Scarlett Begonia in Santa Barbara, CA

While in Santa Barbara, Robby and I ate at this quaint little restaurant named Scarlett Begonia.  It is a little court-yard tucked away in the center of some other businesses.


They focus on Organic local farm to table cuisine the menu changes weekly with what is fresh and in season


Enjoying a glass of Tolloy, Pinot Grigio, Italy, 2010, Cheers!


I love court yards


I’m a sucker for fountains


We had a little friend visit us



A complementary amuse bouche


Robby enjoyed the Roasted Chicken Pot Pie 


We shared these amazing roasted potatoes that were full of flavor and perfectly crispy


I absolutely loved their Chilaquiles, yummmm!

 11 West Victoria Street # 10

Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Interview with Photographer: Tanya Moss


Tanya is a dear friend from Southern California, where we had a lot of fun and many adventures together!  I have been admiring her photographs for many years now and I’m super excited about her wonderful blog named MRS. MOSS.  She is now currently living in South East Asia with her husband and three kids!


At what age and how did you begin your journey into photography? 

At 16, in High School I took a photography class as an art elective- it was there that I became smitten!  I remember then being fascinated with the darkroom and the magic of developing film.  My dad had given me his old 1960’s Nikon film camera for the class and ever since then really I have been in love with photography.


Did you study photography in school if so where or were you self taught and how was that?

I have no formal education in photography.  I never went to Art School, although I wish I had looking back! However, I have taken several courses and workshops throughout my years.  I learnt the most when I began work as a photo assistant and also at my job in a professional photo lab in Los Angeles.  Of course, practice is the best method.  Taking your camera everywhere with you and just getting out there and shooting as much as you can.  I think photography is definitely a lifestyle and becomes a part of you.


What concept or idea are you passionate about?

I love to photograph a variety of subjects from portraiture and weddings to travel and street photography.  I tend to be drawn to the still life and urban landscapes.  I find texture, light and composition the most aesthetic forms in photography and I’m always watching for those lovely mixes in my everyday.


How would you describe your photographic style and how it has developed over the years?

My style is calm and considered.  I’m fairly ‘au natural’ in my approach to photography.  I see beauty in most things and I try to capture that with the camera, whether it is shape, colour, texture, movement or an expression on someone’s face.  I love both black and white and colour formats and mostly work with natural light.  I have experience with studio lighting and flash photography as well, which is something that I am excited to develop further moving forward.  (note: when I open my Dream Studio!) :))


How has changing from film to digital been for you?

The switch from film to digital has been massive for me- overdue and completely necessary!!  I am sort of a late bloomer and very ‘old school’ in this case.  I think this is because the arrival and impact of digital in my field happened over the same course of time that my personal life was going through huge shifts- I got married, started a family, moved overseas.  I left Los Angeles at a really pivotal time, creatively speaking, where my industry went through a digital revolution that I missed all together! Because I travelled a lot and moved countries and continents often, I had to start from scratch with each move in regards to my photography business as well as maintaining a balance with full-time motherhood- I think this is why I clung to film and traditional photography for so long.  Nevertheless, I am thrilled now to have made the switch!  I had a lot of catching up to do as far as learning tech and computer skills but the great thing is that the essence of photography hasn’t changed at all- only some of the tools, so it’s all cool and very exciting!


What programs do you use for editing?

I am very light on editing but the best software for my job would be Photoshop for editing and Adobe Lightroom for organising and basic edits.  Both softwares are top on my agenda for 2013.


Is there one photograph you are most proud of?

There is a series of portraits I took of my kids in Scotland 2 years ago, those are quite special to me.


Is there one city that inspires you to photograph more than any other?

I love cities and I love country too.  I get inspired in lots of different landscapes.  As far as places go, I am known to be a bit of an Anglophile! I am in love with England and I love to photograph there.  California also greatly inspires me.  I love the landscapes there, the pacific coast and the vast amounts of natural beauty and gorgeous light.  I am very proud to have grown up there and I think that the landscape has really influenced the way I approach photography and life in general.

We are loving your blog, has it been an inspiring project for you and why?


Thanks! The blog has been awesome!! It is a huge creative outlet for me and is giving me the chance to get back out there into the world and get back to work!

*Click on photos to see full size


Hot Sauce de Arbol y Ancho

This is a very hot tomato style hot sauce packed full of flavor and depth.

Robby and I eat a lot of Mexican food so needless to say I make this hot sauce all the time!  It is pretty hot and if you like a more mild hot sauce then omit or half the amount of arbol peppers.

