This little piggy had a smoothie

Two years ago, I got my mom a wooden little piggy cutting board. She has a thing for pigs. We have this little four inch tall statue of three pigs stacked on top of each other and another little clay sculpture of a pig that either my mom or sister made when they were little. And now we also have this little piggy cutting board that the smoothie is on top of in the picture. I thought it was cute and went along with her little piggy theme. But now we use it to display salami and cheese on when guests come over. Kind of weird, but that’s neither here nor there.

I make this smoothie in the morning as my post workout meal.

  • The maca gives me energy and balances my hormones (because I could really use some balance in my life).
  • The banana gives me the potassium and sugars I need for muscle repair and energy.
  • Freshly ground flax meal provides me of my omega-3s (because, ew, fish).
  • Cacao has ample magnesium and slight amounts of caffeine that can temporarily ward off my coffee addiction.
  • Brazil nuts give me the selenium that I probably wouldn’t get from really anything else in my diet. Plus, selenium protects against cell damage and acts as an antioxidant.

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*See the little piggy? You won’t feel like a pig after drinking this smoothie!

Side note: you can grind the cacao and flax seeds in a coffee grinder before throwing it into the blender.

One more side note: you can replace the coconut water for cold brew coffee if you’re feeling extra sassy!

Banana Cacao Post Workout Smoothie

Blend together the following ingredients in a blender for a single serving.

10 ounces coconut water

1 tablespoon ground cacao

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1/2 tablespoon maca

1 banana

1-2 brazil nuts

2 pitted dates

1 tablespoon almond butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Israeli Cous Cous Mediterranean Salad. PS, I leave for Europe in 9 days

In 9 days, I’ll be boarding a plane that will initially drop me off in Stockholm. From there I’ll go to 14 more countries/23 more cities in two months (!!!!!!!!). Trying to contain my excitement. This has been in the making since my trip to Europe last summer.

When I was there last summer, I studied abroad in Italy, learned how to make authentic Italian dishes from a little Italian lady and did some minor weekend traveling.

Last years trip to the Grana Padano Cheese factory, one of my cooking classes with my Italian instructor and the Olive Oil factory:

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That was enough to get me saving and planning for this trip I’m about to embark on. I won’t be doing as much cooking as I did my previous time (only a few simple dishes cooked in hostels), but I’ll be going to a ton more countries. My goal for this trip is to not only see new things, places and people, but also to taste new cuisines to inspire a few new dishes to add to my upcoming cookbook!

Once I get back, official recipe testing and cook book creating will be on the way! Lots of work to be done, so before the madness and as a graduation gift to myself… Europe it is.

Here’s probably the last recipe I’ll be posting in a while. But don’t worry! This isn’t the last for two months. I’ll be posting about my experience abroad, the food I eat and the workouts/hikes/classes I do.

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Israeli Cous Cous Mediterranean Salad

serves 2

Ingredients

1 pre-cooked chicken breast, torn into bite sized pieces

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup dry israeli cous cous

1/2 cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup thinly chopped red onion

1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

1 handful italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

7 large basil leaves, thinly sliced (julienned)

2 small garlic cloves, sliced

1 small chunk of either grana padano or parmigiano reggiano cheese (you’ll need a micro grater to grate this)

2 tablespoons pine nuts

salt

1. Make the Israeli cous cous. In a small pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil on medium heat. Add the Israeli Cous Cous and stir around, toasting the cous cous for about five minutes. Add 2/3 cup water, raise to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5-6 minutes and then drain excess liquid. Put this to the side to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Make the pesto. You can either use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. I think the pesto tastes 1000000x better when made with a mortar and pestle, but it’s up to you. Combine the pine nuts and garlic in the mortar. Crush until the ingredients almost form a paste. Add the olive oil and basil and crush/grind. This process takes a few minutes. Lastly, stir in about 2 tablespoons of micro grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano cheese and a pinch of salt.

