Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zesty Lemon Black Bean Salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

black bean salad

My favorite cookbook lately has been Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson. It's filled with healthy and vibrant vegetarian recipes interspersed with gorgeous pictures of Northern California. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. I recently made this black bean salad from the cookbook and am glad to say I will be making it again and again. The lemon zest really brings it to another level. 

Zesty Lemon Black Bean Salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

1 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBL sugar
sea salt
.
2 - 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, sugar and salt so that all the tomatoes are covered. 
2. Bake at 350 deg F for about 45-60 min, until caramelized, stirring halfway through cooking time. Let cool on baking sheet when done.
3. In a large bowl combine black beans, almonds, lemon zest and juice, and feta cheese. Add tomatoes and toss until completely combined. 
4. Add more olive oil if needed and season with salt and pepper. 

This can stay up to 4 days in the fridge. The longer it sits, the better. 

What cookbooks have you been loving lately?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mixtape Monday: Workout 2.0

Due to the popularity of my last Workout mixtape, here's an all new one:

1. Sacrilege - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (I'm loving their newest album, Mosquito, it's very reminiscent of their older sound.)
2. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro (a sexy, danceable tune I've loved since high school)
3. Looking Hot - No Doubt
4. Modern Hearts  - The Knocks (feat. St. Lucia)
5. Lies - CHVRCHES (This is my new favorite band, check them out.)
6. Million Dollar Bills - Lorde (for fans of: Santigold and Marina and the Diamonds)
7. Starstruck - Lady Gaga
8. Now is Not the Time - CHVRCHES
9. The Old House is Gone - St. Lucia 
10. Motorway - Little Boots (great for cooling down)
11. Let the Groove Get In  - Justin Timberlake (20/20 is UH-MAZING, y'all. Instant "Album I Will Always Love")

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Albums I Will Always Love: The Killers, Hot Fuss


The Killers
Hot Fuss

I think it's safe to say that most music critics helm Hot Fuss as one of the best/accomplished debuts by any rock or alternative group. Mr. Brightside. All These Things That I've Done. Somebody Told Me. Enough said, right?
Sure it borrows inspiration from 80's bands like The Smiths or Duran Duran, but The Killers add their own dose of Las Vegas glamour and edge. 
The first time I heard this album in 2004 - my freshman year of high school - I remember falling in love with their unique sound and Brandon Flowers' charcoal-rimmed eyes. I just felt so cool (read: I was not) and it thus began my love for all things alternative and indie. 
I am a sucker for story-telling lyrics, and I like that most numbers on this album do just that - whether it's about a murder or hearing rumors about an ex.
The album's sound and subject matter also reflect the state in which the band is from - Nevada. The desert landscape. Glittering Las Vegas. Old-timey western saloons and tumbleweeds. All of it.
If this album has remained a favorite of mine for over 9 years and Brandon Flowers still makes the most appearances in my dreams out of any celeb, then I think it's safe to say my obsession with this album (and Brandon) will never cease.  (Don't get excited about my Brandon Flowers dreams, all we usually do is just hold hands and walk around a mall, but..still.)

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier 
- All These Things That I've Done

Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight
Well somebody told me
You had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential
 - Somebody Told Me

I love this video - very Moulin Rouge.

Check out: "All These Things That I've Done" is a catchy, soulful anthem, "Jenny Was A Friend of Mine" is a wonderfully energetic and emotional opener, and "On Top" is very 80's/very inspired by Sting.

Buy: Amazon | iTunes

More Albums I Will Always Love

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mixtape Monday: Life's a Happy Song


Musical theatre productions during my high school and college years always took place during the spring, and it makes sense. (Most) musicals are sunny celebrations that take make you accept that it is perfectly normal for everyone to burst into synchronized singing and dancing (if you can't accept and believe it, you either have no imagination or you must be thinking what great improvisers they are). Musicals make you smile and always have a rosiness about them. The blossoming trees and warmer springtime air provides a colorful and energetic backdrop for a musical. On beautiful days, don't you wish a musical number was just waiting to happen? 
This week's mixtape is a collection of songs that make me feel like I am living in a musical, in my imagination (most of which are not featured in any musicals).

