Tuesday, March 4, 2014

count thy many blessings..

today, i am blessed because i have..

• flaws that make me perfectly, imperfect
• a capable mind
• people who don't like me to keep me humbled
• an acute sense of taste so i can experience the epicurean wonders of life
• two eyes that can see
• two feet that allow me to walk, run, jump..
• two ears to hear the simplest of details
• friends who are there to pick me up when im down, and share a laugh when i'm happy
• 2 parents that adore me
• a family who wants to best for each other
• a boyfriend who i grow in love with (instead of fall in love)
• a little dog who brings me joy from the moment i wake up, until i lay for the night
• experiences that i have grown from
• people in my life who are truly good listeners
• many mentors whom i trust
• monetary savings for a brighter future
• intuition
• my overall health
• traveled and met fascinating people who will be in my life forever
• experienced true sadness, true joy and true love
• the ability to see the best out of any situation
• a job from which i grow from everyday
• the ability to just sit and feel my feelings
• a computer, for which i can express these thoughts

..and most of all -- because i have FAITH in a greater good

in the end, the people who believe, win; the skeptics always lose. its best to count our MANY blessings on days we lose sight of this.

what are you blessed for, today?

Monday, March 3, 2014

bates teaser | celebration!

season 2 back on!

i was so excited to come home to watch one of my favorite shows

last year, i was fortunate enough to get to work with A&E on the second season campaign.
my passion project of last year (along with duck dynasty)
 although we didn't win the bid for the whole campaign, we did get to finish this awesome teaser poster. 

we had the neon "2" build and photographed it in L.A. , which now lives in NYC at the A&E offices

to celebrate the premiere of season 2
i made the yummiest pasta EVER
(all ingredients from sunday's farmers market)

wild mushroom papardelle
(recipe below)


1¼ ounces dried Porcini mushrooms
8 ounces dried or 12 ounces fresh papardelle (wide) noodles
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large Maitake (also called Hen of the Woods) mushroom (about 3.5 ounces), trimmed and petals separated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, plus more for topping
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup (2 ounces) grated pecorino cheese

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl with 2 ½ cups very hot water. Set aside and let soften for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving leftover liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta according to package directions if using dried noodles, or approximately 4 to 5 minutes for fresh noodles, or until just al dente. You want the pasta to be done at about the same time as the mushroom sauce, so time your cooking accordingly.
Melt butter together with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted and frothy, add shallot and red pepper flakes and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rehydrated mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add Maitake mushroom pieces, stirring until slightly softened and coated in butter, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and 1/4 cup of reserved mushroom liquid; season with salt and pepper.
Add drained noodles to pan with mushrooms, sprinkle parsley over top, and gently toss until noodles are coated and have absorbed some of the liquid, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among serving bowls, top with a generous sprinkling of pecorino cheese and more parsley (if desired), and serve immediately.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

lamb stir-fry with pomegranate and yogurt

so for the most part i cook vegetarian during the week and allow from some "meaty" splurging on the weekends, but i bought some lamb at the local market, and couldn't wait 2 days to cook it! 
(+ i don't really like waiting over a day to cook meat)

this recipe is just too good not to share
enjoy! and let me know how it turns out for you.

lamb stir-fry with pomegranate and yogurt
makes 4 servings

• 2 tsp. cumin seeds
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp paprika
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1½ lb boneless leg of lamb, thinly sliced against the grain
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (i didn't have any and white wine vinegar worked just fine)
• 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
• kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
• ½ cup plain greek yogurt
• 1 medium red onion, cut into ½" wedges
• cooked rice for serving (i made jasmine rice--my fave!!)
• ¼ cup pomegranate seeds 
• 2 tbsp chopped pistachios (i couldnt use these because the beaux is allergic)
• fresh oregano, mint, and/or cilantro leaves 

toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. let cool, then finely chop (i just stuck them in my food processor for a couple mins on chop mode -- i'm lazy, i know). toss lamb and cumin, coriander, paprika , garlic, vinegar, and 2 tbsp oil in a large bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper. cover and chill 15 mins.

whisk yogurt and 2 tbsp water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat). working in batches, cook lamb, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

add onion to skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. add ½ cup water; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is tender and water is evaporated, about 3 minutes. return lamb to skillet and toss to combine. season with salt and pepper.

server lamb over rice. topped with yogurt, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and herbs.

