Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Ricotta on Toast

A few weeks ago, I discovered an urban legend known as the Gluten-Free Sourdough Man at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. I couldn't wait to eat all the rest of the bread (in moderation, of course) and try a few new recipes in the process.

This delicious marmalade takes three days to make, but the end-result is worth it: perfectly balanced sweet, bitter and tart flavors.

But just having the marmalade by itself wasn't good enough for me, so I made toast. But not just any toast. Fresh Ricotta, Honey and a lotta love went into this breakfast!

What's the best thing you've had for breakfast these days? Are your New Year's Resolutions still keeping you from behaving badly, or are we in Valentine mode yet? I'm craving Nutella like none other these days, maybe there's a Nutella recipe around the corner?


Gluten Free Sourdough Bread at the Hollywood Farmer's Market

I had heard the rumors. Some may even call it urban legend. For someone who tries to live a gluten-free life, the though seems to be of fairytale. Could good, crusty, sourdough bread ever really be gluten free?

Well, according to Jack Bezian, yes. I had seen the YouTube video he made, and even read the article in Whole Living. But I was still very cautious. My tummy is oh-so-sensitive, and bread can take me from skinny jeans to fat pants in the blink of an eye.

On a random Sunday, The Fiancé and I made a rare trip east of the 405 (kidding, kind of...) to visit the Hollywood Farmer's Market. I can sniff out a good sourdough anywhere, so it didn't take long for me to find Bezian Bakery.

And the man himself:

I didn't want to be a pain and Mr. Bezian was extremely busy, so we chatted only briefly, and I took off running to get home and break into his delicious bread.

A bit different than the airy sourdough I used to know and love, the Bezian Bakery sourdough is dense and very sour. And oh, so delicious. You can buy both mini loaves and full-size loaves, both sliced and whole.

So, how did I do eating this deliciousness? Perfect. No tummy bloat or pain in sight. Now, it should be noted that I do not have Celiac's Disease, but do have allergies to many grains including wheat. I wouldn't eat this everyday as I don't like pushing my limits, but once and a while, for a special treat, this makes an amazing snack.

To find the Bezian Bakery yourself, check out the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Arizona Ave. (between 2nd & Ocean) on Wednesday's from 8:30am - 1:30pm, the Pasadena Farmer's Market at Victory Park on Saturday's from 8:30am-1pm and the Hollywood Farmer's Market on Ivar and Selma on Sunday's from 8am-1pm.

I can't wait to come up with some new recipes for the bread I have left!


Setting Attainable Goals in January

I don't believe in New Years resolutions. 365 days is far too long to actually set a goal and stick with it the entire time. I prefer to break my goals down by month. Especially with the wedding now only eight months away (eek!) there is just so much I have to do and I need to stay organized. Lists like this one keep me from pulling out all of my hair, because I need that, you know, to hold up the veil.

Here are some things I'm working on in January. I'll cross them off as they are accomplished, so please feel free to check back in with this same post later in the month.

It's all about me here.

-First and and foremost, enjoy the time off before I start my new job. DONE
-Pray for little sis, who will be having surgery February 6th. DONE SHE DID GREAT!
-Read 5 books and make sure to share. Right now I'm reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, written in 1936. Long story, but some of the best business folk I've met have followed Carnegie's principles, and I want their secret. TO BE CONTINUED...
-Visit two museums TO BE CONTINUED...
-Try two new Farmer's Markets DONE

I'll be up in the gym just workin' on my fitness...

-Ride my bike to the beach at least twice a week while I'm not working. DID NOT HAPPEN
-Go to two spin classes a week DID NOT HAPPEN
-Try a yoga class at my gym at least once DID NOT HAPPEN
-Lose about 5 lbs. this month DONE!

I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is what I need!

-Pinch those pennies before New Opportunity comes! DONE!
-Eat out only twice per week. DONE!
-Organize 2013 Tax Receipts into binder before tax appointment so I have accurate deduction amounts TO BE CONTINUED...

Going to the Chapel...

-Finally formally ask the remaining FIVE bridesmaids to be in our wedding. I have tried as hard as possible to ask each in person and take them out to lunch to do so, but my far away friends will have to settle for my handmade card and gift. Immediate goal? Mail all 5 of these packages by January 10th.
-Make two wedding inspiration boards, one for each of the two color schemes I'm debating between, and send to bridesmaids (once "formally" asked) to beg for help in picking one.
-Provide info to bridesmaids on how and where to order their dress by the due date
-Order and mail Save the Dates DONE, DONE & DONE!
-Get The Fiancé to decide and ask his groomsmen and best man so he won't be standing up there all alone come Sept. 6th TO BE CONTINUED...
-Research honeymoon spots. Book trip. TO BE CONTINUED...
-Renew passport. DONE!

We will review on January 31st to see how I did!

What are some goals you are working on this month, loves?


The Parker Hotel, Palm Springs

The Fiancé surprised me with a trip to Palm Springs on New Year's Day. I was thrilled. We really needed a getaway, and I could think of no where better to be to start 2014 than Palm Springs. On New Year's Day, we walked around town, got Dole Whips from Lappert's Ice Cream, and saw all of the famous tourist attractions like the giant Marilyn Monroe statue, located at the corner of Palm Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way in the heart of downtown.

We had dinner last night at Melvyn's, made famous by Hollywood's elite over the years, including U.S. Presidents, royalty, aristocrats and celebrities visiting Palm Springs. The napkins are printed with Frank Sinatra's face. I mean, how can you go wrong? We had the most delicious wilted spinach and bacon salad, and I topped it all off with Dover Sole Piccata.

