Business // December 30, 2013

We’ve all had those moments, chatting away at a dinner party, vino in hand ... you ask the smokin’ hot hipster sitting to your left what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a resort water slide tester,” he casually replies like that’s something you hear everyday. “Excuse me—a what?! Awesome ... I didn’t even know that was a job.”

In today’s world, countless unique careers exist that your parents and college counselor probably never mentioned (or even knew about for that matter.) At a young age, most of us are plopped onto a track heading straight to Normal Jobville. Few kids grow up wanting be to a roller coaster designer, hair stimulation supervisor, menu engineer, ice cream taster, fortune cookie writer, or conlinguist—but they are all very real vocations.

While some high schools and universities are attempting to better prepare future young adults for occupations that are unique or don’t yet exist, most haven’t found effective ways to make students more aware of the wide variety of positions that are available, beyond the basics. So, how does a modern girl discover unconventional career options? It’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by digging deeper into the world in which you want to work. Food, fashion, photography, medical, writing, hospitality, travel, entertainment, interior design—in each industry, there are a plethora of uncommon jobs. Talk to as many people as you can who work in fashion, if that’s your passion, and Google! The answers are there under simple searches like “unique jobs in fashion.” Another option that yields results—visit the “career opportunities” section on websites of companies you’d like to work for. Often you’ll see job listed that you never knew existed. Here’s an example on CondeNast.com.

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There are also occupations that are highly unusual by nature and require unique individuals to fulfill the duties—i.e. sea urchin diver, coconut safety engineer, and snake milker—all examples of work that definitely qualify as unique, but also are not for everyone. Because most women I know (not all, but most), don’t want to learn how to extract venom from snakes and sell it to research labs for use in anti-venom medications, here is a list of unconventional jobs that might actually be of interest:

Fashion - beyond the buyer, model, and fashion designer

Textile Distributor

This person is the middleman/woman between textile manufacturers and designers. The job involves a fair amount of travel, as many fabrics are sourced in other countries. It also provides plenty of freedom from being stuck in a office cube. Textile distributors make an average of $105,000 a year.

Fashion Colorist

It’s the job of a colorist to make sure that fabrics are the right color and of the same dye lot. If you have an amazing eye for color differentiation and know how different light sources effect the way we see color, this might be your next job in fashion. Colorists make an average of $53,000 a year.

Other unusual jobs in fashion: Fashion Forecaster, Set Designer, Personal Shopper

Food - beyond the chef and restaurant

Recipe Developer and Tester

Today you don’t have to have a professional culinary degree to get sell your recipes if you’re an amazing cook, uber detail oriented and can write precise directions. Magazines, brands, and even celebrity food personalities are hiring home-chefs to help fill their plates, pages, websites and cookbooks with delicious recipes. This is typically freelance work and it helps to have a food blog to showcase your talents. Recipes are generally sold for between $275 and $1,000 each. If you’re skilled at food photography, you can charge more.

Gourmet Food Buyer

If you have a passion for food, this could be a dream job. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco all employ people to find and purchase the foods they sell and to decide which items to take off the shelves. To qualify for a position like this, it’s best to have a background in hospitality and gourmet food, but Trader Joe’s is known for promoting from within if you have the drive. Other skills needed: excellent palate, ability to negotiate with vendors, product sourcing, inventory management, marketing, and an understanding of trends in consumer taste. Travel is sometimes involved and salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000.

Other unusual jobs in food: Food Stylist, Culinary Trendologist, Test Kitchen Taste Tester, Restaurant Publicist, Chocolate Explorer

Hospitality - beyond the concierge, front desk, and hotel manager

Cruise Director

This is an amazing way to travel the world, entertain people, and avoid sitting behind a desk all day. Cruise directors are responsible for all on-board hospitality, entertainment and social events. They act as the public face of the company and are constantly interacting with the guests. For this job you’ll need a charismatic personality, tons of energy, the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time, and experience working in recreation, entertainment and/or hospitality. Here is an example of a job listing for Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean. Salaries can range from $45,000 to $150,000.

