Saturday, May 21, 2016

Just saying hello xx

I'm having too much fun on my other projects!  

I'm not spending near enough time in the kitchen; but always yearning to get back to my first true and real source of creativity, joy, passion and release... arranging food into beautiful meals my family and friends will love to eat.

For now I'm nurturing my other babies with that passion.  

But cooking and sharing is never far from my mind.  Lot's of love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New IG and Website! @escapethenarrative

I've been a busy b working on a new leg of projects that will be developed into a podcast!

These are just a few of the memes live on the new IG page, @escapethenarrative

  The idea is to take your mind someplace more lush...  Gorgeous bohemian pictures of salty seas, palm trees blowing in the wind, and juicy pineapple are set to quotes both rare and common, always inspiring.

More info over on the new website,  But the gist of this project is delving into the stories we tell ourselves.  We are all living inside our narrative.  Sometimes the story we are narrating is more positive than other times.  

The podcast will feature stories of people looking back at times when, as they now realize, were penning a victim story.  Guests will detail how they escaped this narrative into a place of empowerment to move forward with their lives.

Both the Instagram, as the external, visual face of the project, as well as the website and podcast will meet at the intersection of entertainment, joy, love, understanding, validation, story, motivation, inspiration and art.

I hope to see you there, leave me a comment and let me know you arrived via Hot Garlic!  I would love to connect with you there!

Lot's of love,


Monday, December 21, 2015

Beef Salad / Sautéed Kale

I was sick AF last week and am only just recovering this week!  I went to yoga for the first time in 10 days yesterday.  This is saying something, and it isn't that I'm a yogatard.  Far from it!

  I have struggled over the years with physical exercise.  It took me years before I found a few activities that I could push through for an hour commitment without wanting to neck myself.  

For the first time in my life, for 4 months I have been consistent in training -yoga, tennis, mediation and a class style gym with TRX, or classes like Beyonce Bootcamp or Brazillian Butt lift.

I'm 35 this is a major accomplishment haha

I intend to stick with it as these pursuits have truly enhanced my life and been the missing, now complimentary factor, in the discipline I'm using toward my other goals and especially creative pursuits.  

Yesterday I wanted to just double up, go straight from Yoga, ending at 7, and go across town from Holladay to Sugarhouse for TRX at 8.  

But I hadn't eaten.  And I'd driven by both Apollo Burger and Crown Burger just hours before.  The scent of the char broiled goodness was beckoning me and I thought, I could do it if I grabbed a burger and fries!

I sat there in downward dog doing the math... burger and fries and TRX, carry the 1, or perhaps go to whole foods and get some grass-fed beef (on order from the nutritionist for my son, it's infectious) and multiply by two and make a sort of cheeseburger salad.  But that meant no SLC Fit Collective.

I mulled it over for a half hour of time meant to be connecting to my breath, listing several pros and cons for each in an Excel spreadsheet of the brain.

If this sounds ridiculous dear reader... let me be the first to agree with you!

I indulged myself because I made a sort of game theory out of it, which is always fun, but also because I'm pretty disciplined about my diet to the point of not craving 'naughty thing's anymore.

I am a former baking addict.  No day was complete without the ritual of baking and eating (rationalising a portion of say Berry Crumble size that was really for 2 but able to be scooped out one scoop as a 'single serving')

I don't know what switch I flipped but praise dog I did because it is effortless for me to thoughtlessly make good choices about food now.  And I allow myself what I want because what I want is typically food and not snacks or sweets.  TYPICALLY being the operative word.

So this burger craving (nostalgia?) made it easy to fixate on and remember the years I lived with weight fluctuations that were the result of not having the discipline to eat right while not exercising, then going through some massively stressful ordeal or another international move causing my weight to plummet setting everything right.

This was not an ideal way to live!  And even thought it has been a few short months  I know myself and my commitment and followthrough when I've firmly attached to an idea!  The love I have for the consistency and regimen of my new life far outweighs any momentary benefits of my former habits.

So?  Which won out?  I felt it sensible to not push too hard just getting over a cold and I was damn hungry!

I decided trying to kill myself eating a burger in my car in the middle of winter while hauling ass across town seemed a bit silly.

 I start with some pretty simple ingredients.  Those are cubes of white cheddar, salt and pepper, minced garlic, beef, and red and green kale

I actually made a salad as well, fresh greens with tomato, onion, avacado, whatever you like, rather than the kale which I'm going to sauté today

I've just combined the garlic, seasonings, cheese (first day I had a mushroom which was an excellent addition!) with the beef and formed a patty.

I've also washed and sliced the kale

Here is where the magic happens.  The cheese gets gooey as you sauté the patty on both sides.  Some stays lovely and melted, some goes golden... perfection

I break my patty into pieces but you're welcome to leave it whole.  I add some olive oil as my meat is quite lean, as well as some spices and extra garlic for the kale.

The kale only takes a minute or two in the pan, and time it according to how rare you'd like the beef

Yum!  What a feast!  So so easy too

I pair mine with some Sauerkraut from Wildbrine.  I think the richness of the meat and even the kale is complimented by the acidity and tanginess on offer from the 'kraut


Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Cocktails and Mocktails! Whiskey Egg Nog + Salted Raw Cacao Almond Milk

The inspo for this recipe was two-fold; with the limits on my son's diet I was in need of something he would enjoy to eat or drink that felt, to him, indulgent.

