Saturday Coquito

My holiday take on a Sunday Cortado…

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Wishing you the all the amazement and wonder next year, each season, everyday.

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Puerto Rican Coquito

Adapted from Daisy Cooks

  • 15 oz can unsweetened coconut cream

  • 14 oz can condensed milk

  • 12 oz can evaporated milk

  • 1/2 cup simple syrup or agave

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp cloves or nutmeg

  • 2 cups rum

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Siempre,

~yesenia

Back Home Buttermilk Pancakes

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One week and a couple days down… forever to go. Is it sad that I didn’t even make it a full week until I had to visit home? It was different, nice, and as always, bittersweet.

I guess you can say I’m in that limbo. I went from a place I always called home and family, to a new city that needs exploring and roommates I’m still getting to know. I went from a kitchen I got so used to call my own, to one that has great value to a few others.  And, if you love to cook, you know what I mean.

I went back to Jersey for less than a day with a goal in mind, and maybe for that sense of familiarity and comfort as well. Yet, changes were made. I slept on the couch and didn’t even take time in the kitchen that was once my “space.” I rested and let my expectations go. Instead, I indulged myself with home cooked meals (not made by me) and I even made sure to bring some of that with me, a little bit of home. From black beans, sofrito, peruvian aji amarillo, and more clothes, I loaded up the car once more. We drove back to my little spot in Brooklyn I am still getting used to calling mine.

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So, I came to accept. Accept my new home, this new reality. It wasn’t quite real before. In the back of my head, I thought I would be home in no time, so I made sure of it.  And for a split second, back in Jersey, I wasn’t even sure which place I can call my own. Then I remember writing back in Florida (kind of wish I still had those post to go back to), I’ll embrace this gypsy heart, where ever it wants to be.

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To this day, I go to Florida not for vacation, but to go back to my second home. The one where I rest, fed bomb Puerto Rican food , do some yoga, and spend time with some pretty important people in life. l noticed I leave a piece of my heart where ever I go. Like any meaningful relationship it made an impact, and most likely will always stay with me, if I choose it to. Where I am now, I can’t say will be forever, but at least I know it will forever be home too. Have you ever walked the streets of New York City in the dead of night or the break of dawn? You’ll never forget it.

With that I leave you with some Buttermilk Pancakes. They are yummy, perfectly light and chewy. The best part? They can easily be made where ever you choose to call home, whomever you wish to them share with.

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Buttermilk Pancakes

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 tbs sugar

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1 - 1 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbs melted butter + butter for greasing pan

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients. Preheat pan over medium heat with some butter to prevent sticking. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet and using a spatula, slowly fold to combine. Mix together until fully combined, leaving any clumps. Batter should be thick, but still easy to pour.

Check to see if pan is ready by testing a dot of batter. Pan should sizzle and batter start to cook. Depending how big you want the pancakes, pour evenly onto frying pan. Once edges start to brown and bubbles form on top of pancakes, flip to cook other side for about one or two minutes. Take off pan, grease with butter, and repeat.

Top with butter, maple syrup, and whatever fruit your heart desires.

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Enjoy!

What A Peach Pie Means To Me

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Specifically this one. The one I made last Sunday, to celebrate the end of Summer, the end of the longest month of my life (exaggerating, but whatever), and also the beginning of a new practice. Does that all make sense? If not, that’s cool, because I have this whole post to get through.

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Somehow, I found the energy to even write this post, still dark from the early morning with just my lemon water in hand. I tried writing this many times at my job, that I’m actually starting to outgrow, even at night in the midst of an Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown episode. Somehow, after a 16 hour day in the city and four hours of sleep, I chose this morning. Wide eyed, somewhat tired, and motivated. That, my dears, is not a normal habit for myself, if we’re being honest.

You see, there was always a reason. Whether it wasn’t the right time or I wasn’t sure I could do it successfully, I pushed one of the many things I told myself I would do aside. Am I talking about pie or a real life event? It can go both ways. My world feels like it has been turned upside down in the last month. In order to mentally cope and most literally slow down (not an easy task when walking the streets of New York and taking six trains a day), I put away MANY of my Summer Goals. One of them, making a peach pie.

