How is it Friday already? Where has this week gone? Busy weeks mean the time is just flying by. Among the usual weekly things, teaching yoga, events in LA and all that good stuff, Wednesday night I taught another free cooking demo at Whole Foods here in Long Beach. I shared 4 delicious seasonally-inspired recipes that were of course, gluten-free as well as all being plant-based and grain-free, too! It was another full room and everyone left with full bellies and I hope lots of fun tips and recipes. Thanks to all that came, it’s so fun to be able to share the message that real food heals and I love being able to cook simple, seasonal food that anyone can make in their own kitchen.
Being that mangoes are in-season right now, the final dish I created at the Whole Foods cooking demo, the sweet of the bunch, was this super simple Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding.
Perfect as a breakfast ready to eat when you wake up in the morning, a naturally-sweetened dessert or a quick snack, this creamy, sweet pudding is also the perfect energy boost. Chia seeds have a high density of omega-3 fatty acids (more than a serving of salmon or flaxseeds), they are high in fiber, protein, they are full of antioxidants and minerals, like calcium (surprisingly up to 3 times more than a serving of milk), and they are naturally anti-inflammatory. Chia seeds can absorb up to 10x their own weight in water, which means they are known to prolong hydration and improve our absorption of electrolyte nutrients. The best part is this also slows digestion and keeps you fuller longer, which makes these parfaits great fuel in the morning before a busy day. Talk about a superfood. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the deal, in the heat of the Summer, on those real, super duper hot days, I can sometimes become a bit of a lazy, wanna-do-nothing-monster. I legitimately always try to find the easy way out for meals on days like this. See also: all the salads, crock-pot meals and the throwing of any and all things onto the grill! As someone that likes a little something sweet now and again, this same logic applies. I cannot justify baking and I don’t always have the patience to wait for popsicles to freeze.
I always consider it a small victory when I can create a recipe that not only tastes incredible and is healthy, but is super easy, too! I live for this actually! Eating well should not just be fun and tasty, but it should be simple and something we can all do. If it’s too difficult or challenging, this is when we revert back to the easy options, take out, processed foods, store bought ice cream loaded with god knows what.
So let’s vow right here and now, to keep all the summer foods as simple as possible. Less steps, less ingredients, less equipment and tools, starting with this 3-Ingredient Banana Matcha Ice Cream. I know we’ve all seen the banana ice cream phenom that has swept the internet over the last few years! If you are no stranger to this, than you will know that this ice cream is simply a fancy variation on this classic, easy recipe. It seriously doesn’t get much easier than this. If you are like me, a smoothie addict, you always have a few bananas in the freezer, just waiting for smoothies or banana ice cream.
This post is part of my ongoing Restricted Diet series with the Free People blog BLDG 25
This refreshing, summer-inspired Tomato Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Olives is a beautiful addition to any summer meal. Growing up in a Greek family, tomato cucumber salads were a staple with many of our meals in the summer. We would go to the garden, grab what we needed, mix it up, top it off with some variations of a Greek-inspired dressing, maybe some feta and kalamata olives and that was that.
I swap the feta cheese for avocado in this rendition, creating a dish to please everyone. This light and colorful side dish has a beautiful crunch from the cucumbers, a salty brine from the olives, creaminess from the avocado and the bright fresh flavor of the tomatoes. If you have an abundant garden of your own or maybe a weekly CSA box delivery, I am certain this classic refreshing salad will become a mainstay on your summer menu.
This is part of my ongoing restricted diet series with Free People.
Most mornings I wake before dawn, roll out of bed, give myself a few minutes of silence or meditation and then I head off to an early morning yoga class. As the sun rises and I head back towards home, I look forward to refueling with that first nourishing meal of the day, hot tea and the quiet of the early morning.
Even better, the mornings where breakfast awaits m. Not because I have a personal chef or an extra sweet husband, but rather I planned ahead and prepped it the night before. Chia seed puddings are probably my favorite overnight breakfast treat, perfect for refueling after my early morning yoga session. Not only are chia seed puddings a breeze to whip up, but they taste wonderful, they are also super satisfying and loaded with healthy and nourishing goodness.
