Four Daughters Kitchen



Four Daughters Kitchen

3505 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


Work trips don’t have to include a hotel breakfast especially if it’s the $12 buffet option.

On my last trip to Los Angeles, I decided to venture out to Manhattan Beach for some beach side breakfast.  I was deciding between 3 spots and this one got the highest ratings on yelp at 4.8 so I decided to check it out.  On the way I passed by another spot that looked scrumptious, The North End Café but I decided to keep to the original plan.


Walking to breakfast, I passed by numerous fit women toting their yoga mats.  Several yoga, Pilates and 3 personal training spots were in full swing at 9:30 am, insuring that I was motivated for a nice walk along the beach after breakfast.

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was the quests “vibe”.  Felt like a vacation spot although I gather most of the people here are locals.   Most were dressed casually like they might have spent the morning surfing.  Looking around the walls were adorned with your typical beach décor including a surfboard and a lovely photo picture of 4 precious girls, presumably the 4 daughters.  And… No respectable Manhattan beach restaurant would be complete without a bowl of dog treats.



The coffee comes in oversized mugs, hot and strong and on the bitter side.  I find that these coffees are best enjoyed hot just under the temperature that might burn you.  Once the coffee cooled it was far too bitter to drink.


After careful examination of the menu, I ordered the El Porto breakfast scramble.  I chose this as it had artichoke hearts ,which I adore!  Also three of the other dishes were vegetarian and didn’t include the pancetta in the potatoes which are made with caramelized onions alright here goes…


Yummy, my dish came in a large bowl much like the design of the coffee mug.  I was surprised that the potatoes were mixed in!  I was expecting a scramble with the eggs on one side and the potatoes on the other.  The first taste I noticed was the chipotle flavor slight but smoky and the gruyere cheese melty and delicious.  Gruyere is a creamy cheese that blends all the spices together, with generous amounts of artichokes and flavorful sundries tomatoes complimented the dish marvelously.  After examination, I discovered that the potatoes were the base of the scramble, salty and crispy with sweet caramelized onions.   The pancetta was served in small bits with a highly salty flavor, just enough not too overpower the dish.

My Review

Unique breakfast place, ambiance good local flair,  no view of the ocean although I’m heading out that way next.  I would say that the best way to optimize nutrition would be to share one of these scrambles and add a fruit bowl or the Greek yogurt and granola and share. Thanks 4 daughters!!







On the way to the beach I noticed this very friendly cat or is it a small lion??




Spiced Pumpkin Muffins


banana muffins

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  The weather is crisp and cool, the leaves start to fall, and best of all it’s pumpkin season!

Pumpkin is a hearty squash that boasts many vital nutrients to keep your eyes, heart and immune system healthy, loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium to name just a few.  Get your pumpkin on early with this seasonal favorite of mine, and kids tested and approved!

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe type: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

These tasty and kid approved recipe is great for that holiday brunch party
  • 1½ cup whole wheat or white flour
  • ¾ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 /2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (Optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two- 12 mini muffin pans or one 12 muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir pumpkin puree, milk, oil, eggs, into the dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cook for 5-10 minutes and serve



The Breakfast Habit


The Breakfast Habit 8219546_s

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  How many times have you heard that before?  But how many of us actually take time to eat breakfast? Research shows that over 60% of people skip breakfast at least 3 times a week or more.

Study after study shows that breakfast is helpful in so many ways.

Here are 2 compelling reasons:

  1. Improves cognitive function and academic performance
    1. You’ll be more productive in your morning meetings or classes
    2. You’ll have better glucose control all day long
  1. Better weight management.  You’ll be…
    1. Less likely to crave unhealthy snacks later in the day
    2. More likely to have a better quality diet

According to the national weight loss registry 78% eat breakfast every day.

What should you eat for breakfast?  Lets talk specifically protein.

Protein at breakfast can help to suppress hunger hormones later in the day, those Ghrelin (I like to call them the gremlin hormones which that trigger you to eat)

Just 15-20 grams at breakfast should do the trick

Here are my top breakfast ideas that have at least 15 grams of protein and between 300-500 calories for either morning style sit down or running around.

Sit down ideas

  1. 2 egg omelet loaded with ¾ cup of chopped onions and red peppers sprinkled with a handful of cheese
  2. Greek yogurt with mixed berries



Walking out the door

  1. Whole wheat tortilla with a chicken sausage
  2. Kind bar, small piece of fruit and a hard boiled egg
  3. When traveling Starbucks is a great answer order up an oatmeal and latte or one of their new breakfast sandwiches.



Now like a said you’ve probably heard it all before.  What’s harder is the action!!!

Even here at Google with free onsite cafes’ serving up made to order omelets, freshly baked scones, and steel cut oatmeal many of my clients still can’t find the time.  Here’s how to make this change in your diet:

  1. Plan ahead, have your signature breakfast items on hand
  2. You may need to reset your alarm for 5-10 minutes earlier
  3. Make a commitment, write it down or tell somebody your new goal

Tell me what your favorite breakfast foods are?




