If you follow me on social media at all, you may know that I am currently in London. We have 10 days of travel between London, Paris, Leeds and back to London before we head back to LA. A for-real vacation, just the hubby and I.
So far, it’s been an adventurous trip. Unfortunately the adventures started off on a truly sad note for us. Here’s a strange and very somber story for you, it’s affected me greatly and it’s been weighing so heavy on my mind, even amidst this exciting time of international travel with my guy.
We had a direct flight from Los Angeles to London, on Thursday evening. It was meant to be approximately an 11 hour flight. A few hours in, somewhere over the middle of the country I drifted off to that strange, blurry-headed, plane-induced half-sleep, when there was a call over the loud speaker for any doctors or nurses. A short time later, another call.
Suddenly several hours later, with about 3.5 hours left of our 11 hour flight, the bright lights turned on, a jarring way to wake. We received the pre-recorded notice that we were close to our arrival and that we should prepare for landing. ‘Trays and seat backs to the upright positions.’ ‘Bags stowed.’ It didn’t make sense. The map showed we were in the middle of the Atlantic, somewhere near Greenland. In the fog of sleep and slight confusion and with the pull of an extremely abrupt direction change, I opened up the digital map on the glowing screen in front of me. The flight path showed a very abrupt u-turn in the middle of the blue sea. Mark said “we’re turning back around, we’re going back.” Our plane was headed back in the very direction we had just come from and the arrival time now showed as just over an hour.
As we usher in the New Year, like so many others I find myself reflecting on the year we are leaving behind. While I love the practice of looking ahead and setting goals for the new year that awaits me, I have never been one for resolutions or other conventional traditions.
Instead, I prefer to reflect on the year passed, honoring the various accomplishments and acknowledging the many challenges that shaped me, preparing me for an even better new year ahead. For me, 2015 was a year focused on gratitude, I learned to honor myself and not get lost in other people, I rose and accepted my constant draw towards balance and I finished the year with a new practice focused on non-attachment, learning to let go of attachment, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding my true Self.
I think rather than setting unattainable goals or planning huge resolutions for major change, that at times can actually set us up for failure, it is so much more meaningful to honor the new paths, celebrate the beautiful transitions and the growth that awaits us, by constantly practicing gratitude for what we already have. Every single day!
Ultimately, whatever you manifest for the new year, whether you set intentions or prefer to cultivate gratitude, none of it has to make sense to anyone but you. Entering this new year with mindfulness, cultivation of gratitude and compassion for yourself and everyone around you – there is absolutely NO WAY 2016 could be anything other than amazing!
Removing my trip to Mexico last week and that day I had too many margaritas at lunch, this lady does very little drinking these days. My body just doesn’t love it. I enjoy a glass of wine now and again, don’t get me wrong. That being said, 1) I am all about balance and enjoy the holidays and 2) it just wouldn’t be the holidays without a signature cocktail for Tasty Yummies.
One of my all-time favorite winter and holiday indulgences is a steamy hot mug of mulled wine. However, living in California, a toasty mug of booze isn’t always what the weather gods have in mind, so I decided to get crafty and combine my summertime favorite, sangria, with the wintery, holiday flavors of mulled wine.
I have a very serious question for all of you… how in the heck is September almost over? Actually, make that two questions, I also want to know where the summer has gone? The Autumnal Equinox is just two days away and I honestly feel like summer just began. It probably doesn’t help that it has been a very busy summer and I have been traveling for most of this month. 12 days in a row were spent away from my home as I explored Maine, visited my family in New York, then returned home to quickly leave a mere 12 hours later, to visit a ranch and explore the adorable small town, Julian, CA.
I always find the end of September and the start of October to be a highly charged time for me, with lots of energetic shifts. Not only is change in the air with the start of a new season, but the fall equinox celebrates the equality of light and dark. As the sun shines directly on the equator, we experience (nearly) equal hours of daylight and darkness, all across the world! How cool is that? Because of this, the shift into fall focuses our energies on balance and as a libra, this equanimity is vital to my very existence. I thrive in the balance and I find myself at my best, most aware and most creative at this time.
