Summer = Sun Tea! 

My first attempt. Water, 7 green tea bags, fresh mint leaves, two sliced lemons, large glass jar. All cleaned and jar sterilized because I was reading sun tea can breed lots of bacteria eek! It’s also recommended that you don’t leave it out longer than 4 hours. Gonna be giving this a taste test in about 30 more minutes! Hopefully I didn’t make too many mistakes…:) Happy Sunday. ❤

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Pokemon Salmon

Ok yeah I am totally cashing in on the Pokemon Go craze with that title, whatever, BUT HEAR ME OUT. Pokemon means “pocket monster”. I bake the salmon and veggies in a foil pocket. And a salmon is kind of like a river monster? Whatever, this was awesome, I am trying to get more fish in my diet aaaaaaand, I paired it with an amazing summer salad. Check it out…

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I got me a gorgeous piece of salmon at my sanctuary, Whole Foods Market. Isn’t it pretty? I started by laying it on a big piece of foil on a baking sheet, squeezed the life out of half a lemon onto it’s shiny flesh and then sliced it three times to help it cook through and added bonus, made perfect portions. Then I sprinkled this glorious mixture all over it: Bespoke Provisions lemon rosemary salt! I love this stuff, I even use it to make popcorn (recipe for that coming soon!)…I got this fancy salt on Amazon.com.

I sliced up some zucchini and arranged it around the salmon. The oil from the salmon cooking should be enough to make the zucchini tender and flavorful but I also gave it a very LIGHT spritz of coconut oil spray and some fresh ground pepper.

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Next I topped it with another similar size sheet of foil and folded over the edges, like a POCKET. I took a knife and stabbed three little slits at the top of it.

I then baked at 400 and set my timer for 30 minutes.

While that monster baked I filled a large bowl full of baby greens and things I found in my fridge and cupboards. Tomato, sunflower seeds, a can of garbanzo beans (drained) some leftover cooked golden beets, a ton of pepper and topped with my FAV Lucian Italia fig balsamic from ThriveMarket.com.

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The zucchini was seriously the best I have EVER had. I usually ALWAYS cook zucchini in a skillet but this method was fantastic, will definitely be doing it this way again. Oh the fun lessons to be learned in a kitchen!

xoxoxo

D

The Most Hurried of Curry

I love love love curries and stir-frys because they are such a super easy and fast way to eat healthy and the possibilities are truly endless. I mentioned in a previous post my recent craving for tofu so I decided to make an awesome curry skillet dish with a fresh brick of firm, organic tofu. I didn’t make the sauce from scratch and I feel guilty, my last post wasn’t a scratch sauce either…though I like to add my own extra goodies to pre-made sauces. I do promise that my next recipe will have a totally, completely homemade sauce. I swear!

I started with the base veggies. It’s all about the base. Onions, GARLIC, zucchini, mushrooms and a red bell pepper I found in my fridge, on it’s last legs. I’ve been all about olive oil lately, I think there is something to that magical stuff, I mean look at how beautiful Italians are. But since the curry sauce I was using already had a coconut base, I decided to use coconut oil to stir-fry the veggies until lightly tender. I knew i’d also be simmering them in the sauce so didn’t want over cook…plus I like my cooked veggies crisp, soggy veggies are gross.

 

 

When that was all nice and browned I added my precious super firm organic tofu and gave it all another little toss before sprinkling VERY generously with lots of TURMERIC and pepper.

 

I also tossed in some of my favorite nutrient packed goodies that you barely even notice are in there but your body thanks you like, way later. Right now super into hemp seeds. I use this brand, got it on Amazon.com

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Then I added the curry sauce (I picked a yellow Thai curry, thanks again Whole Foods) and let simmer covered on LOW while I cooked the noodles. I have been super into rice noodles and pastas for the past couple of years and it’s pretty much the only ones I buy now.

 

It’s very important to not overcook the noodles, ESPECIALLY with rice noodles (I always undercook by a minute or two) and then IMMEDIATELY drain and run under cold water so they don’t stick together into one gnarly noodle blob monster. I separate them with my fingers while I run the cold water through them and then set aside for when I was ready to add them to the curry and veggie skillet, just long enough to mix it all together but not cook the noodles too much.

