Recreating My Favorite Salad From Lyon

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During our trip through Europe, my husband and I would keep track of all of our outstanding meals. Since I’ve been back in LA I’ve been meaning to recreate some of them. Earlier this week I did just that – I recreated my favorite salad from Lyon. The salad I chose to recreate was from Buchon Thomas where Chef Thomas made this deliciously simple salad. I felt quite proud of myself after whipping this up. My husband said it was as good as Chef Thomas’ – winning!! Any time my food is compared to that of a French chef’s, I will take the compliment in stride any day. Now whenever we feel like having a bit of Lyon at home, we can recreate this salad and reminisce on our lovely time in Lyon.


Salad Lyonnaise – Adapted from Buchon Thomas

Serves 2

1 head curly endive lettuce

Croutons (I made my own, but store bought is fine too)

2 soft boiled eggs

1/2 lb. good bacon, cooked and chopped

Dressing:

3 tbs. Grapeseed oil

1 tbs. red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. capers, rinsed and chopped

1 tsp. parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

First make the dressing. This allows the flavors to combine while assembling the salad. Combine lettuce and croutons, then drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture. Sprinkle the bacon over of the salad, then place the soft boiled egg on top. That way, when you cut into the egg the yolk and flavor will disburse through the salad.

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Local South Bay Eats – Baran’s 2239

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Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad

My husband and I are what my brother likes to call foodies. I supposed it’s true, we enjoy trying new local eats. Baran’s 2239 has been open for about 5 months now, and cooks up some of the best food in the South Bay. It’s a share style restaurant that serves up a variety of different dishes. You can order anything from date glazed quail to duck confit poutine. We have been twice and each time have been impressed with our meals. From the outside, Baran’s looks deceptively simple, but inside it’s comfy, quaint, and a perfect place to sip your wine while catching up with a friend. If you’re looking for a restaurant to splurge on, I would recommend checking this place out.

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Grilled Romansco Cauliflower

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Smoked & Fried Chicken

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Pork Belly

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Coffee Toffee Pudding

 

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Blue Maxi Dress with a Touch of Lace

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Felicity & Coco Dress {similar}

Do you have that favorite blouse or pants that you only wear for special days? I do for sure. In particular this blue maxi dress I bought a couple of years ago. I don’t wear it often because the material is heavy, but since the weather here in the South Bay has been warm with a chilly breeze this maxi dress has been suiting both temperatures. I wore it while running the usual errands and I received so many compliments on it. Nothing quite like that to boost your confidence. It’s really a summer dress, but I’m trying to think of ways to wear it into fall as well. If you have any ideas let me know! By the way, don’t mind my magazine clippings in the background – that’s my “inspiration wall”.

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Olympian Inspiration

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Usain Bolt

Have you been watching the Olympics? I’ve been tearing up while watching it pretty much every night (am I alone on this?). I love watching the swimming, diving, volleyball, and track events although my favorite, is gymnastics. I did gymnastics for a couple of years when I was a kid before switching to dance. I was never nearly as talented as the Final Five, but I still remember the time, effort, training it took. I don’t know what makes this year’s Olympics so special, but I’ve been feeling a surge of encouragement and motivation from watching the events. Those athletes spend so much time devoted to being the best in their sport. As super human as some of the athletes look they’re also human and would have gone through times of difficulty questioning themselves.

When I was in college I remember being knee-deep in homework and essays wanting to throw in the towel. I’m so grateful to have had my loving family and friends there to support me! Now as I transition from student to career woman I’m faced with new challenges, but I’m really looking forward to whatever lays ahead. Hope you have a great weekend.

“I don’t run away from challenges because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” -Nadia Comaneci

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New Beauty Buys – Summer Skin Savers

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I like to think that I’m open to trying new beauty products. Most of the time I am and when I find a product that works for me I’m a lifetime customer. I have used other various products from the brands in the photo above, so I was willing to give some of their other products a try. Actually, all of these new beauty buys were bought on a whim, but all have proven to be my summer skin savers.

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut Lotion – After traveling abroad for a month and running out of body lotion halfway through our trip my skin was so dry by the time I got home. While I was picking up some groceries at the store I saw this and decided to buy it last minute. In all honesty, it was the “lavender coconut” that convinced me. Sometimes spur of the moment buys don’t work out, but I am actually really pleased with this lotion. The scent is light, the texture is smooth, and at $10 you can’t complain.

amika Nourishing Mask – I use this once a week to give my hair a little extra love. My hair gets pretty dry towards the end of summer, so this has been great for locking in much needed moisture. Not only is the scent lovely, but I really like how shiny my hair looks and feels after using it.

