Girls on Food

Healthy Foods

Raw Spice Bar: A Subscription Box For The Epicurean

raw spice bar

raw spice bar recipes

Imagine a world with no spices. What would food taste like with no salt? No cinnamon for cookies or cakes or coffee. What would Indian food be with no cumin? Or Italian food without basil, thyme and oregano? Throughout history, the spice trade has established vast empires and compelled explorers to travel across the globe. Today, countless beauty products and holistic medicines contain spices.

Needless to say, food and life in general would be pretty bland without spices.

Enter RawSpiceBar, a company that uses high quality ingredients and careful techniques to deliver a unique trio of global spices straight to your door each month. For me personally, trying RawSpiceBar allowed me to get out of my spice rut and think outside the box. I tend to stick with the same handful of spices for all of my cooking and baking. But this reminded me that spices are vibrant, full of personality and can motivate creativity!

oktoberfest flavor kit

raw spice bar

oktoberfest flavor kit

I sampled the Oktoberfest flavor kit, which was kinda out of my spices “comfort zone,” but looking through past flavor kits on the RawSpiceBar website, all of their spices are of out of my comfort zone! I like that, though. Every one of their spice blends is interesting, and the names alone are enough to kick your sensory organs into high gear…

Rose & Cinnamon Advieh, Mango Toasted Chaat, Pimento Bloody Mary, Dark Coffee & Chiles, Achiote Recado Rojo, Turmeric Japanese Curry and more!

As a gluten free vegan (I know, I know) I’m able to take any of these flavor kits and make something unique and delicious in line with my food lifestyle. With the Oktoberfest flavor kit, I knew I was in for some savory German-inspired dishes!

Here are three easy recipes for your culinary enjoyment: one from RawSpiceBar, one I adapted from another food blogger and one of my own creation – all using my flavor kit containing three different spice blends. Guten Appetit!

horseradish & mustard cabbage

Horseradish & mustard cabbage

My flavor kit came with a recipe to accompany each spice blend. I was really excited to try this one because I love cabbage more than your average person and even though the recipe wasn’t vegan, I could tell it was going to be super easy to modify. I’m also a pretty big fan of both horseradish and mustard and the combo of the two. I recommend this as a side dish to the main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cabbage, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Steps:

  1. Heat a large pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) and make sure it’s shimmering, then sprinkle RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds across the surface and cover immediately, cook until seeds stop popping, about 1 minute.
  2. Remove the cover, turn heat to medium and add diced cabbage and onion. Add vegan butter and salt and toss to combine, stirring until vegetables begin to wilt, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature. Store extra in a sealed container in fridge.

Notes: I hope you like cabbage as much as I do, because you will have a ton it! I halved this recipe and even that was a lot.

This dish was so much more flavorful and rich than I expected, and even tastes good cold. Promise!

vegan potato pancakes

Potato pancakes

This recipe makes me very happy for two reasons. One, it reminds me of making latkes with my family every year for Hanukkah. And two, I love potatoes to the point where I feel an intervention might be necessary. Really.

I modified this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken to suit my own tastes as well as to be gluten free. It can be a main or side dish, breakfast, a snack – whatever you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp RawSpiceBar’s Schnitzel Spices
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 an onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • frying oil

Steps:

  1. Add all ingredients except the oil to a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Pour 1 tbsp oil to large skillet on medium heat. Take a handful of potato mixture and form into a patty. Fry for a couple minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  3. Drain patties on a paper towel. Store extras in airtight container in fridge.

Notes: Makes about 12-15 pancakes. These babies taste great served with applesauce or sour cream. I make my own sauce by mixing vegan mayo with some lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Sounds weird but it’s delicious!

The schnitzel spices add the perfect amount of kick to what would otherwise be very basic potatoes. And who needs basic when you have RawSpiceBar?

vegan sausage and potatoes

Sausage & Potatoes

I may have saved the best for last, and I’m not saying that because it’s the recipe I created! This was my favorite spice combo and it went perfectly with the kielbasa sausage, smoky potatoes and crispy onions. This recipe could be the main or side dish. It’s hearty and flavorful and super easy to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tsp RawSpiceBar’s Caraway, Fennel & Anise Bread
  • 5 small red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 thin slices of yellow onion
  • 2 links of Tofurky Kielbasa Sausage, sliced into small rounds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • optional: garlic powder

Steps:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet on medium low. Saute the potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes or so.
  2. Cut the onion slices in half and add to skillet. One they begin to brown add the sausage, spices, salt and a little garlic powder. Cook another 5-10 minutes to let everything heat up together, adding water if the mixture gets dry.