I topped with this funky coconut/peanut stuff my mom turned me on to used on Indonesian dishes (fusion, ok?) but you definitely don’t have to and “as is” this bomb dish is vegan and gluten-free. Woot!

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xoxoxo

D

Easy as Eggplant

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I like to mix up my veggie consumption as much as possible so sometimes i’ll buy something random and just figure out what do with it later. Last week it was an eggplant. I was thinking I might marinate it in some balsamic and throw it on the grill. But the days went by and it just sat there. Other things were grilled. The eggplant stood alone.

Then I remembered a jar of Whole Foods brand pasta sauce I bought and got the idea to make try making eggplant parmesan, which I had never attempted before. But I didn’t want to deal with breading. I had no breadcrumbs and I wanted to make a healthier, lighter for summer version.

I would have preferred to make an easy quick tomato sauce from scratch but I had the jar and went for it. Feel free to use your favorite tomato sauce recipe though. There are a ton online for similar recipes. See Pinterest. I am trying to incorporate more garlic into my diet so I topped mine with BIG chunks.

No cheese other than parmesan. No mozzarella, all parmesan baby.

This is so so so easy I swear. All you need it:

  • One large eggplant
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A jar of sauce or your favorite homemade
  • 2 cups fresh grated parmesan
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

That’s it!

I sliced the eggplant very thin and layered three times so it was almost like a veggie lasagna. I also used a round pie dish though any medium baking dish would work. I put down a layer of the eggplant, dabbed each piece with olive oil, sprinkled with parmesan, then sauce. I repeated that three times. Then I topped with a ton of garlic! It looked like this before I put it in the oven:

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Bake uncovered at 400 for 30 minutes and bam!

Filling and yum. I served it to my friend with a piece of sprouted grain toast. You can use the leftovers to make sandwiches or top rice or pasta or eggs. Seriously great reheated.

xoxoxo

D

Summer Crack Snack: Jicama

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Pronunciation: hee-cama

I remember this funny vegetable around my house a lot as a kid. Mexican dad + constantly dieting household. I don’t know about you but I am ALL about texture in foods and my favorite is crunchy. As much as I would love to chow on chips and crackers all day, I’m pretty committed to this whole health thing. Jicama has an awesome crunch and totally fulfills my desire for loud food. Add some lime juice and chili powder and it’s a refreshing summer snack while waiting for these chicken legs to BBQ (see above pic). I scored this pre-chopped and flavored at Whole Foods Market but it’s beyond easy to chop up a whole Jicama and add your own seasonings. Don’t let the thick skin of this plant scare you. They are great chopped up in salads too in place of croutons.

I will fully admit to never really knowing EXACTLY what a Jicama actually was until I started this post… I was pretty sure it was a veggie, despite being lightly sweet. It looks like a big giant white turnip, and as it turns out, it kinda is. Well it is a starch root vegetable, sometimes called a “Mexican yam” and is found in tropical climates. Which is maybe why I feel like i’m vacationing on some exotic island when I eat it.

Here is what it looks like whole (via Google images):

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Freaky huh? And even though it’s low in calories (35 cal per 100mg), it’s packing some awesome nutrients ; fiber, Vitamins C, several B-complex vitamins, magnesium and iron to name a few.

I have only ever eaten it raw but it can also be cooked and made into chips! I am intrigued…Jicama chips. I think I will have to be trying that soon…stay tuned!

xoxoxo

D

 

Pinterest Score: Paleo Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Let me start off by being clear that this is NOT my recipe. I found it on Pinterest trying to figure out what to do with these two cans of organic pumpkin I got from Thrive Market months ago, and have been sitting in my cupboards taking up space. I have always been more of a cook than a baker, I don’t have the scientific mind (or patience) but I have been trying to improve my baking skills.

The recipe is by Wholesomelicious.com

I am not Paleo but I prefer to bake Paleo because I feel like it’s healthier, in that there is no refined sugar or dairy. And I love baking with almond flour!

