Monday, January 21, 2013

New year, new blog

Hello friends and faithful followers!

I am back. I have a laundry list of excuses for my absence ranging from uninspired dishes to sun setting early making it hard to photograph food to lazy to busy. But they are all excuses. The only two that I would like to specifically mention are as follows:

1) I was teaching Intro to Human Nutrition at Berkeley this past fall. Which, even though it was only a 20 hour/week assignment, kept me insanely busy. I think partly because I truly loved it and felt I had a purpose there so I wanted to spend the extra time. And it showed in my student evaluations, swoon (shout out to any former students that have found this)! The reason I am mentioning this is because teaching that class really reenergized my love of nutrition. Not that it was ever gone, but it reminded me of both the importance of teaching nutrition and also reminded me that I do have something to contribute.

2) Man oh man should nutrition classes be mandatory. In reading diet analyses of student diets, I was shocked. Few of them eat breakfast or vegetables. Most food is completely processed or Subway (the amount of Subway eaten by the undergrads at Berkeley is alarming). The excuses I usually got were, "Oh, but I don't have the time to eat healthy," or, "Oh, I don't have the resources to cook." And well, as far as I am concerned, that is bologna. You will never have more "time" than you do in college (and I cringe even typing that, because I hate treating time as a commodity) and your health should always be taken seriously. Many student promised that they would start to eat healthy when they finished college. But this is the phase when you are building habits, so it is important to build healthy habits. I could go on and on sharing horror stories of some of the diets I saw, but the point I am trying to make is that there is an incredible need for nutrition/cooking classes in the middle class youth. As a species (and this is about to be a wildly blanketed statement, so stay with me), our relationship with food is so broken and it needs some mending. And that is where I come in.

Stay tuned on my reenergized journey over at and then shortly that will be ported over to :-). Once there, let me you know your thoughts on the new design or any types of recipes that you would love to see!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beet Soup (not Borscht!)

It pains me to say it, but the truth is that fall is approaching. Oh, except that I live in the Bay Area and it is fall weather. All. The. Time. Nothing like wearing a light sweater everyday of your life. But i'm not bitter, I swear... I love being cold.

Fall weather calls for fall food. Something earthy and warm, like a soup. A soup made from beets. Borscht is a little old hat, so I was excited when my mom sent me a recipe for a beet and apple soup. I just couldn't resist the smooth bright magenta hue of the simple soup. I had one apple leftover from an apple pie I made on Sunday morning and had picked up some beets at the farm stand, so Sunday evening seemed like the perfect night for this soup.

The soup is simple and made my whole body smile. A big magenta stained smile. The color of the soup does more than please the eye, it pleases the whole body. The phytonutrients that give the root its awesome color is also a power house of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties for your body. Oh, and don't be too concerned with the... uh... after math. It looked like I killed someone in my kitchen. NBD. And don't thrown away those beet greens! They are equally nutrient packed and taste great lightly sautéed with some olive oil and garlic. 

Beet and Apple Soup
Adapted from Beet and Apple Soup

Materials: (Makes dinner for 2)
  • 3 beets 
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

  1. Peel and roughly chop the beets, apple, and onion.
    • NOTE: before chopping the beets, thinly slice off about 10 thin slices to pan fry to garnish.
  2. Toss beets, apple, and onion in a stock pot with vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime:
    • Combine the cashew cream and horseradish.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in heavy bottom skillet and pan fry beet slices for about 3 minutes on either side, until crispy.
  5. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minute.
  6. Transfer the soup, in 2-3 batches, to food processor, and process until smooth.
  7. Return to stove, add vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat on low for about 10 additional minutes.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with horseradish cream and crispy beets. 
  9. Enjoy!
    • Can be served hot or at room temperature, depending on how chilly of a fall day it is!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Boozy cupcakes

Happy Monday! As a tribute to the weekend that we are now mourning (when just mere hours ago you were sipping a craft beer chatting about who-even-cares with your besties, and now you find yourself back in your cubicle)... I bring you cupcakes! Boozey cupcakes! Who doesn't love boozey cupcakes? The alcohol cooks off, it doesn't taste that strongly of booze... but just knowing that it is in there makes the whole experience a little better. And hopefully it will transfer you back, even if just for a moment, to that creaky porch or crowded bar.

I know I spoke of these noble conquests of bringing you a plethora of cupcakes. And I know that I have not done that. Honestly though? These cupcakes have not stuck around long enough to photograph them. The cupcake of which of speak, that I am here to share with you, are chocolate stout cupcakes. In the spirit of being a manly cupcake, they aren't overly sweet and are not loaded with some fluffy or frilly frosting. Nope, none of that. The chocolate and stout really take the main stage here... and trust me, you wouldn't want it any other way. And that main stage is a cloud. A chocolatey cloud floating in a river of beer. Mmmmmm.

