New recipes

Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish

Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish

This marks the fourth collaboration in Manzo’s guest chef series

To celebrate the renovation and reopening of Eataly Manzo in the Flatiron building, head chef Adam Hill has been partnering with one New York City-based chef each month since November to create an exclusive dish that remains on the menu for the duration of the partnership. Manzo’s guest chef series kicked off in November with Marc Forgione, followed by Michael White and Junghyn Park.

The fourth collaboration, which began February 1 and runs through February 28, welcomes chefs Daniel Boulud and Travis Swikard of fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant Boulud Sud. The innovators have developed a house-made squid ink bucatini with La Quercia ‘nduja, clams, and savoy cabbage. A percentage of profits made off the dish will be donated to Citymeals on Wheels — a nonprofit that provides food for the Big Apple’s homebound elderly.


This pitch-black pasta has been offered throughout the month, and on February 7, Boulud and Swikard joined chef Hill at Manzo to cook during dinner service. At the event, the plate’s price was 50 percent off and Manzo doubled its donation to Citymeals on Wheels.

There are only a few days left to catch Boulud and Swikard’s pitch-black pasta, but you can make a similar dish at home using their squid ink bucatini recipe.


Next in line for the program are restaurateurs Tim and Nancy Cushman followed by Top Chef alum Janine Booth. Each limited-edition dish will be announced on the first of its designated month, and the guest chef will make a special appearance for one night only to cook and serve his or her creation.

If you’re hesitant to eat food dyed black or are too far away to slurp noodles in New York, we’re got you covered with the best pasta dish in every state.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


Eataly's Manzo Partnered With Chef Daniel Boulud for Limited Edition Pasta Dish - Recipes

Welcome to my April edition of Things I Love – these are a few of my current objects of pure #obsession…#food, #wine, #cocktails, #recipes, #cooking gadgets, #restaurants, fav products and ingredients, lovely #props, food styling ideas, #photography + #videos, lighting and #camera equipment and tips, movies + TV, #beauty products, #celebs and #influencers to follow, great #books to read, etc…All just simply people, places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! And stay tuned for next month on my journey to find new and fun things to share with you all. Enjoy!

My fav beauty products

These are a few of my favorite things for a quick 10-minute beauty routine. Cause who’s got time to spend on all of this, especially when all the salons are closed and you need a quick pick-me-up and beauty fix.

  1. Beekham 1802Apricot + Honey Tea hand lotion
  2. Bumble and BumbleSurf Foam Spray
  3. BatisteBrilliant Blonde Dry Shampoo
  4. Laura GellerBronze + Brighten and Balance and Glow Illuminating Foundation
  5. Doll 10Hydraluxlip liner and Hydrabalm Solid Serum lipstick
  6. AuroraLiquid Eye Liner – Espresso
  7. Laura GellerGel Brow Pencil
  8. MallyLift + Curl Mascara
  9. TetrisBlock Party Eyeshadow

Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon

I recently was awarded 2nd place in the JSL Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge..and won a $500 cash prize for my Black Pepper Caramel Chicken Udon recipe – yay! This recipe features their Chicken Udon Noodles which are organic, pre-cooked and delicious, and sweet and spicy glazed Vietnamese Chicken I made topped with everything bagel seasoning, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Check out my award-winning recipe here

Spring Veggie Garden Bread

I saw these adorable Spring Veggie Garden breads on Facebook a couple weeks ago – I’m not sure who even made them but they are so bright and colorful and pretty! The bread dough has pressed veggies and herbs shaped into flower shapes and then it’s brushed with olive oil before baking to make these gorgeous designs!I found a recipe like this online from Taste of Home if you want to give your artistic baking skills a whirl – https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/bread-art/

Easy Queso Dip

This is a super easy queso dip from Bon Appetit – creamy cheesy goodness made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and lots of American ad Monterey Jack cheese – and ready to go in about 15-20 minutes on the stove! Perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and of course to dip tortilla chips in with salsa and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo! get the recipe here

My Brilliant Friend

This is a gorgeous mini-series on HBO that I just started watching and fell in love with instantly. Set in Naples Italy post-World War II, is a story about two best friends (Lila Ferrulo and Elena Greco) along with their struggles and friendship as they go through life together (and apart) trying to survive and get out of a poor neighborhood in the projects of Naples. It has a complex cast of characters that make up all of the Italian families that surround them and are intertwined in their lives. The story is endearing and heartwarming, yet sad and troubling all at the same time. It’s absolutely beautifully written – lovely, haunting and addicting. The books are part of a 4-part series called Neapolitan Novels written by Elena Ferrante which the HBO TV series is based upon. Must see and read!

Whipped Coffee White Russian

Everyone seems to be making that trendy frothy whipped Dalgona Coffee lately..but have you seen this one by Half Baked Harvest? It’s a fun twist on the original White Russian cocktail topped with whipped coffee, a touch of sugar and hint of vanilla. Delish!

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

A favorite recipe by Alison Roman of Bon Appetit – these cookies are a cross between shortbread, chocolate chip and brown sugar cookies. Perfect for a sweet tooth attack in the middle of a pandemic! Described in her words:

“Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks—they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for.”

Fav Books, E-Books and Cookbooks, Apps

Fav Podcasts + Video/YouTube Shows

Motivational Articles and Links

A few More Goodies

These are just a few more things I take and use on a daily basis for good health and wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of yourself especially during a stressful time like this. The CBD Hemp Oil, Organic Greens Superfood Drink, Turmeric with Ginger and Black Pepper I take every day. I got all of those on Amazon except for the Neutrogena HydroBoost mask (which I LOVE!!) – you can get at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS. Here’s a link to the Stash Tea website – I love this new flavor with apple cider and maple..soooo good and comforting!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

A few Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas

And lastly, here are 44 Spring Recipes from Bon Appetit – yay! Spring is finally here.

Top Ten :: Winter 2014

Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY and is great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, great on eggs, homefries and added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a nifty multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out fun, inventive gadgets.

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désiron their site. Glam it up a little.

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State. Simply lovely.

Top 10 :: Holiday 2012

I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 Things I Love lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.

1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.

2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at Nespresso.com, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!

8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s Stollen, Spiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.

9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.