Vibe Manager

Hot hotels today are hiring “Vibe Managers” to create the overall “vibe” of the hotel—from the music in the lobby, spa and elevators to creating unforgettable corporate meeting experiences for hotel clients, e.g. setting up a DJ booth in the conference room so the CEO can be spinning pre and post meeting. Read more about the Vibe Manager for Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego here. Salaries range from $50,000 to $75,000. Here is a list of other unique jobs in the hospitality industry.

No matter where your passions lie, you can be sure there are unique jobs that exist in that field … you just have to do some digging to uncover your first or next unconventional career!

Published in Job Hunting
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:35

Lifestyle | Conquering Cooking with Scallops

Lifestyle // August 26, 2013

Each month this summer Lindsay Jones of Foodflirt.com will pick one ingredient that is usually overlooked and share her tips on how to use it. Spice up your dishes and your life by trying something new! Read the other entries here.

When dining out, most of my scallop-loving friends are happier than clams to order an appetizer or entrée made with the marshmallow-looking shellfish, but when it comes to cooking them at home…not so much.

In the summer, scallops are one of my go-to choices when I want to make a light recipe that still displays some panache and pizzazz. The slightly sweet, pale white meat pairs well with a wide variety of flavors and they cook in about 2-3 minutes flat, depending on the size.  Heads up: they’re not the most wallet-friendly ingredients -- fresh scallops can be a bit pricey -- but once in a while, splurging on them is well worth the money.

Scallops are perfect to cook when you’re craving shellfish, but feeling a little lazy. They’re easy to prepare and even easier to eat! No peeling, cracking or laborious picking necessary to indulge in these delicate, tasty treasures that add a level of luxury to many great recipes. Here’s what you need to know to make your at-home scallop prep a breeze:

Scallop School

If you found a scallop in the ocean, it wouldn’t look anything like what you see in the seafood case. Whole scallops are housed in two beautiful, scalloped seashells that are hinged at one end, which is why they are considered bi-valve mollusks. The portion that we most commonly eat is the adductor muscle, which opens and closes the two shells. Scallop lovers generally don’t know that scallops have up to 100 brilliant blue eyes around the edges of their shells.

What To Look For

At your local fish counter, you’ll usually see two types of scallops -- larger sea scallops and smaller bay scallops. The largest, sweetest scallops are known as Diver scallops; if you’re making a recipe where the scallop is the star of the show, Diver scallops are the way to go.  They are also harvested in the most environmentally-friendly method possible. Avoid buying dredged scallops, which is a harvesting method that is harmful to the environment. Bay scallops are a good choice when making soups, salads, pastas or other recipes that include scallops as just one of several other ingredients. They are more affordable, but the meat is still subtly sweet and tender. Bay scallops are VERY easy to overcook, so remember they don’t need more than about 1-3 minutes. Sometimes, you can find scallops still in their shells. These are lovely for baking!

Keep it Natural

There are “dry” scallops and “wet” scallops and you want DRY. Dry scallops are pale pink or light vanilla in color and have not been treated with any type of chemical. This means they will be more flavorful, sear better, and are healthier to eat. Wet scallops have been treated with chemicals and appear bright white. They hold extra water which makes them weigh more, thus five wet scallops can cost you more than five dry scallops. Whole Foods is a good place to look for dry scallops -- or try Santa Monica Seafood if you live in Los Angeles. Trader Joe’s carries a decent frozen option.

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Endless Options

You can serve scallops almost any way you want -- raw, poached, grilled, sautéed, steamed, broiled, baked, marinate or the always fabulous method: frying! Vintage scallop recipes tend to bath scallops in heavy sauces, but these can hide delicate flavor of the sweet, light meat. However you decide to serve your scallops, know this: all scallops cook quickly and if over-cooked, they become chewy and less than awesome. Larger scallops should appear slightly translucent inside, once cooked.  

Scallops Play Well With…

Some of the most popular ingredients and flavors to pair with scallops are: almonds, avocados, bacon, basil, brandy, bread crumbs, capers, caviar, cayenne, gruyere cheese, parmesan, chives, crab, cream, cucumbers, curry, fennel, garlic, ginger, leeks, lemon, lime, mushrooms, mustard, onions, olive oil, pepper, rosemary, sunflower seeds, salt, shallots, thyme, truffles, vanilla, cider vinegar and white wine.