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3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, tomatoes and onions. Pour the pesto on top and toss to combine. Separate the mixture into two bowls or plates and top with the israeli cous cous and goat cheese crumbles.

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Cauliflower asparagus “risotto”

I didn’t make this with the intention of creating an alternative to risotto, it just happened that I accidentally did so in the process of simply trying to make dinner. 

This meal is incredibly filling. I paired it with a caprese salad and that was more than enough for dinner. It looks like it won’t be, but the high fiber cauliflower makes you much more full than equal amounts of rice would.

  
This recipe is easy, but the prep is a little time consuming so crack open a bottle of wine and invite a friend over to gossip as you chop, grate and dice away!

  
 

PS that caprese salad was for three people.. As is this recipe.

Cauliflower asparagus “risotto”

Serves 3

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower

8-10 stalks of skinny asparagus

1 shallot 

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

Juice from 1/2 of a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil (half used for cooking, half used for the sauce)

1/4 cup grated cheese: A harder cheese of your preference, one that melts well (I like using stinkier cheeses but you can use a mild one if you prefer. Real parmigiano reggiano would work or anything else you have lying around)

 Salt and pepper

1. Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. 

2. Chop the shallot and add it to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. 

3. While the shallots cook, cut the bottom two inches off of the asparagus. Toss the ends. Chop the rest of the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Add to the shallots and sprinkle with salt. Cook and stir while prepping the cauliflower.

4. Cut the leafy part off of the cauliflower. Grate the entire head using a cheese grater. Add this to the asparagus mixture.  

5. Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper into the mixture. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil into the cauliflower. Stir the mixture around every 1-2 minutes. Cook for 8 minutes. 

6. Using a dry pan, toast the pumpkin seeds: Heat the pan to medium high and add the seeds. Shake the pan every 20 seconds or so. Only let the seeds toast for 1-2 minutes. They very quickly burn so make sure you don’t leave this pan until the seeds are done and you take them off of heat. 

7. Grate the cheese and stir into the cauliflower. Turn the heat off below the cauliflower.

8. Combine the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil with the Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Mix well and stir into the cauliflower. Stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds.

9. Salt and pepper the finished product to taste.

10. Pair a super light salad with this or a very small piece of meat. I really mean it when I say that this is surprisingly filling!

  
  
And make sure to eat it outside on a beautiful summer night with people you love! And wine, of course 🙂

The perfect little avocado toast

On Tuesday morning, I went to the farmers market in Torrance with my mom. We got there around 7:30 am even though it doesn’t open until 8, partly because we love farmers markets so much… But mostly because my mom wants to beat the crowds. 

We piled up our little cloth bags with fresh herbs, tomatoes, various sprouted beans, avocados, lettuces, fruit, potatoes… Everything. We loaded up the car with all of our goodies and drove home. There are three smells that are my absolute favorite smells.. 

1. The smell of what I deem “fake water”. You can usually smell it during the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Weird. I know. But I like it.

2. Lavender oil rubbed on the back of the wrists.

3. The smell of my car freshly filled with farmers market finds.

The compilation of herbs, fresh fruit and veggies is so aromatic and always makes me feel clean and healthy.

Anyway, fast forward to today when I’m walking home from work. Starved. I decided to pop into an organic bakery that I know uses their own sourdough starter (instead of active dry yeast) and buy a whole wheat loaf of sourdough bread. Using the compilation of goodies I got from thee market the other day… I came up with this!!

  
Avocado and sprouted mung bean toast

Serves 1

Ingredients

2 slices of whole wheat sourdough bread

1/2 an avocado

1 small handful of sprouted mung beans (or any other sprouted bean)

A tablespoon olive oil

1 cup mixed greens 

1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Put the bread in the oven for 2-4 minutes. Just until warm, but not toasted.

3. Spread the avocado equally over the two slices. Distribute the mung beans between the two toasts. Drizzle the olive oil on top of it all. Serve with the mixed greens.

