San Marzano, the Best Tomato

These babies are SOLID GOLD!

Hello and happy belated Galentine’s Day and National Random Act of Kindness Day! My friends and I celebrated by going to a Korean spa (we got naked and sweaty) and eating a hefty Korean soft tofu soup. Our wallets are screaming, “help” but our bellies are happy as can be. I’m not even joking, I walked out of that restaurant looking like a pregnant woman who was about 5 months along.

My weeks are getting busier and busier but break is only two weeks away! I can’t wait to get back to West LA/Santa Monica for all the good eats and the WEDNESDAY SANTA MONICA FARMER’S MARKET. Ugh, I’ve missed that market. 

This week, I’ll be sharing a tomato-based pasta sauce with you! It’s buttery, glossy and so darn good! If you don’t already know this by now, I really love pasta. My favorite pasta sauces require white wine, but I’m not quite 21 yet (7 months away!!!!). I can’t make any of my good pasta dishes when I’m at school, but you bet when I go home, I get my parents in on it. They’re 21+ (yes, hard to believe I know) and have become my official dealers. Ah don’t you worry, they know I only use white wine to cook!

My sauce, as mentioned above, is tomato-based. My favorite tomatoes in the entire world are the mini San Marzano plum tomatoes in the red bag with the handle at (you guessed it!) Trader Joe’s. They are beautifully sweet and make for a great tasting sauce with a lot of depth. Sweet, salty, a little acidic. Trader Joe’s, I know you don’t sponsor, but send us some goods because we love you and we are poor college students.

Anyways, here is my recipe for San Marzano Tomato Sauce:

The sauce is coming together, and yes I did take the pot off the stove to take this photo.
  • 1 bag of San Marzano Plum tomatoes from TJ’s
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine *optional
  • 1 medium shallots or 1/2 a medium onion
  • 5+ cloves of garlic (I say ‘+’ because let’s be real. Garlic is delicious and there’s no such thing as too much garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*SALT DISCLAIMER: if you’re using this sauce for pasta, your heavily salted pasta water will do the trick. Save about 1/2 a cup of that starchy, salty goodness (because your pasta liquid should be saltier than you might think) and add that to the sauce at the end to help it cling to the noodles!

Prep: Roughly chop aromatics (garlic, shallots, onion) and halve tomatoes (this will prevent the tomatoes from actually exploding because the heat makes the tomatoes want to expand and eventually the little tomato skins can’t take it anymore).

Sweat the garlic and shallots or onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft but not browned! Add wine and tomatoes until softened. Once tomatoes are a bit softer, add butter, salt and pepper. Let the sauce come together. The tomatoes will break apart and the butter, wine and tomatoes will come together like one big happy family. Towards the end of cooking, add the starchy pasta water and mix with noodles!

Putting the sauce to good use! Also PARM! Ugh, yum.

Now, I didn’t include this in the actual recipe because I just wanted to give you a base, but I love to add things into the sauce. Spinach and mushrooms are good additions and you can always include some sort of protein. I have not tried this yet, but use it as a pizza sauce! I hope you use my recipe and my instagram direct messages are always open for questions, comments and whatever the heck else you need! If you make this, please let me know!

A Sun Butter Cup and Hot Cocoa Party

Welcome back my foodie friends!! Today is ANOTHER rainy day in LA which is strange because, well, it’s LA. As I was born and raised here, the dreariness is getting to me (go easy on me all you Washington rain masters). The best coping mechanism for the weather blues is a hot cup of frothy chocolatey something, right? Now I know this is the second frothy drink recipe I will be sharing with you in under a month, but bear with me because it is WORTH it. It incorporates my most recent obsession—sun butter. Yeah das right baby. Smooth, creamy, nutty sun butter that combines with chocolate in the most heavenly manner. And a bonus, its cheaper than most nut butters because—seedssss. So, join me with a cup of this frothy goodness next to a window freckled with water droplets. And because I love you, I’ve provided a bonus recipe for a chocolate sun butter cup to go with your cocoa (or not because its pretty rich and chocolate on chocolate is a lot but also I had both in one sitting so I support it).

