wing it!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My sweet niece Olivia turned three this past week and I made her these rad wings!! Don't you want your own adult pair immediately?

I found them on Pinterest via this site (which was a kid's spin on these adult ones from Burdastyle) and I referenced both sets of instructions to make mine. Because they look great all fluttery and not too perfect, this is an extremely forgiving project. Who wants fussy wings anyway?

That's just a little bias tape with ponytail holders on both sides sewn in for her little wrists...

Happy Birthday, darling O!

P.S. If you decide you want to make these, I'm happy to answer any wing-related questions:)

blueberry polenta pancakes with lemony maple syrup

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I woke up this morning with a project on the brain so I stepped into the Pinterest vortex to do some research. I came to 45 minutes later having decided:

-new bangs are imperative

-baby animals are always cute (lolz)

-I need/deserve a completely new kitchen

-just because you can DIY doesn't mean that you should

-8 pairs of "must-have" summer wedges are in my future (I must have them)

-It makes me feel old that I have no interest whatsoever in Nail Art**

**I'm trusting the new bangs and wedges will cancel out this old-feeling

After all this (and forgetting the initial project-reason altogether), the rabbit trail led me to a page of blueberry recipes. In 2 minutes, these pancakes were inspired. In less than 25 minutes after that, they were born and about 12 minutes later, they were all gone. They were eaten hastily while standing at the kitchen counter and disappeared so fast that I couldn't even snap a picture of a finished stack. Other than that, I'd say it was a successful Pinterest session/Saturday morning.

Blueberry Polenta Pancakes with Lemony Maple Syrup
adapted from Food & Wine 
makes 10-12 

On their own, these are borderline savory but with a dash of maple syrup, they have the perfect amount of sweetness. The coarser-ground corn meal gives great texture and the jammy blueberries are a delicious compliment to the corn. You can use a fine ground corn meal if desired. Squeezing a bit of lemon into the maple syrup cuts it just slightly and gives it the perfect sweet tang.

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup corn grits (uncooked polenta)
1-1/2 t baking soda
1-1/2 t baking powder
3 T sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk*
1 large egg, separated
2 T butter, melted and cooled
1 cup fresh blueberries
coconut or vegetable oil for cooking
about 1/3 cup maple syrup
1 lemon squeeze

*If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute regular or almond milk plus 1T lemon juice. No one will ever know:)

Whisk together the flour, corn grits, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg yolk and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white (solo) until stiff peaks form. Add the milk/yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed (some lumps will still remain). Stir in the melted butter and then gently but thoroughly fold in the beaten egg white.

Heat about 2t oil in a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium heat. Spoon batter by the 1/4 cup, taking care not to crowd the cakes (as they spread). Drop several blueberries into each one (while in the skillet) and cook until bubbles begin to form and the top appears a bit dry, about 3 minutes. Flip carefully and cook another 2-3 minutes. 

Pop about 1/3c maple syrup in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off, give it a good squeeze of lemon and serve with the hot pancakes immediately.

Hope you have a fantastic and happy weekend:)

P.S.  I know a handful of people with the sniffles right now.................take care of yourself!

gluten-free carrot coconut muffins

Friday, May 10, 2013

I realized this today: every question you ask a dog is automatically rhetorical. You'd think after 11 years of experiencing this phenomenon with Lena, I'd get it. But no: I repeat these rhetorical questions, asking her at least twice. As if she's not responding because she didn't hear me the first time. Or that she's choosing not to respond. 

Here are the top ten regular queries put to Lena:

1. "How was your day?"
2. "Ew. Why are you sniffing that?"
3. "Ew. Why are you licking that?"
4. "Why are you still sleeping?"
5. "How come you're so smart? Hmm? Hmm?!"
6. "How could you do that to me?"
7. "Did you enjoy some clam chowder when I wasn't looking?"
8. "Why won't you come over here right now and let me kiss you?"
9. "What do you think?"
10. "Would you care for a muffin?"

I did get an answer on that last one (albeit non-verbal) and it was an absolute affirmative.

