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Baked Salmon with Pesto & Heirloom Tomatoes

Baked Salmon

Baked Salmon Recipe

Two Salmon Fillet (about 5 to 6 oz each)

1 Tablespoon Pesto

1/2 Tablespoon butter (cold- cut into small chunks)

Heirloom tomatoes Halved

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place salmon fillets, skin side down, onto a lined baking dish (parchment paper or aluminum foil). It will be hard to move the salmon once dressed so doing this directly on your baking dish is important. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper.  Smear 1/2 a tablespoon of pesto onto the flesh side each fillet. Dot each fillet with the chunks of butter and finally, press the halved heirloom tomatoes on top.  Bake  at 350  for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of your fillet as well as how well done you prefer)


There was recently a sale on salmon so I stocked up and froze most of it. When work or life is busy I like to have recipes like this.  They take less than an hour, but taste gourmet. 25-30 minutes is also how long it takes to cook rice, quinoa, and cous cous- all of which pair with this nicely.

TIPS for this recipe- whenever I make pesto, I freeze all the extra in ice cube trays then put the cubes in ziplock bags so they wont freezer burn. That way, next time I need pesto, I can just pop a couple of cubes in the microwaves or toss it in a pan for sauce. Honestly, I only started doing this when I started gardening because there was NO WAY I could eat all that basil before it went bad but I wish I had started doing this sooner.

TIP 2- These are the tomatoes I used

heirloom tomatoes

I highly recommend them for this dish. I suppose cherry tomatoes/cherubs/grape tomatoes would all work though.

Trader Joe’s Macarons

I love grocery shopping an embarrassing amount.  I go to more than one store a week and I like it that way. One of the places I like to go is trader joe’s. I like them for their ready-made, easy, cheap, no-fuss items. Each time I go I try and pick something out for fun.

Trader Joe’s Macaron’s (spring edition)

Trader Joe's Macarons

They are in the frozen section and price at about 4 bucks for 12.  Before eating, you simply let them sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes (depending on how warm your  house is).  My first impression is from the ingredients list- each macaron has what is “flavored” in it. The lemon is made with lemon, the pistachio uses pistachio (instead of almond extract which is common for “pistachio” flavored items), etc. They are a little smaller than I expected but that’s necessarily bad.

Trader Joe's maracons

The filling to cookie ratio is good (I would like more filling but that’s probably because I love the filling). The cookie itself is also acceptably chewy with a crisp exterior. All of this being said- I obviously liked the cookies and would get them again. Are they THE BEST macarons I’ve ever had? Nope. Are they complete worth getting? Yes. They make me want to invite someone to my house for tea and cookies. Maybe that’s odd but the thought crosses my mind each time I take a few out. “Hmm. I definitely need to have the ladies over for tea” and then I take another bite with my pinky high in the air.

NOTE: I was talking with the cashier and apparently they change the flavors with the seasons. In winter they are pumpkin or eggnog flavors and so forth.


888 Pan Asian Restaurant

888 Pan Asian is one of my “go-to” places for a good meal. I love cooking but man, some nights, I get so busy that it’s nice to not have to worry about dinner. I order different items based on if I’m getting to-go or eating at the restaurant.  Here is what I love that you can’t get to-go (or isn’t the same if it’s to-go)

Tom Kha

Tom Kha Soup- all soups are just different when they are ordered to-go so they’re something I only eat if I’ll be dining in.  This is a ginger based soup similar to Tom Yum with some coconut milk added. It’s warming and I LOVE the mushrooms and basil in it.


Clay hot pot

Chicken or Vegetable Clay Pot- Any of the “clay pot” dishes are great.  They come in a warm pot with a ginger garlic sauce. Because these come in a warm clay pot, they can’t be taken to-go. On a chilly, rainy day, this is one of my comfort foods (and it’s not too unhealthy so bonus points!). After having the chicken this time, I have to say I prefer the vegetarian options (either with tofu or without).

