Come summer every Thursday night I round up my girlfriends and we head down to the Santa Monica Pier for the Summer Concert Series. The beaches fill up with thousands of people picnicking and enjoying live music alongside the ocean. There is even a “Bike Valet”. We love to relax on the beach and catch up while enjoying a glass of wine (They allow you to drink on the beach as long as you don’t get too rowdy). Let me introduce you to my friends…
This is Rachel, I have known her for nearly six years now. She is a newlywed and works in fashion as a Fit Model (aka human mannequin).
This is Charmaine. We met at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) nearly 6 years ago. She is a recent refugee from the fashion world, currently in a transitional phase of life, shifting her focus from the corporate arena to growing her own organizing business.
And of course, I am Alyssa. I moved out to Los Angeles about seven years ago from Michigan. I tend to bring people together as I’m always inviting old and new friends over for dinner, out to try a new restaurant or to a beach picnic. I’ve been working in marketing and trend forecasting for a handful of years now and most recently landed at Pressed Juicery in Santa Monica.
Whenever I get together with these girls we always have some amazing food. Not only are they all great cooks, but Rachel’s husband and Michelle’s boyfriend make some seriously delicious Italian food. R & M are both from Wisconsin and no meal is ever complete without someone (if not all of us) bringing some sort of dish with cheese. Charmaine (from Arizona) is quickly getting used to hanging out with us Midwesterners. Rachel brought this gorgeous cheese plate with gruyere, crackers and a green chili batard.
Since turning 30, I became very conscious that I am no longer in my twenties, where I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. It seems as though we are making smarter food choices and cutting back on alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of wine and these girls are no stranger to consuming a couple bottles right alongside me. We mixed some of Pressed Juicery’s Pineapple Pear Ginger Mint with champagne for a refreshing afternoon cocktail.
Recently, I’ve been trying to incorporate healthier items into my diet and The Chalkboard Magazine by Pressed Juicery has a lot of healthy recipes. For our picnic I made “Fit-Into-Your-Skinny-Jeans Chips and Dips” and Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa. They were a hit! The chips are so easy to make on your own, I used olive oil instead of safflower oil because I didn’t have any on hand.
Homemade Low Calorie Chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, cut the tortillas into small chip-size triangles.
3. Distribute safflower oil evenly and gently with your fingers or a brush on each side of the triangles. Sprinkle with sea salt, if you wish!
4. Bake for 7 minutes. Broil for additional 20 seconds, and then remove fresh chips from oven.
Michelle is great at transforming a common food into something extraordinary. She whipped up some truffle popcorn that we couldn’t stop eating. It was addicting!
Pop 1 bag of popcorn
Drizzle with truffle oil
Lightly sprinkle sea salt
Lightly sprinkle pepper if you like
Shake bag very well
Garnish with a touch of celery leaves for color or porchini mushrooms
Charmaine has really taken an interest in cooking and is always bringing new dishes to our potlucks. For the picnic she has made stuffed tomatoes with mozzarella and basil drizzled in balsamic vinegar.