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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

June gloom is in full effect, folks! As a San Diego native, I’m not the biggest fan of cold weather 😦 Although I will say the runner in me enjoys this weather–but other than that, no bueno. I remember the beginning of last year when I first moved back home, I would complain about the random brisk days San Diego would have (totally bi-polar!) and my friends would be like, “You lived in the Eastcoast for 2 ½ years! You should be used to this.” To which I would reply with a confused Nick Young face, “No… It doesn’t work like that. Nope!”

Anywho, I digress. To help combat the cold weather to come, I made one of my all-time favorite soups! Initially, I would make this recipe in my crockpot with raw chicken breasts in my dorm but ever since I rekindled my relationship with my kitchen, I found that you’re easily able to make this on the stovetop within ~20 minutes, tops! I stumbled upon this recipe about 2 years ago and still use it today. I have modified it a bit so I’ll list my own personal ingredients and credit the original sources that helped make this recipe possible 🙂

Original recipe: Skinnytaste’s “Turkey Chili Taco Soup
In lieu of the taco seasoning called for in the original: Alton Brown’s “Taco Potion #19

You might question as to why I don’t just buy the pre-made taco seasoning found at your local grocery store (…or you might not, oh well. Still going to address it!) — the reasoning behind why is if you read the ingredient list, there’s usually some form of MSG or extra add-ons that I find that are unnecessary. Alton Brown’s “Taco Potion #19” is super simple to make and I find that I use the spices called in the recipe on a regular basis!

Also, before I go on to the ingredient list and the instructions, I just want to thank my homie Marleia (a.k.a. Mardizzle a.k.a. Lei/Leia/Lei Lei) for inspiring me yet again to expand my horizons 🙂 Leia, if you’re reading this, I appreciate you so much and am beyond thankful to have you in my life! I know I despised you in elementary school when we were both in the Lady Aztecs Basketball league (knew her as the girl with blue shoes hahaha) but our friendship has blossomed over the years and I thank God everyday for that. Ok I’m done being sappy! ❤


Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (I recommend purchasing from Costco!)
  • avocado oil (or whatever oil you have on hand to sauté the veggies)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilies (I used Ro*Tel’s)
  • 15 oz canned or frozen corn, drained
  • 15 oz no salt added kidney beans, drained
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 16 oz fat free refried beans
  • 2 1/2 cups less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of “Taco Potion #19”–or enough to taste (see below)

Alton Brown’s “Taco Potion #19”

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (Note: I never have corn starch lying around so I’ve made this seasoning without it before plenty of times. I just know that cornstarch would definitely help thicken the consistency of the soup which you can totally do if you’re into that)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Can be found at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat up pan to medium-high before adding the oil. Once heated through, add the onions and sweat ’til translucent–about 5-7 minutes then add the bell pepper for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, chicken broth, and seasoning. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes to let the ingredients mingle 🙂

Serve with toppings such as avocado, tortilla chips, squeeze of lime, Cholula or your favorite hot sauce, sour cream/Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, onions, and/or cilantro then enjoy!

Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce


This month I developed a slight obsession over shrimp springs rolls with peanut sauce. I had about 10 minutes to spare before work one day so I decided to order some spring rolls at the Vietnamese restaurant right next door to our frozen yogurt shop.

$6 a pop for two spring rolls. Multiply by 3 or 4… I was easily losing ~$20 a week on spring rolls a week so I knew I needed to learn to make my own spring rolls to keep my pocket from hurting (my stomach, too).


The only cooking required here is boiling the noodles and soaking the rice paper for 10-15 seconds. Easy day if you ask me 🙂


They didn’t have instructions on my noodles but I figure it was like cooking pasta so 8 minutes was perfect-o.



Shrimp Roll

  • rice paper (can be found at your local Asian market)
  • vermicelli noodles
  • pre-cooked shrimp
  • spinach
  • 1/2 of a cucumber
  • shredded carrots
  • cilantro
  • mint

Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tsp of rice vinegar
  • splash of water until desired consistency


  1. Boil noodles for about 8 minutes.
  2. While the noodles are boiling, start warming up water in a pan wide enough for the rice paper to fit in and prepare your vegetables.
  3. Drain the noodles and set aside. By now, hopefully your water is warm enough for the rice paper and you can start rollin’
  4. Soak the rice paper for 10-15 seconds and place on a clean towel to assemble your veggies!
  5. Once you have your shrimp rolls ready, prepare the sauce by simply combining the first 3 ingredients together in a small bowl. Add just a splash of water until you get the thickness you want 🙂
  6. Enjoy!

This recipe is super versatile too! You can add a different protein if you’re not a huge fan of shrimp and change up the vegetables as well. Just keep it simple!

Triple “P” Granola



Hence the name 😉 I remember stumbling upon a pumpkin granola recipe on Pinterest last fall and pretty much falling in love with it since I never made homemade granola. You can say I fell in love at first bite 🙂 Along with the smell, too! This recipe will have your house smelling like fall (… even though it’s spring)!


Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.


I start off this recipe by combining the wet ingredients in a small sauce-pan over medium-low heat. I recommend adding the coconut oil first so it’s easier to measure out the maple syrup (you can also use honey/agave) and saving the extra pumpkin puree for some waffles tomorrow morning ♡ Whisk away!


Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.


Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix again once more!


Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum – whichever you got works. Granola goes in zee oven for 10 minutes.


Stir the granola at the 10 minute mark and leave in for another 10 minutes. You can skip this step and rotate the baking sheet instead if you prefer a more chunky granola.


By now your house is probably smelling like pumpkin pie 🙂 Take out the granola and let it cool so it can crisp up!





  • 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract


  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup of raw pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup of raw pepitas
  • 1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • Dash of salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a small sauce-pan over medium heat and whisk together.
  3. Add dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix some more!
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly.
  6. Place in oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Take out the granola and stir to ensure even baking. If you prefer chunky granola, skip this step and rotate the baking sheet instead.
  8. Bake granola for another 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let it cool so it can crisp!
  10. Enjoy with yogurt, smoothie/acai bowls, fruit parfaits – the world is your oyster 🙂

Oven Roasted St. Louis-style Ribs


I was always intimidated when it came to cooking anything barbecue. I would watch BBQ cook-offs on Food Network and see how much time and effort was put in to make real good, award-winning BBQ. This made me stray away from even thinking about making my own at home until a couple weeks ago when Pops asked me if I knew how to make ribs.

I shrugged and told him I could figure it out. Fortunately with the power of Google and watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I managed to successfully make my first rack of BBQ ribs in the oven. 🙂 I see them being a Sunday staple in our household and can’t wait to share this recipe with you guys!


Now I’m not saying these are going to replicate the same ribs I spoke of on those BBQ competitions but what I will say is that they’re a sure winner in my book.. if that matters. ♡ All you need is a nice rack of ribs (baby-back ribs would work here, too!),  a well-balanced rub of spicy and sweet, your favorite BBQ sauce, and about two to three hours of your time.


I placed the ribs on parchment paper first to season thoroughly. Be generous with the rub and get into every nook and cranny!


I transferred the ribs bone side up to aluminum paper and sealed them to keep in the moisture then placed them in a preheated 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours. Low and slow is the way to go! 🙂


Then I drained the liquid and flipped them over to coat with sauce. This is probably my favorite part cause I feel like Picasso when I’m slathering on the sauce with my paint brush (hehe). My Dad actually handed me this paint brush from his garage – clean, of course!! Pretty sure he bought this particular brush at Home Depot (shout out to the Twinkies ♡)!


Cranked up the oven to 350 degrees and placed the ribs back in for 10 minutes. What we’re trying to achieve here is that beautiful BBQ sauce glaze *heart eyes*


Took them out and painted on some more BBQ sawwwce then back in for another 10 minutes.


Rinse and repeat! Another 10 minutes.


I’ll be frank like the ocean, my stomach started to growl and I really could’ve put them in for another 10 minutes for what could’ve been the perfect glaze but I didn’t have the patience 😦


Looking through these pictures again is literally making my mouth water. 😦 I’m already looking forward to the next time I make these!


  • 2 racks of St. Louis-style ribs
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce

Dry Rub Recipe

  • 1/4 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ancho/chipotle powder (Purchased at Sprouts’, could also substitute with chili powder but I would suggest cutting back to about 1/4)
  • 1 tbsp of black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of cayenne


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Make the dry rub and mix well!
  3. Place ribs bone side-up on parchment paper and apply the rub generously. Don’t be shy!
  4. Transfer ribs to aluminum foil and seal shut. Place onto an oven safe baking sheet then into the oven for 2-3 hours.
  5. Take the ribs out and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. While waiting for the oven to preheat, flip over the ribs so that the bone side is down then paint on your BBQ sauce generously, too!
  7. Place the ribs into the oven for 10 minute increments and re-apply a layer of BBQ sauce each time in order to create the BBQ glaze. I would do this about 4-5 times but it’s really whatever floats your yacht 🙂
  8. Once they’re done, go ahead and cut between the bones. You can brush on some more BBQ if you’d like!
  9. Enjoy!!


Homemade Acai Bowls


I absolutely love acai bowls! My homies and I would drive up to Pacific Beach to buy a bowl then eat them at the beach during the summer. ♡

Now that I’m trying to save a pretty penny, I try to make my favorite things to eat at home rather than going out to buy them. I stumbled upon these acai puree smoothie packs at my local Sprouts and immediately fell in love because I was able to make my very own acai bowls in the comfort of my own home.

Simply add the acai puree in a blender with either a splash of apple juice, soymilk, or water – whichever you have on hand – and blend away. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite fruit and granola then enjoy!