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This peach pie represented my biggest obstacle of the season, my biggest practice in life. I found the task intimidating, time consuming, and more intense than I’m used to. These are some of my obstacles when it comes to my biggest dreams. Maybe yours too. Could I make time to do this? Was it even necessary in a time when I “had to” focus on everything else presently going wrong? Why do I even want to do it?

Emotions were becoming mixed with reality and I couldn’t pull them apart.

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I wanted to end this month with something beautiful. A reminder of why I strive to do what I love, everyday. Even writing this post, ending a very busy week, I knew this is what I needed to do, right now at this very moment, at least.

This post was unplanned and thought through on a whim, just like the doctor visits, health scares, and new bills that lined up for me to figure out. I made this pie on my last free day I would have in two weeks. Sacrificing a few extra dollas, time with friends, and doing what I “should”, I chose to make a pie. I chose to follow my dream. I chose to end a time, a season, a relationship, that taught me how imperfect and bumpy this thing called life is always going to be.

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Yet, I’m not as intimidated. To just do it, is to make it possible.

I rolled out dough and made a beautiful crust. Not perfect, but beautiful. A filling made with the last of the season peaches, still sweet on their very own. With some practice and new adventures to come (a new job? homemade bread?!), who knows what exactly is next. Although, I do hope it’s delicious.

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I used Joy The Baker, Peach Blueberry Pie. No blueberries or corn starch. I recommend corn starch and patience. Something my family did not have. Still delicious and devoured.

P.S. It’s September. Fall is about to begin. I. Smell. Apple. Pie

Sunday Cortado 17

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I love summer rain.  I love the humidity or coolness (you just never know what you are going to get) that comes after.  I love both the thunder and stillness that happens as everyone tries to take cover.  Even the gloom, a calming effect to the usual upbeat excitement of the summer sun.  

During this dreary Sunday, I wanted to share what's been inspiring me.  Because, even on days like these, the love and hustle doesn't stop... in my eyes, it heightens.  Although, you may have the opportunity to take a little more time for yourself, dare I say, relax.  Go back into your book, reorganize your vision board, and maybe have that extra cortadito. 

~

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Learn that name.  Know that woman.  Changing the game in politics with humility, grace, morals, and strength, it's been amazing to watch.  In case if you are wondering if there are more, here are a few other progressive women to know. 

This one hit home for me in more ways than 1.  Young farmers and the food revolution of Puerto Rico.  This sparked MANY ideas.  

Top chefs working in our public schools is something I'm here for.  I was even excited to see one of my culinary instructors be mentioned. 

I need to see this ASAP! A tiny sustainable home in NYC, part of a UN and Yale project.  

Now that I'm diving into a chef world, I love to see what other chefs are loving and eating.  Healthy or not, it's pretty fascinating.  

This No-Bake Icebox Tres Leches seems like a fun (read easy) twist on my favorite cake.  

I finally read Bourdain's Don't Eat Before Reading This.  It all makes perfect sense!  And I'm proud to say I wasn't so far along. 

"I love the sheer weirdness of the kitchen life: the dreamers, the crackpots, the refugees, and the sociopaths with whom I continue to work;... Admittedly, it’s a life that grinds you down. Most of us who live and operate in the culinary underworld are in some fundamental way dysfunctional." 
 

 

Summer Blueberry Thyme Crumble

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How has it been a whole month?  I swear, the summer just started.  I hope in some way you have been able to enjoy the warm weather and more laid back summer days.  Unfortunately, most of my time has been tied up, so I haven't seen much sun after I came back from vacation.  But, this comes with an amazing reason why...

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I have started culinary school!  I am now a student at the Natural Gourmet Institute, and I couldn't be more happy, scared, stressed, and in love.  I did this more for myself.  As someone who started cooking at a very young age and food becoming a big part of my life, it seemed to fit perfect.  I was worried for a long time that passion wasn't enough.  If it was truly possible to take my hobby and turn it into my career.  It turns it out, it very well could be.

