me! ;)

    So I wanted to get a little more personal and share some pictures of my father. He will always be my inspiration, my hero and the greatest father ever. He worked harder than any one I’ve ever met, even to this day. So this post is dedicated to him and all his work as a chef. Happy Birthday, Dad – Love you!

    (Picture above: My father in our backyard in Florida, not sure what year.)

    (Picture above: My dad working in Palm Beach, FL. Not sure what year this is either.)

    (Picture below: This is a tearsheet from The Sandpiper. I believe this was the Wianno Club's news magazine. Reading all the places he had worked and all that he accomplished makes me so proud!)

    Here are a couple fun pictures of me working on my cooking/prepping skills!

    (Picture below: Me shucking corn, paying my dues since 92. Haha! Seriously though, this was in 1992. My mom had me out back while we were up in Cape Cod, shucking corn (and missing my two front teeth :P))

    (Picture below: Me mixing up something at our house in Florida.)

  • Pinspiration: Fall on my Mind

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    Summer is by far my favorite season. Although, I’m starting to really be over this heat. (Something I never thought I’d hear myself say, haha!) So I’m having this love hate relationship with it right now. While I’m trying to still hang onto summer I’m ready for fall. Here are some pins that are getting me excited and inspired for fall recipes and flavors (and cooler weather! ;))

    Homemade Cherry Jam // Source: Unknown (from Pinterest)

    Butternut Squash Pie // Recipe found here! Source: Invitadoinvierno.com

    Grilled Turkey and Brie Cranwich // Recipe found here! Source: Jasonandshawnda.com (I don't even eat meat and I want this!)

    Toasted Pumpkin Seeds // Recipe found here! Source: Lovewithrecipe.com

     

    Sweet Potato Flan // Recipe found here! Source: Food52.com

    Grilled Kale Salad with Beets, Figs and Ricotta // Recipe found here! Source: Fiveandspice.com (I want this right now! Yum!)

  • What You Need To Make A Smoothie

    Happy Friday everyone!

    As I was grocery shopping the other day at Fresh and Easy I noticed they had a new product from Wild Oats available in their "grab and go" section called "Smoothie Kits." I thought that's a really cool idea! For some people who have no idea how to make a smoothie or what to put in it, it's a really basic but smart concept. Inspired by this trip to the store I decided to put together a little roundup of the real basics of what you need to make a smoothie.

    You obviously need a blender first in order to do anything - haha!

    I've posted the Vitamix Personal Blender Series S30. Unlike the rest of their blenders this uses way less counter space. You also are blending right into your cup that you can take with you on your way out the door! You still get the regular container for larger recipes like soups etc. which is nice!

    Once you have a blender you can start making some yummy creations! Here are some steps to help you get going.

    1) Decide what type of smoothie you want to make. (Fruity or Green smoothie, etc.) Depending on which direction you want to go with your smoothie this will determine the rest of the ingredients.

    2) Start with picking your liquid base. Coconut water is a great choice. I posted the Coco Jack, which is a great tool for opening those Thai coconuts at home, without using a machete or some other crazy tool! Other options could be plain water, milks (almond, rice, cashew, soy, etc.) or fruit juice. Some people also like using iced coffee or tea for some caffiene.

    3) Decide what type fruit and/or veggies you want to use. Leafy greens are great in smoothies. Obviously fruit is a very popular choice as well. Going with an all fruit smoothie will have a lot more sugar and sweettness as opposed to going with a green smoothie. I'm a fan of green smoothies. I like getting in my greens but still having some fruit to sweeten it up. Mixing both is a good balance.

    4) Use something to thicken it. Nut butters are very popular. (Almond, cashew, peanut, coconut, etc.) I love this almond butter! Ice cubes are usually what I go with. Some others are yogurt, cottage cheest, kefir, coconut meat (Which if you use the coconut jack to open your coconut you could use the water and the meat for the same smoothie!)

