Oct 012013
 

at a romantic outdoor venue in Las Vegas, with fifty of our closest to bear witness, I married…

love, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and Joe

We made our own vows, shouted them out for our closest family and friends to hear and then sealed it with a kiss. It was one of the best days of my life and continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever embarked on. He is my best friend, the perfect confidant and a hell of a travel buddy. I love ya babes! And I can’t wait for date night to get started!… Here’s to three years, many trips, hard learned lessons, relearning those lessons, never taking each other for granted and always rooting for the other’s favorite sports team (Go Lakers!) I fell in love with you six years ago and will continue to crush on you until we’re old and grey. Thank you for always being there and for the love you continue to deliver day after day. Happy Anniversary you sexy sexy beast!

love, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and JoeChina 2011.

love, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and JoeWedding Portraits at The Vegas Boneyard, 2010

love, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and Joelove, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and Joelove, anniversary, marriage, october 1,Jen and Joe

Sep 162013
 

It has been a long, hot and unusually humid Summer for us here in Los Angeles this year. Strawberry season has officially ended but our temperatures are still in the triple digits and my A.C. is working harder than ever. Pumpkins have begun to make their timely appearance at our local grocery stores but they seem strange, misplaced somehow and lack any kind of motivation. They just sit there, awkwardly, like an overtly ambitious dinner guest who’s arrived many hours too early. Don’t get me wrong, fall has found it’s flirtatious way in, here and there. I even found myself putting on a sweater a week ago and tweeting about it but overall we’re still stuck in BBQ/pool-party mode. So in an effort to embrace it all, I looked to the strawberries! After all, they still seem to be plentiful at my local Trader Joe’s so I decided to bake one final tribute to summer- strawberry muffins with a gluten free twist.

gluten free, strawberry, muffins, whole grain flours, food, photography

Why gluten free? Well, while gluten free seems to be a growing trend of late, I had my own reasons for trying the diet out. I decided to take the plunge due to an old allergy  I had as a child. Around the age of five, my mother and I discovered that I was allergic to Whole Wheat Flour, Bleached White Flour, and Bran. Every time I’d eat them, I’d break into a rash, accompanied with migraines and horrible digestion. Around the age of sixteen, I thought I had out-grown the pesky allergy but now I wonder, due to recent health issues, if it was always there only with less obvious symptoms. So about two months ago, I decided to think outside the wheat box. The biggest miss (and constant craving) is for a warm, fresh, french baguette. With olive oil. And a glass of wine. Other then that, I’m enjoying gluten free. I feel good. I’m less bloated and am consistently enjoying the search for new unfrequented flours. So when I came across these Strawberry Muffins, containing five different whole grain flours, a ton of strawberries and very little sugar, I was in heaven.

I headed to my local Whole Foods, filled my basket and rushed home to dance with my oven, on a triple digit day… yeah the idea had it’s flaws but the end result, was sheer bliss. I took them out of the oven and actually heard angels sing. OK, not really but my ol’ fashioned “meat and potatoes” granddad tried one after dinner that night and then asked if he could take another one home in a doggie bag. He ended up having it the next morning with his coffee. Best. Compliment. Ever! It just goes to show, you never know what a recipe will bring to your table. It’s good to try a variety of styles, recipes and whole grain flours. While going Gluten Free hasn’t been easy-peasy, I’m loving the journey and I can feel my body thanking me every day for it. So, I ask you, what better way to honor our extra month of summer then to give you my latest gluten free find…

Bring on the strawberry muffins!

gluten free, strawberry, muffins, whole grain flours, food, photography

Whole Grain Strawberry Muffins

1/2 cup almond flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup organic brown sugar

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten

1/4 cup light olive oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract

3/4-1 cup milk, as needed (or dairy alternative)

1 1/2 cups fresh organic strawberries, washed, stemmed, diced

gluten free, strawberry, muffins, whole grain flours, food, photography

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24 mini muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- from the almond flour to the nutmeg. Add in the beaten eggs, oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat to begin combining. As the batter is coming together, start pouring in the milk, slowly, a little at a time, and beat to mix thoroughly. When you have added 3/4 cup liquid, take a close look at your batter. It should be soft and slightly thick. Add the rest of the milk slowly, continuing to beat. When the batter looks like a muffin batter, stop adding the liquid. I used a full cup, but some of you in more humid climates might need a tablespoon or two less liquid. This batter isn’t super-smooth and sticky (no xanthan gum!). It is not as thin as cake batter. It should look almost puffy.

3. Stir in most of the strawberries by hand, using a wooden spoon (reserve a portion of the strawberry pieces for the tops).

4. Spoon the strawberry muffin batter into the twelve lined cups. Stud the tops with strawberry pieces. Don’t smooth out the tops- leave them puffy and bumpy.

5. Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Note: If your berries are cold, your muffins will take a few minutes longer to bake.

6. Cool the pan on a rack for five minutes, then turn out the muffins to continue cooling on a wire rack (this keeps them from steaming in the hot pan and getting soggy).

gluten free, strawberry, muffins, whole grain flours, food, photography

gluten free, strawberry, muffins, whole grain flours, food, photography

This recipe was brought to you by: Food.com

Sep 042013
 

“We all have two choices;

we can make a living or we can design a life.”   -Jim Rohn

I have a confession to make. My life, thus far, has been dictated by little, sticky, neon squares. That’s right, I’m a sticky-note addict! Shopping lists get a pink sticky. Blog ideas- blue sticky. Short term goals- yellow sticky. It’s a bit crazy, a definite idiosyncrasy of mine but it keeps me uber organized. Who’s with me on this?   I’ve even utilized my mac’s computer-generated stickies to keep my virtual lists in order as well. I’m ok with it. It works for me but recently I was challenged with the task of writing out my bucket list and well, there just wasn’t enough stickies for that. That’s when I realized I had been focussing on the short-term picture much more than the long-term. I instantly knew I needed to change that…. so I scribbled a note to myself on a yellow sticky and decided to deal with it the next morning.

bucket list, goals, short-term, long-term, the journey, life

I had never written down my bucket list before. Granted, it was always something I kept close, going over during moments of solitude and refining versions of it over cups of morning coffee but it was always in my head, never on paper. When I was asked by a friend  to write them all down, my mind was sent into a tail-spin. There were so many things I wanted to do! My brain started spitting them all out at once. I stuttered, sputtered and then crashed. So I decided to approach it a different way. I gave myself two weeks and I created a file on my Iphone that I could go to whenever one of my old goals popped back into my head. Slowly, they came back to me and slowly I was able to comprise my long-term goal list. It was fun. I had forgotten about soooo many of them. It feels good to have a map; to visually and verbally track the steps toward my bigger picture. I can’t wait  to see how it grows, to see what changes and why.

bucket list, goals, short-term, long-term, the journey, life

I’m not going to lie, my list is big, it runs deep and I have new ideas for it every day but why not? A bucket list should be ever-changing. It’s about the journey, the in-between, the dreams and seemingly unobtainable ideas. Whoever said you have to cross everything off of your bucket list? I say, the more, the merrier. In fact, I find that the more I cross off my list, the more that gets put right back on it. My bucket will always be full and if it ever over-flows, I’ll just run out and get a bigger bucket.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

 -Michelangelo

What’s on your Bucket List?…