Six Months Deep

Its been exactly six months since I’ve left the USA. I’m in six months deep. Time flies.

Within these six months in Norway, I have witnessed spring, summer, and now autumn. But surely.. these days.. it feels more like winter. Throughout this time, I have traveled quite frequently. Most of these journeys took place in Europe. I finally visited parts of the world that were always on my radar. So in my last post I mentioned that I visited Bulgaria, London, and Northern Norway. I also visited a few towns throughout Norway, and had the chance to visit Geirangerfjord. That road trip was fascinating. You can view my previous blog post in which I have a few pictures from these trips. In just a few days i’ll be headed back to London. Well, specifically in two days from now.. I simply cannot wait! My routine has become a bit mundane and I look forward in breaking that routine. Should be quaint and cozy to visit London during this time with the chilly weather setting in. London is such a fascinating city with so much to see, do and eat! Speaking of eating.. I already have a food itinerary planned for the trip. But thats how I roll – and I’ve always been this way! Being called a ‘foodie’ is an understatement to my culinary ventures. I have been photographing food, wandering to hole in the walls, and writing reviews for almost a decade. All of my friends and family know whats in store when they set foot in traveling with me. Most places we end up eating at become some of the most remarkable and cherished places.. the ones that keep your memory warm in delight. I cant wait to venture out and try new restaurants and cafes. It’d be nice to visit a few cafes from my first trip to London over the summer. But then again, as I mentioned, there are so many options and new food places to check out. Oh and this time around, I really want to watch my budget and not go overload with spending. The British pound and Norwegian kroner is heavy! My poor little dollars cannot handle this financial burden. Anyhow, this trip should be nice. I think we all need this break in our routine.

So back to my six months in Norway. What can I say? Its been fantastic in some ways  – I’ve had all these reasons to explore a bit more and I’ve also made a few new friends. I’ve had the chance to visit many new cafes and sip on some of the best cappuccinos and cafe lattes. There are quite a few coffeehouses here that are cozy and serve up some great pastries. I’m always dreaming about those Scandinavian cardamom buns and cinnamon rolls. They are simply unique. My only problem is that most of the coffeehouses close early. The small towns become even quieter because of that. Some of the cafes in our town close up around 4 or 6 pm. The latest would be 8 p.m. – in which their are only two in Tonsberg. Oslo definitely has a larger variety of cafes and restaurants that close up late. But we usually visit on the weekend. Its always nice to stay up a big longer and have more choices in dining. I think the restaurant scene is definitely an area that Norway can work on. Other than that, the weather has been nice the past few months. Now i’m slowly dreading winter – i’m not able to handle such freezing temperatures gracefully. A big pat of snow hit Northern Norway today. We probably wont get snow in the south of Norway for another month. But until then.. i’ll try my best to keep warm. This kind of weather makes me become lethargic and semi lazy. Oh and my hands and feet are often freezing. I just end up curling up indoors.. longing for hot chocolate and sweets. Not the best time of the year for your figure!

I’ve been experiencing extreme culture shock these past two and a half months. The honeymoon phase of living somewhere ‘new’ was over by end of July. Once August crept by.. I really started to miss the States. I simply started to miss familiar faces and places. Visiting Houston mid August didn’t help – I mean in some ways it did. I was content to visit my family, friends and all the past places I would often frequent. I didn’t even want to leave. It almost felt like I was going back home for good after a few summer months abroad. Everything fell back into place and I was happy to spend time with my loved ones. It was actually difficult to leave. My cat’s face was silently staring back at me, the day I got up and took off on my Uber ride. I think my culture shock became even more intense once I got back to Norway. It’s taken sometime to readjust and figure things out. It’s also been difficult to randomly meet people and befriend them. I’ve come to the strong realization that i’m very much a social being. Not having friends and not having much of a social life has led to some extreme isolation. Its been exhausting to say the least. Their are always social norms and language barriers that get in the way as well. The air is timid, tight and serious. I’m just a colorful California girl that is all about those warm vibes! Haha. So thus far.. I am trying to hang in there. I may have to remodify my life again.. especially if this isolation becomes any worse. It is best to know if you’re in your element or not. & there is nothing wrong with getting up and trying again. I truly admire those that try their best.. and always find a way to make changes. If things dont work out.. there are always other choices out there. I want to strongly believe that my culture shock will calm down. But that may take its time.. or it may never truly fade away. These past six months have truly tested my patience and ability to adapt to a plethora of changes. But my curiosity often gets the best of me and I like trying new things. Explorations and visiting new places never hurt anymore. I’m thankful for all the experiences that I have underwent so far. These experiences have shaped me even more in terms of cultural understandings. I have found an even deeper way to connect with myself. This silence has allowed me to slow down at times and focus on the little things. I often wake up and cook myself a nice breakfast. I’ll be reading a few books and taking slow walks as well. Isolation sometimes corners you in and makes you think about life in different perspectives. These past six months have been completely different than anything i’ve ever experienced. Its been good, fearful, lonely and interesting. But most importantly, I am gaining strength in different ways. In this strength, I find myself again and I remember the people, places, and experiences that matter to me most.

