This past weekend I went to the Leucadia Farmers’ Market and actually did some of my weekly grocery shopping there (rather than only buying a poke bowl for breakfast/lunch to eat on the spot).  My body was craving fresh greens and produce so I stocked up on Morning Star Ranch (aka “Yellow Deli”) green juice, energizing green bar, butter leaf and summer crisp lettuce, strawberries and fresh pesto.  I also stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a few extra ingredients to create a lunch: crimini mushrooms, kumato tomatoes, yellow squash, and avocado.

Overnight Oat Parfaits are still going strong this week.  I’m completely satiated afterwards and I like that the overnight oats, for me, take the place of granola.

Here’s this week’s menu:
BreakfastOvernight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pesto Salad Bowl
Snack – Watermelon
Snack 2 – Green Juice + 1 tsp. Spirulina
Dinner – TBD

And the only new recipe for the week…

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Pesto Salad Bowl
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 farro, cooked
1 cup summer crisp lettuce
1/4 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 small kumato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
1 pinch walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. pesto, drizzled
Salt & pepper, to taste
Protein (I used 1/2 baked lemon herb chicken breast)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Assemble the bowl with the ingredients listed above.

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From our meal prep last week, London and I both felt and recognized we needed to tweak the system and add more protein. We both felt like we should be incredibly skinny based on our hunger levels. So, to feel satiated we have added more protein to breakfast and some grains to lunch.  We both felt uninspired for dinner and it’s always hard to plan ahead for what will happen during the week.  So we have left dinner to be determined (but if at home, probably something along the lines of a veggie saute topped with a fried egg).

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pea and little gem salad with farro
Snack 2 – Fig Bars
Dinner – TBD

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Overnight Oat Parfait
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine almond milk, oats and chia seeds in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. After 12 hours (or once the overnight oats have set), layer with yogurt.
  4. Top with strawberries and serve.

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Pea and little gem salad with farro (+ some)
Inspired by Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup farro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups little gem lettuce
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 kumato tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of walnuts
1 pinch microgreens

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook farro according to directions (I use the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s).
  2. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl or container, add farro, lettuce, peas, tomatoes and avocado. Toss with dressing.
  4. Top with walnuts and microgreens.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein.

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With temps reaching 80 degrees this past weekend, summer is definitely upon us.  So with those seasonal bods in mind, London and I decided to turn Sunday Funday into a grocery shop and meal prep kind of day (not without a little bit of rosé of course).

Trying to find inspo, we sorted through the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge (circa 2014) for recipes to make (and not necessarily switch up) for the week.  I am the type of person that can eat the same thing for days on end (I think 2 weeks is my max).  So for me, this creates 100% ease and complete use of groceries.  This week our goal with no dairy and no gluten.  See below —

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
Lunch – Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Snack 2 – Lemony avocado (see here)
Dinner – Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg

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Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 scoop vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except for strawberries) in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. Top with strawberries and refrigerate overnight.

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Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Inspired by Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful shredded green cabbage
1 handful shredded carrots
1 persian cucumber, sliced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of unsalted, roasted slivered almonds
1/4 rotiserrie chicken, shredded
3 tablespoons Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon tamari
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Layer spinach, cabbage, carrots, avocado, chicken and almonds.
  2. Combine vinaigrette and tamari in a mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
  3. Add dressing to the salad when ready to serve.

This salad is made easily with pretty much pre-prepped ingredients at Trader Joes!

Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette
via Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
Makes 1/3 cup
INGREDIENTS:
juice of 2 limes, strained (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine lime juice, salt, and honey.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while vigorously whisking the mixture with a small whisk.
  3. Whisk for an additional 30 seconds after all of the oil has been added.
  4. Vinaigrette will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated in an airtight container.

We originally came up with this idea for a savory breakfast option, but then decided it would be much easier to execute at night.  Inspiration came from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Kale and Quinoa Breakfast Bowl and this Buzzfeed Shaved Asparagus Salad with Fried Egg.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 bunch green asparagus (about 8 medium stalks)
2 cups arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
1 egg
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Trim the asparagus.  Then, starting from the root end, use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons (should yield about a cup).*
  2. Head olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook until al dente.  Add asparagus ribbons and cook for around 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Transfer mushrooms and asparagus mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  Add arugula and lemon juice.
  4. In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Crack the egg into the pan and cook until the edges start to brown.
  5. Transfer the asparagus salad to a bowl and top with the fried egg.

Option to add cooked grain (quinoa, rice, farro, etc.) to increase the heartiness of this dish.

*I didn’t have the right vegetable peeler so I gave up on that and ended up just chopping the asaparagus into chunks.

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Aka the Ultimate “Drunk Barbie” cake.

