Family Easter

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Hanging out with the cutie Santi. He’s getting so old, so fast!
Arrived to my dad's house one morning to find my grandpa making bloody mary's from scratch. Fresh squeezed tomatoes are key!
Arrived to my dad’s house one morning to find my grandpa making bloody mary’s from scratch. Fresh squeezed tomatoes are key!

I realized I never shared some photos I snapped from Easter Sunday a few weeks back!

In my family, food is what unites us. Whether it’s preparing it all together or sitting around a table for dinner has always been emphasized. No phones, no TVs, just pure conversation, sometimes debate, and always good food.

This year, my family spent Easter a bit scattered (Aaron in Colorado, Mateo and my dad in Scotland) and Santi with his mom, and aunts and uncles off doing their own thing. I spent the day with my grandma and my mom, having a relaxing Easter together in the backyard with great music, champagne, and food. Wanting to take advantage of a brand new, state of the art kitchen, I put myself in charge of Easter dinner!

Springtime cooking is my favorite! It’s a little bit lighter and fresher than the heavy, comfort foods of winter but still have the ability to warm you from the inside out.

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After Mass, I started us off with a light brunch: Lemon Ricotta and Avocado Toast (on rosemary country bread), topped with cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes.

Avocado Toast is trendy AND delicious ;)

My recipe is super simple!

  • 1/2 lemon (zested and squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (whole or part skim milk)
  • 1 very ripe, large avocado
  • 1 quarter cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup heirloom toms, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • crusty bread, sliced and toasted

Grate the zest of half a lemon into about 1/2 cup ricotta. I accidentally bought whole milk, but part skim works well. In a separate bowl, roughly chop/smash your avocado with a little salt and pepper. Try to keep it a bit chunky, rather than smooth guacamole-style. Lightly fold lemon juice in (again, not too much as to prevent it from becoming too smooth).

On toasted slices of bread, spread a layer of ricotta and then spoon on a heavy layer of avocado (the more the better, trust me!). Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and chili flakes. Top with cukes and toms. Enjoy!

It’s seriously the perfect snack, light lunch, or brunch!

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After brunch, I got to work prepping for dinner. To stay with a springtime theme, I decided to make Mimi Thorisson’s Creme Fraiche Herb Roasted Chicken. However, instead of creme fraiche, I used non-fat Greek yogurt and all the fresh herbs my mom had in the garden (rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage), and stuffed it with carrots, onion, lemon, and garlic.

On the side, we prepared prosciutto wrapped asparagus (drizzled with olive oil, salt, herbs, and lemon) and a beautiful Citrus Salad (butter lettuce, cara cara oranges, grapefruit, blue cheese, and hard boiled egg).

We finished our amazing meal with one of the most insane cakes I have ever had the pleasure of eating/making: Wild Blueberry and Ricotta cake. It is TOO. DIE. FOR. The perfect blend of light flavors and rich texture, it was moist and everything you want from a cake. I can’t recommend it enough. Make it for tea and coffee, or for a pot luck, or on a Monday night and enjoy it for breakfast every day for the rest of the week.

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I found the recipe on Bon Appetite’s website, but replaced the raspberries for wild blueberries and, of course, dressed it in it’s best Easter hat.

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It was a delicious afternoon! How do you spend family dinners?

Family Easter

Hungry and Alone: Dinner for One.

Living alone is definitely much different than not living alone.

Not only are most of your hours spent alone (until, of course, you begin to make friends)… but I never realized how much my food schedule revolved around someone else’s. My usual routine is to head to the store once a week for basics (eggs, cheese, bread, fruit, coffee and almond milk) and then, depending on what was decided about dinner, we would go to the store or order in daily. Breakfast was toast and coffee and lunch was always some variation of basics or leftovers.

Now that dinner is a one-woman-show, I find myself not really needing it. Or wanting it. Since I moved in alone, I’ve been sustaining myself on coffee, arepas (a kind of Colombian corn tortilla) and queso campesino (every day cheese)…. until last night.

I realized last night (Saturday) at about 11pm that I was utterly and completely starving! Picking at this and that like a pigeon had finally caught up to me. My instinct was to go to the fridge, but I knew the contents would likely disappoint: you can only eat so much cheese and arepa. Then I reached for my phone to order take out… Quickly realized I didn’t know of any local places who delivered after 11 pm.

I subdued my appetite with a little wine and Danish cookies, however this morning pangs of hunger reminded me that I should eat properly again. Didn’t you notice a lack of foodie photos on my Instagram this week!?

I spent a lazy Sunday morning drinking coffee and eating papaya on the porch, (again, serious appetite suppressants) but when 4pm called, I decided to raid my fridge of the last random bits and ends for a proper meal.

After tossing last weeks carpaccio and some chicken, I decided to sauté up everything else that was left: Arugula, garlic and rosemary, capers, and some iberico cheese in a little white wine. I topped that with 2 over medium eggs and called it a day.