With love,
Sara xoxo

Friday <3 Lost in translation & traveling

Happy Friday all!

It seems as if I’ve drifted off the planet in some ways. I haven’t seen my family or close friends in such a long time. The blog has been quietly sitting here in the dust – with all that has been happening in my life. I left the States back in April and now its August. Its been 3.5 months since I’ve left. Doesn’t seem that long does it? I know and yet time has been slowly and quickly passing by at the same time. Some days have been fast paced and some others just slowly crawling through the day. Yet it seems as if 6 months have passed by. I’ve been traveling quite frequently since I’ve packed my bags and moved out of the country. Yep, I got married to my best friend and moved out of the country. Due to our overwhelming long distance relationship, we decided to tie the knot in Spring and move in together with our lives. So many changes have occurred in a short period of time. I’ve made many new friends throughout my travels and visited such beautiful landmarks. I’ve had the chance to visit popular bakeries, cafes and restaurants. Its been a rainy season throughout our travels, such as our time in Bulgaria, England, and Northern Norway. There have been many beautiful road trips and local spots we’ve stumbled upon since moving to Norway. Having a car really helps and I’m just elated that we’re able to take road trips throughout the country. The driving style here is comfortable, relaxing and scenic. Though, at times, it can get too quiet and relaxed here. I have to admit that there are moments where I deal with strong pangs of isolation. At times, I long for a strong sense of familiarity, such as the foods I grew up eating and the company I would surround myself with. Its only a matter of time until I can truly make myself busy here. The neighborhood here in Tonsberg is quiet and the city is much smaller than where i’m coming from. But back in the USA, its a different story. Houston is a very large city in the States – with quite a few things to do and I always thought Sugar Land, TX was slow paced until I moved here. But these suburbs are different than the ones in the USA. There are fewer shops, markets and restaurants. The people are quieter and reserved as well, just like their towns. Most shops and stores here in Norway close earlier in the day or evening. Luckily, our neighborhood grocery store is open until 11 p.m. Thank goodness for that! Having a grocery store within the burbs’ is convenient, especially when taking walks in the town and maybe needing to pick something up. They don’t have everything that i’m used to purchasing back in the States – but they at least have most dried goods, spices, and a few fruits and vegetables. I TRULY miss Trader Joes and even Whole Foods. As an individual who passionately loves to cook and bake – I find that I get so used to the food ingredients that I best adore. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and avocados, those are some of the ingredients I miss the most. They do have a few of those foods here as mentioned, but some of the produce doesn’t taste the best as its exported and its coming with a hefty price tag. But lets talk about the good – thankfully our red and blue currant bushes have been blooming. We were able to store and freeze about 8 jars of jam. The taste and the quality of locally grown berries here are delightful. We were able to make jam with both types of currants and raspberry as well. Our apple tree is slowly growing and I anticipate the taste of those crisp apples soon. Autumnal baking anyone? So here are just a few photos from our trips and travels from the past few months.


Scenic pathways and streets in Sofia, Bulgaria. This photo was taken right near a Turkish cafe, in which we enjoyed ourselves with coffee and breakfast.


I truly enjoyed most of London and Carnaby Street was quite nice as well. We ate dinner in a posh restaurant in the name of Dishoom. It was a great location to dine in and the Indian food was spectacular! I still dream of that tasty dinner.


The streets of London, vividly glowing and full of energy. I love the banner on top saying, “London, everyone welcome.”


Viewing Geirangerfjord down below.. absolutely below and a popular tourist destination in Norway. The fjords surrounding around were truly majestic.


In Northern Norway.. on the fairy tale island of Senja. I had the chance to hike, climb, and make my way on the top of the peak of Segla. A huge mountain with breathtaking scenery all around. I truly outdid myself as I had not hiked in years. Lovely experience it was with my sister in law. I wont ever forget it.


The scenic nature in Northern Norway is truly delightful – especially in the summer with the midnight sun. It was mostly sunny throughout the day and the weather was mild compared to the harsh fall and winter. I truly miss the mountains and landscape.

Well lovelys, thats it for now!
I will definitely update with further pictures to come.
We are towards the last leg of Summer and I’ll be visiting my family soon in the States.
What are some adventures that you experienced throughout the Summer. Where there any spectacular memories that you created? I surely enjoyed this Summer. It was great.

Cheers for now,
Sara xoxo


This entry was posted in Travel.

