Lemonade: Brentwood

This little vacation of mine has been perfectly timed! I saw a tweet on Tuesday night that Lemonade in Brentwood would be opening for lunch on Wednesday. Because I had the day off I decided to check it out!

Lemonade has several outposts in LA including in Downtown, Venice and West Hollywood. Yesterday they opened one in Brentwood (which is super close to where I live, very conveniently located). The concept behind Lemonade is that the food should be delicious, simple, and is served cafeteria style. It’s like a grown up lemonade stand! This has been on my to dine list for a while and I was so excited to check it out on opening day!

Loved the décor. Super clean, white and crisp. I got there around 1 and they were busy but I was able to get a great table. Before I sat down I went to the counter and picked my meals. Lemonade serves a combination of salads, proteins, soups, entrees, and sandwiches. Because it was my first visit I tried 1/2 portions of several salads and one of the proteins.

I have to give credit to the staff at Brentwood Lemonade. They were fantastic! They had great recommendations, made sure that I knew what I was doing because it was my first visit and were very attentive and chatty after I sat down. They made my dining experience wonderful.

This was my plate:

4 salads:

  • Brussels sprouts, shaved parmesan and balsamic
  • Drunken soy chicken, soba noodles, peanut, creamy sesame
  • Sweet potato and pistachio
  • Roasted parsnips, rosemary red onion, honey and blue cheese

Plus 1 protein

  • Seared Ahi Tuna with a crushed orange ponzu (in the middle)

All of the food was delicious. I love the idea of being able to split portions and try different things. The sweet potatoes and the drunken chicken were my favorite but they were all tasty.

Obviously, Lemonade serves several types of Lemonade. My server recommended watermelon rosemary and who am I to argue with a tasty sounding recommendation?

Holy yum. This might be my favorite lemonade, ever. It was crisp and not too sweet. Plus the rosemary flavor gave it a little something extra. Normally I am a black, unsweetened iced tea girl but this drink is the exception to my rule (bonus points if you get the movie reference).

As usual, I couldn’t resist getting dessert. I opted for the peanut butter milk chocolate crunch bar.

Can you blame me? The peanut butter was creamy, the rice krispy was, ah, crispy (?) and the chocolate smoothed the whole thing out. I only ate half while I was at lunch because I was so full! There were so many other treats that I want to try soon.

Overall, I am glad Lemonade has moved into my hood. The staff was friendly and the food was delicious with plenty of variety. This is definitely going to be one of my go to places in the future.

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Good for me, good for the earth

Hey gang!

Today I decided that after all of the chocolate, cheesy potatoes, friend chicken and scones I consumed yesterday it would be a good idea to eat something green. Yoga last night was fantastic but my stomach definitely felt all the food I consumed. After eating like I did yesterday I was craving something green.

Enter Heirloom Spinach!

I didn’t even know Heirloom spinach existed! Of course I have had heirloom tomatoes, when you grow new tomatoes using the seeds from another tomato. This spinach looked so irresistible I had to buy it. It was so crisp and bright green!

My lunch today consisted of lentil soup and a slice of 9 grain bread, toasted with spreadable goat cheese and a huge handful of spinach. Gotta get the green in where you can!

Delicious. And don’t worry, that is the last of the goat cheese. I promise. I am stepping away from the goat cheese.

In other news… over the weekend I did something nice for the earth! I put all of my grains, pastas, nuts, snacks, dried fruit and baking supplies in to reusable glass jars! I went to OSH and bought 24 glass jars (half in pint size and half quart size). I buy many items bulk from Whole Foods and transfer the items to Ziplock bags so this will definitely help the earth!

I managed to use 22 of the 24 jars. Who knew I had that many jar-able things in my apartment?! 5 jars of pasta! 5! Another side benefit? I can see everything I have and I love the way that it looks. I don’t know why but whole walnuts in a jar are seriously beautiful. Other good things I do for the earth? I recycle, use reusable grocery bags and cart, walk to and from school everyday, buy local produce, and I buy use clothing and kitchen utensils. Most of my kitchen supplies are either hand me downs or purchased from thrift stores and estate sales!

What do you do for the earth?

Back at it

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?

Mine was awesome! I took Thursday and Friday 100% totally OFF. I didn’t read, I didn’t outline, and I didn’t blog. All I did was hang out with Catie and her family, ate good food, gave thanks, watched movies, shopped and put my feet up. It felt gooooooood. Sometimes you just want a day or two off. Saturday I got home and ran errands, organized my life, studied and crashed really early.

Good thing too, because guess what tomorrow is? The last day of classes. This is both good and bad. Its great because I will have a lot of very unstructured time, it means the semester is almost over and I’m almost half way done with law school (gah! I can’t even believe it). It also means I have finals. Boo.

Here is what we have to look forward to:

Yup, it all ends on the 16th. Can’t wait!

