This is the time of year us in the Palm Beaches live for. Well at least the ones of us to like to dine (that’s everyone, right?). It’s the time of the year when all the snowbirds and seasonal residents (i.e. those with a summer home) flock north so us fools in 100+ degree weather can fend for ourselves. The endless stream of who’s-who parties cease, society publications die down… and fabulous restaurants and hotels offer bountiful discounts to woo us locals. It’s the time of the year for stay-cations and to eat out with somewhat reckless abandon at the fancier digs because prices come down and prix fixe meals are all over town. Proof: it’s currently Palm Beach Restaurant Week, which is in its first year with more than 35 restaurants, features lunches for $20.12 and dinner $30.12. At most of the places on the list, that’s a steal…. especially for dinner or a weekend lunch (or weekday lunches if you have nowhere to be with your happily full belly).

Want to get a sense of the dishes you’d test out if you dined? Check out this lump crab and avocado salad from West Palm Beach’s Pistache, awesomely prepared by Executive Chef Julien Gremaud. This dude is genius. This dish is one of my favorite around town — the husband and I always get it — as the flavors balance each other so well. Try it out, and if you stop in, thank this very sweet chef for sharing it with this grateful chick!


{Ingredients // serves approx. 4}
10 oz of jumbo lump crab
1 and half hass avocado, cubed
4 sticks of hearts of palm (fresh if possible) cut length wise
1 bunch of scallions chopped fine
segment of 2 florida oranges cut in half
sel de guerande and pepper to taste
4 oz of lemon dressing (see recipe below )
micro greens for garnish



In a large bowl mix all ingredients together, with a large spoon being careful to not break the crab lumps or the avocado lumps. Lay the bottom of the plate with the heart of palm then in a 3-inch diameter and 2-inch high ring, pour the salad mix. With the back of a spoon push down on the salad so it will hold its shape, then add the micro greens on top and cherry tomatoes.
lemon dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

In a glass jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar, and lemon rind; shake well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

{photo credit: libby volgyes / palm beach restaurant week}

PS: Find me today at Julie Leah, a life + style blog, where I’m sharing more about me, my blogging advice, closets I want to raid and more. If not for me, check it out for Julie… this girl has an impressive blog!


Weeknights sometimes make it absolutely impossible for me to prepare and cook a proper meal for my family. And, in the summer who wants to a heavy meal or something steaming hot? Just made this salad last night and it served as the perfect,  hearty-enough dish that kept me full yet didn’t make me feel stuffed. Pair with a fresh-baked baguette from the store (spread with roasted garlic for an insanely delish/low cal option) and then use all these saved calories for this banana bread; I just made this recipe on Tuesday and it’s been dessert every night since!

{feel free to sub out if you don’t like something; for ‘pretty factor’ just be sure to mix it up with color!}
Romaine lettuce
Sundried tomatoes
Yellow onions
Grilled chicken (Dice, cook in five minutes on the stove top and let cool while prepping the rest; or use leftovers from yesterday’s meal)
Avocado, diced (approx. half of an avocado per person)
Feta cheese

PS: I recognize there are some fats here with cheese and avocado. As long as you keep your portions in check these are good for you and importantly, will help keep you full longer.


Prepare all ingredients, diced to a similar size, and arrange on a platter.
Use spinach or romaine as the base (the greener and leafier the better for you!).
Use dressing of your choice.


Ladies: you know I’m a fan of the trilogy that begins with 50 Shades of Grey (are you saying  what’s this? read this. sadly, you have been living under a rock!) so when my friend suggested we have a book club/girls night to discuss the book I was all for it! About 15 of us gathered last house last Thursday for a little talk about the book and then a ‘presentation’ by a gal who — mature eyes only ahead! — sells all sorts of sex toys, lotions and fun items to spice up your life. Have you been to one of those? A must. We drank wine, giggled like little school girls and then walked away with a few items we couldn’t resist (truth). I love even when it comes to such intimate things, we all gossiped so we all wound up buying the same items!

The hostess provided lots of wine and munchies and then everyone added to the mix. If you’ve read 50 Shades (or just have seen the cover!) — you know a silver tie is a major theme throughout the book. I’m no baker — and my day was jam packed — however I got a wee bit creative and made this healthy-ish chocolate cake that’s topped with a silver tie. Easy, super tasty dessert to make!

1 can of pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s)
One box of chocolate cake mix
1 container of white frosting
1 small container of silver sprinkles
Toothpick (it’s your best kitchen utensil here!)

Mix cake mix with pumpkin in a large mixing bowl (I use my Cuisinart hand mixer for this). Do not use any other ingredients. Bake according to the directions on the box. This is my FAVORITE way to make a moist, low-fat chocolate cake.

Let cool and then apply frosting. Put in refrigerator for about one hour.

Using a toothpick very lightly create an outline of a tie and then slowly fill with sprinkles. The outline is a huge help to guide you. I placed small amounts of sprinkles into the container cap and then poured on the cake. I also used a toothpick to help me pick up any ‘rogue’ sprinkles. The whole process takes just five minutes, promise!



Recipe: Chicken Paillard

April 10, 2012

For all you busy ladies out there (hell, who does this not apply to?!), here’s a delicious, healthy dinner recipe that can go from your fridge to your table in less than 20 minutes. For those keeping Passover this week, consider this a perfect dish to get you out of your matzoh pizza rut. This Chicken Paillard (don’t get scared: the French word simply means a thin piece of meat) is a take on a dish I often get a French bistro. While I’m sure they marinated their chicken first, this gal did not even have time… and I’m telling you, our palettes couldn’t even tell the difference!

TAGG tip: Pair it with a crusty baguette — extra points if you make roasted garlic — and consider serving this as an easy go-to dinner party dish (salad and main course in one!).


4 think boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (tip: buy thicker breasts and cut in half lengthwise; typically less expensive)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound arugula
Parmesan, shaved (I always keep a wedge of parm handy)
Lemon halves, for garnish
Salt + pepper, to taste

Optional: onion and tomato for arugula salad

Dressing (purchase a vinaigrette or wisk up the following):
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt + pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon



Preheat grill to high and put at least 1 tbsp of olive oil in pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and grill for about three minutes on each side until cooked through. Important to have high heat in order to get the sear.

Wisk together dressing and then combine arugula.

Place chicken on platter and drizzle with olive oil. Top with arugula and then shaved parmesan. Garnish with lemon.

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