I'm not a huge cucumber fan.  However, when its hot outside the combination of tangy greek yogurt and cucumber makes for a perfect refreshing side or sauce with almost every meal.

[image borrowed from Simplyrecipes.com- Broke my camera :( ]

1/2 cup low fat or fat free greek yogurt
1/2 cup seeded chopped cucumber
3 tbsp chopped scallions
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
squeeze (approximately 1 tsp) fresh lemon juice

1. Combine cucumber and scallions in a bowl
2. Stir in greek yogurt
3. Sprinkle salt and cumin over top and stir
4. Stir in lemon juice
5. Serve as a side, over a protein, or in a sandwich

I love to use this raita with fish or over a piece of lamb.  Yum!


Another successful swap

Twice a year I throw a clothes swap for my girlfriends.  It used to be an annual event but since everyone seems to enjoy it so much it has turned into a biannual party.

The ladies gather with all the clothes, shoes, and accessories that they found in the back of their closet and don't wear anymore and we lay it all out and swap!  Everyone gets to go through their girlfriends clothes and pick what they want to take home.  Because one woman's trash is another woman's treasure.

At the end of the day we bag up all the items that didn't find a new home and they are donated to multiple homeless shelters in the area.  It's a really fabulous event because its fun and a great excuse to get the ladies together, and in the end we are all doing a good deed.

What I wore to the swap this year:

I chose an outfit that is something I would wear thrifting.  I wore a white tank top under a tunic with leggings and flip flops.  This way if I wanted to try on a dress or sweater I could slip off my tunic and try it on over my tank top and I could easily try on skirts over my leggings.

[Leggings and tunic- Forever 21, Sandals- Old Navy]

Pictures from this years swap:

Allison modeling some old clothes up for swap

Ericka's Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Allison's Capuccino Chocolate Muffins

Shoe's for swap

Ari in fluorescent!

Michelle's Delicious radish and creme fresh bites

Sorting through jewelry for swap

The ladies piling on the left over clothes for a picture

Almond Praline Candy (See Pistachio Praline Candy Recipe here)

Dresses for swap

See photos from the last swap here.

Tomato Basil Pinwheels

I've made this tasty appetizer a few times and its always been a huge hit.  The flaky puff pastry is a perfect compliment to the garlicky sun-dried tomato pesto filling.  The entire process from start to finish takes about 30 minutes to make and it is well worth the effort.

1 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
5 cups fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped garlic cloves
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water to make egg wash

1. Blend sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor for about 30 seconds
2. Add cheese to food processor and blend for another 30 seconds
3. Stream olive oil into food processor while blending other ingredients
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
5. Roll thawed puff pastry onto floured board or counter
6. Spread tomato basil pesto over puff pastry sheet within a 1/2 inch of all edges
7. Gently roll the puff pastry into a spiral
8. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer for five minutes
9.  Remove pastry roll from freezer and quickly slice roll into 1/2 inch spirals
10.  Place spirals on a baking sheet and lightly coat top with egg wash

11.  Bake for 6 minutes then flip pinwheels and bake for an additional 5 minutes


Layla and Eddie

The other day I spent the evening with a lovely little girl named Layla.  My coworker and friend Anna was in need of a babysitter and I was more than happy to help her out since her daughter is such a sweet well mannered child.  Eddie and I went over to their house where we all ate dinner and then walked into Clarendon for some frozen yogurt.  It was quite the evening and the pictures of Layla and Eddie were too cute to not share.

Layla's Fro Yo Creation- I believe it had fruity pebbles, gummy bears, mochi, and a couple other candies.  She called it a "parade"

My Fro Yo was more simple.  Chocolate chips, almonds and pineapple

Best friends

Layla tucking Eddie in for bed

Layla reading Eddie a bedtime story

What I Wore

Out in Arlington for the evening

[Dress-Forever 21, Shoes- Nine West]

[Purse- from Guatemala, Panther bracelet- from my Grandmother, Other Bracelet- Until Theres A Cure]


Brunch in DC with the ladies
[Dress-Urban Outfitters, Boots- Stetson]

[Monogram Ring- SarahChloe.com]

Food from Saturday's Bottomless Brunch at El Centro D.F.

Jalapeno fruit salad

Shrimp Ceviche

Tomato Avocado Salad

Mexican French Toast (by far the best dish of the day)

Agua Fresca with Tequila- Watermelon, Hibiscus, Mango and Pineapple


Pistachio Praline Candy Squares

Whenever I find a recipe in a magazine that i'm dying to try I cut it out and put it into my "Recipe book", which is actually a photo album with sticky pages that I quickly throw magazine clippings into.  I found this recipe quite some time ago in a Martha Stewart Living magazine but for some reason never got around to trying it.  When flipping through my book the other day I realized I had all the ingredients in my kitchen and now was the perfect time to try it out and boy am I glad I did.  It turned out being the perfect combination of sweet and salty and only took 15 minutes to make!

2 cups shelled salted pistachios
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
vegetable oil

1. Chop the pistachios into small pieces

2. Pour water and sugar into a pot over medium heat, swirl pot to stir and boil for 10-12 minutes until mixture is amber colored.  Note: Be very careful not to touch the sugar mixture or get it on your skin, it is sticky and it will burn!

3. Cover a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with vegetable oil and place parchment paper over it with about two inches hanging off of either end
4. Once the sugar and water mixture has turned amber remove from the heat and quickly stir in the chopped pistachios
5. Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread evenly with a heat resistance spatula that has been coated with vegetable oil
6. Let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes and pick the parchment paper up off of the baking sheet

7. Using an oiled knife but the candy mixture into desired shape (bars, squares, circles, whatever you like)

8. Allow candy to harden completely.  Candy can be stored in air tight container for up to two weeks, but once you try it I highly doubt it will last that long!


Shredded Carrot Cakes

Potato pancakes, otherwise known as latkes in my house, happen to be a seasonal favorite of mine.  I wait every year for my mom to make those crispy potato cakes that I recklessly dunk in sour cream and apple sauce.  But why wait until winter when you can make a light crispy version that is simply perfect for Summer?  With delicious crunchy carrots as the base of this dish these salty little cakes are perfect for a warm weather brunch or lunch and so easy to whip up.

1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs lightly beaten
salt and pepper
Canola oil/butter/olive oil or a combination of any of these for pan cooking
Sour cream or greek yogurt for dipping

1. Combine grated vegetables and bread crumbs in a large bowl

2. Gently stir in beaten eggs

3. Heat pan over medium heat with 2 tbsp of oil or butter
4. One by one pick up a heaping tablespoon of carrot mix.  Gently squeeze mix in between your hands to release excess liquid. Lightly flatten mixture into a patty
5. Drop patties into pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until browned

6. Place on paper towel when done cooking so excess oil may drain off
7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt

recipe adapted from http://www.anahelenacampbell.com