In the Kitchen

Dinner at Stanley's

If Zach and Melissa were to ever open a restaurant, they would name it after Zach's grandfather and future pug, Stanley. Tonight, I enjoyed a homemade meal by Chef Zach in the Lincks abode. Chef Zach made ramen!! Cho oishii! 

I am so thankful and blessed to have Zach and Melissa in my life. Not only do they feed me delicious food, but they open up their home and their lives to me so we can live life together. Praise God for their generosity, love and humor. :) 

RECIPE: (Paleo) Chocolate Muffins

I know, paleo chocolate muffins may sound gross to some people.  But these muffins are really good.  They taste like chocolate cake from the good ole' Pilsbury box mix - chocolate and fluffy.  I'm not sure if how I make these muffins make them paleo since I replaced the Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips with Guittard Dark Chocolate Chips, but nonethless, these are pretty healthy chocolate chip muffins.  Great for breakfast or a pre/post-workout snack!

[RECIPE from PaleOMG]

RECIPE: Speed Dates (Pre-Workout Snack)

Our Marketing Team at work created a mini Vday pop-up shop and while I sold HK Egg Puffs (recipe to come soon!), my co-worker Lindsay made these "Speed Dates."  These Speed Dates are the perfect little bites to eat before an early morning swim.  I've been looking for a simple granola bar recipe and this is the perfect one!  These are simple and easy to make and delicious and filling - just the perfect snack before a workout or a snack in between meals.  Check out the recipe below!  Next time I'm going to try adding chocolate chips in it!  Yum yum yum!  It makes me excited to wake up and eat these little speed dates.


Makes 12-13 balls.

1 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup of oats
12-13 dates, chopped
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon of vanilla
orange zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup of water
1 pinch of salt
extra coconut flakes to roll the balls in - about 1 cup (optional)

Put the dates, coconut flakes, oats, pumpkin seeds, and salt in a food processor (or Vitamix) and pulse until dry and crumbly.  Zest one orange over the top of the food processor (or Vitamix).  Let these ingredients process for a minute until the bigger items are broken down. 

Slowly add the water and vanilla until the mixture becomes wet and sticky.  Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture and roll into 1" balls.  Then roll the balls into the extra coconut flakes to prevent these speed dates from sticking to each other. 

I like eating these at room temperature, but you can chill them in the fridge or freezer to eat them cold. 

Other Variations:  I hope to add dark chocolate chips to this next time!  I think it'll add a delicious mix to the speed dates.  Let me know if you try it with other variations!


Sunday Suppers: Gwyneth Paltrow's "Crazy Good Fish Tacos"

So my friend Kelly and I started a weekly dinner together which I've not so creatively named "Sunday Suppers."  Since she moved to SF, we figured it would be fun to hang out after Sunday service with a run/hike/rock climbing/yoga and then end the day with a delicious dinner so we can catch up on our week. 

I've been pulling recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, It's All Good - Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great.  The recipes in this book are actually pretty good.  Last week I made her Teriyaki Chicken recipe and this weekend I made her "Crazy Good Fish Tacos" recipes.  The fish tacos were pretty darn good.  I'm not sure if I'd call them "crazy" good, but they were good.  Kelly and I were much satisfied after we completed our meal.

What inspired me to make these fish tacos were -

1)  the weather - it's been a warm winter and this past weekend I felt it was like summer!

2)  work - so at work we've been highlighting a new South American fish called Paiche (pronounced "pie-chay") that we sell exclusively in our stores and we sponsored 2 bloggers JoyFoodly and ChezUs to create recipes with this fish.  Chef Hollie Greene from JoyFoodly created these delicious looking fish tacos so I thought I would try

3)  and just a craving for some guac and queso fresco.

And lastly, I believe there were 2 factors that made these fish tacos pretty good -

(one) the fish, I purchased a new South American fish called Paiche (pronounced "pie-chay!" from the Whole Foods Market in Oakland and it's the perfect fish for fish tacos.  It has a mild taste and buttery texture and it's hard to overcook!  Hence, making it a great fish to use for fish tacos.  I'm not saying this because I work for Whole Foods Market.  I usually would use tilapia, but tilapia is super easy to overcook or dry out.  Paiche on the other hand is a solid fish that holds its texture and flavor when cooked and is super delicious wrapped in a warm tortilla!

