Girls on Food

Healthy Foods

French-Asian Fusion in Pasadena: Abricott

Recently my boyfriend and I were out and about in Pasadena running errands, and we
decided to look for a new little spot to eat. While searching the internet for something unique-looking we caught a blurb that the chef of one of our favorite Thai places, Daisy
Mint on Colorado Blvd., had opened a new French/Asian restaurant called Abricott. Knowing how great Daisy Mint is we were immediately sold.

Abricott in Pasadena - French/Asian Fusion

Abricott
238 S. Lake Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101
http://abricott.com/

I was blown away the second we walked in the door. On a cuteness scale of 1-10, Abricott Outdoor Dining at Abricott in Pasadenais at about a 12. A huge wall lined with bookshelves, sporadic collages of art pieces and mirrors, a lovely open outdoor seating area, and an amazing special dining room decked out with a chandelier gave the place a cozy and unique atmosphere. I admit to you right now my pictures do it zero justice. It took me forever to order and sit down because I literally had to wander through the entire restaurant first, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everything.

Special dining room at Abricott in Pasadena.

We ordered at the counter, found a seat, and then an employee came over with our drinks and silverware. Shortly after our salads arrived – a Shrimp Salad with crispy onions, cucumber, and Vietnamese dressing for me, and my boyfriend went with the Steak Salad with avocado, cilantro, and spicy lime dressing.
Grilled Shrimp Salad at Abricott in PasadenaBoth salads were large and fresh. The big shrimp on my salad were delicious, and the Vietnamese dressing was really light and tangy – so tangy it even struck me as tasting a little spicy. I would have loved a little bit more generous offering of toppings on my salad, but then again I’d be happy with a bowl full of just toppings… so there may be no appeasing me there!

steakNow the steak salad… game over. The strips of steak were tender, juicy, and flavorful. I highly recommend it! It was ridiculously good. My poor boyfriend was forced to share.

All in all I was very impressed by the food and atmosphere at this new little place. I can’t wait to go back and try some more of the many dishes on their menu! Heck I’d come here just to sit, hangout, and have a beverage.

Rabbit Food Grocery: Austin’s First Vegan Grocery Store

rabbit food grocery

rabbit food grocery store

Rabbit Food Grocery is Austin’s first all vegan & cruelty-free grocery store and I’m thrilled! I literally want to buy everything in their store.  Jessica Morris and Gabriel Figueroa, both longtime vegans, founded Rabbit Food back in 2008. They started out by setting up pop-up shops around town during events. Bunny hop forward ? to January 2015 → thanks to Kickstarter donations and lots of hard work, they’ve opened up their first physical store. Yeaaaah!

Rabbit Food Grocery
2210 S. 1st Street, Suite M
Austin, TX 78704
http://rabbitfoodgrocery.com

rabbit food grocery

Need to stock up on snacks? No problem. Rabbit Food carries several varieties of chips, popcorn, crackers, power bars, cookies, and candies. If you need something heartier, they have delicious soups to choose from, veggie burgers, and tons of faux meat products.

coconut bacon

vegan tuna

I bought a can of this black pepper Vegan Toona to see what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised. What exactly does one do with vegan tuna? ?? I took some leftover quinoa, put kale mixed with avocado on top, my can of Vegan Toona mixed with vegan mayo, seasonings, lemon juice, and diced red onion. That’s a whole lotta vegan going on and it was amaaaaaazing!

vegan bouillon cubes

vegan jerky

Rabbit Food also carries many different brands of egg replacer, granola, bacon bits, mayo, vegan jerky, and non-dairy milks. If you have a sweet tooth, there are chocolate bars, fudge, ice cream, Sweet Ritual Salted Caramel Sauce, Bee Free vegan honey (which I used in this delicious scone recipe), marshmallows, and pralines.

salted caramel sauce

vegan honey

Basically, you’re not going to go hungry in this store or suffer from a lack of choices. The only thing they don’t carry is produce, but it sounds like something that may be in the works for the future. If you’re already stocked up on vegan food, then you can browse Rabbit Food’s selection of greeting cards, perfumes, soaps, t-shirts, purses, and other handmade items. They also carry vegan pet products!

vegan socks

vegan t-shirts

vegan purses

After you’ve finished ooohing and ahhhing throughout the store, head to the register where you’ll find flyers & postcards about upcoming events, Hurraw lipbalm (I got the coconut flavor), the Vegan Survival Guide to Austin, and donation jars to help local animal rescue groups ??

