Freshest Oil-Free End of Summer Salads

Hot days make me want cool salads and I don’t do creamy dressings. I usually go with a balsamic or oil and vinegar type of deal. I had been reading a lot of blogs and articles about whether or not oil is the devil and while I don’t think I could ever be convinced that olive oil is nothing less than liquid magic, I have recently grown suspicious of coconut oil, which I have previously used pretty liberally.

I didn’t miss the oil at all in these super fresh salads tossed in nothing but fresh squeezed lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, fresh ground pepper and my secret weapon by Flavor God: 


Love this stuff and if you are watching your sodium intake, check them out. Love their pizza flavor too. Awesome on popcorn.

This salad was simply tomato, cucumber onion:


This one watercress, tomato, avocado:


Minimalism, hell yeah.

Xoxo

D

Southwest Millet with Roasted Sweet Potato (vegan, gluten-free)

While I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I am actively trying to eat less meat. Much less. This blog has been a great way for me to experiment with that and this was very much an experiment.

I’ve been fascinated by unusual grains lately and ordered millet, amaranth and sorghum  from Amazon.com. Here is my first attempt cooking with millet.

IMG_0311

 

 

2 cups chopped sweet potato

pepper

garlic salt

coconut cooking spray

1 cup millet

80z vegetable broth

1 orange bell pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2 tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup chopped white mushrooms

hot sauce

 

First you are going to roast the cut up sweet potatoes on a baking sheet (I lined mine with foil), spray with coconut oil spray and add fresh ground pepper and garlic salt. Roast on 375 for 40 min, turning over and re-spraying half way.

While those are baking, toast the millet on it’s own in a big sauté pan with a lid for 5-8 min. Add coconut oil and mushrooms, peppers, onions and mix it all up. Add 2 cups of water and cook covered for 30 min.

IMG_0307

IMG_0308

Open the lid after 30 min and add black beans, chopped tomatoes, veggie broth and 1/2 cup more water if needed, depending on whether you like a more al dente or porridge-like texture. Cook an additional 15 min. Add hot sauce to taste.

xoxoxo

D

Whole Wheat Strawberry Biscuits

FullSizeRender_1

During summer in the far-west San Fernando Valley, it’s easy to want to hide inside blasting the air, laying around in your underwear and bingeing on Pretty Little Liars, but when you need to escape it’s nice to know that Malibu is just a quick drive through the canyon, and there you have the ocean along with it’s healing breeze. Along Malibu Canyon I always see strawberry stands. I remember living in Washington state and stopping at the endless berry stands for Marionberries (man I miss Marionberries!). I realized I never stopped at a stand in SoCal, at least not since I was a little girl and my mom would need her cherry fix. So I stopped, and all they had were these giant strawberry boxes for $13. They looked amazing so I bought them, knowing that a two person household would never finish them all but I had to have them! I decided I would bake something with them and that I would figure that out when I got home.

In near by Topanga Canyon they have a quaint little neighborhood coffee shop called Cafe Mimosa where I sometimes go to read and get some herbal tea and sometimes one of my absolute favorite things…their whole-wheat scones. I love the nutty, hearty flavor and texture of the whole wheat and they make them with ginger or almond and cranberry. I love them, more so than traditional white flour scones, and they are not too sweet almost like a biscuit. I used this as an inspiration to make these strawberry biscuits. I didn’t know the recipe and have never made scones, and so this first attempt was definitely more like a biscuit. No refined sugar, lightly sweetened with just a little bit of maple syrup, they are just sweet enough for breakfast and just savory enough to eat with a salad or light summer dinner. I was pretty proud of these I must say. Even better….they were CRAZY easy to make! I’m not much of a baker as I have mentioned before. Here is the end result of this experiment:

FullSizeRender

I used:

1.5 cups organic whole wheat flour

2 tbsp organic unsalted butter

1 single serving carton of plain greek yogurt

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1/4 cup organic dark 100% maple syrup

2 tsp almond milk

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter and mix together with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the strawberry until you have a nice, thick dough. Gently fold in the strawberry.

Separate into 6-8 balls depending on how big you want your biscuits. Mine made 6 and I formed their shape by hand.

Place on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with coconut oil then lightly spray the tops.

Bake at 425 for 18 min.

BOOM! Clean AF.

xoxoxo

D

 

 

Review: Sun Cafe Organic Studio City, CA (Vegan, vegetarian, raw, GF, organic)

I have been wanting to try this place since I began curiously stalking Vegans on Instagram backin December. Though Little Pine is still my favorite Los Angeles veggie restaurant, Sun Cafe Organic easily takes the #2 spot. It’s also bigger and more inviting than Little Pine and better for more casual dining. I also found the food to be on the heather side as opposed to say, Doomie’s Kitchen. Just off Ventura Blvd, you enter through its airy and shady  outdoor seating. My companion and I dined inside because it’s the middle of summer in the Valley and it’s really, really, REALLY hot but I made a mental note to come back on a cooler day and sit outside with a nice book and one of their green juices or smoothies that I didn’t get to try first time around. 


Like I said, I wanted to try ALL THE FOODS but settled on a BBQ cauliflower appetizer and the pizza of the day, Fig and Tempeh Bacon pizza, topped with a generous portion of fresh arugula which made it more like a refreshing pizza salad, perfect for hot day. It was delicious and the first time I had tried cashew cheese and tempeh bacon. Both these flavors went amazing with the fig. I find myself craving it days later. The BBQ cauliflower was excellent as well and not battered and fried which I liked. A little lighter and more flavorful then similar dishes I’ve tried in other restaurants. 