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Hello all and happy April! I absolutely love this time of the year… I’ve been taking many walks outside lately and i’ve discovered so many lily-pads in our neighborhood lake. They are a newfound delight this year as I did not notice them last year or the year before. The whole lake looks like a walk-able patch of grass. Its soo green and pretty! Sigh. At least I get my dose of nature in those daily walks. 🙂 The sun and nature keep me content and relaxed amidst a concrete jungle. Today’s weather was absolutely lovely.. it was quite windy and not too hot. If only it could be like that more often.. it would totally be suitable for outdoor festivals.. which many are approaching. I love attending festivals, particularly multicultural festivals where I get to learn about the many cultures around me. I see myself as a highly cultured individual and I find it an absolute joy to be immersed in such a colorful environment. Lets see what’s in store this weekend. I believe i’m invited to a game night at my aunt’s new home. Time to dust out some board games and bring in a new one which my mom purchased today! Its called Snakes and Ladders and its an old fashioned game.. quite simple and easy.. but fun as well.

The lake shimmering, lily-pads floating, and the sun slowly setting down for the evening.

Lovely flowers sprouting all around.. just love the hint of pink against the green foliage.

Speaking of pink.. I made a lovely and vibrant pink smoothie bowl yesterday. It was a strawberry and banana smoothie bowl! The flavors were bright and nutty because it consisted of oats! I added in oat milk because its one of my favorite non-dairy milk alternative. Chia seeds in the mixture allowed the overall texture to be thick and consistent – its kind of like a glue in health foods. To my success, the bowl turned out delightful. Mind you, it was my first smoothie bowl ever made. I typically just guzzle down those things in a tall glass. But the consistency of this thick, creamy and nourishing smoothie bowl was delightful. It was fun to eat it in a big bowl.. and I just admired the prettiness of the overall thing. I mean you can make it thinner and just drink it down.. but this was a nice change and i’ll surely be making smoothie bowls more often! Posted below is the recipe. Feel free to swap out any of the fruit and mix it up. But this strawberry and banana combo is killer and its surely a classic! You simply cant go wrong with this lovely duo.

 Strawberry & Banana Smoothie Bowl

1 frozen banana or fresh banana (frozen banana’s make for a super creamy texture)
1 cup frozen strawberry or fresh strawberry
1/2 cup oat milk or any other non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon black chia seeds
2 tablespoons organic toasted oatmeal
for decoration:
1 tablespoon crushed freeze dried strawberries or fresh strawberry slices
1 teaspoon black chia seeds
1 tablespoon organic toasted oats

1. On medium heat, in a small pan, toast the three tablespoons of organic oats. Allow the oats to get nice and brown without burning them, just for two minutes. This technique takes out the raw oat flavor and gives em a nice and warm nutty taste instead. Reserve one tablespoon of oats for the topping later on.

2. Add both of the fruit into the blender, as well as the rest of the ingredients (oatmilk, chia seeds, and toasted oats). Blend until the consistency is smooth and all the ingredients have come together.

3. Crush about three freeze dried strawberries in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Just until the mixture is chunky. If you don’t have freeze dried strawberries, you can simply use fresh strawberries in place. This is for the topping.

4. Place smoothie into a bowl and top with the toasted oats, chia seeds and freeze dried strawberries. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I truly enjoyed this smoothie bowl! It was nourishing, creamy, and packed with vitamins and fiber. I’ve been back at it with my exercises + walks in the park. I know my body needs as many vitamins + health foods to keep me feeling energized and refreshed. I’ve been on and off at the gym only because of my body pains. Lets hope I can become an even stronger person this year. Eating healthy + moving around is my mantra with keeping in shape and feeling great. Being mindful and paying attention to health and wellness is the key for overall mood, lifestyle and emotional strength. What are some of your favorite outdoor workouts? Any nourishing smoothie drinks that you love? There are so many protein smoothies, bowls, and drinks out there. I will definitely be sharing some more smoothie bowl recipes with you all! This is only just the beginning and I truly enjoyed the experience of eating this colorful vitamin bowl.

Enjoy this lovely Thursday — its almost Friday! Cheers to a wonderful day ahead. xx

With love,
Sara <3

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Hey all!

It’s been quite warm here lately and I was craving a tart and colorful pasta salad. Decided to make an orzo salad that was chewy, nutty, yet packed with a punch of flavor. Orzo basically means ‘little barley’ in Italian. I was first introduced to orzo through a Greek dish I found on the internet called “Manestra.” That recipe will be posted soon as well and it is a regular in our house-hold. What I love most about pasta salad is that you can pretty much do anything with it. You can mix the pasta with actual salad – such as chopped romaine leaves and toss them all together. You can even mix the leftovers with grilled chicken, shrimp or fish cakes. I might just end up doing that tomorrow, but as for now, here is the recipe. I came home today after running a few errands in the warm weather. Decided to make this quick, simple and healthy meal that I knew my family and I would enjoy. I love being able to use ingredients that are already in the fridge. The prep time was quick and the meal was made in a quick manner as well.

Sauteing a few of the ingredients truly brings out aroma and flavor into a pasta salad. You’ll notice this in particular when eaten the next day.