Tonight I made a very healthy recipe from the Skinny Bitch cookbook: Leek and Sweet Potato Casserole. Casseroles are great when it is chilly. Yes, it was only 55 degrees today. I realize there was a wind chill of 9 in Chicago on Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to hear it. My blood has officially thinned out and a high of 54 is cold. Casseroles reheat well, which is good when you anticipate being short of time. And I really love sweet potatoes. Any excuse, right?

3 leeks. 2 sweet potatoes.

Sliced.

Sauteed (with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic).

Arrange (potato, leek, potato). Top with panko. Add vegetable broth. Bake at 400 for 30 mins.

Yes, I added a thin layer of Swiss. I realize that this isn’t vegan or part of the skinny bitch recipe but I ran 8 miles today and I wanted some cheese. Deal with it.

This was a great, easy casserole. Another reason I like Skinny Bitch is that she lists all the nutritional information after all of her recipes. One serving of this is only 280 calories! It probably ended up being more per serving because I added a little bit of cheese. I ate slightly more than one serving because of the aforementioned run. This was a fantastic dinner and I am already looking forward to the leftovers! Definitely a dish worth repeating.

Hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend!

Super Freak

I saw this at the Farmers Market this weekend and knew I had to buy it. Who wouldn’t want Siamese eggplant? I love the “freak” veggies. I always make sure to give them a good home in my belly.

Tonight I used the eggplant to use it for flat bread pizza with butternut squash, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper on Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat crust.

I only ate half, and saved half for tomorrow.

Carolyn tipped me to a great desert, pumpkin ice cream from Trader Joes. I added mix ins of course! Tonight I chose cinnamon and chocolate chips.

I used the ice cream scoop of my childhood. Many of my kitchen utensils are from my parents house!

Hello dessert. I love you. This literally tasted like fall. Pumpkin-ey, nutmeg-ey, and cinnamon-ey. SO good. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy some tomorrow!

I also had another new kitchen acquisition… a magnet!

Its like a daily Operation Beautiful reminder :). The note it’s holding up has been on the fridge of every apartment I’ve lived in since May of 2008. I originally posted it to get me through the LSAT and have moved it with me since. This is the 4th fridge its been on! To me, it means not to make plans because life always turns out better than your plan could ever be. I know its been true in my life.

On that positive note, hope everyone has an awesome week! I have Thursday classes on Wednesday (woo hoo! No Wednesday busy day!) Thursday I have no class and my Mom lands in LA Thursday to watch my Half Marathon this Sunday. It’s going to be an epic week!

Project Food Blog Round 3: Champagne Luxury on a PBR Budget

Yesterday night I hosted a luxury dinner party for challenge 3 of Project Food Blog. Let’s just say that the theme of the night wound up being, “four guests, crazy honey”.

When I read the prompt for challenge 3 I was initially worried. “Throw a luxury dinner party?” I thought, “how can I do that when most of my friends don’t even have dining room tables?” I have maintained on this blog that just because you are a student and short on cash, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fabulous party! Personally, I think there are two keys to this: 1) use ingredients you already have and 2) use a few, really special ingredients in simple dishes. I did both last night and I think I accomplished my mission.

I decided to throw the party at my friends Catie and Emily’s house because I have a midterm on Monday and it looks like a Wills and Trusts bomb went off in my apartment. Unless dozens of pages of tiny family trees with dollar amounts next to them is your idea of luxury I knew it just wouldn’t work. Plus, Catie and Emily have a big, open concept kitchen which allows for plenty of chef to guest interaction. The kitchen is the heart of every home and I love cooking surrounded by friends. Catie’s long time friend Jackie also attended.

My favorite part of dinner parties is cooking with everyone, sharing stories and laughing. We had to start with wine of course!

Once the vino is poured the party really starts rocken’.

One of my pieces of advice if your on a budget but want to host a luxe dinner party is to use what you already have plenty of. I happen to have a ton of honey leftover from making baklava last week so I incorporated it into every course. Honey was used liberally in the creation of this meal.

Explaining the importance of using what you got

As you might have gleaned from the title of my blog I am a bit of a Barefoot Contessa fan. I love Ina because everything in her world is always fabulous and even challenging dishes are so easy and simple to make. All I want to do is move to the Hamptons and eat leftovers with Jeffrey.

I always take study breaks when Barefoot is on and yesterday was no exception. While watching I decided I had to make a cheese appetizer she was featuring: Baked Brie with Honey and Pecans. I served it with farmers market fresh honey crisp apple slices. I made this first so my guests could enjoy it with wine while I prepped the rest of the meal.

Another Barefoot classic was the entree: Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter.

This dish is amazing because it has very few ingredients and you might actually have some of them lying around the house. One thing that won’t be lying around your house if you are a twenty something graduate student is truffle butter. Lucky for me, it was on sale at Whole Food this week! Even I can afford $7 for “the finest truffle butter in the world”.

