Month: February 2015

Brussels Sprouts Bonanza

So last week I bought a bag of brussels sprouts from Costco. With two pounds of raw brussels sprouts on my hands, I was determined to try as many different variations as possible throughout the week. To start I cut them all in half and roasted them at 425 for about 35 minutes, flipping them about halfway through. Then throughout the week I added this base to different recipes that you’ll find below.

My Classic Recipe

This is my go to recipe – the perfect mix of savory, sweet, and spicy. Roast with the remaining ingredients to intensify the flavor or simply add in afterwards. 

Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Cinnamon and cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp maple syrup, optional

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice, basil, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper
Drizzle of olive oil, optional

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with diced tomatoes and quinoa

Sriracha Lime Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
Lime juice, sriracha, ginger, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with black rice, kale, peanuts, and a poached egg. For a perfect poached egg, simmer a pot of water, pour an egg in and gently swirl for 3-4 minutes as shown below.

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Brussels Sprouts “Hash”

This last recipe takes a spin on a classic breakfast side dish by using shredded brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, and avocado instead of white potato, sausage, and cheese. 

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Ingredients
1 cup shredded brussels sprouts (or roughly chop whole ones)
1/2 sweet potato, grated
1 tomato, diced
1 egg
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Thyme, cayenne pepper, rosemary, lemon pepper
1/4 avocado, optional

Pan fry all ingredients (except the egg) until softened. Add the egg in last and cook to your desired consistency. Top with avocado, if desired.

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Cold Peanut “Noodles” and Sesame Tempeh

One of my favorite appetizers at chinese food restaurants growing up was cold sesame noodles. So with some healthy substitutions (mainly the broccoli slaw in lieu of noodles), I was able to recreate this takeout fav! I think I liked this version even better because I didn’t feel bloated and sluggish after eating it. It’s so fresh and flavorful and the sauce is UNREAL. Seriously I ate it for dinner one night and then leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. And I even thinned the sauce out with some extra coconut aminos and water and made a delicious salad dressing! If that’s not a good testimony, I don’t know what is. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients
serves 2, with leftover sauce
1 package broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, or spiralized zucchini
1 package tempeh
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I subbed half with PB2)
1 tbsp honey
Spices: sriracha, ginger, cilantro, crushed red pepper to taste

Directions
1. Blanch broccoli slaw by boiling for 2-3 minutes and then soaking in ice water. Optional, but I think it tastes better than completely raw veggies. Also feel free to cook them more thoroughly with a drizzle of sesame oil in a pan.
2. Chop tempeh into cubes and sautée them with a tsp of sesame oil for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Blend all remaining ingredients and spices to make sauce.
4. Toss broccoli slaw with sauce until coated. Top with cooked tempeh and sesame seeds, optional.
5. You can eat it as is, or let sit 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge (I think it tasted even better the next day!).

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Blueberry Lemon Compote

Last week a friend of mine showed me a recipe for blueberry lemon quinoa. At the same time I had been experimenting with different homemade jams with chia seeds. Chia seeds are great for creating a jam consistency because they expand to up to 10 times their size when combined with liquid. So long story short, I was just playing around in the kitchen one morning and ended up with this delicious compote that came together in just about 10 minutes!

Ingredients
1/4 cup blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
lemon zest or lemon oil (optional)

Directions
1. Mash ripe blueberries with the back of a fork.
2. Add lemon juice, chia seeds, and zest.
3. Stir well to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the chia seeds expand and thicken the compote.
4. Enjoy over oats, breakfast quinoa, toast, pancakes, or just with a spoon!

Notes
*This is just for about 1 serving, feel free to double or triple the recipe. It will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
*If you’d like a smoother consistency, you can blend the lemon juice and blueberries before adding the chia seeds. Personally, I liked it chunkier.

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Feliz Mardi Gras

In honor of Fat Tuesday, I wanted to recap my experience this past weekend in New Orleans. My over-eager roommate and I booked our weekend adventure back in September. No, that wasn’t a typo, in September we decided that we were absolutely going to Mardi Gras this year and secured all of the arrangements. After a lot of research, when we finally decided on a hotel, we knew it was nice but we didn’t know just quite how nice it was until we got out of the cab from the airport and started laughing. Let’s just say it wasn’t your typical college Mardi Gras weekend accommodation…(yay for booking early???)

ready to go in our hotel lobby

ready to go in our hotel lobby

I’ve heard New Orleans was a unique place, and I’m sure that it was only heightened by the fact that it was Mardi Gras, but believe me when I tell you this is a whole other planet! Even just the stores we passed consisted of some of the strangest combinations I’d ever seen, but somehow they worked! Two of the most common ones were “daiquiri and pizza places” and “praline and hot sauce shops.” Oh, and how could I forget that most restaurants advertised “cocktails to go.” Like I said, another planet with NO LAWS.

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The entire French Quarter had such a festive atmosphere and everyone was really friendly…for the most part. The parades were super elaborate, the floats cost thousands of dollars and the people riding them had insane costumes – definitely one of the highlights.