I have an obsession with avocado anything.. so there ya have it.. sneakily just sitting there on my plate. But it all went well together. 🙂 Just look at that colorful plate of delishness. <3

Mediterranean Orzo Salad (my own recipe) // sehrah xx

1/2 pound (8 oz.) orzo pasta (boiled separately in hot salted water)
1/2 cup capsicum (red bell pepper, diced)
1 small shallot or 1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 (15 0z.) can white garbanzo beans
1/4 fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 bag of fresh baby spinach (chopped or shredded by hands)
1/4  cup sliced black olives (pitted)
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/4 cup of Greek crumbled feta cheese
1/2 lemon (juiced)
salt to taste
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp dried mint leaves

1. Boil orzo pasta. The pasta is rice shaped, make sure that it boils for a good 10-12 mins, that way it retains its shape and texture. Don’t let it get too soft. Drain. As the pasta is boiling, make sure all veggies and ingredients are chopped and ready.

2. Drain canned garbanzo beans. Rinse. Toss them into a fry pan that’s medium hot and ready with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic. Add in the chopped red bell pepper at this time as well. Saute both ingredients  for three minutes with 1/2 tsp of salt. Add in red chili flakes with the dried mint leaves. Allow the spices to develop their aroma for two minutes. Make sure this mixture is sauteing on medium heat. Stir often.

3. Once the beans and peppers are soft, add in the shredded baby spinach and chopped black olives. Stir for about three minutes until the spinach is tender and wilted. At this time, toss in the warm orzo pasta into the skillet. Make sure to coat the pasta evenly with the bean and pepper mixture. Allow all ingredients to cook for another two-three minutes. Make sure all flavors fuse together at this time. Add extra salt if needed at this time. Toss in fresh lemon juice, chopped parsley, and feta. The remaining olive oil (two tablespoons) should be mixed in as well. You want this dish to be shining with flavor!

4. Turn off heat and enjoy. Serve with extra feta, red pepper flakes, and even some chopped avocado! Want to keep this dish vegan? Completely omit the feta and toss in some walnuts or avo. The added healthy fats truly allow this wonderful pasta dish to shine. You can eat this warm or cold. Serve it up the following day with chopped lettuce leaves for an added crunch.

I truly enjoy this dish as it is. It kept my belly warm, full, and satisfied. You’re free to create any modifications. I might even serve this up tomorrow as a cold pasta salad with chopped boiled eggs. I just love pairing protein with carbs to create a complete meal. You can even sub the orzo for quinoa.

What are your favorite kind of salads? Any pasta in particular that you enjoy? Their are so many different pasta shapes out there. I’m always discovering a new one in the grocery shelves, particularly within international food markets. They are such a joy to visit and I love purchasing pasta from the direct source, such as Italy or Greece. I often purchase orzo that is shipped from Greece. The flavor and texture are always on point.

That’s it for now dearies. Until next time!

Ciao and have a wonderful Wednesday – the mid week is here – make it a good one.

With love,

Sara // xoxo

LA LA Los Angeles

Hey all!

Looks like we’re headed towards the end of March. That was quick.

I need to stop this habit of posting once a month. Really. But time flies and I’ve been keeping myself preoccupied with little things here and there. I just came back from a trip to the golden state. That being, California, my home state. 🙂 I was out in Los Angeles for about two weeks. Culture shock develops intensely and I have a hard time readjusting to life in the south whenever i’m back. Although, I’ve lived in Houston most of my life, it’s the west coast that i’m deeply connected with. It only makes further sense, because my roots are from the west. As a Cancerian, I am connected to the element of water, so being anywhere near the ocean keeps me grounded. I was able to visit many beaches during my trip. Visited a few of my old stomping grounds and checked out new local places as well. I felt relaxed and at peace. What I love most of all is being able to get in a good walk, staying connected to nature, being able to hike, and visiting many of the surrounding beaches.

Venice Beach is always a favorite spot to visit. It’s got super chill vibes with a calm yet spunky flair.  There are a few shops to stroll through and many food choices as well. I purchased a vanilla soft serve ice cream and some flip flops. Those flip flops came in handy since I forgot to bring my own. Hah! I completely forgot that I wanted to walk in the sand. The sand was so warm and therapeutic between my toes and I felt a gentle massage on my feet as I took a quick stroll. There are a ton of clothing stores as well. Its definitely a spot to visit if wanting to purchase souvenirs.

Creamy soft serve on a warm day at the beach. Bliss.

Visiting Malibu beach was a dream. The sand was soft and fluffy and the day was bright and clear. The water was cold and crisp unlike Venice. This beach was truly relaxing yet serene as well. I really miss it and its graceful vibe. The town was lovely with rolling green hills and small shops. Getting all the way here was truly an adventure of its own. My family and had to drive through rolling cliffs and a curvy road, yet the scenery all around was stunning.

If I could relive each and every adventure.. I would. That time off was truly needed. If anything, I feel inspired. Granted, I felt a bit down and out once I got back to Houston… but a part of me was truly inspired by this recent trip. I am thankful yet ever so connected to my home state.  Both Nor’Cal and So’Cal hold a piece of my heart. I know that I will always have a place to stay over there. There is always a chance of moving back in the future as well. An active lifestyle surrounded with great people is what I crave. In the meanwhile, I cannot wait to get back into the gist of working and keeping myself focused and productive.

