Monthly Archives: January 2013

How to: Toast and De-skin Hazelnuts (Filberts)

Nothing like warm hazelnuts right out of the oven.  You can add these to salad’s, pasta, pesto, desserts, and any dishes calling for nuts.


I love the aroma of the hazelnuts as the roast it’s such a comforting smell.  There are so many dishes to use them in weather sweet or savory



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees then spread the amount of hazelnuts you want to use in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, depending on the amount, I used 2 cups.  In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while checking on the progress

When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose.  A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.

Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off back in the oven for a few more minutes

Health Benefits:

Hazelnuts are one of the only tree nuts with folate that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. They have a high concentration of oleic acid an omega-9 fatty acid that is known to prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure, prevent strokes and help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol that help prevent heart attacks.  They are also rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, the minerals help regulate blood pressure. Hazelnuts are one of the richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy skin, hair and nails.  They are also packed with B vitamins that bring energy to your cells and increase the metabolism. They are one of the few nuts that contain vitamin A, which is great for your eyes and are also high in dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, selenium and zinc.


*People who are allergic to peanuts, macadamia nut and/or Brazil nut might also be allergic to hazelnuts.

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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


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Angela Marie’s Salsa

This salsa recipe is easy, it’s based off an old friends family recipe.  I make it for most every gathering and it’s always a huge hit.  I usually make extra to send home with friends since they love it so much and are always requesting it.

Angela Marie Salsa

Recipe: Makes 2 to 3 cups

  • 1- 25 oz. Jar of Eden Organics Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1 to 3 Roasted Jalapeno Peppers (1 for mild,  2 for medium,  or 3 for hot)
  • 1 Roasted Poblano Pepper
  • 2 Green Onions, Diced
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 2 tsp Salt or to Taste


First roast jalapeños and poblano peppers (See How to Roast Peppers), chop green onions, crush garlic cloves, pour crushed tomatoes in a blender or food processor then add all other ingredients to the blender and puree together

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Why Exfoliate Your Skin


Organic: Ground Flax Seed, Raw Almonds, Pink Clay, Lavender, Rolled Oats

Young skin cells shed effortlessly as one age’s the process slows down.  The new cells form in the Basel layer, the deepest sub layer of the Epidermis, they push the old cells to the surface that is what causes dry patches of built up dead cells which gives the complexion a sallow, dull and lifeless appearance.  The build up of dead skin cell will limit how much of your moisturizer gets through.

Exfoliating cleanses the skin while stimulating new cell growth and circulation by sloughing off the dead skin.  This is very helpful in keeping the skin color even by unblocking the pores and reducing spots and blotchiness.  It also allows skin care products to penetrate better.  Exfoliating gives your complexion a bright youthful glow.

Face: The importance of a facial exfoliant is to scrub away dry dead skin cells. They can be extremely beneficial to dry skin types as well as oily.

Body: The use of a body exfoliant in the shower revives and stimulates the skin and circulation, while delivering nutritious vitamins and minerals deep into the pores.

Exfoliate With Pineapple -  More Scrub recipes to come

Caramelized Herb Tomatoes

These are morsel’s of serious goodness!  I found myself eating them right off the baking sheet.  The first time I made these I used them in my Mediterranean Quiche which was delicious but these are good in anything, our Caramelized Herb Tomato Pesto, pasta, antipasto or a salad…


This Recipe is for pearl tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, I like to use the baby heirlooms too they cook faster.  You can use any tomato you just may need to adjust the cooking time

Core tomatoes and cut in half, scoop the seeds out and place on a baking sheet with cut side up

Spread marinade over the tomatoes

Bake and enjoy!

Preheat oven to 325 F put on the middle shelf and bake for approximately 45-55 minutes depending on the size of the tomato, the tomatoes will start to look a little shriveled up.

 Turn oven up to 400 F for 20 minutes to caramelize the tomatoes.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn although a little brown is okay and they will have the roasted sweetness that gives these tomatoes the yummiest flavor!

Recipe: Makes about 2 Cups

  • 12 Pearl Tomatoes


  • 4 to 6 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 4 Teaspoons of Thyme (dry or fresh)
  • 1/2 Packed Cup Fresh Basil leaves chopped finely
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

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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

Check out MRS. MOSS Blog

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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.

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How to Blanch Tomatoes

This is incredibly easy!  Using blanched tomatoes in salsa or sauces is so much tastier than canned and very simple.


Core the tomatoes

Put tomatoes in a pot and cover with water and bring to a boil

When skin begins to crack take them out with tongs ( approx. 1 – 2 minutes)

Let cool and remove the skins

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White Bean Tomatillo Verde Soup

This spicy south of the border white bean soup screams fireplace, and pjs!  It’s not only packed full of vitamin C to keep those flus away but also a comfort food must for these cold winters, especially with the salsa verde it will heat you up for sure!

Winter Verde Soup - Recipe at


Recipe – Serves 8-12 (you can half the recipe)

  • 3 Cups Dried White Beans
  • 20 Cups Filtered Water
  • 3 Cups Tomatillo Salsa Verde
  • 1 White Onion
  • 3 Serrano Peppers
  • 2 Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Vegetable Bullion Cubes ( Salt free )
  • 1/4 Dry White Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Queso Fresca Cheese ( Optional )


In a 5 1/2 quart pot cook the beans in 13 cups filtered water (see Homemade Black Bean recipe) you will gradually add 6 more cups of water during the cooking process as the water soaks into the beans and evaporates.  (can be done the day ahead)

While beans are cooking roast the red bell and poblano peppers for the soup and for the Tomatillo Salsa Verde dice the two poblanos and the bell pepper and set aside in a bowl.  (can be done the day ahead)

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

In a sauté pan add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and garlic.  Sauté until lightly browned and soft.

Add white wine and bullion cubes to onions/garlic. Cook until wine reduces and is syrupy then turn off the heat

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

In a food processor or by hand mince the serrano peppers and add to soup along with corn and salt

It is also great topped with queso fresco cheese

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