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i have been trying to eat gluten free, pretty much all the time, since i went to see a nutritionist back in july.  i had been experimenting with it prior to my visit, but she concluded that it is a good idea. apparently, people of irish and english decent are prone to having an intolerance to gluten, which i found fascinating. she did all sorts of funny tests, that will take a long time to explain…but she concluded some interesting scenarios about my body.  her basic idea: no gluten/dairy/sugar to loose weight. she also gave me a a caloric range that i could not go beyond or below, or loosing weight wouldn’t take effect.  i am not the best calorie counter in the world, i essentially try and eyeball it.  but….she did say any diet will work, if you follow it. it’s how healthy you want to be about it.

 for the most part, i have also cut out cheese and refined sugars. i have been eating fruits and occasionally, honey or maple syrup.  i cheated  a few times this week with cheese. i do however, try to eat raw goats milk cheese, or anything non-pasteurized and aged.  animals producing non-pasteaurized products are fed their normal diet of grasses/hay and checked daily for health. no antibiotic shots either. cows producing pasteurized products are just the opposite and pasteurization removes and kills enzymes your body needs to digest dairy. now, i am not a doctor nor an expert…i am just relaying what i learned in my recent experience.

there truly is so much to learn about our bodies and the  food that we eat. i find it fascinating, and yet overwhelming.  this nutritionist gave really good insight, but was also realistic. i appreciated that.  i don’t want to completely stop eating the things i love like bread, cheese, and desserts…i just need to limit how much of it i consume.  if i can control it, i will. if i want to indulge every once in a while, well…my belly will be the one to pay the price…and possibly my thighs as well.

so, there comes in this pizza. i find eating gluten free to be the easiest of all of these restrictions! even though the nutrionist told me to go off all grains, i occasionally have some gluten free bread, etc.  this recipe does include cheese and sugar from the dates, but everything is as i spoke of earlier. this was meant to be my indulgence over the weekend!(well…maybe amongst a few , mind you, healthy others!

the crust

3 cups of almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp of fresh herbs…rosemary, thyme, oregano

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 eggs

grind up the herbs in a spice or coffee grinder. combine all the dry ingredients in a mixer. add the eggs and oil. mix until forming a ball. shape the dough into a ball onto a piece of parchment paper on top of a sheet tray.  rolling or patting out to the desired shape and size. i believe the crust is best as thin as possible! bake in oven @ 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to turn a light golden brown.  take out of oven and top with your toppings of choice! the great thing about this dough, is it doesn’t have to rise!

toppings

serrano ham

manchego shavings 

parmesan

lemon pesto

sliced dates

drizzle of olive oil

i added the meat and cheese and placed back in the oven. ideally, next time i would use a cheese that melts a bit better. the raw goats milk i had would have probably been a better choice! just being honest. manchego isn’t the best melting cheese. any kind of pesto would work. i watered mine down with more olive oil and water so it was fun to drizzle over the pizza. you could also slap it on like spaghetti sauce.  figs would be a great alternative to dates, especially, since this is their season!

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i am off to colorado today. wylie and i are doing the drive in two days. i am really looking forward to jamming out to some tunes and the scenery along I-70.  gonna be a good trip…i can feel it!

so, many fun things happened this past week. went to see a nutritionist whom kicked my butt with some reality. my dear friends stacy and allan were married this past saturday. we spent the week doing lots of wedding things: a lingerie shower. a trip to glen ivy hot springs and spa where we covered ourselves in mudd and had lotion painted on with a paint brush to then only hang out in a fragile rock cave. helped with flowers and decorations for the wedding. went to the wedding and cried my eyes out watching these two amazing people share their love.  and now i am off to take a trip to inspire something…i am not sure how or what yet, kind of banking that it will just come to me!

for now, i will leave you with this salad.

mixed greens

bacon

hard boiled egg

avacado

radish

lemon juice and zest

dill

mint

olive oil

s+p

mix all ingredients together! enjoy!

let me just take this opportunity on a food post to rant.