Here is the photo of the finished cookies from Wholesomelicious:

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I was pretty sure this wasn’t going to come out well, as my last two baking attempts were meh. There wasn’t any egg in the recipe which made me suspicious and I was sure they probably wouldn’t come out very pretty…but I was down for the challenge. And now I can’t wait to try more recipes on this blog because my cookies came out pretty freakin’ awesome. I enjoyed two and let my bestie gobble down the rest. I love that they are small too. I also loved the texture…nice and chewy but soft on the inside. The recipe suggests forming into ping-pong sized balls, rolling them in the Snickerdoodle coating mixture and flattening with a glass. I’m classy so I used a champagne glass. 🙂 Please ignore the state of this old cookie sheet, my favorite one needed to be washed and I was lazy today…

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But even with an ugly pan…I was very pleased with how they came out. Success!

I bet these would be amazing during the autumn months. I would definitely make these again. They are going in the favorites vault!

Get the full recipe here. I want to try her grain-free dark chocolate raspberry brownies next wowowowow: 

http://www.wholesomelicious.com/grain-free-pumpkin-snickerdoodles/

xoxoxo

D

 

Crack Snack: Nori Popcorn

OMG. Ok I am not a big snacker but once or twice a month I have to pick up this Nori Sesame Popcorn by POP ART from my local Whole Foods. It’s so freakin’ good. And though it is packed with sodium and not exactly a health food it is surprisingly low in calories, air-popped and gluten-free. And the serving size is 3 cups! But most importantly, it’s delicious AFFFFFF. I am looking to try the pickle popcorn from Trader Joes next.

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Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate

 

I was getting my nails done the other day and the manicurist complimented me on my naturally long, strong nails. I can honestly tell you I have never had that happen before. My entire life I have always had weak, brittle nails that flaked to dust the second they dared to grow past my finger. I use to also have a habit of chewing on them which didn’t help. Throughout my 20’s, to have long sexy nails, I always had to get acrylics. There was just no way my nails could be long naturally, and I had accepted that. Later on as I got into my 30’s and no longer desired stripper nails (I say that with love I am very pro stripper!), I decided I was cool having short nails and switched to getting gel manicures.

I told the manicurist of my secret weapon and she was very intrigued. Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate powder! Hydro what???

Seriously I had never heard of this stuff until I went to visit a friend who happened to be a holistic nutritionist. She was telling me about joint and back pain she was experiencing and how she added this wonder powder to her Tumeric tea and how it saved her life. I wanted to try her Tumeric tea recipe to help with my clinical depression and decided to also try the collagen powder to boost my metabolism. I honestly didn’t really think any of this would do anything. I am skeptical of most supplements but figured it was worth a try as I was trying to heal some health issues naturally.

I ordered the brand she recommended, Great Lakes from Amazon.com. It comes in a HUGE canister for 22.99. HUGE.

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Lakes-Gelatin-Collagen-Hydrolysate/dp/B005KG7EDU/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1469151836&sr=1-1&keywords=great+lakes+gelatin

Well the Tumeric tea did nothing for my depression (though I know other people who swear by it so that was just my experience), but I was taken aback one day when I realized my nails were CRAZY thick and strong and growing long without breaking. It was seriously amazing and I have never seen my nails look like that.

Another benefit is hair and skin. I got one of those hair cuts that was just a WEE bit too short for my liking but it grew out FAST since I have been using this crazy stuff.

I also use it as a protein supplement. It doesn’t have all the sugar and artificial ingredients that most protein powders and shakes have. And it tastes like nothing!

Recommended dose is two tablespoons a day. The directions say you can mix it in your juice or coffee. I have been putting 1 tablespoon at a time per cup of green tea with a spoon of organic raw honey. I don’t even taste it. Now that it’s summer I have been putting it in my iced green matcha tea.

I can’t recommend this product more. It is awesome. Way better and easier to swallow (literally) than collagen capsules and I noticed way more benefits. So incredibly NOT Vegan.

