Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rosemary + Lemon + Olive Oil Cake

I feel so fortunate to live in Southern California because our growing season is year-round. Fresh produce is plentiful and accessible through farmer’s markets or your own backyard. Rosemary is hardly considered an herb here because it grows rampant. People line their yards with rosemary bushes the size of large hedges. Awesome?! For sure! Not only does rosemary smell amazing but also you always have it on hand (or your neighbor does). Oh, and the citrus trees, they are blowing up right now! A couple of days ago our neighbor dropped off a small grocery bag filled with fresh oranges from his tree. These oranges are not like the oranges you buy in the store. You know, the oranges that look great but have no flavor or the oranges that are almost dry inside rather than juicy and delectable. Uck! These oranges may not look perfect on the outside, slight imperfections, but they certainly taste perfect on the inside. So sweet, juicy and divine!

Lemons? Yes, the lemons look like small grapefruit and they almost taste sweet as opposed to bitter and sour. Sometimes I feel like we live in the Garden of Eden because it almost doesn’t seem real. Basically if you live in Southern California there is no excuse for skipping out on fruits and veggies.

So what does one do with fresh lemons and rosemary? Bake a Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake of course! The consistency is the cross between a pound cake and bread and is simply perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. It is outstanding when enjoyed fresh out of the oven or lovely served with the lemon glaze (see below). The flavors blend so beautifully and the rosemary adds a nice bite with its rich earthiness. Oh and the sweet savory aroma that fills the air while its baking is heavenly. There is really no reason not to enjoy this beauty.

Most people think of rosemary as a culinary herb that is used to season or flavor soups, sauces and meats; however, it has been used for centuries for its natural healing benefits as well. Rosemary is said to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a mood elevator and can provide pain relief and migraine help. Often used in anti-aging skincare for its ability to reduce puffiness, stimulate cell regeneration and increase firmness.

* Please note that I used ½ cup almond flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour. You can skip the almond flour if you don’t have it and use 1 ½ cup of all-purpose flour. I also tried this cake with whole-wheat flour; however, it was much denser and with a different texture – still delicious. If you’d like the nutrients from whole-grain flour (like I do), look for white whole-wheat flour. This will give you the light airiness of all-purpose flour with the nutrients of whole-grain.

** It is also delicious when served with a lemon-honey glaze made from heating the juice and zest from one lemon with 1/4 cup of honey over the stovetop. Drizzle the warm glaze over each individual slice of cake before serving.

4 large eggs
1/2 cup of honey
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice from one large lemon
1/2 cup of almond flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary (plus an additional 1-2 sprigs for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8” spring form pan (or 10” loaf pan) with olive oil and set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for about 30 seconds using an electric mixer or whisk. Add the honey, lemon zest and lemon juice and continue to mix until somewhat foamy. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

Gradually begin to fold in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the mixture evenly.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for ten minutes. Next, either release the latch on the spring form pan or carefully tip the cake out of the pan. You may need to run a knife around the outside edges before tipping.

Add the fresh rosemary sprigs to the top of the cake before serving.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fabulous Fermentation Week!! ~ Lacto-Fermented Veggies!

A few weeks ago, two of my favorite healthy food bloggers, Sarah from My New Roots and Elenore from Earthsprout, made it known that they would be hosting Fabulous Fermentation Week! I saw a post from Elenore on Facebook inviting any and all food bloggers to join in the fun by spreading the wonderful word on fermented foods! A chance to collaborate, even in a very small way :), with two ladies whom I deeply admire?! That’s all it took – I was in!

Fermented foods have been around much longer than you and me. Fermented foods aid in digestion, balance and restore healthy gut flora (good bacteria) and are rich in enzymes that assist in the breakdown of our food, and help our body absorb key nutrients so that we stay healthy. Fermenting is different than pickling. Fermenting uses water, salt and spices while pickling uses vinegar. A few examples of fermented foods are kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir and of course fermented veggies! Basically you can ferment anything, but for today we’ll go with a mixture of daikon radish, fennel and carrots and then kick it up a notch with jalapeno.

1 large daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or julienned
1 fennel bulb, shredded
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped or sliced
Fennel green bushy tops (use them as your spices)
2 cups of Water
1 ½ tablespoons of Himalayan sea salt

*Makes two 12 oz. mason jars worth of veggies

Fill a glass Pyrex measuring bowl (or any bowl you have) with the water and sea salt. Stir the mixture and set aside.

Once all of your veggies are chopped, evenly distribute them in each of the two glass jars. Pour half of the water and salt mixture into each jar so that the veggies are completely submerged in the water. Top with your fennel leaves and use a spoon to press the veggies down in the jar.

If you are using mason jars, place a square piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap over the jar before you seal them with the lid. Not sure if this is completely necessary, but since the lids are tin and we are creating gas in the jar – I just didn’t want another science experiment taking place J

Seal the jars so that they are tight but not too tight. This will allow for fermentation gas to escape while keeping air out. Keep at room temperature for at least 3 days before transferring them to the refrigerator.

You can enjoy these veggies solo, in a salad, or in a wrap. Stop back this weekend for my TuNut Salad Collard Wrap with Fermented Veggies! Enjoy loves!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

RAW Choco Cups with Pumpkin Mousse

I really enjoy dessert, but what I enjoy even more is creating delicious, satisfying desserts made with natural ingredients that are health(ier). You see, my fiancé and I eat a pretty clean diet. Sure we enjoy our special indulgences from time to time but overall we eat whole-foods that are nutrient dense and mostly plants. Many people would say that our refrigerator and pantry look pretty boring…that’s definitely not the case J You typically won’t find candy, cookies, cereal, chips, etc., but once in a while I want something sweet and pleasing. I recently made these delicious little chocolate cups filled with creamy pumpkin mousse filling. They are light, lovely, RAW and absolutely yummy!

