Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hmmmmm; you learn something new everyday.  "I love Nutella"; there I said it.   When I say I love it; I really mean that I love it; in fact I love it so much that the only thing I usually pair it with is a spoon.  So; yesterday I was jonesing for some chocolate when I remembered the big jar of Nutella I'd bought the day before.  Yes; score!!!!!!!!!!!!! "that'll hit the spot." So I searched the cupboard and could not find it, I thought about the idea of having left it at the store.  I couldn't have left it at the store.  "I'm sure I unpacked it."  I started to panic when I opened the refrigerator and there it sat.  Weird; and it was open already, someone had already been into the jar of glory.

I grabbed it and head up to my computer to work.  When I opened the jar and looked in; the Nutella was hard.  Hmmmm; never knew that cold Nutella was hard, we never keep it in the fridge.  It's hard enough to bend a spoon and you really have to work to get at it.  So; I've learned that keeping the Nutella jar in the fridge can be a good and bad thing. 


Slows down the eating process.

Burns more calories; much more work to get a spoonful.

More likely that I will stop eating before I get a stomach ache.

Spoonfuls are much smaller.

Makes for a tastey treat.


Slowing down the entire process.  ;)

Sometimes there are no words needed

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick and easy

These days everyone is in a hurry; food has become a "git'r done" sort of event.  But; busy doesn't mean that you need to skimp on nutrition.  Fresh can be very quick and easy.  I just about live on salads; I'm obsessed with Arugula so that is the base for most of them.  To the wonderful mound of Arugula I add; chopped cabbage, cheese, nuts, tomatoes, carrot or whatever else strikes me. I often pile leftover pasta on top of my salad; love it.   This let's me eat a substantial amount of food; so I don't feel ripped off and I feel really healthy.  It takes all of 2 minutes to throw together; helps keep you out of the fast food lines and you can't eat this and not feel good about it. 

The other night I made marinated grilled Ahi Tuna sandwiches.  Talk about fast and easy.  I had a loaf of Rosemary and Olive Oil bread in the freezer; got that out.  Threw the ahi in a container with some Goddess dressing for the afternoon and head out for some more Arugula.  Making this really great sandwich was again fast and easy.  Baked one potato; then tossed the fish into the oven, sliced the bread and mixed some spicey mustard with mayo.  When the fish was done I toasted the bread just for a second and put the sandwiches together.  They were a big hit and very simple. 

One tip for ease of meal preparation and saving money is to plan.  If I don't plan a meal, we often eat out due to a lack of planning.  So a bit of planning can save you money in the long run.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

Just imagine; walking into a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop and having the servers bring you your regular.  Or even coming to your table and asking you if you'd like your usual.  Is this even possible nowadays?  Well; a couple of things to consider.  One you can frequent a smaller town place where they don't have so many people that you simply are a number or two; you frequent the place a lot.  Well; we frequent BJs a lot and there are two girls that work there who know what we want.  It is an amazing feeling; we sit down and they ask us "two blondes? or a blonde and a red?"  And they even know what we want to eat.

The first time it happened I was shocked; the sort of shocked where you are looking around like "okay; what's going on here?"  Living in Southern California; you get a sense that no one will ever remember you.  I've been going to the same grocers for years; and only a couple of the people that work there seem to maybe remember me a bit.  Let's face it; there's a crap load of people here.  And it takes someone who is going beyond the call of duty to recognize a face; or care to. 

So; what's good at BJs?  As I said we are regulars, like every week regulars.  Pretty much everything is good; I have not been disappointed as of yet.  My favorite right now is the California club flatbread pictured above, yum.  It's lighter than the pizza and doesn't leave me feeling so full after having a beer as well.  I like the mini pizza; the Great White is pretty amazing and the Veggie.  I also really like the chicken Quesadilla from the small snacks menu.  I always order their own Blonde beer; it's won lots of awards and always goes down nicely with whatever dish I order. 

The atmosphere is pretty typically Brew House; a cross between sports bar and pizza place.   A very family friendly eatery; a bit noisy at times but it is very reliably good.  They have a great Happy Hour; but you must sit in the bar area to get the discounts.  During Happy Hour we can both have a beer and mini pizza for 20.00 imagine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Easy Peasy Cheesey

Dinner doesn't always come easily; sometimes I sit pondering about the meal and get nothing, no ideas, no inspiration.  But the other night I was inspired by Zach; a reader and Facebook member.  He posted an image of a pizza he made and explained how easy the dough was; no yeast!  No yeast?  What?  I'll make it tonight I thought.  So the dough uses beer and baking powder; a whole can of beer.  And like Zach said it was ready in 15 minutes.