Scrumptious Scallop Recipes

Sugar Seared Scallops with Chimichurri Sauce – This is an easy scallop appetizer to make that will impress both on the plate and the palate! The sugar-seared diver scallops are served in Chinese soup spoons, atop homemade Chimichurri sauce and topped with a tomato fig salsa.

12 Simple Scallop Recipes – This is a great article from the New York Times on how to serve the perfect scallop. It features twelve different recipes and each one highlights the scallop as the main event!

Cheesy Baked Scallops in Shell
  - If you find scallops still in the shell, you can bake them that way. Read this for an easy, cheesy, addicting way to devour scallops from Wiffy on NoobCook.com.

Pasta with Bay Scallops and Tomatoes – This light pasta dish from SkinnyTaste.com is filled with bay scallops and flavored with garlic, lemon juice, tomatoes and white wine. It’s a great weekend pasta dish!

So, the next time you want to cook your way into a seafood lover’s heart -- or just treat yourself to a special meal -- try preparing a scallop recipe and you are sure to see just how easy (and delicious) it can be!

Published in Lifestyle

Lifestyle // July 29, 2013

Each month this summer Lindsay Jones of Foodflirt.com will pick one ingredient that is usually overlooked and share her tips on how to use it. Spice up your dishes and your life by trying something new! Read the other entries here.

There are basically two camps of people when it comes to eggplant—the uber lovers and the haters with a capital “H.” I’m convinced that the haters have simply never tried eggplant that’s been properly cooked. When well prepared, this versatile gift from Mother Nature becomes a magical ingredient in a multitude of dishes. Before you scoff, let me tell you that I am speaking from experience. For years, my mom (sorry mom) would grill fat slices of eggplant with just a little olive oil and the results were dry, spongy, and bitter—so I declared myself an eggplant hater.

What turned my staunch dislike into burning love? One bite of Eggplant Parmesan in San Francisco’s Little Italy. “Mom, this doesn’t taste anything like your eggplant! It’s so creamy and tender and dare I say delicious?!” Since then, I’ve eaten copious amounts of eggplant and have learned a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to using it in my own kitchen. More than anything, it has become my go-to ingredient when I want to make a meal without meat! Eggplant acts as a great meat replacer. It’s hearty, low calorie, soy-free, and takes on the flavor of whatever seasoning you use. I hope these recipes inspire you to run out and snag some eggplant of your very own.  

Eggplant Education

Most people don’t know it,  but eggplant is a fruit. These bulbous beauties are members of the nightshade family, just like tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. In some European countries it’s known as the aubergine … a much more fabulous name.

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Eggplants come in many varieties, with the most common being the larger, deep purple variety you see in most grocery stores. These tend to have a slightly tougher skin and more pronounced “eggplant flavor” so they are great for baking and grilling. Japanese eggplants are longer and thinner in shape, more like a cucumber. Their skin is more tender and the flavor milder and slightly sweeter than the common eggplant. Japanese eggplants are the perfect choice when sautéing but you can also roast or grill them. White eggplant is harder to find, but that is where the fruit got its name because white eggplants look like large eggs! Eggplants can be grilled, sautéed, fried, broiled, braised, and stewed, but I don’t recommended eating them raw, unless you enjoy a bitter flavor and spongy texture.


Eggplant Plays Well With …

Almost anything! Eggplant is like Mother Nature’s tofu. It has very little flavor but a unique texture that ranges from meaty to creamy, depending on your preparation. Because of the sponge-like texture, the fruit takes on the flavor of the ingredients with which you pair it.  My top choices that marry well with eggplant are: agave, bacon, basil, béchamel sauce, bread crumbs, brown sugar, capers, cayenne, cheese, cream, cumin, curry, garlic, lamb, lemon, mint, mushrooms, olive oil, olives, onions, peppers, pesto, rosemary, salt, soy, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, nuts and yogurt.


