Apple Dijon Grilled Cheese

Do you trust me?

(Do you remember when Aladdin asks Jasmine that before he takes her on a magic carpet ride, and then they fly off into the arabian night and sing that charming duet and he shows her a whole new world? Yeah? Well this is not quite that, unfortunately. But almost, because this recipe is kind of a whole new world, sandwich wise.)

So, really, do you? Because I have the greatest sandwich recipe – it’s such a great sandwich! – but I know that as soon as I type out the ingredients for this sandwich, you are all going to say, “bleh, no, I do NOT trust you, this sandwich sounds like complete yuck!”

And then I might try to sing to you, a la Aladdin, but mostly I will just be sad for a second, and then I will make this sandwich for you anyway. Because I know you will LOVE this sandwich and I will get to be a kitchen rockstar. And I will also get to be right. My two favorite things.

Similar to the grown-up mac and cheese recipe, this recipe takes a familiar childhood favorite – a grilled cheese sandwich – and makes it infinitely better by adding all sorts of strange and delicious things: apples, dijon mustard, red onions, cinnamon bread, to name a few. Yes, all in the same sandwich. Stop looking at me like that.

It’s a perfect lunch, warm and melty and crunchy, but on a whole new and amazing level. Harness your inner Jasmine. You can do it.



. Two slices of cinnamon raisin swirl bread

. 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard

. Four thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese

. Four red onion slices

. Two-three thin slices of crisp red apple (I like Honeycrisp or Jazz varieties best)

. Glug of EVOO, for the skillet


1. Glug some EVOO into a flat bottomed skillet and heat it up until it swirls and coats the pan. While it’s heating, move onto #2.

2. Spread the dijon onto one slice of bread. Do not over-dijon. Dijon, like wasabi and horseradish, has a subtle heat rather than a tip of the tongue spiciness, and it will rear up and overpower the other flavors, and possibly come out your nose. It’s a delicate balance, this sandwich. Trust.

3. Layer up your apples, onions and cheddar slices. I like to put the cheese down first so it gets melty and sticks to the bread, but you do how you do for this part. 3. Lay that sammy down in the pan over medium heat and just wait for it. I turn it about halfway through (5-7ish minutes) or until golden brown. Once the sides are both gold and crispy and the cheese is beginning to ooze out the sides, you’re done!

{Please note the melty goodness}

4. Cut on the diagonal like your mom taught you and bite in. You can thank me later.

Back to School Chic

Back to School Chic

Just because you’re not hitting up the school supply aisle, doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school!

This Style Set’s ruffle blouse and dainty blazer are preppy and feminine, with a tough leather bag and some serious specs to round out the look. Perfect for meetings, lunch breaks, even the occasional field trip. A+ for you!

Shopping information below:

Lanvin ruffle blouse
$435 –

Ralph Lauren wool blazer
$570 –

Current/Elliott skinny jeans
$190 –

Lillybee red flat
$168 –

H M leather shoulder bag
$70 –

H M metal bracelet
$6.99 –

Burberry scarf
$425 –

H M sunglasses
$5.99 –

Back to School


Now that the conservatory is back in session and our first show is almost upon us, I can’t help but have all the old back-to-school excitement. And even though San Francisco is just now starting to have warmer days, there is a crispness to the nights and a slight chill in the air that means the season is about to change.

This time of year, for me, has always been about goal setting: will I move this year? Start a new project? Run a race? Meet someone who will change my life? What do I want to accomplish? In college I used to set goals in categories: academic, social, physical, etc. and it’s actually still a good idea!

So far, I’ve decided my fall goals are to increase my half marathon training, start freelance writing (a little scary!) and re-read my favorite book, Jane Eyre.

What do you want to do this new school year? I’d love to know!

PS – this week is all about going back to school, grown-up style! I’m so excited to share – this week is going to be good!

This image was sourced from Pinterest, right here.

Friday Scraps

{New Flats on Tile – at Coleridge Mini Park}

. Loved reading about Jenna Lyons – J. Crew’s uber stylish creative director – in this New York Magazine feature.

. It’s not very nice, but this post about the East Coast earthquake fallout had San Franciscans giggling this week. More earthquake-related hilarity here.

. Still having a Roman Holiday fantasy over here. No big. Portofino Green’s my favorite – what’s yours?

. The five things you need for Fall, according to the NYT.

. Steve Job’s elegant resignation letter. Best wishes, Steve!

. Molly’s post “How we do what we do” really resonated. As a creative person, how do YOU do what you do? I’d love to know!

This weekend is all about running, in preparation for the Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day! Hope you have a most wonderful weekend.

Cajun Mary + The Merits of the Eyeball

My tongue is a little bit on fire as I type this. There is nothing I love more than spicy, but whoa dang. In my search for and creation of the perfect spicy Bloody Mary, I came across Emeril’s recipe for a Cajun Mary, and decided to combine my love of spicy, savory and drinking in the morning, and turn an empty glass into one glorious creation!



And then Cajun Mary bit me in the arse. Or tongue, as it were. She bit me in the tongue.

Is that a little gross? Probably.

Full disclosure: I didn’t use Emeril’s recipe as stated, because where’s the fun in that? Rather, I used it as a jumping off point to make my own single serve creation, rather than a pitcher drink, as he indicates. Apparently Emeril would rather we not drink alone. Good to know.

Because of my devil-may-care attitude with this recipe, there are no actual measurements, just some good old fashioned eyeballin’. I used to freak out when my grandma would cook things and eyeball it, because the Type A organizer inside me needed directions and tidiness when I was learning how to cook, but I’ve come to believe that knowing how to eyeball is just as important as knowing how to braise or blanch or chiffonade, or anything else Martha can do and you maybe can’t (yet).