Gluten-free Carrot Coconut Muffins
makes 12

These are goooooooood and a spin on Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread. The oats give them great texture and the coconut adds a nutty sweetness. I'd like to experiment with swapping some almond meal for a portion of the GF flour and removing some of the sugar, but for now, I'm super happy with this recipe. If muffins ain't your thang, you can easily dump this batter into a greased loaf pan and bake it into a delicious bread. Just extend the cooking time: start checking with your toothpick around 50-55 minutes. When it comes out clean, it's done.

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1-1/2 t xanthan gum (unless included in your GF flour includes it)
1/2 cup plus 6T (light or dark) brown sugar (firmly packed)
1-1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 cup GF rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 t vanilla extract
1 t kosher salt
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut plus 2T extra for sprinkling on top before baking

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 2 dozen muffin tins with cooking spray or paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and baking powder. When well combined, mix in the oats. Set aside.

Whisk together the melted coconut oil with the eggs, vanilla and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until almost incorporated. Add the carrots and coconut and stir, taking care not to overmix.

Divide batter between the muffin tins (an ice cream scoop is awesome for this), sprinkle a little coconut on top, and bake about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Alternatively, you can sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar for a crunchier top.

Happy Friday, lovelies!

P.S. Lena shakes for carrots. 

sesame guacamole

Monday, May 6, 2013

A couple days ago, in the frozen foods aisle of Trader Joe's, I was approached/cornered by a woman in a faux-fur leopard coat, black ugg boots, cat-eye glasses and a giant, platinum, frizzy halo of hair. She pointed an acrylic nail at me and leaned in.

"Because you have an orchid in your cart, I'm going to give you a bookmark," she said. "Do you like books?" 

I blinked and stammered a few seconds, taking it all in and trying to process what was happening. I had no idea what purchasing orchids had to do with deserving bookmarks but I couldn't deny that I liked books. She had me there.

"Yes," I replied. "I do like books."

I must've answered correctly because she reached into a wrinkly plastic sack and produced a large, glossy bookmark.

"Put it in your purse." She ordered, handing it to me. Then she shuffled away, likely toward more orchid/book lovers.

I glanced at it, perplexed. Upon further inspection I realized she was an author and the bookmark was an advertisement for her book. Here is a choice excerpt:

A Novel inspired by true events is a racy fantasia. It's a vivid portrait of April Moon, the charismatic Jewish American temptress born and bred in Beverly Hills, seduced by the lure of Laurel Canyon. Join the original flower child and her extra wannabe starlet party princesses on their journey of dangerous liaisons with the bold, the buffed and the beautiful. Antonio, the cross-dressing, Eurotrash mambo king from Madrid, a combination of a stallion and a pit bull; Diva Boy, an outrageous disco dolly; her certifiable rich mother; Christopher, the eccentric artistic director perv whose family tree is soaked in gin; Lust, a bizarre porn star; and a jock named Patrick, the hot hung eye candy from Orange County. You'll share April's bizarre adventures as a stunt girl, her experiences inside of a trendy drug and alcohol rehab center in Malibu, a psych ward, and a Mexican jail.

Well. I can't say that I'm not curious about April's journey (a Jewish American temptress in a Mexican jail?!), but what struck me most curiously about this whole encounter was this woman's ballsy brazenness at putting herself out there. It was remarkable.

I've never been a fantastic self-promoter. There's something about the look-at-me!-ness of it all that feels impolite. The irony is not lost on me, being an actor (who also has a blog, hello!). But It's one thing to perform in the moment and another thing to talk about it to others and ask them to watch you. In certain ways, I really have to make a concerted effort to put myself out there and even then, a part of me cringes. Maybe it's because I personally know certain actors who go way overboard on the self-selling (narcissism, anyone?) and it makes me tremendously itchy. I never want to elicit that response in others. It is show business, though, as they say, and that means if you want to get a job, you do have to think about how you are seen and how you are showing up.