With longer days and nights, and very literally, no days off, thoughts if I could make this dream come true scared the shit out of me.  What if I do actually do it?  I believe we so often think how it may not happen, that dream or goal, leading us to not truly dive in and see how big and UNKNOWN it can be if it did.  Would you be ready for it?

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I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I don't believe in being ready.  Sometimes things are going to happen, situations and opportunities will arise, and you just have to act. For myself, applying to culinary school was an example of just that.  Did I have the money?  Hell no.  Did I have the time and energy to put another thing on my plate?  I knew if I wanted it enough, I could make it.  

It's been a world wind of emotions, and sometimes I can't verbally say what I feel, but maybe able to write it. 

In the beginning of the year, I wasn't sure what my next move should be.  I've accepted so many things that had or hadn't happened, until I realized I didn't have to anymore.  I wanted to prove to myself and others, I could do it my way.  I wanted to genuinely share my love and knowledge for food and health, with nothing holding me back.  I didn't need more money, the connections, a man, or mental stability.  Thinking maybe, for a little while, I could do it alone.  And although I really do have an amazing support system, that loneliness when working your ass off for something others may not understand, is always there.  And because of that, I learned to feel more confident in owning and hustling for my UNIQUE vision.  

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So, here is my recipe of what I love and still holds true.

Crumbles are the dessert that make people fall in love with you.  Because you know what, they don't look that nice, but damn, they taste amazing.  Every concentrated flavor of the fruit comes out, the crumble is both indulgent and light, and if you serve with ice cream, you may win them over for life. 

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Blueberry Thyme Crumble

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme, plus garnish
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick cubed, cold)

Preheat over to 350 and butter a 9x12 pan.

In a bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add cubes of butter in the mixture and combine with your hands.  Make sure small clumps of butter remain, coated with flour mixture. 

Pour blueberries onto pan, and mix about 1/4 cup of the crumble plus thyme in.  Then evenly distribute the rest of the crumb topping. Place in the oven for 45 min or until topping is golden brown.  Top with more fresh thyme and ice cream.  Enjoy!

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~No dream or goal will ever come to you easy, but you can easily take the first steps to making them come true~

Honey Blueberry and Rhubarb Compote Greek Yogurt Tarts

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Would you believe I'm writing this post with no concrete recipe, while watching the Lady Gaga documentary for the second time, and on the verge of tears every five minutes?  But, I think this is how some of my best writing comes about.  Unexpected and desperate to connect with you lovely souls once again. 

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I saw a version of this on the internet and I immediately thought, "OMG, this would be perfect to add to my meal preps! Or my new menu page!"  Then, I thought how beautiful I could make it be and I kind of want to share that.  The most simple ingredients, turned into a little something special.  Literally.  A small way to connect to the Spring and Summer growth around us.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, I do these things, because I see the potential of what it could be.  Whether it's learning simple tools of wellness to create a whole journey or creating recipes in the basement of my parent's house to lead me into another grand adventure.  By no means do I believe it will be the best thing ever, but... it can be pretty damn good.  And that's what I want to share. 

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What can double as a breakfast or dessert (personally, I like my breakfasts to be the best meal of the day) it's both nourishing and absolutely delicious.  There are actually TWO different recipes, making the ingredient list a little longer, but it's cool, you got this.  Trust me, I found a way to take the simplicity away, and boy did I pay.  Note to self:  it never has to be complicated, it will naturally come together.

Don't be scared to make these your own too!  Flavors can vary and toppings are endless.  Cacao nibs and coconut, anyone? 

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Honey Blueberry and Rhubarb Compote Greek Yogurt Tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 individual cups vegan Greek yogurt (I find Kite Hill Almond to have the best consistency or feel free to use regular)
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 Rhubarb Compote

Blend in a food processor walnuts and dates.  Using four mini ramekins, pat the mixture to create crust.  Mix together yogurt, 1 tbs honey, and vanilla in a bowl, then distribute evenly in each ramekin.  Half top with blueberries and a drizzle of remaining honey.  Other add Rhubarb Compote.  Recipe as follows:

Rhubarb Compote

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs water

Bring to a boil, stir, and let simmer until smooth consistency.  

