Girls on Food

Gluten-Free

Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

chocolate chia seed pudding

This may be the most beautiful recipe I’ve shot yet! And it’s not because of my mad photography skills – all the credit goes to the food and it’s natural beauty?? Not to mention, this chia seed pudding allows me to consume chocolate in breakfast form. Now I just gotta work on lunch and dinner.

chocolate chia seed puddingI’ve made this recipe a handful of times since photographing it and I love it because it’s so simple to make. Simple is good since I’m one of those people that wakes up and refuses to talk or make contact with anyone until I’ve had coffee and breakfast + a substantial amount of time to process the fact that it’s morning and I’m awake. So basically, I’m delightful. ?

 

 

 

However, I can’t take all the credit for this masterful recipe you are about to read. I adapted it from the Minimalist Baker, another awesome food blog with some great recipes.

The star of this show is obviously the chia seeds. They are native to South America and were consumed by the Aztecs and Mayans because they provided sustainable energy. Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

chocolate chia seed pudding

For this recipe, all you do is mix the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups rice milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

The cocoa powder will be clumpy, but continue stirring and it will dissolve. Stir or whisk for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight (recommended) or for a few hours until it gains a pudding like consistency.

raspberriesI poured some of the pudding into a nice sized glass, followed by a layer of fresh raspberries, then the rest of the pudding until it filled the glass. I topped with a few more berries, a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce (melted coconut oil and cocoa powder) and a sprig of mint. This makes one portion. You can sub the coconut sugar for maple syrup or vegan honey.

Enjoy this tasty, easy to make recipe packed full of nutrients. You’ll love it if you’re a morning person, and if you’re not (like yours truly), you’ll love the zero effort needed to pull this dish out of the fridge and eat immediately. Even better, double the recipe and have your breakfast for the following day, too!

Jillian ♥

Arlo’s in Austin, TX: Vegan Food Done Right

arlo's vegan food done right

Meet Arlo’s Bac’n Cheez Burger. Me and BCB (for short) are good friends.

Us vegans are just like everyone else. I know some people may think all we eat is tofu, carrots and hemp seeds (and yes, we do eat those things) but we also want to indulge in junk food and comfort food too, dang it! ??

That’s where Arlo’s comes in. If you live in Austin, Texas – aka Land of Vegan Bliss – then you are in luck. Arlo’s is comprised of two food trucks that are conveniently located in the downtown area. Also convenient, as least for me, is that they are parked right in front of two awesome bars ??This pretty much completes my life. The main location is at Cheer Up Charlie’s, right in the heart of Austin’s famous music scene.  They also have a new location along a very popular strip on the east side at Drinks Lounge. I went to their opening a couple of weeks ago and it was packed! Arlo’s is well loved here.

900 Red River
at Cheer Up Charlie’s
Austin, TX

2001 E. Cesar Chevez
at Drinks Lounge
Austin, TX

http://www.arlostruck.com/

arlo's food truck

The main reason that I am in utter love with them (other than they’re delicious food) is that they are committed to supporting local, organic, and non-gmo products. All of their food is made fresh on site and aside from being 100% vegan; they also offer gluten free options. But the best part is that even if you aren’t vegan, you can still enjoy their food because well, it’s great food; Simple as that. Plus, their burgers legitimately look like hamburgers. Like seriously, I can’t tell the difference. And the ingredients are super wholesome, healthy, environmentally responsible, and fresh. So you can indulge without all the negative side effects ??