Over the past few weeks I have had many reminders, presenting themselves in many different forms, to “honor yourself”. It’s easy in the busy time of summer to get lost in a sea of plans, to constantly be honoring promises to others and to fill the long days with socially-charged commitments. Summer is so focused on putting ourselves and our creations out into the world, feeding them and encouraging their flourishing growth in all the light surrounding us. I find as we transition toward darker days, the need to pause, to go within and to harvest our creations from these previous months. This time of rebalancing of our lives is the best for shifing our focus toward honoring our self. Armed with this knowledge of this time, the readings, reminders and messages, I have been able to focus on my energy inward these past few weeks. I have started to give myself the room to honor me and it has given me the space to see much more clearly.
Beyond this balance and the start of this energetic shift, with this new season I also very much enjoy the very literal harvest taking place, of the foods we eat and are creating. Apples and winter squashes, warming spices, stews, soups and baked goods. After our trip to Julian, CA at the end of last week, a town known for it’s apples, I was feeling inspired to create an apple pie with the beautiful apples we brought back. I planned to create a grain-free pie reminiscent of the slice of delicious gluten-free Apple Boysenberry Crumb Pie I had from a small bakery off Main Street. As I finished the last few bites of this pie, I dreamt of filling my own kitchen with the spicy, comforting aroma that filled this tiny little gold-mining town. Sadly, mother nature had other plans for me with her 100 degree summertime-like temperatures. While I really wanted to create this pie to share with you, I couldn’t imagine turning my oven on and slaving over peeling apples and rolling out dough. I chose to instead create another recipe, honoring the swing season. This special, but brief time where summer and fall meet.
Despite the fact that the calendar says September is mere days away and even with the kids going back to school, somehow Southern California hasn’t quite gotten the memo. We are smack in the middle of a good old fashioned heat wave and it’s so hot I can barely think straight.
As I create recipes each week, I not only try to think about what is in season and what I have access to, but also what foods I feel like eating. What sounds good, what will satiate my cravings, quench my thirst and all that good stuff. Right now all that sounds good is cooling foods, salads, juices, smoothies and all the water.
At our core, we are all balance. It’s how we are meant to exist, it is necessary to our survival. It is how we choose to live our lives, in the most simplest of forms, that take this delicate rhythm away from it’s natural state. As I was creating this recipe, it struck me, like a huge truck in fact, I am truly the epitome of a libra and a middle child, through and through. I like when things are even and balanced, I like to see all sides, I like the middle and I love the way life feels when equanimity is at the forefront. The scales may flutter about, but ultimately I don’t feel right when my life is not in balance. I firmly believe that when life is imbalanced, this is when we suffer mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. When I am not in balance, I am not connected to the world. When I am not connected to the world, I get lost in myself and it never ends well.
This Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail is just another example of how I truly embody the idea of balance, even in the most casual of moments in life. It’s something I crave even in the play time, I seek it and I am drawn to it, oftentimes in a completely subconscious manner. I’m sure, if you’ve been visiting this website for sometime, you see these very trends in my food. Many paleo recipes, yet lots of vegan, after many grain-free recipes will might find some grains, with a dozen vegan recipes, you’ll log on to find meatballs. There are sweets, but after too many, you won’t find them for a while. Many times I add a food to a recipe, just for a balance in color. I like to include ingredients that offer a compliment to balance another strong element. This is just how I live my life. Sometimes this need for balance will even show up in a dessert like a cake with some greens snuck into it or cookies with zucchini. It’s balance. My body craves it. The extremes, they just don’t work for me.
Oh my, it’s such a busy and energetically charged time right now. There is something about the start of summer, we are surround by so much abundance and many reasons to celebrate. There are many fun and exciting things happening right now, so much going on and so much to share with all of you. First and most importantly, my parents are here visiting, which of course wins for the best thing ever. Also, super exciting, the first episode of our brand new podcast, the So Let’s Hang Out Podcast, officially launched, yesterday (eeek!!). On this premiere episode, my co-host Gina and I chat about “first times”, we share some juicy gluten-free gossip and we even offer some actual constructive advice about healthy snacking. Our podcast is all about not taking yourself or your life very seriously, we just want to create a virtual space for hanging out, laughing and having a good time. We hope our little podcast can help brighten up your days and maybe offer a little helpful advice, once in a while, too!
