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Last week I made a salad for my clients. Tuscan Lentil Salad. They asked me for protein-rich, healthy, and low-carb meals.

Since I cook for each client once a week (for the most part), I have to come up with a practical menu where the food is easy to eat straight from the container (on a lunch break at work), and most importantly – easy to reheat later in the week. Usually I put some kind of soup on the menu, like Tomato Bisque with Quinoa, or Creamy Cauliflower Soup with chunks of the veg floating joyfully inside, or another health miracle, my Beet Soup, also known as a liver cleanser. Most of the soups I make are loaded with variety of good stuff while staying very light in the calorie department.

It’s very important that there are fresh vegetables on the menu, but a regular green salad lasts a day. Hence, for my clients I opt for hearty salads that will stay fresh for up to three days. I play with grains like a 6-year old with LEGO blocks. One day it’s Wheat Berry mix, another Quinoa blend, Barley, Farro, you name it. Last week, however, I used a recipe by Julie Daniluk, a Canadian nutritionist and the host of Healthy Gourmet (a TV show) simply because it looked divine.

Photo credit: Julie Daniluk

Click on the photo above to get to the recipe itself.

When I was mixing all the ingredients at my clients’ kitchen, they both peeked over my shoulder and instantly requested a taste of the wonder. Let me just say that it didn’t end on a simple one bite tasting. An entire portion planned for one of the meals later in the week disappeared from the counter. A few minutes later, the husband returned to the kitchen with an empty container in hand, still licking his mouth.

“THAT WAS DELICIOUS.”

The wife only said:

“CAN WE PLEASE HAVE THIS SALAD EVERY WEEK?”

Your wish is my command. The salad became a staple on their menu. I also tested it on Jason and he loved every bite. Well, not the olive bite. I tried so hard to sneak some succulent, delicious olives into his bowl, but his olive detector would not be fooled. There are only few edible things Jason is on non-speaking terms with, and olives just happen to be one of those misfortunate bastards.

Since the Lentil Salad was such a success, I had to give credit where it was due. Julie Daniluk is a walking encyclopedia of food knowledge. Put any type of produce, nut, meat, you name it in front of her eyes and she begins to recite all the attributes of the food like a poem.

I will have you know also that Oprah Winfrey got a whiff of the Healthy Gourmet show, and with no avail had her people load all the goodies up on her new network’s website. Aha, just look at the web address when you visit the show’s web page.

I’ve studied nutrition for my own benefit over the years. However, I never went to school to bring that knowledge up to more comprehensive and organized level. Julie is the reason I started looking into various nutrition programs around the country that offer either the traditional, thus purely scientific approach, or more holistic one that produces life coaches. Keep your fingers crossed!  I’m very excited about this project.

Pst, one more thing. It occurs to me that I have more in common with Julie beyond the affection for healthy and whole foods. Me thinks there’s Polish blood flowing in her veins…

To Be Investigated!

I can’t believe I haven’t been here in so long. I can’t believe you’ve been coming back and checking in all this time. I can’t believe you haven’t given up on me. I bow to you in gratitude while applauding your clearly divine patience.

What’s been going on is delicious and note worthy. December was cooked into a gourmet month in its entirety. Suddenly my name was passed from mouth to mouth and I landed catering gigs and other fun events of sorts that kept me tied to my stove.

To keep the long story short, I’m attaching a few photos from the above mentioned moments of what later turned out to be a great success:

Beef skewers with sweet potato, grape and chimichurri sauce.

Coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate and polished for the party.

One of my brilliant helpers, Molly, working my Goat Cheese Tarts like she means it.

The #1 Crowd Pleaser: Beef Sliders w/ Balsamic Shallots

One bites: Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Those are just the few snapshots I was able to take in the midst of the festivities. As soon as all the parties were over with, I was home in a bath tub filled with hot waters and enhanced with silky oils. The bath was mandatory if I were to get up early the following morning and pack for our trip East.

There, as in Texas, we entered virgin (to me) territories of disc golfing. Having successfully scattered all my discs all over the four adjacent fields, and that’s not what I were to aim for, I decided at last to let the others do the work while I laid in the grass to contemplate. Things seemed to look more interesting from that angle.

Three Musketeers of disc golfing at it.

Also, it was cold. Cold it was. Have I mentioned it was really, really cold out there?

The more so we enjoyed getting back into the warmth of the Harkins’ family’s house right in time for Christmas celebrations. Santa lost his marbles this year, clearly, as the mountain of presents that built up around the tree was making me dizzy just by looking at it. It could only be compared, I imagine, to the impression Uluru Mountain in Australia made on Oprah on her recent trip to Australia. All we wanted to do at the sight of our holy hill of presents was to close our eyes and meditate over its natural beauty.

Not for long. The children soon arrived and the mass destruction began. Neatly wrapped boxes proceeded to fly across the room, ribbons got ripped impatiently, and the wrapping paper torn into confetti.

Don’t be fooled by the innocent faces of those two little munchkins. They know their game, trust me.

It all stil looks neat and sane, doesn’t it? Just wait.

Heavy duty trash bags and oxygen masks were required to bring this war zone back to civilized conditions.

Then, suddenly I realized Cosmo went missing. How could he have not really? My instant reaction was to scream:

FREEZE! NOBODY MOVES. EMPTY THE TRASH BAG RIGHT NOW.

I did it with my inside voice, thank god. I had put that family through enough already with my shopping cart rides across their local Walmart, and then again by asking for vibrators at their local BEST BUY when the nice salesman offered to help us with any electronics we may be in need of. It’s a small town, by the way. I’ll say no more.