Notes: This dish is delicious on its own, thanks to the spices, but you can also serve it with your favorite sauce. The caraway, fennel and anise flavors really stand out but aren’t overwhelming and everything just tastes perfecto. Store leftovers in the fridge.

german dishes

The cool thing is, if you sign up for a 12 month subscription, it’s only $7 a month. I easily spend twice that on one visit to Starbucks (shaking my head in despair). And each flavor kit contains enough spices for recipes that feed up to twelve people. But the best part, from my point of view, is that each flavor kit will challenge your creativity and culinary skills in a fun way, and bring you spices from all over the world that you otherwise may never have tried.

Head to RawSpiceBar.com to learn more. You can view the different subscription options or send a flavor kit as a gift to someone. And there’s tons of great recipes to sift through.

Thanks to RawSpiceBar for letting me try their amazing flavor kit! I see more in my future ?

Jillian ?

Summer’s Roasted Pears with Cranberry Goat Cheese

Well we are officially half way through the holiday season, and I don’t know about you, but I have already eaten my weight in ALL the sweets and treats. (Which is pretty weird for me since most of the time I tend to lean more towards the savory). Anyhow, I have come to realize I have a very serious seasonal sweet tooth. What can I say, Christmas time is my jam! Since I am not going to give up all the yumminess, I decided to make a dish that leans a little more towards the healthier side. Roasted pears. Cranberry goat cheese stuffed roasted pears to be exact. I also realize that I post ALOT of stuffed recipes. I don’t know where my obsession with stuffing things comes from; I just know it tastes real, REAL good. So without further ado here is the recipe.

Roasted Pears with Cranberry Goat Cheese

4 medium sized pears (I used d’anjou)

Cinnamon

Cranberry goat cheese (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

Walnuts, chopped

Honey

pears-ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375

Halve your pears and slice a little teeny bit off the back, so they lay flat in the pan.

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Once you have done that take a spoon, any kind will do, (I used a sugar spoon) and scoop out the core of the pear to make a nice little bowl for the cheese.

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Sprinkle the pear with a generous amount of cinnamon. I wanted to also use some nutmeg, but I didn’t have any.

Once you have that done, take that same spoon and pop a hefty amount of the cheese into the middle of your pears.

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Sprinkle the chopped walnuts (pecans are also an excellent option) and drizzle the honey. I probably put about a teaspoon of honey on each pear.

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Pop those bad boys in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Once they are done, let them cool for a few minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

finished-pears

Alex and Tania Go To Ocean Market Grill In Long Beach

TANIA: When Alex asked me if I wanted to join her for dinner at Ocean Market Grill in Long Beach, I said, “Hell yes!” even though it’s a bit of a trek for me. We used to be roommates, and now that she lives in San Diego, I gotta get my Alex time in any chance I get!

ALEX: I happened to be back at home for Thanksgiving and was so excited to have the opportunity to check out Ocean Market Grill. This style of a fish shop is one of my favorite things, and since I was an hour and a half closer to Tania than I usually am, I knew I needed her to join me!

It was a rainy evening, and after a quick hug in the parking-lot-turned-swimming-pool we hurried inside.

OCEAN MARKET GRILL
6332 East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90803
http://www.oceanmarketgrill.com

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The interior is clean, minimalist, and casual, with nice lighting. They had the place decorated for Small Business Saturday as it happened to be the day after Black Friday.

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The menu somehow managed to be both simple and expansive, with multiple options of fresh fish prepared with different cooking and presentation styles, seasonings, and sides. Not to mention all the appetizers and salads that are also available!

ocean-market-grill-menu

TANIA: To start with, Alex and I ordered the OMG fries, which are served with a topping of clam chowder and delicious bacon. Alex doesn’t eat bacon, so I was more than happy to take one for the team and finish every last bit! The fatty and crispy bacon bits added just the right amount of salt to go with the creamy chowder on top.

