Meatless Monday: Twice-Baked Madras Potatoes

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my life and recipes on the Internet, and since September 2015 (I cannot believe it has been that long) a lot has changed. Most notably, I am officially an Oakland, California resident! I started a new job in San Francisco eight days before the Presidential election, and I think it’s safe to say that I left Washington, DC at exactly the right time. And while I desperately miss my friends who were more like family, it’s hard to complain about life in the Bay Area. It’s a thriving metropolis of beautiful scenery, down-to-earth people, and a plethora of vegetarian dining options. I’ve only been here three months now, but it very much feels like home.

But let’s talk about food, shall we? If you know me at all, you know that I love carbs, and potatoes are – arguably – my favorite carbohydrate. All you have to do is share a basket of french fries with me, and you won’t have any doubts. But despite the fact that carbs are an essential part of well-balanced diet (they are one of three macronutrients), they get a bad rap. Potatoes are an intact carb, meaning that they contain fiber, which is good for your intestines and gut bacteria, not to mention it’s satiating (see note below!). So while white potatoes suffer from a bad reputation, they’re really a delicious, whole food carbohydrate. And if that doesn’t convince you, even Whole30 allows white potatoes y’all … they’ve got to be legit.

So long story short, I found myself repeatedly trekking to the Oakland Whole Foods for the hot bar Madras Potatoes (along with garlic noodles because that is the beauty of the hot bar). But these potatoes – perfectly spicy, but also deliciously creamy and super filling – I just could not get enough. So I came to the conclusion that I should probably learn to make some version of them myself – you know to save money and time (because Whole Foods is a very dangerous place), and I’m here today to share my I rendition of my beloved hot bar potatoes in twice-baked potato form. 

If you’ve never had a twice-baked potato, I’m so happy to introduce you. It is basically a gloriously stuffed baked potato that is baked twice. You cook the russet, carefully (very carefully) strip out the insides, and mix the potato innards with all kinds of delicious stuff, only to re-stuff the potato  and pop it back in the oven until the top is delectably crisp. The version I grew-up eating had bacon, green onions, and loads and loads of cheese; these twice-baked potatoes are FODMAPs-friendly and vegan. So basically, this recipe is everything; I’ve made it for the last four weeks in a row.  Check it out, and let me know what you think! 

Twice-Baked Madras Potatoes
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Creamy and spicy, these potatoes will leave you satisfied and satiated.
Serves: 4
  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 - 2 Tbls Mustard Seeds
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes
  • 6 oz. can Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1½ - 2 Tbls Curry Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub potatoes. Note: I like to soak a sponge in white vinegar to scrub the potatoes, but water also work. I would also suggest organic potatoes if you can.
  3. Rub potatoes with ~ 1 tsp of EVOO, poke with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and pop into the oven for 1 hour.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the rest of the EVOO and fry mustard seeds until fragrant (1 - 2 minutes). Add diced roma tomatoes, tomato paste, lite coconut milk, and spices. Let simmer on a low heat until potatoes are done.
  5. Cut potatoes in half with a sharp knife (this helps keep the skin in tact), and carefully (very carefully) scoop out the potato insides into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add curry-tomato mixture to the potato-insides and mix together. Pack back into the potato skins and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes until the outside is crisp.
  7. Enjoy immediately (or pack for lunch)!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 324 Fat: 10 Carbohydrates: 50 Fiber: 7 Protein: 8 Cholesterol: 0

(Note: I’m not a Registered Dietitian, but my sister is! I’m paraphrasing her expertise here, but you should know, I’m not actually a Dietitian or health care professional).

Enhance Your Wear-to-Work Wardrobe


IMG_4289IMG_4294IMG_4286IMG_4299My style tends to ebb and flows depending on where I’m living. On the West Coast, I lived in flannel, Patagonia, and Lululemon. Now that I’m living on the East Coast and working in politics, my day-to-day wardrobe is much more traditional. While in my ideal world, I would live in snakeskin sneakers, skinny jeans, and over-sized Vince sweaters, I’ve had to find a way to incorporate my style into more formal work attire.

I try to be very methodical about curating my wardrobe. I’ve worked to assemble a closet that I adore, and as I get older I think a lot about the longevity and quality of my purchases and how each item will enhance my wardrobe. Although my work requires relatively traditional business attire, I  buy staples that can transition easily and that make me feel like myself. Because there is nothing I hate more than frumpy and oppressive work attire.