hurraw lip balm

vegan survival guide to austin

So basically, this store is rockin’ and if you live in Austin or plan on stopping through, check it out. Or you can always visit rabbitfoodgrocery.com to get more info and order online!

rabbit food grocery

This is the stuff vegan dreams are made of…

Jillian ♥

Jillian’s Berry & Herb Coconut Ice Cream Pops

berry & herb coconut ice cream pops

With all of the rain in central Texas earlier this year, I ALMOST forgot it was summer. It hasn’t been it’s usual scorching self. And then August rolled around – the worst month of the year to be a Texan – and oh yeah, it’s summer! Thanks 106 degree weather. Thanks very much. Luckily, my mom sent me some popsicle molds in my birthday package a couple months ago and I finally got to use them this weekend. Nothing screams summer like nice cold popsicles. But these are special popsicles. They are magical raw vegan popsicles. Oooh… A rich and creamy coconut base paired with frozen berries and fresh herbs. Toss in a little raw sugar to sweeten the deal and you’ve got homemade popsicles that are way better than anything store bought!

Here is the front and back of the popsicle molds my mom bought. She got them at Central Market, but I’m sure you could find something similar at other stores or online.

popsicle mold

The molds are really easy to use and I love that this brand is BPA & Phthalate free. These only make 4 at a time, but it’s the perfect amount if you want to share them with a couple of besties or secretly eat them all yourself 🙂

I took this recipe idea from the blog This Rawsome Vegan Life and I pretty much stick to it other than a couple of minor changes. I made two batches – The first batch was berry (straw, black, and blue) and thyme. I added a little less sugar to these because I was scared of overdoing it. They came out milky white and although not quite as sweet as I would’ve liked, they were still delicious. Here’s a close up:

berry & thyme coconut ice cream pops

The second batch I made consisted of strawberry and fresh basil. I used more sugar than the original recipe called for. These came out the perfect sweetness in my opinion, but it did change the color of the pops, they were a darker color and not as white. I’m totally fine with that because they still looked pretty and tasted great!

strawberry & basil coconut ice cream pops

Even if you aren’t vegan, you will salivate over these ice cream pops. They’re so refreshing and creamy, easy to make (even for kids) and best of all; it’s a dessert that’s actually healthy!

Here is what you will need:

1 set of 4 popsicle molds
One 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
Frozen berries
Fresh herbs
1/4 c + 1 heaping tbsp raw organic sugar

And here is what you do with said ingredients:

  1. Empty the can of coconut milk into a blender. Add the sugar and blend together for a few seconds.
  2. Place your frozen berries inside the popsicle molds. Sprinkle the fresh herbs in as well. Herbs that have small leaves like thyme don’t need to be chopped, but I recommend it for larger leaves like basil or mint.
  3. Pour the coconut milk mixture into each mold. Add the popsicle sticks and place in the freezer overnight or for several hours.
  4. Take out of the freezer and peel the molds from the popsicles. Voila!

These babies will melt pretty fast, especially if you’re outside. I stored the leftovers on a plate in the freezer, and when I was ready to eat them, I pulled them out and let them defrost for a few minutes first. Use any kind of fruit/herb variations you like. Fresh fruit works as well. If you have any leftover coconut milk mixture like I did, you can use it in smoothies or as a creamer for tea & coffee. Yum!

jillian with ice cream pop

Enjoy!

Jillian ♥

 

Indian Taco Tuesday: California Chutney in Pasadena

I have a confession to make and I must come out clean about this so there are no questions about it in the future I’m addicted to tacos: soft, fried, corn or flour. I am a tacoholic at heart. I love them in all of its forms and presentations. So when I heard that California Chutney was serving naan tacos I had to have it.

California Chutney
45 N. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA
(626) 396-6947
http://www.calichutney.com

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California Chutney is located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena just north of Colorado Blvd. The place is modern, bright and minimalistic. It is introducing a new approach to traditional Indian food by adopting the “ordering in line” kind of method that we all know so well. You stand in line and order exactly what you want in your naan taco, bowl or roti burrito.

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I had the Cali Naan Duo and for my first taco I went with the braised chickpeas and tandoori chicken with cucumber yogurt raita. It was so flavorful. The tandoori chicken was spicy and well balanced with the cucumber raita. For my second taco I had the Paneer Tikka with the roasted chili chutney. I was delightfully surprised to see that the Paneer had kale instead of spinach. The chutney was spicy almost like a Mexican salsa. It was delicious.