ALEX: As Tania very willingly ate all of the bacon off of these fries for me (what a great friend!) I started digging into the fries, and these did make me say OMG! I’m not typically a huge clam chowder fan, but I could not stop eating these. The fries held their crispiness well, and the addition of red potatoes made these unique and extra delicious!

omg-fries

TANIA: For my main dish, I was excited to see that Yellow Tail was an option, as that’s one of my favorite types of fish to eat. The Yellow Tail and Ahi are sushi-grade and come lightly seared. That sounded so good; I decided to try the tacos, one in each style.

tacos

I had the Yellow Tail lightly grilled with garlic butter in an OMG-style taco, served with cilantro aioli, romaine, and Watermelon Pico-de-gallo. This was my favorite taco of the two. It was light, fresh, and had a nice combination of bright flavors. The fish was also wonderfully flaky and tender.

tacos2

For the Ahi taco, I had the fish blackened and served in a Cabo style taco prepared with Cabbage, Poblano Crema, Salsa, Pickled Onions, and a dusting of Cojita Cheese.  This taco offered a much more intense and smoky Cajun flavor, which was good, but I thought it overpowered the flavor of the Ahi. Next time, I’ll pick a different fish such as Salmon or Rock-Cod to go with this style of taco.

tacos3 For my side, I got brussels sprouts, and these were just delicious. I loved the crispy charred edges and with a zesty lemony flavor tossed in. The chips and salsa were also a nice side to go with my meal – I could tell the chips were made fresh.

tania

ALEX: I attempted to regain at least some semblance of health after the OMG fries so I ordered the Paleo plate, and decided on my favorite fish mahi-mahi, blackened, to go along with the sweet baked yams and broccolini. The Mahi on this dish was prepared perfectly, and the seasoning had a little kick that added to the fish without overwhelming it. While these sides were both very simple, they were prepared so well, especially the yams, which I didn’t even need to dress up with any extras because they were delicious on their own!

paleo-plate

alex

TANIA: To finish off our meals, Alex and I decided to skip dessert and go healthy. We shared a CA Artichoke Salad which comes with half a grilled artichoke, mixed greens, tomatoes, charred corn, avocado, cojita cheese, radish, tortilla strips, cilantro, and tossed with a spicy ranch dressing. I thought the salad had a nice mix of flavors, and I liked the dressing in particular. And it came with a side of tasty, crunchy garlic bread – SCORE!

artichoke-salad

artichoke-salad2 artichoke-salad3ALEX: It was so nice to see Tania and do what we do best (eat), and everything we tried was so fresh and prepared so well! I will be bringing my family back to this spot whenever I am in the area. Ocean Market Grill has something for everyone, from the healthiest in the bunch, to the one who wants to chow down on a seafood burrito!

TANIA: It’s always nice to share a meal with a friend, but even nicer when that meal is fresh, healthy, and doesn’t weigh you down. Ok… so we might have visited a candy shop across the street after our meal, but still.

smallbizsaturday

Say Yes to Busy Nights! Crock-Pot Chicken Enchiladas to the Rescue!

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The first time I made these amazing chicken enchiladas was back in February, while covering for a co-worker on maternity leave, and coming right off a week long ski trip to my entire sales team in town! I was extra busy and needed to learn to lean on my Crock-Pot. I have always thought of Crock-Pot meals as 1. Heavy 2. Unhealthy 3. Fat 4. Hokey Midwestern (no offense). In the last 12 months, my opinion on this incredible kitchen appliance has completely shifted, especially after reading this inspiring Instant Pot Chicken Breast recipe. So after eight years of being used solely to make my specialty football season queso, we are now using our crockpot on a regular basis. This recipe is the current favorite in our household.