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Enjoy, my dears!

 

Rosemary Pistachio Kabocha and Balsamic Reduction

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Well, that is a mouth full.  But, I promise, worth every syllable and word once you make it. 

How's life?  It's Thanksgiving next week and I just heard my first Christmas song on the radio as I type this.  I don't hate it. 

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As a healthy living enthusiast and and Holistic Health Coach, I feel it's my duty to give you those wellness hacks.  The ones that keep you feeling good, when the feasts begin, the booze is flowing, and the parties run a little later.  Oh, and it's cold.  I want to keep you warm.  Next post!

Kabocha squash.  Have you heard of it?  TASTED IT?!  It's delicious.  The great thing about all the squashes this season are the subtle differences and versatility.  (Except for spaghetti squash, you pretty much get the same deal --  a beautiful, orange flesh, easy to puree and pleasurably sweet. 

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I chose to use Kabocha for this recipe.  It was actually my first time and it came out pretty damn good.  This squash is particularly a bit sweeter with a consitency more like pumpkin; easily mashed or pureed.  The perks of this recipe are the simple production, playful use of herbs and your choice of enjoying it mashed, chunky or pureed!

Perfect freshly made and warm, or some hearty leftovers.  On a piece of sourdough toast...Heaven.

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Rosemary Pistachio Kabocha and Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 medium/large kabocha squash
  • 3 sprigs rosemary(tarragon or oregano work as well!)
  • 1 cup pistachios (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Cut squash into 1/8, wedged.  Spread on baking sheet and dress with oil (I use grapeseed) and salt to taste.  Roast for one hour, turning just once to ensure caramelization.  Once done, take out and let completely cool.  This is to ensure squash stays together for easy preparation. 

In a medium sauce pan, bring vinegar to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat to about medium, keeping the vinegar to a high simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Turn off once reduced and slightly thicker. 

Once squash cooled, peel skin and chop into large cubes.  It's okay if it's soft and fall apart a bit.  Transfers straight into bowl.  Add rosemary, chopped pistachios, and olive oil.  Toss adding salt and pepper to taste.  Using a spoon drizzle reduction over squash.  Serve!

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Sunday Cortado, 11

Bite 22, NYC

Bite 22, NYC

What a week.  If you read my Cortado's often, you know I always have something to say.  For now, I am not so much speechless, but rather in thought.  But, here is a little something....

I never feel safer than when I walk the streets of New York.  A place, even state of mind, where you can be anyone and do anything.  Then reality hits, close to home, and you remember it's just another place and we are all human.  Let's not forget to reconnect, hold the elevator, hold the door, let the mothers and kids pass when you're in a "rush".  Sometimes we get lost in the hustle.  The streets are busy, but keep your head up and walk fierce.  We going places.

Culture cannot excuse racist insult, but here's a standpoint that hits close to home as a Hispanic American.  

Use your phone for this video!  A 360 on Latino NYC.

Lion King cast is out.  And it's a-mazing.

Minoi, the sister of my beloved coconut oil.  I wanna try! 

It's pumpkin pie season.  Let's get super Martha Stewart and make our pumpkin puree

Harissa Lentils and Roasted Veggies.  I need.   

Butternut Squash in my bourbon.  Let's be open to all possibilities in life. 

Burnt Butter.  I substituted NY local apples in this crumble.  Yum. 

Is it too early to start my Christmas List? Kitchen wants

Women Aren't Ruining Food.  Thank you very much!

 

 

Rosemary Italian Plum Compote

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Sigh... Until the good stuff begins.  

This is just the beginning ya'll.  I am ready.  Ready for all the pies, cookies, and festive activities I can find and part-take in.

You see, Thanksgiving and Christmas kind of blend as one for me.  I want to enjoy them both as soon as November.  Don't hate. You see, I love the idea of family get-together's and family-style traditional American foods.  I am always about those mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts (hello, wellness blogger!) macaroni, and stuffing.  Clearly, I have a thing for carbs.  Oh, and I don't care for turkey.  Moving on. 