The ability to cook on your feet and improvise is how mediocre cooks differ from great cooks. A mediocre cook will always make things that are just fine, but a great cook will fail some, mess some things up, save some dishes, invent new ones, and leave their eaters with mouths open and tongues out because they took a risk and it paid off. GET RISKY, COCKTAILERS!

Whew! It’s warm up here on this stump!

Even fuller full disclosure: The fiery flaming hotness of this cocktail was because I did not follow the recipe. But like I said. Fun? Where? Yeah. We’re takin’ risks and eyeballin’ and not ending words with the letter G. Ready…go!



. Low sodium V-8 (3/4 glass)

. Absolut pepper vodka (1/4 glass or to taste)

. Spritz of fresh lime juice + a wedge to garnish

. Small dollop of horseradish (to your own taste, not to mine because dear Lord that is how we lose our taste buds)

. Splash of Worcestershire sauce

. Splash of hot sauce, like Tabasco or Pico Pico

. Shake of cajun seasoning

. Small pinch of sea salt (very small pinch – too much salt detracts from the other flavors)

. Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (one or two cranks from the pepper mill ought to do it)

. SMALL shake of Penzy’s Red Chipotle seasoning (see: horseradish) (ahem)

. Banana peppers for garnish + a splash of banana pepper juice for the cocktail itself


1. Stir all the ingredients together in a pitcher or glass. Or if you want to get really fancy or are an overachieving sort of drinker, you can put everything into a blender and give it a quick zoom-zoom! Whatever you do – be ye not so stupid as regards to the spicy. And if ye get crazy with the spice, then don’t come whining to me. I’m just saying.



2. Pour over ice and garnish with banana peppers and a wedge of lime. Other garnish options: celery, green olives, cocktail onions, cocktail shrimp, cherry tomatos, a roasted garlic clove.



ColoRED Workspaces

This Wall Street Journal article about how architecture, design and color can influence our moods was a fascinating read.

My office at work is painted a deep heirloom tomato red, which supposedly boosts critical thinking and attention to details, according to journalist Jonah Lehrer. My room/office at home is painted a beautiful sky color, almost a pale periwinkle, and supposedly boosts creativity. The best of both worlds!

What color is your office? Do you notice a difference in how you think depending on where you work? What do other colors make you feel? I’d love to know!


Reiss Red

You Red It Here First!


Fall in San Francisco feels more like summer everywhere else, but that doesn’t make it any easier to abandon the idea of tights, blazers and back-to-school shopping.

Inspired by the perfect red blazer from Reiss (Kate Middleton’s go-to shop for classic pieces) this Style Set replaces the backpack and saddle shoes of childhood with punchy stiletto loafers and a ladylike handbag that will carry you through whatever the season – or school year – will bring.

Northern Californians, let’s sharpen our pencils and take note of the new uniform for Fall. Shopping info below.

J crew sweater
$70 –

$370 –

Rag & Bone pleated shorts
$220 –

J crew
$18 –

J Crew high heel loafer
$295 –

J crew handbag
$240 –

Mood jewelry
2.40 –

3.1 Phillip Lim square sunglasses
$105 –

J Crew buckle belt
$60 –

Linea Yellow gerbera
1.20 –

You Red It Here First!


I’m stuck. Or rather, my tomatoes are. The farmer’s markets are exploding with their end-of-summer bounty, my basil plant is going like gangbusters (don’t you love that word, gangbusters?!), and my kitchen is begging for fresh tomatoes. And my tomato plant is just sitting out in the garden, producing tiny green globes at the world’s slowest pace, mocking me.

Tomatoes might be the most perfect fruit. They go in salads, in drinks, in sauces, in condiments. Tomato red thrills on cars, as a shade of lipstick, and who can forget the thrill of shimmying on a red dress for the first time? All women should own a red dress.

My grandpa was the master of tomatoes. I have vivid memories of helping him plant them, of watering them, of picking fruit for dinner, and even of their perfect, homegrown taste that no grocery store tomato has even been able to replicate. But I don’t know his secret – I’m afraid I never will – and so we sit, my tomatoes and I. But this week, in their honor – their stubborn, angry plant honor – we’ll be talking tomatoes. From dressing to eating to drinking (oh yes, the drinking) it’s all tomatoes all the time.

And I hope by this time next week, I’ll have a positive report from the garden. Ideally including the word gangbusters.


Friday Scraps

{Lily pads at the Denver Botanic Gardens}

. Have you seen the trailer for the new Daniel Radcliffe movie, The Woman in Black? It looks terrifying, yet there’s something so perfect about snuggling up on the couch with your significant other, a hot beverage, and a thriller, am I right? (Psycho + Nathan, I’m looking at you) Be careful, Harry Potter!

. Another movie still on my must-see list is Beginners. Christopher Plummer is still Captain Von Trapp in my book, and the trailer music feels perfectly French. Have you seen it yet?

. This how-to from Hits and Fits inspired me to reimagine a pair of muted fuschia shorts I impulse purchased from J. Crew last month, and Joanna’s boat shoe post only reinforced my decision. Imagining said shorts with my gold Top Sidersthis Frenchy striped long-sleeved tee, a messy bun and a dash of red lipstick for a weekend BBQ. Thanks be to the internet for helping me shop my closet!

. Everything about this outfit is perfect, right down to the dainty handbag and the color of those rockin’ shorts. Yup.

. The new Design*Sponge book looks just perfect, and Grace Bonney is too cute in the book trailer. This and the Domino Book of Decorating can come live on my coffee table any day!

This weekend is the aforementioned BBQ, a Sausalito picnic, walking the dog, and a candlelit dinner with friends. Have a good one!