The week before we left for Mexico (which happens to fall on Tyler’s spring break/birthday every year), Jen and I were researching Gluten-Free cakes. We found 2Good2Be in Encinitas, but when looking for custom cake ideas and inspiration, I somehow decided I should just make the cake myself. Her boyfriend had a drunk ken doll cake for his birthday, so we thought it would be fun to do something similar (but a little more tame and low-key).

I wanted to take the “drunk barbie” cake concept, and go above and beyond. After compiling different cake recipes, decorations and ideas, I came up with:

gluten-free coconut layer cake with blue ombre layers, and buttercream frosting. Crushed graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar on top to look like sand and rock candy on the sides to look like sea glass.

Taking the “easier route” I got boxed (or bagged in this case) gluten-free cake mix. However, I was warned that the vanilla flavor tends to be bland and dry, but I needed the cake to be white for the rest of my plan to work. So I found this jazzed up coconut gluten-free cake using Pamela’s cake mix.

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Next, I wanted to do a layer cake, and I’ve always wanted to try ombre. I did some research and came across different formula’s for the blue layers. This ends up being pretty easy because all you need to do is add different amounts of blue dye to each layer.

For the frosting, I didn’t want to go overboard with the coconut flavor, so I found a buttercream frosting used for another layer cake.

I had seen this type of “sand” topping made from graham crackers and brown sugar. Being gluten-free, I found mini gluten-free graham crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

If I had all the time in the world (and a candy thermometer) I would have made my own sea salt candy. However, I decided rock candy would have to do, and picked up an 8 pack of what ended up being cotton-candy flavor turquoise rock candy from Party City.

For the props…thank god for Amazon! I purchased this barbie (perfectly strawberry blonde), cake decorating beer cans, and 21 and legal cake topper all from Amazon.

I also bought the following special equipment: 2-3 9” cake pans, cake leveler and angled spatula.

I made four levels (so I doubled the cake recipe and made 4 9” cakes but ended up just using 3). Below is exactly what I used.

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Gluten-Free Coconut Blue Ombre Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting
INGREDIENTS:
For the cake:
2 bags Pamela’s Vanilla Cake Mix
8 eggs, large
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups coconut oil
2 cups shredded coconut
Blue food coloring

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the toppings:
6 rock candy sticks, crushed
1 1/2 cups mini gluten-free graham crackers
Pinch of brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:
For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Beat eggs until thick. Add oil, milk, and flavor and mix well. Add Cake Mix and beat on medium/low for 2 minutes. Fold coconut into cake batter.
  3. Evenly distribute cake batter to 4 bowls.
  4. Add 25 blue drops to the first bowl, 12 blue drops to the second, 5 blue drops to the third, then 1 blue drop to the fourth.
  5. Lightly spray and oil all pans. Transfer cake batter to the four pans.
  6. Bake each layer for 24 minutes.
  7. Cake is done when it springs back to a light touch. Over baking will cause dryness. Frost cake when cooled.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and whipping cream on medium speed until moistened and uniform.
  2. Increase speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Use the cake leveler to cut the tops off each layer. Place the darkest blue on a display cake or cake stand. Cover with some of the buttercream (I didn’t use exact measurements, I just eyeballed it and made sure it was completely covered with enough to create some space between the layers).
  2. Top with the second to darkest layer. Repeat until the lightest blue layer is on top (again, I only used 3 layers).
  3. Cover the layer cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Add the crushed rock candy along the sides.
  5. Sprinkle the graham cracker/brown sugar on the top.
  6. Decorate with barbie, beer cans and 21 and legal cake topper.

 

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Lately I’ve been trying to cut down on my expenses.  And after I looked at my spending and habits, the most costly and reoccurring expense is going out to eat.  So to change this, I’ve decided to try and make some of my favorite restaurant meals at home.  One of my favorite go-to’s is East Village Asian Diner Monk Pots.  This isn’t an exact replication, but my take on the concept.  I was overwhelmingly surprised with how freaking tasty this was.  As a result, I’ve ended up eating this 6 nights in the past 2 weeks.

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DIY Monk Pot

INGREDIENTS:
1-2 bags frozen rice
1 zucchini, sliced into matchsticks
1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 package shredded carrots
1 large can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 bag baby spinach
3-4 eggs
Olive oil
Equipment: cast iron skillet and wok-sized pan
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the rice according to instructions (totally cheating using frozen rice. Option to cook rice like a normal person).
  2. Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat and heat the olive oil.  Add cooked rice and let it sit and crisp.
  3.  In the meantime, separately, place the wok-sized pan over medium heat and heat olive oil.  Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until al dente.
  4. Add shredded carrots and garbanzo beans.  Cook until it warms and softens.  Finally stir in the spinach and cook for one more minute.
  5. Towards the end, in a separate pan, cook an egg over easy.  Cook 1 egg per serving.

If you’re eating alone, this will last you 3-4 nights.  I ususally serve myself 1 cup of rice and 1 heaping cup of veggies, topped with 1 egg.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, a little soy sauce and some sweet chili sauce!