My most recent obsession is MM.LeFleur. The Noho Skirt, aside from being gorgeous and versatile, is also machine washable. I’m not being compensated by MM.LeFleur, but I really can’t say enough good things about their clothing. I wish I could let you feel the material of this skirt. It’s like the professional version of yoga pants in the best way possible.  I feel comfortable and like myself, but I also feel very polished and put together. Coming from someone who usually detest pencils skirts, I literally want to replace every skirt in my closet with the MM.LeFleur version.

MM.LeFleur Noho Skirt 

Equipment Top

Vince Camuto Shoes

Kooba Angela Satchel

Sisco Berluti Orchid Stack 

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Grape Pop 

Honey Sriracha Tofu with Soba Noodles

Honey Sriracha Tofu

I like healthy meals that don’t feel that healthy. I love my vegetables, but if I’m totally honest, I still like salad dressing more than I like salad. If given the option, I will take my vegetables fried. But when cooking at home, I find it pretty easy to strike an acceptable balance between delicious and I-feel-good-about-putting-this-in-my-body. This Honey Sriracha Tofu is the perfect example.

Honey Sriracha Tofu

Honey Sriracha Tofu

Last week in my yoga class, we talked about cleanliness or shaucha (saucha), which translates to purity, cleanliness, or clearness in Sanskrit. Cleanliness can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, emotionally and physically. But it can also apply to what we put in our bodies. As mentioned above, I have an unconventional love for fried food, but I’m also very cognizant that what we put in our bodies impacts how we feel and how we think and we how interact with the world around us. Fried food, while delicious, does not make me my best self. The past year, as I’ve devolved from a vegan diet into a pescatarian and sometimes meat-eater, I know my eating habits are not as good, or as clean, as they once were. So, as yoga always does, the message of shaucha hit close to home. This month I’ve trying to reduce my alcohol consumption, but it was a nice reminder that I could do a little more to focus on cooking healthy, homemade meals that nourish the body, the mind, and the soul.

Honey Sriracha Tofu

On that note, this tofu recipe is a win-win. Local honey and tofu with sautéed greens and earthy soba noodles. I’ve made it for the past two Sunday evenings, and it is an easy, healthy meals that still feels pretty decadent, but fresh.

Honey Sriracha Tofu with Soba Noodles
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Serves: 4 meal-size servings
  • 1 block 14 ounce plain tofu (pressed)
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon of liquid aminos (or light soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package of soba noodles (4 servings)
  • 8 ounces of spinach
  • Lime for garnish
  1. Press the tofu, and cut into small cubes. In the quart-sized ziploc bag, combine tofu, olive oil, liquid aminos, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha sauce, and honey. Let the tofu marinate for at least 4 hours.
  2. When you're ready to cook the tofu, boil water and cook soba noodles according to directions.
  3. While the soba noodles are cooking, heat a skillet over a medium heat. Add marinated tofu and cook until the tofu is golden brown.
  4. When tofu is is golden brown, add spinach until wilted, and then add cooked soba noodles.
  5. Serve warm and garnish with a squeeze of lime juice and more sriracha sauce if desired.

Honey Sriracha Tofu

Happy Meatless Monday y’all!

FODMAP Friday // Polenta with Chili-spiced Tofu

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Every once and in a while, I stumble across a new food and develop a deep set devotion. Polenta is the subject of my most recent infatuation. A few months ago I randomly purchased some polenta while pursuing the aisles of my favorite store, Whole Foods. I pan-fried it one weekend morning as a experiment, not expecting much. To my pleasant surprise, the polenta was delicious, and I immediately realized it was going to be a new staple in my diet. I see a lot of polenta recipes in my immediate future.

I was thrilled to learn that polenta is FODMAP friendly. If you aren’t familiar with the Low FODMAP Diet, you can learn more at Monash University’s Website. So, I thought a polenta recipe with greens and tofu would be the perfect recipe to reinvigorate FODMAP Friday.

While it is still hot and humid in DC, this meal reminds me that my favorite season is on the horizon. Polenta with chili spiced tofu and wilted greens is the quintessential Fall meal. It’s decadent, hearty, and warm. It’s like serving up a bowl and comfort and happiness. The slight sweetness of the polenta pairs perfectly with the warm chili flavor and wilted greens round of the flavor (plus, it never hurts to eat more spinach, right). Hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Polenta with Chili Spiced Tofu
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Serves: 4 meal-size servings
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 14 ounces of plain tofu (pressed)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of parika
  • 1 pound of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Next, let's get the cornmeal going. Bring the water to boil. Add salt, and add cornmeal. Stir until the cornmeal is well-combined (if you stop stirring the mixture stays consistent).
  3. Lower temperature to low heat and cover. Stir vigorously every 10 minutes to keep cornmeal from sticking to the pan.
  4. While the cornmeal is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Cut tofu into ⅛ inch pieces, and put into skillet. Cook until the tofu is golden-brown.
  5. When the tofu is golden-brown, add tomato sauce and spices, and stir until well-combined. Turn heat down, and stir occasionally.
  6. Take spinach and massage with olive oil and nutritional yeast (optional). Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes or until desired texture is reached.