Tips for Eggplant Excellence

  • Select an eggplant with taught, smooth, unbroken skin that has the slightest give—not rock hard, but not soft.
  • To prep: slice off the top and the very bottom. You can peel off the skin, but it's totally edible. You can cut eggplant into disks, strips, planks, or cubes
  • To salt or not to salt:  Eggplants are sort of “bloated” in that they hold a ton of water. To release this, some will tell you to salt your eggplant after cutting it up, and then leave it in a colander for 2-3 hours. The salt draws out the moisture and bitter flavor. I will tell you that I only salt it to season it, and my eggplant is awesome. So try it with or without. You decide.
  • Storing eggplant: Eggplant fades fast so use it as soon as possible. In the meantime, store it in an open bowl, in a cool, dry place for 1-2 days instead of the refrigerator. You can keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but the skin tends to wilt and the flavor can be altered.


Extraordinary Eggplant Recipes

Simply Roasted Eggplant Slices I make these at least once a week because they are easy and super satisfying. Sometimes they become my entire dinner or I make them as a side dish. And what I love most … you may alter the seasoning to make it match the flavors you’re currently craving. Sweet n’ spicy, savory, or cheesy—whatever your pleasure! Try making these once and I promise, you too will become a lover of this simple roasted eggplant recipe.

12 Ways to Eat Grilled Eggplant This collection of grilled eggplant recipes, written by Mark Bittman for The New York Times, is not only delicious eggplant eye candy, but will give you all the ammunition you need to prepare eggplant outdoors, while soaking up the beautiful summer sun.

Eggplant Parmesan Paula Jones, author of one of my favorite blogs, Bell’alimento knows great Italian food, so I trust her recipes anytime I’m craving a little Italy! If you are skeptical about eggplant, try this recipe, which combines layers of fresh eggplant with savory tomatoes, basil and plenty of parmesan cheese. Baked into a bubbly dish of vegetarian comfort food, this is a MUST TRY!

So, whether you want to call it eggplant or aubergine, know this: it’s only a matter of time before eggplant finds a way into you heart, home and tummy.



Published in Lifestyle

Lifestyle // June 17, 2013

Each month this summer Lindsay Jones of Foodflirt.com will pick one ingredient that is usually overlooked and share her tips on how to use it. Spice up your dishes and your life by trying something new! Read the other entries here.

What exactly is that white and green, bulbous thing sitting on the produce shelf with celeryesque stalks decorated by fine, feathery fronds? Why, it’s FENNEL my friend—a refreshing and delicious vegetable. The flavor is slightly sweet, with notes of mellow black licorice and crisp texture.

I had my first “fennel flirtation” at a cozy little cafe in Laguna Beach. I was sitting at a tiny table in front of an open window facing the ocean, breathing in the damp sea and feeling the cool, salty breeze. I wanted a light snack with bright flavors. Always one to try something new, I ordered the shaved fennel salad with blood orange supremes, cracked black pepper and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The subtle hints of black licorice from the fennel danced beautifully with the sour lemon, spicy pepper and sweet, juicy orange pieces. I became a fennel fan right then and there. Now I pass along to you some fun fennel facts as well as my three favorite ways to enjoy fennel.

What is Fennel?

Fennel is used frequently in Mediterranean and Italian cooking, but there are endless ways to create edible delights with this member of the Umbelliferae family. Carrots, parsley, dill and coriander are all relatives of this versatile veggie. Some will tell you fennel is also called anise, but it’s not. They are two different plants (though related), and if you need proof, click here.

Eat This With That...

Fennel pairs well with the following: butter, celery root, cheese, chestnuts, citrus, coriander, cream, fruit, garlic, hearts of palm, lemon, mushrooms, olive oil, olives, onions, oranges, pancetta, peppers, Pernod, potatoes, sherry, thyme, tomatoes, truffles, and vinaigrette. The best part? Experimenting with these combinations may produce magical results! Fennel can be served raw, roasted, braised, grilled, deep fried, pureed, sautéed and in soups.

Fennel Facts

The bulb, stalks, and fronds are all edible parts of the fennel plant, but the bulb is the section most commonly used in cooking, while the stalks and fronds are generally used for garnish. To prepare fennel, cut off the stalks and fronds (perhaps save for garnish or stock). If the bulb is large, you might want to peel off the thicker outer layer. Next slice off the root end and shave it, slice it, dice it, cut it into wedges or roast it whole!

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3 Fabulous Fennel Recipes

Shaved Fennel Grapefruit Salad with Pea Shoots and Vodka Citrus Vinaigrette My favorite way to eat fennel is shaved-thin and raw in salads with a perfect amount of sea salt and citrus. This is when I can really taste the licorice flavor that I love!