We have also announced the June Yoga and Yummies event. Saturday, June 20th, we will be getting together once again here in Long Beach for an afternoon of yoga, delicious gluten-free food, friends and community. We will be celebrating the summer solstice with a flow-based, all-levels yoga class celebrating the abundance of the earth and the sun’s blessing of warmth and light.
Extra exciting, every attendee of Yoga and Yummies will receive a reusable napkin made from recycled & salvaged materials plus a set of beautiful bamboo cutlery from OUR friends at Yellow 108. Be sure to RSVP so that you can receive your set.
Last, but definitely not least, this evening I am hosting a cooking demo at the Whole Foods here in Long Beach, CA. This FREE Summer Eats inspired demo features some of the best of what the season has to offer! Plus, not only are all of the recipes gluten-free, but they are also paleo and vegan-friendly, too! A little something for everyone. Come on out, if you are a local – I’d love to meet you.
So, what does all of this have to do with Peach Cherry Frozen Limeade, you ask? Well not a whole ton, exactly, but my seasonal-loving friends, I will be making this frosty limeade this evening at my Summer Eats Cooking Demo at Whole Foods. Peaches and cherries in ice-cold, slushie form. Could it get any more seasonal right now?
Tasty Yummies Travels // I am finding myself, once again, bitten by the wanderlust bug and therefore I have been hitting the road, traveling more and more. There is so much to explore in this vast and beautiful world, but this can also be completely daunting to those of us venturing out with a list of dietary challenges. As I hit the road I plan to share my travels and adventures along the way with you. It is important to me to share both the ease and at times, the struggles of traveling while maintaining the balance of the lives we cultivate and flourish with at home. For the first in this ongoing series I am taking you along with me to the beautiful Islands of Loreto, in the Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Growing up on the east coast, Mexican culture wasn’t exactly part of my upbringing. Enjoying the foods and all of the incredible bold flavors was something I reserved for trips to Texas or California. Since moving to Southern California I have had the pleasure of visiting Mexico on several occasions this past year and each trip is an exciting, beautiful and of course, delicious adventure.
My visit to the Islands of Loreto this past week meant I was fully submerged into all the Baja California Sur has to offer. Truth be told, these Islands off the coast and this particular region of the BCS was an area I previously didn’t even know existed as a travel destination. It’s off the beaten path, likely overlooked by most travelers in favor of it’s popular neighbor to the south, Cabo San Lucas. But, what Cabo is to college-aged Spring-Breakers, Loreto is to calm, relaxation-seeking, wellness warriors, like myself.
My stay the Villa del Palmar Resort at the Islands of Loreto was a phenomenal one I will never forget. A week of wellness where delicious, fresh, beautifully prepared food was abundant, each plate served was a work of art more beautiful than the last. We ventured out on morning hikes into the hills over-looking the serene Sea of Cortez, the many islands and the incredible, vast untouched land surrounding the resort. We started and ended our days with yoga on the beach while the sound of the soft, calm waves found their way onto shore. By boat, with the salty sea breeze and the hot sun, kissing my skin, we explored the islands and witnesses some of the many native birds. We got an even closer look at the marine-life by snorkeling amongst the coral in the crystal blue clear water off one of the islands. Our lush time at the gorgeous Sabilla Spa took pampering to a whole new level with accommodations unlike anything I have ever seen, the hydrotherapy room alone is worth the visit. We also took a guided group trip into town, complete with a visit to the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó. I loved exploring and experiencing the rich culture and history of the area and of course let’s be real, the local foods. This was the most wonderful way to feel deeply connected to the roots of this magical place I was so fortunate to visit.
You didn’t think I would skip out on sharing a recipe for Cinco de Mayo, did you? I know when most of you think of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican food, you think of margaritas – I know I do. How could you not? But, today I am sharing the recipe for another traditional Mexican drink (also popular in Central America), this one non-alcoholic. Agua Frescas are traditional drinks, a blend of fruits, botanicals, seeds, etc., sweetener and water is added. It’s refreshing and a great way to celebrate what is in season. Of course, we already know how I feel about fruit infused water concoctions.
