Cashmere Apron

Meyer Lemon & Raspberry Soufflé

It’s hard to beat a chocolate soufflé, period. But when I found myself with bags of Meyer Lemons (compliments of my mom’s Meyer Lemon tree that seems to be on steroids), I wanted to explore a few ways to use the citrusy fruit. I came across a Martha Stewart recipe for a lemony soufflé pudding and adapted the recipe using Meyer lemons and raspberries. The Meyer Lemon and Raspberry soufflés were not only delicious but simple to make. I’ve never made a soufflé and was dubious when I saw Martha Stewart was the “recipe headliner,” as some of her ideas/crafts/recipes, well…let’s just say the word “easy” does not come to mind. The ingredients here are minimal and uncomplicated which means I can focus on the presentation which is my favorite element of cooking. A chocolate soufflé is still hard to beat but this version offers a light and elegant treat at the end of a meal and would be a great option during the holidays when rich foods are plenty and champagne is being uncorked at every turn.


1 teaspoon unsalted butter, for the soufflé cups
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tb freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 package fresh organic raspberries
2 Tb powdered sugar
whipped cream for garnishing
fresh rosemary for garnish
6-7, 3.5 ounce soufflé cups (World Market has an in depth online selection at chipper prices)

Gently push the fresh raspberries into the light and fluffy batter.

Gently push the fresh raspberries into the light and fluffy batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using the teaspoon of butter, butter six to seven soufflé cups and set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.

While the water is boiling, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In another clean bowl, beat the egg yolks until frothy and light in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly add the sugar to the yolks while still beating. Mix in the Meyer lemon zest and juice.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk-lemon mixture. Pour the batter into each soufflé  cup (filling each three-quarters full). Place each soufflé cup into the roasting pan and place the pan on a flat surface near the oven. Add two to three fresh raspberries to each soufflé cup by gently pushing them into the batter. Carefully and quickly pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the soufflé cups. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Don’t overcook.

Line your serving platter with slices of Meyer lemons for a bright presentation.

Line your serving platter with slices of Meyer lemons for a bright presentation

Remove the pan from the oven. Set the soufflé cups on a wire rack to cool. In the meantime, cover the bottom of a serving platter with Meyer lemon slices. To serve, set the soufflé cups on top of the Meyer lemon slices. Dust each soufflé cup with confectioners’ sugar and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish the platter with fresh rosemary. Serve warm.

I love using rosemary as a garnish and it looks so fresh against the bright yellow of the lemons

Rosemary always serves as a fragrant and sophisticated garnish

If you try this recipe and like it, let me know what you think!

Low-Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

shake-2Every school morning I wake my daughter up at 6:20 am. And every morning she holds up an open palm begging for five more minutes of sleep. I tell her I’ll be back in five minutes after making my coffee and she whispers, “s m o o t h i e...” This is our morning ritual. I don’t make the smoothie every single morning because I love to make breakfast and this girl of mine will eat almost anything- eggs with fresh basil and sausage, breakfast tacos, a BLT, Brioche french toast, waffle bowls, pasta or leftovers from dinner the night before – pretty much anything – except fruit, yogurt and cereal. Who doesn’t like fruit? Delicious sweet berries, cool watermelon, crisp apples, tangy tangerines, tart cherries, citrusy pineapple, mango and oranges – the flavors and sweetness are endless for mixing into smoothies and making fruit parfaits and Acai bowls BUT not for my girl.

Fueling up this girl's body is no easy task. I love having this smoothie as a healthy protein source.

Fueling up this girl’s body is no easy task. I love making this smoothie as a healthy source of protein and nutrients.

So when I discovered this smoothie and adapted it a bit for her palate, I held my breath when her lips met the straw for the first time. Shockingly, she gave me the thumbs up and it has been a morning or pre-training staple ever since. I love this smoothie because it’s easy to make and a very nutritious alternative. The chia seeds add additional protein and minerals that have deemed it a popular superfood. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for STRENGTH. The protein powder adds to the rich flavor while providing the necessary building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. And this smoothie is filling which won’t leave your stomach grumbling 40 minutes later. I do add a touch of whipped cream and drizzle a bit of dark chocolate over the top but just enough to make it look extra appealing and special.

Whipping up this smoothie takes a few minutes and the loud, annoying blender sound is the wake-up call for everyone else in the house (no use going up and down the stairs three times!)

A little whipped cream...a little chocolate drizzle...