Everyone else seems to really like the Pho there but I’ve yet to try it. It’s a HUGE portion, which is nice, but I can’t attest to the quality. Pho is another thing that needs to be eaten in-restaurant and I haven’t gotten around to ordering it because I like the clay pots :)


Chilantro BBQ

I’ve been going to Chilantro BBQ’s trailer for years now. YEARS. (you can see my original post here: Chilantro BBQ)
I was very exited to hear that they were opening a brick and mortar location. (congrats guys!). Last night would have been too chilly to eat outside but because the brick and mortar exists, we didn’t have to.

What we ordered-

Bulgogi Bowl

Bulgogi Rice Bowl- lime buttered rice, simmered black beans, garden veggies, fried egg, house made salsa.

Kimchi Fries

The Original Kimchi Fries- your choice of protein, caramelized kimchi, cheddar + monterey jack, onions, cilantro, magic sauce, sesame seeds, sriracha


Tacos- Your choice of protein, lettuce, onions, cilantro, house made salsa, corn tortillas.


Thoughts- The kimchi fries will always win. That’s just how it is. They are THE BEST. I get mine extra spicy and with extra kimchi (& I think this is the best way). With that being said, I really liked my bowl. It FEELS healthier than the fries without the loss of any flavor. I am a texture person and the crispness of the fresh vegetables in the bowl pleases me as well. The bowl comes with a side of salsa/sauce. This was spicy- spicier than Sriracha. You should be aware of that before adding it. I added all of it and it was the right choice. The tacos are good but I’ll probably stick with the bowl and kimchi fries for next time.

The trailer used to have a burrito that I ALWAYS ordered- that wasn’t on the menu at the brick and mortar. You can still get it at the trailer – menu here.  That pretty much guarantees that I’ll still be going to the trailer but for those super hot or cold times, I’m happy that the brick and mortar is a success.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

roasted potatoes

I’ve looked a lot of roasted potato recipes and I have been SHOCKED at how many recipes didn’t mention first boiling the potatoes.  This is something I’ve always done and I think it produces better results. It wasn’t until I specifically searched “boiling potatoes before roasting”  that some recipes that some good-looking recipes popped up.  Fun With Your Food to the rescue!

The main reasons for par-boilng the potatoes are that the roasted potatoes become crispier and a fluffier inside. I tried this with both sweet and red potatoes. The red potatoes come out crispier but the roasted sweet potatoes are still divine.

Roasted (sweet) Potatoes

1-2 pounds potatoes cut into chunks (I used sweet and red potatoes)

3-4 tablespoons oil (grapeseed, vegetable or other high heat oil)

salt and pepper

In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and add a generous pinch of salt.   Bring the potatoes to a boil. While the potatoes are cooking – preheat your over to 400F.  Boil potatoes for 5 -7 minutes.  You don’t want them to be falling part but mostly cooked through.  Drain the potatoes and let them sit to steam themselves dry for about 4-5 minutes. Generously coat the potatoes in oil, salt and pepper.  Here you can add some herbs if you’d like (rosemary is nice or some crushed garlic as well). Spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet.  Make sure they are in a  SINGLE layer. Place in the oven and let roast for 30 minutes.  At 30 minutes take them out and flip them so both sides get crisp. Put back into the oven for another 15 minutes. If you want them to get EXTRA crisp you can put them under your broiler on high for 5 minutes each side as well (be sure to watch so they don’t burn!)

Let cool for 5-10 minutes and eat straight away.

My New Waffle Maker

I have a confession. There are a few “must have” kitchen  that I simply haven’t cared to buy. One of my biggest offenses is THE WAFFLE MAKER.

I’ve never owned one.  See the thing is, I don’t LOVE waffles. I just am not a sweets for breakfast person. Eggs and harsh browns or potatoes O’Brien are my favorite breakfast foods.  However, I’ve been seeing a BUNCH of new articles about things you can make in a waffle maker, BESIDES waffles.  This really peaked my interest so I became DETERMINED to get a waffle maker.

I was in luck! Target had a small appliance sale and a ceramic waffle iron was included. I didn’t take the time to research a bunch of waffle irons, I simply found a sale and purchased it (I did the same thing with my crockpot without issues). The sale price was $29.99 and I still had $28 so I consider this an almost free waffle maker.