2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tblsp baking powder
1 can or bottle of beer

I mixed the dry ingredients in my mixer and threw in the beer; Coors light.  I mixed it for about 2 minutes to make sure everything was good and blended; plus it took a while for the beer to soak in.  I dropped it out onto a  cutting board and used about 1/4 cup more flour while kneading it.  I let it rest for a bit; and the rolled it out to a full sized cookie sheet; leaving more around the edges for a crust.  I then coated all the edges with olive oil.

Now this is the part where you can do whatever you want.  I used tomato sauce, black olives, Parmesan reggiano, fresh basil, garlic powder, veggie Italian sausage and lots of mozzarella.   Baked it at 375 for almost 30 min.  I think the dough could have used a bit of zazz; maybe I'll put some herbs in it next time.   It was really good and; it's gone.  And as Jamie said in her breakfast blog; I had it for breakfast this morning.  ;)

Thanks Zach; this will definitely be on my regular list now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

a hippie's version of white chocolate brownies

If you know me, you may say that I'm a hippie, a tree-hugger, an animal rights activist, or maybe even all of the above. I cannot deny these claims... but if you know me as well as my closest friends and family do, you would know that more than all of those things I am a chocolate fiend. I love chocolate. Period. Anything and everything chocolate. Any kind of chocolate at any time of the day. If it has the word chocolate in it, you can bet that I'll be eating it. Seeing as how my sweet tooth and my love of all things "hippie" are fairly definitive of the person that I am, I figured I would make my first blog about the most cliche combination of the two. Here is how you make tie-dye white chocolate brownies...

You will need:
8 ounces of white chocolate chips
6 tablespoons of butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 cup of flour
A splash of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking pan and set it aside (or if you wanna add a little extra love, use a heart shape pan like I did).

Start by using a double boiler to gently melt the white chocolate chips with the butter. Once it is melted and smooth, remove it from the heat. Let it cool down for just a second, but continue to stir so it does not solidify. Add in your sugar and both eggs, stirring until it is completely creamed together.

Add in the vanilla and the flour and mix well. If you are in the mood for some good ol' fashion beige-looking brownies, you can throw this batter into your pan and voila! You will have some yummy white chocolate brownies. However, if you want to channel your inner Janice Joplin, this is where you need to put in a little extra work.

Divide the batter into as many bowls as colors that you would like to use. I used four; red, yellow, blue, and green. Use a couple of drops of food coloring for each divided portion of batter and stir until the color is completely blended. Pour one color of the mixture into your greased pan at a time, trying to keep that color confined to one corner/side. Once all the colors have joined the party, you can take a knife and make a quick zig-zag across the batter to make a tie-dye-like pattern. Be careful not to mix too much, or you'll end up with some nasty lookin' swamp-colored brownies. 

Pop them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the edges start to look a little brown, and a toothpick comes out clean. 

You'll notice in the pictures that I also made some tie-dye frosting for these woodstock-inspired desserts... because I LOVE frosting. However, once I tried the final product, I felt they  could have done without. I might try a simple white chocolate drizzle next time... because I will definitely be making these again! Enjoy.

Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This is my first official post on Flavor Gossip- a foodie 'esque' blog where my sister, my mom and I will discuss the foods we eat and cook at home and when we travel. We'll gossip about the cafes we visit, the farmers markets we frequent, what we're served at five star restaurants, dinner parties, weddings, baby showers and holidays. Hey- if you can eat it, we'll analyze it, make fun of it and if it's good enough, you might even see us poetically deify it.

Since this my first post, I thought it'd be fitting to discuss the first meal of the day.

Who doesn't love breakfast? I can't think of a person (even a vegetarian person, which I am) who isn't immediately sent into a sniffing frenzy when the warm aroma of smokey bacon wafts through the kitchen in the morning. There is something deeply nostalgic about the sounds, sights and smells of traditional breakfast. Imagine sunny orange slices leaning perfectly against triangle toast slices on round white plate, the sound of a 50's era stepford wife cracking eggs on a glass bowl or the bubbling hiss of an espresso machine in a bustling coffee house. Breakfast comes in so many forms, whether you're the simple cereal and milk type, the full on eggs and hash browns kind, or the busy Venti coffee and a muffin sort, we all have our own favorite way to start the day.

