Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category



chicken curry | designlovefest

i was so happy to read all of the feedback you left on the last post. it really is so helpful and i love hearing how the recipes are being perceived by you as it can be hard to tell from our one sided perspective. it’s also really nice to hear that you’ve made something and loved it. that’s the ultimate compliment. so keep the feedback/questions/concerns coming, we’re listening! i love curry, i generally make it using the bottled sauce from Trader Joe’s but Ivan promised that this version was almost as easy and he was right.  it’s also nice to be able to adjust the seasonings to your desired spicy level and ultimately you end up saving money buying the spices and using canned coconut milk. he made the sauce in a blender and then let it gently simmer over the veggies and chicken. it was delicious and not too mango-y for those who don’t like it sweet. the steps are simple – cook the rice, boil the potatoes, brown the chicken + veggies, blend the sauce + combined everything together! – joanie 

chicken curry | designlovefest
chicken curry | designlovefest

chicken curry
recipe adapted from carlsbad cravings
what you’ll need:
• 1 cup frozen mango cubed
• 1 cup salsa verde (from the jar)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
• 1 teaspoon curry powder (Trader Joe’s)
• 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
• 1 can full fat coconut milk

everything else: 
• 2-3 chicken breasts thinly sliced
• 3 red skinned potatoes cubed
•  1 cup basmati rice
• olive oil
• 3 bell peppers thinly sliced (red and yellow)
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 limes (garnish)
• cilantro (garnish)

chicken curry | designlovefest

how to make: 
• in a small sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. lightly toast basmati rice about 1-2 minutes. cover with 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. cook for 15 minutes or until water has dissolved and rice is cooked and fluffy. set aside

• in another sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the red skinned potatoes. cook for 10-15 until potatoes are tender. drain and set aside.

• in a large pan heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. cook the chicken and the bell peppers for about 4 minutes on each side. turn heat on low.

chicken curry | designlovefest
chicken curry | designlovefest

• to make the curry, combine the mango, salsa verde, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, curry powder, coconut sugar and coconut milk and salt in a blender. blend until smooth. pour the curry over the chicken and peppers. mix in the potatoes and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.

serve with basmati rice, limes and garnish with cilantro. we also served ours with naan (trader joe’s has a great one!).

chicken curry | designlovefest
chicken curry | designlovefest

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis
see more recipes here




bri here! i’ve been cooking a lot more recently and i keep finding myself driving to work or laying in my bed thinking up new ideas for recipes. i can tell i’ve officially becoming interested in it! i really enjoy the time i have with my boyfriend in the morning before he goes to work and i always like to make breakfast for us to have together, even if it’s quick. i’ve been perfecting my 10 minute breakfast tacos and they’re finally ready to share with you guys. easy and delicious! for this recipe we added ivan’s salsa verde to them and it was a great flavor addition! let’s make em… xx -bri


makes 5-6 tacos 

breakfast tacos:
• 6 eggs
• quarter red onion diced
• 1 large handful of cilantro chopped
• 3 green onions chopped
• 1 to 2 medium avocados
• cotija cheese
• 2-3 limes
• 6 corn tortillas


to make the tacos, first scramble 6 eggs and cook to your liking. assemble by adding a few spoonfuls of scrambled eggs onto each heated tortillas. garnish with red onion, green onion, avocado, cotija cheese, lime juice, cilantro and the creamy salsa verde.


creamy salsa verde:
• 1 jalapeno
• 1/2 avocado
• 2 dollops of sour cream
• 1/2 yellow onion
• 5-6 tomatillos
• 3-4 teaspoons salt
• 1 small lime juiced


to make the creamy salsa verde, remove husk from tomatillos and wash thoroughly. cut into halves and place on a heated cast iron skillet on medium heat. peel and halve a yellow onion and also place on the cast iron. roast for about 5-10 minutes, turning over the ingredients occasionally. place the tomatillos and onion in a blender and add half an avocado, sour cream, 1 jalapeño (remove seeds according to how spicy you like it to be) salt and 1 small lime juiced. blend until smooth. Keep the creamy salsa verde in the fridge to cool until ready to serve. the salsa keeps well in the fridge for a week and can be used to top meats and veggies for other meals throughout the week!


aaaand if you are free on time and want the extra luxury of having freshly made tortillas (which taste amazing!), here is the recipe that we used from our steak taco post.