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One of the things I liked the most about this place is that they make naan to order. They have a modern tandoor oven where they carefully bake the naan for the tacos. You can see the whole process through the glass window.

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The place also has a chutney bar. There you can help yourself to all the chutney that you want I certainly spend some time trying all the flavors. My favorite chutney was the fresh cilantro and the mango ginger.

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California Chutney is a nice alternative to Indian food in Pasadena. There is nothing like this in the area and the food has all the Indian flavors you want with a modern twist. The place is vibrant, the servers are super friendly and most importantly the food is really good at a reasonable price. Who knew that naan tacos could be so yummy definitely a good option for taco Tuesday.

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California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

GOF Dish and Discuss: Feed Your Face!

Food tastes good but it doesn’t have to just go in your mouth! Here are a couple of foods that you can use as a facial mask for 5 – 10 minutes after cleansing your face:


Reno TastebudsReno Tastebuds

Did you know mustard can make a fabulous facial mask? It will firm the skin, clean out those pores and leave the face feeling smooth. 35 and still alive with no wrinkles on this mustard face!  Before applying it, test a small amount on the inside of your elbow and wait a few minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction.

 

honey maskJulianne

There’s a good chance that I’m making  a “Blue Steel” face in that picture… Anyways… I had decent skin in high school but in my 20’s , I started developing cystic acne. I tried  EVERYTHING! I could’ve made a down payment on a house with everything I tried. After a dismal experience with Accutane, I started seeing an all-natural esthetician who put me on organic skincare and got me to start taking probiotics daily. A part of the skincare was using raw, organic honey as a mask each night for at least 10 minutes. Raw honey is a natural anti-bacterial which helps diminish acne. It also moisturizes so your skin isn’t peeling after. Some nights, I even slept with it on. The results were incredible.

Most of the products she recommended were too expensive to keep up with but the probiotics and the honey were easy to stick with. My acne has drastically calmed down over the past 3 years, since I started this. I started with plain raw honey but lately I’ve been using a brand called Really Raw Honey, which has a light exfoliant from the pollen. May seem odd, but if you struggle with acne like I did, you should try this!

Like a Big Pizza Pie: Julianne’s Chicago Trip Part 2

Chicago really is my kind of town. This is the sequel to my previous gluttonous post and I promise, there is even more food porn ahead.

Prior to my trip, my adventures in deep dish pizza had been pretty dismal. The ones I had experienced had greasy crusts, too many toppings and just made me feel sick after one slice. I had been convinced that I am a light topping, thin slice, NYC style pizza lover. After going to Lou Malnati’s, which is world famous for Chicago style deep dish, I can wash away the memories all my previous deep dish disasters and start over.

lou malnatis 1

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria 
1061 N. Well’s St.
Chicago, IL 60610
312-828-9800
http://loumalatis.com

Lou Malnatti’s is on the “must” lists all over the internet, so expect to be put on a 30 minute wait list. What’s great about Lou Malnati’s is that you can pre-order before being seated, their pizza pies take about 30 minutes, so this lessens your wait time. I wish more hot spots would take a cue from their system, talk about high turnover.

lou malnatis 3

lou malnatis 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went with the Malnati Chicago Classic (left), made with lean pork sausage, extra cheese, tomato sauce and it’s made with their Buttercrust. My boyfriend ordered their pepperoni pizza (right). The second I took a bite, it discredited any other “deep dish” pizza I had ever experienced before. The ingredients are perfection, from the plump, juicy tomatoes to the extra buttery crust. Even though this is technically an extra cheese pizza, this tasted like the perfect amount of cheese. It melts on top the Buttercrust and doesn’t get greasy. I tried the pepperoni also, which comes on a thinner deep dish crust and the lesser amount of cheese. I loved it just as much as my heavier deep dish. Out of all the Chicago places I went to, I consider this the best since it changed my skepticism of deep dish pizza.

The Clark St. Dog

Clark Street Dog
3040 Clark Street
Chicago, IL, 60657
773-281-6690
http://clarkstdog.com

 

 

Although I’m a raging foodie, I had never heard of a pizza puff until 2 years ago. My boyfriend is from a suburb outside of Chicago and has made a few jokes about the pizza puff. Whenever I bring up pizza puffs to Chicago natives, they let out a chuckle and then own up to eating one at some point. For those of you who don’t know, a pizza puff is kind of like if an empanada and a pizza flavored Hot Pocket made a baby, then deep fried that baby and served it scorching hot. Traditionally, the pizza puff is consumed after a long night of drinking.