As much as I wanted to try one of their smoothies, it would have been too much with this meal, however I did try their ginger Kombucha which was so good and more like a crisp cider. I swore I felt a buzz though I think it was in my head.


Folks on IG were raving about the desserts so I couldn’t leave without a bite. We split the raw cookie-dough cheesecake which was pretty decent and I had their Chai tea which was so delicious I didn’t need almond milk or sweetener. It paired perfectly. 

Definitely planning a Round 2 before I leave Los Angeles for good in Feb. Stay tuned! 

Xoxo,

D

Vegan Creamy Pesto Sauce


I don’t have much to say about this recipe except that it’s my new favorite sauce everrrrrr and I love my Vitamix. Saw a lot of variations on this sauce on the net, here was my swing at it…

– 2 ripe avocados

-4 whole peeled garlic cloves

-1 cup parsley 

-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

– juice from half a lemon 

– 1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

– Cooked pasta of choice ( I used brown rice pasta)

Cook pasta, rinse in cool water, set aside.

Put everything else in the Vitamix. Blend on low until smooth.

Mix into pasta. Bam! Vegan. Amazing. So so so easy.

I paired it with a salad; butter lettuce, red beets, chilled steamed asparagus, balsamic and pepper, that’s it! Try it now. Right now.

I imagine this would also be an awesome vegan creamy salad dressing or alternative sauce for a Benedict recipe. 


Xoxoxo

D

Sardine Pizza (aka the best pizza ever)

FullSizeRender_2

Ok maybe not the best pizza ever if you hate sardines, but I love those little babies. I have been trying to find natural sources of B vitamins in food and sardines are tiny nutritional powerhouses. In addition to B vitamins, sardines are loaded with protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin A, D, E, K…and that is the short list. Sardines are badass.

I remember picnics with my dad as a child, he would have tins of sardines packed in marinara sauce and a loaf of freshly baked French baguette. The most simple meal that ignites happy and comforting feelings in my brain. I will always connect sardines with youth and simplicity in my mind. I’m weird.

Annnnnnd of course…I love pizza. Though I did notice that as I changed my diet and begun to eat healthier, my body could no longer tolerate the sodium explosion that was Domino’s or Pizza Hut. Which is weird because I use to LIVE off fast-food and delivery pizza. Now when I eat chain store pizza I always feel gross and bloated afterwards. So I wanted to try to make my own.

This was my first time making a pizza and I swear it was so good I can’t imagine eating crappy chain pizza ever again (excluding real New York pizza…mmmm)…I can’t wait to experiment more in the pizza arts.

The dough is actually really simple to make. Here is a great, easy to understand one from Food.com http://www.food.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-pizza-dough-117532

You can also buy pre-made pizza dough. I’ve seen it at both Whole Foods Market and Trader Joes. Here is my fav:

IMG_0221

I didn’t have a rolling pin handy (just ordered a fancy stainless steel one on Amazon.com but it has yet to arrive) so I pulled and stretched the dough by hand, which is a little more tricky. Either way works. Then I sprayed the stretched dough with some coconut oil spray and set aside on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (which I also sprayed with a little coconut oil).

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Grab your favorite sauce or make a super quick and easy one with some tomato paste, garlic, oregano and olive oil sautéed slowly in the skillet.

The fun part. Toppings! Here’s what I used:

1 cup sauce

1 medium tomato, chopped and diced

3 medium balls fresh water mozzarella

1/2 cup feta cheese

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 cans of sardines packed in olive oil

Fresh basil leaves

Pepper

The photo at the top of this post shows how it looks right before I stuck in the oven.

I baked for 15 minutes, then rotated the pizza pan and baked for another 10. That seemed to be perfect. Crisp but tender crust.

FullSizeRender_1

I made this for two people and there was not a leftover in sight. I must say, I was pretty proud of how this turned out. Will definitely be posting more pizza recipes in the future! Maybe every Monday I will make a new, exciting experimental pizza, hmmmmmm…

FullSizeRender

xoxoxo

D

Cinnamon Macadamia Nice Cream


Like any normal person, I love ice cream. Discovering “nice cream” at the beginning of the year after stalking vegans on Instagram, it changed me man. And though nothing beats the real thing, if you love health AND the opportunity to be endlessly creative…AND you have a Vitamix or a blender equally badass, you will have a lot of fun with these recipes. Pinterest is full of crazy flavors. I put together this one earlier today. Here’s what I used…

3 bananas, sliced up and frozen

2 tablespoons raw almond butter

1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts 

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

I use a plastic air-lock container to freeze up sliced banana. Then I put the banana and macadamia nuts in the Vitamix first, then the almond milk, then the rest. I usually start it on the lowest setting, then pulse to high several times until it’s nice and smooth but still leaving some of the nuts in chunks for texture. 

I poured it all back into the cleaned container I froze the banana in and back in the freezer it goes for about 4 hours.


When you take it out of the freezer I recommend leaving it out at room temperature for about 10 min or so it’s easier to scoop and closer to an ice-cream like consistency rather than too hard and icy.

Vegan, clean, no added sugar, yay!

Xoxoxo

D