This morning we had brunch at The Parker Hotel (technically "Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs" for you SPG members) and I was in heaven. Mid-century architecture with Jonathan Adler designed interiors = this girl was over the moon. Or the palm trees at the very least. For brunch I had toast with raspberry preserves, that may have even been better than my raspberry preserves, and Artichoke'd Benedict, which is traditional Eggs Benedict but with artichoke hearts instead of English muffins. Ah-mazing. And I washed it down with a nice big bloody mary, and asked for extra olives, naturally.

Here are some pictures from our little outing this morning:

I need to go back ASAP. I also need that couch in my living room. I have to admit, I felt a tiny twinge of guilt watching the news and seeing all of you frozen folks in the mid west and east coast...so sorry it was 80 degrees where I was today! We're back now and settled into our cozy clothes in Los Angeles. But sometimes it's just so good to get out, get in the car, and drive to a new place. In the new year I hope to do this much more often. Throw caution to wind, and spread my wings. It's going to be a great year. 

For more pictures from our trip, be sure to check out the Live & Love L.A. Facebook Page!!!

Here's to 2014! I hope you all had a very lovely New Year, loves!


Farmer's Market Watermelon Radish Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

We all know I'm obsessed with Farmer's Markets. And if you didn't know, well, now you know. I'm obsessed with Farmer's Markets. Ever since Running Buddy Selena and I used to go every Saturday morning after our runs, I've been addicted. I love the feeling that I get from chatting with the farmers about their products. It makes me feel like I live in a small town, and not a bustling metropolis of 3.8 million people. I love trying new things and I love getting inspired by what I find.

This morning, armed with my new camera in hand (thank you, Santa!) The Fiancé and I walked to our local market in search of a few needed items and few not needed items. I ended up picking up a few watermelon radishes and some beautiful salad greens that were so crispy and fresh, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I didn't immediately turn them into my lunch. So we went home, and I made a simple salad. A simple salad so delicious, that it has to be shared.

We went straight home and I made this salad with an easy lemon vinaigrette with Meyer lemons from The Fiancé's Grandmother's tree. I hope you'll love it as much as we did. Check out some of the other sights from our walk this morning. There were even baby llamas at the petting zoo!

As you can see from the photo above, it's clearly the end of December in L.A. What were you up to this weekend? Are you getting excited for New Year's Eve?


How To Save Dying Gerber Daisies

Gerber Daisies used to be my very favorite flower, back when Drew Barrymore was my favorite actress, and overalls were my favorite wardrobe staple. I stopped buying them as an adult not because I stopped loving them, but because I felt that all too often they were weak and would die within a day or so of purchase. As an adult we want our purchases to be investments as often as possible. And I just couldn't invest in something that would be dead within a day. 

But that was all before I learned that I was the one who was doing it all wrong. Everything I knew about keeping flowers alive (cut the stems at an angle, place in water) applied to sensitive Gerberas, but there was something else that I didn't know. 

When Gerbers start to fall, you can bring them back to life easily by soaking them up to their little necks in water. It's like magic. And a worthy investment, if I do say so myself.

Materials Needed
-Masking Tape
-Jars or a tall glass vase

Step 1: Cut off the dead part of the stems, just past where the daisy is drooping.

Step 2: Place masking tape in a grid-like pattern over the top of your jars or bucket if using fresh daisies.

Step 3: Fill the jars with water all the way to the top. Place the flowers into the grid, so that the flower stays dry, but the entire stem is submerged in water.

Step 4: Allow Gerberas to soak up the water for 4-6 hours. Flowers are ready when you can take one flower out of the jar, and it will stand upright all on its own.

Step 5: Voila! All better!

FYI - You can also do this to the stems from the very beginning using a very tall bucket when you first bring the Gerbers home, and they will last much longer from the beginning! 

What's your favorite flower, loves?


Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Let's be honest. You haven't done all of your Christmas shopping yet, have you? I won't tell anyone. You still have an entire weekend. Practically 5 whole days even. The stores will all be open because we all know the big box stores don't let their employees go home ever, so there's that. And then there's Amazon. And I know you're a Prime member because, duh. And I'm sure you're crafty, or at least you are like me and pretend to be, so we can make some stuff if worse comes to worse. But we still have five days. So don't panic quite yet.

I've always been so last minute. I've been the "Oh, no! It must have gotten lost in the mail!" girl...I've been the "Here's a joint gift for everyone, because that's more fun!" girl, and I've even been the "Let's just call this a Valentine's Day gift, okay, because we should totally give presents on Valentine's!" girl.

Well, this year, that stopped. For me. But we're talking about you here. So here are some ideas, in case this year, you are like me in previous years. Does that make sense? So let's cover all of our bases. Online, The Mall and Handmade. All things that you can order, buy, or make, in five days or less.

Ready, set, go.

1. J. Crew Fair Isle Thermal Leggings, $69.99+40% off until Christmas 2. J. Crew Crystal Rosette Necklace, $150.00+30% off until Christmas 3. Brookstone Sand, $14.99 4. Brookstone "On the Rock" Glass with Ice Ball Maker, $19.99 5. Brookstone NAP Socks, 3 Pairs, $19.99 6. Crate and Barrel Hario Chaor 4-Cup Tea Maker, $59.95

1. My Raspberry Jam 2. Pallet Bench and Planter 3. T-Shirt Pillow 4. Candy Cane Scrub 5. Dipped Wooden Spoons 6. DIY Mini Emergency Kit

What are you making, doing, buying for Christmas this year, loves?