The Clark Street Dog 3
Everyone seems to have their own method to eating a pizza puff. My boyfriend’s method is to first let it cool off a few minutes. Then slowly remove the outer most part of the flakey crust and nibble on that. After another few minutes pass, then you can attack the filling. It’s going to be seventh level of hell hot, so proceed with caution.

The Clark Street Dog 2Clark St. Dog is fun and a total Chicago late-night tradition. Clark’s also has hot dogs, burgers, Phillies and a full bar. I gushed in glee when I saw they had pickle backs, not on the menu, but on their front door. The pickle juice in Chicago even tastes better.

 

After all this pizza and drinks, my poor boyfriend and I were in serious need of some greens. City Harvest Cafe was walking distance from our hotel, so we popped in for some much needed nutrition.

City Harvest 2

City Harvest Cafe
2931 Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
773-360-7226
http://cityharvestcafe.com

I first want to compliment City Harvest Cafe on having friendly staff that aren’t pretentious when customers ask questions. Living in LA, I’m so used to the “hipster” service that comes from juice bars, especially in Venice. Maybe LA juice bars should start training staff in Chicago…

City Harvest 1City Harvest is a cute, quaint compress juice bar has a lot of different options to choose from. My skin was feeling a little dry from the Chicago water so I went for the French 77 (nope, not the cocktail!), a beautiful blend of cucumber, pear, celery and cayenne. The cayenne was very light and doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors, as one may think. It only took me a few sips to feel the quenching refreshment my body needed. My skin even felt like it had a little glow to it. This was the perfect healthy pit stop!

I continued my “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” tour with a stop at The John Hancock Center. It’s amazing to be able to see a 360 view of a city in one spot.

Hancock 2

Hancock 1

Summer’s Ode to the Veggetti

If you are anything like me you are a pasta monster. You want to eat all the pasta all the time. However; we all know how NOT bikini friendly pasta is, therefore it’s impossible to eat all the freaking time. Since I am a huge “lemme slurp the noodle” fan I decided to give that awesome little gadget, the veggetti, (the one GOF featured about a week ago) a try.

zoodles

So I took my nifty gadget and started making my “pasta”. I used 4 zucchinis. First I peeled them, then I salted them and put them in a noodle strainer over the sink (I forgot to take a picture of this, I’m a derp). The reason for this is to get all the excess water out. That way they stay firm like an actual noodle. This process takes about 20 minutes. Once they are strained I placed them on a towel and pressed lightly to absorb any extra moisture.

chicken and spicesWhile they were straining I cubed and seasoned my chicken, sautéed it in coconut oil for about 9 minutes. I then added the diced jalepenos, cooked for 3 more minutes and removed that whole concoction from the pan. I threw in my zoodles, cooked them for 3 minutes (that seems to be the magic number) until they are perfectly tender crisp.

chickjalI tossed in the cilantro and let it wilt, added a squeeze of lime and voila! You can see everything I used, including the seasonings in my amazing smart phone photography.

 

 

 

 

finished zoods

Needless to say the end result was a bunch of yumminess. I hope you enjoy! I promise next time to treat my recipe like a brand new puppy, taking an excessive amount of pictures.

Until then,
Summer

Shake, Rattle and Roll: Bonnie’s Yummy Yogurt Shake

Bonnie 3 gimp color shake

As an obsessive cook-from-scratcher, one of the things I make is yogurt….lots of yogurt. In fact, I average 64 oz (that’s half a gallon!) every other week. Click on Make Yogurt In A Thermos – EASY! to learn how.

Why so much, you ask? Yogurt is a multifaceted superfood. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat yogurt live longer and healthier. But homemade yogurt has a bit of a bite to it since no sugar or thickeners have been added. In fact, because you don’t add sugar or thickeners it’s incredibly easy to make, especially with something like the euro cuisine gy50 greek yogurt maker. However, getting my kids to partake was a challenge. Unfortunately, touting the health benefits of foods falls on deaf little ears, followed by “I wanna go to McDonalds!”

So I started making yogurt fruit smoothies as our dinner beverage. BUT, since perception is everything, I called them Yogurt SHAKES. My kids were quite familiar with the word “shake” – associating it with other words such as “ice cream”, “dessert”, and “yummy”. No need to bother them with facts. We moms sometimes have to be a little sneaky…. but the kids will thank us later. Continuing with my crafty ways, I did make a point to leave the word “yogurt” – wanting them to have positive thoughts about it.