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast per person
  • Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • Can mexi-corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 1-2 chopped jalapeños
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 10oz can enchilada sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot chili spice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • Option- 1 cup dry quinoa

Recipe:

  • Spray Crock-Pot with Pam
  • Put everything (except chicken in Crock-Pot) and stir
  • Add chicken (I would stab it a few times, so it incorporates all the flavors)
  • Cook on low for the 9-5 work day, or on high for 3-4 hours

My 3-year-old was able to pour all the ingredients (except the chicken) into the Crock-Pot this morning. I’m all about empowering kids to cook, and he is so proud when I let him run the show!

chicken-enchilada-1b

I ran to the market after work to buy Funfetti cake mix for my daughter’s smash cake this weekend and saw a stack of tostadas out of the corner of my eye. So tonight, we have fully branched out. We made…Chicken Enchilada Huevos Rancheros. I mean. Oh. My. Gah. I had to try it. My husband was skeptical but went all in. We did two tostadas stacked (with just a little bit of the deliciousness in between, then more on top; then topped with a salt and peppered egg over easy, diced avocado, pickled jalapeno, and mexi-cheese.

chicken-enchilada-2b

If you’re ever in a rush or need to bring dinner to a new momma, impress a girl, or feed a group, definitely give this a shot. In taco form or served up fancy, this meal has never let us down, and is always sure to impress! Can’t wait to find our next Crock-Pot favorite!

Easy Eggplant Pizza (Vegan and Gluten Free)

eggplant pizza

I discovered eggplant pizza the other day as I was scrolling through Instagram and saw an amazing photo by a vegan food blogger. The recipe looked super easy, which was perfect because I was wanting to make pizza with a homemade sweet potato crust and that recipe was more involved than I had hoped for.

But eggplant pizza? Easy, simple ingredients, filling and oh so tasty ?

This recipe is vegan and naturally gluten free, with juicy eggplant, savory tomato sauce, melty vegan cheese shreds, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts and red onion. A much healthier version of pizza but just as delicious. Whoever came up with the idea for eggplant pizza is a genius ??

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • tomato sauce
  • garlic powder
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • vegan cheese shreds (or cashew cheese)
  • toppings: mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, red onion, bell pepper, spinach, broccoli, etc.

6 Easy Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your eggplant into approximately 1/4 inch slices. I got 5 slices from my eggplant. I left the skin on because it looks prettier, which made it a little chewy, but I didn’t mind. However, you can peel the skin off if you prefer.
  3. Lay your slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle salt over the slices and let them sit for 20 minutes. This brings the extra moisture from the eggplant to the surface.
  4. Wipe the salt off and dab the excess salt with a paper towel. Drizzle olive oil over the slices and sprinkle some dried oregano. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Spoon tomato sauce onto the eggplant slices. I used a small can of plain organic tomato sauce and mixed garlic powder, salt, dried oregano and a little nutritional yeast to it for added flavor. Add your vegan cheese shreds (homemade cashew cheese would also be yummy and less processed) and whatever toppings you like.
  6. Broil on low for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and your pizzas are starting to brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

eggplant pizza

vegan eggplant pizza

I’ve only made this recipe once, but we’re already in a committed relationship ? I know it will be my new go-to whenever I’m craving pizza. Regular vegan pizza doesn’t actually fill me up for very long, but eating this eggplant pizza for lunch left me so full that I didn’t eat dinner until 9 pm!

This is a great meal for getting in all those veggies your body needs while also being freaking delicious. Well done, eggplant pizza, well done.

Jillian ?

BOOzy Brunch Bunch: Caramel Apple Sangria

sangria-4

dessertLike any good toddler mom, I head to Pinterest for basically everything party related! Every month or so, I host a “Boozy Brunch Bunch” because well, if you play with kids all day and never see your friends, there is a chance you will lose your sanity. With “Boozy” in the title, I like to have a couple of options available, so thanks to #itsfallyall and Pinterest, I can bring you today’s concoction!

 

This month, I decided to host a BOOzy Brunch Bunch, because of Halloween. Unfortunately, Raleigh got hit way harder than expected by Hurricane Matthew, and my freezer got wiped out, so I didn’t have most of my normal go-to’s, like all the mini muffins I’ve crafted over the years, or the tiny eggos the kids love so much. (I’m seriously not complaining about this; there are towns in North Carolina that people still can not get into their homes, so my freezer is the least of my worries right now). But since I couldn’t just defrost a handful of muffins and throw eggos in the oven, I started to think about my favorite breakfast foods and realized: toasts are so hot right now!

sangria-6

My favorite restaurant up in Rhode Island is called Persephone’s Kitchen, and the owner, Persephone, has a delightful selection of toasts every morning that I decided to emulate. So for the guests at my home, there were avocado and cayenne pepper sprinkled with goat cheese toast, goat cheese and mini heirloom tomato toast, and the gold standard of Nutella and banana slices on toast! Of course, I provided mimosas and coffee, but I wanted to have a special beverage on hand as well. My sister-in-law and I had thrown a joint birthday party for our new one-year-olds at the beginning of October, and we tried this recipe for the first time then. I just knew it had to make another appearance this fall!