There is something about this time of year that I just love. The fresh newness of spring, the feeling of balance in the air with more and more hours of light. Though the winters are not freezing and snowy here in Southern California, the days are still short, the sun sets early and despite what you might think, the nights do get cool. No matter where you reside, as spring starts to creep in and as we get closer to summer, we have lighter and brighter days, everything is in bloom and feels new again. In these first few weeks of the new season however, one of the best things is this “Swing Season”, where we still have the remnants of winter and the beginnings of spring together for a short time. Mostly I am talking about produce. My beautiful local organic produce boxes that have been delivered the last few weeks, have had both the last bits of winter, my favorite being the beautiful citrus like these blood oranges. Plus the new spring fruits start showing up in our boxes too, like these fresh strawberries. With this beautiful, vibrant combination, I found myself inspired to create a gorgeous bright and seasonal Strawberry Blood Orange Margarita, the perfect drink to cheers the arrival of spring with.
While you read this, I’ll be sitting on the beach in Mexico, *hopefully* sipping away on a margarita just like this one. We planned a super quick escape from the craziness of life, with our friends Dan and Debbie, for a 4-day trip down the coast to Playa de Rosarito for a little rest and relaxation. Life has been so busy and hectic as of late, Mark was away for 10 days at SXSW in Austin, meanwhile I have been getting ready for our 4-day Women’s retreat next weekend, plus the Yoga and Yummies event this past weekend and lots of other projects. So, although I will still be working away most mornings while we are in Mexico, you’ll find me practicing yoga and sitting on the beach most afternoons and hopefully finding time to just breath and enjoy being back with my hubby and surround by my friends.
With winter upon us, one of my favorites of the citrus season are blood oranges. They are slightly sweeter, a little tart and have the most beautiful color to them. They are absolutely my favorite of all citrus and I truly didn’t know this love, until I moved to Southern California.
For my money, I find that out of all citrus fruits a blood orange lends itself the best to juices, cocktails and other drinks. And the beautiful vibrant hue present in any cocktail crafted with it, makes it that much more appealing and special.
This time of year I feel like as much as I am craving holiday flavors and traditional recipes, I am also looking to keep things as simple as possible and I really look to and work hard to stay on track with my eating. No reason to throw everything I work so hard for all year long, right out the door for a month of terrible choices. Between holiday parties and gatherings, events, my yoga teacher training coming to an end, mass amount of holiday orders from our websites, gift shopping and everything else, time is of the essence right now. There hasn’t been much extra time to bake cookies or to make homemade everything, like I always try to. When I was approached by Silk about their new Cashewmilk, I was super excited at the opportunity to try it and report back to you guys.
We all know that I am the queen of homemade nut milks, but I am always on the lookout for store-bought alternatives, both for myself when life gets busy, but also for those of you that don’t have the desire or time to make homemade nut milks. For me, the important things I look for look for are brands whose nut milk products are certified non-GMO, certified gluten-free, are minimally processed, free of artificial flavors and preservatives and don’t contain carrageenan. I also prefer unsweetened nut milks, so I can control the amount and type of sugar used.
Silk’s new Cashewmilk is a really great alternative to both homemade nut milks and if you are looking to make the switch, it is a great substitution for regular dairy milk, with 50% more calcium than dairy milk with only 25 calories per serving (25% less than skim milk)*. It’s so irresistibly creamy and delicious, it’s great over cereal, in your favorite recipes or just on it’s own. The moment I poured the first glass and saw just how thick and luscious it was, I immediately was inspired to recreate my favorite classic holiday drink, eggnog.
Though I tend to do very little imbibing these days, I do enjoy it now and again for special occasions. With the official start of the holidays upon us, I was on a mission to come up with a drink that could become the cocktail of the season. I have been working feverishly on the plans and the menu for our Thanksgiving feast this year and this seasonal appropriate libation will be perfect for our Friendsgiving get-together.
Sangria is the perfect cocktail for entertaining, so really it’d be great for any celebration. You can make a large batch a day ahead of time, let all of the flavors infuse with one another and as guests arrive, serve chilled with some fresh bubbles on top.
After a week in Western New York, I am in a fall mood! We we hit up the The Great Pumpkin Farm and went to the Mayer Brothers Apple Cider Mill, and I tried to enjoy as much fall food and flavors as I could in this short trip home. There truly is nothing like fall on the east coast.