What are some memorable trips that you have taken? Is there a part of the world that you feel totally connected to? Or even a special someone? I know that I feel my best when I’m connected with my loved ones.. I feel comfortable connected in the right locations of the world – the places where I most belong. <3

Have a great rest of the week!

Sara //  xoxo


Hello dear readers!

I’ve got this warm and savory recipe to share today.. Suppose I’ll share it with you all anyway 😉 cant keep everything to myself. Especially not food.. gotta share.. even leftovers. Hah! Anyway, the weather has been quite rainy here lately. Last week a tornado stormed through our neighborhood and with it, brought tons of rain. Its crazy.. I suppose the rainy season here in Houston started earlier than usual. We normally see this kind of rain in April. So with this in mind, lets equip the best boots, coats, and umbrella suited for this weather. Slip resistant everyone! Carrying a big and sturdy umbrella in this harsh weather is key.. i’ve literally seen umbrellas breaking and shoes drowning in a flood of water. But safe than sorry.. oh and always please drive safely.. <3

So on to Rajma.. this is the same word that translates to beans in Hindi! So Hindi is the main spoken language in India. India has a ton of spoken languages, but Hindi is the main language that you’ll often hear of. So I freakin’ love Indian/Pakistani/Afghan/Persian food. I truly believe these cultures create some of THE BEST VEGETARIAN FOOD! My family.. being of Pakistani origin.. have been eating lentils, beans and legumes all of their lives. These main ingredients take center stage in the diverse culinary world of South Asia. I often crave vegetarian food and swap out meat for beans or lentils. These pulses soak up a ton of flavor and keep you seriously full. Which is the best feeling ever! (Especially for someone like me… who is always hungry.) 😛

So there you have it.. Rajma literally translates to beans… and it is often served with rice. Doesn’t that ring a bell? Beans and rice? It is that one meal that almost every culture eats! Without it.. what would ever become of humanity? Lol. But literally, I feel vegan and vegetarian foods are great sources for our present/future. These are meals that can serve all of humankind.. + on a budget. When I think of beans and rice.. I can easily imagine the Cuban, Mexican, Cajun, and Colombian version of this dish. Many cultures cook up their beans and rice with pork and that is a true no-no for me! I prefer to cook these meals in the vegetarian manner anyway. So kidney beans were brought to India through Mexico. The South Asian culture fell in love with red kidney beans and now Rajma is served on numerous occasions. This dish is also eaten in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Gotta love those cultural ingredient trades.

I feel as if I could eat a big warm bowl of Rajma served with a fluffy bed of steamed basmati rice every week. This meal doesn’t take too long to make and its surely a crowd pleaser. Typically, Rajma is made with kidney beans so I truly would not swap them out for any other beans. Remember to use quality basmati rice. Below is the recipe. 🙂

 Rajma Masala

1 can kidney beans (28 oz can) (much faster than soaking and using dry beans)
half an onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
small knob of ginger (minced)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) (use organic if possible)
1/2 cup of fresh water
3 tbl olive oil
spices: (please use all of them for maximum flavor)
( adjust flavor according to your tolerance to heat)
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
garnish with:
1 chopped green onion
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 tbl fresh coriander leaves

1. Saute the onion with olive oil for about 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. I tend to add salt at this stage, it helps the onions sweat and I increase the amount of salt if needed.
2. Saute garlic for a minute with the onions. Then add in the fresh ginger.
3. Throw in the can of drained kidney beans. Saute this mixture for about a minute. Lets the beans soak up the flavor.
4. At this time, temper the spices together with the beans. Let the spices release their aroma, for about a good minute. Add the can of tomato sauce + 1/2 cup of water together. Turn the mixture on high heat until mixture boils.
5. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat and let the beans gently simmer until tender.
6. Mash the beans a bit so they can turn the stew creamy and thick. Careful not to mash all of the beans. Just a few.
7. You’ll know the stew is ready when all  it comes together and the sauce has a nice viscosity. (About 25 mins).
8. Throw in the green onions, garam masala, and coriander. These last ingredients are key in terms of flavor and presentation. Garam masala is a lovely spice that consists of many warming spices that are ground together. Fresh coriander provides color and brightness to the overall dish. Green onions are not common in Rajma, but they go great together and also provide nice flavor + color.

So there you have it folks! Rajma masala.. Please serve this lovely warming dish with steamed basmati rice, naan, or roti. You can certainly eat this meal on this own.. kind of like an Indian chili.. but i’ve never done that and it may be a bit spicy on its own. Typically, South Asian meals are always served with some sort of carbohydrate. We just love our carbs on carbs. Hah! But really.. this meal is great without breaking your bank, keeps ya full and satisfied. Please comment below if you have any questions. I certainly love to provide healthy + easy recipes for you all. Thanks for being such patient readers.. you guys are truly some of my best supporters.

