Category Archives: California

Morning Glory Muffins

Back when I lived in LA I used to treat myself to a Morning Glory muffin and a latte from Mani’s Bakery nearly every weekend.  The Morning Glory muffin was always my favorite, and I would be disappointed if I didn’t get there in time and Mani’s was sold out.  Mani’s Bakery has unfortunately closed since then, but I always told myself one of these days I would attempt to recreate those delicious muffins.

After browsing a few blogs and cooking websites, I decided to come up with a Morning Glory combining elements from a few different recipes.  These muffins are hearty, delicious, and full of good things (carrot! almond flour! applesauce!) and make your house smell amazing.  Seriously, my mouth was watering so much as these baked that I had to distract myself by watching old episodes of The Hills and painting my nails.  But once I bit into one of these muffins, I knew it was worth the wait.

Morning Glory Muffins (inspired from this recipe and this recipe)

*makes approx. 12 muffins


1/2 cup oats
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped dates


Mix almond flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla together in a large bowl.

Shred your carrot and put in a separate bowl and add applesauce and egg.  Mix well and fold wet ingredients into larger bowl with dry ingredients.  Stir in coconut and dates.

Pour mixture into either paper muffin cups or a muffin tin sprayed with cooking oil.  Place in oven and bake 25-30 minutes, depending on how fast your oven cooks.

Once muffins are done baking, leave them in their tins for an additional 20 minutes while they cool, then dig in and enjoy!

A couple notes:

– These muffins don’t have any added sugar so if you want something a little more sweet, I recommend adding in some honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.

– Definitely watch your baking time – these bad boys cook up quickly!

– These muffins are delicious with some jam.  Raspberry jam to be exact.

Looking Forward to Fall

It’s hard to believe that the end of August is here and September is just around the corner.  This year, summer literally just flew by.  While I love summer, I’m also looking forward to fall this year for a variety of reasons:

1. Football Season – I do love me some football season, and with my uncle coaching with the Chargers this year, you can bet I’ll be making my way to San Diego for a few games.

2. Pumpkin – It’s true, I love all things pumpkin including pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles, pumpkin bread, pumpkin oatmeal, and these decadent looking vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls I found on pinterest.

3. Fall Clothes – Boots, jackets, sweaters, colored jeans, etc.  I am determined to get a new pair of black boots this year and could use a few more pairs of colored denim, even though I have been wearing my red denim jeans to death this summer.

4. Wedding Planning – After becoming engaged in July, the rest of the summer was a bit of a whirlwind with a very busy schedule at work and fun travel to Colorado.  Things will hopefully slow down a bit in the fall which will give me a chance to finally focus on some wedding things, like finding a wedding photo booth because that was way too much fun at the wedding last week.

5. Trip to the bay area/Napa Valley – This may or may not have to do with wedding planning…

6. Other fall travel – I’m hoping to take a few road trips this fall and possibly a trip out to Vegas if the mood so strikes.  Last time I went was when I won money on the slots, so clearly this must be repeated.

7.  Comfort Food – I do love the food that comes with fall – warm soups, casseroles and other hearty fare.  Perhaps I can convince the Englishman to make his chicken, eggplant and pork paella again.

8.  Moving – Can’t say too much on this one yet, but if all goes to plan, the Englishman and I will be moving this fall (fingers crossed).

What are you looking forward to this fall?


Wine Tasting in Temecula with a Sparkly Ending

Since I’ve been all about the wine recently, I thought I’d recap the wine tasting extravaganza that the Englishman and I had this past weekend in Temecula.  We have been wine tasting in Santa Barbara and Napa (we love Napa) and decided to give Temecula a shot after finding a sweet Living Social deal at a local B&B.

One of the wineries I really wanted to visit was Wilson Creek because of their delicious almond champagne.  While the champagne was just as delicious at the winery, I was surprised at how corporate everything felt.  Busloads of people were dropped off at the winery, and the people who were doing the pours weren’t the friendliest and didn’t take the time to explain each wine.  At least the almond champagne was still good (and loads cheaper at the grocery store).

Determined to find a nice hole in the wall winery with that “Napa” feel to it, we made our way to Falkner Winery.  The winery was located at the top of a huge hill with a beautiful view of the Temecula valley.

After picking up a bottle of Rose from Falkner, we made our way to Mount Palomar Winery which was the definite highlight of the day.  While the outside of the winery looked like a Greco-Roman playground, the tasting room had a nice, intimate feel to it.

We decided to just stick to tasting white wines and were pleasantly surprised by all of them.  The Brut sparkling wine was nice and dry with the perfect amount of bubbly and the dry Riesling had a nice citrus taste to it without being too sweet.  The Rose was also top-notch and I even found the Chardonnay to be palatable and I normally hate Chardonnay.  I liked all the wines so much I even put stars next to all of them.

The service at Mount Palomar was amazing and everyone was so knowledgeable and attentive.  We ended up buying a bottle of Brut at the winery and were pleased that we found a great winery during our tasting adventure.

While I thought that Mount Palomar was the high note of the trip it was quickly upstaged by something else.

Yep, the Englishman and I are engaged!

New Intermediate Wine Education Sessions at Il Fornaio in Irvine

Ever since I studied abroad in Italy in 2005, I have been a big fan of wine.  Pinot Grigio has always been my first love, but I have since expanded my palate to appreciate bold reds, dry whites, and of course anything of the sparkling variety.  While I don’t consider myself a wine expert by any means, over the past few years I have taken an interest into learning more about wine and how different varietals contribute to the wine’s flavor.

This past spring Il Fornaio in Irvine offered wine education classes and because they were so popular, the restaurant is offering an intermediate series starting Saturday, July 21st at 2pm.

This three-part series will offer an intermediate class in July, August and September and will explore different types of Italian wines (which are my favorite along with California wines).  Each session is $29.99 and includes wine and appetizers.  The sessions will be taught by Certified Wine Educator Tracy Cervellone from Wilson Daniels.  If you want to expand your wine knowledge or are just a wine enthusiast in general, I highly recommend attending these sessions!

Here is a quick rundown of each session:

July 21st:  Italian Regions

The first wine education session will focus on the differences between Tuscan wines and Wines from the Piemonte region.  I have had many Tuscan wines but not really any from the Piemonte area so it will be interesting to see how the two compare.

August 11th: Prosecco!

Prosecco happens to be my favorite Italian sparkling wine and this session will focus on the best foods to pair Prosecco with.  There will also be a Prosecco flight that compares taste and against price.  I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty excited for this session.

September 22nd:  Pinot Noir

The final session will focus on Pinot Noir and how to find the best pinots to complement various Italian dishes.  The session will also focus on the differences between old world and new world pinot styles.  I’m not the most well versed in pinot noir, so I am looking forward to learning more in this session.

If you are interested in participating in any of the Wine Education Sessions, make your reservation today by calling Il Fornaio 949-261-1444.  If you want to attend all 3 sessions, you can purchase all 3 at once for a discounted price of $75 total.  All sessions take place at Il Fornaio in Irvine.