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Hands down the best yogurt on the shelf

September 11th, 2014 No Comments

Greek Pastures Yogurt

 

Flying through the Whole Foods in NYC, I did a 180 when I spotted my FAVORITE yogurt on the shelf.  ”Greek Pastures” used to be “Atlanta Fresh” so to my knowledge it was only sold there.  Until now!!!! Thankfully when I got back to Los Angeles, my little cups of protein were also stocked up in my local Whole Foods.

Besides tasting like dessert, they’re a healthy choice for  snack:

  • Made in small batches from grass-fed cows
  • 130 calories + 15 g of Protein + 11g of sugar per cup
  • The fresh berries are stewed in just a touch of sugar so there’s no “syrup”

I mix in a little plain yogurt so it’s not so sweet and increases protein.  Raw almonds add crunch and good fat.

My favorite of the flavors is the mixed berry.  Port wine and cherries I’ll eat for dessert :)  Unfortunately they no longer seem to be making Vanilla or Plain or Low-Fat….Check out their website for more info and locations.

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The key to the perfect smoothie

September 5th, 2014 No Comments

smoothie with protein

Ideally a smoothie is packed with nutrients, satisfies our hunger, and tastes great.  So…how do we go about making that happen?  Well, taste is a matter of…taste.  I tend to think if you add a little banana it will be manageable.  In this post, I’m focusing on the other two parts.  However, should you make the smoothie above, I can assure you it’s yummy.

As we learned years ago, each meal and snack needs to have the same number of protein, carbs, and fat to fill us up and keep our metabolism in gear.  (Click here to read about figuring out portions) For my body and activity level that’s:

  • 20-30g of protein
  • 25g carbs
  • 7-10 g of fat
  • About 250-300 calories total

After a workout, we need to get this in our body within 45 minutes.  Honestly, the sooner the better.  It’s also important we feed our body with protein it can easily absorb and dispatch to our muscles asap. A smoothie is our best option!

So let’s break down my smoothie:

Protein: Grass-fed organic whey is 20g of protein. If you ‘re dairy free, look for pea protein and avoid soy.

Carbs:  1/3 of a banana (9g carbs and potassium), a few frozen blueberries (10g carbs and antioxidants), and 1/2 pack of sugar-free Acai (superfood with 2g carbs, 2.5g fat).

Fat: 1/5 Avocado is 4g fat.

You need the fat to satiate your hunger.  It also slows down your digestion so your body has time to absorb the nutrients.  Since I’m incorporating two handfuls of spinach (one veggie serving for the day), I use avocado as my fat source.  Besides the fact it makes the drink super smooth, avocado has also been proven to help your body absorb 200-400% more of the nutrients in vegetables.  Another option is a dollop of coconut oil or flax seed oil.  (I try to stay away from nut butters because I eat almond butter and nuts throughout the day.  They’re really hard to digest and high in calories.)

Now that the nutritional portion is taken care of, I can add on things like glutamine or Philosophie  superfood powders which taste so good on their own.

Vega Protein Performance Pack

If I’m on the run and can’t get home to make a smoothie, I take a Vega Sports Protein Performance pack and a bottle and shake it up with cold water.  Don’t worry, it tastes great!

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You don’t need pasta when you can make veggie noodles so easily

August 7th, 2014 No Comments

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Here’s my rule of thumb with pasta:  only eat it when it’s made by hand, that day, in legit Italian restaurants.  In other words, the flour noodle (usually Parpardelle for me) has to be WORTH IT!  Same rule applies for bread. 

Last night, Kitty Ball (yes, that’s a nickname), invited me over for Spaghetti Bolognese.  Since she’s Paleo, I knew dinner would exclude gluten and be totally healthy.  I’ve posted her delicious paleo BBQ sauce in the past.  Everything she makes is hearty so you never realize how healthy it is.

Now, let me back track for a second: A year ago I had dinner party and served Raw Zuchinni Ribbons with Almond Pesto which I make using a mandolin to slice the veggie thin. Kitty was at that dinner party.  Months later, I posted my hand-cut raw zucchini noodle bolognese.

Now, as my BFF, Kitty knows I get kick out of kitchen gadgets.  When she busted out this guy, I flew out of my seat to investigate!

So…if I put two and two together…

That crazy cat just had to one-up my little ribbons with her fun spiral noodles!

Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Noodles

 

Obviously I’m kidding :)

Overall, I don’t know if the spiral noodles are “better,” per se, but I like the presentation.  The thicker spiral noodle  holds up better under the meat sauce.

If you’re asking my first question, “How much is it?” you’ll like the answer: $36 on Amazon.

You need about 3/4 zucchini per person.  I prefer the green ones.  Kitty takes the skin off and sweats them in the oven.  I prefer to leave the nutrient-dense skin on and eat them raw.  They will soften if you put a warm sauce on top.

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If I’m going to eat spinach instead of drink it

July 10th, 2014 No Comments

bon appétit spinach salad

 

These days the only way I’ll take my spinach is in a glass, either as part of a smoothie or juice blend.  Then I ran across this salad recipe in bon appetit.  Now I’m reconsidering and might even be motivated to have a little dinner party.  (If you’ve been gone for a while I’m single and on some sort of cooking strike.)