If chia seeds were once used by Aztec warriors to build energy and stamina on battlefield, they certainly can refuel me after a sweaty, flowy yoga class and power me through the start of a busy work day. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, cell-protecting antioxidants, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are anti-inflammatory and a dense source of crucial minerals, with more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach.
For many of us, eating and living consciously is already part of our everyday life; eating clean foods, using clean or homemade beauty and household products, incorporating yoga and meditation. But, beyond an awareness of what we consume, it’s also important that we think of the far reach of our consumption. The results of our actions and our purchases, the energy needed to produce what we consume, our waste and what we are leaving behind.
I personally choose to make as much as I can at home for myself, not only because I prefer to know what exactly is in the foods and products that I consume, but I also love the idea of creating less waste, fewer things to throw away or recycle. As much as I can, I try to remove the worry about packages and boxes, cartons or wrapping. To me, the ripples and reach of my actions carries a heavy weight. Buying one box of almond milk, isn’t just about the actual almond milk inside, it’s the carton, the plastic top, the energy needed to produce and of course, all of the unnecessary ingredients being added.
I know for those of you just barely feeling spring trying to force it’s way in, you won’t want to hear about the extreme heat we’ve had in southern California recently. With temperatures in the 90′s, it seems we have skipped right over the spring and jumped right into summer. I have switched from comforting winter soups and stews and roasted veggies to salads and cooler meals.
Soup that isn’t served hot may seem strange, but there are times when it just works and this is definitely one of them. It’s super fast to throw together — no slaving over a stove! — you don’t have to wait around for hours to let it simmer and there is very little prep.
As someone who rarely drinks coffee, I do love the occasional morning pick-me-up. Enter matcha! Matcha is finely ground green tea, that comes in the form of a powder. Matcha’s benefits far outweigh your typical mug of steamy green tea, as you are ingesting the whole leaf, not just water brewed from it. When it comes to nutritional value and antioxidants, I have read that just one serving of matcha is equivalent to 10 servings of regular green tea! Matcha boasts a very long list of benefits, including increased energy levels, boosting memory, it’s also been known to help to burn calories and detoxify the body. Additionally, matcha has also been shown to improve cholesterol and fortify the immune system, with a long list of vitamins and antioxidants show to have antibiotic properties know to promote overall health.
Not only do I enjoy matcha as I do any traditional hot teas, simply with boiled water poured over (whisked to make a frothy hot beverage), I especially enjoy it in a latte, with steamy coconut and/or almond milk. However, adding matcha to my morning green smoothies has quickly become my favorite ways to find a boost of energy for the day!
For me, carrots fall into the category of vegetables that I simply don’t give enough love! I find myself thinking of the boring, mushy steamed carrots we were served as kids and I find myself bored before I even take a bite.
I tend to forget how amazing roasted and charred carrots can be. That roasted goodness, where the carrots get tender but still retain a bit of their bite in the middle. The slightly caramelized brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots.
With my lack of interest in sweets this year, I came to the realization that if I just started making sweet recipes to post here on the blog, I would eat them, simply because they were here. This is my number one rule for being mindful of how I eat and not making bad decisions. If you don’t have it in the house, you can’t and won’t eat it. Even with not being much of a dessert or baked goods person, my hatred of wasting food would definitely beat out my disinterest in any sweets. So, I have opted to just not make many sweet things this holiday season. Problem solved.
Though this time of year tempting sweets sseem to be around every corner, it doesn’t mean we have to overindulge. It is totally possible to enjoy a little something sweet without the massive guilt that usually immediately follows. I don’t love the idea of taking care of yourself all year round and then going hog-wild at the holidays. For me, a little indulging here and there is good, but there is no logical reason to consume several pounds of sugar over a two week period, just because of the time of year and because that’s “what we do”.