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xoxoxo

D

Easy Summer Lunch Idea 1

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I don’t know where y’all live but I am currently in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles known for strip malls and being disgustingly hot. And it’s the middle of summer, meaning temperatures in the high 90’s, early 100’s. Gross! Can’t wait to move in 6 months. But until them I am stuck here. The last thing I want to do when it’s this hot is use the oven, stove, or eat super heavy. So I threw together a fabulous light and easy lunch that was so satisfying to all my senses, I had to post pics here. It barely even needs a recipe but i’ll share what I used.

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First I made a Caprese inspired salad. Meaning it was almost exactly like a Caprese salad except I put it on baby greens which is not exactly how it’s done. But it was close enough! I used:

  • Two Roma tomatoes
  • Fresh water mozzarella (three medium balls)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Pepper
  • Spring baby greens
  • This BOMB fig balsamic I found on ThriveMarket.com

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I adore this fig balsamic and it’s pretty much the only dressing I ever use these days.

All I did was slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, assemble in a pretty/fancy way over the lettuce, topped with black pepper, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of the fig balsamic. Option to add a little olive oil. I didn’t. Honestly I forgot but I didn’t miss it.

To make a little bit more substantial of a feast I also cut up a cantaloupe and picked up some prosciutto at my beloved Whole Foods to wrap the melon in Italian style. It was heaven I tell you.

I fed a man with this and he approved. No drive-thru needed! Ciao!

xoxoxo

D

Veggie Forbidden Rice Ramen

Comforting, Nourishing, Filling, Easy, Vegetarian (with a Vegan option) AND Gluten-Free. Niiiiiiiiice.

This was my first attempt at making a ramen soup and though this is far from a traditional ramen recipe, I was pretty proud of how it turned out, both in taste and aesthetically. 

I’m crazy so I made this on a hot night in the middle of summer but it was worth it.

I found these Forbidden Rice ramen noodles at Whole Foods and knew I had to make something with it. Black noodles for a former goth girl, too cool. And though I am far from vegetarian, I was having a killer craving for tofu.IMG_0113IMG_0114I

I used extra firm tofu which I highly recommend. Another item I had that I was excited to use were these kelp flakes I found on Amazon.com. I was reading an article about the health benefits of kelp and immediately ordered a giant bag. I LOVE Amazon for finding food items not easily found in grocery stores. I swear they have everything. Everything. Some benefits of kelp: regulation of thyroid, promotes healthy skin and hair, packed with potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Even said to aid in burning excess fat. Hell yeah!

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So here’s what I did:

Boil the Forbidden Rice ramen according to the package, drain in the strainer then VERY QUICKLY run cold water threw the noodles, separating with your fingers. When the noodles feel nice and cool, set them aside.

Fill a large pot with about 4 cups of water and let boil. Once it’s to a nice rolling boil add:

  • Three packets of miso soup mix
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 2 bunches bok choy
  • 1 cup white mushrooms (or really any mushrooms you want)

Allow the soup to boil on low. While that is going down:

Soft boil two eggs (approx 7 minutes) drain and let sit in cold water. 

Chop into cubes:

  • Extra Firm Tofu

Peels the soft boiled eggs and set aside. Add the tofu to the soup mixture. Cook another 10 minutes.

Now my FAVORITE part. Presentation! I love this part. I love seeing a person’s face when I present them with pretty food.

I kept the noodles separate so they didn’t over cook. I use a lot of rice noodles and pasta and I can tell you, it is extremely easy to overbook them. Mushy noodles are gross.

So assemble your ramen bowls by grabbing your desired portion of noodles, I did about a handful and place it into the bowl. THEN scoop the broth and broth filling over the noodles with a large soup spoon. Slice the soft boiled eggs in two and place a half in the bowl. Lastly I sprinkled with the kelp flakes. Black on Black! Here’s how mine looked:

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PRETTY! Leave the egg out and BAM…it’s Vegan. Ramen is so pretty. I need to make a gallery post. Send me pics of your homemade ramen!

xoxoxo

D