There are a few staples (pantry must-have’s) when it comes to raw vegan desserts: nuts, dates and cacao powder. You can almost always whip up something incredible with just these few ingredients. This recipe does contain one or two more ingredients, but otherwise, that’s it!

1 cup of raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup of raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1/2 cup of organic pumpkin (canned or fresh)
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
4-5 large Medjool dates, pitted and soaked
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice or cloves)
1 heaping tablespoon of raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil

Soak the cashews and dates in warm water, separately, for at least one hour. This allows for the dates to be processed easier and the cashews to achieve a creamier consistency.

Remove the dates from the water and add them to a food processor along with the walnuts, cacao powder and coconut oil. Pulse the ingredients until you have sticky dough. Create small little cups out of the dough using your hands. Place the chocolate cups on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you’re making the pumpkin mousse.

Next, add the cashews, pumpkin, almond milk, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice to a food processor or blender. Blend or process until you have a thick, creamy, mousse-like consistency.

Remove the cups from the refrigerator and fill each cup with a few spoonfuls of the pumpkin mousse. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. This allows the desserts to set. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Carrot + Parsnip Soup

As many of you know, I left my corporate job at the end of October to pursue health coaching, yoga and food blogging full-time. Because of this, I’ve had a lot more time to spend in the kitchen cooking, creating, and testing out new recipes. In fact, I have an abundance of images that I’ve taken (or my fiancé has taken) that need to be blogged about. This happens to be one of them.

I love root vegetables and soups in the winter (no judging, it does get somewhat cold in Southern California :). They are hearty and comforting and warm your bones. I can’t think of anything better, can you?

Sometimes I feel the parsnip is overlooked, as though it is the redheaded stepchild (I have nothing against step-children, I am one!) of root vegetables. They are absolutely delicious and I cannot fathom why they are not used more often! Maybe because this root veggie is white and the color is not a vibrant orange or an attractive yellow? The parsnip is a sweet, juicy root with a mild flavor that boasts sophistication and earthiness. It is a great source of fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps us feeling full longer, and an excellent source of Vitamin C, which builds immunity and helps us maintain healthy connective tissue. In addition, the parsnip is rich in B vitamins (folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine) and potassium, an important component that helps keep our blood pressure and heart rate in check by countering the effects of sodium.

This recipe is pretty easy to make. All it takes is a little sautéing, boiling and blending.

2 ½ cups of carrots, peeled and chopped (approximately 6 large carrots)
1 ½ cups of parsnips, peeled and chopped (approximately 4)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of vegetable stock (or water)
1 ½ cups of milk (I used almond milk)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the garlic, shallot, and thyme. Add some salt and pepper, approximately ¼ teaspoon each. You can add more or less based on your personal preference.

Next add the parsnips and carrots to the pot and stir until they are lightly coated with olive oil. You may need to drizzle in a bit more at this time. Cook uncovered for a few minutes as you continue to stir and toss the roots.

Pour in the milk and vegetable stock and continue to cook until it comes to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, partially covered, for approximately 15 minutes (or until veggies are tender).

Transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until the soup becomes a creamy, silky smooth consistency.

* Option to serve with rye bread crumbs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year – New You! Get Your Cleanse On!

Image from NY Daily News

Yup! I said it, c-l-e-a-n-s-e! The ubiquitous term that has been seen (and heard) all over the media. Now let me put all of your objections and negative thoughts to rest. I am not talking about a juice cleanse nor am I speaking of expensive shakes and supplements. Today, I present to you a whole-foods cleanse. This type of cleanse is made up of fresh, clean, healthy ingredients that can all be found in your local market or grocery store. Together, we will “crowd out” processed foods, sugar, alcohol, dairy, gluten and caffeine by nourishing and fueling our bodies with nutrient dense foods.

Do the other cleanses work? Sure, perhaps they do – but what they do not teach you is clean eating and permanent lifestyle changes.


Every 3,000-5,000 miles you probably take your car in for an oil change? It flushes dirt and grime out of the engine and replenishes the car with fresh, clean oil. What about you, your body? When was the last time you gave your body an “oil” change?

Cleansing, or detoxing, works to eliminate and flush toxins from the body that cause inflammation and make us sick. This 21-day process can also help kick cravings (such as highly addictive sugar and caffeine), identify food sensitivities (such as gluten), increase energy, improve mental clarity and mood, and facilitate weight loss. A whole-foods cleanse works to educate you on nutrition and will kick-start your journey to mindful eating and healthier living.

What will I eat (an example day)?

Breakfast: Warm water with lemon, green smoothie, gluten-free oats with cranberries and walnuts.

Lunch: A beautiful, vibrant salad loaded with spinach, kale, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, and chickpeas that is dressed with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon.

Snack: Almonds or cashews, a juice or smoothie, cut veggies and hummus.

Dinner: Wild caught salmon over broccoli and quinoa.

Not so bad, right? With the support from your peers, and myself you will successfully complete a 21-day whole-foods cleanse that will leave you feeling energized, revitalized and renewed.

Join us tomorrow evening at 6:00pm (PST) for a FREE tele-call on the importance of cleansing and get your questions answered. Call in instructions below.

When: January 3, 2013 at 6:00pm (PST)
Where: via Phone from the comfort of your own home
Dial in: (605) 475-4000
Participant code: 911966#

Ready to sign up? Click here to register!!