I promise that one day there will be a recipe book.. it may be an e-book or I might just create hard covers. But I know its a dream of mine and I will make it happen!

What are your plans for the week? Work? Im not working these days but I hope to get on it soon. Whatever that may be.. the sky is the limit. Hold on to your dreams, be steadfast and make things happen. Life passes by anyway. We’re already in the last days of February. How quick was that?

Goodnight from sleepy Houston and have a great rest of the week dearies!

With love,

Sara // xoxo




Food Adventures – Pie!

So I finally got to try Proud Pie over the weekend! But it was their food truck stationed in Sugar Land. When I found out they’d be visiting – I was thrilled and took my sister and mom with me. Suhweet! Literally. The actual pie shop is a bit far from me, so I was excited to at least try a few pies in Sugar Land. They have a large mobile truck that is stationed in front of the Museum of Natural Science. I believe the food truck will be stationed for good throughout the weekends. But, I would still call the original Proud Pie in Katy and ask them ahead of time if they will be in Sugar Land. Anyway, they have a nice and large mobile truck that is accompanied with various kind of pies. I was thinking they would only have a few options, but they had many, a long with a few drinks. My family and I chose the fudge pie as well as the chocolate silk cream pie. Ordered a tall iced coffee as well in such sweltering heat. We enjoyed both of these treats! They were deep, rich, and satisfying. The fudge pie reminded me of a soft and chewy brownie. The silk pie was cold yet super creamy and lush. The whipped cream on top was so fresh! I had been craving pie for the longest time. They use fresh ingredients such as real chocolate and butter. No lard. Yay! True pie is made with actual butter and nothing else. No vegetable shortening whatsoever either! 🙂 The strong bitter iced coffee paired nicely with the sweet pies as well. I did not dare to add any sugar into my coffee – the pies were quite sweet anyway. I did ask for milk – simply because I cannot drink black iced coffee for the life of me. It is way too strong! Anyway, i’m totally looking forward to visiting the food truck again. I absolutely enjoy visiting food trucks – they are an adventure of their own. Seeking them, tracking them, and tasting some of the best food that each city has to offer! Maybe I’ll get to try the store front one day. It’s not that far – maybe 25ish mins away from me – but i’m usually never in that area (Cinco Ranch). This sweet tooth gal will continue to support local business. Fresh and local are best! True pies that are proudly made and proudly satisfying. 🙂 Cheers, until next time.

Are their any food trucks in your part of town that you just love following? We have a ton in this city and their are always a few new ones cropping here and there. I even purchased a food truck book a couple of years ago that high-lighted all of the food mobiles in my city! I have tried some of the best foods – both savory and sweet when visiting food trucks! I’ve also tried some of the best coffee there is – both hot and iced. Most of these food mobiles offer local and organic coffee – which is why it taste strong and darn good. I love how these trucks are parked in some of the most random of places. I’ve had quite a few food adventures spontaneously bumping into them! Some of them have offered such unique food – and I have not made the chance to revisit again. Soon enough!

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Spending time with friends and family was the cherry on top!
It’s gotten quite hot here – seems as if a lenghty summer awaits us! Oh my.
Until next time dearies. xox

// Sara <3

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Apple and Cinnamon Yogurt Cake

It’s been such a humid winter. I’ve had to put up my hair in a tight bun these past few days.
The air conditioner has been on and so have the cieling fans. Lately I’ve been taking walks outside in this cloudy and strangely warm winter. My hair turns into this huge frumpled mess if its not tied up when i’m walking outside. I seriously don’t feel like i’m in Houston right now. Because I somehow pictured winter visiting us in January. This is typically the month that tends to be the coldest of the year, at least in this city. But definitely not this year. Am I visiting some tropical island right now or what? 😛

I guess all those factors haven’t stopped me from my usual seasonal baking… I’d been meaning to bake up some sort of concoction with apples. Crisp apples, spice and everything nice. That typically rings a bell and reminds me of Autumn. I didn’t get a chance to bake with apples during that season so I had to makeup for it.. & as you know.. pumpkin spice reigned supreme during that time.. yep.

So these cute little apples were just sitting in the kitchen. Waiting to be devoured.

Last week I found the perfect recipe to use up some apples from The Kitchn. It’s an online food community that has become one of my favorites! They have some great recipes on The Kitchn that are both innovative and creative. These small little apples had been sitting around in my fruit bowl for a week.. or two. Far too many to devour. Then a light bulb struck my mind when I came across an apple cake recipe using ingredients I had in my fridge. There was a tub of yogurt quietly sitting in the fridge, as well as some sour cream and butter. Perfect! I whipped up this Apple yogurt cake.. and to my surprise.. it was quite nice.