Five Lipsticks Perfect for Fall

Lipstick is one of my favorite accessories. Swiping on a quick pop of color can pull an outfit together in seconds, and nothing makes me feel more put together than finishing off my look with the perfect, complimentary lip tint. These are the colors I’m most looking forward to wearing this Fall.
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As soon as I started seeing purple lipstick hues, I had to add one to my collection. While I would probably love something a little darker and a little more purple, this shade, aside from being super silky, has the added benefit of feeling work appropriate.
I’m sure I’ve talked about Josie Maran lipstick on Life Between Lattes before. This lipstick has a great tint, but it’s also super easy to apply. You don’t need a liner or even need a mirror to put this on. It’s a low-maintenance, no fuss lip shade that gives you the perfect amount of tint, and I love the berry color for Fall.
I am a huge fan of Urban Decay (cruelty free, vegan products!), and the new Sheer Revolution Lipstick is no exception. I love everything about this lipstick, but most notably, the color layers really, really well. I love the orange tint, and it feels like the perfect color to wear when I’m getting ready to drink a pumpkin spice latte (6 days y’all).
Fresh is a brand that makes regular appearances on my Sephora receipts. I love the Sugar Lip Treatment, and the nude color is new and great for those days where you don’t want to be flashy but still want to feel polished. Highly recommend.
Now that my hair is dark, red lipstick has become much harder to pull-off for a casual, work appropriate look. This NARS color is red without being too shock worthy and also layers perfectly.
What is your favorite go-to lipstick?

Turning Twenty-Nine

I approached my twenty-ninth birthday with an anticipated sense of uneasiness. As you get older, the societal pressure to be at a certain point in your life by a certain age can be intimidating, especially coming from Texas, the land of the young and the married. Preparing to turn twenty-nine, I struggled to feel ready. I never would have imagined that my future would be so uncertain and unsettled as I approached the big three-zero. Yet, I am so grateful for these past few years in DC that have opened my life to unexpected opportunity and molded me into a more confident, more resilient, and more peaceful person.

Now that I’ve turned the corner and am officially a week into my twenty-ninth year, the uneasiness has subsided. As is life, the trepidation of a thing is often so much worse than the thing itself. After my initial recognition that I’ll be thirty in less than a year (!!!), twenty-nine is growing on me. It feels like an age of good fortune and prosperity: I feel empowered to create opportunities, embrace growth, and make the most of my last twenty-something year. The insecurity of my twenties is hazy, and I’m looking forward to a beautiful year full of courage, laughter, and love because sometimes making the most of things is as simple as shifting our perspective.

 Cheers to being another year older and, hopefully, wiser!

Favorite Beauty Products: Five Winter Essentials

I’m a self-diagnosed beauty junky. When I got a new job, the first thing I did was make an appointment to get my hair done and go to Sephora. Although I stick to a pretty simple beauty routine, I’ve always loved experimenting with makeup and trying new products. However, now that I’m older, I focus on finding products that I love and that keep my skin looking fresh and rejuvenated.

Can we all agree that winter is the worst for skin? Outside is cold and dry. Inside, I spent most of my time curled up next to a space heater that zapped all the moisture and shine from my skin. So, these are my favorite beautify products to keep my skin balmy and radiant regardless of the weather outside (or the overuse of a space heater).

Best Winter Beauty Products

Murad Acne Clearing Solution  

I suffer from the occasional adult acne, and the acne products I’ve used in the past have always dried out my skin. I was a little hesitant about this product at first because it seemed too creamy and thick to be an acne product, but I’m totally converted. I love this product a lot – probably as much as you can love a skincare product. It always clears up my blemishes without drying out my skin, and it has become a trustworthy part of my daily routine.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Light 

I’m pretty sure that argan oil has taken at least three years from under my eyes. I softly dab this under my eyes after I wash my face in the AM and PM, and like magic, all those barley-there crow wrinkles disappear. I also use argan oil everywhere else – cuticles, dry hair, scars, or rough spots, it’s all fair game. I rarely leave the house without throwing this stuff in my purse.