(two) the roasted poblano pepper in the sauce that Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe calls for.  It makes a well-rounded sauce to go with the fish taco and enhances the freshness of the entire meal.

Anyways, long story short - these fish tacos were delish!  Check out the recipe below.

Serves 4
Recipe adapted from It's All Good - Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great

The Roasted Pepper Sauce
1 small poblano pepper
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1/4 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed

The Fish Part
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of Paiche (or other mild white fish), skin removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
sea salt
black pepper
warm tortillas

Extras (this is what makes it all delicious and completes the meal!):
red cabbage
'Have'A Corn Chip' Tortilla Chips
Queso Del Valle Queso Fresco
Roberto's of Santa Cruz Salsa
extra limes for that extra zest

Set an open gas flame to medium-high heat and roast the poblano pepper.  Using tongs, rotate the pepper every now and then until all of it is roasted black.  If you don't have an open gas burner, broil the poblano pepper in the oven and move the oven rack to the middle of the oven.  Roasting the pepper should take about 15 minutes.  Don't rush this process - you will want to make sure the pepper is cooked and charred on the outside.  Once this is done, put the pepper in a paper bag and close the bag so it can naturally steam and it will be easy to take the skin off.  After it's cooled, slip off and remove the burnt skin, stem, and the seeds.  Rinse the pepper with a little bit of water to remove any charred remains.  Then puree the pepper in a blender along with the onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno and set the sauce aside. 

Take a large skillet and the put the olive oil in it and set your stove to high heat.  Then add the Paiche to the pan and add some salt and pepper to your fish.  Saute the fish until cooked - this takes about 6-7 minutes.  Turn off the heat and serve the fish!

I served the sauce on the side.  The original recipe called to mix the sauce with the fish.  Do as you prefer. 

Then I placed the fish, sauce, tortillas, and extras on the table so we could build our own fish tacos!  It's fun and delicious!  Hope you enjoy it too!

RECIPE: Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

Cheesecake is another one of my favorite desserts to make and eat.  I was invited to dinner at a friend's new home and was in charge of bringing dessert so I tried this recipe I found on  I usually search for recipes on, but lately I've been trying recipes from Food52 and they've been great!  I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake that all my friends loved from Food52 so I thought I'd find another cheesecake recipe from that site.  I love the lemon used in this recipe, it makes the cheesecake taste "lighter".  As "light" as a cheesecake can be, the is a great dessert to complete any meal or eat on its own.  Plus, the Biscoff cookie crust adds a unique twist to the generic graham cracker crust found in typical cheesecake recipes.  

Note:  The original recipe called for 2 Meyer Lemons, but I bumped mine up using 4 Meyer Lemons to secure that lemon flavor.


Serves 10
Recipe from Food52

Biscoff crust
5oz. Biscoff cookies, crumbled
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.

In a food processor, blitz Biscoff cookies until finely ground. Add sugar and salt and continue to process. Slowly pour in melted butter and process again.  (I had a Vita-Mixer and processed it all in it)

Press mixture into bottom and up sides of springform pan. Bake in 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let crust cool to room temperature.

Meyer lemon cheesecake filling
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
large eggs
cup sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract  (if you don't have this, just use an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
Meyer lemons, zest removed and juice reserved  
1 (16 oz.) carton sour cream (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl, place cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sugar and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add 1/2 of the zest to the cheesecake batter, reserving the remainder. Add all of the juice and the extracts to the batter, and continue to mix. Pour batter into prepared crumb crust. Place pan on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cake is just set in center. Remove cake from oven but do not turn off oven.

Whisk together sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and remaining lemon zest. Spoon mixture onto the cheesecake and spread with an offset spatula or knife. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. Store cheesecake, well-wrapped in refrigerator.