Whenever I hit up Arlo’s, I always go for the Bac’n Cheez Burger because I used to have a mild (i.e. severe) obsession with bacon back in my omnivorous days. But this past week I decided to be adventurous and try something new, I got the BBQ burger, because way back when, BBQ was my other meat obsession.

bbq burger arlo's

It’s a house-made soy & gluten free patty, grilled in BBQ sauce, with chipotle mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles. It’s a little spicy so beware to all of the non-spicy people out there. It was finger lickin’ good and I chased it down with tater tots (insert Napoleon Dynamite quote here) because tater tots are da best. But if you aren’t obsessed with tots like me and Napoleon, Arlo’s also has french fries, sweet potato fries, and chips & salsa. They’ve also got a Chipotle Chik’n Burger, Chik’n Tacos, and Street Tacos. My advice? Start with the Bac’n Cheez Burger – it’s their most popular item for a reason, then you can work your way down the menu from there 🙂

arlo's taco

And now that I’ve got an Arlo’s frequent flyer card, that should make it easy for me. In fact, it will probably be my main mission in life to get all those stars punched in as quickly as possible. I suggest you check out Arlo’s asap to get your guilt free indulgence on. Feel good about what you eat and support local businesses!

Jillian ♥

P.S. If you want to explore more yummy vegan establishments in Austin, look for my other reviews here.

Photo credits: http://www.arlostruck.com

Arlo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Once Upon a Time in Mexico City: Seafood at Contramar

When I was a young jr. producer I was lucky that the company associates would always take me to the nice events and to the expensive lunches so I could learn the business. I must have been 22 years old the first time I went to Contramar. Back then they didn’t take reservations and yet all of these important businessmen were willing to wait as long as it took. I remember my boss saying “we are going to wait and then we are going to eat amazing seafood”.

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Contramar 
Durango 200 Colonia Roma, Del. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F.

Contramar is located in the ultra chic La Roma neighborhood. The decor is classy with a beachy vibe, perfect lighting and crisp white tablecloths in what was once a high ceiling bodega. Although Mexico City is inland, the restaurant gets fresh seafood delivered daily from both coasts. It has a top quality menu and attracts beautiful wealthy crowds. Even after all these years it is still a coveted lunch place and the place to see and to be seen.
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For our first appetizer we ordered the Aguachile Campechano. Aguachile is a dish made by submerging seafood in a lemon spicy brine. This particular one was marinated in a salsa verde broth and had fish, shrimp, octopus, scallops, pickled red onions and cucumbers. It was so refreshing, citrusy and mildly spicy. We gobbled it right up!

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Then we had the Tacos de Pescado Al Pastor. These are a version of the upscale fish tacos marinated in an Al Pastor adobo. They come with handmade corn tortillas. Al Pastor is an adobo made with a bunch of dry chilles, spices and achiote paste. The tacos were fantastic. They had the perfect balance of Al Pastor flavor with a sense of seafood.

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Our main entrée was the Pescado a la Talla Contramar. This is the restaurant’s specialty. It is a split red snapper, half of it is covered with a red spice rub and the other half with a green rub.  The green rub is made mostly with parsley. No wonder this is their signature dish, the snapper was cooked to perfection.

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And last, but not least, we had the Merengue con Fresa for dessert. This is a merengue cake with fresh strawberries in the middle. Just when I thought our meal couldn’t get any better along came dessert. You have never had anything like this. It was decadently amazing so good it should be forbidden.

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Contramar remains the standard for impeccable fish in Mexico City. That is why it is treated with some serious respect among national and international foodies. A must try in Mexico City but remember they are not open for dinner.

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 ♥

 

Something for Everyone: Buttercelli’s Organic Bakeshop in Sherman Oaks

Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop is a small American bakery located in Sherman Oaks, CA. Nestled between other small store fronts on Ventura Blvd. Buttercelli’s can be easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. However, once inside you are welcomed by friendly staff and a glass case full of incredible looking baked goods.

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Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop 
13722 Ventura Blvd,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
818-387-8538
The bakery is just down the street from work, so I regulary stop in for breakfast. I start off witha  cup of their amazing organic coffee, then spend time selecting just the right treat. Buttercelli’s offers a large selection of scones, doughnuts, cakes, pies, brownies and more!  Buttercelli’s prides itself on their gluten-free, paleo and vegan desserts ensuring there is something for everyone!

