Green Pineapple Machine Smoothie

I usually make smoothies with berries, bananas, yogurt, and coconut water, but realize there is too much sugar and carbohydrates for it to be a truly healthy meal replacement. This morning I tried making my first green smoothie and it was a huge success. It was even man approved by my new husband! We have been married for three weeks, not only did he get to marry my happy, positive self, he has gotten the benefits of being the tester for all my kitchen experiments! For our wedding we received a Vitamix, yay! It is a life-changing high power industrial blender that makes creating in the kitchen so much easier and quieter for that matter.

Ingredients

For the Green Pineapple Machine smoothie, you will need:

1 banana-preferably frozen and ripe for sweetness

3/4 Cup Frozen Pineapple Chunks

1 1/2 Cups Washed raw Spinach

1 1/2 Cups Washed raw, de-stemmed Kale

1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt (I use 2% or Whole Fat Fage) for a protein, probiotic boost

1 1/2 Cups cold Coconut Water

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. If the Pineapple and banana did not make it slushy enough, add a cup of ice.

Make sure to blend the ice until smooth or else your smoothie will be chunky and let’s face it, it’s called a smoothie for a reason.

Pour into a tall glass and enjoy- preferably with a cute straw!

Green Pineapple Machine

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Huevos Ala Mexicana

Thanks to my Fiance, I have been converted to a breakfast person! As a vegetarian, I get a little creeped out by eggs, but as long as I know the chickens were happy and cage free I can definitely get behind all the glorious egg dishes out there.
One of my favorite restaurants for breakfast is Señor G’s, a charming little spot a few blocks from my house in Playa Del Rey. They make delicious omelets, huevos rancheros, and an assortment of fresh juices and smoothies. My favorite dish they have is Breakfast Ole, a plate full of tomato and oniony scrambled goodness. I re-created the dish at home calling it Huevos Ala Mexicana or Mexican Eggs.

Huevos

2 Tablespoons olive oil (use butter for a richer flavor)

4 organic eggs

1 Tablespoon of Milk or Water

1 onion diced

1 tomato(heirloom Preferred) diced

1 can Organic Black Beans

1 Avocado slices

Salt and Pepper

Several Sprigs of Cilantro for garnish

Beat eggs in a medium bowl, stir in milk, salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in large pan. When oil is glistening (2 minutes) toss in onion.

Sauté onion until clear and slightly browned (8-10 Minutes).

Toss in Chopped Tomato and saute for another 5 minutes.

Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Stir periodically until eggs are fully scrambled.

Serve with black beans, sliced avocado and Tapatillo.

To make breakfast tacos, simply heat up several corn tortillas and fill them with Huevos.

Enjoy this protein packed breakfast!

Summer Cheese Plate

Mid Summer’s Night Cheese Plate

 Summer marks a wonderful time of year for farmers and diners alike. Nature provides an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy. What goes better with fruits and vegetable you may ask, but of course, cheese! Sliced, cubed, smeared… cheese is delightful. Cheese is my reason for not being vegan. Explore new cheese, go blue, go hard, go French! Enjoy your cheese with vegetables, fruit, crackers, bread. Arrange neatly and carefully. Presentation pays off.

Appetizers

For this mid summer’s night cheese plate I chose two cheeses; Humboldt Fog Chèvre and mozzarella balls. I spread the Humboldt fog on some Crunch Masters Gluten Free Crackers and put a dollop of Blackberry Sweet Heat Jelly on top.  Both Humboldt Fog and Sweet Heat are local products from my hometown of Arcata, California. Find a friend who lives there and have them send you Sweet Heat, it’s the most delicious condiment with so many uses; toast, meat/tofu marinade, served over cheese or yogurt, the possibilities are infinite!

fog

Mini Caprese Skewers. Very easy and oh so elegant. Simply skewer a cherry tomato, mozzarella ball and basil leaf with a toothpick. Repeat. Arrange so they look pretty and then drizzle with balsamic glaze.

caprese skewers

I sliced fresh, ripe figs in half and laid them in the middle of the plate. They are delicious on their own, but also divine added to the Humboldt Fog Crackers.

For a punch of protein I served green hummus and regular organic hummus with rosemary crisps and more Crunch masters. Hummus is a great addition to any meal, packing protein and flavor into every bite.

The moral of this story is there is no wrong way to make a cheese plate, even if you hold the cheese and just chop of vegetables and add dip, it’s all about getting creative and making the food into art. There is something delightful about arranged food that will make your taste buds happy and communal food is a lovely way to chat and socialize with friends and family.

Happy Summer!

 

 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Broccoli

One of my favorite dinners to make is stuffed peppers; they are so fun to make, because you can get creative and add whatever vegetable, grain, or delicious morsel you desire to the filling. If you are a meat eater, you can add chopped up sausage for an extra protein punch. Vegetarians will get their full dose of protein when using Quinoa, because it is a complete protein! Stuffed peppers are very filling and are great served with a small salad or delicious crispy Roasted Broccoli. Enjoy this delectable plant based recipe; get creative and have fun in the process.

Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 Bell Peppers(Mixed colors)

2 Cups Chopped Spinach

1/2 Cup Chopped Calamata Olives

1/2 Cup Chopped Tomatoes

1 Cup Mushrooms

1 Onion-Chopped

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1 Cup Quinoa

2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees.

