Portlandia.

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OH MY GOSH! Next month marks the eleventh month of the year and guess what that means!? It’s  my birthday month AND I will be turning THIRTY! When in the hell did this happen?? As the day approaches I not only can’t believe that I will be thirty years young but really feel as though I have never felt better. I think when you are younger (at least for me) you envision your future to be “something” and whatever that “something” is….you either meet your expectation or often times surpass what you ever could have imagined. For me, at this point, traveling is my number one priority. In a few weeks I will be Portlandia bound!  In all my travels this is one place I have been wanting to go for a while. For the last couple years have heard nothing but amazing things. I love food, I love organic everything, I love the outdoors…now if I can only beat the rain (that is one thing I don’t love :) )! This is one place that I hear when it rains…..it literally pours! Regardless, I can’t wait to get my booty to the beautiful state of Oregon. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Let the planning begin!

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These peppers were soooo delicious! I am so fortunate to have great friends who love to donate to the newtritionsavvy cause. I work near a local farmers market and every Sunday I am lucky enough to be given bags and bags of fresh produce…Sometimes it’s more than I can consume so I end up cooking for my friends. The great thing with stuffed peppers is that you can add just about any vegetable in your fridge and even add some meat for extra protein. In my opinion, they were just as great without it. Go ahead and give these a try…..I would say prep time about 15 min, and cook time 30. Enjoy!

Bell Peppers Prep:

  • Large Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms (whole or sliced)
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic clove (minced)
  • Tomato (roma or heirloom both work)
  • Jalapeño (optional for more spice)
  • Chopped Dill
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Grated Mozzarella cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice the bell peppers in half/clean out seads (set on baking tray)
  2. Slice mushrooms, zucchini, tomato
  3. Heat sauté pan to med heat
  4. Saute olive oil and garlic together
  5. Add zucchini and mushrooms and jalapeño with lemon juice, salt and pepper (only sauté to get a little softness to vegetable (you don’t want to overcook here because the veggies will finish cooking while baking.
  6. When veggies are done I add tomato (these will cook in the oven)
  7. Place the rice in the bell pepper, with veggie medley over the top
  8. Bake on 400 for 30 min (if they aren’t cooking fast enough you can up the temperature to 450)
  9. The very last minute you can throw some mozzarella cheese on top and bake until cheese is just melted

Lemon Dill Rice

1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill/or fresh (I prefer fresh)
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 lemon lemon zest (finely grated)
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper (to your liking)
2 cups water (chicken broth optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan
  2. Saute the chopped onion for 1 minute
  3. Add rice and “parch” over low heat, by stirring until the rice turns white again. Do not let the rice brown
  4. Add the rest to the ingredients and bring to boil.
  5. Lower heat and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Fluff well with a fork, replace the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Eat Your Greens.

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asparagus mixture

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I made this last night for dinner. Green beans, asparagus, and mushrooms over quinoa.

What you’ll need:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • fresh green beans (I prefer fresh over canned)
  • fresh minced garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • garlic powder
  • chili flakes (optional)
  • quinoa
  • vegetable broth
  • white onion
  • olive oil

Start by trimming the green beans. Fill a large pot with water and when the water has reached a boil- put green beans in. If you have ever cooked green beans before you know that they take a while to cook. Boil only for a couple minutes, strain and leave in strainer while putting ice cubes over to stop the beans from cooking. This process is called blanching. In a separate pan, use oil of choice (I use extra virgin olive oil), fresh minced garlic and chopped white onion on a med heat. When the onions and garlic look like they are cooked add about a cup or less of veggie broth- and then add the asparagus, mushrooms, green beans along with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. Let simmer on low heat until finished. The veggies won’t take long to cook- I prefer my asparagus with a little crunch.

In a separate pot cook the quinoa. It’s the same as rice, for every cup of quinoa two cups of water, veggie or chicken broth. I used veggie broth to add a little more flavor. Boil water, pour in quinoa and then reduce heat to simmer.

