Monday, November 28, 2011

sweet potato coconut pie.

after 4 full days of eating nothing but thanksgiving leftovers, i present to you my favorite recipe of the season. i actually made this particular pie last year for thanksgiving back east (and christmas too, i think!) after my mom spotted it in the New York Times, and everybody loved it. the reviews were no different this year - while the coconut flavor sounds unusual, it isn't too strong and adds the perfect amount of sweetness to give this pie some more flavor! i highly recommend making it for your next family gathering, dinner party, or any old tuesday night.

sweet potato coconut pie
as seen in the New York Times

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs, made from one package graham crackers, which has 9 full cracker sheets

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

Large pinch salt

1 cup coconut milk.

heat oven to 350 degrees. put the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, add water to cover by about an inch, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. drain, then pulse in a blender until smooth

while the potatoes cook, put the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse several times until they are finely ground. add the shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each of the ginger and cinnamon, and pulse once or twice; add the melted butter and pulse just to combine. press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and bake for about 7 minutes. remove the crust from the oven and cool.

in a food processor, combine the eggs with the remaining sugar, ginger and cinnamon, along with the nutmeg, cloves and salt; pulse until well combined. add coconut milk and pulse to combine, then add the sweet potatoes and pulse until just smooth.

put the pie plate on a baking sheet. pour the sweet potato mixture into the crust and bake until the mixture is set on top but still quite moist, 40 to 45 minutes. cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

serve with some whipped cream and some shredded coconut on top! if so desired, of course :)

xo jordan

Friday, November 25, 2011

california thanksgiving.

hello and happy black friday! if you're into that sort of thing...

but more importantly, i hope you all had the happiest of thanksgivings yesterday. i know i did! ordinarily i'm on the east coast for this fine holiday (and all others, of course), but this year i'm not flying home until christmas, so my awesome cousins up in Thousand Oaks generously offered me their home and kitchen. plus, my aunt from North Carolina actually flew in to visit, too, so i got to see her for the first time in years! :)

our day started off with a buffet lunch at around noon, since you can't very well not eat anything until thanksgiving dinner...i tried to eat moderately, knowing i would be stuffing my face later in the day, but i did go back twice and try most of the dishes. i mean, we all know how i love buffets.

that would be salad with pears and gorgonzola, turkey, honey glazed ham, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a small piece of bread. when i went back for seconds i tried the pork loin, more turkey and mashed potatoes. everything was so delicious, i literally had to stop myself from getting more. except i did get dessert...which was a small brownie, some fruit, and half a carrot cupcake. while the brownie was super rich and amazing, the cupcake didn't really come close to my carrot cake, so i only ate half. who says i don't have willpower? oh, i do.

we spent the afternoon chatting and playing with the baby, while my cousins prepared some food for dinner. at around 7:30, we sat down for our second thanksgiving meal of the day and it was awesome. whoever thinks all that turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, lima beans (recipe coming soon!) and potatoes should only be eaten once a year is off their rocker. i think it should be thanksgiving once a month, at least.

since my aunt is a vegan, i tried the vegan mushroom gravy which was actually delicious. it didn't have an overwhelming taste of mushroom, but i liked it much better than regular gravy. kate also made a side of roasted beets and pecans in balsamic and sugar. i'm going to need to try making that soon...

for dessert, i had made a sweet potato coconut pie (another recipe coming soon!) which i made last year for christmas and was a hit! everybody seemed to like it this year, too. i think it may become somewhat of my signature pie...

and a piece of pumpkin pie, too, because it really wouldn't be thanksgiving without it! honestly, while i missed thanksgiving on the east coast a whole lot this year, it's nice to celebrate the holidays with family i rarely get to see.

this year, i am thankful for a supportive, loving and welcoming family. and though i missed out on seeing these three for this particular thanksgiving, i absolutely cannot wait to see them for christmas and know we will be together for many thanksgivings to come :)

xo jordan

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

carrot cake mess. [or, what to make when there's no more pumpkin.]

recently i've been told by a couple of people (one being my cousin heather, the other being connor) that i'm obsessed with autumn and especially pumpkin. though i laughed and instantly denied it both times i heard it, they were both absolutely correct. i am obsessed with autumn, more so this year than any other year probably because i'm not really getting to experience it. or at least the parts of it that make it so lovely to me - apple picking, cider donuts, sweater tights and light jackets, fingerless gloves and changing leaves. and pumpkin, well, it just tastes so good!