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But, Christmas... I am in love with the lights, glamorous to humble decorations, shops and markets, and COOKIES galore.  I still recognize the true meaning and celebration of the holiday, I just can't help but get into the spirit of a little magic and beauty.  I am actually writing this while watching a recording of Elf, cozy in blankets.  Hellooo winter wonderland!

So, if you are anything like me, you will give any excuse to keep it festive, but also keep it light and fun.  I believe in the simplicity.  The little things that make this season worth while.  Because, shorter and colder days are rough.  And, isn't it about the time spent with others that matter most? So, let's take it easy and make it yummy, shall we? 

A simple compote to spruce up almost any recipe.  Whether it be your everyday breakfast granola and yogurt, to a small cheese plate enjoy with friends and a glass of wine. An aroma that will have your kitchen smelling of something sweet and cozy, and leaving it feeling quite festive.  Rosemary Plum Compote.  For the love of Fall.

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Rosemary Italian Plum Compote

(1 or 2 servings)

  • 4 or 5 imperfect plums (bruised and super soft)
  • 1 tbs raw sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Roughly chop the plums discarding the pits and stems.  Heat sauce pan over medium high, and add the plums, 1/2 tbs of sugar, and rosemary.  Let sit for a few minutes then add about 2 tbs of water.  Make sure to mix and let cook for about 10 min, mixing only about twice in between.  Once softened, take out the sprigs of rosemary.  Transport plums in a bowl and top with remaining sugar.  Enjoy!

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Watermelon Mint and Goat Cheese Salad

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POP UP RECIPE!

A woman of my word.  Although, it was almost a bust.  This weather has been playing with my mind and my heart.  I'm pretty sure the week before was 50's and 60's, but this week and weekend, 80! How do we cope? Easy, just go along with it!

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I was wondering whether it was worth putting a watermelon salad recipe up.  I must be honest, I've started shopping for apples, pears, and squash at the markets.  I couldn't help it!  The knit sweaters made me do it.  Then this hot humid weather comes along and I'm almost ready for the beach again.  Just going with the flow people.

So here's a bit of a pop up.  Believe it or not, many summer produce is at it's peak.  Tomatoes, peaches, and melons are still good in September.  At least in Jersey.  Want to make this a little more warming and comforting?  Grill the watermelon.  I haven't tried it myself, but I can't imagine how tasty it would be.  With little salt and lime, yum! 

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Feel free to use this recipe for those of you who are looking to do a mini detox early Fall.  Per usual, omit the cheese. 

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Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 1 medium seedless watermelon
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp fine Himalayan Salt 

Cube watermelon, starting to cut in half, then quarters, and slice into a triangle first.  Cut the rind off and cube from there.  Place in a bowl or large baking/serving dish and add most of the mint leaves.  Juice the lime, sprinkle salt, and toss to combine.  Right before serving sprinkle the goat cheese on top and add the rest of mint leaves.  Keeps in the fridge 3-5 days.  Enjoy! 

Detox Introduction and Tomato Corn Salad

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Yes, we are still in summer mode.  Pumpkin, squash, apples, and pears will have to wait.  I promise, they will still be making their appearance soon and for a while.  

Now is the perfect time to start weaning yourself away from the hot dogs and hamburgers, the spritzers and rosé, and all the ice cream.  Just kidding.  Not all.  Not ever.  Allow me to explain. 

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For the fall, I always recommend a little detox.  The question as to which kind, I always leave up to the you guys.  I could do a session and help you figure out which one is meant for you, or we can try them all!  I have, and not only did that allow me to learn more about myself and body, it helped me figure out there was so much more to learn. 

We have a whole new season and ball game around the corner, and even though we won't be in our bikinis and attending hella cook outs, our body needs a reset.  If you live in the northern parts like myself, winter can be brutal.  We need to plan, prep, and assimilate.  All the why's and how's I'll go through soon enough, but here is a nice idea or start. 