A little whipped cream…a little chocolate drizzle…

2 cups crushed ice cubes
1 cup chocolate almond milk
1 scoop chocolate or peanut butter protein powder (I love ChocoRite brand which is sugar free, and gluten free with 24 grams of protein. I purchase it at my local Albertson’s but there are 12 flavors that can be purchased directly online)
2 Tb organic peanut butter or almond butter
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb chia seeds (see the benefits here of this tiny superfood)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Optional additions: whipped cream, chocolate syrup, mint leaf

Place all ingredients except the whipped cream, chocolate syrup and mint leaf in the blender. Blend for about a minute or until smooth. Spoon into an 8 ounce glass and, if you choose, top with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a mint leaf.

Smoothie super fuel

Smoothie super fuel

Strawberry Bruschetta

Don’t you love finding new places that were right under your nose the whole time??? A recent Girls Night Out led us to a charming local wine bar called Rancho Capistrano Winery. Nestled in downtown San Juan Capistrano, the environment is a world away- one of those restaurants that makes you feel like a vacationer in your own town. When the sun goes down the patio is softly illuminated with strands of criss-crossing lights, a large Spanish-style hearth and offers an atmosphere lively with conversation, food and drink. High top wine barrel tables are positioned to give glimpses of the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

My gals and I ate and drank our way around the menu and while everything was really good, I went home that night craving another serving of their unexpectedly delicious Strawberry Bruschetta. You know how it is the first time you try something and absolutely love it? You just know that the next time won’t be as good. On my second visit to RC Winery, my taste buds were watering as I sat down and ordered Strawberry Bruschetta for the table. I have to say that reality met expectation. The second time around the delicious appetizer WAS as good as I recalled. I went home and whipped up my own version a few days later. I added avocado and a few other twists and have a new fave to serve when entertaining. Pair the bruschetta with a crisp Rose or Sangria and your taste buds will be humming.


Pair with a crisp Rose or Sangria

1 organic tomato, diced
1 1/4 cup organic fresh strawberries, diced
1 mini cucumber sliced, then cut each slice into quarters
1 Tb fresh basil, chiffonade
1 small white organic nectarine, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp olive oil
Balsamic reduction (link to easy recipe here)
Pepper to taste
1 large French baguette


Mix all ingredients together gently in a large bowl

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss with pepper and 1 tsp olive oil. Slice the baguette into medium thick slices and brush each slice with olive oil. Put in the oven on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Place crisped baguette slices on a serving platter and top each piece with a spoonful of the bruschetta mixture.

Drizzle the Balsamic reduction and sprinkle additional basil across the top and platter for embellishment.


The balsamic reduction is so easy to make and adds just a kick to the bruschetta

Organic Strawberry Basil Margaritas With Ginger

I hit up my local farm stand, South Coast Farms, on my way home from working out on Friday. The strawberries this season have been outrageous, baskets and baskets of pure berry sweetness filling up a large table every day at the farm. When I showed up Friday, the normal “strawberry” table was overflowing with heirloom tomatoes. Strawberry season at the farm ends today and the farm’s “U-Pick” option was the only way I could enjoy a few last baskets of their organic strawberries. So, I grabbed my basket and walked out to the field.


A few observations from my strawberry picking: (1) There is no match for the goodness of food that goes right from the ground into your hands. (2) I will have a greater appreciation for naturally farmed food and the people that bring it to me, as my back was sore after a mere 35 minutes of picking strawberries. (3) Standing in the field and looking around at heirloom tomatoes on vines and giant bunches of fresh green lettuces and kale, I was inspired to keep shopping/eating/buying local farm stand fruits and vegetables. (4) It is the simple and pure things in life that make me feel good – standing in that field picking strawberries, chatting with people I didn’t know on a relaxed Friday afternoon, watching kids fill their little buckets with strawberries picked with their own little hands, the warm sunshine and cool ocean breeze.


I decided to kick off the holiday weekend using the strawberries in fresh strawberry margaritas. All of the ingredients listed are organic (I purchased the basil and limes at the farm as well). Happy Fourth of July…Enjoy this “Farm-To-Glass” spirit.

1 cup of organic strawberries, stems removed
1/2 cup Patron Silver tequila
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup Cointreau
1 Tb organic basil, roughly chopped +extra for garnish
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
*Fills two large margarita glasses or three smaller glasses


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Pour over ice into Margarita glasses and top with a few sprigs of basil. For garnish, create a mini kabob of strawberries, basil and ginger and rest on the side of the Margarita glass. Serve on a large farm tray with baskets of strawberries as decoration.