This post is part of my restricted diet series on the Free People Blog BLDG 25
Since my daily yoga practice is as important to me as the food I eat, I try to plan ahead with my meals, to make getting to the studio as easy as possible. Lately I have been enjoying daily 6am vinyasa flow classes, so that means getting to bed at a reasonable time and being up at 5am. I don’t eat before I practice yoga, but the minute I come home and walk through the front door I am starving – so I love easy, simple, quick, and healthy breakfast options.
It’s that time of year again, when the amount of zucchini coming from my garden, is far more than two humans could ever consume. So, I’ve been getting busy making zucchini noodles, chocolate zucchini muffins, raw zucchini bites, stuffed zucchini, crispy baked zucchini rounds and more.
However, while staring at a pile of fresh heirloom zucchini freshly picked from my garden over the weekend, I realized I hadn’t made zucchini bread in a very long time, in fact I hadn’t made bread of any kind in a long time. So I pulled out my favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend and I got busy.
This Gluten-free Spiced Zucchini Bread has a delicate crumb and the perfect amount of spice. I like mine toasted with a little pat of coconut butter or real butter.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy zucchini?
[print_this]Gluten-Free Spiced Zucchini Bread
makes 1 loaf
- 1 full cup of grated zucchini (from about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup light coconut sugar or other granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Place the shredded zucchini into some paper towels and gently squeeze out any excess moisture then set aside.
Put the all-purpose gluten-free flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground flax seeds, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In another large bowl add sugar, oil, eggs, coconut milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk thoroughly until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat (by hand or with mixer) until well combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and the walnuts, if using. (I always reserve just a little of each to sprinkle over the tops of the loaves).
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to even out the top. Sprinkle over the reserved zucchini and nuts to the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely on the rack. As hard as it can be, I allow the bread to cool for at least an hour, if not longer, before slicing into it.
Once cooled, bread can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. [/print_this]
This easy-to-make salad is one of my favorite go-to, quick summer sides. Now that the beautiful heirloom cucumbers in my garden are coming in strong, I have been enjoying this cool, crisp salad nearly every day. The many wonderful Asian-inspired flavors are all so perfectly well-balanced by the various fresh ingredients.
By allowing some of the liquid to drain off from the cucumbers, you can make this refreshing salad ahead and keep it chilled and not lose and of the amazing crispy crunch of the cucumbers. The cucumbers in my garden are quite high in water, as compared to other varieties, so I find this step particularly important when I use those. I also really love this salad with persian cucumbers, as they hold up super well and their flavor is incredible.
Instead of calling this one a recipe, I feel like I should call it a “requirement.” You NEED to grill some peaches, as soon as possible. I feel like this should be mandatory for everyone in the summer months.
It all started with this salad and I haven’t been able to stop since. This particular simple and sweet dish that I am sharing today would be the perfect way to end any summer meal, and it would be especially great at pretty much any summer BBQ. It also makes the perfect snack when you are craving something a little sweet.
I serve mine with a dollop of homemade whipped coconut cream. But, if you eat dairy, you could also just serve it with regular whipped cream, your favorite yogurt, ice cream or even, some mascarpone, crème fraîche or burrata.
It’s strawberry season, it’s strawberry season and I might be just a little bit excited! Iapologize in advance, I know it isn’t quite strawberry season for those of you not in Southern California. But, that just means you can start bookmarking and saving all of these yummy strawberry recipes I share and they’ll be all ready for you to get to cooking as soon as they are in season near you.
This slighty sweet, kinda tart, and a little bit spicy, Strawberry Avocado Jalapeño Salsa, is just as amazing as it is beautiful. Great on tortilla chips, over your favorite tacos, on grilled chicken or fish, or even just with a spoon. We have already had some hot weather here in Southern California, so I have been enjoying summery treats a little early. This salsa is simple to make and just full of so much flavor. I don’t always love fruit in savory dishes, but this one is incredible. I have a feeling this is going to be a staple snack around here this strawberry season! Read the rest of this entry »
Spring produce honestly makes me giddy. I get school girl crush excited to stroll the aisles at the farmers market and my favorite organic grocery store and it feels like Christmas morning every Wednesday when I open the CSA box that our farmer drops off and I get to look inside. I am not sure how you feel about it, but I seriously think all of this fresh green goodness is definitely worth celebrating.