but okay, enough. here's a recipe my mom and i whipped together a few weeks ago when she was here. it does not contain any pumpkin (which comes in handy when your supermarket is wiped clean) and is friggin' awesome. ours didn't turn out perfectly since we didn't have the right kind of pan, but hey, you can't judge a book by it's cover, right? make this tomorrow for your thanksgiving feast and you won't regret it. promise*

carrot cake with lemon vanilla frosting

for the cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 large eggs lightly beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup drained crushed pineapple

preheat oven to 350 degree.s butter two 9 inch cake pans. cut out rounds of wax paper and place at bottoms of cake pans. butter the top of the wax paper.

sift dry ingeredients into a bowl, add eggs, oil and vanilla. beat well. fold in chopped walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.

fully aware of how unappetizing the pre-cooked batter looks...

pour batter into pans. set on the middle rack of oven and bake for 45 minutes (shift poisitions of cakes front to back if necessary about halfway through), until edges have pulled away from sides and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. cool on a cake rack.

for the frosting:
8 oz. low fat cream cheese at room temp
6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lemon juice

cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. slowly sift in the confectioners' sugar and beat until mixture is free of lumps. stir in vanilla and lemon juice. once cakes have cooked, frost. sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired.

eat out of a bowl with a spoon + more frosting drizzled on top.

or, my personal favorite, straight off the plate with a fork standing in front of the sink.

happy thanksgiving baking!!! :)

xo jordan

Saturday, November 19, 2011


as you know, this past week has been a crazy one. i kind of left you hanging when i told you i got some amazing news on thursday and didn't tell you what it was...but basically, i got asked to sign a contract with STILLETTO entertainment to be one of two dancers picked in a show called Showroom at Sea on a cruise ship this spring.

yeah. i get to call myself a professional dancer now :) honestly, i don't even think it's hit me yet - that i'll get to dance every single day, get paid to do it, travel the world and go on a cruise. i start rehearsals in late december and board the ship february third. i haven't danced that much since high school! and i can't. friggin'. wait.

to celebrate, or just to have a fun "date night," connor and i went out to dinner at birds, a restaurant on a hip street (Franklin) in Hollywood. i'd been there once before over the summer and absolutely loved my meal, so i couldn't help but order the exact same thing. 1/4 baked white chicken with mac and cheese, steamed veggies, lavash bread, and a side of ranch for dipping!

i wish all restaurants had perfect lighting so my photos would look better...#foodbloggerproblems

so much food, so good, and so reasonably priced at about $10. i also got a whiskey sour 'cause i tried one on wednesday and liked it...and it was cheap. too bad this one was way strong - good buy, bad taste. i really do wish i liked whiskey more...

after dinner we caught an improv comedy show next door at the UCB theatre. the show we saw was actually two different ones right after another: Soundtrack and Death by Roo Roo: Your F'ed Up Family. for Soundtrack, they pick random songs off of audience members' ipods and use them to inspire their improv scenes. the second was great too - they took a volunteer from the audience who had an f'ed up family and had him talk about it. then they based their scenes for the next half hour on that person's life and stories.

both were hilarious, but after about an hour, we both started to get tired. any more than an hour of improv can be kind of hard to pay attention to, just because it takes a lot of energy to really appreciate it and catch all the jokes. i definitely want to see more comedy shows in the future, though. they're pretty inexpensive, too!

afterwards we went home and had some pumpkin cheesecake before heading to bed. now i'm eating some pumpkin gingerbread oats with graham cracker crumbs (i know, i'm obsessed.) and waiting to skype with my mom and grandma. in a bit i'm off to dance and then work. have a lovely saturday!

xo jordan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

what i've been eating [frenzied].

these past few days have literally been the most eventful days of my life. collectively, at least. i found a second job at an amazing restaurant, and then a third...both of which i had to turn down for an offer that i simply cannot refuse. but we'll get to that more tomorrow when it's all final... (:

i've been eating some yummy things that i've been meaning to show you all, but i've been caught up in life lately. so, here it goes!

carrots dipped in light ranch. best snack ever.

pumpkin cheesecake from trader joe's [thanks connor!]

tuna salad with cranberries, light mayo and spinach

portabello veggie burgers with mustard on whole wheat, side of tomato soup

strawberry chobani with sliced banana and graham cracker crumbs, aka my new favorite topping

i've got some blog posts already set up for the next few days, so hopefully i'll be a bit more organized and this time i promise to not disappear! plus, you should totally come back and visit so you can hear about my exciting news :)

xo jordan

Monday, November 14, 2011

pumpkin gingerbread muffins with spiced buttercream.

