Author Archives: Meredith

Honeymoon Highlights

I returned home from my honeymoon in late June and I’m still daydreaming about it. After a quick stopover in London, my husband and I travelled to Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. We also visited Lourmarin, a charming town in the Luberon Valley in French the countryside. While the entire trip provided memories for a lifetime, there were a few special highlights that I’d love to share with you!

Mediterranean Sea Views:
There are some views that one cannot get enough of—the Mediterranean Sea is it for me! Our hotel, Cap Rocat, in Mallorca overlooked the water from almost every point and we made sure to soak it in. During our lazy beach days we watched as the sea glistened with deep shades of blue and green and listened as the waves crashed against the rocky coastline. There is something special about the sights and sounds of these crystal clear waters that creates a sense of complete calm and peace.

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Lourmarin Market:
Nestled in between Aix-en-Provence and Avignon sits Lourmarin, a picturesque town straight from a French fairytale. The cobblestone streets are lined with patisseries, cafes and boutiques. Every Friday morning, Lourmarin hosts a market filling the village center with local vendors offering produce, linens, spices, cookware, soaps, cheese, homemade jam, honey and more! It was such a treat to wander and explore. We came home with a few special mementos—linen serviettes (or napkins) for our table and Lagiole cheese knives for cocktail parties and picnics!

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Lavender Fields:
I’ve had the silly dream of running through lavender fields since I was a little girl. As an adult, the added component of bees has shaken this dream a bit, but nonetheless, the dream is still there. And this trip made my dream come true. During the summer months, the French countryside is filled with fields of bright purple, aromatic lavender. We made sure to check out the “it spot” for lavender, Sénanque Abbey near the village of Gordes, and oohed and aahed over the blooming fields.

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As the warm summer months come to an end, the memories and photos from my Honeymoon stay etched in my mind. In the few weeks that we’ve been back home, my husband and I have often recalled our favorite moments from our trip. I have a feeling we’ll be doing so for many weeks, months and years ahead. I am so grateful for the opportunity for such amazing travels!
Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Book Review: Flash Crash

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start creating your summer reading list! And I have just the book for you… Flash Crash, a heist thriller by author Denison Hatch.

Now, typically I’m not one for thrillers (I’m more of a romantic comedy reader) but Flash Crash is worth stepping out of my go-to genre for. This book has an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story that has characters you will love to love and love to hate. The storyline is smart and savvy and packed with twists and turns.

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The book is about a lowly programmer at a bank who gets wrapped up in a huge conspiracy much larger than himself. He is blamed for a robbery of four tons of gold bars, worth over one hundred million dollars, that he knows nothing about. The police are chasing him, but he knows that the only way to clear his name and save his family is to stay one step ahead of everyone.

It’s definitely an action-packed book, but it is also surprisingly soulful and philosophical about the worlds that it depicts as well. One of my favorite chapters has one of the big bosses (we are not sure if he is good or bad at this point) reminiscing on the meaning of family while his empire is crumbling underneath him. He’s a man who has avoided his own children, or paid them off, throughout the years. But at the end of the scene, all he wants to do is shoot old archery equipment with his son—who, of course, is now too busy for Dad.

As a therapist, I am a also complete novice to the Wall Street world, but Denison’s writing introduced me to a few of the overall concepts and I really felt like I had learned a bit by the time the book was over.

There’s one more thing I should mention. I am not entirely objective in this review. I am extremely excited for the author, Denison, because he’s my husband! Although this may seem like shameless promotion, let the record show that I’m not just raving about this book because my husband wrote it (although I am completely and totally proud of him), I’m raving about it because it’s an awesome book and I’m hoping that everyone will add it to their summer reading lists!

It has gotten great reviews from some of the best book review sites including Kirkus, BestThrillers, and IndieReader. It’s a very quick read, never boring, and you can pass it on to your other family members after you check it out! And, I also must mention that while the Kindle version is available, the paperback book is gorgeous!

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Ready to buy your first book of the summer?

You can buy the paperback or Kindle version at Amazon.com right here:
https://www.amazon.com/Flash-Crash-Rivett-Heist-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01CYVI68A

For more information on Denison check out his website: http://www.denisonhatch.com.

Enjoy!
Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

My First Braise: Traditional Short Rib Braise

My fiancé and I were recently gifted a long time wish list item, a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (in the original Flame color I might add) for our wedding. I was instantly overjoyed by the endless possibilities of braises, stews and soups to come. Not to mention, I was feeling proud to display this new kitchen accessory on my countertop!

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Los Angeles is a mecca for foodies and every few months a few new restaurants appear on the scene. Although we love trying the new “it” places, we also love our local favorites. One of our dining staples is Lemonade, a gourmet cafeteria-style marketplace featuring seasonal salads, sandwiches, mouthwatering braises and of course, fresh lemonade!

We’re big fans of all things Lemonade, but particularly their braises! Instantly, I knew that my first Le Creuset Dutch Oven use would have to be a Lemonade braise. As a leafed through the Lemonade Cookbook, I decided I would attempt the traditional Short Rib Braise.

Having never braised before, I first started out with some research. In a nutshell… the braining process is a cooking method that first involves searing a high temperate and then finishing at a low temperate, all while sitting in liquid to create moisture and flavor. For additional braising basics, I recommend checking out “Four Simple Rules for Braising Anything” by Bon Appetite.

Below you will find my journey on my first braise!

I first prepared all my fresh ingredients—chopped onions, carrots and celery—and made sure all pantry items were accessible on my counter. I find that prepping makes such a difference in the cooking process, particularly when tackling a new recipe!
March24_image2I loved the fresh parsley in this recipe. I’m a sucker for herbs as they add such a fresh, flavor boost!

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Although not the most delectable looking photo, I promise the smells made up for it. Waiting for the 3½ hours to pass was the most difficult part on of this process, particularly as my house began to fill with the aromas of dinner! It was hard not to remove the lid from pot to check on the meat (I think I honestly did it 2-3 times…), but I tried to refrain myself as I didn’t want to release any heat.

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I served the short rib over brown rice because I wanted a starch to soak up the yummy sauce. And because I believe that greens should be on every plate, I served a side of sautéed baby zucchini.

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My fiancé and I both agreed that our home-cooked version wasn’t identical to Lemonade, but definitely worth trying again. The meat was tender and juicy and required no cutting at all. We loved the flavor of the broth and ended up using the braising liquid for a meal later in the week!

Do you have any experience with braises? I am would love to learn tips and tricks and try new recipes!

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)