Here is the one I went with:

Oster DuraCeramic Flip Belgian Waffle Maker

Oster DuraCeramic Flip Belgian Waffle Maker

As soon as I got home with it, I wanted to test it and make waffles. I didn’t matter that it was 2pm on a Sunday- that still counts and brunch right? I found a recipe online and was happy to see I already had all the ingredients I needed.  I used the Betty Crocker basic Waffle recipe.  If you have a mixer, this recipe is quick and no hassle.  The only problem I had was determining what heat level to set that waffle maker at and for how long. I imagine that is a common new waffle maker issue though.  The results:


I chose to top my waffle with some frozen tropical fruit that I thawed in a pan with maple syrup. I like frozen or fresh fruits on my waffle, The frozen fruits add flavor to my syrup and the fresh ones add great texture. * please note, not pictured are the mango mimosas paired with this waffle brunch.

Now I need some help on what ELSE I can make in a waffle maker.   Anyone have any tried and true recipes for me?


Roasted Brussel Sprouts You Will Love

I like Brussel sprouts but I know they’re not everyone’s favorite. This recipe should help win over most people who think they don’t like sprouts. It’s got enough going on other than the Brussels flavor for people to enjoy the dish.

Citrus roasted Brussel sprouts dusted with Chipotle powder and pecans.


1 pound Brussel sprouts (halved lengthwise)

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

1-3 Teaspoons of Chipotle Powder (depending on how much spice you like)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Juice and zest of 1-2 mandarin oranges

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pre Heat Oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together oil, zest, juice, chipotle powder and salt. Add in Brussel sprouts and toss to coat them well.  Spread into one layer on a baking sheet and place in oven. Roast for 40 minutes and allow to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

Fino – Closing soon.

Any excuse for a good meal is a-ok with me

Any excuse for a good meal is a-ok with me

I don’t like to make a big deal out of Valentines day. I think of it as an excuse to eat a nice meal or to do something nice for myself- no gift required. This year my nice meal was at FINO. Sadly, this tasty spot will be closing it’s doors at the end of March 2015. The owners will be opening a new Italian restaurant in April 2015 and I’m sure it will be a great success.
What I ate:

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Muhammara- red pepper Mediterranean dip. This was an unexpected delight. It has a bit of kick and was served with fresh, warm pita.

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Tomato bisque with lime jelly- this was a free passed aperitif. It was a bite of bright lime and then a creamy smooth tomato finish.

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PEI Mussels- I am a sucker for this dish. If it’s on the menu, I’ll probably order it. This version had Chorizo and a tomato, white wine broth. The bread was butter soaked and fabulous.

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Black risotto with charred/grilled baby octopus – This was a Valentines special and the risotto was creamy and was spotted with random chunks of seafood.

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Pasta del Mar- This was another special and I think I have the name wrong (whoops!). There was a harrisa sauce as well a fresh green peas that made the entire entree pop with spice and freshness.

If you have a chance, get to FINO before it closes. They have a great happy hour:
$2 off Cocktail Menu | $2 off Beers
$1 Sherries | ½ off Aperitif Wines
$2 off Tapas
$5 House Sparkling, White and Red glasses of wine

Grilled peaches with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream

Foodie Photo Friday this week features a summer favorite that can be made in winter as well.

grilled summer peaches with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream

Grilled summer peaches with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream

You can use frozen peaches to make this in winter. This is so no-fuss that I can’t give it a full recipe post. I use my George Foreman non-stick grill to grill sliced peaches I’ve coated in maple syrup. If you’re using a grill plate or grilling outside, I’d use aluminum foil or coat your cooking surface generously with oil. Depending on how soft you like your peaches, it takes about 5-10 minutes flipping them over once so they’re heated evenly.

This is best devoured while the grilled peaches are still warm and pouring the extra maple syrup on top is a highly recommended as well.

Valentines Throwback Post

Every year at this time I see signs for chocolate covered strawberries. “Only 2.99 each!”

I think that is IN-SANE. Chocolate dipped strawberries are way too easy to make at home to pay that price. I was going to post about it but I searched my blog and *BAM!* I already have :)

You can review my post on how to make chocolate covered strawberries here.

Just one of the many benefits of having a blog for YEARS- the archives. Poke around them any ol’ time for fun recipes of yester-year.