Girls on Food

Gluten-Free

Salt & Vinegar Brussels Sprouts Chips

brussels sprouts chips

I’ve been super healthy all week. No french fries. Not a lot of processed foods. But I’m craving something salty. I loooove chips. They are my weakness. So I decide to have a snack and pour myself a nice bowl of brussels sprouts chips?… No, I haven’t gone bonkers. And I know that chips and brussels sprouts aren’t normally put together in the same sentence. But for all you plant loving people out there that have made or eaten kale chips, it’s the same concept.

Crispy, salty, slightly tangy chips made from bite sized brussels sprouts that are drizzled in olive oil and baked in the oven. Yes. So much yes ??

Did you know that this stinky, cruciferous veggie contains more cancer fighting phytonutrients than those found in kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or mustard greens? Brussels sprouts are also anti-inflammatory, good for heart health, promote digestive support, and when cooked properly they contain tons of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and a host of other nutrients.

brussels sprouts

I want to like brussels sprouts because they are so stinking healthy (pun intended ?), it’s just hard for me to overcome how dense they are when you bite into them, so any seasonings on them go unnoticed for the most part. But since this recipe calls for removing the leaves one by one, the seasonings actually get a fighting chance and you end up with light, crispy bites that don’t make you gag ?

ingredients

 

This recipe is CRAZY easy. All you need is…

  • 1 pound of fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 ingredients + 4 simple steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bottom off each brussels sprout with a knife. The outer leaves will fall off and you can use your fingers to peel the rest off. You may need to continue trimming the bottom if they’re being stubborn. This is the most time consuming step.
  3. Place the leaves in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together until well coated.
  4. Take a parchment lined baking sheet and lay the leaves in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.

*You can also replace step 3 by placing the leaves directly on the parchment linked baking sheet, stirring the olive oil & vinegar together and then drizzle it over the leaves, and sprinkle the salt. Garlic powder would also be a nice addition.

salt and vinegar brussels sprouts chips

I may have eaten the entire batch of chips in one sitting immediately after making them, but I don’t regret it and there’s a 99.9% chance you will do the same thing. You can store them in an airtight container but they taste the best fresh out of the oven. I paired my salty snack with a beet smoothie, which sounds alarming and not smoothie-like at all, but is actually quite delicious and refreshing. And dat color ?

beet smoothie

Enjoy!

Jillian ?

Piece of the Middle East (in Seattle): Anar and Mamnoon Street

A couple of days ago, my friend and co-worker, Quinn and I had a great idea to indulge in our pun obsessions and decided to try a little piece of the Middle East (Get it?  Piece?  Middle East?).  Essentially doing a food crawl and sampling everything at a local Middle Eastern restaurant and its vegetarian sister restaurant next door.

Mamnoon Street
2020 6th Ave Seattle, WA 98121
http://www.mamnoonstreet.com

screenshot-2016-09-11-13-32-44The same people own both Mamnoon Street and Anar, Racha and Wassef Haroun.  They also own another restaurant in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, also called Mamnoon, but there you can sit down and enjoy cocktails with your food.

The Haroun’s came to the Pacific Northwest to work in the tech industry.  They decided to plant roots here and brought a bit of their Syrian/Lebanese heritage with them into the restaurant scene.  They have found their place amongst the foodies and have expanded their availability and visibility by opening up two more locations in the Amazon campus in downtown Seattle.

Our first stop during our food crawl was Mammon Street.  We opted to sit outside in the wind, as opposed to dining inside like a rational people would.  However, sitting outside when it’s NOT raining in Seattle is a treat one can enjoy when the opportunity arises.

img_1686I ordered both the lamb and chicken shawarma.  I had every intention of eating just a little bit of both to give a fair review, but as soon as I started to bite down into the lamb, I couldn’t stop.  I began to feel full right away, and I wasn’t even a 1/4 of the way finished with it.  So I knew that trying the chicken shawarma would have to wait until later, but it eventually went into the eager hands of my Uber driver later that afternoon.