1. All the Pretty Girls - fun. (This song is off fun.'s debut album, Aim and Ignite, which I find to be more theatrical than Some Nights. I really want a Broadway musical set to their songs. Perfection it would be.)
2. Life's a Happy Song - The Muppet Movie Soundtrack (See all the pictures above? They are stills from this exact musical number, which I think is the happiest movie scene ever. The colors, the jazz hands, le sigh.)
3. Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) - Regina Spektor (such a sunny song)
4. LDN - Lily Allen (Her music is so danceable, kitschy, and hilarious - musical ready I think!)
5. I Hate Everyone - Get Set Go (an angsty musical number)
6. I Want to Break Free - Queen (I LOVE ME SOME QUEEN. All their music is Broadway ready and puts me in the best mood.)
7. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) - Mika (He is definitely influenced by Queen and "Fat Bottomed Girls." Mika's music is theatrical and flamboyant, just as it should be.)
8. Nice Day - Persephone's Bees (reminds me of a French musical from the 60's)
9. You Don't Know Me - Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor)
10. Somebody to Love - Queen (this song should be sung in a bar scene)
11. At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be) - fun. (see #1)
12. I Thought I Saw Your Face Today - She & Him
13. Downtown - Petula Clark (I've always imagined people singing this on a beautiful spring day on a busy street and everyone is wearing pastels.)
14. I See Things - The Choir Practice
15. You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates (another great movie musical scene from 500 Days of Summer)

Hear some of the songs here:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls

thai chicken quinoa
I've really been on a health-kick lately. Specifically high fiber and protein meals - food that fuels you with long lasting energy and keeps you full. 
Going with this trend, I've been eating lots of quinoa (a superfood). I love the texture, it oddly reminds me of tobiko (the  orange "caviar" on sushi). 
So, I was soooo excited to try How Sweet It Is' Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl recipe the moment I saw it. 
I multiplied the recipe, just because there are more mouths to feed in my house and we love leftovers, and I added fresh grated ginger, but changed nothing else. It is perfect as is and really satiates any pad thai cravings you might have. I will definitely be making this dish again and hope you try it out! yumm
thai chicken quinoa

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Charleston Lately...

iop iop iop
Highlights from my long weekend in Charleston:

> Seeing my hilarious, great friend Vern who has been back in the states from Denmark, waiting for her work visa to process
>Sneakily putting googly eyes on various objects and pictures in our favorite bar (nothing/no one was safe)
> Hitting up 5 coffee shops in one day
> Going to Isle of Palms while everyone was at work, just cause
> Laughing, lots of it, and fulfilling, late-night heart to hearts
> Eating my first Waffle Taco at The Green Door - a waffle filled with sambol fried chicken, bacon, sriracha maple syrup, goat cheese, and yes, Lucky Charms. I can't believe this beautiful creation exists either...
>Listening to lots of Alt-J with the windows rolled down
> Discovering parts of Charleston I never knew existed
 >Meeting up with my future Chicago roommate (!)

It's always hard to leave all this. Who ever wants to go back to reality when you've been living large in Charleston for a few days?
the green door rec room rec room

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Bird Ballet

This unbelievable video of a Starling murmuration is truly mesmerizing. 
I am always in awe of nature, but this leaves me speechless.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mixtape Monday: Far East

chinatown
photo taken in SF's Chinatown this past September

I've really been digging Phoenix' new song "Entertainment," which has an obvious Asian influence about it and music video to boot. 
This week's mixtape is inspired by this song - indie tunes with a Far East flair. 

1. Entertainment - Phoenix (can't wait for the new album!)
2. Parachute - Shugo Tokumaru (a really cute Japanese singer-songwriter)
3. Love Letter to Japan - The Bird and the Bee
4. Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie & The Banshees
5. This Orient - Foals
6. Tokyo - The Books
7. Chinatown - Wild Nothing (very 80's)
8. Little Man - Little Dragon
9. Tokyo - California Wives
10. Kaze Wo Atsumete - Happy End (from the Lost in Translation soundtrack)

hear 'em all:
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