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My Friend's New Cookbook

A Portable Feast

Emily Henderson Portable Lunch1

My friend Jeanne Kelley, author, chef and food stylist, has a new cook book that you guys should snag called “The Portable Feast“. I love this lady, and not just because she treated my whole staff to a GOURMET lunch. When I first moved to LA and I was still styling we did a lot of shoots together for Bon Appetit (I styled props, she styled food) and more recently she has worked on all the Target jobs. More importantly she is a total LA role model for me. I could talk about this for days but trust me that raising kids here can be tricky, and there are many times when we consider leaving because we don’t know if we want to fight the battle of keeping them normal (and potentially lose it). But then you meet Jeanne and her family who are so grounded, down to earth, normal, and unaffected that you think we can do it. All public school and all with no link to Hollywood (which is a good thing). That’s a much larger conversation, but the point is – she is one of the good ones and a total life inspiration to me.

So when she told me that she had a new book I insisted on promoting it. She said “bring your staff over for a lunch – my treat” so we did last Friday (after our group workout – I clearly like to distract them from real work).

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It was absolutely delicious, not to mention beautiful.

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It was a smorgasbord of:

Tuna with Dill and Harissa on Olive Bread p-67,  Sandwiches and Wraps

Chickpea, Cauliflower and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Yogurt and Sumac p-89,  Salads, Bowls and Soups

Layered Chopped Greek Salad with Herbed Bulgar p- 98,  Salads, Bowls and Soups

Carrot Cupcakes (made with whole wheat flour!) p-126,  Snacks and Treats

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I’d like to thank Trader Joe’s for their $6 peony bunches last week. My god, those things were perfection and made me look like a million dollar florist.

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She developed each of these recipes and some of them (if not all) are in her new book, “The Portable Feast“. The book is filled with all the types of food that you would want to eat (trust me). The recipes strike just the right balance between work and play and healthy and indulgent, all with do-ahead strategies to help busy moms and families (like us) create inventive meals that can travel to work or just to the dining table deliciously. It’s healthy without being diet-y and delicious without being overly gourmet. Ultimately it’s delicious food with unique twists and flavors. They are the kind of recipes that make you look good, while not being too difficult to make.

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Those carrot cupcakes were insane. Everything was just so good. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to satisfy people so (seemingly) easily as she did us that day. What an amazing talent – and we were so lucky to be on the receiving end.

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Thanks, Jeanne. Knowing how insane the book process is, kudos for having finished (and these being her second!). I hope its a smash hit. xx

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  1. Looks yummy! Would love to see a post about navigating the down/dark side of child raising because of where you live. We spent 5 years in Las Vegas when are girls were little. I knew that’s the would be so hard to raise teenagers there. The biggest issue is that nothing every closes there, so the kids don’t know when to come home. Movies, Arcades, etc… Are open all the time. Plus the sex images on billboards, taxis, etc..I wondered how much it would slip into their subconscious. It can be overwhelming. Sorry if I derailed the intent of this post. To make up for it, I’m going to order the cook book. 🙂

    1. Apologize for all the stupid typos. I hate small phone keyboards!

    2. I agree, the part about LA & kids was really interesting and I’d love to hear more.

  2. Nice! Food looks delish. I second Kaiulani – I wanna know more about the battle of raising kids in LA. You could talk for days, you say? I’m listening!

  3. Beautiful food, and I love Trader Joe’s for their $6 flowers as well. I totally agree with you that it’s a struggle to raise “normal” kids in LA. Entitled, high maintenance kids are plentiful. It seems to me like the antidote for this phenomena is to raise kids that know how to work and how to tolerate discomfort and delayed gratification. It also helps when parents relax and stop hovering over their children so much. I’m a marriage and family therapist, born and raised in Orange County, and I see this problem all the time. I love how you and your husband are aware of the “LA tendency” and try to fight against it. Way to go Emily! 🙂

  4. MMmmm. And I too am interested in the raising LA kids stuff.

    I got some really sad news this weekend and coped by styling a bookshelf. (I know this is the crowd that would understand.) I used your book tips and it turned out really cute. It brought me a distraction and a smidgen of happiness that was badly needed.

    Making the world a better place, EHD 😉

  5. Those cupcakes are so pretty – the flower garnishes <3

    I'm also interested in the "raising kids in LA without ruining their souls" post. And, what do you guys do for group workouts?! Fun!

  6. What a great spread.
    And I agree with the others: More on lifestyle details re teens and workouts.

  7. Thank you for the lovely post, Emily. It was really great to see you–working with you on those Bon Appetit jobs was always such a pleasure. Regarding comments about raising kids in Los Angeles; I can’t stress enough the importance of the family meal. Gathering each evening for a home cooked dinner, even something as simple as pasta with canned marinara sauce, was a priority for my husband and me. As our daughters got older, they would pitch in with dinner prep and K.P. It’s a wonderful way to communicate–undistracted, the girls would open up and share so much about school, friends and feelings, and they soaked up our stories and advice. We all looked forward to dinner-time, and our daughters became adventurous eaters and good cooks too!

  8. Those carrot cupcakes look so good! Drooling over this post!

  9. Those peonies though, wow… such a beautiful spread! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Everything looks beautiful and sounds delicious. Think I need to add another cookbook to my collection.
    All the best to Jeanne Kelley on The Portable Feast.

  11. Everything looks beautiful and delicious. I think I need to add The Portable Feast to my cookbook collection. Wishing Jeanne Kelley much success with this book.

  12. Wow, this looks so incredible, its hard to believe that this is so easy too! Have to check this book out!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  13. I was raised in LA and consider myself a normal person. I am also raising my kids in LA and consider them normal. To some of us, it’s not a weird crazy place – it’s just home. I will never understand why people move (and stay) if they don’t like it here.

    1. I totally agree! I was raised in LA and until recently (work-related move) was raising my kids in LA. I went to public school. My kids went to public school. I have a few acquaintances who work in the industry, but for the most part, Hollywood seemed just as removed from my reality as it does now when I’m living halfway across the country. I think perhaps a distinction needs to be made between those immersed in “the industry” and all that comes with vs. the vast majority of Angelenos live and work pretty much just like people who live and work in other cities.

      But beautiful, gorgeous, delicious-looking food! 🙂

  14. create inventive meals that can travel to work or just to the dining table deliciously. It’s healthy without being diet-y and delicious without being overly gourmet. Ultimately it’s delicious food with unique twists and flavors. They are the kind of recipes that make you look good, while not being too difficult to make.