One of my absolute favorite in season vegetables is asparagus. I am not joking when I tell you I consumed about 3 lbs of it myself in a 24 hour period, one day last week. I love it. My two favorite ways to enjoy it is roasted in the oven and grilled. The smokey flavor and those char marks from the beautiful caramelization of the natural sugars are just perfection.
Oh and I personally find just picking those spears up with my hands and enjoying them, sans silverware, only enhances all of this! Try it, you’ll see. Read the rest of this entry »
This post is part of my ongoing restricted diets series with the Free People Blog BLDG 25.
Since it seems this winter is hanging on until the bitter end for a lot of folks this year, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for one last comforting winter meal, like this simple to make spinach, lentil and sweet potato slow cooker soup
OK, sure, I am in California and our idea of winter weather is the low 60s and some rain, but even with our (not so) cooler than usual winter weather — I want hot, comforting foods, that literally feel like a warm hug with every spoonful.
Does anyone else find that they crave chocolate more than ever in February? With all the Valentine’s Day recipes in blogs and magazines and all the treats in stores, I feel like I see the stuff everywhere! Of course, a good quality chocolate treat isn’t bad for you, in moderation, but why not a chocolate treat that actually has tons of additional, wonderful health benefits, even?
Today as part of my ongoing Restricted Diet series with Free People, I am sharing a super simple to make, raw Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding that will knock your socks off. The best part about this pudding, besides it being chocolate, is that you can really make it you own. Select your favorite toppings, add some cinnamon or cayenne for a little heat, whip up some coconut cream for topping, the possibilities are endless.
With Valentine’s Day being just a week away, I have had chocolate on the brain! So, I thought I would share some of my very favorite gluten-free chocolate recipes that would make just about anyone swoon this Valentine’s Day.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy chocolate?
Head over to the Free People Blog BLDG 25 to get the other 6 recipes.
I have to admit, I was never really one of those people that freaked out about citrus, I have never cared much about orange juice or sitting down to eat an entire grapefruit. That was until we moved out here to Southern California. The citrus here is just amazing. The oranges, especially, are just incredible, unlike any I have ever tasted before. The fact that we have an orange tree here in our yard is just icing on the cake. Plus we’ve been getting adorable Satsuma tangerines in our CSA box each week. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I decided to take a step away from the computer and online for the last week and a half and enjoy family, friends and to celebration all of the goodness of the holidays!!
It has been a busy two months and the last two weeks have definitely been no exception. Though I do my best to stick to my clean and healthy eating, I do also like to indulge a little at the holidays. Everything in moderation, is how I choose to look at it. That said, by the time New Years rolls around I am tired and not feeling like my usual self.
However, come January 2nd – every year, I am ready to get back to super clean eating, tons of fruits and veggies and wave goodbye to the sweets, cookies and cocktails, for a while.
I am taking extra special care the next couple of days to get in lots of detoxifying and cleansing foods to help get my body ready for my month-long yoga teacher training program that I start next week!! I want to be in tip-top mental shape, ready to take in all that I am about to learn. For me what I am eating and consuming has a direct reflection on my mind and my ability to focus.
This juice was the perfect way to start the day today and I have a feeling many days to come this month. Ginger, beet, lemon, apple, celery, cucumber and parsley together for a bright, fresh and cleansing juice. Read the rest of this entry »
Can you even believe that Christmas is less than one week away already? Where did the time go? Are you all ready?
I had to get in one last special cookie recipe for the season!! For as much as I enjoy traditional holiday cookies, I also get so excited about creating fun new flavor combinations. These cookies make me both happy, because of how great they taste, and bummed, because I haven’t been pairing pomegranates with chocolate up until now. What an amazing combo! You have to try it.