Spinach Salad with Crispy Onions and Dates

Via bon appétit June 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Fresh spinach
  • bag of dates
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Blend 2 pitted dates, 1/3 cup veggie oil, 1 tsp lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup veggie oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat and sautee shallots until crispy. About 5-7 min.  Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.
  3. Chop 3/4 cup of dates.
  4. Toss it together!
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Breakfast boredom leads to healthy bagel replacement + LA hotspot gourmet version

June 19th, 2014 2 Comments

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I’m always trying to think of ways to reinvent breakfast, in my opinion, the most boring meal of the day.  If I were eating waffles and bacon, breakfast would be my favorite.  However, such is not the case.  My options are oatmeal/quinoa with seeds and nuts, yogurt with seeds and fruit, or hard-boiled eggs.  If I’m being honest, on the days I teach at SoulCycle, I eat whatever looks appetizing in my fridge: usually half of a banana slathered with almond butter or just almond butter and jam in a bowl….I’m eating it with coffee so it doesn’t need to be healthy, just small and slow-burning.

 

Recently I’ve been craving bagels.  Recently I’ve also been trying to cut out gluten.  Not a good pair, but an admirable challenge!

 

Being single, there are only so many things in my house, so the recipe for this hearty treat almost put itself together.

 

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Brown Rice Cake + Raw Almond Butter + Non-Fat Greek Yogurt + Home-made Jam

Carbs + Fat + Protein + Deliciousness

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Now, there isn’t enough protein (about 20g per meal for me), but the combo is quick, easy, light, and satisfying for 2 hours.  That’s really all I need in the morning.
At first glance, I know, it makes you cringe, but think about it….the recipe makes sense.  Sub rice cake for bagel, yogurt for cream cheese….It’s really a solid combo that coincidentally I’m not the only loving.
Bon Appetit clipping

 

A couple weeks ago, I’ve just made my little substitute bagel breakfast and I break open Bon Appetit. (Literally. As you see at the top of this post.) I flip through a few pages and I see a feature on Squirl, the latest LA hotspot. The hipsters apparently line up around the block for their fresh toast and homemade jam.  The owner and chef is Jessica Koslow, who reigns from Bacchanalia (one of my favorite restaurant in Atlanta).  Guess what her signature dish is: a version of my little biscuit!  Granted, Koslow is much more resourceful, but she has the same concept.  Her version is quite decadent: rye toast, ricotta cheese, and raspberry jam.  YUM!
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How to revive sweaty lettuce

May 29th, 2014 No Comments

Mixed baby lettuces from the farmers’ market make my MY FAVORITE salad.No matter if I grab just arugula or an herbal blend, the flavor in each leaf is so prominent I feel like my salad is a treat instead of torture.  Even if it’s just the lettuce in the bowl.

Now with the summer heat settling in, my problem is getting the lettuce home without it sweating in the bag.  Thankfully the farmer I buy it from had a great solution!

  1. Buy your lettuce last
  2. Hold the bag by the corners and swing it around away from you so it puffs up like a ballon. Tie it off.  This way the lettuce won’t get smushed by heavy veggies.  (I also place it on top of everything else.)
  3. When you get home, open the bag and wipe out any condensation with a paper towel.  Then press a paper towel flat onto one side of the bag.
  4. Swing the bag around and tie it off again.  Place it in the fridge on the top shelf.

You’ll find it regains some of its crispness and will keep for several days!

CLICK HERE for some of my favorite salad recipes and quick tricks.

Storing fresh lettuce

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Getting inspired to eat healthy

March 20th, 2014 1 Comment

Eating “healthy” and “clean” isn’t as exciting as a hearty plate of pasta or a juicy hamburger next to a steaming basket of fries.  Or, as we all know, just a plate of bacon. Those meals don’t need a lot of fanfare to be appealing.  The same old yogurt with berries and over-scrambled eggs we eat regularly lose their luster pretty quick, in my opinion.

However, I’ve found that looking at beautiful, stylized pictures of healthy food on instagram pulls me back to the bright side and away from the fries.

Here are four instagram users I love to follow and inspire me to keep my diet clean.  Three of the four also have blogs where they post their healthy recipes.  Click the images to find their instagrams.

 

livebeaming instagram

sweetsimplevegan instagram

sweet green instagram

philosophiemama

@PhilosophieMama (Sophie) is a super cute energetic mother of 2 who created her own line of powdered super foods.  After watching her promote her line and post recipes on instagram I had to meet her. We had a breakfast date that could have gone on for days.  Since then, I’ve been using her  cacao magic superfood blend in my protein shakes.  Sometimes I just mix it with water.  Others I make a smoothie with spinach and acai.  It tastes like a milkshake!  Just what my little sweet tooth needs after a double SoulCycle day.  I’ll be hitting up the “Green Dream” next.  She also has TONS of recipes in which she incorporates the powders.  I just threw some into my oatmeal the other day and it went from bland to heavenly!

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Delicious Dish: Steamed Sea Bass with a Citrus Soy Sauce

March 13th, 2014 No Comments

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Amongst my friends, it’s a joke how terrible I am at food photography, mediocre at plating, yet despite it all and the mess in the kitchen I’m a pretty solid as a cook.  So you’ll have to go with me on this one.  It’s amazing.

Sea Bass with Citrus and Soy

via Epicurious (published in Bon Apetit Magazine March 2002)

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice**
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 6-ounce sea bass fillets

** I had the juice bar at Whole Foods juice a whole pineapple.  OR I’ve use lemon juice mixed with a little agave.

Mix first 6 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Add fish; turn to coat. Chill 2 hours, turning fish occasionally.

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Place steamer rack in large skillet. Arrange fish on rack. Pour marinade into skillet under rack and bring to boil. Cover skillet and steam fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Transfer fish to plates. Remove steamer rack from skillet. Boil marinade until reduced enough to coat spoon, about 6 minutes; spoon over fish. Top with green onions (optional).

I usually top it with oranges.  Here I’ve paired it with green beans sautéed in toasted sesame seed oil, quinoa with cilantro, and SoCal sunset.  Doesn’t get much better in my book :)

Sunset in venice, ca

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