Scallop Fennel Chowder {By Coconut & Lime} Fennel is delicious is many soups, but this chowder, made with sweet scallops, shallots, and bacon won my heart recently.

Pecorino-Roasted Fennel and Carrots {By Buff Chickpea} Roasting fennel is one rockin’ way to enjoy this unique vegetable. It brings out the sweetness and is an easy side dish to make that still brings a fair amount of flare to the table.

So, the next time you’re shopping, toss a few fennel bulbs in the basket and have fun flirting with this healthy, fabulous food.

Published in Lifestyle

Business // June 17, 2013 

We’ve all had those moments, chatting away at a dinner party, vino in hand ... you ask the smokin’ hot hipster sitting to your left what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a resort water slide tester,” he casually replies like that’s something you hear everyday. “Excuse me—a what?! Awesome ... I didn’t even know that was a job.”

In today’s world, countless unique careers exist that your parents and college counselor probably never mentioned (or even knew about for that matter.) At a young age, most of us are plopped onto a track heading straight to Normal Jobville. Few kids grow up wanting be to a roller coaster designer, hair stimulation supervisor, menu engineer, ice cream taster, fortune cookie writer, or conlinguist—but they are all very real vocations.

While some high schools and universities are attempting to better prepare future young adults for occupations that are unique or don’t yet exist, most haven’t found effective ways to make students more aware of the wide variety of positions that are available, beyond the basics. So, how does a modern girl discover unconventional career options? It’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by digging deeper into the world in which you want to work. Food, fashion, photography, medical, writing, hospitality, travel, entertainment, interior design—in each industry, there are a plethora of uncommon jobs. Talk to as many people as you can who work in fashion, if that’s your passion, and Google! The answers are there under simple searches like “unique jobs in fashion.” Another option that yields results—visit the “career opportunities” section on websites of companies you’d like to work for. Often you’ll see job listed that you never knew existed. Here’s an example on CondeNast.com.

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There are also occupations that are highly unusual by nature and require unique individuals to fulfill the duties—i.e. sea urchin diver, coconut safety engineer, and snake milker—all examples of work that definitely qualify as unique, but also are not for everyone. Because most women I know (not all, but most), don’t want to learn how to extract venom from snakes and sell it to research labs for use in anti-venom medications, here is a list of unconventional jobs that might actually be of interest:

Fashion - beyond the buyer, model, and fashion designer

Textile Distributor

This person is the middleman/woman between textile manufacturers and designers. The job involves a fair amount of travel, as many fabrics are sourced in other countries. It also provides plenty of freedom from being stuck in a office cube. Textile distributors make an average of $105,000 a year.

Fashion Colorist

It’s the job of a colorist to make sure that fabrics are the right color and of the same dye lot. If you have an amazing eye for color differentiation and know how different light sources effect the way we see color, this might be your next job in fashion. Colorists make an average of $53,000 a year.

Other unusual jobs in fashion: Fashion Forecaster, Set Designer, Personal Shopper

Food - beyond the chef and restaurant

Recipe Developer and Tester

Today you don’t have to have a professional culinary degree to get sell your recipes if you’re an amazing cook, uber detail oriented and can write precise directions. Magazines, brands, and even celebrity food personalities are hiring home-chefs to help fill their plates, pages, websites and cookbooks with delicious recipes. This is typically freelance work and it helps to have a food blog to showcase your talents. Recipes are generally sold for between $275 and $1,000 each. If you’re skilled at food photography, you can charge more.

Gourmet Food Buyer

If you have a passion for food, this could be a dream job. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco all employ people to find and purchase the foods they sell and to decide which items to take off the shelves. To qualify for a position like this, it’s best to have a background in hospitality and gourmet food, but Trader Joe’s is known for promoting from within if you have the drive. Other skills needed: excellent palate, ability to negotiate with vendors, product sourcing, inventory management, marketing, and an understanding of trends in consumer taste. Travel is sometimes involved and salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000.