Not too shabby for an impromptu kitchen fridge clean out!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetI’m not going to lie: Living alone is difficult.

Hungry and Alone: Dinner for One.

One Way Ticket: Bogota.

Early Sunday morning (like 2 am early…) I was packing and repacking my two suitcases to make sure neither was over 50 lbs (proven difficult with a wishy-washy scale). It’s a really interesting job trying to condense your life into a couple suitcases and a carry on; what makes the cut to travel with you? What stays behind? Should I take these books or this purse? It’s kind of liberating, but also really frustrating because WHAT IF you decide to go to that 70s themed party and those Lita’s you left behind would have worked perfectly with the flared pants you don’t yet own?

Somehow I figured it out and left a few pairs of shoes behind (yes, the Litas), packed the books in my overweight carry on and I was off to the airport. I’m not sure if it was the pressure and emotion of knowing I was leaving the U.S. without finite plans to return but this was hands down the most grueling travel experience I’d ever had. As it was, I was running on 3 hours of sleep from Friday night (woohoo Korean Karaoke!!) so my exhaustion level was up there and then I had an EIGHT HOUR layover in Dallas.

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Thank god for the Admirals Lounge. I spent the day comfortably napping, showering, drinking vino, and watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

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When the last leg of my flight landed in Aeropuerto Eldorado in Bogota and I went through immigration, it was 1 am and I had been traveling for nearly 24 hours! A proper bed was a welcome sight.

Monday morning I headed to the grocery store after lunch and explored a little. I’ve been in many a Colombian grocery, but this time I made a point to become familiar with it. The mountains of tropical fruits and veggies is remarkable! Many of them you can’t find in the states, and the eggs are in the dry goods section, next to the flour and corn meal. I’m already researching some local dishes to recreate!

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Eggs in the dry goods aisle!
Eggs in the dry goods aisle!

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t done much in my first few days here except visit with lots of family but that’s because I’ve been SO sick!

My cutie cousin Sofia.
My cutie cousin Sofia.

I’m a big time believer in your body moving and expelling energies depending on your state of mind and physicality, and the emotional toll that such a move and change like this takes manifests itself physically through fevers and sweating. Maybe I’m shedding my old life?

Or maybe I just have a bit of altitude sickness? Either way, getting sick when living alone SUCKS. I remember I got sick one of my first weekends in the dorms back at CU and it was awful! All I wanted was my mommy, but I was 18 and I had to woman up/ask my roommates to maybe bring me a snack from the dining hall. This is my first time living completely alone and there is no mommy OR roommates to ask for help… or dining hall for that matter.

Note to self: Always pack a thermometer and some cold medicine. 

In my new apartment!
In my new apartment!
Carpaccio made with my grandpa and enjoyed with a bottle of Finca Las Moras Black Label 2012 Malbec.
Carpaccio made with my grandpa and enjoyed with a bottle of Finca Las Moras Black Label 2012 Malbec.

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One Way Ticket: Bogota.

Birthday Dinner: Rioja.

My birthday seems like forever ago, but being the foodie that I am, I had to share my AMAZING birthday dinner with you guys! (Thanks Tyty!!)

WARNING: If you do not like delicious, beautiful food OR if you do not want to eat your screen, look away now!!! 

Alright here we go…

So Tyler took me out for my birthday dinner to one of his favorite restaurants in Denver: Rioja. It’s a swanky, Spanish-inspired restaurant in Larimer Square. For years it’s been considered the Best Restaurant in Denver and even won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southwest 2013; I’ve been eager to try it for years! The interior is modern and chic and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable about the food and potential wine pairings.

They offer half glasses of wine, which is perfect for sampling and pairing with each course. To kick the evening off, we started with a little cava and some red.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Our server brought out an amuse bouche: salmon tartare with avocado, dressed in a ginger soy and topped with a crunchy cuke. I’m pretty sure I could have eaten only that all night. The flavors were bursting and refreshing.
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After listening to the decadent specials and some debating and pondering, we finally settled on pasta dishes for first course. I went for the house made ravioli: ricotta and English peas, topped with peashoots, rabbit sausage, and sherry braised morels.

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I’m going to go ahead and say that this one of the most exquisite dishes I’ve ever had the honor of eating. It was like springtime hopped onto my plate (haha, get it, because it was rabbit sausage? ;)) and rolled around in a delicious sherry braise.

I don’t usually jump to the ravioli dishes but I’ve never had rabbit before and I’ve always been curious. It was delicious! It was almost like a pork, but slightly sweeter. Highly recommend if you find it on a menu. Morels are a rare treat, almost like a piece of perfect meat that I wish would never end! Here’s another look for the foodies:

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Each dish we had paired with a half glass of Spanish wine to compliment the flavors. Honestly, I think every restaurant should offer that! It’s a great way to sample many wines and flavors, while complimenting your food without racking up a huge booze bill.

