Monday, April 30, 2012

Ojai Spa Salad. And some big news.



Last weekend I went on a solo mommy trip to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. It's under an hour from Santa Barbara and LA, but feels worlds away - in a good way. I only stayed one night, but it was just what I needed to finish a project I've been working on. I have just been dying to tell you about this project and can't wait any longer!
  But first let me show you this gorgeous resort and this fresh salad Ojai inspired.
Spring in Ojai is all about cucumber spa water and Ojai Pixie Tangerines.   I came back inspired to put the two flavors together in a cooling fresh salad. This salad is the equivalent of lying in the sun with cucumber slices on your eyes. Does anyone actually do that outside of movies?

The spa pool where I enjoyed working in silence. I am with a 2 and 4 year old all day every day, so silence is foreign to me. Though I wouldn't trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything, a few hours alone once in awhile is nice. And getting any work done while little ones are asking for snacks and to be held is nearly impossible.

 I love spa cuisine. It's always so fresh, light and veggiefull. Yeah, that's a word :)

It's a shame I don't golf. Wait, nope, there's the spa. Not a shame at all.

Around every corner  there is something serene and beautiful.
 
A funny thing happened. After one night all I wanted was to get back home to my family. 

Back home I was still thinking about that spa water and all the Pixie tangerines I enjoyed in Ojai.  I threw together this refreshing salad so you could enjoy a little Ojai Spa too.

Ojai Spa Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish 

1 large cucumber 
1/2 cup snap peas 
4 small tangerines, peeled and sliced or segmented 
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh mint
juice of 1 Meyer lemon 
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked quinoa (optional)

Peel the cucumber. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. If the cucumber is bitter or has tough seeds, scrape them out with a spoon. Cut cucumber into 1/8 inch slices. Transfer to medium bowl. Add peas, tangerines, basil, and mint to the bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and vinegar over salad and toss gently to coat. Serve over quinoa if desired.

Are you ready for the big news?

I wrote a cookbook! 

At first I thought it would be great to wait until I had the finished product to show you and say a big "Ta Daaaaa!" But I have felt like I was keeping a big fat secret, and I'm not good at secrets. I hate them in fact. You are the reason for this blog, and the reason for the book, so I wanted to share this exciting journey with you. I've been so busy the last few months. I have been testing recipes over and over. Photographing one to two recipes per day during naptime, writing and photo editing at night after the girls have gone to bed. That has left little time for posting here as much as I would like and commenting on my favorite blogs. I wanted to give that explanation to my blogger friends. 

I am beyond thrilled at this opportunity. It has been a lot of work and I haven't had enough time for my real life. You do not want to see my laundry room. But... I feel so lucky. When I was in high school I said, "I want to write a cookbook." I actually started writing one with one of my girlfriends, just for fun. I forgot about that dream for 10 years. And then last year I was approached by an amazing literary agent who thought I should make a cookbook. Isn't it amazing how those things happen?! I wrote a proposal for a cookbook similar to this blog, but with new recipes. Healthy recipes that are favorites in our house. Many inspired by dishes I grew up eating, but made a bit lighter and mostly meatless, and some even are recipes my great grandmother made over 100 years ago. Can you imagine my utter shock and excitement when my agent called and said I had an offer with a top publishing house? Yes, there was screaming. I have been SO lucky. I have a supportive editor and agent who believe in this project and it's coming along even more beautifully than I could have dreamed. The book will be the kind of cookbook that I love to read - hardcover with 100 recipes and more than that number of photographs. There will be stories, tips, and beautiful ingredient and detail photos throughout.

Now starts the editorial process to make sure everything is perfect. The book is set to come out about a year from now. It's been fun to get to a behind-the-scenes look at how books come to be. I'm looking forward to sharing this adventure with you. Thank you for your support of my little blog  ♥



Linking to TidyMom Salad Party

77 comments:

  1. So, so, so beyond proud of you and happy for you! Cannot wait to buy one of the first copies and send them to all my family for gifts -- with a note that says, "This is my A-mazing friend!"