This recipe is easy and you can easily add chicken to it if you would like more protein! Let me know how it turns out.

 

Meet TellSpec.

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I just heard about this incredible product. Have you heard of TellSpec?? This is a device that allows you to scan your food and be able to get nutritional value as well as telling you what ingredients, chemicals and pesticides are in your food.

Many foods contain chemicals and allergens that we want to avoid, but it can be difficult to know whether these chemicals and allergens are in your food or not. Food companies are NOT required to label your food. Transfats, GMO’s and other preservatives are in many items we consume every day. How can you tell if your food contains the nutrients you need? What about things like sodium, gluten or trans fats that you might be trying to avoid? Food labels can give us some information if they’re available, but they are not always intelligible and some ingredients may not even be reported.

The TellSpec handheld device beams a low-powered laser at the food you wish to analyze, measures the reflected light with a spectrometer, and sends the data via your smart phone, computer, or tablet to TellSpec’s servers in the cloud. Those servers use this data to deduce information about your food that is of interest to you. This information is then displayed on your computer, tablet or smart phone so you can intelligently decide if you want to buy or eat the food.

I can’t wait until this is available to the public. I believe using technology to aid in the better knowledge of the food people consume is a brilliant idea. The future of health is in our hands, literally!

Lentil + Barley Soup.

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This was my first time cooking with barley and needless to say it was delicious! I found this recipe and I altered it a little- the recipe called for a crock pot and simply put, I am impatient.

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • celaery (diced)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

I opted out for the split peas and instead of vegetable broth I used the water that I used to boil the lentil beans in. Start by dicing up your carrots, onion and celery. Meanwhile, in a pot boil 1/2 cup of lentil beans. In a separate pot, boil 1/2 cup barley. Even though it seems like it’s not a lot- the both expand and should be enough for about 4 people. When the veggies are done cooking on med-high heat add can of diced tomato. When the beans are done cooking (they will split if overcooked) drain water. I added the bean water as a veggie broth instead of store bought. I added salt, pepper, dried oregano, 2 bay leaves and let simmer. The barley took over an hour to cook so be patient. When the barley is done cooking- add to soup. Let the soup simmer and allow all the flavors to combine. After the soup is done I added some lemon for extra flavor. This recipe is fairly easy but if cooking raw beans it might take a while so allow time for those to cook! Hope you enjoy!

You can find the original recipe here.

Ricotta Pancake Bliss.

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Hey friends…Happy Tuesday! I feel like the weekend always flies by…oh wait! IT DOES! I had a great weekend combined with both work and a little bit of play time. Although it was a three day weekend for many- in the restaurant business that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a vacation for you (I mean me)! I worked both nights (on the hustle for NYC) but found a couple of hours Sat + Sunday to soak up the sun and enjoy the weekend. Saturday I grabbed coffee at Barefoot Coffee Roasting Company in Campbell. This place has been my hangout as of late. It’s a smaller shop, non corporate and I am all for supporting local businesses that are of quality! When I find time to blog, this is my spot. Sunday I brunched it with a girlfriend at The Table in Willow Glen. This place is one of a kind and reminds me of a restaurant you would more than likely find in San Francisco or NYC. It’s small, the decor is modern and the drinks are beyond fab. We sat at the bar (I prefer) and enjoyed the best Ricotta Pancakes I have ever had. They were filled with a fresh lemon flavor and every bite melted in your mouth. Can we say A-MA-ZING! I am happy to report that I have been working out and eating fab food all week. The pancake might not have helped my Mexico Physique but needless to say the hard work every day allows for a little treat here and there.  I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend….despite that niner loss and have a great four days ahead. Positive thoughts!

Friday Love.