All For Mom

May 8 is just around the corner and with it, a day that is dedicated to M-O-M. This carefully curated list of gift ideas appeals to different tastes and preferences and there is sure to be something every mom would appreciate (or at least I would)! All of these gifts can be found online and ordered, except for the weekend getaway, of course!

Mothers Day Guide(1) Fitbit Alta Luxe
Motivation Is Your best Accessory.” The updated and more glam Fitbit Alta comes in a trendy array of colors including: blush leather, graphite leather and stainless steel. The classic version still comes in black, blue, plum and teal. The updated look and features will keep mom moving, grooving and on trend.

(2) Oscar de la Renta –  a Restrospective at the de Young Galleries in San Francisco running through May 30. An overview of the exhibition is described as follows, “Oscar de la Renta’s designs celebrated the best in us—beauty, optimism, and confidence. Including more than 130 ensembles, this world-premiere retrospective pays tribute to one of the most beloved and influential fashion icons of our time.” Definitely a reason to visit San Francisco with your mom, and if geography poses an issue, check out the art galleries in your town. A relaxing Sunday viewing art, lunching, drinking champagne…O’ Happy Mother’s Day!

(3) Juice Beauty Gift Set. “As the new creative director of makeup for Juice Beauty, Gwyneth [Paltrow] collaborated with the company on a line of organic makeup this winter. And this month, in further partnership with Juice Beauty the launch of a new organic skincare line goop by Juice Beauty.” (Glamour Magazine, March 2016). The company is based in California and the all organic formulations offer everything from skincare to make-up that starts with a pure, unadulterated juice base. Juice Beauty offers FREE shipping on orders over $30 and 15% off your first purchase by signing up for their newsletter. The product line is extensive and reasonably priced.

(4) Simone Le Blanc Spa Indulgence Gift Box. A company that curates anything but ordinary gift boxes, Simone Le Blanc believes in connecting people through carefully selected gift experiences. The way they package their gifts, along with the quality would absolutely make me want to be the recipient of one of these special packages at my front door. They offer everything from her to him to babies and more. Classy. Elegant. Unique. Their pricing starts at the reasonable and ramps up to the high but there is a wide array of quality selections for every budget. This particular Mother’s Day gift box includes:

  • Coyuchi Organic Cotton Robe. A beautiful and elegant bathrobe handmade of 100% organic cotton, fabricated to be both lightweight, incredibly absorbent, and soft-to-the-touch. S/M, fits most.
  • L’Objet 28 Candle. Bright mint, deep Rose de Mai, orange flower, topped with warm honeyed amber notes swirl in this candle inspired by travels to Morocco. Hand blended and poured into a keepsake porcelain and brass vessel. A truly luxurious candle.
  • Rodin Body Cream. A luxurious formula of calming jasmine and nourishing neroli essential oils, moisturizers, healing agents and antioxidants to smooth skin and restore glow.
  • Rodin Body Oil. A gloriously rich elixir for restoring suppleness and radiance. Made of eleven aromatic and skin-soothing essential oils derived from flowers and other botanicals.
  • Cousus De Fils Soaps. A trio of fine soaps handmade in France using traditional techniques. Naturally scented and made without artificial ingredients. Beautifully wrapped in antique wallpaper patterns.
  • Simone LeBlanc Gold Foil and Stone Leather “Moments” Journal. Dove gray leather journal with gold foil embossed “Moments” lettering for capturing special memories. A timeless keepsake.
  • Crystal Geode. A unique geode to fill the home with charm, vision, and an open heart. The perfect sparkling memento.
  • Signature Simone LeBlanc Keepsake Wood Box. Handmade in Los Angeles. Reusable and just right for storing beloved heirlooms or personal mementos.
  • Menu with inspirational quote and component details.

(5) Alexis Bittar 4-Piece Stacking Ring Set. Alexis Bittar is the CEO and Creative Designer of the jewelry company bearing his name. He is best known for his lucite bangles and high fashion runway collaborations. His jewelry is modern and just different enough to always invoke the question from others of, “That’s beautiful…where did you get it?” My mom gave me a very unique Alexis Bittar stacking necklace for my birthday and I get compliments on it EVERY day (I am NOT being dramatic). The jewelry price point is very reasonable and his line is carried widely at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. I loved this ring and thought it would be a very well-received Mother’s Day gift!