Quinn wasn’t as ambitious as I was (since I suffer from eyes bigger than stomach syndrome), so he ordered a kefta arayess aka sandwich with a side of halloumi cheese.

img_1687Of course, there was no waiting to take a pic for this guy.  He’s all about business and just started noshing.  I was able to snag a little bite of the kefta arayess and was struck by the perfect balance of seasoning in the ground beef and the saltiness of the halloumi.

Eventually, Quinn gave up and decided he was full while I still wanted to go to Anar.

 

 

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Anar
2040 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
http://anar.life

img_1692Anar is right around the corner from Mamnoon Street.  The vibe inside looks like a typical juice bar with the display of fresh veggies.  I’ve been there before, and I die for their iced Turkish coffees.  But what I’m really all about is their lentil and brown rice dish called Mujadara.

Topped with pickled turnips and Greek yogurt, this dish is also extra filling.  I knew that I would be eating this for leftovers during the week because it might not look like a lot of food, but it’s a lot of food.  I did manage to take a few bites, but honestly I could have exploded at that point.

img_1693Also, I couldn’t leave without getting the chia seed pudding topped with apricot jam for the road.  Again, this is something to be enjoyed when you have room in your stomach.

The price points for both Mamnoon Street and Anar are relatively reasonable, and you get a huge bang for your buck.  I don’t recommend driving to their location because parking is awful in this part of downtown Seattle. If you are in the area and are looking for a better option than Thai food or a sub sandwich, either one of these fantastic places will be a welcome change for your taste buds!

Devin’s Garlic Parmesan Chickpea Recipe

As a vegetarian, I am always looking for ways to sneak some protein into my diet. Tofu just isn’t my thing unless it’s unrecognizable, fried and smothered in sauce. I am also a chronic snacker. I wander into the kitchen a hundred times a day looking for a bite and eventually, the same old stuff gets boring. After falling in love with chickpea fries at a restaurant last week, I decided to try out my version, minus the GMOs, gluten, and added grease.

Crunchy, full of flavor, and decently healthy, these roasted chickpeas are a great alternative to my usual potato chips. The best part of this recipe is the simplicity. With minimal ingredients, it’s an easy snack or sophisticated salad topper.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas:

  • One 29 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of Lucini’s Robust Garlic Extra Virgin Oil (1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of Garlic Powder may be used in its place, if necessary)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste

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My go-to chickpeas are Eden’s Food Organic Garbanzo Beans. With no chemical additives, they taste super fresh, even from the can. Drain the can and allow them to dry on a paper towel for about thirty minutes for ultimate crunchiness.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once dry, line a baking sheet with tin foil and scatter the chickpeas across the sheet. Bake for 40-55 minutes, depending on your desired crunch level. After 40 minutes, most will have a hard shell with a chewy center. Around the 55 minute mark, they should crunch like hollow pretzels.

Remove the chickpeas from the oven and transfer them to a bowl. Immediately douse them with a tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil or your garlic and EVOO mixture.

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I recently discovered Lucini Italia Robust Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and I am obsessed! Cold pressed and authentic; I have been pouring this stuff on everything! It has a rich garlic flavor but won’t overpower your meal. It is also certified Kosher and GMO-free, an added bonus for any ingredient. I advise you to use it sparingly, though! It has the same effect on your breath as a fresh garlic clove.

Lastly, add your desired amount of parmesan and get snacking. You don’t even have to wait for them to cool down!

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This simple recipe is ideal for snacking or as a seemingly sophisticated salad topper. However, it is very possible that you’ll finish the batch while you stand in the kitchen waiting for them to cool.

Jillian’s Tangy Summer Kale Salad

kale saladThis oh so good summery salad is awesome for many reasons. Here’s a quick rundown: It’s easy to make, light but filling at the same time, full of tangy goodness, all plant-based, AND the star of the show is a leafy green packed with antioxidants and fiber. Kale yeah!

