Cardamom Apple Cake

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I randomly tried this recipe a month ago and posted a half-eaten picture of it on Instagram. For all of you who asked for this recipe, here you are! If you love cardamom as much as I do, you will love this cake! It's a little on the dense side, subtly sweet with the perfect amount of spice and lemon flavor. My roommates and I ate this for breakfast with tea and coffee all week long.

On another note, I wish I could be paid to try recipes. How amazing would that be? 
 Cardamom Apple Cake

Adapted From Tartelette

1 large apple 
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (or regular flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease one 9-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Starting from the bottom of the apple, slice the apple into medallions. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent oxidation.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar and eggs until pale (about 2 minutes). Add the oil and lemon juice. Mix until well blended. Add the flour mix, baking powder, cardamom and cinnamon and whisk until batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Partially drain the apples and assemble the slices on top of the batter. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes free of raw batter. Enjoy :)

(P.S. Thanks to my fiancé for the beautiful flowers :)

Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

Thursday, September 11, 2014

As far as diet trends and eating habits go, I am a solid believer in eating what is seasonal, local, and holistic, and of course, eating moderately. The older I become, the more I am grateful that my parents instilled in me this mindset and lifestyle. I grew up in a family where good quality spawns from being homegrown, homemade, and handmade. The more time, love, and energy you put into your work and relationships, the better the outcome will be -both for body and soul.  I believe this totally transcends into the world of food. I can really appreciate a recipe as below, made with gluten free, organic ingredients, homemade, delicious flavor, and a grateful, rather than guilty feeling afterwards.
Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

Adapted from Fourteen Forty

1 large sweet potato
olive oil 
1 bunch organic spinach
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
4 eggs
1 cup grated fresh mozzarella 
fresh chives
fresh italian parsley
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup asiago cheese
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper

Slice sweet potato into thin medallions. Lay potato slices in a pie dish in crust-like fashion, lightly drizzle with olive oil (or spray with an olive oil spray), and bake on 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes. After crust has baked, reduce heat to 375 degrees. 

Meanwhile, sauté onion and fresh garlic in a medium skillet until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach and sauté until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Blend eggs and mozzarella in a medium bowl and then add goat cheese and chopped herbs. Add the onion, garlic, and spinach to the egg mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the combined mixture into the potato crust. Sprinkle the asiago cheese on top. 

Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes until quiche is firm and cheese on top is browned. Tastes best served warm!

End of Summer Berries

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Here's from my super summer breakfast, even though I am SO excited for fall. I miss the crisp air, falling leaves, apple and pumpkin everything. Counting down the few days left of what is summer and enjoying the last of its berries in the meantime. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

There is nothing like mornings at Mom and Dad's. 

Today I'm baking a wedding cake...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wish me luck!

Grown At Home

Thursday, August 14, 2014

One of the best things about being home in the summer is the abundance of fresh produce and real farmer's markets. In Boston farmer's markets are too trendy and expensive to be authentic. At home in Virginia, farmer's markets are still little huts on the side of the road where local farmers are trying to rid of excess produce before it goes bad. Not to mention everyone has their own mini garden, so if it's not coming from the farmer, it's coming from your neighbor. Fresh produce abounds.

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time with mom and homemade sweet potato muffins. #thebest
Sweet Potato & Five Spice Muffins

Adapted from It's All Good

Makes a dozen muffins

1 large sweet potato 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free flour (plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum if not included in flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a paring knife or fork. Bake until soft (when a paring knife can cut through with zero resistance), about 1 hour. Set the sweet potato aside until it's completely cool.

Peel the sweet potato, discard the skin, and mash the flesh in a mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla into the sweet potato. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let the muffins cool before serving.