I’ve had great success baking with yogurt, lemons, and sour cream in the past. Such ingredients create the moistest and tart tasting cakes and treats. Mediterranean cuisine tends to use yogurt as well for baking. Such creations have always turned out to be some of the lightest and fluffiest desserts. So here is the setup of all the ingredients. I diced three small apples. Figured they would be enough without having too much of apple in the batter. I decided to use both sour cream and yogurt in the cake, because I wanted to use up both products. Feel free to use all yogurt, as the original recipe states. Either way, you can even use all sour cream. The cake will turn out soft and tender anyway.

Using a handheld mixer, whip up the batter until it becomes nice and smooth. Make sure not to over-mix! Having a few clumps in the batter is not a big deal. Using a large and flat baking spatula, gently fold in the diced apples towards the end of the procedure. There is quite a lot of batter, so make sure to use a 9×13 pan. Its a great sheet tray cake and makes quite a lot! We had plenty of leftovers. Lastly, here is the recipe via The Kitchn that I slightly changed. If you’re not into apples you can surely try pears! You can even swap the cinnamon for cardamom. 🙂

Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon-Sugar Streak

Serves 12

1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt, well-stirred (I used 1 cup of yogurt, and 1/2 cup of sour cream)
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 pounds apples, ideally tart apples such as Granny Smith (I used three small red apples)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with baking spray or olive oil.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Peel and core the apples, and chop into chunks about 1/2-inch across. You should end up with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of apples. Stir the chopped apple into the liquid ingredients.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon right into the liquids and stir just until no lumps remain. In a small separate bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon with the brown sugar and butter.

Pour half of the batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle the batter with half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture, dropping it on the batter in small lumps. Spread the rest of the batter over top, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-brown sugar.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, covering with foil at the end if the top is browning too much. When a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before cutting. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

This keeps very well for several days, and it gets even moister as it sits, due to the apples.

Oh gosh! I wish that I could eat a small slice right now. The apple cake was finished and devoured in just a few days. Our kitchen smelled delightful with the sweet fragrance of cinnamon, brown sugar and warmed apples. Not even a fancy candle could beat the smell of a fresh cake emerging out of the oven!

What are some of your most favorite things to bake in winter? I truly feel this cake can be eaten any time of the year. Luckily we have some of the tastiest apples year round at our local Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s has some great produce as well. The idea’s are just endless when baking! Anyway, i’ll be back for yet another post soon! Keep an eye out on something savory headed your way. 🙂

Until next time dearies xx

Sara <3

Happy New Year!

Hello to all my friends, followers and family!

Happy New Years. I wish you all a lovely 2017 ahead. 🙂

December was quite a busy month filled with traveling and spending time with family and friends. I was able to catch up with my sisters and my mom. We’ve shared some great memories before ringing in the new year. It’s been a warm winter yet I’m still enjoying this time of year. I’m taking it a bit slow in terms of work this January and all things related to my online job. I taught almost 130 students in December – despite having traveled and all. I really didn’t have time to update my blog during those busy moments but here I am now. I truly promise to post about 3-4 times a month. Lets just say that’s a new years goal. 🙂 There are a few recipes that I worked with in December. They will be posted in the blog this month! I’m looking forward to making a few changes to the blog as well. Maybe adding in a recipe box where you can download or print the recipe. Wouldn’t that be great? Anyway, today was a bit of a hibernating day. I’m trying to get back into the full swing of things after the holidays. That can be tough. 🙂 Lets all breathe and take it in slowly and surely. This year I want to continue working on my inner peace and focus on slowing down when I feel all worked up. Life is too short to be stressed – although I know that sounds easier said than done. Lets all work on building stronger inner peace so we can project kindness to the world around us! Focusing on stress elimination will also reduce pain in the body such as the back, neck and shoulders. I’ve had some pains in my neck and I hope to release any tension in those areas of my body. Speaking of mind and wellness, I will be posting some tips and advice related to such topics soon. Similarly, I will continue to focus on nutrition and health this year. Last year I focused on a ton of vegetarian + slow foods. I will provide similar recipes that are wholesome and nutritious. There will a strong emphasis on gluten free and dairy free foods as well. Once in awhile, I will feature some special dishes that are on the heavy side – basically crowd pleasing foods. I don’t think I could give up dairy or gluten, so there will be a variety of food choices based on different lifestyles. Anyway, I tend to go on a tangent. I’m just excited. Despite feeling tired and all, I’m feeling a bit inspired and that feels good. Here are a few quotes to end the night. I have one student to teach in 30 minutes so off I go! Have a wonderful night dearies and always remember to dream big. Marvel in the delights of the world and believe in the impossible. Because anything is possible if you put your mind into it!

xXx – Sara 












Hello all,

It looks like the last day of November has arrived. It has been quite a long month full of adventures, hopes, and dreams. Lots of sightseeing, catching up with friends, and those whom I hold close to my heart. I’ve been taking loads of pictures as well with my new Sony camera. Decided to carry around a lighter camera instead of my Nikon DSLR that I’ve had since 2009. Photography has been a passion of mine for many years and I simply could not rely on my phone camera, no matter how good it is. Anyway, photos will definitely be added into a new post. I have been traveling for a couple of weeks.. and I must say that my number one priority is always keeping my health strong throughout my journey.  I have been traveling throughout temperatures that are outside my comfort zone. Nonetheless these cold temperatures have been exciting a bit, simply because I can’t stand hot weather. Its been freezing, rainy, and cold.. yet I’ve soaked myself into another realm..  Reminding myself that its all the beauty of traveling and wandering outside of ones comfort zone. Besides the weather, I’ve been walking a ton and layering up so many clothes until I resemble some sort of snow man.. Haha! Ill do anything to keep myself warm, safe and fully protected from the cold wind flurries.