I live so close to the beach and after trying to make it there all summer, I finally did last week ?☀️? The weather was perfect and since school is gearing back up, we basically had the beach to ourselves. Despite my best efforts at sunscreen, I still ended up getting burned really badly. Like, the front of me was so sunburned I had to sleep on my back for two days because it hurt so much ? Since then, I’ve been coating myself in coconut oil and aloe vera like there’s no tomorrow. I figure what goes into my body is just as important in my healing process, too. That’s where my Summery Kale Salad comes in. It’s full of fiber and antioxidants and good fats and detoxifying ingredients ?

Even though this recipe is enough for 2-3 people, nobody will judge you for eating it all in one sitting. That’s the great thing about salads! ?

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 head of kale, washed and broken into bite-size pieces
  • juice from 1.5 small lemons
  • 2 small avocados, cubed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • a few sprinkles of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of red onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • optional: 8 strips of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Chicken Strips

Here are the 4 easy steps:

  1. Place the kale, avocado and lemon juice in a large bowl. Use your hands to break up the avocado and massage it into the kale. It’s gonna get a little messy but it’s way easier to use your hands! It’s okay if there’s still some small pieces of avocado when you’re done.
  2. Add salt, garlic powder, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast to the salad and mix (you can use a spoon for this ?). Feel free to add more lemon juice or seasonings based on how tangy and savory you want it. ?
  3. Meanwhile, add some olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Place chicken strips in pan and saute on each side for 3-5 minutes until they brown a little. Remove and let cool.
  4. Cut the chicken strips into cubes and add to salad.

Voila!

tangy summer kale salad

Get your salad on with this flavorful, tangy and super healthy kale recipe!

Jillian ?

Guilt Free Snacks: Perfect for our Gluten-Free Friends!

Guilt Free Snacks is a New York City based company which has thoughtfully created a line of snacks that are not only gluten-free, but are all natural. In addition, they pride themselves on having less fat, sodium and sugar than other gluten free snacks image1 (23)available. I recently had the opportunity to try many of the snacks Guilt Free has to offer and I was impressed by both the taste and quality of the products.

Guilt Free Snacks offers cookies, brownies, trail mix and granola to go. The cookies currently come in two flavors – chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. When snacking on the cookies, I found the flavor to be impeccable and the texture to be much more “cookie-like” than so many gluten free cookies I’ve tried. The base of the oatmeal raisin cookie is oats and rice flour. The cookie was moist and crumbled just a bit which was fantastic! The chocolate chip cookie was a bit lighter to eat, and the chocolate chips were spread out perfectly throughout the cookie adding a little extra sweetness which made it the perfect companion to a glass of coconut milk.

When I was on the go, I turned to Guilt Free Snacks Granola to Go and Trail Mix bar. The trail mix bar proved to be the perfect snack to pack for a small Los Angeles hike. The bar contains oats, raisins, crispy rice, chia and pumpkin seeds. The bar is seasoned with very natural undertones of cinnamon and vanilla. The bar is satisfying and kept my energy up on the second part of my hike.

The granola from Guilt Free comes in a small resealable pouch which mimage1 (24)ade it handy for a snack I didn’t have to eat all at once. I found that I preferred to eat the granola little bits at a time. The blend of oats, coconut flakes, raisins, crispy rice, cranberries and pumpkin seeds is perfect to snack on throughout the day.

My favorite of all the Guilt Free Snacks I tried was the chocolate brownie. The brownie square was soft and chewy. The chocolate flavor was perfect and I discovered the aftertaste was a chocolate/vanilla mixture I’d never had from a brownie before. It was surprising that this brownie was not only gluten free but also guilt free – it will definitely become a regular sweet treat for me!

Guilt Free Snacks is an incredible option for those seeking gluten free or more healthy approaches to snacking. The products can be found around NYC but also ordered online.

Jillian’s Gluten Free Banana Chia Pancakes

gluten free banana chia pancakes

I always thought pancakes were these elusive, complicated and hard to make breakfast foods and that’s why everyone always used Bisquick ?

It wasn’t until last year that I realized they are really simple to make in a healthy and entirely vegan/gluten free/delicious manner. I pretty much stick with the same recipe I use when making muffins because it works (and I’m lazy).