(6) The Giving Keys classic “Inspire” necklace. A “pay it forward company” that helps employ others impacted by homelessness. Custom-made in Los Angeles, The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness in Los Angeles to make key necklaces and other jewelry out of repurposed keys. Singer/Songwriter Caitlin Crosby is the company’s founder and lives by the motto, “Keep your eyes open to all the needs you see around you. They are all over the place.” Today, The Giving Keys are carried in over 1200 stores in the US and internationally including Nordstrom, Fred Segal and Kitson. There is a large, budget-friendly priced product line which can also be found online. The company also says, “Our products are worn proudly and intentionally by individuals from all walks of life who want to be inspired and touch others with their words.” I can’t imagine a more meaningful gift for the woman that inspires you.

(7) Spa and relax away at The Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley, California. Okay, not everyone can just take off for a weekend in Carmel Valley with their mom. BUT, what a great sentiment! You can always schedule a special day at a local spa. We did this for my mom’s birthday this past weekend and what a great day we shared. We worked out overlooking the ocean, had a delicious lunch, received amazing massages and finished our day with a glass of rose and a beautiful ocean view. Maybe the Bernardus Lodge & Spa can be on a future list. It is sooooooooo worth it. Tucked away in a beautiful valley – the calm and mellow feel coupled with gourmet locally-sourced food and the incredible scenery will keep you coming back year after year.

(8) Pamela Love: Muses and Manifestations Book. This beautiful hardcover book would not only be gorgeous on a coffee table or nightstand, but the content is inspiring as well. Give mom a copy of this tome and wrap it with a soft afghan. Trendsetting contemporary jeweler, Pamela Love, invites you into her universe, revealing the obsessions and inspiration behind her cult jewelry line she began in 2007. Part of the book, which inspired me, shows her process for jewelry creation and the use of vision boards and where she finds her motivation. The pages are colorful, elegant and so captivating. This is an excellent gift for mom to enjoy and think of you every time she sees it.

I hope you find something appealing on this list for your mom, or maybe for YOU. Happy Mother’s Day.

Meyer Lemon Cookies with a Powdered Sugar Glaze

When a large bag of Meyer Lemons lands graciously on your front porch the question begs…what to do with Meyer Lemons? My first instinct, which was covered in my last post, was to make Meyer Lemon Limoncello. Sipping Limoncello in the warm Italian sunshine is one of my most vivid memories of a long-ago trip to Europe. The Meyer Lemon Limoncello was a success and is now on my gift giving list for the holidays. When wondering what else to do with Meyer Lemons, I decided to infuse vodka, which yielded a delicious flavor and a very gregarious cocktail hour this past Christmas day. That post is soon coming up (perhaps as part of a Mother’s Day gift guide).

After searching for all kinds of recipes about what to do with Meyer Lemons, I came across a wonderful sounding recipe for a Meyer Lemon jam. I envisioned slathering the homemade citrusy deliciousness across a rustic piece of bread with morning coffee, drizzling it onto poundcake with fresh strawberries and topping my kids’ nightly bowl of ice cream with just a dab of the zesty freshness. I sterilized my mason jars and laid them on the counter, ready to be filled. After peeling, chopping, draining, boiling and BURNING my precious lemon jam to a dark mahogany hue, I put that idea on hold until next year when perhaps my patience will be more abundant.

Among some of the other Meyer Lemon recipes I came across, this one stuck out. I found it on a beautiful blog with creative desserts called The Sugar Coated Cottage. I followed The Sugar Coated Cottage recipe to a T, and voila, one more fruitful idea for what to do with Meyer Lemons – create a light and fluffy Meyer lemon cookie with a powdered sugar glaze. The Meyer lemon adds just the slightest hint of citrus so as not to detract from the sugar cookie itself. I often get the complaint from my kids that they prefer, “Just vanilla, mom,” but I could barely glaze these babies fast enough before they flew off the counter. If a baked good sits in my home for more than two days, it’s a flop. These beautiful-to-look-at and tasty-to-taste cookies undoubtedly earn a checkmark in the make-again (and again) column.

Golden flecks of the Meyer lemon zest make for a pretty cookie

Golden flecks of the Meyer lemon zest make for a pretty cookie

For the Cookie:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tb Meyer lemon juice
2 Tb Meyer lemon zest
1 and ¼ cup all purpose flour (I always use Swan’s Down brand cake flour in my
baking. I like the light fluffy texture it yields)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Extra sugar for rolling

For the Meyer lemon powdered sugar glaze:
1 and ½ cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
2 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Add extra sugar to shallow dish for rolling.

To make cookies:
-With mixer on medium cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
-Add in the egg, Meyer lemon juice and zest, mix to combine.
-In a separate bowl put flour, baking powder, baking soda, stir to combine.
-With mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture to butter mixture, mix until well combined.
-Roll into 1” balls and roll in sugar.
-Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
-Bake for 7-9 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
-Let cool.