calories: 420 fat: 36g 

recipe adapted from bon appetit

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"misery monsters"

perhaps much of what i'm about to say can be blamed on "mercury being in retrograde"; but between you and me, i find that to be lame-o excuse!

lately i've found myself knocking elbows with some downright negative, unhappy people. there are some folks that seem to be miserable all the time - nothing works, everything is a battle, day in and day out.  it makes me sad because i cant imagine waking up everyday feeling so terrible about LIFE -- this beautiful, divine gift that we have been given to experience to the fullest. i can't help but think, 'how and when did some people become so ENTITLED?' is it that we enable unacceptable behavior, or walk on egg-shells around those that are a bit moody to avoid dealing with an emotional explosion? we've created "misery monsters"!

i understand people have their reasons, and until i walk in someone else's shoes, i have no right to judge; however, i do have the right to my beliefs. i believe that no matter what trials or tribulations we encounter in life, we have a CHOICE each and every day to have a positive, or negative, outlook. no one leaves this life unscathed; we all have (and will) encounter situations that just freaking suck! but instead of dwelling on it and living in a puddle of our own anguish, why not change our perspective? we have to keep a tight rein on our outlook. we may not have control over 99.9% of life's affairs, but we do have control over our attitude. lets try our best grow with every experience we stumble upon. lets work towards a greater good. what do you say, are you with me? we owe it to ourselves and our Higher Power (if you believe in one), as we're only here for a short while.

i reeeally dont mean to come off as "preach-y", but it seems the past couple of weeks i've struggled staying cheerful throughout the day being surrounded by so much pessimism -- most of my frustration has been at work. when having a career in the [entertainment] advertising industry, there will  never be a day without something going awry. its like sitting at the edge of your seat allll day, waiting to smash through the "break incase of emergency" box to pull out an extinguisher to settle a fire. i get this, i signed up for this, and i LOVE it. it goes without saying that my job is stressful, but it can be taken to another level when it feels like everyone around you is so "doom and gloom"! i wake up excited for the day and by the end of it, i'm worn out having tried (really tried) to make sense of others' angst.  i then find myself going into "complaining" mode -- joining the rest of 'em. no bueno. i'm a solution finder! i can't help by want to find a solution!

so here is where it comes together. on my drive home from work today, i decided to take my own advice. whatever tomorrow brings, i am going to remember that i may not be able to control whatever situation comes my way, but i can control my attitude towards it.  i will smile and laugh in light of a problem. i will seize the day!

thanks for lending an ear - for listening to my rants. i hope that what i had to say tonight resonates with someone out there.

Monday, February 17, 2014

peanut butter banana cream pie

all i can say is... i love extra days off work.

honey-roasted peanut butter banana cream pie 
(and get this--no bake!)

(for crust)
• 8 oz chocolate wafer cookies (i used teddy grahams!)
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

(for filling)
• 10 oz (2 cups) honey roasted peanuts
• 1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

(for crust)
• crush cookies in a food processor until finely ground 
• transfer to a bowl and stir in brown sugar
• add butter and mix until evenly incorporated
• press into the bottom of a 9in spring form pan (or you can use a 9in pie pan)
• freeze crust until filling is ready

(for filling)
place peanuts in a blender (or food processor) and turn machine on lowest speed, gradually increase (you may have to stop the blender every now and then to scrap the sides). mix until the peanut butter begins to flow freely from the blades. transfer the peanut butter to a large bowl, scraping as much of the peanut bugger out as you can. 

don't worry about cleaning the blender at this point. add banana chunks and honey. turn to the lowest speed and then increase for about 1 minute or until the banana is liquefied. pour into bowl with peanut butter and stir to combine

wash and dry the blender to remove any residual peanut butter. you want to be sure it is very clean at this point so your cream will whip up properly.

add cream, sugar, and vanilla to blender. turn to the lowest speed, then increase for about 10 seconds. watch very carefully, the second the top of the cream stops moving, turn off the mixer immediately. over-mixing will result in butter rather than whipped cream.

stir the whipped cream in the blender to even out the consistency. remove about 1 cup of cream and set aside to use as a garnish later. add about half of the remaining whipped cream into peanut butter mixture; fold to incorporate and lighten the filling. fold in the remaining whipped cream until smooth.