As an aside, you are getting this recipe now because I noticed on Saturday morning that there were still 3 cupcakes left from the batch I had made a couple of days before. I was waiting for my barley to cook and jumped at the opportunity. So there I sat, unshowered, squatting by my coffee table in front of the window with my camera in one hand and powdered sugar sifter in the other. Do you know how difficult it is to get a good shot while trying to shake the powdered sugar in one hand and snap the photo with the other? That is how eager I was to share these cupcakes with you! So go forth, my friends, and make these boozy cupcakes.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

For the Crumb Topping
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
For the Cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour (I used half AP and half whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup stout
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper liners.

To make the crumb topping...
  1. Combine the cocoa power, flour, and sugar.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil while tossing with a fork until crumbs form.
  3. Once all the oil has been added, toss and stir the crumbs with your fingers for about 30 seconds.

To make the cupcakes...
  1. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk and beat until foamy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches and beat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour batter into liners until about 3/4 full.
  6. Gently sprinkle with crumb topping so that the crumbs rest on top.
  7. Bake for about 22 minutes.
  8. Once cooled, you can dust with powdered sugar.
  9. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lazy Saturday

Saturday mornings are always met with excitement and a twang of bewilderment. The excitement comes in because I have the time to leisurely make myself a nice brunch, but at the same time, I spend most of my weak cramming down bites of oatmeal between hairbrush strokes so I can get out the door on time, so it takes a little bit of effort to break that habit.

As a nod to this week's lecture on carbohydrates with an emphasis on whole grains and fiber, I decided to fill my belly with those things on this morning. I originally headed into the kitchen to make a breakfast quinoa bowl, to find my quinoa stash had been depleted. However, staring up at me from my pantry was a hearty bag of barley. One great reason to have a fiber heavy breakfast is that is keeps you full and helps prevent your blood glucose from spiking. The soluble fiber absorbs water and turns your stomach contents into a gel, and forces your body to slow down and digest everything appropriately. Since your stomach contents are emptying slower, and are buffered by fiber, glucose will be released much slower, making you feel better and aiding in insulin sensitivity. While the soluble fiber is doing its thang, the insoluble fiber acts as natures pipe cleaner to keep your GI tract clean and your colon happy.

I bet your digestive tract is smiling just reading that above paragraph!

Anyways, back to the stuff that happened between me finding the barley, and satisfied, pushing away an empty bowl, a little sticky from peach syrup.

I par cooked the barley in a pretty standard way. While barley cooked away, I stewed up a diced peach in coconut oil and maple syrup with some raisins. When the barley was almost there, I transferred it to the stewed peach mixture, added almond milk, and then let it simmer for a bit longer. Garnished with slivered almonds, coconut flakes, and some fresh almost milk.

Ya, so that just happened. Everything worked in perfect harmony and has left my body charged for the day ahead.

Coconut Peach Barley Breakfast Bowl

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 peach, diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • slivered almonds, for garnish
  • flaked coconut, for garnish

  1. Combine the barley and water in a small pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the barley is cooking, melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in another pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the peaches and raisins and cook until the peaches are soft and the raisins have plumped up, maybe 5 minutes.
  4. Once most of the water has been absorbed by the barley, transfer it to the pot with the peaches.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the non-dairy milk and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. 
  6. Spoon into bowl, and top with almonds, coconut, and additional milk.
  7. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aloha: Artichoke Panzanella

I'm the worst. I know. My promises to be better about writing have proven empty. But I had the best of intentions! Really, I swear! Enough with the excuses though, my new goal is to get you guys at least 2 lip-smacking posts per week. Keep me honest on this one! Feel free to send nasty messages about how disappointed you are in my lack of blog presence, and about how you are starving without my guidance.

Too much?

One exciting thing to report on before we dive in is my recent trip to Hawaii! My bestie and I took a long weekend and soaked up the tropical paradise that is the Big Island. Her sister is currently going to school there, so the three of us took the island by storm. And captured all of it with the action setting on my camera. Yolo.

Here is a little photo tour of my trip:
We started out at the Hilo Farmers Market treating ourselves to fresh Hawaiian produce.
And then indulged in these. Which was some of the best food I have put in my mouth. Ever.
Next we drove from Hilo to Kona, stopping at scenic outlooks like this.
We spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach. Which as you can see, was miserable.
On the way back to Hilo, we drank from fresh coconuts.
The next day we descended into a volcano that was filled with lush beauty.
But then walking across the crater felt like walking across Mars on a windy and rainy day.
The wonderful trip ended with a day spent on this gorgeous black sand beach.
Hawaii <3
Last week was filled with recreating Hawaiian dishes... and then not photographing them... but as I perfect them and make them pretty (slash not making them at 8 or 9 at night), I will get them to you post haste!

In addition to traveling to exotic places, I am teaching Introduction to Human Nutrition to 800 eager undergraduates at UC Berkeley this fall, which has both kept me quite busy and been a real treat. On the first day I learned that all undergrads at Berkeley think that "ummm some chicken and brown rice" is their example of a healthy meal. Welp. Looks like I have some work to do this semester.