LA ROCHE-POSAY Active C Eyes – I’m all about prevention when it comes eye wrinkles! I’ve used multiple eye creams, but I’ve been really liking this one. The silky texture applies easily, and I wakeup to plump and dewy under eye skin. Bonus: this one doesn’t run into my eyes or cause any irritation.

LA ROCHE-POSAY Gel Face Wash (similar) – I actually bought this face wash in Switzerland and it has easily become my favorite. I really like the gel consistency, and even though it doesn’t foam my face feels soft and clean without being stripped of its natural moisture. I noticed when I apply my toner after using this face wash there isn’t much left for the toner to pick up.

Have you used any of these products before? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

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Simple Summer Greek Salad

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Since I’ve been back from Europe I’ve been making an effort to eat healthy again. After a month of indulging and eating some of the best meals of my life it’s good to be in the kitchen again. I thought I would share this Greek Salad recipe with you. It’s really easy to make and tastes delicious. I like how the creaminess of the feta cuts through the intense flavor of the red onion. It’s been really hot here in LA so salads have been our go-to meal. I’ve been having this salad with a glass of white wine while eating on our balcony enjoying the last bit of summer. Now that I’m back home it’ll be good to get back into the swing of things.


Greek Salad – Yield 2

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1 head romaine lettuce

1 cup tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup sliced red peppers, sliced

1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/3 cup feta cheese

1 tbsp. parsley, roughly chopped

1 tbsp.  mint, roughly chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tbsp. red wine vinaigrette

1-3 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

First, prep the dressing in a large bowl and set aside. Slice the onion and cucumber, then put them in the dressing to marinate for 15 – 20 minutes (this helps take out the strong onion flavor). Prepare the rest of the ingredients, then combine with the dressing mixture. Add in the romaine lettuce and mix with the dressing to evenly coat the lettuce. Throw in the feta cheese and serve immediately.

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mixed salad

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The 10 Best Items I Took With Me to Europe

A month is a long time to be traveling, especially when you’re not in the same place for more than a week. I honestly can’t say there were many times where I was kicking myself wishing I would have brought a certain item. Before we left I planned to pack for every possible situation that could arise, and in doing so I felt very prepared. That being said, I thought I would share the 10 best items I took with me to Europe. These were the things I found myself constantly reaching for, and can see them being travel staples. Are there any items you never leave home with when traveling? I’d love to know!

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  1. J. Crew Jacket – This was perfect to throw on when the temperature dipped down in the evenings. Since it’s so lightweight it was also great for layering.
  2. Klean Kanteen – My husband and I use these all the time at home. It was great because we could refill them in our apartment and carry it with us as we walked through the city. Since some restaurants, bistros, and cafes charged for water the Klean Kanteen saved us every time.
  3. Rick Steeve’s Phrase Books – My husband and I tried to speak the local language as much as we could and it really paid off. Some places we went to were sans English, so having this book in my purse came in handy.
  4. Reusable Bag – Maybe it’s a little silly that I’m including this in my list, but when it came to storing dirty laundry it was perfect. It’s able to be squished to fit in the big bag without taking up heaps of space.
  5. Crossbody Bag – I bought this at Nordstrom’s anniversary sale last year and was the best purse for traveling. It was small enough where it wouldn’t take up a ton of room, but big enough to easily hold everything I needed.
  6. Headphones – From tuning out the incessant noise of the plane engine to screaming babies, headphones were worth bringing.
  7. Turbie Towel – I use these all the time at home and was so glad to have it with me in Europe. After washing my hair I throw it in the turbo towel for a little bit; it helps my hair dry faster.
  8. Onitsuka Tiger Runners and Birkenstocks – These sneakers were supremely comfortable. I actually bought them the day before leaving and was worried they would kill my feet. I was surprised to realize they didn’t need any breaking in (winning!). Birkenstocks were perfect for the days we walked a ton and it was blistering hot. The arch support in the can’t be beat, and this style isn’t as clunky as some of their other sandals.
  9. Silk Eye mask – We stayed in some apartments that didn’t have any blinds or curtains. So at 5am when the sun was beaming through those windows, having an eye mask was a lifesaver.
  10. Osprey Backpack – This backpack was a game changer. It has multiple compartments and pockets for everything I needed to take. It was also really great having my hands free of any luggage, so I could easily hop on and off trains and buses with ease. Every single place my husband and I stayed in was up a flight of stairs with no elevator available. I was running up those staircases taking two steps at a time! Just kidding I wasn’t. I can easily see myself using this bag for camping as well. It doesn’t look the most glamorous, but it’s functionality outweighs that.
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Cinque Terre – Manarola, Our Final Stop in Europe

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Our last stop in Europe was Manarola, one of the five little cities part of Cinque Terre. It was the perfect place to end our adventures. We spent our days swimming in the Mediterranean, laying out (wearing plenty of SPF), drinking and eating. We found out just how different the beaches are compared to that of LA when we took a short train ride to Riomaggiore. Laying out on a bed of rocks, albeit smooth rocks, is not as romantic as it sounds. When we eventually found ourselves a giant rock to lay on we spent the rest of the afternoon dipping in the water and reminiscing about our trip.