I took the well-known Tired Mom Syndrome math equation: hungry child = cranky child = cranky adults = junk food = happy child, and applied the substitution principle by exchanging “healthy food” for “junk food”, coming up with:

YOGURT SHAKE MATH 2

YOGURT SHAKE MATH 3

Yogurt Shakes are easy, nonfat, frosty, creamy, and nutritious. But more importantly, they’re something you and your children can enjoy guilt free. How often does THAT happen?!

One of the things I love about Yogurt Shakes is that they’re an easy way to fulfill those pesky daily fruit requirements. If you’re adventurous, you can even throw in spinach or kale. I’m not that brave. I live by the motto: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Use any fruit you like but, unless you have an aversion or allergy, a banana is a must. There’s something magical about the interaction between the ice cubes and a banana that produces a creamy shake instead of one filled with annoying ice chunks.

Tip: I wouldn’t be living up to my self-proclaimed title of Queen of Freeze if I didn’t remind you to freeze those over-ripened bananas heading to the compost heap. Use them in your Yogurt Shakes!

Yogurt Shakes are made in a blender. If you have one of those jet-engine blenders (like I do), you’ll have no problem getting a creamy chunk-free shake. But if you have a cheapy one (I have one of those, too), you might want to invest in an inexpensive ice crusher….or a hammer and a sturdy plastic bag, and break up the ice cubes before putting them in the blender. Even with a banana, the motor just isn’t powerful enough to completely purée the ice. If you don’t mind the odd ice chunk, don’t worry about it.

Although I occasionally change up the fruit, this is my go-to Yogurt Shake recipe. I always add a packet per person of Emergen C – I’ve found it not only enhances the flavor, but it’s another way to add vitamins into our diets.

Note: I use only 1 banana even if I double the recipe. If I triple it, then I add an extra banana.

YOGURT SHAKE – for 1 person

  • 1 large spoonful nonfat plain yogurt
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 large handful blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • splash pomegranate juice
  • splash orange juice
  • optional: 1 pkt/person Emergen C (I use Pomegranate-Cranberry and/or Blueberry Açaí)
  • about 6 ice cubes – more ice cubes will yield a thicker shake

Mix everything in the blender on medium/high. Serve immediately.

For more articles and recipes, go to my blog at VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

Audrey’s Delights: Guilt-free Treats in LA

After 10 years, my foodie relationship with raw almonds has ended. They’ve been my go-to pre-workout snack, mid-day edger and dessert, but I just needed to move on. It’s not them, it’s me. One of my girlfriends who is up on Los Angeles healthy eats told me about Audrey’s Delights, so I checked out her website and had them delivered to me. Best. Decision. Ever.

Audrey’s Delights are sweet, petite, circular treats. They were created by model-turned-budding entrepreneur Audrey Chihocky. Audrey has been a foodie her whole life and recently decided to turn that hobby into something a little more lucrative.

Audrey2
Audrey Chihocky

Each flavor is raw, vegan and gluten-free. They’re made with healthy ingredients straight out of Audrey’s kitchen. You can eat these before a workout like me, but they’re also perfect to carry in your purse or keep in your car for a pick-me-up.

Audrey's Delights
Top left: Trail Mix, Cashew Cookie Bottom left: Espresso Buzz, Peanut Butter Brownie

The most popular flavor is the trail mix and I can see why. It’s like having the best flavors of trail mix together in one bite. It has dried apricots, dried cranberries, flaxseed, oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut wrapped around it. This one is also nut free.

My personal favorite flavor is the cashew cookie. The classic vanilla flavor I associate cookies with is prominent and I love the nuttiness from the cashew. This also makes a great dessert when paired with a cup of coffee.

The espresso buzz adds a caffeinated kick to your snack. It’s flavored with Italian espresso, almond butter and has quinoa in it. This one has a softer texture, less chewy than the others.

The peanut butter brownie is great for those who love sweet and savory. This one for me has a more traditional “energy bar” flavor to it.

They also have a 3 week shelf life if you keep them in the fridge, 3 months if you keep them in the freezer (make sure to defrost 20 minutes for a softer texture). This is a fantastic local LA treat and they will be available for shipping soon. Keep an eye out on Audrey’s site for that info.

Check out: http://www.audreysdelights.com or if you’re in the Hollywood area, you can pick some up at Shred Juice, 8160 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046.