Strawberry-Peach Smoothie

When I did my three-day raw cleanse this summer (read about it here!), I seriously got into smoothies. I don’t have a juicer and certainly didn’t have $350 to spend on the one I want (I’ll save that for the wedding registry). Since I couldn’t prepare any kind of green juice, I decided smoothies were the next best thing and have continued enjoying them for breakfast or lunch (and tweaking my recipe) all summer.

You will notice that the recipe calls for frozen berries and peaches – I want to point out that I do not buy frozen fruit at the grocery store. You totally could, but I prefer farmer’s market produce.

To freeze the fruit, I wash and core (strawberries) or roughly chop (peaches) and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with saran wrap. I let them freeze in a single layer overnight, and them move them to a big ziplock. This keeps them from sticking together.

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New England Lobster Rolls

I just returned home from two lovely weeks on the East Coast! I spent the first ten years of my life in New England and my college years in New Jersey, but I hadn’t been back in over two years. It was wonderful to see the friends and family that I was able to see, and I insisted on doing all of the tourist activities we could possibly fit in! Most of my to-see list consisted of breweries and creameries (cheese AND ice cream!), and I also ate a lot of seafood that I had never tried as a kid, like lobster and oysters.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy my Mom’s lobster rolls not once, but twice! While I learned to love lobster earlier this year, I had never cooked live lobster or done anything with it, so I feel very lucky that I was traveling with my mom and that she taught me how to prepare a lobster and how to make these delicious lobster rolls!

Click through for the easy recipe. Since my mom was cooking, it was easy for me to take step-by-step photos!

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Poached Egg and Avocado on Toast

I used to be afraid of poached eggs. A, because they seemed impossible, and B, I didn’t even like egg yolks, ever (if you recall). Well, out of nowhere, poached eggs started to look amazing, so I figured out how to make one (got it right on my first try!) and I’ve been making them at least a few times a week since. …great story, I know.

You should make this. It’s healthy, filling, delicious, and a truly good start to your day.

If you’re afraid to poach an egg, check out my step-by-step directions below, and leave a comment if you have questions!

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Halibut and Vegetables en Papillote

Tim and I have a fantastic 2011 resolution (one that we actually started in December – how’s that for being early birds?)…and let me start out by saying that it was his idea! We are trying at least one new recipe each per week. It has to be either a food or cooking technique that we have both never tried, and those are the only rules. My secret goal is to show him how non-meat dishes can be filling and delicious.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce the most fail-proof, delicious, healthiest way to cook fish: en papillote! Papillote sounds fancy and French, right? So misleading (ha)…it just means that you fold parchment paper into a little pocket, add fish, veggies, and wine, and let it bake for a few moments. The fish and veggies steam in the packet, and you end up with the most tender, flavorful fish imaginable.

This was probably the most fun we’ve ever had cooking together, and having our own individual packets made it easy to customize our dinner to our individual tastes – definitely a great date night cooking recipe!

Can you tell whose papillote was whose?

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Sweet Life Laur on the Your California Show!

Exciting news! Sweet Life Laur is on this week’s Your California Show! Host Randy White calls it a “Must Go-To Blog” in the introduction, and he called me Paso’s Rising Star on his Twitter! Wow!

If you’ve found me because you listened to the show, Welcome! I hope you enjoy my site. Please feel free to post any questions or comments about my recipes, and let me know how they worked for you when you try them. I love to hear success stories (or, un-success stories – I’m happy to help you fix it for next time!). Please “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, too!

On Your California, Randy interviews people from around the state who are involved with some form of wine, food, or travel. Earlier this week, Randy contacted me and asked if I would be on his show, and of course I said yes. (Listen to the clip for the full story of how he even found me). I was so excited when I heard from him, I couldn’t even believe it! The next day, I did the interview over the phone on my lunch break. Since it was a phone interview, I don’t have a cool picture of me in the studio with headphones and a mic to post…but maybe next time!

I mention Vivant Fine Cheese, Pier 46 SeafoodMeritage Wine Tasting Lounge, and Nature’s Touch in my interview, but I didn’t get the chance to go into how important it is to support the local economy. These are wonderful people who carry wonderful products and they should not go without mention…so a BIG thanks to them and more!

The segment is going to air on The Krush 92.5, our local Central Coast radio station on Sunday, September 4 at 10:00 am and Tuesday, September 7 at 6:00 pm. Although I encourage you to listen to the whole thing, my segment starts at 20:15. You can also download the free Podcast if you want to keep my voice on your iTunes forever…ha!

Just a little disclaimer: my content is not to be used freely. I want you to enjoy my photos and try out my recipes, but if I find them in a book or elsewhere online and you haven’t asked and linked back to me and given me proper credit, you’re in trouble…seriously. That being said, making one of my photos your desktop wallpaper is totally okay…but don’t blame me if your stomach growls every time you look at it!

Citrus Sangria

The first time I had Sangria was in Ecuador. It was one of the last days of my study abroad there, and our professor, Nancy, made a big batch to accompany our dinner of grilled chicken, veggies, potatoes, and grilled pineapple for dessert. We ate and drank on the beach, and after dinner, my friends and I hung out and ate the fruit from the bottom of the pitchers – hey, we were 19, in a foreign country, and excited to get tipsy!

Nancy, who is from Venezuela, told me how to make Sangria in these words: “Cut up whatever fruit you have into small pieces, and add wine!” There are endless sangria variations - white, red, citrus, berries, bubbles, a splash of liquer – you really can’t go wrong!

A couple weeks ago, my cousin Erin wrote asking for a Sangria recipe. Thankfully, I had started making Sangria at the Bistro and was in the final stages of perfecting my recipe. Not too sweet, lots of flavor, and of course, refreshing! A double recipe has been selling out at the Bistro, which in my eyes is the best compliment.

Cheers!

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Perfect Hash Browns

I found the secret to the crispiest, most delicious home fries.

It all started with a late night binge. I was still hungry (or maybe just bored…) after dinner one night, so I decided to make a baked potato. While I was waiting, I snacked on about a million other things, and when my potato was ready, I wasn’t hungry anymore. The potato spent the night in the fridge.

While I was thinking about breakfast the next morning, I decided to see what I could whip up with the potato…and wow, if you want a quick and easy breakfast side, this is the way to go!

Serve alongside your favorite breakfast!

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