We love going to juice bars together for fun, but this isn't always a daily ritual that is feasible, so why not enjoy some of the feeling of a juice experience in your own home.

My palate prefers rich and smooth to tangy and sweet, so I always order the almond milks rather than the fresh fruit and vegetable varieties.

So I came up with my version of a lightly salted Cacao Almond milk that can easily be made in a cocktail shaker (since I don't own a blender right year later I still have not replaced all of my beloved and cherished appliances I had to leave behind in Australia.  Full disclosure; I also do not own a vacuum... or a garbage can (I resisted buying a rubbish bin because it meant I didn't actually live live here, I was just visiting.  How can one live somewhere a garbage can does not exist?!  Riddle me that!)

With the ideal to nourish was well as enjoy as a snack or treat, I start with Cacao Powder from Navitas Naturals.  A little bit about their company and their beautiful values here.

I love this Almondmilk from Newbarn so much; I purchase this brand at Wholefoods, it is excellent and I highly recommend, or, use any brand you prefer

This is a selection of what I find works best to make your almond milk extra special: salt: just a pinch!  About 1 T of the cacao powder, ice of course, and a pinch of cinnamon.  If you need it sweetened, allow me to suggest real maple syrup or coconut nectar to taste

Ready to shake it up like it's a shake weight!  For the authentic experience at home I have brought home a set of gorgeous juice glasses with lids from my local juicery.  And what they hell, add some nutmeg if you want

This happens ^^^


After kids go to bed and it's time to keep working, I spike mine with these ^^^

Don't forget this important step

et voilà, c'est Magnifique

For Egg Nog much the same!  I love the brand Strauss Family Creamery but have also tried several good brands this year, including some locals!

You can dress it up as much or little as you want, fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon, homemade vanilla (great in the chocolate almond milk adult version too!)

Add these, Bacardi Spiced Rum and bourbon, either or or both.  They add so much depth and flavour, clear spirits like vodka (or I'm assuming white rum possibly) do not!  I love Bulleit Bourbon but use what you yourself enjoy or have

I find egg nog too rich so I'm glad for the watering down via ice if shaken in a cocktail shaker.  Today I've just made batch instead out of the whole bottle of egg nog which was half full.  I added some almond milk to make it even less rich, again, just too much lavish richness if egg nog straight for me!  Totally customisable

So combine as you desire, and give 'em one of these

Serve as desired and salut!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Olive Oil Spiced Feta / Feta Sautéed Green Beans

I've been looking everywhere but I can not find some staples I was used to having at my behest l in Australia.  Oh how the tables have turned from me trollying my American must-have's overseas in my suitcase for 10 years!  

One such pleasure I'm greatly missing, is one my fridge was never without.  Feta preserved in olive oil  with fresh herbs and perfectly seasoned.  

It is so much more toothsome and ambrosial than the packaged, crumbled feta; which, seems to me to be the McDonald's of Fetas.

To peer in my fridge, see a little jar of oil soaked, dill stippled, clove of garlic garnished marshmallowy whiteness was a thing of joy I completely took for granted!

I loved the non-branded little tubs at Harris Farm Market the most.  Another variety worth mentioning especially as I did find a jar in Palm Springs two years ago is Yarra Valley Feta.

I used to live on the outskirts of the Yarra in a town called Warrandyte in Victoria.  This cheese comes from a truly magical place, I can attest!  If you find some snap it up.  Rather than dill, this feta receives its piquancy from rosemary and garlic; and rather than glass or plastic I saw it in a darling little tin can.

In Australia you can buy Yarra Valley Feta in the food department at David Jones

For our homemade, start with olive oil, fresh herbs and spices as you desire.  You know what you like, so you'll have it on hand which makes this simple for you!

Place your cheese into a container of your choosing.  I like glass, and my used and washed kimchi jars are perfect 

Season the cheese liberally.  I found this particular brand can handle a lot more flavouring and sodium than it naturally has; or that I am accustomed to.  Cheeses will vary of course!  

Place the dill or your fresh or dried herbs of choice into the jar.  One thing I don't have pictured is the whole cloves of garlic I highly recommend tossing in! 

Cover with olive oil.  You will love this because the point is to reuse it as flavoured olive oil too.  Cover completely to preserve the cheese and herbs.  The cheese will easily mold if not covered.  At times I use the oil from the cheese for flavouring what I'm cooking so just keep it covered with more


I use the cheese on so many things, chicken, salads, any kind of vegetables.  Today I'm going to do Feta Sautéed Green Beans 

It's very simple, mostly because the Feta is doing all the work for you!  Wash and trim the beans

Quickly steam in a frying pan in a little bit of water.  Once it evaporates, pour oil from the Feta over top and sautee until they begin to arrive at desired tenderness.  Season with salt and pepper, and top with Feta.  I usually do this in a nonstick pan and the Feta just melts all over everything.  Today I chose not to and little bits of feta cooked until golden brown on the bottom.  Either way is lovely!

Enjoy!  xx Nat

PS Some fun photos of us in Warrandyte near the Yarra when we lived there 6 years ago!  

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