Other unusual jobs in food: Food Stylist, Culinary Trendologist, Test Kitchen Taste Tester, Restaurant Publicist, Chocolate Explorer

Hospitality - beyond the concierge, front desk, and hotel manager

Cruise Director

This is an amazing way to travel the world, entertain people, and avoid sitting behind a desk all day. Cruise directors are responsible for all on-board hospitality, entertainment and social events. They act as the public face of the company and are constantly interacting with the guests. For this job you’ll need a charismatic personality, tons of energy, the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time, and experience working in recreation, entertainment and/or hospitality. Here is an example of a job listing for Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean. Salaries can range from $45,000 to $150,000.

Vibe Manager

Hot hotels today are hiring “Vibe Managers” to create the overall “vibe” of the hotel—from the music in the lobby, spa and elevators to creating unforgettable corporate meeting experiences for hotel clients, e.g. setting up a DJ booth in the conference room so the CEO can be spinning pre and post meeting. Read more about the Vibe Manager for Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego here. Salaries range from $50,000 to $75,000. Here is a list of other unique jobs in the hospitality industry.

No matter where your passions lie, you can be sure there are unique jobs that exist in that field … you just have to do some digging to uncover your first or next unconventional career!

Published in Job Hunting
Monday, 20 May 2013 04:18

Healthy Recipes | Cooking Gluten Free

Healthy Recipes // May 20, 2013

What happens when a passionate home chef, who prides herself on creating amazing baked goods and meals for her man, discovers that her guy is allergic to gluten?First, panic ensues, to be quite honest. I know, because “she” is me and this became my reality about two years ago.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard the term “gluten-free” recently. In the past four years, there has been a noticeable uptick in people who are allergic to gluten, a protein complex found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), rye, barley, and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). There are many opinions as to why so many people have developed gluten allergies in recent years, but right now there isn’t a consensus. Currently, about 1 in 10 people in America are experiencing gluten sensitivities that range from full blown celiac disease to less severe allergic reactions, such as stomach pains and intense bloating.

What makes this allergy incredibly difficult to manage is that gluten lurks in many foods that you would likely not  expect to contain any form of wheat, rye, or barley. From soy sauce and soups to barbecue sauce and salad dressings, wheat derivatives are often added to store-bought products. Some believe going gluten-free is simply “the latest diet trend” but I can assure you that for people who are truly allergic to gluten, eating it makes them miserable.

For about six months, I lived in denial of my boyfriend’s allergy. I wasn’t excited to cook because I felt like he couldn’t eat 90 percent of the recipes I wanted to make. Finally, I started to explore what it meant to cook without gluten, and guess what? Cooking gluten-free (GF) was easier than I expected. By exploring GF blogs and cookbooks, I  learned what foods he could eat and what ingredients I could use as substitutes. Here is a quick and dirty tutorial on how to cook gluten-free without going crazy. You’ll also find a list of my favorite gluten-free products, of which there are plenty of the market today—some are great and some are downright awful, but they are all expensive, so do your research are choose wisely!

Foods to avoid cooking with:
Anything made with wheat, rye or barley or that mentions gluten or wheat in the ingredient list or as an allergen alert on the product. This means bread, pasta, sauces and soups thickened with flour, baked goods, soy sauce, crackers, some chips, cereals, oatmeal (unless it’s gluten-free certified oatmeal), and all alcohol made from grains tend to contain gluten, e.g. beer, vodka, whiskey, some bourbon.

Foods to enjoy cooking with: All vegetables, fruits, and nuts are gluten-free. Most animal proteins are considered gluten-free, but some beef, poultry, etc. might have trace amounts of gluten if the animals were fed wheat or anything containing gluten. Corn, rice and potatoes are gluten-free, as are most dairy products. Sugar, agave and most chocolate are gluten-free. Coffee is gluten-free, but many people who have a gluten allergy are also allergic to a protein that exists in coffee. Wine is gluten-free as are some spirits such as rum or potato vodka and Maker’s Mark bourbon.

Top Recommendations for Gluten-free Products

I am not gluten-free, so I judge all GF products based on whether I think they taste as good or almost as good as the original product made with gluten.

Bread - Rudi’s Multigrain GF is hands down the closest to “regular wheat” bread once you toast it. You do need to toast GF bread for the best results!

