Monthly Archives: December 2012

Santa Barbara Adventures

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city full of amazing Spanish architecture with tons of phenomenal restaurants and gorgeous beaches.  There are lots of fun things to do like the wine tasting on the wine trail, shopping in downtown, rent bikes to ride on the bike path, natural history museum, botanical gardens, whale watching and so much more!

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Tri Colored Potato Soup

This is an easy, flavorful soup that looks gorgeous!



Recipe:  Makes 8-10 Servings

  • 4 lbs Tri Colored Potato’s (Gold, Purple, Red)
  • 16 oz  of Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Small White Onion diced (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 3 – 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dill
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper


Peel the skins from the potatoes.  Cut into cubes, crush 3-4 cloves garlic and dice the onion

Add vegetable broth and all other ingredients to the crock pot

Set crock pot to High for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.

Or on the stovetop for approximately 45 minutes on med low or until potatoes are soft

Garnish Optional: Sour Cream and Chopped Chives

* If you like pureed soup you can also use a hand blender and puree’

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Rosemary Garlic Almonds

I love how the rosemary and garlic become crunchy which makes these almonds extremely flavorful and addictive.


Recipe: 3 Cups

  • 3 Cup of Raw Almonds
  • 3 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 to 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

 In a bowl mix the raw organic almonds with the extra virgin olive oil and sea salt

Pick the leaves of the fresh rosemary sprig, mince garlic by hand (a garlic press, will make it crumps of garlic)  and add to the almonds and stir well

Spread on a cookie sheet evenly and bake for 20 minutes

Let cool and ENJOY!!!

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Pasta Pomodoro with Cari & Rory

Pasta Pomodoro is in San Jose California in the high-end outdoor mall called Santana Row.  They have really great pasta, and the bread and pesto they serve with your water is delicious!  I was so excited because we were meeting up with my friends Cari and Rory from Hood River that I haven’t seen in 5 years.  In that time they had Stella age 4 and Lily 6 months. It was really nice to meet the girls.  Cari and Rory own their own jewelry line named Jewelry by Cari.  Check it out! jewelry by cari









The Pesto and Bread is delish!


Sauvignon Blanc (Sean Minor, Sonoma County)


I had the Pasta Limone and boy is it good!  (Lemon Fettuccine Alfredo)  It’s not on the menu anymore but they will still make it for you.


Broccoli sautéed in Olive Oil with Garlic and Hot peppers


Robby had the Parmigiana – Fresh Chicken breast breaded and topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil, premium mozzarella and parmesan, served with penne pomodoro

There are 3 locations in San Jose

Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

Omg, this gravy is good and I’m not even a mushroom lover!

Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

Shiitake Gravy

Recipe: Makes 2 Cups

  • 4 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 2 Bouillon Cube
  • 2 Cup Water
  • 2 Shallot minced
  • 2 Clove Garlic minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoon Flour


Cut off stems and set aside

Mince mushrooms and set aside

Put water, bouillon cube, mushroom stems and salt in small sauce pan and bring to a boil

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes

Next mince shalotts, garlic and thyme then add to pan, saute with 1 tablespoon of butter until golden

Add dry white wine and cook until reduced

Add mushrooms and stir until moisture is gone

In a small sauce pan on med-low heat make a roux by whisking together flour into melted butter add the milk

Strain mushroom stem sauce into roux then add mushrooms and stir until it thickens

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Tomato Basil Almonds

These are so tasty and packed full of flavor!!  They make a great snack and they are also a nice addition to a cheese plate for entertaining guest.



Recipe: 3 Cups

  • 3 Cups Raw Almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce (Eden was the brand used here)
  • 3/4 Cup Basil minced
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt


Pre heat oven to 275 degrees

Mince the garlic and basil add to a bowl, add the olive oil, almonds, tomato sauce and sea salt then mix well and spread evenly onto a baking sheet

Bake for 20 minutes

Let cool completely

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Interview with Jewelry Designer: Sarah Morton Erasmus – Owner Of M.E. Jewelry


“Sarah Morton-Erasmus grew up mesmerized by the sound of a cross peen hammer.  By the age of twelve she was busy in her father’s studio soldering and sawing his copper scraps into jewelry and sculpture of her own design.  Creating came naturally to her.  In 1999, Sarah received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Oregon in Metalsmithing.   She continued her education by apprenticing with both goldsmiths and sculptors, balancing her skills with both small and large-scale works.  Morton-Erasmus Jewelry started to take shape in 2003, when she moved from New York to the Columbia River Gorge where she continues to create her jewelry and metal artwork”.  We had the privilege of meeting Sarah almost ten years ago.  She is such a creative beautiful person with an extraordinary amount of talent.