Here we go!! 

look at that foammmmm

Sun butter Cup Cocoa


  • 1 Tbsp sun butter
  • 1 Cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp cacao 
  • 1 heaping Tbsp coconut sugar (or any sweetener of your choice)

…plop it all in a blender and blend until frothy!! 

Optional add-ins: cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla extract, coconut butter, whatevaaa you want 

Yep, thats it…SUPER simple! 

Now for the sun butter cups!


  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut butter
  • 1 Tbsp cacao
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar 
  • 1 Tbsp sun butter 

Mix up the coconut butter, cacao, and coconut sugar. Pour half the mixture into a cupcake mold, add the sun butter in the middle, and finish it off with the rest of the cacao mixture. Sprinkle some sea salt on top if you fancy that kinda thing! Oh, and toss that baby in the freezer! She’ll be good to go in a minute or less!

Rain or Shine Farmer’s Market Salad

Hello! Another week has gone by, so here we are with another blog post! This weekend we knocked out two posts, the first one being the one you are currently reading and the second one is a surprise collaboration with one of our pals here at APU. We won’t reveal his name quite yet, because it will be a dead giveaway to all you APU friends. It might be my favorite post we’ve ever done and will ever do… you’ll just have to wait to find out because we won’t spill the beans… haha get it?

Anyways, on Saturday mornings, East Pasadena hosts a farmer’s market that Corynn and I have been to a couple times now. If you can’t tell by now, we are quite possibly too obsessed with farmer’s markets. But, this particular Saturday morning was definitely off to a rough start. I woke up to a call from Corynn asking if I was ready to leave. We had planned to leave at 9 am to give us enough time to get the two posts done because the second one was going to take a bit of time (okay, seriously no more hints). I had planned on getting up early to shower and get some work done before we left but at that point, I just threw clothes on, brushed my teeth and ran out the door.

It was only sprinkling when we left APU, but as soon as we arrived at the market, it was pouring. We walked around, hopping from tent to tent to stay dry and came across a wonderful stand where we purchased the majority of our produce. SO MANY ROOT VEGGIES. After the market, Corynn and I both went to our own homes and made our farmer’s market salads!

Jennifer’s Salad:

Radishes with a Lemon-Dill Greek yogi dressing (hmm is yogi the right word choice? I didn’t mean to add the yoga reference. I definitely don’t do yoga)

(Serves one but there’s more than enough dressing, so I guess you could always chop up some more radishes…)

Chop 1 bunch of radishes

* sliced with a mandolin or chopped in chunks


  • 1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt
  • About a tablespoon of dill (is this an accurate form measurement for dill? Who even knows)
  • Juice from ½ a medium size lemon
  • A pinch of salt
  • Sweetener of choice to taste

Mix dressing together. Plate radishes and dressing in whatever way you please. I did a swoosh of dressing on the plate and strategically placed the radishes on top. Add salt (I used flaky sea salt) and pepper to the radishes and a nice drizzle of finishing oil.  

Corynn’s Salad:

Tangy Citrus Market Salad

  1. Massage a couple leaves of purple cabbage in a quickie dressing made up of…
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Juice of a tangy mandarin orange

2. Add 1 sliced tangy mandarin orange, ⅓ of a crisp tart apple thinly sliced, ¼ c thinly sliced red onion, 4 thinly sliced colorful radishes (gotta get your aesthetic game on), ½ of one (you guessed it) thinly sliced avocado.

3. And for an extra crunch and nutritional boost, load that baby with some seeds! I added chia, sunflower, and sesame seeds.

Unintentional Vegan Sweet Potato Tacos

the goods!

Hiya, it’s Jennifer! This semester has been a particularly busy one! I didn’t quite understand how much time and effort went into running a blog but boy, is it a lot… especially on top of school and this new internship I just started a few weeks ago! I’m not complaining though, I am having the time of my life. I’m taking really interesting classes, my job is a dream, and this blog is a blast!