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  2. So exciting, congrats Marina! Can't wait to read it :)

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  3. Congratulations Marina!!!!!!!!!!!! What exciting news, I am so happy for you! You are doing great things :)

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  4. Congrats!! I think it's every foodies dream to produce their own cook book someday. Your spa adventure sounds awesome, I can totally relate as I am with my 2 yr old and 6 yr old (after school) all day. Fantastic for me but even as I try to write this comment I'm being beaten with a bag of Pirates Booty because the little guy can't get it open :)
    Take care...

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  5. Congrats!! I can't wait to read it- I know it will be beautiful and yummy!

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  6. What a wonderful surprise you have shared! That is terrific news that you heading down the path of writing a cookbook. The spa looks so beautiful. I spent 2 summers in Santa Barbara and I just loved the city, the beaches, the climate! Good luck to you!

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  7. Marina,
    Firstly I love, love all the beautiful photos you took in Ojai. You really captured the essence of that special place. Secondly, I'm so glad that day away was what you needed to push over the finish line. Thirdly, congratulations on this wonderful news. Not that it's really all that surprising given your immense talent and drive. I'm so happy for you.
    xo, Holley

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  8. Marina this is SOOOOOO exciting!!! I am so happy for you and I will definitely be purchasing a copy once it is published!

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  9. WOW, that's fabulous, Marina!!!!! Huge congrats to you ... can't wait to read your cook book! I'll definitely be in line for one.
    :-)
    Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground

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  10. Anonymous4:00 PM

    cant wait to buy one of your cook books, yeah!

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  11. Congratulations and how exciting! I can't wait to buy a copy since I love your recipes and how you introduce all of the foods to your two beautiful girls!

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  12. I'm so so so so soooooooo HAPPY for you. I feel all giddy inside. I love this news. You are amazing and I know the book is going to be wonderful! Hugs, to you my friend.

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  13. Congrats on your new cookbook. This salad looks amazing. Aren't spa's wonderful. Always a pleasure to visit and a must o be back home again. A mini vacation.

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  14. I am so excited for you! I'll be the first to buy, will you sign it for me ? :) This is so well deserved my friend!!!
    This recipe looks amazing!!!
    XOXO
    Kristin

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  15. OMG! A huge congratulations to you Marina! You accomplished your dream. You put it out there and even though you thought it was forgotten about, it wasn't. You were working on it everyday with your blog, your cooking and your photography. This book is not only going to have great and healthy recipes, but it will be a beautiful book to have on coffee table as I know the photos are going to be AMAZING!

    It's funny because I was totally thinking of you when I posted my pizza recipe today and then you stopped by. It's amazing how the universe works. I am letting you know that I will buy an advance copy of the book, so put me down! I can't wait to make and post recipes from your "official" cookbook! How exciting and fun and congratulations again!

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  16. Marina, that is fantastic, fabulous, amazing, splendid news! I am so happy and thrilled for you! I think I can recall saying or leaving a comment to you that someday I will be able to say, "I knew you when..." And now that day is here! Cheers my friend! Lots of Conundrum in order : ) xo

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  17. I'm so happy for you!!! I will be one of the first people to buy the book! That spa looks amazing...

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  18. Marina, As soon as you said you had "some big news", I thought it was either a baby or a cookbook! In a way, I guess right now this cookbook is your new "baby":)
    I am SO happy for you, Marina!!! Congrats! I can't wait to add your cookbook to a special spot on my kitchen bookcase, and dig into your recipes! :) Woo hoo!
    I have always thought that Ojai was such a pretty place, though it does get really hot! I've never been to the spa, so maybe there I wouldn't mind the heat!

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  19. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Ahhh!!! So excited for you Marina. You deserve it. I am also quite excited that there are more photos than there are recipes. I find that to be so important. I always want to know what the end product should look like. Can't wait to buy it when it's for sale. Congrats! xoxo - Julie Link

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  20. I'm so thrilled for you! You deserve this opportunity, and this is one of the best health and cooking blogs around! I CAN'T WAIT to buy your book! Congrats and hugs!