Easy. Now go eat! 

Chia pudding. For those days when the alarm clock isn’t your friend (always).

This morning, like many of my mornings, I had three alarms set: 5:45, 5:47, 5:50. Yes, as in the morning. When the suns alarm hasn’t even gone off yet. 

On these days, I have work at 6:45 am so I don’t have a whole lot of time to physically make breakfast, so I pre-made these little guys the night before!

I make a big batch so all I have to do is grab a little jar in the morning and take off. I would love to have the luxury of sitting down to a warm meal with a cup of tea, sitting in a wooden chair with a blanket while watching the sun rise… But that’s not my reality right now. I watch the sun rise from inside my work. But my little chia pudding cup makes me a lot happier about it!

This makes three 8 oz servings. Enjoy!

 

Chia pudding pot

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla yogurt (preferably organic)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon real maple syrup or honey

A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

2 sliced strawberries per serving  

1. Mix the yogurt, almond milk and honey/maple syrup until well blended. 

2. Add in the chia seeds and stir until combined. Let sit for 1 hour or over night. After an hour, split them into separate containers with sliced strawberries and a pinch of cinnamon on top!

It’s SHREDDING SEASON: icy pineapple and ginger smoothie

It’s bulking/shredding/toning/slimming season, BRO!!!! Time to eat nothing but meat and salad!!!

..or not.

It’s true, right now is the time that everyone’s looking to start getting in shape for summer bikini season. This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate fruit, grains or anything else enjoyable. I mean, yeah, you DO have to limit yourself on some things. Alcohol, refined sugars and grains, sodas, pastries, pizzas, pasta, etc. All that fun stuff that you already know you should be limiting anyway. And you probably do a great job of it.. until 2 am when the bars close and Manhattan Pizzeria is still open. I think that’s a general struggle we all deal with.

One super common misconception is that eating healthy and getting in shape means eating tasteless food and feeling sore 99% of the time. Honestly, if you have had this experience, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Healthy food (not diet food) tastes fabulous. Ever had chicken cooked in red wine sauce layered on top of garlic oven roasted veggies with a crisp romaine salad dressed with a dijon lemon vinaigrette? Does that sound like diet food? Well it’s not typically what people think of when considering going on a diet. But that’s the type of food you should be eating when trying to lose weight.

And if you’re telling me that you feel sore all the time when you workout then you probably only stuck to a workout plan for a week, maybe two. Because after that initial hump is over and done with, you shouldn’t be getting uncomfortably sore anymore (unless you’re a hardcore athlete trying to do a dynamic workout).

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So here’s a refreshing, tasty and (gasp) fruity smoothie to sip on after a sweaty workout. If you really feel like being adventurous, this is also a really good base for a healthy “daiquiri”. This recipe may sound tasteless and kind of strange, but it’s less than 100 calories and actually insanely delicious. Just give it a shot.

Happy shredding season!

Icy Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

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serves 2

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple cubes

1.5 cups coconut water

1 inch of fresh ginger, skin peeled off and diced super fine

2 handfuls of spinach

1/2 cup ice (optional)

1. Make sure to cut off all of the skin from the ginger and then dice it really fine.  Just for a reference, this is about how big of a piece of ginger you should use:

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2. Blend all of the ingredients (besides the ice) until it is smooth. If you plan on adding ice (which I would recommend if you plan on making a drink out of it), then add the ice after blending the other ingredients until smooth. Blend the ice in until you have your desired consistency!

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I couldn’t help but chug mine. Just try and drink yours like a lady/gentleman. It’s not possible.

** PS, this recipe is really great because it incorporates anti-inflammatory ginger in it’s raw state. Your body is inflamed after a workout, so sipping on this drink will help decrease that inflammation and increase your recovery speed.

No-Bake Hiking Cookies!!