At the peak of my panic, I glanced just below my feet (the monkey in me climbed up the couch to take a few shots of the surrounding madness) and saw Cosmo tucked between the cushions… those of the sofa itself and those belonging to Jason’s mom…

I feel like I should end this ramble-o-thon right about now, but then it wouldn’t be complete without Paula Dean, would it?

The Queen of Southern Coking opened the Rose Bowl Parade herself, and Jason and I were there on the crisp morning of the New Year in Pasadena, and our asses we froze, and off the bucket list we took part taking in the thing forever. Alleluia.

Though we also snapped a big bucket of photos, I think I’ve exhausted my audience, my blog space, and my own self with this vomit of stories. Please, forgive my erratic behavior on these pages. I’m just a girl… who likes to cook and then write about it. I can’t control everything else that falls in between.

Happy New Year, Everybody. I’m excited to go through it with you again. Cheers!

Somewhere in between concocting hearty and soulful soups…

WILD MUSHROOM SOUP

baking HERBED POTATO CHIPS with a side of Green Peas Dip…

HERBED POTATO CHIPS

serving LUNCHES to starved for quality home-made food Los Angelenos…

TRICOLOR VEG & CHICKEN DISH

and stalking nearly extinct HORNED FROGS in the woods…

HORNED FROG

my silly food-ish blog ONE MORE BITE celebrated it’s FIRST ANNIVERSARY (July 21st).

I’ve been having so much fun writing all this up to day. Now I’m looking forward to more candles on your B-DAY CAKE each year to come.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET AND DELICIOUS “ONE MORE BITE”!

This morning, as Jason and I sat at the breakfast table and slurped the last drops of hot coffee, we went over our options for today.

We’ve been challenged by the weather–it’s been raining a lot, and the sun has been rather a rare visitor over the last couple of days, which has greatly affected our sightseeing schedule. I felt a tad resigned , but Jason had a plan:

AFTER BREAKFAST, IF IT DOESN’T STOP RAINING, WE SHOULD GO TO THE PHARMACY AND GET…HM… THE…MMM… Here Jason raised his hands in the air, both positioned as if they were holding a thick pipe-sized object, and quickly moved his hands back and forth in opposite directions as if he was… loading a weapon.

A GUN? I suggested flabbergasted by his train of thoughts.

AN UMBRELLA! Jason found what he’s been looking for in every corner of his mind.

We’re taking it easy this morning due to the drip-drip situation outside, which at least allowed me to sit down and report about our whereabouts here in Poland. Don’t get too excited as we still have The Wawel Castle to visit before we leave this gorgeous city, hence for now I’ll just use my crutch–photographs–to catch you up with the latest and greatest.

It wasn’t raining when we first landed in Poland. On the contrary, the spring welcomed us with its saturated colors bearing new life on the Earth. My mother’s garden, her pride and joy, showed off the strength of a new life that Mother Nature gives year after year.

Mama and her husband of 11 years took us to Goluchow where the Czartoryski’s Castle is open to visitors. The Czartoryski Family is Polish aristocracy whose heirs are still spread around the world today.

 

The King Of The Castle

 

 

Jason vs the Knight

 

Jason, my hero, fought the guardian of the castle and cleared our way in.

If you’re in the mood for some royal hanky-panky, here’s your chamber–the Royal Bedroom.

 

The Royal Play Room (if you know what I mean)

 

The Castle is surrounded by a vast and luscious park, spotted by crystal clear lakes and wild animal quarters.

This blog centers mostly around food, hence I cannot omit the details of our diet while on the road.

 

Polish Little Horses

 

Hunger makes us fast learners and so we didn’t waste any time:

 

The Royal Dears (hello!)

 

At last we escaped from under my mother’s wings and we met up with my cousin Kinga who lives in the region of Great Lakes–Warmia and Mazury. She took us to the countryside, where soon she’ll reside, and we later drove along with her 1.5 year old happiness named Kalina to Gdansk, one of the oldest Polish cities resting by the Baltic Sea.

 

Horsing around in the country. Kalina's expression--priceless.

 

 

Three Joys in Gdansk, in Old Town.

 

 

May-shmay. It was freezing by the Baltic Sea. Lovely nonetheless.

 

We arrived in Krakow in the PM hours last Wednesday after a 10-day long marathon across Poland. I shall leave it at that for now and come back later with the images we’ll have captured in here and descriptions of the actual foods we’ve been enjoying throughout the trip.

I hope you had fun during this leg of our journey.

It is about nine-fifteen at night on a Saturday preceding our month-long trip to Europe and I’m not even packed yet. Instead, I am posting a few new pictures here to let everybody know I’m alive and kicking after a week of a non-stop sweat fest at Da Vinci.

One Bite

Last Friday we served my One Bite at the restaurant, and I was bouncing on the inside with pride for it was very well received by the diners. It was a Mascarpone Crab Cream with Smoked Cashews, Chives, and Spiced Rice Powder over Mango. I made another version with a slice of a strawberry on the bottom. Both looked spectacular.

We also sold out the soup of my creation. Can you imagine? I’ve just begun my apprenticeship there and the executive chef allowed me to make such a significant contribution to the menu. As the orders for the Soup of the Day started coming in, we poured into bowls this gorgeous orange nectar of a soup, my Carrot-Ginger Cream with Marinated Blood Oranges.

Carrot-Ginger Soup with Blood Oranges

The menu is full of wonders worth exploring. However, I want to brag only about my three pennies since, how shall I put this, it’s my blog.

My next installment should come with photos of some Polish classics, as I know my mom has been cooking for the last four weeks since she had learnt about our arrival in Poland. Yes, Jason and myself will travel to my homeland leaving tomorrow. I shall be in touch and keep ONE MORE BITE updated on a semi-regular basis. Get ready for all those European flavors as I’ll be bringing this and that from the Old Continent to the table.

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