Moisturizing Lip Products 

I’m obsessed with super lush lip products. My favorites include Mac Shy Girl and any of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. Both these lipsticks are ultra moisturizing and leave my lips soft.

Macadamia Leave-In Nourishing Cream 

Hair gets dry in the winter too, and this is my favorite product fix for dry hair (in addition to argan oil). I usually run some through my roots and on the ends of my hair before I blow dry it, and I use it anytime my hair feels brittle and dry. Macadamia products can be a bit pricey, but I’ve had this same bottle for almost a year and half, and I use it almost every day. And I love this stuff because it isn’t greasy (even when you use a little bit too much).

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream 

I go back and forth on this product. Sometimes it is can be a little too heavy for my skin, and I end up breaking out, but in the winter months, when my skin is parched, I put this on before putting on a tinted moisturizer in the mornings. I also have a lot of skin damage (the perils of being pale), and I really think this has help to fade some of my sun damage  and to protect my skin from outside elements.

There you go, those are my favorite beauty essentials for Winter, but hopefully, Spring will be rolling around pretty soon. I know we’ve had some warmer weather in DC lately (thank goodness). And just for reader information, please note this is not a sponsored post, I just honestly love these products (and use them religiously) and wanted to share them with you.

Buenos noches.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich {Meatless Monday Recipe}

Welp! My unemployment has officially come to an end. Unemployment is one of those things that just sucks (really no other way to put that) in the moment, but the second you get a job, you immediately miss all your personal time. And I actually like having a job, I love routine, and I love getting up and going somewhere in the morning. But, my new commute is average an hour and fifteen minutes, so it’s taking some getting used to (would love your podcast suggestions )!

Minus the whole not-getting-a-paycheck thing, I really enjoyed unemployment this time around. For a few weeks, I did a lot of yoga. I dove headfirst in to revamping this blog. I practiced my food photography, put together my first photography proposal, and learned about photoshop. I started to dabble in some HTML and CSS. And I had time to enjoy some reprieve from the hectic day-to-day of partisan politics.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

A few weeks ago, I found myself at a super hipster coffee shop (Big Bear for those who are local) meticulously putting together job applications. The cafe was full of crunchy hipsters, and I almost felt like I was back in Seattle, and I instantaneously regretted carrying my Kate Spade computer bag. In the midst of sending job applications, I ordered the Portabella “Melt” without the cheese, and it was so good I knew I wanted to recreate as soon as possible. Public service announcement: portabella mushrooms and pesto a winning combination.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

There are a few things I love about this sandwich. Number one is the pesto. I love pesto. I know people say that feta makes everything better, but I’m pretty sure pesto trumphs  feta. I also don’t eat cheese, so feta doesn’t really do much for me. Number two is meaty mushrooms. I  forget how tasty and satisfying marinated portabella mushrooms can be, but they are one hundred percent delicious and sure to make meat eaters happy. Third, I love carbohydrates, and anytime you put tasty things between good pieces of bread, I’m happy.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

5.0 from 1 reviews
Portabella & Pesto "Melt" { Meatless Monday }
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Mushrooms, pesto, roasted red peppers, and sprouts are a great combination, especially when served together between two pieces of bread.
Serves: 2 heavenly sandwiches
  • 2 Portabella mushroom caps
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 pieces of awesome bread ( I love Pan de Champagne from Whole Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons of Just Mayo (or your favorite mayonnaise)
  • 4 teaspoons of pesto
  • 1 cup of jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup of sunflower and radish sprouts
  1. Clean mushrooms, slice thinly, and put into a gallon size plastic bag.
  2. Add olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper to plastic bag. Shake to ensure all mushrooms are coated with liquid and seasonings.
  3. While mushrooms are marinating, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  4. Spray pan with nonstick spray, and cook mushrooms, flipping until the mushrooms are dark and tender.
  5. Toast bread.
  6. Put sandwiches together. Spread two piece of bread with mayonnaise, and top with roasted red pepper and sprouts. Spread other pieces of bread with pesto and cooked mushrooms.
  7. Carefully smash together and enjoy warm.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

Cheers to delicious vegetarian food, and Happy Meatless Monday! And please Podcast suggestions really are welcome.

Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

After being vegan for a number of years, eggs are the thing that brought me back to the vegetarian side. I love eggs … a lot, and lately, they  have  been a staple in my daily breakfast.

