Learn to dream again

Image (27).jpg

If you were a healthy, fairly well-adjusted child, you probably had lots of dreams for the future. You might have dreamed of being a professional athlete, or an actress, or a movie producer. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a mansion, an indoor swimming pool and a crew of servants (scary, I know). As you got a little older, your dreams may have evolved, and you may have had callings or goals more sophisticated or specific; maybe you wanted to be an entrepreneur, or a photojournalist, or move to a foreign country. By the time I was 12 or 13, I dreamed of being a writer.

But somewhere along the way, for many of us, disappointment, discouragement and distraction happen (by the way,”dis-” means “reversing force”). We lose sight of our dreams, and maybe we even lose the ability to dream. By the time I was 18 or 19, I decided writing was unrealistic and impractical, and I had college, boys and a number of other things on my mind. I didn’t have time to dream. Continue reading

Warm winter squash + olive-oil fried chickpeas

Image (26).jpg

I’m on a squash kick lately. It’s the season for pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash, and since moving back to California, I’m happy to see that we have plenty in the produce aisle, despite a Mediterranean climate and July temperatures in November. I’m throwing it into curries, pureeing it into soups and dreaming of ways to make squash-style sweets. But my favorite way to prepare winter gourds is easy: throw them cubed into a hot pan with olive oil and onions. The result is rich, sweet and so much more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading

A perfect 24 hours on Catalina Island

You may have never heard of Catalina Island before, but at one time this 22-mile long island off the coast of LA was a major destination for celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and later on, Marilyn Monroe (think the Great Gatsby, West Coast style). The first and only time I’ve seen any national recognition of this Southern California getaway was on a Growing Pains episode in the 90’s, that was supposed to take place in Southern Europe. There it was- right behind Kirk Cameron, the ubiquitous sea foam- green railing of the waterside walkway and the arched facade of the famous Casino built in the 20’s- it wasn’t Malaga or Nice I was seeing, it was Southern California. And that’s when I realized I had always taken for granted this coastal gem, only a (sometimes rocky) forty-five minute boat ride from Long Beach.

IMG_2052.JPG

Continue reading

Coffee with almond-coconut cream & cardamom

Image (20).jpg

When I lived overseas, I noticed that cafés served tiny cups of coffee that would barely qualify as kid-size in the U.S. At first, it was a bit infuriating- where’s my half-gallon latte? But then I realized that, duh, just like super-size fries and giant plates of pasta at Cheesecake Factory, we overestimate portion size in America. So I became accustomed to having a tiny, strongly flavored drink in the afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. Continue reading