healthy recipe: french lentil kale soup


I found this recipe mostly by accident. I was researching online for info on organizing a local expo and strangely enough this recipe popped up. So I clicked on it for a number of reasons. French->Lentil->Kale-> Three of my favorite things. I tagged it and saved it, slowly getting ready for soups I plan to make this coming Fall/Winter (which technically is our summer here in San Francisco) but, just in case we experience a real winter this year, dipping down below 50degrees F, I will turn to soups, paired with toasted tortilla pieces for some substance.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 32 ounces vegetable stock
  • 5 kale leaves, washed
  • 1 1/2 cups precooked French lentils
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute on medium-low heat until the onion is translucent.
  2. Sprinkle the oregano and cumin and stir. Then pour in the vegetable stock. Increase heat to medium-high and boil the stock until the carrot is soft.
  3. While the stock is cooking, work on the kale leaves. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces, avoiding the tough center stem. Add the torn kale leaves and the french lentils to the soup. Boil just until the kale turns bright green and wilts just a little, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste.

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boutique hotel pick – shutters on the beach – santa monica, california

I just realized, I share with all of you boutique hotel picks everywhere but my home state  – California. Well, in light of the fact I will be down in Los Angeles very shortly, to spend an entire week of promoting my books and research for my next book :), I decided to include one of my favorite spots to stay while in the Santa Monica area. In fact, you might just run into to me if you are in Los Angeles – details to follow shortly.

In the meantime, Shutters is a uniquely fun property to stay. A place some may consider overpriced, but it is definitely worth every penny.  There are also some amazing deals on every travel site possible for the property, and also some on the hotel’s own website here, so consider the hotel for sure – especially for a romantic weekend getaway and who knows, you may very well run into some celebrity while you are there.  I also love the fact 3rd street is walking distance as well as the newly renovated Santa Monica shopping mall with high-end shops and boutiques. Also close are the Santa Monica Pier, Malibu, The Getty Villa, beach towns along the coast and fine restaurants, and if you happen to be a fan of UCLA like I am, that’s near by too.



french films – and why i love them

I wrote a piece about French films here and it was one of the most viewed entries I’ve had in the history of my movie blog. I had no idea so many people are interested in French films, or perhaps I am a little out of touch. But I have to say I do watch French films, almost nightly, appreciating them in a ‘French’ sort of way :).

Here’s one I recommend for those unfamiliar with French films – Mood Indigo. Although corky, the film is truly wonderful, amazing cinematography, great actors and everything French just as I like it. Read this article also, if you want to explore more films. Then let me know what you think.




minimalist home decor

When I was younger, my decor style tended to lean towards shabby chic or French Provincial – but lately, after downsizing my life. (Moving from a five bedroom/three bath/two-story to a 1 bedroom studio loft, I realized I want all things minimalist. Decor, food, lifestyle and even holidays/vacations. So when I stumbled upon this magnificent blog/website, I saved the ideas on Pinterest, sharing some of them here with all of you. I love the great use of color and balance throughout each room. Very peaceful, fresh and airy.

restaurant challenge: san francisco, los angeles and new york

Who doesn’t love a good restaurant, a new place to eat, some different style of cooking to experience, especially if you happen to be from out-of-town, travelling through San Francisco (my hometown), Los Angeles (my playground), New York (my inspiration). With that said, click on each photo to be redirected to some of the local best kitchens/restaurants/cafes/eateries and let me know what you think? Have you tried any of the places?


los angeles

new york

{Please note I absolutely take no credit for photo or list of restaurant. To find out who deserves the credits, please click here}

healthy recipe: oats and currant shake

I am always looking for healthy eating recipes online or magazines or even while checking out a new restaurant in San Francisco. We’ve got a ton of health conscious eateries here now. So, of course I stopped and saved this recipe and made it at home. Clearly an interesting tasty treat, something new, easy to make and different from the norm (being banana, strawberries and pineapple juice).


  •  1 cup currants (or plums or strawberries or cherries)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut flakes to garnish

Place everything except for coconut flakes in a blender and give it a good blend. Garnish with coconut flakes. And when you are done, this is what it should look like


{Under no circumstances do I take credit for the photo or the recipe. Please click here for reference}