Pasta - Bonaturae is fabulous. Some GF pastas fall apart, but this one tastes just like regular pasta! Most GF pastas take a little longer to cook and my advice is don’t rinse them off because they get sticky. Just toss with a bit of olive oil and use as normal. I also like Ancient Harvest quinoa garden pagoda pasta. It’s excellent and has a fun shape!

Snacks and Crackers - Glutino wins this hands down. Their crackers, bagel chips and pretzels are all good.

Cookies - Tate’s Bakeshop wins first place. I eat these instead of other chocolate chip cookies because they are THAT GOOD. WOW comes in as a close second with a great variety of really fluffy, soft cookies and brownies.

Here are some other faves:


These blogs are also great resources when learning to cook gluten-free:

And finally ... here is a great recipe for Gluten-free, Dairy-free Shepherd’s Pie on my blog Foodflirt.com.

Enjoy the journey of learning to cook in this new world that’s getting more gluten-free friendly by the day!

Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 25 February 2013 05:51

Dating | Almost 30 And Unmarried

Dating // February 25, 2012

Thirty. The big 3-0. Dirty 30. What exactly is it about this number that makes it synonymous the word “married” when mentioned in relation to a woman’s age? Who decided that the minute a girl is no longer a twenty-something, she must be, better be, should be married? It’s as if a secret memo was sent out to everyone in America stating:

Dear Americans,

Since most women are no longer getting married in their early 20’s, we’ve decided to increase the female marriage ceiling to age 30. Please make this information known throughout the land—from advertisements and word-of-mouth marketing to incessant Facebook posts from happy newlyweds—we need all ladies under 30 to be aware of this expectation so they can find Mr. Right prior to leaving their 20’s. So, if you happen to know a girl who is 27-29 years old, do pressure them to think about getting hitched for life ASAP.

Many thanks,

The Powers that Be (Creators of social norms and customs that are rarely updated to reflect changes and growth within society. While some of these “rules” might not feel right or make sense, just go with the flow until otherwise notified.)


I live in LA, a city where both men and woman tend to marry a bit later in life, and yet I still spent the last years of my 20‘s feeling that somehow, I’d messed up. I had followed the wrong trail and thus, my “important-life-moments” timeline was off. It began slowly at first, when I was 27 ... an engagement post on Facebook, an invite to a wedding—it was happening. People I knew were beginning the next stage of life and saying “I do.”

For a minute, I too was part of the engaged-before-30-crowd. Nearing 28, I pushed the issue of marriage with my then-boyfriend of two years and he gave in, asked my parents for my hand and ... we waited. A year later when no date had been set and more importantly, I’d realized he was not my Mr. Forever, we broke up. Now, at 31, I look back and realize that while I was heartbroken, I was equally distraught thinking that I had just lost my chance to get married before I was 30.

But my 31-year-old self, still unmarried, knows something that my 27-year-old self did not. I am worth waiting for. My genuine happiness is worth waiting for. As fabulous MADE women, we deserve to get married when, and only when, we find the man who makes us glow from the inside and fits the detailed description of what we want in a life partner ... and then some. I’ve seen too many friends settle for Mr. Right-Before-30 and frankly, they are either not that happy, or worse—divorced.

Today, I believe I have found my Mr. Forever. We’ve been together for three years and because I am over 30 the pressure to get married is SUPER intense—my parents, my friends, my Facebook page now booming with babies and the little voice in my head asking, “When will it be my turn?” And let’s face it ladies—if we want to have babies, there is a real timeline—but, that should not change the fact that your dream life will never become your real life if you settle. So to the twenty-somethings who are panicking because there is no ring on the horizon and to the thirty-somethings who have yet to walk down the aisle, remember this:


1. MARRY BECAUSE YOU BOTH WANT TO - not because you’re about to be 30 and you force an ultimatum. Come on. We’ve all been there, girls! A nudge is fine, a subtle hint, sure. BUT DON’T BE THAT GIRL. If he doesn’t want to marry you, you DESERVE TO FIND A MAN WHO DOES.
2. MARRY WHEN YOU FIND MR. FOREVER - not because you’re turning 30 next year.
3. NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU WANT - in love, in work, in health, in life.

When you finally say “I do,” if you ever do, there is a good chance that you’ll only say it once. And you’ll be saying it to the right person, not just the person you found right before you turned 30.

Published in Dating