Caramel Apple Sangria

sangria-1This recipe is super easy and takes 5 minutes to put together! Deceptively sweet, so make sure kids don’t accidentally drink it (a valid concern) and make sure your adult friends know they just got sloshed before you let them hop into a car and drive home! It’s the perfect warm fall day beverage, as the sun is shining and you don’t want anything too heavy! Ideal for a southern fall day, for sure!

 

 

sangria-2

The first step is to cut up 2-3 apples and add them to your pitcher! I started this in a juice jar, and realized I needed something bigger midway through and transferred! Next, add a bottle of your favorite chilled white wine (I used chardonnay), a container of apple cider (I prefer Trader Joe’s  version), and then the coup de grace, is one cup of Smirnoff’s Kissed Caramel Vodka.

sangria-3

Everyone who has tried this loves it! I’m thrilled for the leftovers to share with my neighborhood tonight as the kids are out Trick – or – Treating!

sangria-5

Eat Purely: Healthy Nomz Delivered Straight to Your Chicago Door!

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Eat Purely
http://www.eatpurely.com

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to give Eat Purely a try, you can use the promo code GIRLSONFOOD for a $20 credit on your first order!

Eat Purely is an app (Apple, Android, also available on their site) that delivers healthy, organic meals to your door in the Chicago area. This is great because I live in Chicago, I like healthy meals, and my schedule has become so hectic lately that I don’t really have time to cook. (Explanation: I’m too tired and lazy to make frozen pizza AGAIN.) I have just started looking for a tennis coach in Chicago to help keep the weight off at the recommendation of a friend, so combined with Eat Purely, I should keep the weight off and enjoy healthy meals!

(Addendum: Even though I succumbed to frozen pizza tonight and am actually eating it as I write this. Anyway…)
I agreed to try Eat Purely because I like trying new things and because of my busy schedule, and I became pretty hooked. The food is yummy and I like that there are different options each night, along with a description about each choice so you know a little more about it:

One you make a selection, you choose a time frame (i.e 6-7pm) for the meal to be delivered and enter your address. The option to tip is also included, so you don’t have to worry about having cash on hand. I do wish they would be able to provide a tighter window frame, maybe in half hour blocks for example, although I noticed the app does give you a notification when your driver is about fifteen minutes out.

During on demand hours (4pm – 9 pm), you can see an ETA in the app (usually about 20 minutes). Eat Purely also offers on demand for lunch (only in the Loop, West Loop, and River North for now) from 11am – 2pm.

So, on to the food reviews! My first order was Asian BBQ Steak with Garlic Rice and Peanut Noodles with Tofu. It arrives like this:

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First time customers will also receive a cute little note — and a little piece of dessert comes with each order as well!

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One heads up: If you order a warm dish, you will have to heat it up in the microwave or oven on your own. Heat times and instructions are provided so it’s not that big of a deal, but just know that if you’re TRULY on the go, it’s probably best to order a salad or something cold. (Like my noodles!)

My favorite of the two was the BBQ Steak with Rice, which was really good. The noodles were okay, but I found them lacking texture a bit. I ended up sprinkling some pepper flakes on them and they were pretty tasty after that.

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For my next Eat Purely adventure, my friends and I ordered in to kick off a girls’ night. I got Lamb Meatballs with curry rice, pistachio honey yogurt, and quinoa tabouleh. My friends ordered shrimp, watermelon, and tomato salad + grilled steak salad. Here is what our table looked like:

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I really enjoyed my lamb meatballs. I liked the rice and chickpea salad, although I thought the tomatoes in the tabbouleh tasted a little stale. The tomatoes in my friend shrimp salad tasted pretty good however, and I liked the watermelon + celery combination in it. We all agreed that the portions at Eat Purely are pretty generous, and were full from one main and two salads.