These Gluten Free Banana Chia Pancakes have 9 ingredients and in 4 easy steps you can have filling, moist pancakes topped with all the fresh fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries, maple syrup and chocolate chips you want. Plus, I have a trick for making one batch of pancakes at the beginning of the week that will last you several mornings because my laziness has made me resourceful ?

vegan pancakes

Here are the DRY ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt

Stir all dry ingredients together in a large bowl and get out any clumps.

Here are the WET ingredients you will need:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)

Optional: semisweet chocolate chips or any other add-ins.

In a separate smaller bowl, use a fork to mash up the bananas. Add in the butter, vanilla extract, and soy milk. Mix thoroughly.

Add your wet mixture to the dry and combine everything together, stirring until you have a smooth batter. Add chocolate chips or any other desired add-ins at this point.

Heat a little coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Pour batter into whatever sizes or shapes you want and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Top with coconut flakes, fresh fruit, nuts, goji berries, maple syrup, vegan butter or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

banana chia pancakes

BONUS! What’s my super awesome trick for extending the life of pancakes? Usually, I will cut this recipe in half when I make it in the morning. I use up maybe a third of the batter making a couple of smaller pancakes. I put the remaining batter in an airtight container and the next morning I add a little water to the mixture because it thickens in the fridge. Then I make a couple more pancakes, put the rest of the batter in the fridge and repeat the process. The batter will last me 4-5 days until I’ve my fill of pancakes ?

Pancakes 4 lyfe.

Jillian ?

The Luggage Room Pizzeria in Pasadena

Who doesn’t love a good slice of pizza? I know I do. The problem is, it’s so hard to find a pie that combines the right ratio of toppings, cheese, and crust. Too often when I eat pizza, I find myself wishing there was more or less of one ingredient or the other. Luckily, I’ve discovered a pizzeria in my hood that strikes the perfect balance between all the necessary pizza elements, and does so with unique combinations of fresh farmer’s market ingredients!

The Luggage Room Pizzeria
260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
http://www.theluggageroom.com

The-Luggage-Room-Pizzeria-PatioThe Luggage Room is a charming spot in the heart of Old Town Pasadena right next to the Gold Line Del Mar station. In fact, true to its name, the restaurant’s building was once the station’s luggage room back in 1934. Today, the interior still retains that classic feel but has been updated with sparkling chandeliers, bright red walls, and modern art. I was there for lunch, so I chose to take advantage of the summer sunshine and sit outside on the bustling patio, which overlooks Pasadena’s Central Park.

To start things off, I ordered a refreshing summer cocktail by the name of “Ingo’s Greyhound”: a mix of Ford’s gin, fresh grapefruit, lemon, and mint served over crushed ice. It was crisp and delicious – just right for a hot summer’s day!

Ingos-Greyhound-Cocktail

I also tried a “Mind the Gap”, made with Ayelesbury Duck vodka, fresh cucumber, serrano peppers, and cardamom. This drink was smooth with a nice kick of spice on the tail end. Both cocktails reminded me of fresh-squeezed juice from a farmer’s stand. Can a cocktail taste healthy? Because these did!

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For an appetizer, I was going to order a salad… until I spotted “Cafe Deviled Eggs” on the menu. I am a sucker for a good deviled egg, and these appetizers brought over from next door’s La Grande Orange Cafe did not disappoint! Each egg was generously piled with fluffy filling, but with a light enough texture that I wasn’t left feeling full before my pizza arrived. I enjoyed the smoky paprika flavor, mixed with a dash of chives. A sprinkling of crisp bacon on top added a nice, salty crunch to each bite.