yesterday i made about 20 of these:

today, there are about 6 left. make them as soon as you possibly can, but don't expect them to be around for too long...

pumpkin gingerbread muffins
adapted from this recipe at what megan's making

for the muffins:
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp maple syrup (i used tj's agave maple)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp all spice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. grease a muffin pan and set aside. combine pumpkin, syrup, oil, molasses and egg in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. in a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. gradually add dry mixture to wet and stir well. fill muffin cups 3/4 o the way. bake for about 25 minutes or until edges are golden/firm. remove and cool.

for the spiced buttercream:
1/4 cup butter
just under 1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp skim milk

cream butter with an electric mixer. add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. add milk in small amounts and beat on high until icing is the desired consistency. spread on cooled muffins.

smile because muffins are the best, especially when covered in frosting and especially when they taste like fall :)

xo jordan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

a week of music.

on tuesday, the boy came into town on his tour with thrice, la dispute and o'brother. i headed downtown after work that day to see their show at the Mayan Theatre, which was awesome. i actually only stayed long enough to see moving mountains and o'brother's sets because after two months of not seeing each other, we kind of just wanted to hang out. we got some thai food for takeout (which i totally forgot to take pictures of but will probably be getting again in the near future...) and the next day we went to...the griddle cafe! my favorite.

i got the 'tis the season pancakes, which were pumpkin pancakes filled with butterscotch and caramel and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin. it was literally the most food-gasmic thing i've ever eaten. basically like eating pumpkin cake for brunch aka perfection. mitch got the creme de la creme french toast which was topped with cheesecake filling. it was out of control and super rich but delicious. neither of us finished and took leftovers home/to the rest of the band.

afterwards, we had some time to kill before i had to drop him off so we wandered around beverly hills and walked around this really pretty park. too bad i have no idea where it was...but it was fun :)

i had work that night, but got cut early so i went down to anaheim to meet them for their second show in socal at the house of blues in downtown disney. i just missed their set, but we got to walk around and i got a candy apple. i'd never had one before and it was amazing!

after my treat, we went back to see the rest of thrice and then went back up to my apartment when the show was over. the next day we went to porto's, another one of my favorites! i got a sandwich this time, the steak fajita with plantain chips on the side. mitch got a sandwich too, and also got a potato ball and croquette for us to try. they were both really yummy - one was filled with chicken i think and the other with beef, maybe?

and then it was back to anaheim for their second night at the house of blues. moving mountains killed it and i got to see la dispute this time too. they were so good! if you've never heard them before and like rock music, you should check them out. actually you should check out all the bands i've mentioned :)

the new moving mountains music video to The Cascade:

oh and i got to have some of the catering for the bands, too. it was really, really good. i kind of wanna be a rock star now...

anyway, mitch left yesterday :( today i'm going back to yoga before work. i'll probably be whipping up something later tonight, so i'll be sure to post about that tomorrow. hope you're all having wonderful weekends!!

xo jordan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


so as you know, my mom and i spent all of saturday cooking up a feast. the one thing we actually ate for dinner, though, was this amazing, easy to make and fairly healthy pasta bolognese sauce that we put on top of whole wheat penne. you need this recipe.

spaghetti [or any pasta...] bolognese
10 slices pancetta (you can use bacon, too...)
1 handful rosemary
olive oil
finely chopped large onion
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1lb chuck steak, minced or ground beef
1 wineglass red wine
2 tablespoons oregano
1 14oz can tomatoes
7oz tomato puree
sea salt + pepper
fresh basil (handful)
2 handfuls grated parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. in a large pot that can also go in the oven, fry pancetta and rosemary in olive oil until golden (about 7 minutes). add onion and and garlic and simmer for about 3 minutes or until soft.

add beef and cook for 2-3 more minutes. add wine. reduce heat slightly and add oregano, tomatoes, and tomato puree. season with salt and pepper.

boil again, then cover with lid. put in oven for 1.5 hours.

serve with handful of fresh basil and parmesan over your favorite pasta! and maybe enjoy a glass of prosecco on the side :)

xo jordan

Sunday, November 6, 2011

when mama d visits.

we cook!

yesterday was my mom's last day in town and we spent the entire day together until she left at around 7:30pm. we started the morning by making some tomato soup (recipe to come soon!) and then we headed out for some shopping and lunch. i didn't find any clothes i liked, but we went to this adorable paper store that had all kinds of cute, random gift-type things and a bunch of holiday decorations. my mom bought us these garland mittens we're going to make soon to decorate for christmas!