To make Quinoa, follow instructions on the package, substitute water for vegetable stock to add flavor. Add coconut oil, salt and cumin to boiling liquid. Make sure all moisture is absorbed into the quinoa. Fluff and set aside.

QuinoaWash peppers and cut off the tops and cut a little bit off the bottoms so the peppers can sit upright. Remove seeds and pepper innards. Set Peppers aside.

Pepper

Sauté mushrooms,spinach and onion in olive until slightly soft, chop tomatoes and olives. With a wooden spoon, fold everything into quinoa mixture. Add lemon, salt, pepper and olive to taste. Feel free to substitute or add different vegetables/beans into quinoa mixture. Also, if for some weird reason you are not a fan of quinoa, this recipe will work with brown rice or couscous.

Place peppers in a glass baking dish. Fill with 1 inch of warm water. With a large spoon, stuff peppers with quinoa mixture. Be liberal with the quinoa, make sure the peppers are fully stuffed.

Bake for 1 hour or until the pepper is soft and the quinoa is browned.

Let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

1 Head of Broccoli

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

2-3 Shakes of Red Chili Flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and Dry broccoli. Chop Broccoli florets off the stems and into smaller bite sized pieces. In a medium bowl toss broccoli with a olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. With your hands, massage olive oil into the heads of the florets ensuring a crispy finish.

Place Broccoli on a baking sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper.

Roast for 15-20 minutes until broccoli is slightly browned and crispy.

Remember to share as this dish can be quite addicting!

Cooking Cutos with Cindy

My mom Cindy is a huge inspiration as a chef, gardener and creative being. She has been a vegetarian/pescatarian for over 40 years. She has a bountiful garden full of beautiful flowers, vegetables, herbs, garlic, apples and blueberries. She and my dad live a farm to table lifestyle. The food she must purchase, she ensures is local, organic and sustainable. I am so lucky to have grown up with her as a beautiful example of how to eat and live.

This video shows my mom making her original specialty, Cutos. Lightly fried tofu, tossed with tamari (or soy sauce) and nutritional yeast flakes. The perfect vegetarian treat to enhance any dinner. Cutos go great with brown rice and vegetable stir fry. Enjoy!

Celebrating the Summer Solstice with a Fresh, Plant based Feast

On Saturday, the farmer’s market was full of so many fragrant, colorful fruits and vegetables. I chose to get bright yellow summer squash, basil, juicy tomatoes, fresh avocados, peaches, bloomsdale spinach and some tangy lemons. I had no idea what I was going to do with them….. but to me half the fun of being in the kitchen is creating unique and custom recipes. Letting the ingredients I have determine what make. Last night, I made a brief plan and improvised along the way.  I served:

Grilled Summer Squash with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze

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Slice the Squash into thirds, the long way.

Grill on low for about 8 minutes per side. You want the squash to still be a little firm, to hold it’s shape.

While grilling, thinly slice Humboldt Fog Goat cheese.

While the squash is hot, place a healthy amount of cheese on the squash.

Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle balsamic glaze or reduction over the top and enjoy!

Basil Chimichurri and Avocado Quinoa

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  Add  1 Cup of rinsed Quinoa and 2 Cups of liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. I use 1 Cup of water and 1 Cup of  Vegetable stock to add flavor. I also add Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, turn to low and cover for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl, add 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 Teaspoon of Pepper and 1/2 Teaspoon of salt. Rinse 1 1/2 Cups of Basil Leaves, chop finely and mix into sauce. Creating a fresh and delicious pestoey/chimichurri sauce.

Once Quinoa is cooked, put it in a large glass bowl and toss it with the Chimichurri Sauce. Finely chop 2 Scallions, peel and cube 2 ripe avocados. Toss together and enjoy this delicious and nutritious dish! Quinoa is a complete protein, so this can act as your main dish as well as your grain.

 Bloomsdale Spinach salad with Truffle Parmesan and Tomato

Spinach!

Wash, Slice and Half 1 large flavorful tomato. The tomato juices double as a component to the salad dressing. Rinse and rough chop about 4 Cups of Spinach. Finely slice 1/4 of a red onion. Add the juice of 1 Lemon. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach. Grind about 1/2-1 teaspoon of pepper into the salad.  Give the salad a drizzle of about 2 Tablespoons of High quality olive. Toss with your hands. Add a handful of sunflower seeds and voila, your salad is ready!

Enjoy The Taste of Summer!!

The full Meal

Holy Guacamole!

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One of my favorite foods is guacamole. There is nothing better than a salty crunchy tortilla chip dipped in a bowl full of chunky, tangy, rich guacamole. My guacamole recipe has been evolving since I was a small child. My mom’s recipe called for smashed avocados mixed with several heaping spoonfuls of fresh salsa. This was one of my favorite after school snacks. In college, I began to chop onion and jalapeño and add it to this recipe. As my taste buds matured and my chopping skills improved I learned a new way to make guacamole.

I call it Chop Til You Drop Guacamole

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4 Avocados Peeled, Pitted and Halved

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro

1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion

2 Medium sized tomatos, de-seeded and finely chopped

1/2-1 Jalapeño finely diced

1 Teaspoon Salt

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Place avocado halves in a medium sized bowl, pour the juice of 1 lemon over the avocado to keep fresh. Chop all the other ingredients. Place ingredients in bowl with avocados. Use a small sharp knife to slice avocados and ingredients together. This keeps the guacamole chunky and beautiful. Enjoy with chips, tacos, or just eat it with a spoon!

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