Adapting to the natural landscape and environment is always important when traveling. You have to find a balance between feeling comfortable yet daring to explore into new territory. Theres a reason why I strive to keep my health up throughout the ins and outs of exploring new surroundings. I mean who wants to feel crummy and run down when having to scram here, there, and everywhere… My twin sister and I were in a frenzied adventure amidst the concrete jungles of New York. What a trip that was — literally. Ive been quite thankful that my health has been well throughout my travels. Theres been incidents in the past when my health seriously took a told amidst the stress of traveling and that wasn’t any fun.  So definitely no cold, flue, or anything related to allergies this time around. *Knocks on wood*. Ive been having to juggle between time zones, different weather patterns, and walking by foot.. mostly everywhere. Whats a car anyway? Lol.

Before I left for my travels, I made sure to take a visit to good old Whole Foods. Yes, the gourmet market + health shop may be expensive, yet they carry a ton of reliable items related to nutrition and well being. The picture posted below is a photo I took before I jetted off to my journeys — Nueva York & Noruega. 🙂 Here are just a few products that I highly recommend if and when traveling. They are all my favorite and they carry so lightly!

– Lara Bar : these are health bars that are made up of a few ingredients. My favorite is their pecan bar which literally consists of dates, pecans, and almonds. Simply three ingredients.. thats it! The carrot cake bar is also another favorite. These bars are filling, packed with good fats, provide energy, and keep blood sugar stabilized. I tend to carry these bars into my flight and munch on just one! They are perfect for long flights as well. Keep them stashed in your carry on – I guarantee that you won’t regret it. You’ll feel good about yourself, especially when faced between such few and not so great snack options in the airport.

– Ginger soother : I made sure to drink this lovely spiced drink a few days before I headed off on my travels. It simply consists of water, ginger, honey and lemon. You can brew this mixture at home if you’re not interested in purchasing the beverage. But I have found it reliable amidst those busy days packing for my travels. Its sweet, spicy and enjoyable. I recommended drinking anything ginger related as this root helps to fight nausea and boosts the immune system. Ginger helps to fight off the common cold and aids in digestion. Drinking this spiced drink will keep the immune system boosted before any sort of travels! Try it in herbal tea or chop a chunk of ginger and blend it into a fresh carrot and orange juice beverage.

Vitamin Packs – I throughly enjoyed mixing Natural Calm (Magnesium supplement) into my water first thing in the morning. I took a few of these packets with me and would shake em up into a water bottle. Magnesium supports a healthy immune system and promotes natural blood pressure. Upon drinking this mixture I would often find myself a bit relaxed and feeling calmer. There are stressors related to traveling, such as the fear of getting lost and such. With this calm supplement, I felt a bit at ease knowing my body felt stronger and relaxed. Magnesium promotes a healthy heart rhythm and keeps the bones strong. I also made sure to take a few of the Electrolyte Stamina – Vitamin C Power Pak. It has the taste of an orange and yet keeps nicely mixed into a water bottle. The packet contains about 1,200 mg of Vitamin C! There are electrolytes and ionic minerals in the packet as well. This seriously helps those individuals who keep an active and healthy lifestyle. When on the run – I totally recommend these vitamin packs. They are ultra thin, light, and you can fit a ton in your luggage or carry on bag.

Moisturizer – I recommend taking a a high quality moisturizer with you when traveling. My face often gets dry and tends to lack moisture when traveling, especially in cold weather that freezes up my face. I packed up a small bottle of Shikai body moisturizer from Whole Foods. I use it about twice a day, once in the morning after washing my face, and a second time after washing my face in the evening. This is my routine even back at home so its great to keep the skin feeling fresh and well hydrated. Its definitely a simple yet effective beauty routine for anyone. I also recommend rubbing a small teaspoon of coconut oil on the face at night before going to sleep. Well, thats if you have any means or access of carrying around coconut oil, unless you’re staying at a friends place whom might be carrying some! 🙂

Aside from carrying these products I have mostly been drinking water, herbal teas, and pressing citrus into my beverages. Ive also been eating a few baby oranges as well. They are so cute and tasty. Where are your favorite places to journey out to? Any tips to feeling at your best when headed off somewhere? I believe practicing mindfulness and taking care of ones health is truly wealth. This has been such a great journey and I am thankful for every moment and every interesting person that I have encountered these past few weeks.

Lots of love to you all xx

— Sara