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Onto the best part – the pizzas! I was simply blown away. The Luggage Room boasts a vast selection, and it is hard to narrow down my choices, so I ended up trying three different pies. The first was a special brunch pizza called “Love U Brooklyn.” It’s only available on Saturdays and Sundays from noon till 3 pm and features The Luggage Room’s signature crust topped with smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, and red onion with herbs and lemon zest. I have never tried a salmon pizza before, but I’m definitely sold on the idea now. The blend of all the ingredients was perfect – the cream cheese was not too overpowering, and it provided the perfect base for the buttery flavor of the salmon, while the crisp red onions, bright lemon, and briny capers added just the right amount of pop to each slice.Love-U-Brooklyn-Pizza

Next, I tried “The Padre”, which my friendly server recommended. This one featured prosciutto di San Daniele, dates, blue cheese, all topped with a heaping serving of fresh arugula. I enjoyed the sharp flavor of the cheese tempered by the sweet dates and zesty greens. The salty prosciutto and fresh shaved parmesan on top rounded out the flavor nicely.

The-Padre-Pizza

And can we just talk about the amazing crust for a minute?

Whenever I eat pizza, I’m one of those people who tends to leave a pile of discarded crusts on my plate. This is usually because I operate under the belief that crust takes up precious real-estate in my belly. Too often, the crust is bland or dry, and I’d much rather eat the part of the pizza that has, you know, all the stuff on it.  Well, this was not the case at The Luggage Room. I can safely say that their amazing crust deserves as much praise as their toppings, and I ate every last crumb.

Their dough is made in-house using a genuine live starter and is free of extra fats and hidden ingredients. After cooking in their wood-burning oven (with olive wood for added flavor), the crust comes out fluffy on the inside, and crisp on the outside, with a nice wood-burned sear on the edges.

The Padre’s crust had an extra glaze of rosemary-infused olive oil that brought out that springy sourdough flavor.

The-Luggage-Room-Pizzas

Now, If you’re gluten free and can’t try The Luggage Room’s traditional crust, fear not, for they also offer a gluten-free option, also made fresh each day. For my last dish, I tried their vegan pizza, “The Dalai Lama”, which comes with the gluten free crust, and is brimming with seasonal veggies. This pizza was simply beautiful to look at- what a riot of color!

The-Dalai-Lama-Pizza

I love food that tastes as vibrant as it looks, and this pizza was no exception. It featured a lively combination of cashew cheese, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, yellow peppers, kale, and brussels sprouts. All the veggies were fresh and bursting with flavor, and the gluten-free crust was crispy and nicely seasoned. Vegans and non-vegans alike will certainly enjoy this light and healthy palate-pleaser.

The-Dalai-Lama-closeup

Alas, I was too full to sample The Luggage Room’s desserts, which were an assortment of gelato, red velvet cake, key lime pie, and chocolate pave. However, I did help myself to one of their complimentary French sea salt and chocolate chip cookies on my way out. They were freshly baked and thin with a chewy center, and the sweet and salty combo was the perfect cap to my meal.

tania-with-french-sea-salt-chocolate-chip-cookie

I’m confident I’ll become a regular at The Luggage Room Pizzeria, especially since I’m lucky enough to live so close to it, but its convenient location to the Metro station means that anyone across L.A can quickly hop over for a satisfying meal in a beautiful, historic setting.

Victoria’s Sneak Peek of Lemonade in Palo Alto

I arrived for the soft opening of Lemonade in downtown Palo Alto thinking I was going to miss out on the excitement (seeing as though I was arriving at the tail end of the event). To my surprise, there was a line out the door!

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Lemonade
151 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
http://lemonadesf.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had no background info on this trendy little place and all I can say is WOW. Can I admit that now I’ll be a regular? Or shall we read on?

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Upon my arrival, I wandered around to take it all in and snap a few pictures and I truly felt invited. They made me feel comfortable, especially since I was wandering around with a decent sized camera in a packed environment.

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After I made my rounds, I jumped in line to test out the food, I was greeted by one of the staff members with instructions and a breakdown of their menu. I was excited to see a fresh brand in a popular downtown district.

Lemonade offers a variety of options for wide range of taste buds.

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To help understand what you’re getting yourself into: It’s a assembly line style place, which is great for people on the go and everything was so fresh! In the Marketplace section they off vegan, vegetarian and protein options.

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They also offer 3 hand tossed to order salads. I had to check out this one for myself of course. I like to call it “Summer Time Salad Sampling for Research Purposes.” It’s a thing.