Apple cider from the east coast, is probably one of my favorite things in the whole wide world! Sadly, I have yet to find anything quite like it, in our new home! I have found some OK ones in Southern California – but there really is no substitute. While it isn’t as good as the ones in Buffalo, I grabbed some decent cider a few weeks ago at a local market and was inspired to create this fall cocktail, featuring some of my favorite local kombucha – Fine Feathers Kombucha!
Having an organic farmer that shows up at your door every Wednesday afternoon with the freshest, yummiest and most in-season foods is literally a dream come true for this girl.
It’s like my own personal Food Network show where I am given a box of random ingredients and I have to create something delicious with them. I guess the only difference is, I don’t also have to use random canned weirdness, fish body parts or other strange things no one has ever heard of.
Basically, it just means I get to play with my food and I get to be creative with different delicious treats, each week. It really is so fun.
Lately, we’ve been getting all kinds of amazing fruit in our boxes and most excitingly we have been getting these big beautiful watermelons that are seriously the tastiest things I have ever had. So sweet, so juicy and just so perfect for these hot sunny days we’ve been having.
I created these non-alcoholic Watermelon Hibiscus Coolers simply because at one point we had more watermelon than we knew what to do with. They are soo refreshing, so perfectly sweet and aromatic and a beautifully impressive, refreshing treat when you have guests. I served these at the little Memorial Day BBQ we hosted here at our place. Some was even served as margaritas (recipe below) with silver tequila and a little extra fresh lime juice.
Homemade simple syrups have become a staple in my kitchen, much like homemade nut milks, nut butters and even sprouts. It’s a simple treat that you can easily make with your favorite fruits, herbs and/or botanicals. Occasionally, I will make them with organic raw sugar, but since I really adore the lovely the depth of flavor that you get when you use good local raw honey, I usually opt for that instead.
The possibilities are really endless for flavors, you can experiment with whatever you like best and expand your flavors and combinations from there. This particular flavor combination is one of my absolute favorites. Lavender and vanilla bean together are what dreams are made of, add in the honey and just forget it. It really doesn’t get any better.
Sweet, fragrant, earthy and unique. A few teaspoons of this syrup is wonderful topped with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. You can also use it as a traditional syrup, pouring it over yogurt or ice cream, cereals and granolas you can even add it to a homemade almond milk latte, which I am telling you – is life changing!! I am kind of obsessed.
OK, so I might be wayyy too insanely excited about today’s guest blogger, my girl Gina from So…Let’s Hang Out. Lovely Miss Gina is just about the most magical, polar bear loving, super sweet lady you will ever meet. I am proud to have her as a friend and to bring her here to Tasty Yummies for the first time to share an incredible cocktail with you guys. I hope you enjoy.
Firstly, I want to thank and virtually chest bump my friend Beth for letting me come over to her really pretty corner of the interweb today and sully you all with booze and tomfoolery. I think we can both agree that this lady is pretty tops! Like, if we were texting right now and you asked me, “how do you feel about Beth from Tasty Yummies?” I wouldn’t have enough Emojis to properly respond. I’d have to use all of them. But, I think I’d probably use the one that looks like tap dancing twins more than once, because it just feels right. There would be exclamation marks and goings-on about how this lady is for reals one of the loveliest friends and one heck of an inspiring blogger. Since this is still my fantasy text to her, I think I’d end it with these Emojis in the following order: donut, ramen noodles, panda bear, thumbs up, jazz hands, tap dancing twins, donut, donut, guy with mustache, camel, tap dancing twins, donut.
It’s so like me to write an entire paragraph of arguable nonsense without introducing myself. Hi there! *Waves enthusiastically*My name is Gina and I write over at So…Let’s Hang Out. It’s a whole lot of gluten-free recipes, the occasional drawing of animals in human clothes, and spontaneous dance party encouragement all doused in copious amounts of oversharing about how I learned for the hundredth time that cooking bacon without wearing pants is just not a good idea. Splatter. Bare thighs. No. Just, no.
I know we’re just getting to know each other (even though I’ve already talked about my penchant for not wearing pants—too soon?) so, why don’t we just do this thing over cocktails? That would probably be best.
