Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Unwind

Nob Hill Spa at the Huntington Hotel is the ideal place to relax and unwind in San Francisco…it’s a must-try kind of place. I’ve only been twice but each time has been so memorable. I recommend arriving early so you can enjoy the beautiful pool area and get cozy near the fireplace with a magazine. 
After the treatment of your choice head back to the pool area and onto the terrace if it’s sunny so you can catch some rays. Note: bring a bikini if you want to do any sunbathing. There's a beautiful view of the city from the balcony and you feel  like you're really living in style. If you go with friends definitely get a bottle of bubbly to share! 
After enough sunshine, head to the reading room to enjoy some solitude and fresh iced tea, chocolate covered almonds and dried fruit. Finish it off with a steam, sauna and shower. You will feel like a new woman, I promise! 



Monday, 31 March 2014

Coconut Kale & Crispy Salmon

This meal seems like it's been a culinary craze on the internet, and for good reason. Goop's coconut kale & crispy salmon is out of this world good…so flavorful and filling yet not too fattening. Jim and I made the whole recipe recently and had leftovers for another meal, so note that if you're making it for two. It's great paired with a nice chardonnay like Sonoma-Cutrer, but you could also go with a rose or sauvignon blanc. Even though it's an easy weeknight meal, it looks so impressive that you could definitely serve it as a main course at a dinner party with friends. 
Here's what you'll need for four servings:

1 cup white rice (or Jasmine)
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 coconut oil, melted (I used vegetable oil and it was fine too)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon sriracha
3/4 bag of pre-chopped kale
1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
4 salmon fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Start by rinsing the rice in cold water and drain. Place in a saucepan with coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce to a super low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, or until you're ready to serve. While the rice is cooking, heat over to 400 degrees. In a lidded jar, add melted coconut oil or vegetable oil, sesame oil, tamari and sriracha. Place a lid on the jar and shake well until it's emulsified. 

Place the kale and coconut flakes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2/3 of the dressing. Toss until well-coated. Drizzle salmon with the remaining dressing. Bake the salmon and coconut kale mixture for 15-20 minutes, depending on how well you like your salmon done. At this point, I decided to make a 1/2 batch more dressing since it was so yummy and I wanted a little extra to put over the salmon when it was cooked. Remove the salmon when it's done and serve that and the coconut kale over fluffed rice with an extra drizzle of dressing.

Enjoy!



Monday, 24 March 2014

Passport Stamps

Lately I've been in a bit of a travel rut. When we were living in London, we could pick up and leave on a whim and in just a few hours we'd end up in some exotic location like Marrakech. I am so grateful we were able to do that, I realize how fortunate we were. That wanderlust I had over there just doesn't go away when you move back to the States, and it's only gotten stronger over the past 10 months. I guess I've always kind of had it because my parents took my sister and I on wonderful trips to far away places like Egypt, South Africa and Australia. Again, so fortunate! Traveling makes me feel so alive and fulfilled, whether it's a weekend trip to another city or a three week vacation to another part of the world. And this means I constantly want to travel to new place and experience new things. Right now my wanderlust list is a mix of local and international destinations…read on for my top five.
Park City, Utah: While this isn't the typical winter representation of the city, it sure looks amazing. Give me sprawling hills and lakes and I'm there! I'm thinking of planning a trip next winter so we can experience the chic ski environment. Obviously going during the Sundance Film Festival would be such a thrill, but then again it could also get very pricey. We'll see!
Bali: This is pretty much my idea of heaven. It has the perfect, exotic mix of beach and adventure. We're planning to go next spring or summer and I cannot even wait. We'll pair it with a trip to Thailand, most likely a few days in Bangkok followed by a visit to Chiang Mai and maybe somewhere else. Suggestions welcome!
Chicago: It's been on our bucket list ever since we moved back from London. It just seems like one of the iconic American cities we should visit at some point in our lives. The deep dish pizza, Wrigley Field and the museums are reason enough to go. I'm hoping we'll be able to go in early fall while the weather's still good.
Machu Picchu, Peru: Jim and I have been talking about doing the trek to these mysterious ruins for years. It seems like the trip of a lifetime…one that would be so fulfilling and magical. I'll definitely need to do some serious training before we venture down there.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: I've always been intrigued by this South American city that seems to combine Latin and European cultures so well. The museums, beautiful cafes and dancing are big draws. I've heard great things from friends that have been, so it's definitely climbing up there on our list. 

