the slow cooker is my new best friend (and should be yours too)

Friday, 13th, 2015


The end of daylight savings is great in the sense that we all got to sleep in an extra hour the night before. But not so great when you think about the fact that we’re losing an hour of sunlight in the evening. Also it’s going to be cold now. (Or at least as cold as LA can get).

A lot of people have mentioned the comfort of coming home to a slow cooked meal. The pot already did all the heavy lifting while you were at work, and now you can just help yourself to some dinner after a long day at work. I recently tried using our slow cooker for the first time, and it’s true. It’s seriously one of the best things ever invented.

A coworker recommended this Fragrant Garam Masala Chicken Stew. I’ve made it twice now, and it’s so good. Indian food is a favorite of mine, and this one is relatively easy to make. However, I haven’t gotten over the insecurity of leaving the slow cooker on all day. Most recipes call for about 6 hours, and no one is home from work within 6 hours of the day. What I’ve done instead is making the recipe at night, and go for the 2-3 hour option. It’s done before midnight and I pack it up and have it ready for the next couple days.

Try it here.

[Image credit Better Homes and Gardens]

two summer snacks to make now

Saturday, 1st, 2015

I’m a snacker. Streaming a show or reading blogs isn’t the best experience unless you have a snack while you’re doing it. Instead of eating chips or popcorn (which is a bad habit I picked up this summer) I found 2 really easy snacks to make that are yummy and a way healthier alternative.

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The first is Zucchini Rounds with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato. You slice up zucchini into circles so that there’s enough surface area to top with a bit of goat cheese and some sun dried tomato. After you load up a plate of these, season the entire thing with a little bit of salt, pepper, cayenne and olive oil. Enjoy.

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The second is Roasted Squash with Garlic. Cut up a squash into cubes and throw them onto a sheet pan. Cut up garlic and do the same. Sprinkle squash and garlic with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Generously. Pop in the oven for 13 – 15 minutes and check in to see if you want your squash to crisp up a bit more. Also make sure you toss them around. Bake for another 2 – 5 minutes depending on your preference for crispness. Serve.

what to make: week of june 14

Monday, 15th, 2015


Last week was long. Last week was long and I was moody for most of it. It’s the regular lady blues I get monthly along with a plethora of new projects at work. Although exciting, it’s also tiring. But I’m feeling a lot better and happy that I got to catch up by working at a coffee shop Sunday evening. When it’s not packed, Coffee Tomo in the Sawtelle neighborhood is a decent place to work and they make the cutest lattes. Their chocolate chip cookie is soft and does not skimp on the chips. Not a bad situation.

This week should be better, so here’s to a better week and a continuation of the meal planning! There’s a lot of salads in here because I’m going to Mexico over July 4th weekend and wearing a swimsuit will be no joke. So here goes:

Grain bowl with lentils, tofu, cherry tomatoes, feta and boiled eggs. There’s no recipe to link to for this because I made this recipe up in my head. Post on how it goes to come later.

Crunchy Chicken Salad. Basically an Asian chicken salad, but I’m sure making it yourself is healthier than ordering out.

I’ve been meaning to make guacamole for weeks now. This one incorporates mango and jalapeno. Yes please!

Beef, Bean & Beer Chilli. To fix my summer BBQ food craving.

Friday night I made a Strawberry Romaine salad that came out beautifully. Will most likely make it again this week and share.

I received a bunch of ice cream recipes that don’t require an ice cream maker. Awesome, right? Here’s one for a Nutella flavored one.

Have a good week everyone! Can’t believe we’re already halfway into June.

Photo via Audrey’s 

how i like to make moscow mules

Sunday, 14th, 2015

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Everyone has a go-to drink, the one they order by reflex whenever they’re out. Sometimes that drink changes, but everyone has a go-to in their pocket at all times. Mine used to be the Moscow Mule, and although I’ve since transitioned into bourbon based cocktails, the mule is still an old favorite. Get some copper mugs and make them at home, the ingredients are simple:

2 oz vodka
1/2 oz lime juice
5 oz ginger beer
a sprig of mint and lime to garnish

My two favorite types of vodka to use are Russian Standard or Tito’s. As for ginger beer, Bundaberg is best.

My favorite places to order a Moscow Mule in LA are:
The Culver Hotel in Culver City makes a Cucumber Mule with American Harvest vodka, lime juice, fever tree ginger beer and some muddled cucumber as their signature touch. Happy hour is on weekdays 4-7 PM.

Lock & Key in Koreatown makes an Irish Mule from Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey, in addition to the regular ingredients plus some orange bitters.

The Varnish downtown adds candied ginger into their mule giving their version a spicy bite at the end.

What’s your current go-to cocktail?

tomato zucchini bake

Monday, 8th, 2015

We were so good today.

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There’s basically 2 steps to this recipe. Slice the vegetables. Check.

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Sprinkle extra Panko and parmesan on top and let bake for about 40 minutes. Done. Kind of looks like Ratatouille, huh??