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This morning I debated between a Key Lime muffin and a glazed doughnut. I finally realized I couldn’t just pick one (ok, ok… I didn’t really want to just pick one). I ended up buying and devouring both!

This was the first time I’d ever had a Key Lime muffin. The muffin was layered with the flavors you would find in a great Key Lime pie. The light glaze on top gave my breakfast just the right amount of sweetness and the lime flavor throughout was tart. The combination was incredible!

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The doughnut I ordered was not new to me. I often stop in for some Buttercelli’s doughnuts on my way to work. The doughnuts at Buttercelli’s are cake-like and delicious. They come in a variety of flavors. Today I chose a caramel glazed doughnut, however, I’ve tried everything from vanilla and chocolate to maple-bacon! These doughnuts are consistently bring a smile to my face.

I have found after countless visit’s to Buttercelli’s that you can’t go wrong with any of their baked goods. if you are in the Los Angeles area be sure to check out Buttercell’s Organic Bakeshop. Oh! and be sure to request a rewards card. You can earn money back for future purchases, you’ll want to snag a rewards card on your first visit because youll be back for more!

Tlayuda LA: East Hollywood’s New Answer to Oaxacan Food

I’m a part of a certain 13,000 member “private group” for women in LA on Facebook. While I’m not technically allowed to say what the name of the group is (total “Fight Club” situation), I will say that I have met some great women from it. The group ranges in ethnicities, ages and occupations, so I have become friends with all different types of women. I am fortunate to have met Laura Guerrero, who owns Tlayuda LA (along with her husband), which is still in a soft opening phase in East Hollywood. It’s so interesting to watch a small business blossom and hers is no exception. We’re very excited for her, especially since there doesn’t seem to be enough restaurants in LA with girl power to behind them.

Tlayuda LA

5450 Santa Monica Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90029

818-458-0776

http://facebook.com/TlayudaLA

tlayuda

Let me start with the guacamole and chips. Not enough places allow the avocado to really be the stand out of this dish but Tlayuda LA does. There strong elements of tomato and cilantro but the chunky, buttery avocado really shines through. The giant blue and white tortilla chips that are served with this dish are crisp, crunchy and fresh as well.

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This is the Tlayuda (proper pronunciation is TLAH-YOO-DAH), the famous Oaxacan dish that Laura named her spot after. I’ve never experienced this before, it’s like a Mexican pizza. Approximately 10 – 12 inches wide, the crunchy blue corn tortilla acts as the crust, there is a light bean spread that acts as sauce, then it’s topped with shredded lettuce, Oaxacan cheese, fresh sliced tomato, onion, avocado and a meat of your choice. We got half chilli marinated pork and thin sliced carne asada, which was a brilliant pairing. If I had to stick with one, I would pick the carne asada, I loved that it was lean, thin and buttery. I am also now obsessed with Oaxacan cheese because of this dish. It reminds me of string cheese but it’s saltier and stringer. I also loved the freshness and ripeness of the tomato. This is such a fun dish to share with guests.

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Left: Chorizo Taco Middle: Vegetarian Right: Chicken Mole

The tacos here are so fantastic. What separates Tlayuda from other Mexican spots is the corn tortillas for the tacos are made in house. There is a fluffiness in the texture of the tortillas the other Mexican spots just don’t have. All three of these tacos were delicious for different reasons. The vegetarian has mushrooms to beef the taco up. The chicken mole taco is a very decedent one. The sauce has the traditional chocolate base with with enough chilli and spices to not make it taste too sweet.

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The chorizo taco was my favorite. I loved the spiciness from the chilli it’s marinated in and rich texture of the ground pork sausage. Again, I’m obsessed with the Oaxacan cheese and it plays beautifully with the meat and bean puree. The sliced avocado on top is also always a win for me.

If you’re in LA and you love Oaxacan Mexican food, you have to stop in. Everything here is made with love, from the food to the tables Laura’s husband constructed himself. I’ve always felt that the best food comes from love and this place proves that point.

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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.

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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.