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis
see more recipes here



weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

happy monday! do you meal prep? i’ve always thought it would be a nice habit to get into but for some reason it just doesn’t click with me. the last thing i want to do on sunday evening is chop vegetables for two hours. so, that usually means monday is meal prep day. my husband does the grocery shopping but i’m generally responsible for the list which requires me to have at least a vague idea of what i’d like to make. i thought i’d round up some of the recipes we’ve made on here that are great weeknight dinners, simple and safe well for leftovers. – joanie

above: pizza with pre-made dough – pizza is very forgiving, top with whatever you have on hand, 15 minutes in the oven and dinner is served!

weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

veggie fried rice – everything but the kitchen sink with this rice, it can hold all of the vegetables that are about to go bad.

weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

hot and sour soup – love this one with lots of fresh lime juice added at the end!

weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

when it doubt, make mexican! a big batch of refried beans, simple quesadillas or these steak tacos.

weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

honey lime salmon bowls – so easy, healthy and delicious. mix it up by swap the brown rice out for quinoa or a green salad!

weeknight dinner ideas | designlovefest

and one of my personal favorites, enchiladas!



trader joe's favorites | desisgnlovefest

a couple of years ago we created this post of all of our favorite items to pick up at Trader Joe’s. we had a great time putting it together but one of the best outcomes of that post were the amazing comments left by people sharing what they buy and the recipes they make with their favorite tj’s items. the comments are gold, seriously, check them out. since trade joe’s adds new items to their store monthly we thought it was time for an update to that post. below are more of our favorites plus two easy side dishes that we love to make. please comment with anything we missed or ideas/recipes you’ve been loving to make. we’re always looking for new items to try and your comments are the best way to find those items!

the items above are our favorite baking and condiment items: organic tahini for homemade hummus, the most addicting garlic spread that i put on everything, nutritional yeast for making cashew cheese and sprinkling on popcorn, their cake mix is great and my friend makes it with adding orange zest to punch up the flavor, you’d never know it was store bought when you taste it, blanched almond flour for almond cookies and gluten free baking, the grass fed buffalo milk butter is a stand out to me. i’m a big believer in butter and this one is made with wholesome ingredients. their garlic salt grinder with a mixture of four seasonings for adding flavor to any dish. the mixed nut butter is something i had been wanting to find for a long time after having it in an acai bowl, individual coconut oil packets are great if you’re into oil pulling like i am. ghee for its many benefits  and also the avocado oil for it’s lower price tag and high smoke point.

trader joe's favorites | desisgnlovefest

sweet potato fries with garlic deep
serves 4
• 2 organic sweet potatoes
• 3 tablespoons avocado oil
• garlic salt grinder
• garlic spread

trader joe's favorites | desisgnlovefest

– preheat your oven to 400 degrees. thinly slice the sweet potatoes, soak them in water for a few minutes, rinse until the water runs clear. dry them completely. put them in a bowl with the avocado oil. i like to use the tj’s garlic salt grinder because it has sea salt, roasted garlic, onion and parsley all in one. grind generously over fries, toss to coat and then lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. bake for about 7-10 minutes on each side. serve with garlic spread!

trader joe's favorites | desisgnlovefest

simple bruschetta crostini
• 1 organic baguette
• 1 jar tomato bruschetta (in the canned aisle)
• whole milk mozzarella cheese

• pre-heat broiler. thinly slice desired amount of baguette. lay in a single layer on baking sheet. spoon bruschetta spread onto each. cover with a thin piece of mozzarella cheese. broil until golden and bubbly 2-4 minutes.

trader joe's favorites | desisgnlovefest

and you cannot forget the snacks! their red pepper dip is a great additional to any cheese, meat and bread appetizer set up, whole milk plain yogurt with cream top – i think i jumped up and down when i first found this, inner peas – if you don’t know about this addicting snack, now you know, bruschetta spread as mentioned above, sliced brioche for french toast or just a decadent peanut butter and jelly. this bread is normally hard to track down and it comes pre-sliced, win win! ancient grain granola to pair with that yogurt – it’s packed with goodness like buckwheat groats, chia seeds and red quinoa, pb&j chocolate bar – the perfect little indulgence, their hawaiian style chips are the best, bbq is my favorite, super seed mix if you’re like me and don’t want to keep all sorts of random packs of seeds and grains in your pantry for your smoothies, tabbouli – love this with everything, especially brown rice and a runny egg, shishito peppers – pan fry with a little oil until they are blistered, yum!




as you know, joanie and ivan are the good chefs around these parts, but watching them cook all the time and now having a boyfriend who’s a great cook…i’ve been inspired! slowly but surely i’ve been practicing more lately and finding a lot of joy in it. i think i always felt intimidated in the kitchen. my parents rarely cooked and so i didn’t really grow up learning recipes or hanging out in the kitchen too often. lately i’ve been making a recipe and then cooking it a few more times until i think it’s perfect. this has helped my confidence in the kitchen!

over the past year i’ve been acquiring more kitchen tools to make my kitchen feel complete. some are splurges but i use them quite often. i used to have a bunch of cheap tools from ikea or from college and never wanted to cook because i hated the way those looked or functioned (i know, i’m a bit crazy like that) once i upgraded some of my items i found myself inspired and excited to be in the kitchen. what can i say, i’m a visual person.

here’s my current kitchen list!


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