I was supposed to be in San Francisco for the weekend, our final show of the holiday. Sadly, the dog got sick which meant I had to stay home, since we didn’t feel comfortable boarding her. Hubby had to go to the event without me, so that equated to some unplanned time off this weekend. I actually didn’t know what to do with myself, we have been going non-stop for the past month and a half or so. I seriously actually made a list Friday night of what I wanted to do to relax. That’s how tightly wound I was.
Saturday morning I got up bright and early headed to a yoga class to start my unwinding and relaxing. I really cannot think of a more perfect way to kick off a weekend of no plans. By Saturday afternoon I found myself getting a relaxing pedicure with Meg and after that I curled up on the couch with my furry baby, watching Christmas movies and I decide I should whip up a quick seasonal cocktail. Gingerbread felt appropriate given that we are just a couple days away from my favorite day of the year.
This cocktail is spicy and has a strong molasses flavor, it tastes just like a traditional gingerbread cookie. If you want it sweeter add a bit more maple syrup or honey, or use a smidge less molasses. The fresh ginger is optional, but I personally love the little bits of it floating in the cocktail, such a great taste. Read the rest of this entry »
We are all very aware of the well loved, super-food, quinoa, by now. How could you not be? It could nearly have it’s own section at a Whole Foods now and we certainly can’t eat at a trendy healthy restaurant without seeing it on the menu somewhere, if not in multiple places. I am personally a big fan of quinoa and it appears I am not alone! The United Nations actually declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. I love that! Quinoa is the mother of all grains and is an ancient power food used by Incan warriors 5000 years ago. The popularity of the seed, (which is commonly referred to as a grain) has grown exponentially over the past few years, I’ve seen it in everything from savory dishes, cookies, cakes, breads and now VODKA!! I mean really, does it really get any better than this?
Yup, it actually does. FAIR. Quinoa Vodka is an ethically sourced, one-of-a-kind spirit made with unique ingredients that is certified gluten-free and fair-trade, too!! FAIR.’s long list of boast-worthy qualities won me over, before I had ever even tasted it. Then, in a moment just like those in blockbuster chick-flicks, with a slow move in towards my lips, it was love at first sip! OK, who am I kidding, I am not that dainty, it was first a sip, then a good ‘ol fashioned vodka gulp. This stuff is really good, guys. It’s clean, smooth and fresh, no strange aftertaste like many vodkas can have. It’s full flavored while still being delicate with a slightly warm fruity finish. I have been loving it paired with a homemade coffee liqueur on the rocks, but it is also incredible in a simple dirty martini. Read the rest of this entry »
I will keep this one short, yesterday’s post was enough words to read for the next week. Phew! What can I say, sometimes I just have stuff I wanna chat about. Thanks so much for being here to read it and all the rest of my ramblings!
I originally was only going to be sharing this recipe with my email list. An exclusive content kinda thing. But, I just can’t keep this from you guys and I am a little bit of a sucker. Many of you asked if you could still get the recipe even if you aren’t on my mailing list so I decided rules are meant to be broken, even if they are your own.
Too many people hate emails lists and I kinda don’t blame you. My inbox is a hot mess most days. If you are a busy person and you have a lot of stuff coming and going from your email everyday, adding one more could just be the tipping point. I don’t ever want to annoy you, my friends. So, for those of you that don’t want to mess with emails, I didn’t want you guys to feel left out. I don’t like holding out on you guys and this one is way too yummy to not be shared with the masses. So here ya go – enjoy this, share it and make it part of your holidays this year.
It’s been a while since I have shared a cocktail recipe here on Tasty Yummies. These days I am only really drinking at home when we have people over for dinner or something of that nature, but with this fig tree in our yard, I have been forced to get super creative with all of these figs we are getting.
I even came up with a hashtag #gettingfiggywitit on Instagram, for all my fun fig adventures. Besides all of this yumminess, I have been freezing them for use in smoothies later and I have dehydrated some to also use later and some are getting mailed to my parents. If you can believe it, our tree is still going strong. We are going to have figs for quite some time.
This Fig, Vanilla Bean and Cardamom Infused Vodka is so simple to make, within a week you’ll be making cocktails that will blow your friends away! If you aren’t big on cocktails and the fuss of mixing, this vodka is so good you can enjoy it as is on the rocks or as a simple martini (see the recipe below). Read the rest of this entry »