Coconut Shrimp Gratin

It seems like the benefits of coconut oil are everywhere these days. After using it to care for my dry skin and hair for months, I decided to use it properly for once and cook with it. Go figure. This dish is a play on the ever-popular coconut fried shrimp, but I’ve side-stepped the pesky breading and frying process. And, contrary to its alternative, coconut shrimp gratin is über nutritious thanks to the healthy fats found in the coconut oil. Panko breadcrumbs and toasted coconut make a deliciously crunchy topping that certainly won’t have you missing the fried version. In fact, the only thing that’s missing is the moisture in my skin and hair. Go figure.

Coconut Shrimp Gratin
Serves 2


2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil (found in health stores)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
¼ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Splash lemon juice
Parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, toast the shredded coconut until slightly golden and then set aside. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, lemon juice, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt, egg white, and shredded coconut. Stir until combined. (Note: coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you can soften it first with a spoon or quickly warm it in the microwave.)

Divide the shrimp between two 4 ½ inch ramekin dishes. Add a splash of lemon juice and then top with the breadcrumb topping. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Broil for a few extra minutes to brown the topping, if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

P.S. If you like this recipe, try my Coconut-Ginger Quinoa with Carrots and Shrimp. Click here for the recipe!


Roasted Haricots Verts Salad

Our recent trip to Paris had me thinking about bistro fare. We came across a very simple salade de haricots verts on pretty much every menu. Haricots verts are green beans. If you’re French, you say it that way – or if you’re fancy. This salad is fancy. It not only has haricots verts, but roasted haricots verts, along with goat cheese, walnuts, and shallots. I whipped up a simple salad dressing for it, but I’m going to call it a vinaigrette just to make it sound fancy too. Roasted Haricots Verts Salad makes a great starter or side dish and despite its fancy name, it’s incredibly easy to prepare. Bon appétit!
Roasted Haricots Verts Salad
Serves 2


Olive oil
½ pound French green beans
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Handful toasted walnuts

1 tablespoon champagne, white wine, or sherry vinegar
½ shallot, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the beans. You can trim the ends if you’d like, but I like the rustic look with them whole. Toss beans in a bit of olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Meanwhile, pour vinegar into a mixing cup. Add the shallots and let them sit to pickle a bit. Add mustard after a few minutes and then whisk in the olive oil.

Toss the roasted beans with the vinaigrette and top with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper and enjoy!


I love Paris in the winter...

And, we’re back! Paris was absolutely wonderful. Despite the record low temperatures, Thomas and I managed to stay warm in cozy cafes with plenty of French onion soup, spiced wine, and enough butter to make even Paula Deen gasp. Watching snow fall around the Eiffel Tower from inside an adorable bistro wasn’t too shabby either. It seemed as if we were looking into a Parisian snow globe. One of the benefits of visiting Paris in the winter is the absence of tourists. We were the only Americans for miles, apart from our time at Versailles or Père Lachaise Cemetery. Yes, I celebrated my birthday with a bunch of dead people (Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, etc). This trip had quite a different feel from our last time in Paris, which was during autumn, but like the song says, “I love Paris every moment – every moment of the year.”


Anniversaire Parisien

Dear 29-year-old self,

You’re turning 30 this week. I’m going to need you to be a big girl and not have a nervous breakdown at the thought. That means no crying in corners, smashing birthday cakes, or fleeing the country. Well, actually that last request sounds pretty awesome. How about a trip to your most favorite place in the whole wide world? I think we can both agree that Paris would do the trick. Plus, you’ve been taking all those French lessons, so let’s put them to good use, shall we? Sounds like the most perfect birthday gift to me! Bon voyage, 29. Bonjour, Paris!

French hugs and kisses,
(Well, not French kisses – that’s weird)

Your 30-year-old self

Photo Sources: 1) Deviant Art 2) Eye Poetry 3-8) Little Brown Pen


Cacao Nib Caramel Corn

These are cacao nibs. Get to know them. They’re pretty awesome. These little guys are all-natural bits of ground cocoa beans. Cacao nibs have a nice crunch factor, major amount of antioxidants, and a subtle chocolate flavor, making them perfect for chocoholics who are looking for a healthier or more exotic option. They also happen to be my after-dinner snack that I nibble on with red wine or coffee (and when I say after-dinner, I’m actually referring to all day).

How about we nibble on these little nibs in a batch of homemade caramel corn? Caramel corn can be kind of daunting since candy thermometers, rapid boiling, and extended baking times are typically involved. For this recipe, though, everything is made in the good ole microwave (for the most part). Not only are we popping popcorn that way, but we are also nuking the caramel. It’s so simple! And it’s made even better when our little nib friends jump into the equation. Let the nibbling begin!

Cacao Nib Caramel Corn
Serves 4


5 cups popped lightly salted popcorn
¼ cup salted sweet cream butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup cacao sweet nibs (found at health food stores or online here)
Sea salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Microwave popcorn according to package instructions and pour into a large microwave-safe bowl. In a separate glass bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Microwave for one minute, stir until melted, and then microwave for 45 seconds more until boiling. Quickly add baking soda and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour over the popcorn, add cacao nibs, and toss. Return to microwave for 1 more minute. Spread popcorn onto a prepared baking sheet and place on the oven for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. The caramel corn will harden as it sits and cools. Once cooled, break popcorn clumps apart and enjoy!