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Personally, my go to detox is one based off clean vegan foods. Lots and lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Basically, what I offer on Detox Delivered would be my go to meals for those few days and this salad coming up will definitely make the cut.  A quick way to get your veggies in, simple ingredients, and LOTS of flavor. Also, soooo adaptable.  Add quinoa, garbanzos, black beans, boiled eggs, or cheese.  Although, nix the cheese for detox inspiration. I know, scary. 

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How have you been enjoying the last of Summer produce?  Although, the favorites are becoming scarce, we do have the new ones coming up.  Squash, apples, and pears are what I've been peeping late this season.  Yes, I peep.  

These hardier grounding foods will be great to add to later detoxes and clean eating.  Yes, we can still eat clean and healthy-ish during Fall.  For now, I got you with a late Summer no-cook meal.  Because, it's still pretty warm and I like you guys.  A lot.

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Tomato Corn Salad

  • 2 fresh sweet corns
  • 1 pint grape or heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • salt

Remove all the kernals from your corn cob by simply running a knife through.  Cut in half or quarters your tomatoes, depending how big.  Remove leaves from cilantro stems and roughly chop.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Add the olive oil, lime juice, and a pinch of salt!  Enjoy!

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If you are interested in detoxes or coaching services, please let me know! 

How To: Seasonal Pasta Dishes

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Recipe time!  Kinda.  A "How To" is similar to a recipe, minus the exact ingredients and measurements.  Total freedom.

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I think most recipes are kind of like general instructions and ideas anyway.  The great thing about cooking is there are really no rules and it's totally how you like it!  Seasoned and advanced cooking junkies usually can recreate, adjust, and play with any recipe.  For other new-comers looking to experiment or just trying to keep it simple, recipes are our lifesavers.  

For myself, I am notorious for looking up recipes, getting an idea, and starting a commotion in my kitchen.  Great successes, more cheese or less cheese, and great disasters have all come about from this.  But, I like to say it taught me to make the most out of ingredients. 

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Ever have those days or weeks where you kinda go crazy at the market and don't know what to do with all the veggies you were inspired to buy.  No?  Yes?  If it's yes, this is the recipe for you. If not, it's still the recipe for you because, PASTA. And vegetable that I know you are dying to get rid of in the most delicious manner. 

With simple, but fresh ingredients, everything will sure stand out and then blend magically together.  Trust me.  

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What you will need:

  • Pasta.  Any kind.  Maybe not lasagna.  That could get weird.
  • Garlic.  1 bulb or even garlic scapes!  A late spring, early summer must!
  • Yellow Onion.
  • Seasonal Vegetables.  My favorites are eggplant, any summer squash, grape tomatoes (every and any color), and leafy greens.  Red Peppers and artichokes are great too.
  • CHEESE.  Of course always optional.  I like Parmesan or any other strong flavor.  Less will be more!
  • Herbs. Salt. Pepper.  Generous amount of parsley, basil, or oregano.  I always like to add red pepper flakes for a little kick.

What to do:

  • Cook pasta, save about 2 tbs of pasta water
  • Sauteed the garlic and onion in a generous amount of oil, maybe 2 tbs since that will be your "sauce".  Cover to create moisture, or keep pan open for more crisp!
  • Grill or sauteed vegetables.  I honestly like to grill just so I don't have to dirty anymore dishes.  And maybe somebody else can do the work...
  • Combine pasta and vegetables into the same pan as the garlic and onion. 
  • Add alittle cheese, salt, peppa, and herbs of choice!  
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Quick Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

That beautiful moment when you get back to writing your whole blog post AGAIN because you just like to randomly delete all your hard work and effort.  That’s this moment. Stay with me....

It’s summer and there are really only a few things I want to do every week.  Sip my summertime cocktails and dine out alfresco, sometimes barefoot. Okay, I really want to do this every day.  Homemade dinners every night, made on the grill, settling down with the sun.  Sigh.  A girl can dream.  If you saw my last post on Summer Favorites. You have an idea how I am feeling.  If not, I am here to remind you, always and forever.