Feeling hungry but wanting something light the next time around, I tried the Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad with pickled squash and candied pepitas:

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I took the time to plate it a little nicer this time around. BTW, if you take the time to make your food look pretty on a plate and upload it to Instagram, tag @eatpurely and hashtag #IEatPurely for a chance to win $100! They have this contest every month. I even got fancy and added some sliced lemons — I’m a food stylist in the making, I swear!

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This salad was my favorite of all the orders. I love arugula and goat cheese so I was already a little biased, but the pickled squash was a wonderful and refreshing addition. The candied pepitas added a fun crunch, and the dressing was flavorful but light. All in all, this was a great healthy, lighter salad. I definitely plan on ordering this when they offer it again!!

My final order from Eat Purely was Moroccan Chicken with currant cous cous and grilled veggies. I also ordered the beet salad.

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Man, both of these were amazing! I will admit compared to everything else I’ve ordered the beet salad seemed a little plain, but it was also only $7. The chicken was DELICIOUS! I loved it. The cous cous was so, so good and the grilled veggies were perfect for fall. This is another dish I definitely recommend trying out if they have it again.

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Overall, I’d say that Eat Purely is a great option if you have a busy schedule and no time to cook. The options are tasty, and you can tell they really put a lot of love into their company. I’m thinking of having dinner delivered to my work next time, and they just recently started doing LUNCH too, so that’s a perfect option!

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to give Eat Purely a try, you can use the promo code GIRLSONFOOD for a $20 credit on your first order!

True Food Kitchen in Pasadena: The Next Great American Chain Restaurant

I’d heard good things about True Food Kitchen from my friends, so I was excited to learn that a new location had opened in downtown Pasadena last month. Naturally, I had to give it a try!

True Food Kitchen
168 West Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105
http://www.truefoodkitchen.com

true-food-kitchen-interior1I brought my vegan friend Sarah along, knowing she’d especially appreciate True Food Kitchen’s mission, which is to provide healthy, yet flavorful food that adheres to the principals of an anti-inflammatory diet with fresh, organic, and locally sourced ingredients.

I was immediately won over by the hip vibe of the place, including a gorgeous and expansive outdoor patio strung with lights. Sarah and I were seated inside beneath the warm glow of large circular lights suspended overhead.

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The place was really bustling on a Friday night, so if you plan to coming here on a busy evening, I’d recommend making a reservation and being prepared to wait for your food to arrive. Sarah and I were happy to chill with a glass of wine and chat while we waited for our appetizers.

First up was an order of the insanely delicious Edamame Dumplings. I had expected the dumplings to be pan-fried, but these were more like tender pillows of ravioli, bathed in a delicious dashi soy-based broth with white truffle oil, and Asian herbs. The mixture within each dumpling was creamy and herby, and my only regret was there were so few!

edamame-dumplings

Next, Sarah and I shared a vegan and gluten-free salad, the seasonal Autumn Ingredient Salad. This salad was a vibrant mix of roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, white beans, pomegranate arils, and toasted mulberry, dressed with a zesty horseradish vinaigrette. I loved the robust and nutty flavors of this salad, and it really evoked the feeling of autumn with its toasty and colorful presentation.

autumn-ingredient-salad

For my entree, I ordered another autumnal dish: Pan Roasted Chicken in a rosemary jus with maple glazed squash, cannellini beans, and swiss chard. The chicken was nicely flattened with a crispy skin, and the gravy had a lemony zing, which I really liked. This felt like a healthier version of comfort food, and it didn’t leave me feeling heavy afterwards, which was a definite plus!

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tania

Sarah ordered a vegan Butternut Squash Pizza with smoked onion, organic kale, dried cranberry, and homemade vegan almond ricotta. I tried a slice and, while this wasn’t my favorite dish of the night, it had a nice tart flavor balanced with sweetness from the butternut squash and cheese. I’d actually never tried vegan ricotta until now, and was impressed with how creamy it was.

butternut-squash-pizza

sarah

True Food Kitchen lived up to its name with its seasonal and fresh ingredients that felt as real and un-tampered with as food should be. The menu changes seasonally, so I’ll definitely be returning to see what future menus offer!

Summer’s Broccoli Tots

YASSSSS!! Fall is officially here!  The weather is finally not giving me a heat stroke, I can stomp aimlessly through piles of leaves, I can pretty much get pumpkin anything and football season has started. That means a copious amount of Sunday Fundays is about to go down!