My roommate left for Chicago on Friday and I never really realized how comforting it is to just be in the presence of another human body. So naturally, little ol’ lonely me decided to host a little dinner for a few pals and knock out my blog post at the same time! I had been thinking and planning out what to post ever since we started this blog and currently have a running list of ideas in the notes app of my phone. Of course, everything you plan out doesn’t always go as follows!

A week ago, I went on a hike with some buddies from my High Sierra study away cohort and spent a large portion of the grueling hike chatting about food. One of the guys asked about the blog and asked if there was anything on it that he’d actually want to eat… as a joke. I said, “heck yeah I’m posting something this week that you would totally eat.” But if I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t have a single idea in mind, I just wanted more people to read the blog. 

Anyways, this week I decided to make some sweet potato tacos that are unintentionally vegan. I guess these are actually yams, but doesn’t sweet potato taco sound better than yam taco? It does. 100%. Also, as I was creating the recipe and cooking up a storm while my friends were over, one of them pointed out that the meal was vegan… well except for the tortilla, which you can sub out for a vegan option (I apologize. this post is so deceptive and full of lies. First the yams and now the tortillas?!). Now I know this is Corynn’s realm of expertise, but I want to remind you that it was an accident! Either way, I got really excited and texted Corynn immediately. 

I also want to point out that taco toppings are so important. I set out an array of toppings which included the following: tahini slaw, avocado chunks, salsa, lime wedges, salsa and a special treat of pickled red onions brought by my dear friend, Lauren! The corn tortillas are from Trader Joe’s and have definitely made their way into my list of favorites! The salsa is also from Trader Joe’s!

Here is my recipe for unintentional vegan SPTs:
sweet potato filling:

  • cubed garnet yams (3 med size feeds 4)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (I used olive, but I’m sure other types of oils would work too!)

Peel and chop the yams into cubes about the size of chocolate chunks (sorry, this is the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of what to compare). Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Crowd the baking sheet for soft, steamed pieces, but don’t crowd the pan for crispy pieces. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min or until fully cooked. 

Tahini Slaw:

  • 1 head of shredded cabbage (med size works)
  • Dressing: 3 tablespoons of tahini, salt and pepper to taste, sugar or sweetener of choice to taste, and about 1/3 cup of water. 

In a small bowl, add tahini, salt and pepper, and water. Whisk together until emulsified and add water one teaspoon at a time until the consistency of an average dressing. Add cabbage into a large bowl, followed by the tahini dressing, and toss together. 

Heat the tortillas in a dry pan on med/low heat about 20 seconds each side. 

Get creative with all your toppings, and if I missed anything or you have any ideas, I am always open to more knowledge! Send something in the Contact Us page or my Instagram direct messages (@jenniferifer)! Serve family style because that’s the only way to do sweet potato tacos if we’re all going to be on the same page now.

Thanks for reading! We have some exciting posts planned for you (for realsies. Like ACTUALLY planned posts)… and I’m listing all the Trader Joe’s brand items I used in this recipe!

Trader Joe’s items:

  • Corn & Wheat tortillas
  • Salsa Verde
  • Tahini

Salted Caramel Stovetop Granola

Hey everybody!! Welcome back to zee bloggy blog. (If you should know anything about me you should know that I am constantly falling into strange made up accents that will probably make appearances in my writing here) Anyways, classes are now in full swing over here and I am FEELING it. Back to running around literally all day sometimes forgetting to stop and just eat something (which is VERY hard for me to forget to do). Today I wanted to share a super simple and quick recipe that will satisfy all sweet, nutty, crunchy cravings without too much sweat or time in the kitchen because who has time for that in the middle of January?? And of course, we are definitely not sacrificing health here so we’ll be sticking to all that gluten free, vegan, refined-sugar free jazz. So without further ado…salted caramel stovetop granola babayyy!!