When did you know you wanted to be a jewelry designer and how did you get your start? 

I was basically failing out of college, I had been a straight A student in high school, and got to college thinking I wanted to go into international affairs and language.  My Dad sat me down and instead of giving me the “you have to work harder, amount to something” speech; he said I needed to take an art class.  He knew I was an artist at heart, so I wrestled my way into a totally full beginning metals class and was instantly in love.


How was it growing up with a talented father/copper smith?

I knew it was special, I didn’t know anyone else in school who had parents like mine. Especially because we got to travel all the time.  Once or twice a month we’d pack up and be in a new place like San Francisco or Tempe, Az doing a craft fair.  I went to school in a really rural area of Oregon though; so many kids had never even been to a city before high school.  So I knew early on that the world was huge, with tons of possibilities.  
My Dad was always working, not only because he was self-employed but also because he loved what he did, and was happiest in his studio.  I have so many fond memories of my family all together, discovering new things, and just laughing and having fun, when the all the work was done.  I feel really proud to follow in his foot steps, this February I’ll be exhibiting at The Buyers Market of American Craft, I’m one of like 3 that are second generation exhibitors.


What do you love most about designing and creating your own Jewelry?                  

I just love working with metal, I love that with some time and skill one can take something from the ground, manipulate it and turn it into something beautiful, or use it to convey a message that words can’t because it has this longevity.  To adorn ourselves with a piece of jewelry can tell the world so much about ourselves, our ornaments can tell a story about important people in our life, experiences, travels and just how we see ourselves.  And then these stories can be handed down to friends and family.  I love that I make keepsakes and mementos.


What would you classify your style of work as?

This is a tough one, I’m somewhere between fine jewelry and trend jewelry.  I’m not just assembling parts some factory made, every piece starts and ends in my studio with my hands.  The 18k gold I use to make all my connections brings my silver jewelry closer to fine jewelry price point, but I love fashion and love to be part of the forward motion of trends.  I like to think of myself as a fashion designer who hammers instead of sews.


Do you have a piece your most proud of?

Yes, I make these shields that are really like an individuals crest something that would absolutely represent that person for longevity.  It usually has an initial as the center piece but sometimes a symbol, then, I add different things like the person’s date of birth, their age when it was made, zip codes, words, quotes, etc.  Once I even put the longitude and latitude of their favorite place on earth, so they’d always be able to find their way back.


What do you draw from for inspiration when designing a new piece?


A lot of the time its a technique, method, or connection in my studio that sparks something new, but I love to look Pinterest and runway shows for fashion, but mainly I look at a lot of vintage jewelry and museum pieces.  That’s where my love of jewelry began.


How do you source your materials and select your stones?

I go to the big gem show in Tucson occasionally, but my focus has always been production, not just one of a kind, so once I find a vendor I like I stick with them.  I lived in New York when I first started my line in 2003, my fellow jewelry friends hooked me up with most of my sources there and I still use all of them.


What is the most challenging part about running your own business?

That you have to wear so many hats!!! I wish all the time that I could just design and produce, and not have to sell it, market it, photograph it, price it, ship it, etc. I have a love/hate relationship with Excel.


Any tips or advice for aspiring designers like yourself?

Take lots and lots of business classes, never give up your dream, and take chances!!

*Check out the M.E. Jewelry website, there are many more designs and contact info as well.

M.E. Jewelry

 M.E. Jewelry Facebook

Boston Baked Beans

Robby’s family is from Massachusetts where Boston baked beans originated.  I have never made them before and of course I had to create my own recipe.  He told me they were spot on!  Love it when that happens!



Recipe – 6 – 8 servings

  • 2 Cups Dried White Beans
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 3/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup of Bean Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt


Check Beans for rocks then rinse and put in a pot and add water 1/4 inch from the top boil 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until soft and add water as needed

When beans are soft strain saving 1/2 Cup of the bean water, put aside

Put beans into casserole dish with a lid

Mince the onion and garlic then saute with 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft then add wine sand reduce until syrupy  and add to beans

In a sauce pan combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Pour onto beans and cover with the lid then set on middle shelf in oven

Bake for 45 minutes without stirring

Take lid off and bake for 15 more minutes

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