    5) Add some flavor! You can use dates (I'm always a fan of using them!) You get that sweet surgary taste in a really natural form. You could also use agave nectar or coconut nectar (which is another one of my personal favorites!) Figs, cinnamon, other spices. Turmeric is also a really popular choice.

    6) Add a boost (Optional). I almost always add a boost. If you don't though, it won't make your smoothie taste bad. Sometimes the boosts I add have flavor so I won't add extra flavoring from dates or honey, etc. Two of my favorites are SunWarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder (either chocolate or vanilla) and Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder. You can read more about this product here! (I also love their new packaging!) Other boosts you can use besides protein powders are ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds (Here is a kind I really like.), goji berries, bee pollen, vitamin powders, wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, maca or acai powder.

    Here is a smoothie to help get you started!

    Let me know how your smoothies turned out! :)

    Credits:

    Written by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • F R I D A Y !

    Happy Friday friends!

    I'm sure everyone is super excited to enjoy their three day weekend! Hopefully everyone will also be enjoying yummy food! Check out this recipe for how to make some refreshing and pretty drinks! :)

    Photo by: Bethany Nauert

    Styled by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Copa Vida Coffee and Tea Cafe Review

    Happy Wednesday!

    If you are in the Los Angeles area or more specifically in the Pasadena area you should definitely stop by the lovely Copa Vida. Copa Vida is a newer coffee/tea shop in Old Town Pasadena. (They just celebrated their one-year anniversary!) Those of you who know me know that I do not drink coffee or tea so you might find this amusing I’m featuring such a shop but I do realize MANY of you live and function off of coffee and/or tea! So this one is for you all! Oh, and they also have a brunch menu and pastries that are made in house! They also have some exceptional coffee machinery in there. Which I have to be honest I don’t know much about. For you coffee connoisseurs out there though, you will most definitely appreciate it!

    Copa Vida

    70 South Raymond Avenue

    Pasadena, CA 91105

    Hours: Monday-Friday 7AM-10PM // Saturday 8AM-10PM // Sunday 8AM-9PM

    p. 626-213-3952

    www.Copa-Vida.com

    First Impression: Immediately when I walked in I loved this space! It was modern, clean and stylish! There were lots of seating and people doing work. It’s a really nice coffee and tea shop but without any pretentious vibes.

    Taste: I did not try the coffee, however Bethany had a Cortado, which she really enjoyed! I did try the Hibiscus Tea and really liked that! I also had their blueberry muffin which was delicious!

    Décor: First, I have to mention that the attention to detail in this shop is amazing! I'm a huge fan of anything black, white and/or teal and Copa Vidas colors are all three, so I obviously loved seeing all the white and black and pops of teal. The front room is a lovely mix of modern meets rustic. I really like this type of décor because it gives the perfect balance of new and clean but with the wood, metal and brick details to keep it organic and “raw” feeling. The back room is much darker and also has a brick wall, dark colors and dark wood accents. Copa Vida also sells coffee and tea accessories.

    Service: Great! Everyone is very friendly and helpful! They are also well educated on their coffee and tea!

    Ambiance: Mellow and relaxing. Copa Vida starts to fill up even early in the morning. Even though they get very busy, the spacious café keeps it from feeling stuffy. They have two different rooms to enjoy your coffee, tea and snacks in. The first room when you walk in is bright, open and has lots of white! The room connected in the back has a warmer darker vibe and brick walls. This was purposely done to create those two different vibes. You can notice the first room (the one with the white) has a lot more action and things happening, whereas the darker navy room has a much more quiet relaxing vibe with little to no noise. I found this to be the coolest part of their shop, the option to have different vibes in the same space!

    Overall Experience: It was great! Even though I do not drink coffee and tea (minus the tea I had here ;)) what I really liked about Copa Vida is that it was enjoyable for me even while the main focus is on those drinks I could still enjoy their pastries, food, juice (They sell Juice Served Here juices. You can learn more about those guys here!) and the atmosphere! I would definitely come back!

    Credits:

    Written and Reviewed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

    Thank you to Caroline Tanaka and to owner Steve Chang (pictured below with me) for meeting with us! :)