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Okay so now let’s talk food.  Ever have those dishes or cuisines that scream summer?  I’m talking cold Italian pasta salads, Mediterranean hummus, cheese, and vegetable platters, hamburgers and hot dogs straight from the grill.  I just had my first hot dog in over a year and OH MY GAAAHH, so good. I like to go all out because sometimes you need to be a little bit extra, so I topped it off with baked beans, raw fermented sauerkraut, and yellow mustard.  One of the better decisions I made recently.

As for Mexican food.  Once the weather warms up, give me all the tacos, all the time.  It’s one of my first cravings come summer.  Sweet and savory elote, fajita with fresh peppers and onions, guacamole, agua frescas...  I could most definitely go on, but then we start getting complicated.  And hungry. 

I’m a girl who makes decisions on dinner based on the type of cuisine, if you haven’t noticed.

For now, we are keeping it light and simple.  I found myself this summer experimenting with new ideas and recipes, more than I have in years.  Maybe it’s the abundance of vegetables in season or a little kitchen therapy after a long day, the outcome hasn't been so bad.  Also, I am trying this thing called recipe testing and photography as I go.  Giving you that in-the-moment effect of what’s really going on in my kitchen.  A bit of that homestyle cozy feel.

Quick Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers 

A Latin healthy spin on a Mexican dish, using sofrito from Puerto Rico (or my kitchen), a filling similar to Cuban style congri, and topped with a little queso blanco and cilantro for a wellness balance.  Both easy and delicious you cannot go wrong.  I used a grill, but an oven should work out just as well.  

*PS.  Make the sofrito ahead, while using leftover rice and bean.  Save time. Enjoy!

Sofrito

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 cilantro bunch
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Blend, jar, and enjoy!  Holds for three weeks in the fridge or months frozen!

Black Beans

  •  1 can black beans
  • 2 tbs sofrito
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce
  •  ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt

Assembly

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • Cojita cheese
  • Cilantro

To cook black beans, heat over medium high about 2 tbs of olive oil.  Add the sofrito and cook for about a minute, then add the tomato sauce and cook for another 2 min.  Quickly rinse the black beans before adding them in.  Add about another ½ cup of water, the spices, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Lid closed.

Mix together rice and beans. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  It should be very moist (don't hate me) or wet looking.  This will ensure no dryness when cooking on the grill.  Oil and salt the bell pepper halves inside and out. Distribute the rice and bean mixture into the peppers.  Lay on baking sheet with foil.  Transfer the peppers still on the foil onto the grill.  Cook for another 10-15 or when the peppers start to brown and look soft.

Top with cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Hot Sauce is always a plus

Buen Provecho.

Zucchini Fritters

Well, I had this whole other recipe and post set up for you guys.  Full of healthy greens, summer flair, and gorgeous color.  Actually, thinking about it, this recipe has all that good stuff too, with just  a little more soul, inspiration, and grease....  

I decided to take a little break.  Totally intentional, totally necessary, and totally worth it.  I wanted recharge, recreate, and enjoy every part of what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life.  Dramatic?  Maybe, but I call it passionate.  So, I started cooking with just that, passion .  Reading food blogs, testing techniques, and recipes, while getting re-inspired.  Yes, I know it's possible to do this whenever, but I wanted a different experience and feeling while I did what I enjoyed.  I wanted no pressure. 

My background of health, diet, and cooking is quite extensive, so when I write my memoir you will all be very aware, but for now, I basically rekindled with what it felt like to just learn.  Hands on, without any obligation to share or perfect on the first try.  Just being in the kitchen for pleasure.   Not saying I don't get that from creating with an incentive to capture and share.  There is just a different energy and routine when it's just you and your ingredients.  

No props, camera, or Instagram stories.  Just good food and company.

So, I made zucchini fritters.  Just so happens I was looking around the internet for some dinner inspiration when I saw these bad boys and I remembered I had a few in the fridge.  No joke, I almost refuse to turn on the oven these days.  It's getting hot, and while I love having fresh warm air run through my place, I don't want to add unnecessary heat. Trust me, you don't want to be around when I'm home.  For that, I am dramatic and keep it a nice 80. 