the picture won't rotate :(

they also had some really gorgeous paper flower kits, so i might cave soon and grab a couple of those, too. after the shopping, we went to this place called Porto's right near my apartment that i keep hearing amazing things about. it's basically a giant spanish bakery and cafe that's set up kind of like a cafeteria. it was mobbed.

and now i know why. the prices are crazy cheap and the food is excellent. my mom and i each ordered a fountain soda and southwestern steak salad + an almond croissant for me. there were so many pastries, i couldn't resist! and all together i think the total was around $20.

delicious. afterwards, we were pretty sleepy so we didn't head over to the mall, but we did make a giant carrot cake and some awesome bolognese sauce. i'll be posting those recipes and pictures soon, too! it was honestly the perfect way to spend my saturday and i'm so happy i got to see my mom so much these past two weeks! only a month and a half 'til christmas...

but today, i'm getting back on track. i'm going to eat real meals, not just cake and candy, and i'm going to back to yoga!!! finally :)

xo jordan

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

a happy start to november.

yesterday afternoon, i braved the north-bound traffic and headed up to woodland hills to mom! she's back on this side of the country for work again, so i have the pleasure of hanging out with her even more than just in vegas last week. lucky me :)

after walking around the mall picking up some stuff at apple and browsing fall clothes (um, why is there nothing cute out right now?), we went over to Maggiano's, a family style Italian restaurant chain. i've been to the ones in Boston and Philly 'cause we used to love going to this restaurant when we had dance competitions. the one here in LA did not disappoint.

i started with a few pieces of traditional italian bread and olive oil since i can't resist, and then we each got a small chopped salad with avocado, tomato and prosciutto with an iceberg and romaine mix. the dressing was wayyy too good! (apologies for the iphone photos. why do restaurants always have such poor lighting? oh, to make them more romantic. right...)

we then split two big dishes: a gnocchi with italian sausage in a vodka cream sauce (favorite) and a chicken dish with basil and tomato, served with orzo and spinach.

we made quite a dent in both (probably me more than my mom...) and then took the rest to go. i could've kept eating since i have minimal will power, but i'm glad i stopped. i was so full. i need to stop eating myself into oblivion just because things taste yummy...

i incorporated my leftovers into my early dinner today and put some sauteed spinach and onion in sesame oil on the side. the leftovers were just as good as last night, and i'm glad i saved them!

times that spinach by two. i always buy a big bag of spinach for the week and usually have no problem finishing it, but for some reason this week i'm afraid it's going to go bad! maybe it was all that halloween indulging...

anyway, it's back to work tonight! today was a busy one so i'm hoping i don't fall asleep at the hostess stand.

xo jordan

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

halloweekend: fat kid at heart.

disclaimer: if any of the following sentences use improper english or are misspelled, it is because i'm still in a food coma/sugar-high from the past 3 days. i write this as i'm eating sweet tarts leftover from last night's festivities...

instead of making you all nauseous from the crap i've consumed including chicken and waffles, cornbread, omelettes eaten with veggie burgers, cupcakes, pumpkin whoopie pies, vodka sodas, a chipotle burrito bowl, snickers, butterfingers, pasta, a corn dog, potato chips, pumpkin butter, twix, and reese's (oh wait, i totally did just make you nauseous, didn't i?), i'll only present you with some of the photos from my happiest halloweekend ever :)

the weekend started out innocently enough with a green monster with mango and banana.

and some whole wheat bread with pumpkin butter brought from home (thanks mom!).

and then things turned ugly at roscoe's chicken and waffles. SO GOOD.

cornbread on the side! it was a little dry, so i smothered it in butter. obviously.

attempting health once again with an egg white/egg omelette with spinach, cheddar and a tomato basil pizza veggie burger. odd combo, amazing flavor.

and then to disneyland for mickey's halloween party!!!!!!!

trick or treating at disneyland! too much free candy + too many roller coasters = hot mess and a smile.

a little too happy about the free candy. trick or treating at disneyland is so much better than trick or treating anywhere else.

nasty ass picture of a corn dog with mustard. i apologize if this, too, makes you nauseous but it was absolutely delicious. first time trying a corn dog: success.

are you still with me or did that last photo of the corn dog put you over the edge? yeah, i don't blame you.

operation detox starting NOW. and it's back to work, too. momma d flies into town tonight!

xo jordan