The boyfriend took on the tomato zucchini bake himself for dinner. It was the perfect blend of soft baked vegetables and crunchy crust of panko and parmesan on top. It’s easy, it’s healthy and you don’t feel bad when you’re having seconds. Which we both did.

On top of that, we made our own version of a Chipotle burrito bowl for lunch this week. Brown rice topped with black beans, cherry tomatoes, 1 avocado, romaine and shredded chicken. We’ll throw in a little bit of Tahini sauce tomorrow morning. Everything was from Trader Joe’s besides the chicken, which was a leftover rotisserie chicken we had from Sprouts.

Toldja the meal planning works. Happy Monday!

what to make: Week of June 7

Sunday, 7th, 2015


Whenever I spend time in the beginning of the week to think about what I can make that will last for a portion of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the upcoming week, that also leads to working out when I’m supposed to and everything just falls into place (well actually a planned kind of fall, but this is why I plan). When I don’t, that’s when I find myself going to happy hours with friends, eating pizza, Del Taco – leaving me grumpy and my jeans fitting tightly.

So that’s why I’m going to start making meal plans. If I don’t end up making every single dish, I at least have some frame of reference when I go grocery shopping. So here goes for this week!

The easiest option first. A bunch of assorted spreads and toppings for toasts. These ideas cover breakfast and lunch. Cherry preserves and ricotta on rye bread? Yes please.

I try not to eat too much rice, but sometimes it’s the perfect quick and easy meal. I’ve been making a tomato rice recipe that I’ll share in detail soon, but this Ginger Friend Rice recipe caught my eye.

Farro Pilaf with Balsamic Cherries. Okay, this one is a bit ambitious in terms of the time commitment, but will give it a try if it’s a slow week.

This Grain Bowl guide has been my go-to for the past couple weeks. I like how it provides a couple suggestions but you can switch up the ingredients each time. I have a package of tofu and some butternut squash, so will most likely create one with those 2 base ingredients this week.

A Tomato-Zucchini Bake. Ever since the boyfriend mentioned he loved zucchini I’ve been meaning to make a dish using them. This one incorporates ingredients I already have and seems like a good starting point. Plus you can drink wine while it’s in the oven.

Photo via my Instagram @jlin25

what to make with chicken and red onion

Saturday, 6th, 2015

4320133099_ffc214e425_oCajun chicken pasta. Duh.

At least that’s what Google said when I searched “chicken with red onion.” I chose a recipe by The Pioneer Woman. Usually I don’t because although I think she’s great, her recipes usually involve ingredients I don’t already have. On top of that, I feel like they’re for the more skilled cook at home. But it’s fine. Because my pasta game is pretty on point now. Any way, this is an easy one to make and most likely you’ll have the basic ingredients already: pasta noodles, tomato, parsley, chicken and the regular spices.

The steps are simple enough. Dice all the veggies, cut up the chicken, cook each separately. Boil pasta and then throw everything together. I skipped the part where she makes her own sauce, I wanted to use the rest of a jar of pasta sauce I already had. Anyway, the results were pretty damn good. My photos? Not so much. So please excuse and admire The Pioneer Woman’s instead.

Recipe and photo via The Pioneer Woman


Tuesday, 10th, 2015

In all my Yin yoga classes, the instructor will ask us to choose what we want to express gratitude for in the day’s session, something that’s pretty standard for yoga classes across the board. Today i was grateful for finally getting to a point where I don’t feel so much like I’m in a rough patch anymore around the challenges I’ve been facing for the last couple months . It’s not like I’ve overcome the obstacles, but I’m not so much in the weeds and sort of see how I’m emerging from it. Specifically I was grateful for the energy I’m regaining to do things that are good for me, like go to yoga.

Even though I feel I’ve gotten through the rougher patches of the things I’m dealing with, I’m realizing there will always be hurdles ahead even when I’m over what’s going on now. For example, when work gets too stressful and then calms down, you know a new challenge is going to come up in a matter of time. And if one doesn’t, that might be the challenge itself because then you start to feel stagnant. My point is, being at a stage where I feel like I’m beginning to overcome my current challenges, it’s easier to tell myself not to stress and I didn’t have to worry so much a couple weeks ago. So it’s a just a reminder to myself that when I’m back to a new beginning of overcoming new obstacles, to try to enjoy the ride a little more.

Today’s quote from class:

I have no special talent. I’m just passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

things i like 10.24

Friday, 24th, 2014


This was a good week in many ways. I’m looking forward and super excited for a new opportunity. It’s almost Halloween and there’s Food Network programming on Netflix. This is huge, you guys. And now for some delightful links:

Besides the fact that this family had a pet lion, look at how gorgeous the photography is.

I feel like I could wear every outfit in this fall line.

Beautiful cameras inspired by 3D printing, written by my former editor.

Got this for a best friend’s birthday, and then caved and got my own.

I’m all about this active wear as daily wear trend.

Need this in my cup of hot chocolate.

Sezane for Madewell collection. I want.

Have the best weekend, loves.