Valentine’s Day has evolved a lot for David and I, since Kat came along. Although our romance is still alive, we now include our little girl because she is truly our love. She made her daddy an adorable Valentine’s Card and I wanted to spend some time with her baking something. Kat loves being in the kitchen, but she also has a short attention span. My 2.5 year old loves gooey, messy things (as I assume every kid), so what else is more exciting than melted chocolate? She had a blast and got to help me create goodies!
All you need is large pretzel sticks, chocolate chips & some sort of topping. We chose m&ms but you can sprinkle anything on top! You can get food coloring just to change up the designs and make it more colorful. I got white chips and milk chips to play around with. I got some goodie bags from Amazon with ribbons and voila! Super easy & takes so little time!
A few days ago I posted a “how-to” of my cheese platter and it seemed to be a hit! 97% of you said you want to see more videos like this, so I will definitely work towards that! However, I realize there was so many posts, some of my first few disappeared so I’m going to break it down for you below. I got a lot of questions on the types of cheeses and where I got my platters, so hope this is helpful!
Honestly, don’t overthink your platter. This should be something you can enjoy! It’s actually therapeutic and I promise, no matter how you organize it, your guests will appreciate it! Below are just what’s been my go-to I notice my guests always enjoy so I stick to it! I pretty much make a one stop trip to Trader Joe’s for it all:
Cheeses: Trufle Cheese, Brie, Blueberry Goat Cheese, Manchego, Gouda
Meats: Red Wine Dry Salami, Prosciutto & mixed dry salami I get from a local Armenian market.
Carbs: Cracker Assortments, Cheese Sticks, Fig & Olive Crisps, Breadsticks & French bread
Sweet Pairings: Fruits (i.e. grapes & strawberries), Honey, Jam, Dried Fruits
Snacks: Olives & Nuts (you can also add cherry tomatoes)
As most Armenians, I grew up watching my family make Bourek all the time. Bourek is a traditional Armenian pastry made with phyllo dough or puff pastry sheets and stuffed cheese. You can also include many other fillings like jalapeños, veggies, herbs, etc. but I like to keep my recipe pretty simple with just cheese!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Total time: 25-30 Minutes
Sarma is one of my favorite dishes ever! It’s something I can eat all year round, any time of day. This is a very common dish, derived from many cultures around, at Armenian restaurants & homes. My mom typically likes to make this around the Holidays, I believe for several reasons. During the Holidays, Armenians visit each other’s homes for days and all you do is eat; sarma can last for days in the fridge and it’s always ready for the table. It’s filled with rice and vegetables, very flavorful and super delicious! It is, however, tedious; so I n general, you want to make a big pot of it. This dish is not to be confused with Dolma, this looks exactly the same: Dolma is filled with meat.
Below is a recipe my mom has been using for decades (who learned from her mom) and I absolutely love it! There are several different recipes, as there is to any dish, but I have to say my moms is my favorite! Every year she makes it, I tell her I need to learn so that I can carry on the tradition and I never get a chance. This year, I was able to finally make it with her and write down every ingredient with the correct measurements. Otherwise, it would be a “pinch of this” and “approximately that” haha! Yes, it is a long list of ingredients and yes it is a long process - but oh so delicious! I promise it’s worth it.
Serving: 40 pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1 big can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp red pepper paste
6oz. can of tomato paste
4 peppers (green, red, orange, yellow)
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch green onion
1 bunch dill
1 bunch basil
1 bunch mint (you can use dried. 2tbsp)
2 cups rice
1 jar grape leaves
1. Chop onions finely and sauté with cup olive oil (don’t make red)
2. Add crushed tomatoes
3. Add red pepper paste
4. Add 1 tomato paste
5. Let boil for about 5 minutes
6. Separately, chop & blend the colored peppers and add to pot. Let boil for 5 minutes.
7. Squeeze lemons into pot
8. Season with red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
cilantro, parsley, green onion, dill, basil, mint
9. Add Chopped greens to the pot and mix all together
10. Add the washed rice and mix all together (do not cook)
11. Separately, drain in clean water and strain grape leaves to get rid of the salt (open and leave in clean water)
12. Let mixture cool before and begin to wrap and roll in grape leaves
13. Layer sarma in pot and add one cup water
14. Cook on low approx 45 min until water is absorbed
15. Eat as is or refrigerate. Enjoy!
What in the world is The Golden Milk? I kept asking myself as I've been seeing it everywhere! Well if you are as lost as I was, keep reading. Although now trending, The Golden Milk has been used in Asia for centuries. It is a nutrition packed, anti-oxidant drink that also helps with inflammation in the body. This milk will help improve your immunity & digestive system. As most of you know, I am pregnant and very limited to what I can take. I have had the cold for a few days now and that is how I came across this healthy remedy; not so much a remedy, but a yummy drink you can take daily. So perfect for winter, too!
1 cup warmed up almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon manuka honey
Dash of cinnamon
Coconut milk instead of almond
Dash of vanilla extract
1. Add all ingredients to pot, stir and bring to boil.
2. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 2-4 minutes
4. Pour into mug and garnish with cinnamon
One of my favorite and easy dishes to make is Rice Pudding, also known as “Katnov” in Armenian. Its texture is soft and creamy and the sweet taste just tops it all off! The recipe is super simple! All it takes is a few ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time.
Cook time: 30 minutes
This recipe has evolved from my grandma, to my mom, to my sister, who changed it up a bit ;) Not that it wasn’t already super delicious, she just modernized it a bit by making it a tad bit healthier with added veggies and nutrients. I was sick for a few days, so I wanted something super easy to make that was delicious, healthy and energizing! Lentils are full of fiber, protein, iron and so much more!