Signature Meals Part II



Signature Meals Part II-Take out

After work as you’re driving home, you realize you’re  starving…  What should you eat for dinner, pizza, a burrito, Chinese food?   I’m guessing a freshly prepared salad with homemade dressing and crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes and thinly sliced carrots is not at the top of that list.  That is why it is so important to create your own signature meals that are easy to make and delicious for you and your family.

You don’t have to be a professional chef to have great signature meals in fact signature meals don’t even have to be prepared by you!  The idea is to have some ideas for healthy meals that you know you love and make you feel good because they are packed with nutrient rich ingredients.

Signature take out meals are tasty, nutritious, and satisfying.  These meals should be on your drive home so you can make a quick pick up on the way home if you just don’t want to cook or didn’t prep food earlier in the week.

I’ll share with you my top 5 signature take out meals:

  1. Grocery store
    1. rotisserie chicken, corn tortillas, salsa, shredded cheese and lettuce
    2. sushi rolls from the deli and edamame
  2. Favorite Pizza Restaurant
    1. Thin crust pizza topped with veggies, lean meats like chicken or shrimp.   Make sure you pick up a large salad.
  3. Chinese Food
    1. Steamed brown rice (if available)
    2. Water chestnuts and snow peas
    3. Kung pao chicken
  4. Mexican
    1. Grilled fish, shrimp or chicken tacos (hold the sour cream) add guac, lettuce and lots of salsa
  5. Cheesecake Factory (or any of your favorite restaurants that has nutrition information online!)
    1. Weight management pear and endive salad, simply delicious
    2. side of steamed broccoli and green beans
    3. Grilled fish of the day

What are your top signature meals from take out?  I’d love to hear from you.


Create Signature Meals



Part 1- recipes you make at home

Signature meals are:

  1. Nutritious and delicious
  2. Family favorites
  3. Meals that can be made or prepped ahead of time
  4. Made without the use of a recipe because you’ve made them so many times you don’t need one anymore
  5. Made with ingredients that you have on hand often

Now here are some of my favorite signature meals at home


  1. Veggie omelet with herbs and whole grain toast
  2. Warm oatmeal with dried blueberries and walnuts
  3. Once freshly baked banana muffins secretly frozen for use on busy mornings. Banana oat muffins with toasted pecans (recipe coming soon)


  1. Quinoa with zesty lemon and arugula
  2. Asian slaw with sesame soy dressing
  3. Simple whole wheat sandwich with sliced turkey, thick sliced beefsteak tomatoes, and lettuce


  1. Sweet Corn Taco Bake
  2. Grilled Salmon, whole grain cous cous and steamed broccoli
  3. Rosemary, herb, dijon chicken with green beans and steamed brown rice

Check back again for more of my signature meals as I continue to add my favorite recipes…

Congratulate yourself EVERY day!



I like to think in health in terms of the positive.  Feeling good about the things you are doing right can have a positive impact on your mood and health immediately.

Each morning pick something you would like to accomplish to boost your wellbeing.  It can be something you already have scheduled like a yoga or zumba class or it can be something new.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Today I’m going to…

  1. take a hike in the hills around my neighborhood
  2. make my lunch for work and include fresh fruits and lots of veggies to snack on
  3. pick a muscle I want to increase tone to and do 2 strength training exercises
  4. enjoy a cup of tea and fresh berries in the evening as my dessert
  5. take a walk with my family after dinner and watch the sunset
  6. drink water until my pee turns light yellow :)
  7. cut up fresh veggies onions, peppers and make a 2 egg omelet for breakfast to start my day off well
  8. spend 10 minutes listening to relaxing music and stretching
  9. cook grilled fish, whole grains, and vegetables for dinner
  10. go to that spin class I’ve been wanting to go to

At the end of the day with your head snuggled up in your pillow think and congratulate yourself for doing something to help your well being and possibly think about what you will do the next day.  Stop beating yourself up for all the things you didn’t do right in the day and focus on what you are doing well.  You’ll feel better about those habits and make them a more routine part of your life.

Creating a Food Journal



This weeks habit is one that I’ve done on and off.  I have two good reasons for journaling and both are totally different.

First, I’ll start with journaling your food intake so you can keep better track of what and WHY you are eating.  This is a good exercise for a few weeks to find out patterns in your food habits:

  • Am I eating enough fruits and veggies?
  • How many times a day am I actually eating?
  • Do I eat out of boredom?  loneliness? happiness?
  • Exactly haw many times this past week did I decide to “treat”myself to a yummy dessert or piece of dark chocolate.

People who write down what they eat tend to have an easier time losing weight.  However, I know that it can get tedious after a few weeks.  So I like to journal occasionally to get me back on track.  A few good websites for this include: MyFitnessPal, Weight Watchers or Lose it!  If  you aren’t concerned with tracking calories and just want to check for eating patterns start a simple spreadsheet.  For the spreadsheet, I add a few columns to track time, hunger level, and any thoughts, feelings or emotions that I’m having.