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The little clusters of peanuts and sesame seeds are all I can think about since I left! The cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing was crisp and fresh. To make it perfect, there was no over dressing going on these leaves either! Just balanced, beautiful and delicious down to the last bite! This one was called the Tatsooi & Mizuna Lettuces with Carrots and Sesame Peanuts for future reference. (wink wink)

I’ll give you a little insider information: Their salads did not need additional salt and pepper (they’re seasoning those silky salad dressings perfectly). Salad snobs like myself will appreciate this monumental moment. 

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They also offer sandwiches and plenty of hot food options. To the point that it’s honestly worth a few visits to even taste half the menu!

The best way to describe my experience: Their menu is creative yet simplistic and equals flavor across every dish.

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I asked the friendly staff to choose something fun for me and luckily she apparently knew me well because she went with the Avocado and Cherry Tomato in the Marketplace section. (Two of my favorite things combined). The texture was creamy, but not too rich and really kept the cherry tomatoes as the star of the dish!

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For my second tasting she chose Thai Chicken & Green Beans. It’s a cold dish and blasted with flavor. The red chilies brought a warm heat without over powering the the protein. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the green beans made a perfect pair for the chicken.

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Did I mention they have more than one option of Lemonade? I was so overwhelmed with all the exciting options that by the time I got to choose my lemonade, I had to ask the friendly staff to choose for me (thank you for that!).

For the record, blood orange is my new favorite thing.

(Clearly I’m loving it!)

Girls On Food Blog

Via @victoriamelshaw Snapchat

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There’s also outdoor seating and they recycle and care about the environment!

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So, if you live in the area or happen to be in Palo Alto, find yourself a parking spot and check it out! It’s an incredible place and I can see why they are growing as a company! Happy to have you nearby!

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I’ll be back soon Lemonade! ~Victoria

 

Soups for the Summer: Chilled Strawberry Basil

balsamsFor a few years in a row, Christmas break was spent with my extended family at the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, NH. We would spend the week skiing by day, and enjoying the resort by night. This place is amazing – kind of a cruise ship on dry land, with huge breakfasts, formal dinners, and various activities in the evening – karaoke, movies, the best arcade room ever, and tons of other fun activities (take the memories with a grain of salt – I was probably 14 the last time we were there). The town’s claim to fame is that the first primaries every election year are held in Dixville Notch. It’s a beautiful little New England city, and this resort is gorgeous! (from what I can tell, the Balsams resort is in the process of revamping, and I am hoping they reopen to the public soon!  I can’t wait to take my family there!).

http://flicksart.blogspot.com/2011/01/winter-at-balsams.html

strawberry soup 3As I mentioned, after a long day of skiing, and a relaxed lunch in the ski lodge, everyone would come back to the resort and get ready for a formal dinner. Men had to wear sports jackets, and the women had to be dressed up. Upon being seated, servers would push carts around with various options for appetizers, dinners, and desserts. To a little kid, this place was glamorous and indulgent, and one of my favorite appetizers every year was a chilled strawberry soup. It was so fancy and unexpected; refreshing after a long day spent bundled up on the slopes!

Every once in a while, I’ve thought back to that unusual soup, but it wasn’t until I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago that everything aligned! So, I’ll have to thank the kind cashier that insisted I take home an extra, giant box of organic strawberries…for comparison purposes! He swore up and down the bigger berries were sweeter than the smaller (he was right!). To me, it just meant we had way more strawberries than we could eat before they all went bad! Luckily, my brother-in-law and one of his kids were in town, so we invited a big group over for dinner. Nothing like experimenting when you have ten people over for dinner! I’m not going to lie – I was nervous about this one! But the feedback was incredible! A couple of foodies over and everyone loved it!

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My toddler loves to help out in the kitchen, and this is a great recipe for a little kid. I wanted something a bit more grown-up than what I remembered (which was basically a strawberry milkshake), so I went searching on Pinterest, and found a Chilled Strawberry Basil soup recipe. As usual, this is slightly tweaked, but here goes:

Chilled Strawberry Basil

Ingredients:

  • Blender/food processor
  • 4 cups rinsed and prepped strawberries (tops cut off)
  • 2 cups strawberry greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (and 1 lemon wedge thrown in for sweetness)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend.
  • Chill or serve immediately.