HIKING COOKIES! Not volleyball cookies… but hiking cookies. They obviously can be eaten where ever you want, but I was trying to force my friend into going hiking with me today so I was bribing her with these non-bake “hiking” cookies. She insisted that they could be volleyball cookies (because she wanted to play volleyball) and I insisted that no, they were hiking cookies. So now, in tribute to my stubborn-ness, these cookies will forever be known as HIKING COOKIES!!

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They are ridiculously easy to make and packed with superfoods. When I eventually went on my hike today up at Runyon Canyon, I had just one of them for my “lunch-snack” and it completely filled me up. Because it isn’t baked, the enzymes and heat sensitive vitamins contained in the ingredients of the cookies are retained and therefore accessible for your body to soak up! Part of the ingredients must be heated slightly just to maintain a correct consistency, but its only for a minute and on a very low heat. The rest of the ingredients have no heat applied to them whatsoever.

 

Because of the hemp seeds and chia seeds, these “cookies” are high in protein and omega 3 to help power you through your day. Plus, it contains maca which not only regulates your hormones, but also boosts your fertility and libido. I bring these with me to work paired with a small piece of chicken and salad and it provides the perfect amount of sustained energy. Plus, they taste spectacular which is always a plus!

This recipe makes 12-13 cookies so it will easily last you a week of bringing them to work or school. Just make them on Sunday and enjoy your little healthy treat the rest of the week!

No-Bake Hiking Cookies

makes 12-13 cookies

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Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

1/4 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup. not aunt jemimas)

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons maca powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

 

1. In a large bowl, mix the oats, cranberries, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt.

oatmeal pour

 

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2. In a pan over low heat, mix the almond butter (or peanut butter) with the maple syrup and almond milk. It might be easiest to use a fork with this because it helps break apart the almond butter and  combine the ingredients.

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3. Once the ingredients are combined, turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla extract and maca powder.

4. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and stir until combined.

5. Put a parchment paper sheet on a cookie sheet. Scoop two heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into a cookie shape. Put onto the cookie sheet and repeat until the batter is gone.

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6. Once the cookies are all done, put them into the freezer for 1-2 hours and then transfer to a sealed container and put them into the fridge. They can be eaten for up to a month as long as they are kept in the fridge! Enjoy!

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I brought my cookies along during my hike with a friend and my dog on Runyon Canyon. Such a great hike on a beautiful Saturday morning! My friend (not typically a healthy food eater) LOVED the cookies! Go take a hike and bring the hiking cookies along with you!

Let’s pretend this is a panzanella

I lived in Italy this summer for five weeks and I ate a lot of pasta. There isn’t exactly a whole love of big veggie dishes in Italy (trust me, I searched) unless you’re on the coast. I’m spoiled and grew up in Southern California where we have arguably the best produce in the world. I eat tons of veggies, so this overdose of pasta was quite the culture shock. However, panzanella was an occasional awesome find. It’s basically a plethora of veggies that are grilled or cooked with some toasted pita or bread of some sort. I dig it.
I was feeling a little nostalgic of my travels through Italy and whipped up my own version of Panzanella! Mine is light, limited on the bread, and very flavorful considering how few ingredients it has. Whip it up, pour yourself a glass of red and pretend you’re sitting in a piazza in Florence!

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Panzanella
serves 1
ingredients
1 green bell pepper, thickly cut
1 zucchini, thickly cut
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 whole wheat pita cut into 8 triangles
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons goat cheese

1. Put the olive oil into a pan and turn to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in the first four ingredients along with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and the dried basil. Toss the veggies with a spoon and let them cook for 7 minutes , stirring occasionally.
2. While the vegetables cook, heat the oven to 300 and assemble the pita pieces on a cookie sheet. Put them into the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas and remainder of the salt to the veggies. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Assemble the vegetables on a plate with the pita pieces around them. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

Don’t forget your glass of red! You aren’t in Italy until you have your wine!

