Andy’s Going Away Party

Taco Bar Spread

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I cooked for his dad’s going away party. He’ll be out of state for work for some time so we decided it would be nice to get his friends together and enjoy company while he was still in town. Being in the military is a difficult profession and I can’t imagine what our country would be without the help of so many men and women all over the world who sacrifice so much for our safety.

So for this event we had two chefs and one kitchen. Brandon and I have worked together in some kitchen during various times for the last 7 years professionally, at home, or at someone else’s home/event. You can currently visit Brandon at Blush Restaurant and/or Blind Tiger in Santa Barbara, where he is the Executive Chef.

Though most of my time is spent cooking for my family and teaching yoga, it’s nice to prepare a large meal for wonderful people. We decided to have a massive taco fiesta. Our first go with the barbeque ended up not too successful because the grill wasn’t in working order, so we went for the simple charcoal grill that I’m used to and I grilled the food while Brandon cooked inside. I think overall it was a great team effort. Safe travels, Andy!


Carne Asada

Grilled Chicken

Chopped Seasoned Pork

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Zucchini

Spanish Bay Shrimp

Mixed Vegetable Sofritas

Chorizo Bean Dip


Salsa with Green Chiles and Garlic

Tortillas and Toppings


Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie Recipe

Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate pudding in Oreo crust with marshmallows and chocolate dusted roasted almonds

1 Oreo Crust

½ cup cocoa dusted roasted almonds

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place cold heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Whip with a hand mixer till thick whipped cream forms, no powdered sugar necessary. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.

1 small box Hersheys white chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

1 small box Hersheys dark chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

Pour 1/2 of the white chocolate pudding into the bottom of the Oreo crust. Top with ½ cup of marshmallows and pour ½ the dark chocolate pudding on top. Mix the remaining pudding together and fold in the whipped cream till smooth. Top pie with the mixture and smooth into a mound. Top with the remaining marshmallows and cocoa dusted almonds. Refrigerate for one hour or more.




Veggies, salsa and Guacamole Mexican Inspired Catering Taco Bar Ingredients Chicken, Sofritas and Shrimp for Tacos Carne Asada and Grilled Chopped Pork

Coconut Cream Pie

I haven’t written about anything sweet in a little while. I’m a pretty savory type of person, but I won’t say that I don’t have a couple of sweet teeth in my mouth; okay maybe more than a couple. My family really does love coconut cream pie. I’m not really the most savvy of bakers with crust and all that, but I can make something simple and with a little help from the grocery store, I’m sure others could make this easy as pie. So, I’m a big fan of Jello Pudding.  It’s probably the least expensive way to make pudding, because cream is expensive, eggs, and everything else. Not to say I don’t enjoy a lovely custard or homemade butterscotch pudding, but when you have yoga and homework and everything else life throws in your face, maybe a little box can give you peace of mind and no one will ever know! I’ve already shown you my Banana Vanilla Creme Wafer Pie  and Simple Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie so let’s add this easy Coconut Cream Pie to the mix. Try one out; even the less experienced pie putter- together-person can put this one together.

Coconut Cream Pie

1 large box of vanilla jello pudding

1 14 oz can coconut milk

2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes

1 graham cracker crust


In a pan, on low heat, toast 1/2 cup of the coconut flakes till lightly browned. Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, place contents of pudding package. Place coconut milk inside pudding and mix together till incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of coconut flakes.

In another bowl, place cold heavy whipping cream and add powdered sugar, then mix with a hand blender till whipped cream becomes stiff, about 6-7 minutes depending on your mixer.

Add about ¼ cup of pudding to your whipped cream and fold in with a spatula.

Using the toasted coconut, place a small sprinkle of coconut on the bottom of the crust and layer the pudding in the bottom of the pie shell, about ½ way up, sprinkle some coconut between, then layer about ½ of the whipped cream, then the rest of the pudding.

Clarification – When using the toasted coconut use about 1/4 cup it in the pie and reserve  1/4 cup for the top of the pie as desired. This will not effect the taste just the look if you happen to use more or less in either place.

Finally, add the rest of the whipped cream and smooth out over the top, so the pie is a large mound. Press the remaining toasted coconut into the whipped cream, and refrigerate about 1 hour till set.






Cyrus’s 2nd Birthday… The Candyshop and Red Velvet Cupcakes

Today is one of my favorite little boys very special day. I remember the day my friend Katie called me to tell me she was expecting and thereafter, all the midnight to 2 a.m. phone calls and text messages with horrible stories of pregnancy woes, the countless boxes of Little Debbies, and the joyous call and messages on the day he was born. I was over the top involved with work at that time, but I knew, as soon as I saw this little man, I was in love. His name is Cyrus and he is one of the most precious boys I’ve ever met. He stole my heart and made his mom and I retire our dancing shoes and exchange them for baby clothes. We wouldn’t change it for anything. I love this family and I’m so glad I can be a part of their lives.
Best friends! :)
Happy 2nd birthday my sweet little (or, rather, not so little anymore) Cyrus! I love you so much.
We had a sugar coma inducing party, with all things rich and delicious. A full range of soda pops, lollipops, candy and Elmo cupcakes adorned the table, along with other fun foods for all the kids to enjoy. Our theme was a candy shop with tons of fun balloons and little lollipop crazy straws for the sodas.  I have no idea how these kids slept that night, but a little extreme spoiling is what Katie always wanted for her son.
Here are some of the pictures of the festivities.

The cupcakes I made were a red velvet recipe that is a mixture of vegan red velvet and a southern style red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. I love vegan cupcakes because they stay moist for a long time and travel well.
I made red and blue velvet cupcakes and topped these with lollipops and little Elmo faces because he’s one of Cy’s favorite characters.


Red Velvet Cupcakes

4 teaspoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes 16 cupcakes
Pour soy milk in large bowl with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and stir until incorporated.  Let stand for at least 8 minutes.
In a separate bowl sift together cocoa, AP flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix together till incorporated with whisk.
After the mixture of soy milk has incorporated, add sugar and oil to mixture and beat on high with hand mixer for 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on medium until incorporated, about 4-6 minutes.
Fill cupcake cups 2/3 of the way full and cook for 16-18 minutes on the middle oven rack. The cupcakes are done cooking when a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and then frost with cream cheese frosting or vegan frosting for full vegan cupcakes or any other desired frosting.
Be a kid at heart.