What's on your bucket list right now? Keep that wanderlust alive :)



[Images via Summer Wind, Visit Park City, Style Me Pretty Living,  Pinterest, Pinterest, Encore! Life]

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Urban Hiking

This weekend we reverted back to our London days and went exploring. Urban hiking, to be exact. Originally we were going to head over to Mt. Tam or Angel Island, but Jim suggested we stay within the 7x7 limits and it turned out to be such a fun day with friends. We drove over to Twin Peaks and parked, making the Seward Street Slides our first stop. The boys slid down but I stayed put (bad slide experience from kindergarten!).
Our next stop was Kite Hill. We didn't exactly have a clear path but we eventually made our way up to the summit and found a gorgeous view of the city. Then we hiked up even further to the Twin Peaks summit and it got better. The perfect mix of greenery and skyscrapers. Doesn't Market Street look so grand? 
The plan was to make it to through the hidden Eucalyptus forest behind Sutro Tower and over to Tank Hill, but a place called Magonlia Brewery was calling our name.
So we made our way back down the hill and drove over to the Haight for a cold pint and some yummy British gastropub bites including fresh cheeses, fries (or chips) and Scotch eggs for Jim. We felt like we were right back in Fulham or Chelsea in a cozy, dark pub booth. And they had the most amazing pomegranate cider served in these lovely gold rimmed glasses.
It's so nice to get out of our neighborhood and explore different areas of the city especially since it reminds me of our time in London. Can't way to try more urban hikes and share them with you!



Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Enchiladas Verde

Growing up, we didn't really make Mexican food that much. We did eat it quite a bit because there are so many amazing taquerias in Santa Cruz, but homemade just seemed like such a project. My husband on the other hand grew up with his mom making enchiladas on a regular basis and he's always talked about how much he loves them. Naturally, I had to ask his mom for the recipe and was surprised to find out how easy it was to whip these up. I changed a few things to make it my own, but it's a simple weeknight meal you can pop in the oven. Here's a visual step by step...
Here's what you'll need for six servings:

1 whole roasted chicken, shredded (store bought is fine)
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 green chiles, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
 8 flour or corn tortillas 
1 avocado, cut in chunks 
Red chile pepper flakes
1 cup of sour cream (use fat free if you want to make it healthier)
1 can of Las Palmoas chile verde enchilada sauce (you can find it at Safeway)
1 5 oz container of shaved Manchego cheese 
2 cups shredded white cheddar (I used yellow cheddar, but prefer white)

Note: We cook for two so you can just store the rest and take them to work or eat them the next night.

First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Start by shredding the chicken in a large bowl and set aside. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the chopped onion and green chiles, sauteing until translucent, then add the garlic. Once those are cooked, add the enchilada sauce and heat through, seasoning with sea salt , pepper and red chiile flakes to taste. Heat the tortillas one by one in a small amount of oil until they're slightly crispy no both sides. Then assemble the enchiladas by adding a small handful of shredded white cheddar, shredded chicken and chopped tomatoes and top with a dash of cilantro. Roll them up seam side down and put them in a lightly oiled rectangular baking pan (make sure it's big enough to fit about six enchiladas). Once they're all in the pan, pour the enchilada sauce over evenly and then sprinkle all of the Manchego cheese on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the enchiladas are heated through. I like to cut up a whole avocado and serve it alongside each serving along with a little extra cilantro.

Enjoy!


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