pour filling into prepared crust, smoothing top with an offset spatula or butter knife. spoon or pipe remaining whipped cream in a decorative manner around the edges of the pie.  if using a springform pan, cover the entire thing with aluminum foil (without touching the cream). if using a pie pan, leave it uncovered. refrigerate or freeze for 1-2 hours or until set or frozen. (if frozen let it come to room temperature for 10-15mins before serving.

recipe adapted from love & olive oil

Thursday, February 6, 2014

an attempt for normalcy + happiness again

funny that it seems easier to write when feeling i'm a little down. i struggle to write when i'm feeling happy.. but heres my attempt at it.

my world has been feeling bright again. most the dust has settled from the end of last year. my dad is doing tons better and on the road to recovery, my relationship feels clear, im closer to my friends more than ever, work is going well... i still feel some stresses (mostly with work), but i have no complaints about anything at the moment. i can breathe again, and its a freeing feeling. i rounded out the end of last year and into the beginning of this year with a lot of questions and a lot of confusion. i felt trapped, overcome and down right exhausted. i like to be needed, but i felt TOO needed. i was spent, and lost myself for a moment there. i felt like nothing would ever be normal.

sometimes i feel overwhelmed when i think of all that has happened in such a short amount of time -- namely my dad's illness. while i was in it, it felt like eternity! it blows my mind to think that just a few months ago doctors were telling me to stay close to my phone incase the decision to put my dad on life support had to be made; the nights sitting alone in my office with panic attacks; sneaking to the bathroom at a Las Vegas photo shoot to breakdown and cry. my whole world was thrown for a loop. everyone told me how well i was handling everything. i may have looked okay on the outside, but trust me, it was REALLY hard. it was the most chaotic, empty time in my life. nothing made sense-- nothing! i did things i wouldn't normally do, felt things that i wouldn't normally feel, thought things i wouldn't normally think. i've always been known for being hyper-responsible. "chelsea alwaysss does things right and is always accountable." i take pride in being responsible, and i believe it be a part of my "identity"; but at the same time, this comes with an immense amount of pressure. it was so much pressure that i found myself wanting to fail a little to prove to people that i'm not perfect. this was all new for me -- i was in desperate search for an escape.

things are much better now. as my dad gets better, so do i. my mind feels clear -- i have that sparkle in my eye, and when i wake up in the morning, i find myself excited about the day again.  sure the dust hasn't completely settled, but i'm starting to feel normal again -- like i can start to pick up where i left off 6 months ago.  through all of this, there was definite good that i can now recognize - i proved to myself that i am stronger than i give myself credit for and that indeed i'm NOT perfect .. and thats ok! i make mistakes like everyone else and have breakdowns like everyone else. i'm human.

it was a pretty rough beginning to the new year in just about every area of my life (my relationship felt broken, family, work changes..) but as they say "time heals all", and it has and will continue to.

i attempt to be completely candid here in hopes that my life experiences resonate with others and that someone out there who is going through what i'm going through won't feel so alone -- because i very much know how that feels. 

i have much to be happy about today, and for that i am blessed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Barley, Cauliflower, and Herbs with Burrata

oh boy you guys don't even KNOW!
i'm feeling generous tonight and gifting you healthy, yummy goodness
something sooo good you'd probably pay top dollar at a fancy-shmancy restaurant.
so without further ado, i share with you a recipe that you must try...

barley, cauliflower, and herbs with burrata

1/2 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs 
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup finely chopped celery hearts
1/4 cup finely chopped celery leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley stems
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp champagne vinegar (or white vinegar)
8 oz burrata, torn
1 tbsp creme friache
coarsely ground black pepper

preheat oven to 350°. cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender (about 15-20 mins). drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool.

meanwhile, toss breadcrumbs with 1 tbsp olive oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. bake, tossing once, until golden brown (10-12 mins); let cool. (i used japanese panko breadcrumbs)

bring milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; season with salt. add cauliflower and cook until just softened (about 3 mins); drain well. discard milk.

toss cauliflower, barley, breadcrumbs, shallot, celery hearts, celery leaves, parsley, parsley stems, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar in a bowl (i used orange champagne vinegar from trader joe's -- so good!). season salad with salt.

mix burrata and creme friache in a medium bowl; season with salt. divide burrata mixture among plates, drizzle with olive oil and top with barley salad; season with pepper

I ALWAYS recommend buying as much of your produce from a local farmers market. it tastes better, i swear!.. and you're supporting local famers and businesses :)

*adapted from bon appetit january magazine