Makes 1 Cup of granola


  • 1/2 c oats
  • 1/4 c nuts 
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes 
  • Tbsp chia seeds 
  • Tbsp flax meal 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut cream (the stuff that sits at the top of the full fat coconut milk after its been refrigerated)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Add oats, nuts, and coconut flakes to a frying pan and toast on medium heat stirring frequently until the mixture is golden and fragrant 
  2. Set aside oat/nut/coconut mixture and bring the coconut sugar and water to a simmer stirring constantly until color has darkened. Remove from heat and add coconut cream.
  3. Bring caramel mixture back to the burner and stir constantly until your spoon can make streaks at the bottom of the pot (due to thickening of mixture).
  4. Add salt and vanilla to caramel and pour over the oat/nut/coconut mixture.
  5. Stir until caramel has been evenly distributed and set aside for your granola to cool and harden.
  6. ENJOYYY!! Put this stuff on smoothie bowls, oatmeal, ice-cream, or just add some plant-based milk and voila you have yourself a lovely treat. (You can also just eat this stuff plain because its that good…my sister and I finished the whole batch in the car today)

The Matcha-Berry Thing…

left: Corynn’s tart, right: Jennifer’s tart

Hey faithful readers of our little blog! It’s Jennifer just barely making it out of these insane past few days. You know it’s going to be a packed semester when your second day consists of you already working on the homework for the class you have in a half hour… This week Corynn and I started our spring semester! It has definitely been a crazy busy week for us, so this post really provided us with some culinary therapy. If we’re going to be completely honest, we struggled a little trying to figure out what exactly to post. We didn’t want to take on too much, but we also didn’t want to give you a dry post…

Last minute, Corynn came up with this genius idea of tarts. The idea of tarts isn’t even the most genius part about it. It was her inspiration and idea for what we were going to fill the tarts with! She was so inspired by our new favorite boba place in Santa Monica/West LA area called Percolate! One of their signature drinks is the Matcha Royale which is a matcha drink made with oat milk and a berry purée. It’s layered so beautifully and tastes like liquid gold. She texted me the idea and I immediately had ideas rushing through my head, as she did too I’m sure.

We both came up with tart recipes inspired by the drink. My tart is made with a honey graham cracker shell, filled with a berry jam/coulis/tart filling type thing, and topped with a lightly sweetened matcha whipped cream. I thought it looked a little bare at the end, so I even sprinkled a little matcha over the top to give it a little color. Corynn’s recipe is below as well.

Here is Jennifer’s recipe:

Honey Graham Cracker shell:

  • 1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (tip: put the sleeve in a big zippy… no sponsors yet… plastic bag and use a rolling pin or empty wine bottle to roll over the bag)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ⅔ cup of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted

Add dry ingredients together and mix until incorporated. Add the egg and mix and then add the butter and mix until everything is well incorporated. Blind bake* the shell at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

*Contrary to popular belief, blind baking does not mean baking with a blindfold on, nor does it mean taking wild guesses… both of which I am guilty of. Just kidding! It’s far too dangerous to take wild guesses 😉

Berry Filling:

  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh berries of choice
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ⅓ cup of juice (I used pomegranate juice)
  • The juice of ½ a medium sized lemon and its zest
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Add all the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil (boil? I mean just watch until it bubbles) while constantly stirring, which will take around 5-7 minutes. Continue to cook the filling until most of the water you added evaporates and the cornstarch does its magic. Strain the berry concoction into a glass measuring cup or something similar to give it a space to cool down and settle a bit.

berry filling going in the shell!

Matcha Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of matcha (about 1 ½ for the cream and the rest for dusting)

Whip the cream until it has soft peaks and then add the matcha and sugar, beating only slowly until everything is incorporated. Rather than stiff peaks, soft peaks are easier to spread on the tart and have a smoother consistency.


Pour the cooled berry mixture into the cooled tart shell and with a spatula of some sorts (I used an offset spatula… aka one of the best tools in the kitchen) and spread the berry layer evenly across the bottom. Next, add a hefty dollop of whipped cream on top of the berry layer and spread with your spatula tool of choice. At this point, the berry layer is still pretty runny, so be careful and gentle when spreading that whip. Use the spatula to create a swirly texture and design on the whip. Dust with matcha and refrigerate overnight… or at least a couple hours if you’re as impatient as I am.  

Corynn here! Yes we are OBSESSED with this new boba drink and it therefore HAD to make itself into another digestible form for the blog. Today, it’s by way of the tart! Mine is gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free too so you can consume without any major gut frustrations. I used almonds and oats for the crust and then made a creamy matcha filling with berry whip on top!!