Note: delicious with pumpkin butter! Nom.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's been nine months since I was in Albania. As I finally sat and edited my pictures tonight, I also read through my journal and experienced the whole thing over again. I remember the exact way I felt when meeting my cousins for the first time. It makes me sad, but it makes me happy at the same time.  I'm so grateful for the many blessings that week and being with Alexandria and Stephanos. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to meet the family that my Baba always told me about. I'm so grateful for the experience. I'm so grateful I wrote it down. 

November 26, 2013; 2:00am
"I was sitting at their kitchen table, dining with them, and casually chatting as if I saw them everyday. I was thinking back to a couple nights ago when I met them for the first time. We met at Hotel Tirana. I will never forget the way it happened and the way it felt; the way they looked, the four of them sitting in the corner and I could see their jittery excitement through the window as they recognized me from the pictures. When I walked in to greet them, they jumped and ran at me with open arms and kisses. It was like they had known me and loved me forever. As we talked, I could see Lluka's heart through his eyes as the tears welled up at the corners. The kids were shy and giggled, and gave me the most generous, loving hug. I can't take it. I don't want to leave them. I just want to be with them forever."

It's been a while...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's been quite a while since I last blogged. I struggle with blogging in the first place, because my relationship with this online journal is a bit of a love/hate. I love the idea of be able to document and share more than just a mere status and a couple of pictures. The hate part is more of just a I-don't-have-anything-that-important-to-say. Since it has been so long however, I do have a few updates:

1. I am no longer in Greece studying abroad. 
2. I spent the last four months of my undergraduate career completing a thesis on redemption through suffering, which is, by the way, something I never believed I could do.
4. I have struggled, learned, and grown so much more in the past four years of my life than I have ever consciously been aware of. It's been incredibly positive and beautiful. Although I am currently in this awkward phase of fresh-out-of-college-where--da-heck-am-I-going, it also feels like a strange kind of magical.

Aside from desperately searching for a full-time job, I have found myself using all of the extra post-grad, no homework time to do the things that I love; building relationships with the genuine people God has put into my life and to collaborate and feed off of other artists, their ideas, their words, and their presence.

Exhibit A: 
A recent makeup shoot with my dear friend and wonderfully talented makeup artist, Kailen Hodge
(You can follow her on Instagram, and very soon, Facebook too!)

P.S. We will be doing a couple of model shoots a month. Shoot us an e-mail at if you are interested in participating as a model!

a very not-so delicious Gazapacho

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A friend of mine made an incredible, fresh, summery gazpacho. I tried a cucumber, avocado gazpacho. Sounds amazing. Didn't turn out so. Definitely using a recipe next time...


The Boston Haymarket is nothing compared to the Messick's Farm Market back at home. In fact, it should not be confused with a farmer's market at all. The Haymarket is located right near the port and there's no telling where the produce comes from. The thing that makes it wonderful is the experience of waking up early on a Friday or Saturday morning, grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend and walking through the waking streets of the city, only to return home with a bag full of fresh ingredients. Also, it's cheap cheap. Job-seeking college grads say yay!

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Friday, February 28, 2014

Although I'm totally out of season with these babies, I bought a donut pan mid-Spring semester of my senior year in college. I decided to use up the cans of pumpkin I had stashed from the previous fall semester when I was in Greece (missing the American fall season of pumpkin everything). Instead of focusing on my senior thesis, this is how I spend my time... 
Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Adapted from Blue-Eyed Bakers

Makes 12 donuts

For the donuts:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 up vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk (I used almond)

For the coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon (more if you're a cinnamon lover, like me)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter a donut pan and set aside.
In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.
Using a spoon, fill each donut cup with the batter.  The donut cups should be fairly full, but not overflowing. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed (if you're using a mini donut pan, bake for 8-9 minutes).  Turn donuts out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While the donuts are cooling, melt butter in one bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another.  When donuts are still hot (but not too hot to touch), quickly dip each donut in melted butter, then coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Serve immediately.
*Notes: If you're not going to serve the donuts immediately, you can bake them up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container.  Do not coat them in the butter/cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before serving or they may get soggy.