When it comes to entertaining, boards are the ultimate in wow factor without a ton of fuss. More specifically I am a HUGE fan of cheese and meat boards. Selfishly when entertaining, since I prefer to avoid grains and greasy chips and snacks, cheese and charcuterie boards offer a great, pretty low maintenance way for me to have everything that I want, while still making all of my guests happy.
My cheese and charcuterie boards are generally focused around being totally grain-free and then depending on my guests, I will often have a generous pile of toasted crostini, that I serve to the side, separately for the non gluten-free or grain-free folks. I simple arrange sliced crostini in a single layer on a cookie sheet, brush both sides with olive oil and toss under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s the fastest way to lots of toast.
Follow along for all of my tips on How-to Build an Epic Grain-free Cheese and Charcuterie Board.
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!
It’s been a tad quiet here on the website and my social media outlets while I enjoyed the magic of the holidays with my family in NY. I took a little break from the constant posting and checking all the social channels, while allowing myself to be fully submerged in the short time I had with my family. Those trips back home are never long enough, they fly by in the blink of an eye and I find myself packing my bags up to come back to our home in California, in what feels like mere hours after we had just left.
I know I am repeating myself when I share this thought, but whether traveling and visiting family or in my own home entertaining guests, I very much subscribe to the notion that just like the rest of the year, the holidays should be about balance. Making mindful choices, but also not limiting yourself to such an unhealthy degree that you wander through the season feeling deprived, left out, unhappy or unable to relax and enjoy your loved ones. A few extra starchy carbs or a little extra unrefined sugar, by way of those tasty homemade gluten-free cookies or maybe a little extra dairy than normal in those traditional homemade meals your family makes, I can promise you that it won’t kill you (this is all outside of any existing allergies, of course). If you eat a little off your usual plan, doing so knowing it’s a treat, it won’t derail your hard work from the rest of the year. It’s not only about the balance but also, the energy and the emotions you harbor when eating. Dropping the guilt and the feelings of “doing wrong”, this matters and it certainly affects how your body chooses to respond to the treats, as well.
Eating healthy and choosing real food is so incredibly important and generally at the forefront for most of us, but allowing it to take a backseat to family and friends, love, laughter and memories, in my mind, this is certainly as it should be, especially during the holidays. This season I have been on a mission to create dishes that celebrate the holidays with my loved ones, yet still fall within my idea of healthy, real food. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy New Year Everyone!! Is everyone as excited to welcome 2013 as I am? We have a lot on schedule for this year and at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve it all felt very real! We are still in the middle of packing up our house for the big move to California. The moving truck comes on Friday and our house closes in just over a week and we have been working like crazy to wrap up all of the end of year loose ends with the business and to go through the house room by room to decide what is making the move, what can get donated and what can be sold. It has been an arduous few weeks with the holidays squished into the middle of it all, but it was a welcomed distraction during such a stressful time.
A few days after Christmas we had an emergency scare with our dog Seri, when she got into some gum with Xylitol in it. As you can imagine, this definitely aded to the stress. You can read a little about it here. I do plan to do a post here on Tasty Yummies about our experience, as well. I would like to share my story and get the word out about how dangerous and highly xylitol is for dogs, since the I feel that not enough dog owners know. I am so grateful for the other food bloggers that have mentioned it, otherwise I wouldn’t have known to act quickly. I consciously do not keep it in the house, but I didn’t know it was hidden in so many common things. I was unaware we even had it in the house. She is thankfully (and very luckily) OK now, but it was a very rough few days, my body actually broke out into a full on cold in the middle of it. I could feel I had been fighting it for a few days and I guess the stress of worrying about my baby just brought it on full force.
With our pooch being back home with us now and yesterday officially ending the holidays and making this move our only focus, the stress of it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I am not at all a person stricken with anxiety in the least, I consider myself to be mostly calm, but wow, is this move testing me on that. You always hear people say that a big move is one of the most stressful things you can ever go through. They aren’t kidding.
I have been trying to find as much time to cook as I can in this time, since like my yoga it is one of the most calming and soothing things to me. I made a huge pot of chicken pho when my cold was in it’s full force and it was so perfect! I also made a big feast on New Year’s Eve for hubby and I. Yesterday we had dinner with my family at my parents house and since I am now in full-on clean out the fridge and pantry mode, I decided to come up with a salad inspired by what is in season and in my fridge!
Everyone absolutely LOVED this salad, which made me so happy! It is full of beautiful vibrant colors and bright fresh flavors. If you can’t find baby kale, you could also use arugula, baby spinach, field greens, frisée, endive, etc.
I am starting to pack up my kitchen stuff today, so this may be the last recipe post you see for a while. We will be temporarily staying with my parents for a few weeks while we fly out to California to find a house and get everything in order. Hopefully I will have some time to cook for and with my parents in that time.
What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
- 2-3 small/medium organic sweet potatoes, cleaned well and cut into 1-inch cubes, I leave the skin on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 cups organic baby kale (or arugula, baby spinach, field greens, frisée, endive, etc.)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 small organic pomegranate, seeded – you are looking for about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of seeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, plus some fresh orange zest
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
(I didn’t need all of this dressing, so use as much as you’d like and then store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for other salads)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, thyme, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer on a baking pan and roast for 20-30 minutes until they start to brown and are tender. Set aside to cool.
While the potatoes are roasting make the dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
After the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit, layer those on top of the baby kale in a large serving bowl, add the green onions, toasted pine nuts, and top with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Toss with the dressing just before serving (you may not need all of it, so add slowly). Grate a little fresh orange zest on top as you are serving.[/print_this]