In between all of that excitement, I managed to whip up this utterly delicious artichoke panzanella. I have lived in California for over a year now, and I haven't quite taken advantage of the fact that I live in the artichoke capital of the USA. I was originally thinking of an artichoke risotto, but then decided that I wasn't that dedicated to being in the kitchen that long... and then the word panzanella popped into my head. And man oh man am I glad it did! First of all, for bread I used a super non-traditional walnut whole wheat bread that ended up adding so much awesomeness to this salad. Seriously though, I think the toasted bread pieces soaking up the deliciousness from the rest of the salad was my favorite part.

I also tossed in some black beans and a peach to cling on to the tastes of summer, along with some tomatoes straight from my garden. To cut through the other decently sweet ingredients, I used dandelion greens as my greenery. No one talks about this much, but dandelion greens are actually one of the healthiest greens out there, chock full of calcium, protein (for a vegetable), and a whole host of disease fighting compounds.

Then I thought it was getting a little too gourmet, so I smothered it in Kens Steak House Italian Dressing. This salad was both filling and packed with healthy goodness. This recipe provided me with a solid dinner and then a solid lunch the following day. It works great as a weeknight meal, but also a fancy salad to impress guests. I can't wait to make it again!

Artichoke Panzanella

Materials (2 meal salad or 4 side salads):

  • 2 large artichokes, prepared as seen here in this great tutorial 
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 loaf of hearty bread of choice (I used Walnut Levain from Acme Bread)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 peach, pitted and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch dandelion greens, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup your favorite italian vinaigrette

  1. Put the artichokes in a medium stock pot with the water, bay leaf, and cloves of garlic and then juice the lemon and toss in the leftover lemon.
  2. Cover loosely, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and remove bay leaf, lemon, and garlic. 
  3. In the meantime, remove the crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Heat up a few swirls of olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I used a cast iron) over medium-high heat and toss in the bread cubes.
  5. Toast the bread for 8-10 minutes, tossing every couple of minutes, until it is nice and crispy.
  6. Toss the artichokes and the bread with the remaining ingredients and let sit for 10-30 minutes before consuming.
  7. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Getting with the Times

I am trying to get with the twitter and youtubes. Today's 21st century social media device I tackled is The Facebook. Oh, did I just date myself by calling it THE facebook? Oops.

Anyways, please head over to Facebook to like Veggie with a Cause's new facebook page!

Also, I know these pictures aren't the best... or really very good at all, but I thought you should know that this happened in my kitchen the other night:

I recently acquired Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and wanted to try all of the recipes ASAP, so I started with testing out S'Mores, Coconut Lime, and Peanut Butter... all in one night. Let's just say my roommates were not upset. Ok, R did get a little ornery when I didn't bake cupcakes every night this week. So demanding!

We are hosting a BBQ at our house on Sunday, for which I will be making bigger batches of these bad larries, so expect the recipes then. And perhaps some other delicacies that we treat our guests with.... until then, ci vediamo presto! And don't forget to like my facebook page!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raw Taco Salad

Remember that raw phase I went through? Ya, i'm trying to forget it too. But sometimes I accidentally eat completely raw meals.

This was one of those nights. I had read somewhere about using walnut "taco meat,"but the post I read it in used it to be raw. I immediately closed the window and moved on with my life. Now I know I have talked about my cravings before, but the weirdest habit of mine is craving things that I have never eaten. And well, that happened. I was craving this "raw taco meat" made from walnuts. On my way home from work that day I picked up some walnuts and guacamole to adorn the rest of the salad ingredients that I already had at home.

Another element that I am going to bring into this salad is massaged kale. Every time I told someone I made a massaged kale salad, I was greeted with confused stares. But man oh man, everyone needs to hop on the massaged kale salad train. Basically, it is exactly what is sounds like: you coat it lightly with some olive oil, lemon juice (but tonight I used lime juice, since it was a taco salad), salt, and pepper and then get to massaging. You get the benefits of it being cooked almost, meaning it is much more palatable and you pre-break it down for your digestive system, but you also get the benefits of it being raw, meaning all of the precious nutrients are left untouched.

And finally, I have also been playing a lot with using peaches in savory dishes. Peach or mango or pineapple salsa? Yes, please! I also had some peaches, so onto the salad they were going.

Anyways, this raw taco salad of sorts was phenomenal and an absolute synch to throw together! Literally I was raving about the salad after every bite that I took. And then I made it for lunch each of the following days. It packs really well since you don't have to worry about the kale wilting. The salad doesn't need much of a dressing since the walnuts are flavor packed as well as the guacamole brings its Mexican goodness to the party. Raw food, you win this round... in the tastiest of ways.

Raw Kale Salad
Inspired by Roost Blog

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup your favorite guacamole
  • 1/2 peach, diced
  • 1/8 cup red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime
  1. Place walnuts, spices, soy sauce, and lime juice in a food processor and process until the walnuts take on the consistency of taco meat.
  2. Toss kale in lime juice and olive oil with a few shakes of salt and pepper and then massage, as if you were kneading dough, until kale has wilted and taken on a supple texture.
  3. To assemble: Place kale in salad bowl, top with scoop of guacamole, sprinkle walnut taco meat around, top with diced peaches and red onion, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Probably audibly.