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Do you like wine, bruschetta, and prosciutto? Well, so do I and that’s exactly what I had at Nessun Dorma. It’s an outdoor cafe on the side of the cliff in Manarola with the most fantastic view. The food was great and the company was even better. What more could you want at the end of a long trip except to relax on the beautiful Italian coast?

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bruschetta

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{Clearly way too much food for the two of us!}

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The best and last meal we had in Europe was at Trattoria dal Billy. Everything form the 12 different antipasti’s (no joke) to the truffle with swordfish, and panna cotta were absolutely delicious. Talk about going out with a bang, right? The photo above was the view from our table. Everything about this meal was perfect…well, except for the obnoxious Americans who were eating a few tables over – go figure!

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This is the view from one of our hikes back to our apartment. Manarola is off to the left, a cemetery in the middle, and Corniglia off in the distance on the right. I told my husband when I die to bury me here because I mean, take a look at that view! He didn’t really like that I said that…

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Italian Summer in Florence

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The last part of our Europe trip ended in Italy. From Switzerland we took a short flight to Florence and were immediately struck by the intense heat. We got a short reprieve from the heat when it started to rain, and thankfully our apartment had air conditioning. Florence is a beautiful, historic city with great food, but was difficult to get a feel for who the locals were because there were so many tourists. Il Duomo is truly spectacular. We didn’t wait in line to go inside, but even just walking around the outside you can see how much time and effort it must have taken to create such a beautiful cathedral.

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The leather and fur shops were cool to walk through. I can still remember the strong scent of leather as I walked through the aisles of purses, belts, and jackets on my way to dinner. Speaking of which, one night we went to Bistro Il Desco, a little family-owned bistro that served some of the tastiest and freshest food in Florence. The bistro gets all of their produce from their family farm, so for all the foodies out there – this is about as fresh as you can get!

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I really liked seeing how each restaurant and bistro did their version of a caprese salad. Here, they just had tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled with olive oil and spices. Simple yet satisfying!

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On the left is the roasted zucchini lasagna and the right shows the roasted rabbit with veggies. Super tasty! I plan on attempting to recreate the lasagna at home.

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Italian cafes are different than the others I have been to in Europe, but still a unique experience. I would have loved to try each one of these pastries shown above, but since I couldn’t pronounce most of them I just chose whatever caught my eye that day, ordered a macchiato and stood at the counter watching as the barista worked his magic (my macchiato was molto bene!). This place was called La Felicity and was on the corner of Via Sant’ Antonio and Via dell’ Ariento, if you’re interested.

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I can neither confirm nor deny the amount of gelato eaten on any given day. All I can say was that we walked a lot so gelato felt like the necessary treat. This gelateria above called Perché No! had some pretty unique flavors like the honey and sesame, for instance.

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I’ve seen countless sunsets at our local beach, but there was something so romantic and special about watching the sky change to different shades of pastel blue in Florence. It felt like our month long journey was finally reaching its finale. But wait! There is still one more place to go to…

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Can You Say Swiss Without a Smile?

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Switzerland is the most beautiful country I have ever been to. Not only are the streets clean, but there are rolling green hills everywhere. They say you can’t say Swiss without smiling, and after spending time there I now understand why. During our trip we did a high ropes course, which was unlike any I’ve ever done. The obstacle course was hidden by a dense forest high upon a hill. I would be ziplining from tree to tree with a steady stream flowing below me, and cows grazing the fields next to me. I remember thinking, people actually live here? How is this place real??

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Munich

During our last days in Switzerland a group of us decided to drive to Munich, and along the way stop by Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the same castle Disney was inspired by to create Cinderella’s. Although we didn’t go inside the castle (it was around a 3 hour wait) walking around the common area was still really enjoyable.

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What can I say about Munich? Not very much, to be honest. We spent most of the time in a beer garden telling stories, people watching, and drinking beer of course.

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Unfortunately, our good times were cut short when we all caught wind of the shooting taken place just a few miles away. When you read about shootings and terrorist attacks on the news you feel sorry for the victims and people affected by such a terrible thing. It is another thing when you are so close to a situation that you really understand what that fear is like. Thank goodness the shooting didn’t escalate any more than it did, but it still makes me feel for the ones who are constantly living in fear. I know an attack or shooting can happen at home too, but I guess when you’re on vacation you let your guard down and have a carefree attitude feeling untouchable – at least I felt that way. But after being in Brussels, Paris, and Munich I definitely am more thankful and appreciative of the people putting their lives on the line to make everyone feel safe and protected.

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