I’m also a believer (although I am not a registered dietician) that eggs are good you for you even if they have a bit of cholesterol. NPR agrees.
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Speaking of of eggs, this Saturday, I made the ill-advised decision to venture into the snow for brunch. After a lovely brunch and a gut-wrenching $61 in Uber receipts (seriously), I was safely delivered back inside to hibernate from the unfriendly  winter weather. However, I did have amazing scrambled eggs for breakfast: cilantro scrambled eggs with ginger and jalapeños.
Eggs and Ginger

At first, I was a little thrown off by the idea of ginger in eggs. Cilantro and jalapeños are an easy thumbs up, but ginger … Yet, my unyielding desire for eggs after a hellish snow-bound commute trumped the oddity of the flavor combination. And I was pleasantly surprised and  immediately decided I had to come up with my own version cilantro scrambled eggs to share the weird combination of eggs and ginger with the world or at least the world of people who read blogs. Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

Cilantro Scrambled Eggs
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Serves: 1 serving
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil ( I used Earth Balance)
  • ½ jalapeno chopped
  • 2 tsp - 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened original soymilk
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup of loosely packed cilantro
  • Rice or bread for serving
  1. Heat a small fry pan over a low-medium heat.
  2. Add butter or olive oil to pan, and add ginger, and jalapeños. Cook until fragrant (just a minute or so).
  3. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, egg whites, soymilk, and salt. Whisk until well-combined.
  4. Add egg mixture to fry pan, and cook egg slowly over a low-medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent eggs from sticking to the pan.
  5. As the eggs reach desired consistency, stir torn cilantro into eggs.
  6. Serve warm with rice, bread, and maybe some sriracha sauce.
I used store bought minced ginger (pictured above), but you could certainly mince the ginger yourself. If using fresh ginger, I would start with 1 teaspoon and increase to taste.

I totally get your hesitation. I know eggs and ginger seem unnatural , but this is my new favorite scrambled eggs combination. Perfect for brunch at home on the weekend. Perfect for a weeknight dinner (maybe served with some roasted eggplant). And if eggs and ginger are a winning combination (which, I promise they are!), I’m pretty sure that anything is possible. Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

Hasta luego. XOXO.

Vegan “Egg” Salad Sandwich

One of my very favorite places to eat lunch is Pret a Manger, which I lovingly refer to as Pret for short. If you aren’t familiar with Pret, they serve a lot of salads, sandwiches, and soup that are made fresh everyday. Most of Pret’s food is reasonably healthy, reasonably priced, and amazingly convenient when you need a cheap, quick meal.

I should probably mention that I’m not compensated by Pret, but I’m kind of a Pret groupie. Vegan Egg Salad

I first started eating at Pret when I lived in London, where there is nearly a Pret on every corner. Since I didn’t have a kitchen, I would routinely grab a sandwich on the way home from the gym. My favorite sandwich was (and still is) their egg salad sandwich. Egg salad, watercress, and soft whole wheat bread. It’s so creamy, so filling, and so yummy.Vegan Egg Salad

Fortunately and unfortunately, they opened a Pret about five minutes from my current residence in DC. As tempting as it would be to walk to Pret every single day for lunch, I have plenty of time to cook for myself, so this week, I decided to recreate my favorite Pret sandwich, except that I replaced eggs with tofu because tofu is my jam. Vegan Egg Salad

In all honestly, I find that tofu is a bit of a learned taste, especially raw tofu, so this definitely isn’t a recipe for a tofu novice. If you want to start getting into tofu (which you should!), I would highly suggest pan frying it. But for my fellow tofu lovers out there, this is a great lunch that can be made in minutes and easily taken to-go because all of us are way too busy for our own good.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tofu Egg Salad Sandwich
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Serves: 4 Sandwiches
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu (about 14 ounces)
  • ¼ heaping cup of vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Pepper
  • 8 slices of soft wheat bread
  • Bunch of fresh watercress
  1. First, press your tofu. Cut the tofu into 4 - 8 slices. Place the slices of tofu flat, and wrap in a towel or paper towel. Put a heavy object (skillet or coffee table books) on top of the tofu for 5 - 10 minutes to extract excess water.
  2. While the tofu is drying out, mix mayonnaise, mustard, turmeric, and paprika together in a bowl.
  3. Crumble the tofu into the mayonnaise mixture, and mix everything together with a fork. Add pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble sandwich: bread, watercress, tofu salad, bread. Slice, and serve.
You could easily make the tofu mixture ahead, and put on a sandwich for lunch, so that the bread doesn't get soggy.

 Vegan Egg Salad

Enjoy! XO.