This is super simple, delicious and filling.  If you try it out, let me know what you think!

 

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Sunday it rained.  And I couldn’t have been any happier.  It was the perfect excuse to sleep in, make no plans, and do absolutely nothing (and be ok with it).  My biggest plan for the day was to run some errands and make this soup.  This was my first time making curry, and I’ll definitely be making it again.  Maybe next time I’ll put it atop a bed of rice to add some texture and also extend the life of this soup 😉

See the Anything-You-Have-Coconut Curry Soup from Pinch-Of-Yum for the recipe.

For the “Anything-You-Have” toppings I used shaved carrots and zucchini, red cabbage and bean sprouts.

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Last week I had the opportunity to review Sun Basket. Sun Basket is a meal kit delivery service, shipping fresh organic ingredients from west coast farmers directly to you.  With accompanying quick and healthy recipes developed every week, this makes weeknight dinners easy. I received 3 meals for 2 people. For the week, I selected:

  • Grilled shrimp and blood orange-jicama salad with salsa verde
  • Burmese pork and vegetable stew with lemongrass
  • Turkey-apple sausage, beet-apple salad, walnut vinaigrette

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I loved this because it gave me the opportunity to entertain. The first night I invited London over for the grilled shrimp and blood orange-jicama salad with salsa verde. It was a light and refreshing meal packed with protein.

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The next night I had Kevin over for the Burmese pork and vegetable stew with lemongrass. This soup was very warming, super fragrant with a robust flavor.

Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to make the turkey-apple sausage, beet-apple salad with walnut vinaigrette meal.

I loved how Sun Basket introduced me to new flavors and new meal ideas. These were super easy to put together with all of the ingredients exactly portioned out so nothing went to waste. Definitely makes living a healthy and active life more streamline and easy!

For only $11.49 per meal (per person), I think this is a great deal. It will definitely get you in the kitchen and save you time (grocery shopping, prepping, portioning). And with paleo, gluten-free and vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone, regardless of your dietary preferences or restrictions.  Sun Basket is currently available to be shipped to California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nevada.

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Before we left on our Jtree trip, I made a menu that tried to roll over ingredients from dinner to breakfast to condense our load and pantry.  No room for excess/full bottles of condiments and booze!

We made this for the ULTIMATE pre-hike, hearty, loungy Sunday camping brunch.  Basically…we killed the camp food game!  Honestly, if I had a restaurant I would serve this to you.  So give it a shot, camping or at home, and let me know what you think!

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Savory Breakfast Oats
Serves 2
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup water
2 Italian sausages (pre-cooked)
1 container sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 avocado
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil water and add oats.  Cook until water is absorbed.
  2. Separately, simmer the mushrooms until cooked.
  3. Heat the sausages until internally warm.  Cut into slices.
  4. Cube avocado and crumble feta.
  5. When you’re almost ready to serve, cook eggs.  We tried to make these a little runny, but they kind of steamed all the way through.
  6. Evenly divide between two plates and layer oatmeal, mushrooms, sausages, avocado, cheese and egg.

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It’s been a couple year’s since I’ve made pie (and this pie specifically), but it literally does not get any better than this.  Homemade crust with a layer of warm gooey chocolate topped with a coconut pecan caramelizing mixture.  I made this for Thanksgiving, but it’s also a good one for Christmas!  I can’t take the credit for this one (thx Rachael Ray), but if you make it, let me know what you think!

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie
From Rachael Ray

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (separated)
1/4 cup ice water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened flake coconut
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chilled butter pieces and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 5 seconds. Drizzle in the ice water and pulse just until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap; flatten to form a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round; transfer to a pie pan. Cut the excess dough to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Using your fingers, roll the dough edge under and crimp. Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees .
  3. Line the shell with foil and pie weights or dried beans; bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a heavy, medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt with the brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until melted and smooth. Whisk the sugar mixture into the beaten eggs. Stir in the nuts and coconut.
  5. Spread the chocolate chips in the pie shell. Pour in the filling and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.

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Planning ahead, London and I knew we wanted to make a slightly elevated camp breakfast (especially following our camp pizza).  After searching for inspiration, egg-in-a-hole kind of just popped into our heads.  Just a few ingredients made an easy spin on the classic egg and toast breakfast.  This breakfast ended up being very substantial, keeping us full until well after our hike!  But I’m not gunna lie, we did kind of kill an entire package of bacon between the two of us… 😛

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Egg-In-A-Hole
INGREDIENTS:
1 slice of bread
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut a hole from the center of the slice of bread.
  2. Turn on camp stove and heat pan over medium-low heat with olive oil.
  3. Place the piece of bread in the pan.  Crack the egg directly into the center of the hole, and cook until the egg sets on the bottom, around 1 minute.
  4. Flip it over and cook until the yolk feels soft.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with bacon and ketchup :)

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