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I topped this with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprig of basil, and a slice of strawberry. We served the soup as an appetizer before my husband pulled some teriyaki marinated pork tenderloin and bell peppers off the grill! Perfect accompaniment on a warm summer night! And don’t forget the perfect dessert for any grill night – s’mores! Hope you enjoy this cold soup on a summer night soon!

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Make Out in Culver City: Our Favorite Plant-Based Cafe

To the surprise of some of you I truly and madly love vegetables. It almost feels funny to say it out loud; I know you guys don’t picture me as the kind of girl that eats her greens but because my favorite plant-based restaurant is celebrating their first year I wanted to share with all of you this little piece of healthy heaven.

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Make Out Culver City
9426 West Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.makeouteveryday.com

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Make Out is located in a 1920s building in the heart of Culver City. The place is modern chic and what I like the most is that it has a very inviting café vibe. It has an array of big tables and -be warned- once you hit the couch you will not want to leave. The menu is full of healthy nutritious food mostly vegan and raw, and you will be able to enjoy juices, smoothies and/or a full meal. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter what you eat either way you will be doing your body a favor.

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To start my meal, I ordered the Kombucha. It was fizzy, refreshing and came in a bunch of flavors I had pineapple. And the special of the day: the Nachos Fiesta. The Nachos were made with blue corn tortillas, vegan cheese and pico de gallo. I think that they should add the Nachos permanently on the menu because they were so tasty.

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After that, I wanted to try some of the soups. And because I’m a good Mexican, the first soup I tried was the bean soup. Let me tell you it was so comforting; there is nothing like having freshly made bean soup when it’s cold in LA. Then I had the Squash soup. It had crunchy pepitas on top, and it was so incredibly creamy that it is hard to believe that it was dairy-free.

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From the small plates section on the menu, I decided to have the Spicy Carrot Roll made with nori better known as seaweed, jalapeño “cream cheese”, cucumber and avocado. What an inspiring take on sushi! It was soft on the outside and crunchy on the inside. The plate was not only beautiful, but the roll tasted splendid.

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I proceeded to try the flatbreads. I went with the Pizza flatbread that has Sundried Marinara, Pistachio Pesto, and Macadamia Ricotta. I’m telling you that Ricotta tasted like the real deal!! Followed by the Fennel flatbread. This one has baba ganoush, mint, lemon, and capers. Both of the flatbreads were delicious, but I was particularly taken with the Fennel flatbread. I I have never had a flatbread like that, it was good simple ingredients in a very innovative way.

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To end my meal I wanted to try the Kelp bowls. So what is this Kelp thing? It is a kind of brown seaweed that is super high in nutrients. Best of all it is fat-free and gluten-free. Kelp is typically referred as noodles although they don’t taste or feel like pasta. I love them, so I tried the Almond Kelp bowl that comes with kelp noodles, carrot, lime, ginger and spicy Almond. As soon as I tasted it, the first thought that crossed my mind was Pad Thai. It tasted like the healthy version of that. Then I had the Pepper Kelp Bowl. It has black pepper, olive crumb, and snap peas. I had not had this one before, and it was delicious. It tasted like the best Alfredo pasta (minus all the fat and carbs) that you’ve ever had; it was creamy, complex and so savory. I was so impressed with this bowl.

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I was super lucky because I got to try the new desserts that are coming soon to the menu thank you Make Out. First, I had the Raw Cheesecake Fudge. This little beauty is dipped in raw cacao. And it tastes just like it sounds: amazing. And then I had the Coconut Chocolate Hazelnut Mouse. Creamy, chocolaty, nutty…it was gorgeous. I can only describe it by how I felt and I was invaded by deep sadness when I had the last scoop. I just didn’t want it to end.