life sure is funny…isn’t it? about a month ago i decided that i was really ready to leave LA.  i clearly hinted around to it on the blog, but i never wanted to come out and actually say it until i was completely ready.  something just felt done here. like, put a fork in me! i would drive around and still do, reminicising about the past ten years living here, the people i have met, the things i have accomplished or haven’t. and although i was sad at the idea of saying goodbye, it also feels very right. true, so to speak.  i feel full. i feel like i can say i gave it ten years… ten whole years of my life! i had a dream when i was a little girl to to move to LA…bright lights, big city.  and by golly, i did it! sometimes, i still feel like the 22 year old girl who moved here. sometimes, i feel like the old hag, single, living in a big city. i fear nothing will change if i stay. i fear it is a impossible to leave.

now, i dream and i want to drive on country roads. i want to be simple. i want to feel simple. i want out of this hollywood jungle.  i want to meet some guy whose priorities are not to be famous, rich, or important.  (not to say that is every guy in LA…but). most of all, i am ready for some NEW experiences.  of course, i would love for my life to be like a romantic comedy, and i move and i meet this guy who can cut wood with an axe and maybe he wears a cowboy hat, but honestly, when i imagine moving i imagine me, just me figuring something out. because i don’t think i have yet to figure out what i want to be when i grow up.

this is so cliche, but when i read eat pray love i was soooo ready to have my eat pray love moment. 6 months later i went to europe with a friend. i went to europe again last year, but it sure is expensive,and the trips were not a year’s worth of soul searching, ending in love. i don’t know how i would move to europe with no money, a dog, and a cat.  if you read my blog or you know me, you know i have a major amount of wanderlust.  now, does this stem from constantly trying to escape LA…or is that just who i have become? when i first spoke with my parents about my recent desire to move…my dad suggested i be a nomad, going off to try different places. i suppose his suggestion and approval of such an idea sparked something in me.  a few weeks ago i started daydreaming about being a nomad…maybe living in a camper driving around with wylie and lola. stopping off in different places around the country, seeing people i know, finding odd jobs to make money, and blogging about it.  i have said it before, but i am the happiest when traveling…free.  maybe it is escapism…maybe it is just me. maybe i would move to a small town and just itch for the big city. maybe i would move to a different city and just itch for a farm.  maybe this is my lot in life and my curse…wanderlust. and therefore my curse with love.  maybe, my dream of being simple is just that, a dream. maybe it will be the hardest thing to accomplish, because essentially i don’t know that i am, simple. i am not just a blueberry or a lemon. more like the ricotta leftover from the cheese.

i knew that when i felt in my heart it was time to go, something would road block me or force me to make a hard decision. i knew things would start picking up with work and opportunities, i would find a contentment of happiness,  or i would finally meet a guy in LA i actually wanted to date.  no dude here…but the opportunities have kept me mighty busy and will until the end of august.  now, this is great! right? yes, it is…but the ambitious part of me is afraid i won’t be able to walk away. or is this just a high point…will september roll around and it is back to the same struggles? i was talking with one of the loves of my life, donna, last night and she complimented me with being multi-talented. which is great, amazing! i love that! but i also have my foot in like 6 different doors…i don’t know which one i want or if i want any of them and it kind of drives me crazy. perhaps, the core of my desire to find simplicity. wardrobe has been my career for 10 years now, but i am not inspired anymore.  i started the necklace thing, and although i get a million compliments, the craft fairs haven’t really been a success…i need to take around to boutiques, but then all these other opportunities seems to take precedence over that. like traveling, wardrobe jobs(where i actually make the most money), catering gigs (which kind of came out of nowhere), party planning, picture taking, searching for a new medium, constantly in need of cleaning my house and car,  and the blog. the blog…where it all comes together.  it seems the blog has become my own personal journal…and journey.  hence, even this post. i mean, do people really want to read this shit? i don’t know, but i suppose it feels better to sometimes type it out and send it out there with no real idea of where it goes, who reads it, and what they think.

but i feel good despite my confusion on what it is i am suppose to do or be or where. a bit stressed at uncertainty, but good. i am riding the waves. for the first time in a long time, i feel like the world is my oyster again.

i guess my ranting kind of works out for this post because i have nothing really to say about gluten free blueberry and lemon ricotta muffins, except that i just wanted to make them!

