Showing posts from July, 2015

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad Skewers

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
This has everything you love about both Caesar salad and grilling, nestled together on a stick. Why turn on the oven to make croutons when you can transform a regular old baguette into deliciously crisp nuggets right on your grill? 
Total Time: 25 min Prep: 20 min Cook: 5 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 3 anchovies packed in oil, finely minced 2 small cloves garlic, grated Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons zest and 1/3 cup juice) Freshly ground black pepper 2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed) Kosher salt One 6-inch French baguette 2 romaine hearts 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
Directions Special Equipment: Eight 10-inch wooden or metal skewers
Whisk the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of the oil, the anchovies, garlic, lemon zest and juice and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper together in a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the…

Warm Spinach Salad

Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients:1 red onion
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
½ cup parsley
10 oz spinach
½ cup feta

Cook 1 sliced red onion in 1/4 cup olive oil until golden. Add 2 cups sliced mushrooms and cook until brown; season with salt. Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup torn parsley, 10 ounces spinach and the juice of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup feta.

Photograph by Antonis Achilleo

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I ♥ Mammoth

I kept my promise to drag my kids to Mammoth Lakes again this summer! It was a different experience when I would make the 5+ hour drive when I was dating my husband. We only visited during the winter so we could snowboard, and 13 years later, we’re back visiting with two kids who don’t like spending time in nature. We visited Mammoth as a family for the first time last year, and to my kid’s horror, we promised that we would go back this year, and so we did!

Our trip was absolutely amazing! We hiked to Heart Lake, it took us about two hours, with many stops to sit under trees, take pictures and have lots of snacks like fresh baked bread from Schat’s Bakery in town, slices of apricot, peach and lemon pie from Pie In The Sky, a remote and amazing restaurant a few miles from Heart Lake, and turkey jerky from Mahogany Smoked Meats in Bishop. The views were stunning but the only thing our kids enjoyed most, was the snacks!

We saw a woman catch a 15 lbs. fish as we walked up to Rock Creek Lake

Summer Fruit Crostata

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total Time: 1 hr 55 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 1 hr 5 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

For the pastry (makes 2 crostatas)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water

For the filling (makes 1 crostata):
1 pound firm ripe peaches, peeled
1/2 pound firm ripe black plums, unpeeled
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

For the pastry:
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12…

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Orecchiette Salad with Roast Beef

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Kosher salt
8 ounces orecchiette pasta
1 cup bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
8 small sweet marinated peppers (such as Peppadew), quartered
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
4 cups baby arugula
6 ounces deli-sliced roast beef, cut into strips

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs; drain but don't rinse.

Meanwhile, combine the bocconcini, artichokes, marinated peppers and mint in a serving bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Add the pasta and toss again.

Just before serving, stir in the arugula and roast beef. Season the salad with pepper.

Per serving: Calories 500; Fat 22 g (Saturat…

3-Day Cleanse

Recipes courtesy of

BestieNote: I promised myself a detox after all of the summer treats that I've consumed, way too much of. I would LOVE to lose a few pounds in this cleanse but I know it will take more than this to get me to a happy place. So for now...I'll be happy to give my digestive system a break! My skin is showing signs of way too much bad eating. I hope you give this a try (once summer is over, of course!). Happy Cleansing! - Fabiola

3-Day Cleanse: Breakfast - Sweeten up your busy morning with this protein-packed breakfast smoothie.

Containing only good fats and protein, this breakfast smoothie is sure to help you start your day right. Blend yourself up a glass of this sweet smoothie and sip your way to work. Not only will the flavors satisfy your tastebuds, the protein will fill your stomach and fuel your body all morning long.

1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp almond butter
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop plant-based protein powder


Back-To-School Planning and Shopping? Not Me!

It’s starting already! The first ad for Back-To-School shopping was in my newspaper this past weekend. I broke into hives just thinking that my kids will go back to school in a month! I want to enjoy every minute of summer and not plan for school, I cried inside. The thought of making lunches, struggling to get my kids ready each morning, carpooling, homework, etc., stressed me out. So, instead of freaking out and allowing myself to start feeling blue about ending the summer, I choose to live it up each day! My kids and I are taking advantage of every summer day we have left, a month is a great chunk of time so I can't minimize it!

Most importantly, I’m making sure I don’t start to jump ahead of myself with the shopping and planning so the kids don’t feel like their summer vacation is being cut short. One day at a time, and if I run into a great deal then I will buy it or if I want to plan for school I will keep it sweet and short, but I refuse to give up my summer-fun-filled days …

Fish Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

4 cups diced seedless watermelon
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
1 pound skinless wild striped bass fillets
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 romaine lettuce heart, thinly sliced
8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced

Make the watermelon salsa: Combine the watermelon, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno in a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.

Preheat a grill to high. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with the chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt; drizzle both sides with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brush the grill with olive oil, then add the fish and grill until marked and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes…

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Strawberry Shortcut Cake

Recipe courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely
Total Time: 5 hr 55 min Prep: 35 min Inactive: 4 hr 35 min Cook: 45 min Yield: 10 to 12 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced 2 tablespoons cognac 1/4 cup sugar 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (recommended: Jell-O) Fresh strawberries, for garnish
Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Follow cake directions as written on cake mix box.
Remove from oven and cool cake completely. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine strawberries, cognac and sugar. Let macerate 20 minutes. Invert and release cake onto a decorative platter.
Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip.
Mix gelatin as directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency.
Using a straw, poke hole…

Who helps you summon strength and courage?