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As you can see, I completely pigged out at Make Out. To be honest, there is not a thing on the menu that isn’t exciting. The food is healthy, flavorful and very creative. Best of all you are doing something good for your body every time you eat like this. I am so happy that Make Out is celebrating its anniversary I wish them many successful and healthy years!

Jillian’s Fully Loaded Vegan Mac n’ Cheeze

Cheesy! Cheesy! Cheesy! I love anything and everything cheesy, and thanks to the miracle of vegan cheese and nutritional yeast, I never have to live without it. #blessed ❤️

In all seriousness, this is a really yummy recipe that is perfect for those comfort food cravings that everyone gets, even gluten-free vegans ? Not only is it free of animal product and tons of over-processed ingredients, it’s kind of healthy and contains wonderful things like turmeric, veggies, and raw cashews. That means it also contains protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. High five!

This dish is great for lunch, parties, or to make a big batch and take to work with you. It’s incredibly filling and satisfying, and easy to reheat. Now that I’ve talked up this creamy, savory bowl of cheesy heaven, read on to see how simple it is to make Fully Loaded Vegan Mac n’ Cheez!

fully loaded vegan mac n' cheez

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 box of gluten-free macaroni (I used a quinoa based one)
  • favorite sauteed veggies
  • Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble

unnamed-1For the sauce:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight then drain and rinse
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ground turmeric
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • non-dairy milk (I like cashew milk)

Super simple instructions:

  1. Cook macaroni according to directions on the box.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews. Blend with the rest of the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  3. In a pan, saute your favorite veggies (I used mushrooms, broccoli, and kale) in a little bit of olive oil along with Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble. Season if desired.
  4. Put macaroni back into the pot, add the sauce and mix until evenly distributed. Add in the veggies & beefy crumble and stir.

Look how creamy this sauce is! Thanks, raw cashews. You da best ? You can stop there if you want, it’s delicious without the veggies and beef crumbles. You can top it off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or if you’re super fancy some chopped parsley.

Even though I haven’t tested this recipe on kids, I’m pretty sure they’ll love it. Makes a great main course, but would also be yummy as a side dish. I hope you enjoy this recipe! Cheese it up buttercup ?

Jillian ?

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Summer’s Peachy Coconut Cream Popsicles

Spring is in the air; the temperature is rising, and there is nothing better than a cold sweet treat to keep you cool. My favorite kind of treat is ice cream. I LOVE ice cream. Like I love it so much, I would marry it. Seriously, I wouldn’t even need a ring. The problem is ice cream is all about that dairy. At least, the flavorful, good ones are. Since dairy is pretty much my arch nemesis, I needed to find an alternative. Something a little healthier without sacrificing taste. Enter coconut cream. Fluffy and smooth just like a pillow. Now, I have used coconut cream for many things, yet for whatever reason it never dawned on me to use it for a delicious frozen treat until now.

I started rummaging around my kitchen and found the following in my cupboard and freezer.

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It was a sign; I needed to make peaches n’ cream popsicles.

I kind of did everything by taste and eyeballing it… with that said here is an estimation of the actual ingredient measurements.

measurements

I like using maple syrup to sweeten things because it is healthier and vanilla extract is pretty much a no-brainer since it makes everything taste better. You can also use stevia or agave syrup.

I chopped up the frozen peaches so that they were more bite size.

I then put everything except for the peaches into a bowl and mixed it all up.

Mixing it

After that, I started spooning the delicious mixture into my nifty dollar store popsicle holders.

filling the container

After a few spoonfuls of the coconut mixture, I dropped a few pieces of peaches in and repeated the spooning, peach dropping process until the popsicle molds were full.

ready to freeze

Place the tops on and freeze overnight.

I was super excited to wake up and try out my delicious treat the next day. I’m not going to lie; they were a little tough to get out. (maybe I should have invested in popsicle molds that were more than a dollar) I had to let them sit on the counter for a couple of minutes to loosen up. I tell you what, though, they were worth the wait!!

me with popsicleThis recipe is totally customizable. I think strawberries, pineapple, kiwi would all be awesome choices as well.

Give them a try and let me know what y’all think in the comment section below!

Enjoy!