2 cups of almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/8 cup of coconut oil, melted

1/8 cup of ricotta

1/4 cup of honey

2 tbsp of sugar

1 cup of blueberries

zest and juice of one lemon

preheat the oven to 350degrees.

combine dry ingredients in a bowl. combine wet ingredients in a mixer. slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. scoop into a muffin tin ( i use an ice cream scoop). bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top!

photo courtesy of zach lipp

photo courtesy of zach lipp

phew…my first “professional” catering gig(& second party in a week) accomplished! after the last week i am so incredibly exhausted…i felt like i was hungover all day yesterday.  it was all totally worth the two 12+ hour days i put in, the nerves of “will the food be good?”, and the few moments i completely questioned what the hell i was doing! i couldn’t have done it without my dear friend stacy!!!! she offered her services, for free mind you, and was so gracious and fun the whole time! i am not sure i would have carried all that shit up and down stairs for someone, but she did it! seriously, she was so awesome and just did what needed to be done and i didn’t have to tell her or micromanage or anything!!!!! my friend zach even popped over the morning of the party and ran some errands for me and came back to my extremely hot house and peeled and devained a whole lot of shrimp!!! i mean, what incredibly amazing friends i have!

a few months back my friend donna asked me to do the food for her and her friend lex’s birthday party, see here.  the sheer fact that donna thought i could pull it off gave me the confidence to actually try it! that party was a success and i loved doing it.  then a few months after that, a lovely lady named annie (always love a fellow annie), emailed me and asked if i would be interested in doing her party. she wanted something creative, not a general run of the mill caterer. annie owns a skincare line called skin owl and she was planning a first birthday party for her great business! i explained i was not that professional, but she took the chance on me and i could not be more appreciative and honored!

 i came up with a few ways to theme the menu, but the one annie liked the best was incorporating ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. she picked one ingredient from each dish and gave me an excerpt of info. i made place cards for each dish with the info so people can interact and learn something about the food they are eating.  annie’s main products right now are based off argan oil, lavender, geranium, and sage. so, we added three drinks with syrups infused with these ingredients.

the party turned out amazing! i was so nervous about getting the food out on time, about it tasting good, and everything else that could go wrong. the night went incredibly smooth, everyone was so happy and full of compliments (especially annie! which means the world!) people even made a point to leave tips for us. i mean, i never even thought about asking!

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

photos above  courtesy of me

the menu:

sweet potato quesadillas with black bean, feta, and green onion on whole wheat tortillas

chipotle lime shrimp skewers

grilled cheese and tomato soup

mango, avacado, red onion, cilantro and lime lettuce boats

curry deviled eggs with turmeric

cucumber sandwiches with feta, sun dried tomatoes, and olives

white bean sage/ lemon dip with root chips

strawberry shortcake with honey lemon cream

chocolate chip mint cookies with milk

chocolate covered berries

blackberry sage cooler

rose geranium mojito

lavender spritzer

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

i can’t thank enough donna, annie, stacy, zach and all my other supportive  and encouraging friends ( you know who you are)!!!!

i am not sure where i am going with all of this…but i am just going!!!

haven’t been cooking much these days for the blog. between traveling, visitors, craft fairs, work, side projects, and ultimate life contemplation… just haven’t been all over it like i was.  i still feed myself, just nothing spectacular to photograph. i have been ditching my weekly dose of barefoot contesssa too.  i did make this soup though. simple, tasty, and healthy.  healthy…is always on my mind these days.  i was inspired from a martha recipe and added a few ingredients myself.  it is kind of somewhere between pho and mexican soup. you be the judge!

ingredients:

2 chicken breasts on the bone

2-3 carrots

1 white onion

2 garlic cloves

4 cups of water

1-2 cups of quinoa

limes

cilantro

green onion

1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper

sriracha

boil the chicken breasts with the carrots and onion, chopped up, with 4 cups of water. add the salt and pepper. probably need to boil for about 45 minutes…or until the chicken is done.  take out the chicken breasts and shred the meat.  discard the carrots, onion, and garlic from the broth.  cook some quinoa and add to the broth with the shredded chicken.  garnish the soup with as much cilantro, lime, green onion, and sriracha as you like! add more salt if desired.

i think tofu or shrimp would make a lovely soup here as well. just use vegetable broth as the base.