Now I love a good football snack spread just as much as the next person. However, most snacks are fried and smothered with cheese. Like my favorite, tater tots. Since I know I am going to be attending a ton of Sunday Fundays, I cannot be eating all the fried food. ( I want to, but I can’t keep buying new jeans). So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a healthy version of my fave, broccoli tots.

I used my cauliflower pizza crust recipe as inspiration, and I have to say what I came up with was freaking tasty AF. So if you want to get your snack on basically guilt free continue reading for my Broccoli Tot recipe.

*I give this disclaimer every time but just in case… I do not measure out anything. I just kind of eyeball it with these little bowls and they hold approximately one cup. 

ingredients

Broccoli Tots

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli diced or Trader Joe’s Riced Broccoli

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 egg

2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon parsley, dried flakes or fresh

1 tablespoon paprika

Heaping tablespoon of cayenne (I like things a little spicy, if you prefer more mild use less)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all seasonings in a small bowl

 

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blanche the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse the broccoli with cold water and let it sit while I prepping everything else.

After you’ve chopped your onions and grated the cheese, place the broccoli between a couple of paper towels and gently pressed to remove any excess water. (I didn’t take a pic of this cause, well, it wasn’t pretty)

Once you are done pressing the water out throw everything together in a bowl and mix well.

mix-it-together

Now you are ready to form your tots. I am not gonna lie, this was the most time-consuming part and if you don’t like getting stuff all up in your fingernails wear some gloves. Grab a little amount of the mixture on a spoon and squeezed it together in your hand until it forms a tot-esque shape. Place them on parchment lined baking sheet.

Once you form all your tots, throw them in the oven and let them cook for 25 minutes.

formed-tots

Place them on a tray/plate/whatever and serve with your fave condiment. I promise these will be a hit. Even my boyfriend liked them, and I usually have to trick him into eating broccoli.

broccoli-tots-finished

Enjoy!

me-eating-tot

Protein Packed (V + GF) Breakfast Tostadas

breakfast tostadaI’m one of those people that must eat a hearty breakfast with hot coffee every single morning NO. MATTER. WHAT. ☕️ But as a vegan, sometimes it can feel like my breakfast choices are limited. I can only handle so much oatmeal. I can’t cook up eggs and bacon. I’m also gluten free, so pancakes and bagels and waffles can be tricky. What’s a vegan girl to do?…

Whip up some healthy breakfast tostadas filled with creamy refried black beans, crispy potatoes, sliced avocado, crunchy red onion, and hot sauce & vegan ranch of course! So much yes. I want them right now, and it’s nowhere near breakfast time as I write this, but it doesn’t matter because tostadas can be consumed any time of day ?

If you’re looking for something new to throw into the breakfast mix or want something filling and healthy, or just a mega breakfast of champions, try these Protein Packed Breakfast Tostadas?? They’re pretty addictive.

vegan breakfast tostada

Ingredients you will need:

  • 2 corn tortillas (I like Food for Life’s Sprouted Corn Tortillas in frozen section of store)
  • several tbsp of refried black beans
  • 1-2 small red potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 slice of red onion, diced
  • 1 cap of apple cider vinegar
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • water
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 small avocados, sliced very thinly
  • your favorite sauce (vegan ranch, hot sauce, salsa, pico, vegan cheese)

Directions:

  1. Add diced cubes of potato to a small pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and apple cider vinegar, cover, and saute until brown (about 10 mins), stirring occasionally. Season potatoes with salt and garlic powder. Push them to the side of the skillet or set aside in a bowl.
  3. Spoon a layer of refried beans onto a tortilla and place in skillet with the bean side facing up. Do the same with second tortilla. Cover and cook about five minutes or until the beans are warm. Use a spatula to remove tostadas and place on a plate.
  4. Spoon a layer of potatoes over refried beans. Fan avocado slices on top and sprinkle some diced red onion. Top off with drizzles of ranch and hot sauce, or whatever toppings you like.

breakfast tostada

These babies are super filling but I’ve been known to put away two at a time ? These tostadas get me excited about waking up in the morning, and they’re a delicious start to the day!

Jillian ?

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.

 

 

img_1691

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!