Monday, June 20, 2011

I nailed it..

Saturday afternoon one of my girlfriends and I volunteered for Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity - and we had an amazing time.  I love building things (assembling Ikea furniture brings me an odd sense of accomplishment) and most of what I do for work has no tangible end product - so this was a nice change of pace. Also, its not every day that someone hands you a nail gun and says "Go for it".

The photo ops you get when your'e wearing a pink hard hat and holding power tools are endless, but the highlight was working alongside the homes' future residents. Their tremendous gratitude and heartfelt appreciation made all of it seem easy (even in 85 degree heat). All the hugs and teary-eyed thank yous set to a soundtrack of pop hits and oldies - I  felt like I was living in an episode of Extreme Home Makeover.

All in all it was a great way to spend my day and I will definitely do it again very soon... Although next time I think I'll wear pants.... or at the very least, shorts that are longer than my tool belt.

Click here to learn more about Habitat for Humanity and how you can help...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

High Fashion Fitness....

I heard you burn more calories if your wearing Chanel....

Or in this case riding Chanel, lifting Chanel, or swinging Chanel...


Chanel has a new Luxe Sports Collection with everything from tennis rackets, and croquet sets, to surfboards and and dumbells - and I for one have never been so motivated to learn how to cross country ski or take golf lessons....

It is now not only acceptable to give the gift of fitness... But I encourage it...

As a side note, if there are any men out there looking for a discreet way to get your girlfriend excited about the idea of excercise... You can thank Karl Lagerfeld

Check out the whole collection here

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hell Week Tip #2: Have a well stocked kitchen...

Planning your meals at the beginning of the week is great, and probably makes grocery shopping much more efficient, but lets face it... Not only do I not have the time to map everything out, but I dont always have the foresight on Sunday to figure out what I am going to eat on Thursday. So what I like to do is have a bunch of basics in my kitchen that can be thrown together at a moments notice for a quick dinner for one or can provide the foundation for a gourmet meal for 4. Either way here are a few things I always have on hand...

- Usually a couple different types. Salad can be a whole meal, or a tasty side dish. I like to combine mixed green lettuces, spinach and crisp romaine hearts.

- I cant really think of anything that avocado wouldn't make exponentially better. Sandwiches, eggs, salads, pizza, burgers... and the list goes on. Not to mention avocados have been known to reduce bad cholesterol, are full of vitamins and fiber, and are high in omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for your heart, your brain, your hair and nails). I cant really think of any reason not to have avocados on hand at all times.

GOOD Olive Oil and Olive Oil for Cooking
I could do an entire post on the difference between standard olive oil and the good stuff.. and i just might, but not now. So in an effort to save time, let me just say that a really good bottle of olive oil makes a world of difference in some dishes. Generally speaking you use the "good stuff" for things that aren't being cooked (salad dressings, for dipping bread in to, drizzling over tomatoes or cheese etc). You don't use this olive oil to oil a pan or marinate anything with ( its usually more expensive), which is what you have the other stuff for.

Green Veggies:
When I was younger my grandma made it a rule that my dinner plate always had to include "something green"  - which sounds really unappetizing now that I think about it , but its a good rule to follow. So I always keep broccoli, asparagus, and/ or green beans in my fridge so there is no excuse for a plate that lacks the color green.

- Don't need an explanation for this one...

- Whether its chicken stock, veggie stock, or beef stock,  you'd be surprised how often these can come in handy when there is not enough sauce, or something is too thick, or you just want to add extra flavor to something. Cooking rice or noodles in a stock instead of water is a quick tip for adding extra flavor.

Balsamic Vinegar
Canned Tomatoes
Green Onions
Yellow Onions

White and Red Wine
- For cooking and drinking...

...more soon....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Restaurant Week in LA

Two weeks a year, a variety of Los Angeles Restaurants participate in Restaurant Week and offer a prix fixe menu at 3 levels Deluxe Dining, $16 (lunch) and $26 (dinner), Premier Dining, $22/$34, and Fine Dining $28/$44.

Here is a list of participating restaurants

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hell Week Tip #1

Cook a few boneless skinless chicken breasts at the beginning of the week. Slice it, chop it, or shred it - then store in airtight food container and you have a delicious source of protien to add to any meal.
Choose the spices according to the types of meals you might put together later in the week..

-  Using Mexican or Southwestern spices (Cumin, Coriander, Chile Powder, Oregano, Paprika etc) on your chicken you can easily create taco salad or southwestern salad, enchiladas, tacos, burritos or even add the chicken to a soup.

- You can also season the chicken to be more palette neutral (olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, etc). This chicken can be used in a caesar salad, a BBQ chicken salad, in pasta, or just alongside some delicious veggies.

When making chicken, you never want to overcook it (or undercook it), and you want to retain as much moisture in the meat as possible. The best way I have found to do this is to sear the chicken in an oven proof skillet then transfer to the oven to finish cooking.

- Pre-heat the over to 350
- Season your chicken on a clean plate, cover with a paper towel or saran wrap and allow to sit for a little bit **This allows the chicken to come closer to room temperature before you throw it into a hot pan, which is helpful when you want juicy chicken - and it also gives the meat time to soak up the flavors of the spices you chose.
- Heat a medium sized oven proof skillet or saute pan over a medium-high flame and add a little olive oil. Once the pan is hot (you do not want the pan to be smoking) add the breasts and without moving them allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Flip the breasts, and transfer the pan to the oven.
- Cook for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.

Fashion week is around the corner....

Which means long hours at the office, and bringing work home with me almost every night! But the way I see it, when your work involves playing around with clothes, and getting paid to conduct "research" at Barneys, and Saks.... there are very few people that would give me any sympathy.
Anyway, in the midst of all of this it has been hard for me to spend any significant amount of time cooking, so I have managed to come up with some "hell week" tips and tricks for speedy, healthy dinners!