Here is Corynn’s recipe:

Almond Oat Crust:

  • 1 1/2 C toasted almonds
  • 1 1/2 C oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 C coconut oil
  • 2 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add almonds, oats, and sea salt to a blender and blend until the oats and almonds have been ground to a flour-like texture. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in melted coconut oil and maple syrup and until dough starts to stick in crumbly chunks. Press crust into greased tart pan, evenly dispersing the mixture. Bake for about 12-15 minutes and let it cool. Once cool, cover and place in fridge until ready for tart assembly!

Matcha Filling:

  • 3/4 C raw cashews
  • 1 C coconut cream
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 2 tsp matcha powder (can add more or less according to preference)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Cover cashews with water and let soak overnight or for one hour in boiled water. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared crust and allow to set overnight.

all the berry goodness

Berry Whip:

  • 1 can refrigerated coconut cream
  • 2 Tbsp stewed berries
  • 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients and use to top off your tart!! YUM

2019 is the Year of the Farmer’s Market

Happy New Year! I can’t believe we finally did it! Our very own blog baby! As soon as we published our first post, I got so giddy and Corynn and I both started sharing on social media like crazy to rake in some views. I checked my phone constantly for any sort of interactions and had a whole range of emotions from super excited to nervous and everything in between! It’s a bit scary putting yourself out there. My first post, besides the introduction, is not a recipe, but something we should all start doing more in 2019.

One thing I want to do in 2019 is start shopping at farmer’s markets more often. I’ve learned that I should stop saying I’ll go to the gym more or I’ll eat less refined sugar because your friends remember and hold them against you. I always have to remember to pick something more achievable. I have been visiting the Santa Monica Farmer’s markets long before I can remember. My parents would push me around in the stroller and purchase an array of produce in order to prepare good food to put into my belly. I’m not sure why I enjoyed going as a kid, but I assume it was all the free samples the farmers would hand out (as a child my favorite food was fruit). Ohh there is this cute older woman that stands outside her tent and just drops slices of tomatoes in your hand. Now, I love going to chat with vendors and learn about all the different ways to use new produce/products I have never seen before.

my favorite tote bag filled with a ton of root veggies!

Before I really dive into my persuasive essay––I know I know, school hasn’t started back up again––I want to debunk a common myth about farmer’s markets. Yes, farmer’s markets can get a little pricey, but you have to remember that the produce these farmers are providing is top notch. You can also usually find deals all around the market and kale or avocados (how LA of me… I rolled my eyes at myself so you don’t have to) at one stand could be a better deal than at another stand. I always walk around the entire market once and then once more, only to stop at the stands I would purchase produce from. Another tip for finding all the good deals is go to the market a little before closing time. The farmers don’t want to take a bunch of produce back, so you can find really good deals.

a beautiful arrangement from Schaner Farms at the Santa Monica FM

Shopping at farmer’s markets is also far more sustainable than shopping at supermarkets. The produce at farmer’s markets are local and does not produce nearly as much pollution as produce from the supermarkets do. They have to travel from all across the U.S. to sit in your local supermarket and on top of that, you don’t really know where this produce comes from. With farmer’s markets, you know exactly where your produce is coming from and it’s organic––no gross chemicals!

This year, make more of an effort to shop at farmer’s markets! You’ll be supporting local farmers and businesses, putting high quality food in your belly, and helping put a big old band-aid on planet Earth. The vendors are so nice and want to help you out! Ask them what their favorite stands are or how they like to prepare certain items. Corynn, her sister, and I chatted to a nice man who sold nut and seed milk and later ran into him as the farmers were packing up. He said hello and told us to have a nice day which caught us all off guard. We want to visit him again.

Connect with me on @jenniferifer on instagram if you need suggestions, more tips, or even a buddy to join you! I never say no to farmer’s markets*!

*Disclaimer: I might say no… so I guess I should’ve just written ‘if I’m free, I’ll always say yes’ and left it at that…

my root veggies and a shot of the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market