Oh, hey there! It’s been a few years and some stuff has happened around here! I made another human and it was hard work, but he’s almost two and a half now and I think it probably takes about that much time to become human again. He’s got crazy curly hair, an epic side eye and has my love for salty, briny things. I’m getting him a jar of fancy green olives for Christmas, because I know he’ll really appreciate them. Basically, my food twin.

We’ve done a lot of cooking and eating the last few years (and boy is my waistline solid, er soft, proof of this) and are still learning how to use food to bring us around the table as a family every day. Dinner is still a sacred place where we all gather together around a shared meal. It’s not always (rarely) glamorous which means many cold bowls of cereal topped with questionable blueberries but sometimes I pull together a quick sheet pan dinner with vegetables that everyone eats! It’s the small things in life, y’all!

Whatever our meal will be, one thing is certain, it has to be quick to be successful. Between school, work and bedtime, there just isn’t much time to get dinner on the table, so I rely on quick recipes to get us to the table as fast as possible. In the summer and early fall, this tomato toast is a life saver. Besides being fast, you can make it with as little effort as popping a piece of crusty bread into the toaster. I like to pan fry the bread in a skillet, because, well it’s delicious, but a toaster would be a fine substitute!


tomato toast with scallion labneh

serves 4 hungry, tomato loving humans

A good loaf of bread and peak season tomatoes will make this dish sing. Get the best you can find!


  • 4 slices of good quality country bread, 1” thick

  • 1 cup labneh

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes (red or dark red), halved

  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes (red or dark red), thickly sliced

  • ¾ tsp kosher salt

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and sliced in half crosswise

  • Olive oil for brushing bread and pan

  • Pepper

  • Large flake salt


  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Drizzle olive oil over bread slices, on both sides.

  2. Rub the cut garlic (cut side down) over each side of the bread.

  3. Working in batches, add the bread to the hot pan, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Toast until deeply browned, about 3 minutes. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium high. Toast until well charred. Set aside.

  4. Mix together labneh, scallion and 3/4 tsp salt in a small bowl.

  5. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of scallion labneh over each slice of bread. Top with slices of heirloom tomatoes and sprinkle cherry tomatoes over. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over tomatoes and top with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper.

peach + yogurt popsicles

peach + yogurt popsicles

Keeping cool in California in the summer can be a little tricky sometimes. We've had several days of over 100 degree heat and no one functions well in those circumstances. I swore off wearing shorts years ago, but in the last three days, I've been wearing them nonstop because that's the closest I can get to running around naked. This week though, the heat confronted more than just my body issues, it questioned our parenting. 

Last Wednesday, the weather was mildly warm, not nearly as hot as it has been this week. Our house has air conditioning, thankfully, but even then, it's hard to keep our third floor condo cool even in temperate weather. We usually turn off the A/C at night and sleep just under sheets and little clothing. That night, Ollie was wearing more clothes than we would have normally dressed him in, but since the weather hadn't been too hot, we didn't think much about it. Around 2am he woke up crying, which is not totally unusual, but he seemed pretty upset. We went into his room and he was extremely hot. We stripped him to his diaper and brought him in bed with us. We took his temp and it was slightly higher than normal and with our 2am brains, decided to just try to get him back to sleep in bed with us. He seemed like he was calm but sleepy so we all dozed off. An hour later, I woke up to him seizing next to me. He was unresponsive, pale with blue lips and I thought he was dying. We called 911 and rushed out of the house with our lifeless toddler, hoping that intervention would save him. As we waited for the ambulance, he started to come out of his comatose state, crying periodically but still totally out of it. The ambulance deemed it unnecessary for them to transport him now that he was not seizing so we took him to the emergency room ourselves. The doctors told us he had a febrile seizure from a high temperature. His little brain couldn't regulate his body temperature, thus thrusting him into convulsions. It was by far the scariest moment as a parent to date and I hope that we don't have to experience that ever again. 

Thankfully, Ollie seems to be no worse from the wear, although we are completely traumatized. He's basically sleeping naked for the rest of his life and I will be forever obsessive about him staying cool. Three days of over 100 degree weather has not helped my cause much this week, so we are doing what we can to keep us cool (read: setting the A/C to 65 and not leaving the house). I'm hoping after this heat wave we'll be seeing fall approaching, but you never know in the sunshine state. We could be in the 80's well into Thanksgiving. Let's all hope for the quick arrival of sweater weather. 

I don't know a much better way to beat the heat than with popsicles. Peaches are perfect right now, so they seemed like an obvious choice, but you can use any ripe fruit you have on hand. Apricots, pluots, plums or nectarines would be an excellent choice. 

peach + yogurt popsicles // makes 10 // adapted from this recipe by gourmet


  • 3 ripe peaches, about 1 pound, chopped
  • 3/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (you could conceivably cut this down if your peaches are really ripe and sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Puree all ingredients with an 1/8 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth. Pour into molds and freeze 30 minutes. Insert sticks, then freeze until firm, about 2 hours. 

a summery pantry pasta

summer pantry pasta

We always start out the week with the best intentions. On Sunday night, I make a menu for the coming week and I write up a grocery list for Monday so I'm ready to do all the shopping. The process takes me (what feels like) all day. I'm easily distracted and have been known to fall down a pretty deep rabbit hole of recipe research. I'm also pretty picky. I want to make sure I have a menu I'm excited about, one that will be healthy as well as satisfying and will be tolerated by adult and toddler. It can be a little over the top and I should probably simplify my strategy, but somehow, I find joy in the long and sometimes grueling process.