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It’s Friday my friends! This week seemed like it flew by faster than usual possibly because the sun was shining a bright 80 degrees?? Unreal.  I feel accomplished, healthy and grateful that the weekend is here. My workouts were on point (I’m feeling pretty sore) as I am trying to get back on track from taking some time off. You never realize how in shape you are until you don’t work out for a while. Never again am I letting this happen.  I took some time off for the month of December because I was in charge of opening a new restaurant in Los Gatos. Man, I am not sure how I survived the long days and not being able to workout. Being continuously busy from when you rise to when you go to sleep is not the business and I am glad to have a couple more hours out of my day that I can spend as “me time.” In a few weeks I will be jet setting to Phili + NYC for a best friends birthday. She will be turning 29…..crazy! Who said getting older can come so fast! It will be 4 of us reuniting and I couldn’t be more excited. Good friends, girl talk, catching up, lots of wine and making new adventures….does life get any better!? I am wishing all of you a happy weekend!

Athleta + Gap Fit Nail it!

Gap Fit Nails it!
Ladies and gentlemen! Let me introduce to you GAP FIT. I know, I know it’s not new to the rest of the world but it’s new to me. I am an avid GAP shopper when it comes to my everyday wear because most of the time the pieces they make will last years. When it comes to workout gear on the other hand, I am not one to branch out and try new brands. The problem with my body is that my legs are skinny, my boobs are big and my waste fits somewhere in between – so when it comes to shopping for athletic wear it’s either too big or barely fits in some areas. Not only is this discouraging but it has prevented me from really giving other brands  a try. Needless to say, I stumbled upon Gap Fit over Christmas while shopping for family and decided I would give it a try. The material they use is similar to that of Lululemon which I am familiar with. I bought a few shirts like the one on the top right (pictured above) and decided to give the crops a try as well. What do you know, they were both great! The prices are reasonable and you are walking away with a great product. Thank you Gap for nailing it once again.
If buying new clothes will get you to the gym then you better get shopping! It’s the second week in January….how are you doing with your healthy makeover?

Veggies w/ Spicy Marinara

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Last night I ended up getting home pretty late (9-ish) after a long day of work, working out and then hitting Whole Foods for the week. The problem with me is that on my nights that I have off I LOVE to cook! Sometimes I intend on making something quick- and then and hour and a half later I have my meal. It probably doesn’t help that I am snapping 99 pictures along the way, but needless to say I enjoy the time it takes to prepare my food. I consider it relaxation time.

I whipped together this veggie medley and it was nothing short of just what I wanted. Not to heavy, but still filling enough after a hearty workout.

{Ingredients}

  • broccoli
  • cherry tomato (cut in half)
  • fresh minced garlic
  • mushroom
  • crushed tomato (canned- I use DiNapoli brand)
  • fresh parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili flakes

For the veggies it was easy, I browned the garlic (don’t burn) with olive oil. Shortly after added the broccoli and let cook. Add salt, pepper to taste. When the broccoli seems to be halfway done add the cherry tomatoes. After the tomatoes start to get soft then add the mushroom.  Mushrooms are always last because they cook fast and I personally don’t like overcooked veggies.

For the marinara. I also used a little olive oil with fresh minced garlic on med heat. After the garlic is brown I added a can of crushed tomatoes, fresh parsley along with salt, pepper and chili flakes. As soon as the sauce reaches a slight boil turn temperature down and simmer.  Instead of pasta with marinara – veggies with red sauce is always a great substitute to leave you feeling less bloated. Think of simple as being better. If healthy is the theme of your January then add this one to your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Yup, It’s Friday!

weekends

 

Yeahhhhh….it’t Friday! I am beginning to look forward to the weekends more and more these days. When you are so busy with events, work and trying to find a social life in between nothing sounds better than a litter R&R! The weather here in California has been nothing short of amazing although not so good for the environment. I think we have 70’s on the forecast for this weekend which is a little strange for January, but hey, I am not complaining! Anyway, I’ll be relaxing as well as cooking up a storm, visiting my local farmers market and getting a few workouts in. What are you up to??