For the 2nd course, I went with the salmon dish (cooked medium) with reduced apple puree, squid ink, potato crisp, and braised spring onions. Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Not only was it beautiful but it was hearty and indulgent in a way that didn’t leave you feeling full to the brim. Slightly earthy (on account of the potatoes and apples) and sweet, it balanced perfectly with a Tempranillo. The potato crisp was like a gourmet Ruffle chip (something I haven’t had in ages!!).

After our plates were removed, we decided to indulge in another glass of bubbly (a great cava) and some black fig stuffed beignets with a port reduction. Actual fried perfection. I love figs and I love beignets. I met my match. To finish everything off, we nibbled on some crystalized mint to wash everything down.

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After dinner we hopped in an Uber and headed off to Saige’s show for fun night of drinks and local music!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIf you’re in Denver, do yourself a favor and head to rioja for an exceptional dinner! They also have brunch!!

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate! It was a great day and I’m really excited to see what 24 will bring me!

Birthday Dinner: Rioja.

Turning 24.

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I turned 24 about a week and a half ago, and it’s a very powerful feeling. I’m about to embark on some pretty major life changes and adventures, taking almost a quarter century worth of knowledge and wisdom with me.

Twenty four is a point in your life where you begin to abandon your “childhood” (but NEVER your youth!) and look forward into “adulthood”. The things we decide when we’re 24 almost always affect us in the coming years and it’s an interesting, if not scary, thought.

I left Boulder, Colorado last week after 5 and half amazing years. In 2009, 18 year old me could not have imagined the beautiful people and things I was about to experience in my new life as a Coloradan. I learned so much about myself, life and the world while I lived there and my personal growth is immeasurable. My love for that state and it’s people is deeper than anyone will know and I can’t thank them enough. Colorado will forever be home to me, and while it’s not goodbye forever, I will miss it dearly.

There are people to meet, places to go, and things to do in the next 24 years and they’re all as rich and exciting as the last 24. I’m excited to see what it will bring and welcome it with open arms (even if I have to remind myself to do so once in a while).

That being said, I hope you’ll continue to follow this blog as a sort of “public journal” of my thoughts and adventures during my next exciting chapter in Colombia! I’ll be sure to fill it with beautiful pictures and stories and, hopefully, help inspire your next life adventure.

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Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to share my new life, starting next week! Stay tuned!

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Turning 24.

LACMA + Pierre Huyghe: Retrospective.

A few months ago, while I was in LA, I went to the LACMA for a day of museum wandering with my friend Dom. We headed out to explore the museum’s exhibit of the moment: Pierre Huyghe retrospective. He works with film, installations and sculpture to create art. This was my second time at the exhibit and it was an entirely different experience than the first time! His pieces work to warp your perception and play with your imagination. It possibly the best exhibit I’ve ever been to! Unfortunately,the exhibit closed last week (Feb. 22) but I realized I never shared some of my photos from it. My own retrospective of my time at the LACMA this winter.

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After the Huyghe exhibit, we checked out some of the other modern/contemporary exhibits.

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It was a great day of wandering and discussing things like art and meaning, but also to just think silently about other things. When I find myself in a museum or exhibit, I feel myself absorbing and retaining a lot from what I am seeing or discovering, but in the same breath, I am expelling a lot of thought I carried in with me. It’s almost a way to detox my mind and thoughts. “Soul Searching”, if you will.

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One of the things that Dom and I discussed while at the museum was the fact that everyone is busy taking pictures of the art or where they are in order to remember it forever, rather than mentally absorbing the scene around them.

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I agree to an extent, but I also believe that by capturing the art for my memories, I am also capturing it in the way that I see it: In my interpretation; which I could then call my own art. I call it museum inception. Art within art.

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If you’re in LA, don’t miss out on a day of art. The LACMA is a fantastic museum and most exhibits are free!

LACMA + Pierre Huyghe: Retrospective.

Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21

One of the great things about working from home is that you have the ability to work from where ever you want, whenever you want! (Beach included!)… The not-so-great thing about working from home is that most of your days are spent working in the same space you go to relax and unwind (ie, my kitchen, bed, living room).

Because of this, I’ve found it’s so important to mix up your work space at least once a week. I like to head to my favorite working coffee shop in Boulder: Ozo Coffee on west Pearl St. The coffee is strong, the music is always pumping, and the shop is always filled with other remote-workers. (Did you know that 20% of Boulder works from home/coffee shops?)

Working remotely means always having the supplies you need on hand (planner, pens, chargers, laptop and iPad, etc.) and in an organized way. That’s where my latest fave accessory comes in!

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My new fjallraven No. 21 backpack is my current obsession! Their second American store just opened up down the road from me on Pearl Street about a year ago, and I’ve spent many an afternoon lusting over their website and walking past the outdoorsy, rustic shop. I’ve considered becoming more outdoorsy just so I can justify a full Fjallraven wardrobe!

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But until then, I will just pack my laptop, books, lunch, and chargers away neatly into they super cool and hipstery rucksack of mine.

Thanks tyty for the awesome Christmas gift and being my personal photog this morning!

Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21