I'm not just talking about plugging your TV appearance on Facebook, although that's part of it (that's the easy part). I'm talking about energetically taking up space, being unapologetically ballsy. And figuring out how to do that without being a jerk. Frustratingly (to me), those narcissistic actors I just spoke of have tremendously successful careers. It feels like they're being rewarded for being assholes. All this has me thinking: is there a way to show up big, retain and celebrate your own authenticity, and (gasp) be happy and kind along the way?

My teacher/boss/friend Lesly doesn't necessarily think so. Her most successful clients share what she calls ruthlessness and that just sounds so abrasive to all parts of me. What I think is fascinating about this quandary is that (show business or otherwise) we're talking about selfishness. Too little and you're an apologetic soul, living out of fear and worry. Too much and you're an entitled jerk who's gross to be around. It's also about flexibility. The Diva who claws her way to the top runs into a snag by not being adaptable. She expects people and circumstances to revolve around her. The too-adaptable wallflower shrinks into smallness or gets taken advantage of. The right amount of malleability is vital for success and happiness. Lots of rules about how things need to be make it hard to enjoy yourself, whether you're experiencing what you believe "success" to be or not. It makes contentment super slippery and conditional. I want to have goals in my life and go after what I want, but flexibility has to play a part to let the definition of happiness be moveable. Mainly because I've tried it the other way and it's freaking uncomfortable.

Whether actors or not, maybe we could think about indulging in Self-promotion with a capital S. Promoting and celebrating our higher, most authentic Selves, thinking BIG in the vastest sense and not just for personal gain. Maybe we can try on some entitlement in terms of being committed to our own (flexible!) happiness. And perhaps ruthlessness has a place in cultivating an unyielding, unapologetic commitment to follow heart and gut, to hell with what anyone else thinks. And hopefully by having those intentions, the things out there in the world that we want to experience will be drawn to us. And we don't have to be jerks to get them.

Bonus: this kind of light-shining benefits not just self but the collective too. True story: on my way home from Trader Joe's, while stopped at a stoplight and trying to read my new bookmark in the dark, I saw a guy standing alone on a street corner with an actual, live sparkler in his hand. Just standing there, doing figure-eights and twirling it solo while it burned and sputtered. He seemed to be purely doing it for self-satisfaction but for those few fleeting red-light minutes, did it ever make me smile.

Sesame Guacamole
serves 2-3

This dippy spread was born out of a need to feed three hungry women at a rehearsal. It was such a hit (and snarfed so quickly) that it is now a rehearsal requirement due to its severe habit-forming properties. And it like, totally made us better actors.

1 perfectly ripe avocado, halved
gomasio to taste (or plain sesame seeds)
brown rice vinegar
sea salt
olive oil or toasted sesame oil

Cross-hatch the avocado and scoop out the diced pieces into a bowl. Sprinkle with brown rice vinegar (start with about 2t), the squeeze of a quarter lemon, a drizzle of either olive oil or toasted sesame oil and a shake of gomasio. Taste. Depending on your palate and the size of your avocado, keep adding more acid/salt/gomasio as you go. Serve with raw veggies, atop salad, with chips (maybe fried wontons!?), smashed on toast, etc...


P.S.  Do you like monkeys and/or Lorenzo Lamas?  Check out this commercial I did!*

*she said, unapologetically but with authentic boldness:)

P.P.S.  4 awesome things that relate:

1. After I wrote this post I came across this Agnes DeMille quote and almost fell outta my chair.
2. Remember: your playing small does not serve the world!
3. No one is gonna pick you. Pick yourself.
4. This for fun:)

cuatro for cinco

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hola, mi amigos! Happy Cinco De Mayo!
Since I eat some form of Mexican food almost daily, it surprised me to peek into my recipe index and find only four Mexican-ish recipes. (Note to self: must remedy that.) I thought it would be festive, at the very least, to post photos so you can enjoy the avocado porn...

photos/recipes from top to bottom:

Feta Guacamole
Chicken Posolé
Italian Guacamole
Mexican Chicken Soup

two bonus Joeycake Mexican-Restaurant stories in case you missed them:

Love in a Mexican Restaurant
Why You Should Always Carry Knitting Needles

and a bunch of great-looking Tequila drinks from bon appetit:


Hope you have a muy wonderful day!
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