My day must begin each day with good coffee. Period. After that, I'm not really too picky except that I tend to stray away from typical breakfast foods. I blame this on my mother (what an original concept huh?), who, for as long as I can remember fed me a vast array of un breakfast foods for breakfast. My typical childhood b-fast foods were, left over lasagna, a homemade quesadilla covered in my favorite salsa, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich. I just can't bring myself to have a danish or some granola when I could have some hearty vegetarian chili instead. I crave REAL food in the mornings. It's not that I don't enjoy the taste of a warm glazed donut, a fresh chewy bagel or a slice of toast with jelly, it's just that if I start my day off by eating something completely void of protein and uh...substance, I'll feel a zombie. I think those 'continental breakfast' foods are better left as a late night snack or food you eat at meeting out of desperation. Though I'm not the breakfast food type, I can appreciate a nice restaurant omelet and a comfy weekend style breakfast with fruit, potatoes and eggs done just right. But for my daily life, it's good coffee and something you'd be having for lunch.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chocolate afternoon break

Thought I'd just post some scrumptious photos for the afternoon

Bananas and oatmeal

Is there anything that smells more like home than banana bread baking in the oven.  I've eaten so much of it over the years that I tend to steer away from the almighty banana.  But as I was cleaning up the kitchen yesterday I saw those spotted fruit staring at me; begging to be thrown into a mixing bowl.  Okay fine but I need something else; oatmeal.  I looked up an oatmeal and banana loaf recipe and found it on; which is one of my favorite recipe site.

I very rarely make a recipe as is; I typically switch things out when I think it would be better.  Most of the time it works; sometimes I should have followed the recipe.  This was great as I changed it.  I switched out shortening for butter; and used brown sugar instead of white.  I cut the sugar in half and used 1/2 cup of honey as well.  I added chopped pecans for some extra protein and chopped some giant raisins up and tossed them in as well.  It is really great; heavier than the fluffy type loaf but definitely leaves you feeling like you just ate something that will stick to your ribs.  Ingredients below:

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup oats

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (I used three medium)

  • 1/2 cup chopped raisins (optional)

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (chopped myself; so they were larger than the prechopped ones)
  • Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Native Foods

    I was at Native Foods for lunch today; it is a vegan restaurant in Aliso Viejo.  I brought my trusty camera so I could photograph the goods; but unfortunately I ate the food before thinking about shooting it.  This is a rare occurance for me but I guess I'll chalk it up to being very hungry and anticipation.  Knowing what I'm in for has me anxious to dive in and before you know it; presto, it's gone. As I sat looking at the empty plates; the photo came to mind, "crap I ate it."  I almost always order the Native chicken wings; of course being that it is a vegan restaurant; there is no chicken in the chicken wings.   I'm a big chicken tender/finger fan and these do not disappoint; they are one of my favorites.

    We also added a side dish of sweet potato fries to our meal.  I am also a huge fan of these little strips of glory; and again Native Foods does it great.  Delicious and flavorful, these fry alternatives made from the sweet potato are nutrient rich.  I keep sweet potatoes on hand all year; both for us and our dogs.

    I've eaten several items listed on the menu and have loved them all.  Even if you are not a veggie or vegan you will enjoy eating at Native Foods.  The food is fresh and when you leave you have that "I feel healthy" sense about you.  Today we decided to try a dessert as well; first time.  The cupcakes at Native foods look delicious; we asked for a recommendation and the gal at the cash told us the chocolate cupcake was her favorite.  Well it was pretty fabulous I have to say.  I tried the frosting and cake separately so I could get the full flavor of both; then together.  I don't know how they do it vegan but they've figured it out.

    These images below were sent from Native foods for me to post.  Thanks Andrea


    Welcome to our new blog; Flavor Gossip.  We (Jamie, Nicole and Sherri Regalbuto) will discuss food in it's entirety.  Eating out, critiquing, creating, recipes, new name it.  If it has to do with food; we're talking about it.  Here's to good food.