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  21. Congrats Maria! I am beyond excited for you and I will be first in line to buy your cookbook! The spa looks amazing as does the salad! You rock!!

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  22. Marina, how wonderful! I am so excited to get one. I love collecting cookbooks and I definitely love those with lots of photos. I am sure that it will be beautiful. I love everything you do!

    How fun to enjoy the spa too. Looks wonderful.

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  23. Congrats and good job! Love Ojai - been going for 20 years and I still enjoy it today!

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  24. What a fabulous night away. That spa sounds lovely, and this salad does too! Also, BIG congrats on the cookbook!!

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  25. That is wonderful! I enjoy your recipes, so I know i will love your cookbook. I can't wait to see it.
    Amy
    www.11magnolialane.com

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  26. Congratulations! So well deserved! You make regular food look like a piece of art!

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  27. This is such great news, Marina! As a mother of two, I am inspired by your local, healthy, gorgeous recipes. You have such a beautiful eye for photgraphy and incredible taste. I've enjoyed your blog immensely and can't wait to see your cookbook! I'm so happy for you (and all of us in your blog family!) :)
    xo
    Erin

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  28. Ohhh Marina I'm SOOOOOO excited and happy for you!!!! I just know your cookbook will be absolutely amazing, as is everything you do, and I plan on being one of the first people to buy it!! This salad looks absolutely stunning TOO by the way! I'm smiling so wide for you right now!! xoxo

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  29. Congrats to you. I know it is just a wonderful cookbook. Loved this post!

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  30. i am so thrilled for you! i just know it is going to be as beautiful as your blog and you! congratulations!!!

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  31. Marina! I am so, so happy for you and thank you for sharing your news with us. I am such a fan of your blog and will be first in line to get the cookbook too. I can only imagine how busy you've been trying to get this done while holding down the house too.

    Cheers to you my friend and may all go well with the finishing touches.

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  32. Oh Marina that's amazing news! I'm making room on my cookbook shelf, I can't wait!

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  33. Congrats on your cookbook! I love your blog and can't wait to own the cookbook!

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  34. Wow congratulations on your dream coming true! I'm sure your cookbook will be lovely as your blog is.

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  35. How wonderful Marina and so very well deserved. Oh and Ojai is heaven on earth, I love it there.

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  36. That's wonderful news, Marina. Congratulations and best wishes with your new book!

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  37. Oh Marina!! How exciting and thrilling - I can't wait to see your cookbook!! What a dream come true!!! The salad is also lovely - I've bookmarked it:)
    Mary x

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  38. Congratulations! Oh, I'm SO excited for you! And that spa? Take me next time, 'mkay?

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  39. Very exciting! Can't wait to see the finished product!

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  40. How exciting! I am a new follower of your blog and love your recipes and encouraging words. I cannot wait to purchase your cookbook now too!!

    xox - denise
    www.gratefullyinspired.com

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  41. Whoever reco'd you write a cookbook is very smart indeed! I am beyond excited for you and can't wait to have a copy.
    The spa looks incredible. What I wouldn't do for just one night there.
    Congrats Marina! Such great news.

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  42. What a dreamy place! And a BIG congrats on your cookbook! So exciting!

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  43. Yay Marina!! I am beyond excited for you! Thanks for sharing your "secret" as it gives all your readers something to look forward to :)
    And your photos look amazing...wish I could be there be now!
    XO - Marion

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  44. Congratulations! That is so wonderful for you. I can't wait for your cookbook to come out!!

    The Spa looks gorgeous and so does the salad.

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  45. Congratulations!! It's easy to see why they would love to have you write a cookbook. This salad looks utterly amazing, as I'm sure your whole cook book will be!!!

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  46. Congratulations Marina. Can't wait to get my hands on your cookbook. your salad photographs are amazing as always.

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  47. Congrats on the cookbook, Marina! I too love Ojai--and getaways. It's nice to leave, and nice to get home. The salad looks divine. Another great way to use quinoa.