Before you start cooking this up, just make a note to chop up everything very small. This is a somewhat creamy soup, so you want to make sure there are no big chunks in there. In general, I chop up everything small in soups because you get a full flavor of everything in one spoon and also, it’s easier for Kat to eat!
1/2 cup of dry lentils
1 carton of chicken broth
1 espresso cup of round rice
1 large potatoe
salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, ginger powder (to taste)
1 tsp red pepper paste
1/2 yellow onion
1. Boil the lentils in the Chicken Broth (I add water for plenty of soup)
2. Once the lentils have cooked only halfway through, add washed rice
3. Add carrots, celery & potatoes
4. Add seasonings to taste
5. Add red pepper paste and mix until dissolved
6. While you let the soup cook, chop and satay onions in a seperare pan with some oil until soft
7. One soup is completely cooked through, add onions
8. Pour half the soup in a blender and blend until creamy (let it cool a bit first)
9. Add the creamy soup back into the pot with the remaining
10. Add cilantro for garnish and serve
Both delicious, both easy to do and both nicely served together for appetizing or a grazing table. Make it super pretty by filling it up in the shell of the avocado and a fresh red pepper cut in half. It also looks beautiful in a red and green cabbage cut in half. Serve it with chips and/or veggies, depending on how healthy you want the setup to be. Here I have it in plain white bowls because, well...its just a Thursday! Lol. My peppers and avocados were going bad, so this was the perfect dish to savor the foods & you can store it in your fridge for several days! Buy mini tupperware and take them to work with you for snacks. It's a perfect snack for toddlers too (except my toddler is weird about texture, ugh!). Anyways, I hope you guys find this helpful and enjoyable!
Although my husband and I love trying new places to eat, we have a Top 5 that neither of us will ever say no to on a given night. These are the places we usually go for "date night" because they're special to us and we've been going since we've been dating (over 5 years). As much as I am a makeup lover, I am a food lover. I can't say Im an "eater" or "experimenter" because I am kind of particular with my food, so we will cancel out the word: foodie. However, my husband? He will eat and try anything that crawls, fly's or swims. With that said, we like to go to restaurants that offer versatility.
1. Mr. Chow
This place was one of our first dates (I think the 2nd if I am not mistaken). Till this day, I had never eaten Chinese food like that, ever. So the story is, Mr. Chow was the son of a very famous Oprah singer back in the days. He came from a wealthy family with very high end personal chefs. After the war, they fled the country and were left with nothing. When he came to America, he realized, they didn't have food like the food he used to it. Lo-behold, he decided to bring that flavor in himself. Not to bore you, but after hearing that, all made sense about his food. It really is the most gourmet Chinese food you've ever eaten. Its not cheap, but well worth the money. Its a small place with community seating, but so beautiful! Seriously, this place is a treat. If you haven't been, it's a must!
2. The Bazaar at the SLS
This restaurant is EVERYTHING! And when I say everything, I mean food, service & decor! The SLS itself has one of my favorite decors and this restaurant is a VIBE. It's really big and they have several seating areas with different decors. When you are done with dinner, you can walk over to the other side of the restaurant which is their dessert room. Finish off your night with some wine and delicious desserts. But let's not skip ahead, the food is one of the best foods, hands down. Once you've tried a Jose Andres restaurant, you know. Deliciousness aside, the presentation of the food is just beautiful. They have an open kitchen and you can see them creating the food and its just entertaining and so admirable. One of the managers of the restaurant had heard recently that my husband and I were huge fans and invited us over for a special night. We had a 22 course dinner! I mean, I got till 19 believe it or not. The experience, the service, everything is just perfection. If you haven't been, you are missing out.
This restaurant used to be a liquor store, believe it or not. Now, you walk in on an average night and it is completely packed. David and I love this place for several reasons. 1. It is actually one of the very few restaurants that are open till 2am in LA. 2. We love the outdoor seating 3. The food is delicious. 4. Great ambiance! Sometimes, even if were not hungry, we will just head over there for some wine & cheese; our favorite thing to do. If you are a wine & cheese lover, this is your jam!
Katana is a robata grill, Japanese cuisine. We love the food here and how they have small portions so you get to have a little bit of everything and never leave a dish full. As most of you already know, I am not a seafood lover, so there is plenty bbq options for me. You will love this place if you want good food and a night out to just hang out and enjoy. Again, outdoors is our favorite, of course when the weather is good. Katana has been around for a long time and the fact that it still stands in LA, where restaurants are opening and closing left and right, you know its good!
5. Osteria Mamma
Our friend George introduced us to this place back and David and I were dating and we fell in love. Unlike the above four restaurants, this place is super homey and feels like you are at a restaurant in Italy. Delicious authentic Italian food, great service, great wine options and very family friendly. This is the type of restaurant we go to when were having Date Night wit Kat lol.
Bonus: Gracias Madre
Ok I decided to include this one in there for the Vegan food lovers. A friend of mine has celiac disease and is completely gluten free/vegan. On a night out, she suggested this Mexican restaurants and we didn't just love the place, but we were in shock. Not only is the food delicious, you cannot believe its vegan. The cauliflower tacos actually taste like chicken! The cashew dressing tastes like ranch! I mean ,it's insane what they do with vegan food these days. Healthy & delicious!
This salad is not only delicious & healthy, but super easy! I made it for the first time a few weeks ago for a dinner party at my house and it was a hit. Since then, I’ve made it twice more, including tonight! It’s one of those salads you can prep and leave it in the fridge and either snack on it or use it as a side dish for days. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! Recipe below:
4 Cups Broccoli
1/2 Cup Carrots
1/4 Red Onion
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Mayo (replace with Greek Yogurt if on diet)
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Sugar
Pinch of Pepper