To make the glaze:
-Mix all ingredients until completely combined.
-Drizzle over cooled sugar cookies.

The Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange offering a little more sweetness than regular lemons.

Arrange cookies on a vintage-looking platter surrounded by fresh lemons and mandarin oranges for a vibrant and inviting presentation.

1. This is a soft dough, if making up next cookie sheet while first one is baking place second cookie sheet with rolled cookies into refrigerator until ready for the oven.

2. If you find the dough is too soft you can refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up.

3. If you need to store the glaze lay plastic wrap directly on the surface so it does not crust over.

4. Store cookies in airtight container

5. Watch cookies closely while baking, as soon as the edges are a light golden brown remove from oven. Press top of cookie lightly, if firm they are done. If top is soft then put in oven for 1 minute intervals until done.

The sweet citrus taste is attributed to the Meyer lemon's cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.

The light and sweet citrus essence tasted in the cookie is attributed to the Meyer lemon’s cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.

Meyer Lemon Limoncello

When my mom’s Meyer lemon tree was overflowing with glowing yellow citrus, I found myself the lucky recipient of a giant bag on my doorstep. I started researching all the delectable ways these lemons could be incorporated into recipes. It was an experiment that yielded beautiful cocktails and desserts, and one gorgeous roasted chicken.

What makes Meyer lemons so special? ’Lisbon’ and ‘Eureka’ lemons grow year-round and are most likely the lemons you select whenever you reach for them in the grocery store. The Meyer lemon, named after Frank N. Meyer who discovered it in Asia in 1908, is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The Meyer lemon is less acidic and sweeter with a more fragrant smelling rind. The Meyer lemon is seasonal, available mainly from December through May (Costco had bags of Meyer lemons this year, which I just noticed).

Obsessed with Limoncello from my first trip to Italy, I decided to use the Meyer lemons to first make my own Meyer Lemon Limoncello. I let my peels infuse for a month and the result was delicious.
This Christmas, I plan on making Limoncello again with the Meyer lemons and giving homemade bottles as gifts during the holidays. There is so much you can do with the packaging and suggesting different ways to drink, cook and bake with Limoncello. If you want to try this recipe, any lemons will do, but take advantage of the Meyer variety if you have time.

A thick piece of lemon peel can be tied around the neck of the bottle. Create an "L" out of the lemon peel and glue to a gift tag.

A thick piece of lemon peel can be tied around the neck of the bottle. Create an “L” out of the lemon peel and glue to a gift tag.

11-12 Meyer lemons, washed and dried
1 750-ml bottle vodka (80-to-100 proof)
2 cups sugar
2, 1 quart Mason jars
Small funnel
Decorative/Sealable bottle(s) of your choice


Cover the Meyer Lemon peels with vodka

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler being careful to avoid the pith. Divide the lemon peels equally between your two, 1-Quart Mason jars. Fill each jar to the top with vodka and seal.

Fill jar to the top, covering all peels, and seal the lid

Fill jar to the top, covering all peels, and seal the lid

Place the Mason jars in a dark, cool spot and let the vodka infuse anywhere from one week to four weeks. *The longer you infuse the vodka the more lemon flavor you will get out of your Limoncello.

Vodka being infused with Meyer Lemons

Vodka being infused with Meyer Lemons

Once you are ready, place your collander/strainer over a measuring cup that is large enough to hold at least two cups but preferably four. Strain the infused vodka through the collander/strainer. It should yield four cups of vodka approximately. Add your four cups of infused vodka to a large pitcher.

Now you will prepare a simple sugar syrup which you will add to the infused vodka (once it has cooled). Bring two cups water and two cups sugar to a boil and stir. Once all the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let the simple sugar syrup cool completely.

Once the simple sugar syrup has cooled completely, you will add it to your pitcher of infused vodka and stir. Be sure to taste it and make sure it is to your liking. I used a 1:1 ratio and thought it had the right kick.

Pour Limoncello into a decorative bottle that seals

Pour Limoncello into a decorative bottle that seals

You are ready to bottle your Limoncello. Pour into the decorative bottles you selected using a small funnel or a steady hand! I found the pretty bottles you see here at Cost Plus but am certain any variety and any size can be found online. Chill the finished Limoncello in the fridge or freezer for four to five hours before enjoying. I always keep my Limoncello in the freezer as I like to serve it cold and it will last much longer (up to a year).

Limoncello Ideas