Hot-Sauce-de-Arbol y

Recipe – Makes 4 to 5 Cups

  • 5 Large Tomatoes
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 1/4 Red Onion
  • 18 Arbol Chiles
  • 2 Large or 3 Small Ancho Chiles
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • If you like it thinner add 1/4 Cup Filtered Water


Put peppers and onions in water and bring to a boil and while waiting for water to boil core the tomatoes

When water starts boiling drop tomatoes into water for about 1 minute or until the skins crack then turn off the water and remove tomatoes, let cool then peel off the skin and put into food processor

Remove stem from both chilies and remove seeds from the ancho chilies

Put everything else into the food processor and puree for about 2 minutes then pour into a fine mesh colander and push thru with a rubber spatula

 Scrape the outside of the colander as well to get as much as possible and pour into a container then store in the fridge

Health benefits:

Tomatoes are great for the heart due to the extreme antioxidant support, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 that help the reduction of heart disease.  They are also high in vitamins A, C, K and potassium.  The choline in tomatoes helps assist the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.  It also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.  Tomatoes are high in Lycopene the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color.  Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell walls, which helps to release the lycopene and is better absorbed by the body with a little bit of fat like olive oil.  The Zea-xanthin in them helps filtering harmful ultra-violet rays, which protect eyes from “age-related macular disease.”  They are also a powerful blood purifier and great for skin and bone health.

Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, 1 pepper provides 18 % of the daily value for men and 23 % for women. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which helps skin and eye health.  Jalapenos contain phenols, flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavinoids are powerful antioxidants and help strengthen blood vessels. They also fight nasal congestion by stimulating secretions that help clear mucus from the nose.

White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup

This hearty south of the border inspired White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup is full of robust flavor! This soup is packed with vitamin C from all those peppers and tomatillos.  Therefore it is the perfect soup to keep your immune system strong while providing a comfort food must for those cold winters.

White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup

This soup has many layers of flavors from the beans,  the zesty tomatillo salsa, the roasted peppers and the spiciness from the serranos.   I make this soup for Robby often and sometimes he cook turkey or chicken to add to it.

White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup

White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup Recipe:

Serves 8-12 (you can half the recipe)

  • 3 Cups Dried White Beans
  • 20 to 22 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 3 Serrano Peppers – minced
  • Tomatillo Salsa Verde – recipe below
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Dry White Wine
  • 2 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes – unsalted
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Queso Fresca Cheese ( Optional )
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
  • 3 Poblano Peppers
  • 8 Tomatillos
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 1- 4 Serrano Chili Peppers
  • 1 Cup Cilantro
  • 2 – 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt

Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to a large pot and add 12 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and turn to medium-high heat for about 1 hour to an 1 1/2 hours or until beans are soft.  (older beans take longer to soften)  Gradually add 8 to 10 more cups of water during the cooking process as the water soaks into the beans and evaporates.  (The beans can be cooked the day ahead)


While beans are cooking,  roast the red bell and poblano peppers for the soup and for the tomatillo salsa verde.

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems. 

Dice two of the poblanos and the bell pepper, then set aside in a covered bowl.  (this can be done the day ahead)

In a food processor or by hand mince the serrano peppers then add to the bowl of diced roasted peppers.

 Tomatillo Salsa Verde (this can be done the day ahead)

Cut the cores out of the tomatillos and cut in half then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.

Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 5 -7 minutes then flip over and broil for another 2 to 4 minutes or until real soft.

Add onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil then remove and put into the food processor.

When tomatillos are done, let cool then remove burnt parts of skin as best you can then add to a food processor.

Add the remaining roasted poblano and the serrano to the food processor along with cilantro, lime, and salt.  Puree.  Set aside until the beans are cooked.


Dice the onion and mince the garlic.  Add the onion and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan.  Turn heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes more or until onions are soft and garlic just starts to become lightly golden.

  Once the garlic becomes golden, add bouillon cubes and wine to the onions.   Mash the bouillon to dissolve.  Add to the reserved diced peppers.

When beans are cooked completely add tomatillo salsa verde, diced roasted peppers, serrano and onions/garlic.

Add the corn and salt.  Cook for a few minutes to warm up the corn.  (if you feel it’s too thick. add another cup or so of water)

It is great topped with queso fresco cheese. White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup

Health benefits:

White Beans are a super source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure). They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Tomatillos have been found to have antibacterial and anti-cancer properties from the Ixocarpa Lactone -A, a phyto-chemical.  They contain niacin, which helps convert food into energy. They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants, vitamin K  that increases bone mass, potassium that helps electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure, folate that supports red blood cell formation and fiber.  They are without sugars, low in salt and cholesterol-free.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma.  They are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.


Wine Bistro Pierre Lafond

Robby and I were shopping downtown Santa Barbara when we came across this wonderful Bistro.  We sat outside and enjoyed our food while people watching.


In 1962 Pierre Lafond, started the Santa Barbara Winery, and the Lafond Winery.


The Wine Bistro is dedicated to Farm to Table using local organic produce, free-range grass-fed meats, organic and drug-free poultry, sustainable fisheries and local wines.






Complementary Multi Grain & French Bread


Robby had the Shelton’s Farm Free Range Organic Turkey Bistro Club – Bacon, Organic Greens, Garden Tomatoes, Avocado with Pesto Aioli on Toasted Nine Grain Bread.


I had the Caprese Panini – Basil Pesto, Farmer’s Market Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella on Focaccia

Sauvignon Blanc – Casa Barranca ‘11 Santa Barbara County

Wine Bistro Pierre Lafond

516 State Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101