A bagel every now and then isn’t that bad…

Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone! I hope you celebrated it with someone who served our country or at least said thank you to someone who did 🙂

As some of you know, I’m training for another half-marathon. One of the many benefits of running an obscene amount of miles each week is that you get to eat a little (lot) more. And I love to eat. I usually make a ridiculously healthy smoothie or chia seed pudding (recipe coming very soon) or almond butter pancake for breakfast, but every now and then… I need a bagel. This morning was one of those days. Before my workout, I stopped off at my local coop and picked up an everything bagel that they make in house. I feel at least a little better about myself if I buy a bagel made from organic and local ingredients. I tried to make this little bad boy as healthy as possible so everything is organic, local and fresh!  You might think I’m being ridiculous by saying this serves 2 with only one bagel… but this bagel is really loaded. You’ll only want 1/2 of it. And even if you are still hungry, just eat the second half! No one has to know!

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Loaded Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

serves 2

Ingredients

1 everything bagel

1 cream cheese packet or about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used an organic one)

2 eggs, scrambled

8 slices of cucumber

1/4 of an avocado, sliced into four thin slices

2 slices of red onion, or about 2 tablespoons finely chopped

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1. Cut the bagel in half, straight down the center, then turn it on it’s side and cut it down the middle forming four equal pieces.

2. Prepare all of your vegetables while you toast your bagel pieces (it’s easier to use a toaster oven for this one. If you only have a regular toaster, don’t cut the bagel in half or it’ll get lost in the toaster!) and cook your eggs.

3. When the bagel is toasted and the eggs are cooked, start to assemble the breakfast sando. First, spread the cream cheese on one side of the bagel. Then add all of the vegetables on this same side. On the other side, layer the egg pieces.

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4. Now comes the tricky part.. hold onto your egg pieces on the bagel and flip it over on top of other half of the bagel. Now you’re ready to eat this masterpiece! Just make sure you hold the insides in while you take bites… it’s a pretty big mouthful.

Autumn is sexy: Baked Apples

I swear, I’m not that vain. But the actual season is sexy! I love fall because, in my opinion, the food is the tastiest of all the seasons (yeah, I said it Summer). And because food is sexy, and fall has the best food, that means that Fall is sexy… or you could say Autumn is sexy. Either way, I don’t mind.

It has been a ridiculously busy past two weeks for me. I’ve had to fly home, go to a wedding, study for what feels like 7,000 tests, write/present a speech along with all of my other daily duties. And of course watch Scandal. Have to save time to binge watch Scandal. And Blacklist. And American Horror Story. But I digress.

Last weekend when I was back home, I actually had the time to get a little creative (A luxury that I haven’t really had the past two weeks) and make a DESSERT! I really needed this dessert. I’m in the process of training for another half marathon (there will soon be a post on how to train for a 1/2 or full marathon so stay posted!!), so I’m in desperate need of extra calories. Granted, this little bad boy really wasn’t too naughty considering it’s under 300 calories per apple. It is a great dessert, however, even if you aren’t expending the extra 500-1000 calories per day from working out and running. Plus it just SCREAMS fall, doesn’t it? Pair it up with some hot chocolate or mulled apple cider, cozy on up next to the fireplace and watch a horror movie or two while munching on these Baked Apples!!

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Baked Apples with a Nutty Filling

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 apples good for baking (I used honeycrisp. They’re in season and they don’t fall apart when baked)

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (if possible, get organic), or you can swap out the heavy whipping cream for greek yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core of each apple forming a 1.5 inch hole wide, and going down about 2-3 inches, depending on how big your apple is.

3. Combine the nuts, honey, oatmeal, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Once well, mixed, stuff each apple with the mixture and put into the oven for 20 minutes.

4. When the apples are slightly golden on the top, take them out and put them onto individual bowls or plates. Drizzle the heavy whipping cream over each apple and then enjoy! Make sure to eat while warm but let it cool for a few minutes!