Here's what was on the menu:
We celebrated Mother's Day with my Mom a little early this year because the parents left for some much-needed R&R on a cruise to Alaska this morning (lucky!) Because they're going to be surrounded by endless FOOD during their weeklong vacation, we wanted to have an uber-healthy Mother's Day celebration. We could have easily booked a dinner at Café Gratitude (one of our fave Vegetarian restaurants in LA) but I wanted to cook for my Mom for Mother's Day. t(Plus, when our entire family goes out to dinner, it's a pretty expensive meal!) As it were, we were able to celebrate a very healthy Mother's Day AND the whole meal cost less than $30 total!
Here's what was on the menu:
Recipe: Brie & Spinach Grilled Cheese (and we're competing in the Grilled Cheese Invitational THIS weekend!)
We LOVE grilled cheese! So much so that for 2 years now, my little sister and I have taken part in the Grilled Cheese Invitational - and it's happening again THIS Saturday, April 12, in Downtown LA. The GCI is an annual celebration of the much-celebrated grilled cheese. More than 200 teams compete to cook the best grilled cheese in fun categories like Love: American Style (just the bread and cheese), The Kama Sutra (savory grilled cheese with all the fixins) and the Honey Pot (dessert grilled cheese with the whole sha-bang!). We always have a BLAST!!
Unfortunately, 2014 is the LAST year for the Grilled Cheese Invitational (tears!). We've decided that we were going to win it all this year! If you're in the LA area, please do come, say hello, and cheer us on!! (We'll be Team GR-818 "Brie"-zies!)
In honor of this Saturday's Grilled Cheese Invitational, here's one of my grilled cheese recipes - the Brie & Spinach Grilled Cheese!
One of our favorite Italian restaurants in LA is no doubt, “C&O’s Trattoria”. They have amazing food and gargantuan portions – what’s not to like? The best part about C&O’s, however, are their yummy killer garlic
rolls (if there’s a long wait, the servers come out to hungry waiting guests and hand these babies out even before you get in the restaurant!)
Since Carlos and I have a strict one restaurant date meal per week, I’ve gone to great lengths to “hack” some of our favorite items from our favorite restaurants so that we can enjoy them at home without having to pay a ridiculous amount of money to eat out. My “food hack” of C&O’s killer garlic rolls has to be Carlos’ favorite thus
far. Granted it’s somewhat of a “semi-homemade” kinda recipe, these bad boys are done in less than 30 minutes – perfect for a mid-week treat with your favorite pasta recipe!
Whenever I am stressed about anything, the kitchen becomes my sanctuary. I guess it’s because no matter how chaotic things are around me, I have to make sure that I'm not missing any steps when I'm cooking.
There is nothing quite as intricate as making Chile Rellenos. It is a complex process of breaking down the peppers before getting stuffed and even the way the eggs are beaten, it resembles more like merengue than an omelet! But because it's a labor of love, my husband appreciates all the time and effort that I put into making these. (It's just a little nuts that I chose to make this the night before I leave for vacation!)
Chile Rellenos are so good - you can't go wrong with this dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Growing up in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, I was surrounded with some of the best Mexican food in the country. Carlos is a big fan of Mexican food so I knew we were a match made in foodie heaven from the very beginning!
As much as I have a deep love for some hearty Mexican food, I am absolutely NUTS about Fish Tacos! We will
line up in the rain outside random taco trucks and scour through strip malls to find the best fish tacos around. (Can you say OBSESSION!?! LoL) I’ll have to share our favorite Fish Tacos spots here in LA sometime but for now, I’ll share our healthier, home-made version.
I don’t know when people started the rumor that it’s more expensive to be a vegetarian than to be a meat-eater. I can tell you that our grocery bill is very manageable and most of our purchases are vegetables. Another huge upside with being vegetarian is that we can get food on the table much faster than cooking meat, which is HUGE for mid-week dinners. From hearty salads with roasted veggies to yummy pasta dishes, I can getdinner done 20 minutes after walking through the door! Hey, the sooner we can get the wine poured for dinner, the better!
My husband and I are always on the go. We’ve made a conscious decision as a couple that before we buckle down and have some kiddos, we were going to make work and our individual careers part of our top priorities. As such, we often get home later than the average 9-5er and we’re already exhausted from the day.
It would be easiest perhaps to grab something unhealthy, get take out, or make some microwave nuked dinner of some sort after we get home tired from work. I just can’t bear the thought of spending a lot of money and being unhealthy so I devised quick dinner food that’s healthy AND easy to cook. And the best part? It’s always MUCH cheaper for us to cook at home than to eat out! Additionally, I usually make enough so that we have our dinner and lunch for the day after. That way, our food budget really stretches.
One of my husband’s favorite quick dinners that I make is Garlic Crab Noodles. From start to finish, I can make this thing in less than 20 minutes and it’s super dee-lish!
I’m partly obsessed with Italian food. If I could, I would literally eat pasta everyday of the week. Alas, that’s probably not going to be the healthiest for me (but a girl can dream!)
I came across a recipe from Giada deLaurentiis (she of Food Network fame) for Lasagna Rolls. I immediately thought, “yummm!” I wanted to try to make my own version of the recipe incorporating some roasted eggplant – one of my favorite vegetables. I just think that eggplant is an over-looked vegetable at times because it still looks foreign with it's dark purple color. Color aside, I think it's a versatile ingredient and takes on a world of flavor!
This recipe takes some patience because there’s a lot of different components to the dish - so make sure you set aside an hour or two to do this recipe justice (no 30-minute meals here), but the ooooh’s and ahhhh’s that you get when you serve the dish will be totally worth your time and effort!
“Man, I had theee best Crème Brulee French Toast in Vegas this weekend!” exclaimed by excited husband after coming back from his brother's bachelor’s weekend in Las Vegas.
Ever the competitive little chef, I told myself I was going to come up with something that will knock his socks off and make him forget the little Crème Brulee French Toast he had with his buddies. So off I went conceptualizing this little gem and poring over all the recipes I can get my hands on. After studying so many varying recipes (that's right - I don't read recipes, I STUDY them like they're the damn LSATs!), I finally hit my "a ha" moment: I'll take the Crème Brulee and marry it into the best bread pudding I have ever tasted - the Croissant Bread Pudding from Masa of Echo Park.
I love Bistek. It’s probably one of the first Filipino recipes I learned growing up. I started cooking really early - I think I remember being about 6 or 7 when I learned how to cook rice. Since then, it’s been a love affair with the kitchen and I haven’t stopped cooking since.
Things got a little challenging when I decided about 7-8 years ago that I was going to turn vegetarian (pescetarian to be exact – I just can’t give up my fish and seafood!)