The second reason I like to track what I’m eating came after taking a food writing course at Stanford.  This class was awesome and taught me to use colorful descriptions when talking about food.  What I noticed most in the class is that most people weren’t health professionals or writing about the nutrition in food, they were writing about the pure joy, love, excitement, and care that goes into thinking, preparing and enjoying food.  I have a journal to write down new variations to recipes I’ve tried, new restaurants I go to and great food ideas from parties.  This allows me to create new exciting recipes on my own.


The Hunger Scale



The Hunger Scale

The next lifestyle change I plan to make is to look at my hunger each time I eat.  Often times we start to eat on auto pilot and forget to actually check in with if we are hungry and how hungry we actually are!

With my clients I often use the hunger scale and ask them how hungry they are at meal times and how full or satisfied do they feel when finished.  What I’ve learned is that those who get very hungry on the scale a level of 1-2 seem to overeat at that meal.  Now if your stomach is growling and you describe yourself at a level 3-4 you are more likely to control food choices and stop eating when you are comfortably satisfied.

Many people have created their own hunger scales, they are all basically the same with slightly different wording this one is from Bob Green’s “The Best Life Diet”


10 – STUFFED: so full that you feel nauseous
you need to loosen your clothes
8 – UNCOMFORTABLY FULL: you feel bloated
7 – FULL: you feel a little bit uncomfortable
6 – PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE: you feel satisfied
5 – COMFORTABLE: you’re more/less satisfied,
but could eat a little more
beginning to feel signs of hunger
3 – UNCOMFORTABLE: stomach is rumbling
2 – VERY UNCOMFORTABLE: you feel irritable
& unable to concentrate
1 – WEAK & LIGHT-HEADED: your stomach acid is churning

** Begin eating when you’re at a 3 or 4
** Stop at 5, if you’re trying to lose weight
** Stop at 6, if you’re wanting to maintain your weight

Now I’d like to do this for at least one month and really make note of how I’m eating.  When I do try this I realize that sometimes I’m eating out of habit or even fear that I’ll get busy and won’t be able to eat for several more hours.  I’ve learned that by following this scale and tuning into my bodies clues for hunger and fullness I feel a lot better over the course of the day and end up eating less more nutritious food.

I’d love to hear your journey in trying out the hunger scale

Drink Just a Little More Water



Hydration is so important to good health.  Did you know that over 70% of your body is made up of water?  Being properly hydrated can  not only aid in weight loss but also boost physical and mental performance.  So why do so many of us seem to be falling short of our water needs and just what are they?  A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and multiply by ½ to 1 oz., this is the amount of water you need in a day.

My habit is to increase the amount of water I get on a daily basis.  I plan to do 2 things; First is to have 1 glass of water after I brush my teeth.  This will lead to 2 glasses a day.  The second is to have a glass of water with each meal, 3 more glasses a day.  I hope this will help me to live with less days of chapped lips and dry skin.


Walk 10,000 Steps a Day



The second habit I am starting is about movement.  I will walk 10,000 steps on average per day,  I actually have to admit this habit I did start the week after Christmas.  I dusted off my Fitbit and started wearing it again.  The Fitbit is similar to a pedometer in that it tracks how many steps you take, but it tracks everything wirelessly and even tracks elevation and sleep patterns.

The goal of 10,000 steps means that you will walk at least 5 miles that day.

I’ve discovered by making 10,000 steps most days that it takes about one 20-30 minute walk and being relatively active during the day.  On my work days at Google when I am sitting and meeting with clients most the day, I sometimes will only clock 3,000 steps by the end of the workday.  In this case, I’d need to head to the hills for a nice 45 minute hike to make up for the extra sitting.

Here are some strategies to make sure you don’t end up at 3,000 steps at 5pm or can make up for them by the end of the day.

  • Park a little further away at work
  • Take the stairs whenever you can
  • Walk to lunch if you have options close by, if your at Google take a walk over to a neighboring buildings café (at last count Google has over 27 cafes in the Mountain view campus)
  • Take a walk at work (I like to take a walk after lunch to help keep blood sugars in check)
  • Take an afternoon walk for 10 minutes especially when you get the urge for something sweet, see how you feel after your walk if you are still craving that treat.
  • Be active around the house clean up a little, wash some laundry, organize something (you’ll get 2 benefits out of this movement and a cleaner house)
  • Take your dog for a walk or take a simple walk around the block and wave to your neighbors
  • Turn on some music and dance a little (honestly I’ve done this many times in the evening for 15 minutes or so when I ‘m pretty close to my goal but not quite there yet)

Get out there and move more!

Fitbit One


Stephanie Lasher is a registered dietitian. Information contained on this site should not be used to diagnose medical conditions. Persons with serious health issues should consult a physician before undertaking any new diet or exercise plan.