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  48. Congratulations on your book deal! That is so exciting and I dream that I share with you!

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  49. Marina,
    As a newer blog friend, congratulations! How wonderful for you and for your readers, including me! I love the recipes you share and the images make them easier to reproduce. Such great news and I look forward to ordering my advance copy as soon as you say they are ready for that step in the publishing process. Such exciting news!
    Karen

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  50. Congrats! That's huge news. I can't wait for the book to be done. I am sure it will be gorgeous. And can I say how impressed I am that you did this with two little ones at home? Wow!

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  51. Marina, this is such a great achievement, scream it to the wolrd, you deserve it and I'm sure I'm not only speaking for myself, we're alll proud of you and we support you all the way to the last page! I'm looking forward to it, well done!

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  52. Wow, that's fantastic!! Congratulations!

    Delicious looking salad! Oranges, peas and cucumbers sound amazing together. And they look so pretty :)

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  53. So excited for your cookbook! I wish you could've held off a bit longer in telling us - I don't want to wait a year! :) Congrats!

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  54. How wonderful! Good for you! I want a copy that is for sure! :)

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  55. Marina, this is all so exciting!!! I can't wait to hear more about your book.
    I think we should meet some day at Ojai ~ I LOVE it there. Beautiful salad!
    xo

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  56. Congrats Marina!! That is such wonderful news - I can't wait to order my copy!!

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  57. Talk about rejuvenation...Both the cookbook and the trip to the spa can qualify. Congratulations! All the best! =)

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  58. Anonymous5:36 AM

    Congrats on the book.

    Alina mageborn1975@yahoo.com

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  59. Congratulations, Marina! Your blog is so beautiful so I can't wait to see your book!!

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  60. Congrats Marina! I can't wai to see your book!

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  61. congrats girl! i am so proud and happy for you! I can't wait cook from it!

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  62. Congratulation on the cookbook! That's so exciting!

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  63. I am beyond excited for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  64. That is so exciting pretty girl! I can't wait to purchase one of your fabulous cookbooks...XoXo Ps. The spa looks delightful!

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  65. Congratulations! I am so happy for you! What a delightful news!!!

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  66. Holy cow. Congratulations marina. This is such a huge big deal. Icant believe it!!! Wow!!! You ao deserve this. I'm so happy for you and that spa looks divine. I think I need about a week there:)

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  67. congratulations on your dreams coming true!! I cannot wait to buy, read and prepare meals from your book. I already know going to have a lot of bookmarks! xx

    www.onepartgypsyblog.com

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  68. Congratulations!!! I am going to buy it, I love your blog. Your food always looks so yummy. And you take such beautiful pictures of it. You should do a "how to photograph food" post lol...thanks for sharing your exciting news!

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  69. Oh Marina, I'm so happy and excited for you! Your photos and recipes always look so delicious so I know it's going to be an amazing cookbook. Congratulations :)

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  70. I am so happy for you Marina. This is wonderful news. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more than you. Your blog is so beautiful and I just know the cookbook will be gorgeous. So proud of you. *big virtual hug*

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  71. So exciting!!! Oh and I am very jealous of that trip you took to Ojai. I love that place!

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  72. Congratulations! This really is great news. I love your recipes, and I know it will be a fantastic book.

    *Erin

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  73. Congratulations Marina!!

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  74. I can't believe I missed this post! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! I cannot WAIT to see the finished product - I know it is going to be gorgeous and full of the most delicious and healthy meals and stories. So so happy for you and your family!

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  75. Hello wonderful beautiful friend! Congratulations!!!!!! I'm a little late but I just had to comment. Your excitement is contagious. I can't wait to see what you come up with and keep your book by my side in NY! So cool to see dreams coming true. Love you and miss you!

    xoxo,

    Liz

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  76. Hello wonderful beautiful friend! Congratulations!!!!!! I'm a little late but I just had to comment. Your excitement is contagious. I can't wait to see what you come up with and keep your book by my side in NY! So cool to see dreams coming true. Love you and miss you!

    xoxo,

    Liz

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