Light salads (or pasta salads) are my preferred meals as of late.  And while I would like to say it's because I'm trying to keep it light and tight, it's sometimes (most of the time) not really about that.  Especially this time, because I FRIIEEED these baby zucchinis.  One of the better decisions of my life.  Served over garlic oil pasta... ah-mazing.   

So here is my welcome back present to you all.  Because nothing says true love and shit happens, like some good fried deliciousness.  

Zucchini Fritters

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 large zucchinis grated
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan (or handful)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • salt and peppa 
  • grapeseed oil

Heat oil in the skillet over medium high heat.  Mix all the ingredients together well in one bowl.  To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a shred of zucchini in the pan and it should start to bubble.  Using 1/4 measuring cup, drop the batter with enough room to cook and flatten while frying. Flip over after 8-10 min or when edges start to brown.  Flip over and fry for another 5 minutes.  Place on top of paper towel to soak up extra oil.  Enjoy!  

Rebuilding and My Favorite Banana Bread

I really didn't know at first how I wanted to start this at first.  In general, with blogging about the topic at hand, or something I haven't done in a while, talk food. So, I thought we start out a little heavy, with the lightness and sweetness mixed in through out, till the ending. 

Remember the Mantras, affirmations, and intentions we created for this year? Yea, all those positive ideas and visions that we sought ourselves doing?  How are you guys doing with it?  I hope for the most part you were able to keep them in mind with lightness.  Maybe, you are even making some progress.  But, what happens when shit totally hits the fan?

If it hasn't happened to you yet, I can tell you what went down when it happened to me.  Honestly, it was a long time coming, but it still felt so sudden.  I went from just going along, creating, giving, and feeling great, to just watch it all start coming down.  

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I had been BUILDING.  I saw February as the month for everything to launch and grow.  Then when one part went astray, and I broke.  I questioned, cried, and doubted everything I created because of one I couldn't control anymore (in reality, I was loosing grip months ago).  I saw it as a domino effect against my other goals.  It was unreal.  One of the few things that kept me going were the people I could talk too about it.  And most of them said, "FUCK THAT.  Do what you need to do and better."  Really, the people in my life are the OG's and never keep it subtle.  It's a blessing and a curse.  

So with great words of wisdom, alone time, kitchen therapy, and Parenthood binging, I shaped up, readjusted my plans, and here I am. Writing a billion words per minute, excited to share this recipe with y'all, and ready to finally come back where it all began.  

Ahh the kitchen.  Where I have taken refuge the last few weeks.  Where I've been putting my ideas in fierce action.  Creating, testing, sometimes failing, but never giving up.  I have been toying with a banana bread recipe for weeks.  Trying to create one from scratch.  Then, finally, I saw one I couldn't resist.  I had to recreate that one.  

It's the most delicious banana bread I've ever tasted.  I tweaked only a couple of things, just because of what I had on hand, but it was still the best result I gotten.  

Key's to success:  

  1. You need parchment paper and when you use it, make it neat.  I called my wrinkled ends, booty bloopers, and while it still looked beautiful and tasted amazing, for a more traditional look, smooth out that paper!
  2. Do not skimp on the banana, it's the key to moistness.  Yes. Moistness.
  3. Do not open crack on top! Poke another part of center to check if ready.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread 

adapted by Hippy Banana Bread by Tracy of Shutterbean  

  • 1 and 1/2 cup whole wheat pasty flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/2 grape seed oil
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1/2 dates, chopped
  • 1/2 shopped macadamia nuts, chopped (or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 8x4 loaf pan with parchment paper

In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a larger bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs, and banana.

Fold dry ingredients into wet.  Do not over mix or whisk.  Then add nuts and dates.  

Transfer into lined pan and into the oven for 55 min.  Enjoy!

Here is to the decision to keep that momentum of growth in every aspect of life going, even if that means taking a little more time to rebuild one.  It may just end up bigger and more impactful than you ever imagined. 

With sweet, soul, nourishment.