done!

man, oh man. another inspiring weekend/week. laura (my dear friend that we went to CO to see) was in town for the past 5 days doing a photo shoot with our other friend kate. it was such a treat to get to spend more time with the lady! a complete girls love fest complete with an actual girls marathon, a walking tour of downtown LA, the land art exhibit at the MOCA, photo shoots, and lots and lots of laughter. not to mention the night we watched new year’s eve, which might be the worst movie of all time, but totally worth watching for the sheer pleasure of making fun!

sunday brunch happened at my house and was an impromptu attempt on a whim! i made a spinach/goat cheese/herb fritata and cherry/banana/nutella pancakes with caramel sauce. to drink, orange water! it was simple, easy, and a nice little end to the weekend before we all headed back to our real lives. of course, kate and i found an excuse to order take out and watch game of thrones after taking laura to the airport…just not ready to end the sheer joy of good friend’s company. i am sad the fun is over, but happy to have had the moments of the weekend!

photos from laura and i’s little round about in downtown LA. we walked from my house. had lunch at grand central market. paid 50cents to take angels flight. sat in the park at angel’s knoll and admired butterflies. happy hour at umamicutessan. finished off at the MOCA for the land art exhibit. lovely.

fritata:

9 eggs

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup of white onion (or shallot)

spinach (as much as you want)

tomatos

3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of goat cheese

variety of fresh herbs( i used basil, dill, thyme, oregano…but any will do really!)

pancakes:

i had bananas and cherries that were going to go bad…so, i decided to throw them in with some bisquick pancake mix. i added some nutella and made a caramel sauce because i was out of maple syrup! boom!

pancake mix (bisquick, gluten free, your own)

1/4 cup of cherries

1 1/2 bananas

2 tablespoons of nutella

recipe for caramel sauce here

for the orange water just cute some slices of oranges and add to the water squeezing some of the juice in! done.

 i have to admit i am not sure i ever meant for the blog to become so personal in the beginning, but it seems to be the direction it has taken. sometimes i just can’t help to but to share the happy, great moments when friends and love trump all. i can’t thank these ladies enough for having been in my life for so long, since 1997, still bringing so much laughter, joy, and inspiration to my life. i can’t wait to share the photo shoot laura and i did in my backyard… but here are a few silly photos from the shoot laura and kate were working on (me and the dogs tagged along to help)…of the three of us being completely, well,(insert subtle sarcasm here) cool.

my friend’s, stacy and alan, (whom are also getting married this summer) are kind enough to stay at my house when i travel to snuggle with wylie and lola. they bring their dog steven…and it is one big snuggle fest.

being the crazy, overbearing dog/cat mother that i am, it makes me feel way more comfortable knowing they all love each other!

before i left for colorado i made them a treat. a gluten free coconut cake with coconut and honey icing. it just worked out that i had all sorts of coconut ingredients and for some reason…i was craving coconut cake. i totally ate a piece (to taste test) before i left it for them. perhaps, i am selfish. it was i who really wanted the coconut, enough so that i dug into this baby before i even let them see it.  in my defense,i was worried about the consistency…which was slightly dry. the longer it sat though, the more it kind of gave into some moisture.  i am new to baking gluten free and all that jazz. so, i have not quite figured out if it was the coconut flour, the coconut oil not being heated up, or if i should have used ghee instead of the oil.

regardless, i think it still tasted good. luckily, there was some leftover when i got home!!!

the cake ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1 1/2 cups of coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of coconut oil ( or ghee)

1/2 cup of honey

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

combine all wet ingredients with a mixer. combine dry ingredients and slowly incorporate into the wet ingredients. you can do 3 cups of almond flour if you do not have coconut flour or do not want to use it. you can also use ghee instead of coconut oil. i used lots of coconut products to make it a super duper coconut cake!

grease a bundy pan or regular cake pan. i put some coconut at the bottom of the pan as well. bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

let cool for 30 minutes. turn upside down onto a cake plate or regular old plate.

the icing ingredients:

 1 cup coconut milk

1 1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2-1 cup honey

1 cup of coconut flakes

heat the coconut milk and honey in a saucepan until hot and mixed well. add the coconut oil until melted. add the coconut flakes. store in a jar int he freezer until thick. if it is too thick, just let it sit for a bit on the counter. pour all over the cake!