I generally have a meal planned for every night and I use the leftovers for lunches and carry over for other recipes. A whole roasted chicken can turn into many meals, which is helpful because that really cuts down on the prep time for following meals. Lately, I have been leaving one night free for going out or for left overs. This gives me a chance to use up any ingredients I didn't end up using. These are the nights I rely on my pantry to give the left overs new life. A well stocked pantry and a little knowledge can put dinner on the table with little effort which is especially useful when your toddler is losing every ounce of composure and he needs to have a face full of pasta at that very second. It's basically a zoo around here. 

summer pantry pasta

Feeding yourself, let alone your family can feel like a really big job. It takes time to plan, to cook, to clean and sometimes doesn't feel worth it, especially if cooking doesn't come easy for you. Some of that stress can be eleviated by learning some simple skills. Like being able to pull out a box of pasta and have a hearty meal for your family without thinking about it. In the next couple of weeks, I'll be launching some new categories, to help you get dinner on the table faster by learning how to use your pantry, knowing what foods go together and helping you with some time saving techniques and tips. Until then, throw together a big pot of pasta and start getting a feel for the kinds of meals you can make on the fly. If you're really wanting to dive into this process further, I'll be teaching a class on September 12th where I'll be teaching you how to become a pantry wizard. It's going to be a great time! We'll learn, eat and hopefully laugh a lot. I'd love to see you there!

summer pantry pasta

 This is a pantry recipe, so if you don't have some of the ingredients, try to see if you have a substitute already before running out the store. If you don't have corn, but you've got some peas, use those instead. If you don't have zucchini, use yellow summer squash. Take a look at what's in your fridge and use what you think will work. Experimenting is the first step toward becoming a better cook. If you're stumped, leave a comment and I'll do my best to guide you. Happy cooking!

summery pantry pasta // serves 4


  • 3/4 pound dried orecchiette
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cobs of corn, kernels cut off
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 small zucchini, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan


  1. Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Add the kosher salt and bring to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander being sure to save 1/4 cup pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside. 
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet until the butter is melted. Add the onion, corn and oregano with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until the corn is almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add the zucchini, kale and garlic and cook until the kale is starting to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss well. Moisten with pasta water if the pasta starts to look a little dry, about a tablespoon at a time. Top with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan and mix to combine. Divide among four bowls topping with extra parmesan, because, DUH, cheese. 

tofu summer rolls

tofu summer rolls

Summer is great isn't it? I mean, all that sun, late dinners on the porch, tomatoes. Sure, you're constantly dripping sweat, you can't find anything to wear because all you own are cardigans and black jeans and you keep buying butternut squash even though you know it just doesn't feel right. You are pinning cool ways to decorate your mantle with branches and pine cones and you know exactly how many days there are until Christmas Eve. Oh, by you, I definitely mean me. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly some endearing qualities of the season like al fresco dinners, pool parties and popsicles. I just think summer and I would probably get along a lot better if it wasn't so darn hot all the time and the sun decided to hide itself every once in a while. Just a little break, tiny really. After all, California has had so much sun this year (and so little rain) that the lakes and reservoirs are just about dried up. I'm hoping and praying for a long and wet winter. Wouldn't that just be absolutely glorious? We'll make soup and crusty bread and we'll sit by the fire, sipping tea in our oversized sweaters. Guys, it's gonna be amazing. 

tofu summer rolls

There are still 19 days left of summer, so in the meantime, I promise I'll refrain from complaining about the fact that it's STILL summer and move that we pull it together and really take advantage and live it up. Let's boycott the oven, get outside and eat as many tomatoes as we can fit in our mouths. I'll stop pinning pumpkin recipes and hearty soups and really try to enjoy the moment and I won't even think about how many more days are left before I can legitimately start listening to Christmas music. Let's hit the pool, eat dinner outside until the sun is gone and make popsicles. Alright, that's the pep talk I needed. Thanks guys. Let's do this. 

tofu summer rolls

As our first act of living it up, let's make summer rolls. I mean, it's in the name. So perfect, right? Summer rolls are a great dish for using up leftovers from the week. We nearly always have baked tofu around to use as a quick toddler snack or to bulk up salads and scrambles. It works perfectly here and since it was already in the fridge, it was super simple to throw these together. If you don't want to use the baked tofu option for these (which would require some oven action, but totally worth it), you can substitute about 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken or quickly grilled shrimp would be pretty great as well. I'd plan for two shrimp per roll if you go that route. 

tofu summer rolls

makes 8 


  • 10 rice paper wrappers (it's a good idea to soak a couple extra since it's easy to tear them)
  • 4 green onion, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, then sliced lengthwise again
  • 3 oz cellophane noodles
  • 1 cup pickled vegetables (alternatively, you can use regular carrot and daikon, julienned) 
  • 16 sprigs cilantro
  • 16 large basil leaves
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 24 baked tofu sticks, or 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • juice of one lime

  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste


  1. Cover the cellophane noodles with hot water and let them sit for 10 minutes. Drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside. 
  2. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, lime juice and garlic chili paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. On a large plate or a baking dish, soak the rice paper wrappers in warm water until soft and pliable, just a few minutes. 
  4. Carefully separate a rice paper wrapper and place it on a plate. In the middle of the wrapper, add three sticks of tofu, a small handful of pickled vegetables, a small handful of cellophane noodles, two sprigs of cilantro, two basil leaves and a small handful of mixed greens. Roll one side of the wrapper toward the middle, tuck the top and bottom over the top and continue rolling until you meet the other side. Slice in half, dip it in the sauce and enjoy.