Can you believe my friends had never tried truffle butter?

This dish cooks in a matter of a few minutes.

While the pasta was being prepared I honey roasted some fall vegetables. This is a simple recipe that utilizes honey, because I have an excess of it, and some great farmers market finds including the first butternut squash of the season, carrots, parsnips, and walnuts.


If you read my blog you know I’m a sucker for roasted veggies. This is a sweet twist on your typical roasted veggie.

And then, dinner was ready.

Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter

and Honey Roasted Fall Vegetables


Dinner is served!

Who says you can’t have a luxurious meal and sit on the floor? I think we proved them wrong last night!

And then it was time for dessert… Vanilla Ice Cream with Drizzled Honey and Raspberries.

Simply delicious.

I am so glad I have made it this far in Project Food Blog and was able to serve this fantastic dinner party to these fabulous ladies! I was able to combine simple and special ingredients with the ingredients I already had to craft a tasty dinner for everyone. The best part of any dinner party is getting together with old and new friends, swapping stories and laughing. We had a wonderful, food coma inducing time. Thanks for being a part of it!

Last Day of My Summer Vacation

Like the title says, today was my last day of summer vacation. And you know what? I did basically nothing. I prepped for class, cleaned, ran some errands and watched portions of both “Mona Lisa Smile” and “Cocktail”. I enjoyed the last day where it is appropriate for me to be lazy.

Backing up to yesterday… there is nothing to blog because I didn’t eat. I was too queasy and I had no appetite at all. I ate literally a piece of toast. Not blog worthy at all.

I did, however, run into Barack…

I knew it was him the moment I was the presidential helicopters. I saw them when I was visiting in Chicago with Steve earlier this summer. People were angry because Wilshire and basically the entire west side of LA was shut down but I just chilled out and enjoyed the view…

Change I can believe in. 🙂

Today I finally regained my appetite around lunch so I made a super healthy lunch at home. Its been a while between having visitors and being sick yesterday so I was very happy to have a wholesome lunch at home.

Lunch was pita chips, a Honey Crisp apple, TJ’s fruit flakes, and a prosciutto sandwich with spinach, goat cheese, and arugula. To drink I had Pelligrino.

Toasted Ezekiel bread with my favorite lunch meat (haha, does prosciutto count as a lunch meat?) is totally to die for. Ezekiel bread is so filling and amazing.

I also braved fruit for the first time. First Honey Crisp apples of the season! It was amazing and so miniature. I cannot wait for fall. This lunch kept me satisfied all day and powered me though my first run in 1 week. I think I needed a long run break. Obviously I wasn’t going to run yesterday because I wasn’t consuming any calories. Today’s 4.1 mile run was done at a pretty fast clip and felt amazing. So glad to be back. I forgot how running helps be deal with stress.

Speaking of fall, school starts tomorrow and after reading Caitlin’s post about time management I wanted to break down my time management a bit. I tend to be a pretty good time manager with a good life-work balance but I thought that it would be a sound idea to go over my priorities a bit.

Step 1: There is limited time in the week, 168 exactly and I need a minimum of 56 hours to sleep.

Step 2: List your priorities. These are necessary and non necessary…

  • Going to class, prepping for class, things related to school things
  • Sleeping
  • Sticking to Half Marathon Training Plan (working out, running etc)
  • Cooking, eating, blogging, reading other blogs
  • Being a good fur mama to Izzy Cat
  • Catching up with friends both over phone and/or gchat and socializing in person
  • Running errands
  • Down time to read and watch some TV
  • Personal time to stress management and take care of my mental health

Step 3: Identify priorities you can downgrade or drop completely.

In terms or what I can downgrade, I think I need to make sure that my TV relaxation time does not spiral into endless hours of TV enjoyment. I love my TV, but sometimes it can go from 30 mins of Barefoot to Barefoot + Rachel Maddow + E! News + Daily 10 and before you know it I’m watching Flipping Out and Rachel Zoe Project. I swear I’m intelligent I just love TV a lot. So I should keep an eye on that. I also want to make sure that I spend enough time blogging to be happy and maintaining the blog and cooking wholesome meals. While I would love to devote all my time to working out and blogging I need to make sure I don’t let it take over my life.

Step 4: Get organized and use a calander

Done and done. I have my Hermes planner which I write school assignments and day to day things. I also use a wall calender which has less detail and is more of a broad view. I also take care of priorities like free reading right before I go to bed for 30 mins, and I normally have set shows that I watch certain nights of the week. Also, I have all of my workouts planned- and I’ve been pretty good about being flexible so far. Plus, running and mental health stuff makes blends together for me.

I think its really important to write out my priorities and set written goals for achieving them successfully. Writing it down means actually thinking it out and, in my opinion, makes the changes more likely to stick. I will be vigilant about my TV time and make sure that I stay happy and focused this semester.

What are your priorities?