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Now, on to the cuisine, because let’s be real would you expect any post of mine not to include food? Saturday morning we had a great brunch at the Royal House replete with pineapple cucumber mojitos and a traditional New Orleans shrimp creole. We also wandered into one of those praline and hot sauce stores where we found out they were sampling upwards of 20 different hot sauces, the hottest ones required you to sign a waiver (seriously, a waiver!). Spoiler alert – I didn’t taste one of those. But I did end up buying a mild one (and a cafe au lait and bananas fosters flavored pralines because who can resist those?). Lastly, we ended our weekend late Saturday night at the iconic Cafe Du Monde for their famous beignets and coffee. They DEFINITELY lived up to their high expectations 🙂

 

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It was a short trip that was definitely Mardi Gras focused, so I’d love to go back to New Orleans to do more sightseeing and exploring because I know there’s tons more to see! But for now I satisfied myself with a homemade shrimp creole omelet (look out for that post soon!) 😉

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Couldn’t have imagined doing this weekend with any other Krewe!

Monday Munchies: Frozen Acai Berry Purée

Acai bowls are a trendy LA treat, made from blending frozen acai berry purée with bananas, other berries, pineapple and the likes and then topped with additional fruit, shredded coconut, and granola. Acai berries are known for their high antioxidant and omega 3,6, and 9 content. While they are a dime a dozen out in LA, (dare I say they are the biscuits of the west coast?) it’s hard to find them in Nashville. Luckily, the brand Sambazon makes frozen acai berry purée packs. They have no added sugar and come individually wrapped in 4 portions – perfect for smoothies or bowls. Basically the only difference between a smoothie and a bowl is thickness, so if you can use less milk and more fruit and then add toppings you can eat it with a spoon much like a yogurt parfait. More often than not though, I’ve used these frozen packs in a smoothie for on the go convenience. My go to combo is acai purée, coconut water, and vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder. It pretty much works in place (or in addition to) any fruit in your favorite smoothie!

look how pretty the smoothie comes out!

 

my acai bowl in LA

my acai bowl inspiration in LA

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Traditional Italian food is often fried and loaded with cheese and refined carbs making it a total diet demolisher. So does that mean you can never enjoy the rich, gooey, flavorful goodness of pizza, baked ziti, or lasagna ever again? Of course not! But with inspiration from This Rawesome Vegan Life and the help of my partner in crime Stacey, we created a healthy alternative using cashews, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and Italian spices. Raw cashews surprisingly take on a very creamy, savory flavor when mixed with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spices. It’s a common base for many dairy-free cheese substitutes, even cream cheese! The sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli create a fresh, lighter version of classic oil-filled pesto to compliment the heavier cashew “cheese.” Seriously y’all, I loveeee pesto, but I think this may be my new favorite! Although it may seem complicated with all the different components of the recipe, I promise it only took us under an hour to prep, cook, and clean (all just in time for our weekly Scandal viewing!)

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Ingredients
serves 2

2 zucchinis
1/2 cup diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
sprinkle of non-dairy cheese, optional (I tried almond cheese for the first time this week, but I also love daiya or Trader Joe’s brand)

Cashew “Cheese”
1/2 cup raw cashews
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano to taste

Sun-dried Tomato and Broccoli Pesto
1-2 cups broccoli (steamed and chopped)
handful sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tsp olive oil (if the tomatoes aren’t packed in oil)
salt, pepper, basil to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare the cashew “cheese” by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Remove and set aside.
3. Prepare sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender, I preferred it on the chunkier side so I used a medium speed setting. Remove and set aside.
4. Cut zucchinis in half and scoop out the seeds to make room for the fillings.
5. Fill zucchini with tomatoes and then layer in cashew “cheese” and pesto (we alternated a dollop of each).
6. Optional, sprinkle your choice shredded non-dairy cheese.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and zucchini is softened.

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cashew “cheese”

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sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto

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filling the zucchini

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mozzarella flavored cheese made from almonds – pretty mild taste and browns nicely!

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before the oven

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ready to eat (and watch Scandal!)

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bon appetit!

Marche Brunch

Marche is the sister restaurant of Margot Cafe, my absolute favorite restaurant (which is something I don’t say lightly!). Naturally, I had to check Margot’s relative, and since brunch is my favorite meal of the day, I figured it would be an instant hit. My roommate and I went over the summer, but with my crazy schedule there are a ton of restaurants and cities I’ve been wanting to post about but time got away from me. Now I’m hoping to incorporate some #TBT posts to make up for that!

Back to brunch. Like Margot, Marche utilizes local, seasonal ingredients in its dishes. My roommate and I started off with the Fruit Tartine appetizer, which featured the famous Peach Truck peaches (if you’ve never had them, then I’d argue that you’ve never really eaten a peach!). For our entrées, she got their classic Almond Croissant French Toast and I had a ratatouille dish topped with over easy eggs. Of course we swapped to test taste, and it was the perfect sweet and savory brunch combo! Can’t wait to go back to this quaint french bistro sometime soon!

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Monday Munchies: Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce

My latest grocery store find came just in time for Super Bowl Sunday! I used this amazing Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce from Trader Joe’s to make a delicious and healthy alternative to the classic Super Bowl appetizer, battered and greasy buffalo chicken wings. My version uses cauliflower as a base to soak up this finger-licking sauce!

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

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Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets
1 tbsp earth balance spread, melted (or sub olive or coconut oil)
1/4 cup TJ Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Roast cauliflower on a baking sheet with earth balance or oil for about 15 minutes.
3. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and return to the oven for another 15-20minutes.
4. Broil for an additional 5 minutes for extra crisp!

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