At 40, I find myself determined to be surrounded by good people who can compliment my strengths, and if needed, shoulders I can stand on when my path requires me to step up to a new platform. In my 20’s and 30’s, most people I met would become instant friends, the criteria involved having a few things in common and them not running me down with their cars, and you were in! I held onto those friendships no matter how dysfunctional they were, but thankfully the criteria evolved as I did throughout the years but not enough to make me feel at ease with all of my friendship decisions.

Something changed when I turned 39, maybe it was maturity, or maybe I was fed up with some people’s shenanigans. Either way, I chose to start my 40’s with a better outlook on new friendships and better criteria for which I consider someone a friend. My determination grew as I started to re-read the amazing work of Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, don Miguel Ruiz and Dr. Wayne Dyer, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert…

Herbed Toasted Pita Salad

Bestie Note: I bought Mediterranean flavored pita chips from the store and added them to the salad. It was a great addition and it cut out the baking part and prep time.
Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger Total Time: 25 min Prep: 10 min Cook: 15 min Yield: 8 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 3 (6-inch) whole-wheat pita breads with pockets 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 cups) 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/4 cup sliced scallions 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves 1 English cucumber, cored, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Split each pita into 2 rounds and toast on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow pitas to cool and break into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, z…

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood. The colors are beautiful, as are the clamshells. There is not a lot of sauce, but the flavor of the wine is present.
Total Time: 20 min Prep: 5 min Cook: 15 min Yield: 4 to 6 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1 pound spaghetti pasta 1/4 cup olive oil 3 shallots, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes 1 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (or other white wine) 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 pounds clams, washed 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 cups arugula
Directions Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until tender but not brown. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add …

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


$5 Home Remedies

Article courtesy of

Chapped Lips
Don’t forget to exfoliate your lips! Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey together in a bowl. Then, rub the mixture onto your lips with a toothbrush. The honey will moisturize your lips, the lemon will remove years of stains and the sugar will scrub away any dead skin.

Dull, Dry Hair
Restore shine and softness to your hair with an almond oil hair wrap. Almond oil is rich in vitamin E and magnesium, which helps improve the texture of your hair. Distribute warm almond oil through your hair with a comb, covering everything from root to tip. When your hair is fully saturated, wrap it in a warm towel and leave covered for 30-60 minutes before washing as usual.

Sore Throat
You can make a quick syrup for a sore throat or persistent cough with ingredients in your pantry. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of honey.

Uneven Skin
Hormones, acne…

School Friendships and Their Circle of Life…

I’ve been lucky to be able to volunteer at my kids’ schools, however, with the heavy volunteering comes complex relationships with other moms who also volunteer. The relationships bring a flurry of joy, anguish, learning, fear, and some true friendships. Because we all spend so much time at school, those friendships are more active than the friendships we hold dear to our hearts but can rarely get to because our lack of time.

For the past six years of elementary school, each school year has brought new waves to navigate through our complex-ridden relationships, our happiness and inner workings of our friendships is tethered to our children’s ability to get along and keep their friendships alive. That being said, the code is that once we become invested in each others lives beyond school functions, that we try to make our adult friendships work beyond our volunteering and kids. Which has now become a seemingly tough task to pull off now that my youngest is going to start middle school a…

Beauty Bonanza Smoothie

Recipe by Jim Perko, C.E.C. for

1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 orange, peeled and pits removed
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1/2 cup extra firm Silken tofu
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp agave nectar

Put all ingredients into blender and whip until smooth. Sip and think youthful thoughts.

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Arugula-Prosciutto Flatbread Pizzas

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

2 pieces lavash or other flatbread, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn
4 cups baby arugula
1 bulb fennel, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preheat a grill to medium. Lightly brush the lavash with olive oil, then grill until marked on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and immediately top with the fontina. Continue grilling until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and top with the prosciutto.

Combine the arugula, fennel, parsley and red onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season w…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Thai One on Topic

Recipe courtesy of

Try this garden in a glass, ideal for summertime sipping. Yellow juiced veggies also promote eye health.

Topped off with the delicate and refreshing flavor of lemongrass, this zucchini-based juice is packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which support the eyes against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. It’s also packed with many of the B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and omega-3s, which promote healthy sugar metabolism, helping with blood sugar stabilization.

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into chunks
2 zucchini or yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 inch fresh ginger root, unpeeled
1 1/2 tsp very finely chopped lemon grass
1 fresh basil leaf

Juice the cauliflower, zucchini and ginger root, and pour into a glass.

Garnish with lemongrass and basil.

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Look Up! There's A Rainbow In The Sky...

I was chatting with a friend when her 4-year old son ran up and hugged her. The love was so intense that I could feel it. I told her that I miss those huge, and cuddly hugs. I secretly miss the baby stages too because I spent tons of time bonding with my little ones when they were babies. I went on to gush about my daughter when she was a baby. She loved playing hide-and-go-seek and would cover her eyes thinking that I couldn’t see her because she couldn’t see me. I pretended to ask stuffed animals in the room if they had seen her, as she would laugh hysterically. Her contagious belly laugh was so amazing that she had me laughing the entire time. Those early-years were amazing! The sense of wonderment was enviable and their sense of complete happiness, sadness, tiredness, curiosity, etc., was beyond amazing. My friend and I chatted about how wonderful life would be if we never lost that sense of amazement and curiosity that we had when we were younger.

As our conversation went on, I re…

Flag Cake

Total Time: 2 hr 25 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive: 1 hr 15 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Level: Intermediate


Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons rainbow or red, white and blue sprinkles

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces chopped white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries
One 16-ounce container strawberries
1 tablespoon apple jelly or apricot jam, melted
Special equipment:
Pastry bag
Rosette tip

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with …