boom!

the cake and icing recipes were derived from roostblog. i altered the cake recipe a bit, but the icing recipe is directly from roost. my go to for dairy,sugar,and grain free baking!

 alan, wylie, and steven. this picture makes me laugh.

first off, i want to say thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday!!! the support was so warming and made those jitters of putting my heart on the table that much more safe!

back to regular programming! i have still  been eating a simple diet. generally juicing in the morning and very simple small meals like a salad or quinoa with some yummy veggies.  still doing a very limited amount of cheese, meat, sugar, and flour. however, when the time calls, like a night out with friends, i allow myself to indulge.  i am feeling pretty good about all of it and am more determined to feel the best i can more than ever! ( however i do allow myself to completely indulge this weekend at unique LA with all those lovely food vendors…and considering i will be there all day for two days!)

occasionally, i have been making smoothies like this! they fill me up and i actually have it for lunch sometimes. i still might be intaking too much sugar, buuuuut, it ain’t white sugar!

what you need:

an avacado (1/2 or a whole)

1 banana

1tbsp cacao powder

1/2 cup of almond milk (or another kind of milk)

dash of honey (if you like…or let the banana sweeten it)

1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

dash of vanilla

dash of salt

combine all the ingredients in a blender. serve it chilled or frozen!

the first time i made this i did so without the banana. either way, it was good and creamy!

oh,and mint! i forgot to add mint to the recipe! fresh mint makes this super divine!!!

here are two other hearty, yummy smoothies that are super filling!

peanut butter, banana, oat smoothie from joy the baker!

chamomile, strawberry, quinoa smoother from apron and sneakers

so, i went a whole week last week without refined sugars, meat, dairy, or flour. i did a lot of juicing, simple salads, and this soup. drinking all the juice made me crave salt not sugar. usually, i am the opposite. i am assuming it had to do with  all the natural sugars i was still intaking from the fruits and carrots.

by mid week i wanted to start incorporating something other than juice.  juicing has probably been the easiest “diet” i have ever tried. probably because i actually enjoy the juice.  the hardest part, was not being able to watch my cooking shows for fear of cravings taking over me! i did however, watch one of laura calder’s shows, french food at home: french diet food. she made this really simple soup from all veggies and vegetable stock. i took a small twist and added herbs, garlic, and lots and lots of lemon before serving. her recipe calls for artichoke hearts and turnips…which i actually didn’t use because i didn’t have any.

here is what i made:

2 potatos

2 celery stalks

2 carrots

1 zucchini

1 leek

2 tomatos

1 vegetable bouillon

4 cups of water

3 garlic cloves

bundle of rosemary, sage, and thyme

salt and pepper

lots of lemon at the end

cut all the veggies and place in a pot with water, bouillon, garlic, salt and pepper, and herbs. bring to a boil until everything is tender. in a blender or using an emulsion blender, blend everything together until consistency is thick. add lots and lots of lemon to your liking!

this was super yummy and it filled me up!

i have become obsessed with juicing.  i have been juicing for breakfast and often lunch and a light dinner. due to the massive amount of media i have been watching based on diet, i am now questioning my intake of meat and cheese again. i watched forks over knives last night and am ready to throw out all those lovely cheeses in my cheese drawer.

here are a few of my favorite combos so far! just remember to limit the juice to one or two fruits as they are still high in sugar. also, beets and carrots are good for adding sweetness,but they are high in carbs. so, you shouldn’t just juice with fruits and carrots. you need lots of greens in there too!!

fennel. orange. kale. carrot

beet. cabbage(red or green). spinach. apple. ginger

pear. kale. cucumber. mint

cucumber. spinach. pear. cabbage. mint

strawberry. .lime. mint. cabbage. kale

orange. celery. beet. apple. kale

 veggies like cabbage, celery, and cucumber have lots of juice to give. where kale and spinach will produce a small concentrated amount. using things like ginger, mint, basil, lemon or lime can add just a bit of a kick to the juice! play around, i have yet to make a combo i didn’t like!

 now, what do i do with all those cheese, meat and flour posts i have pending? that is the question.

happy juicing!