coconut citrus sunshine smoothie


the last few weeks of winter are here and they're not letting up around these parts.  it's bitter cold, icy sidewalks, dirty snow, and wind that hurts your face and makes you want to cry.  sunshine in all and any form is needed...desperately. while i'm usually sipping on hot tea, warm lemon water, or bits of coffee here and there, i've been opting for a cooler, citrusy beverage as of late perhaps to summon a brighter perspective.

my husband isn't the biggest fruit consumer, so when i had a boat ton of citrus leftover from a project, i went to making my favorite juice this time of year, as well as develop a more substantial variety in the form of a creamy smoothie.  i wanted something texturally thick, but fluid; slightly sweet, and creamy - almost like a childhood creamsicle, but more nutritionally sound.  while i was going for more of a breakfast-y dessert smoothie, than a traditional greens 'n fruit smoothie, you can surely partake in this drink and still feel light and invigorated.  in went my fave, fave, fave coconut yogurt (full of probiotics ---> happy belly!), hydrating coconut water, various citrus fruits for color and flavor, some warming nuggets of fresh ginger, a bit of maple syrup to round out the acidity; some chia seeds, bee pollen, and turmeric for their lovely anti-inflammatory properties and amino acids.  basically a super high-vibe, slurp-able creamiscle! (and bonus, if you want to make your own coconut milk yogurt, izy's got you covered in a recent article on the kitchn!)

warmth, sunshine + smoothies! xo



coconut citrus sunshine smoothie (gf + v)

usually when i make smoothies i add as i go, which is really what i did here - there's no real math to it, so feel free to start with less and add more as you go.  the result of the ingredient amounts below is a fairly fluid smoothie that thickens over time as the chia seeds activate, about 10 minutes.  

| makes 4 servings |

  • 1 cup coconut water, cold
  • 1 cup coconut yogurt (or preferred yogurt)
  • 1 navel orange, peeled, cut, and seeds removed
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, cut, and seeds removed
  • 1 blood orange, peeled, cut, and seeds removed
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, extra to top (1 teaspoon fresh turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds, extra to top
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen, extra to top


instructions

  • place all ingredients into a high-speed blender; blend on high until smooth and bubbly.  taste and adjust, adding more syrup or turmeric.  you can serve immediately, or wait 5-10 minutes for the chia seeds to activate, resulting in a thicker smoothie.   serve, and sprinkle tops with some more chia seeds, bee pollen, and turmeric

more beverage goodness:

microgreen + mango juice

microgreen + mango juice

rejuvenating citrus juice

rejuvenating citrus juice

almond-macadamia milk

almond-macadamia milk

warm squash, parsnip, + kale salad w/ pomegranate dressing


not that long ago i was in the kitchen of a lifelong friend of mine, and since a large portion of my life is all about food these days, it was super interesting to see how she was generating dinner that night, along with how she organized her kitchen, and i even found myself curiously peeking at the condiments in her fridge.  she totally confessed to me that she can feel anxious at the thought of what to cook for her and her husband, how to prepare and cook various kinds of ingredients, how to store fresh produce, and how to eat less take-out, and more healthfully.   i could completely relate to the part about planning a meal, because while i may work with food all the time, some days it's nice to not have to think about what to make for dinner.



recently we met for brunch and inevitably the topic of food came up again.  i asked how her cooking quest was coming along and she began telling me about a food delivery service she started using called Blue Apron.  she told me how they offer chef-designed meals with step-by-step instructional recipe cards that are all delivered to your door already proportioned so you don't have to deal with a trip to the store, or have any unused product afterwards.  she said her and her husband use the 2-person plan they offer at $9.99 per person per meal, always with free delivery, once a week of 3 meals for them.  she was really impressed that they have fresh produce from local farms and utilize whole grains, seasonal veg, and healthy fats.  she mentioned they even offer a family plan, which i later looked up is only $8.74 per person per meal and adds some options on delivery and has family style meals as well.



i was super intrigued by all the things i heard my friend tell me over brunch, so a few days later when Blue Apron happened to contact me about trying their service,  i was certainly excited to see what it was all about.  i learned they add 6 recipes every week and cover 80% of the country, so I know i'll have to let my family who lives in LA + north carolina know about them too.  i was impressed when i got my package with so many fresh ingredients in a refrigerated box so nothing was even close to wilted.  there was fresh, local product from farms in upstate new york, as well as from one of my favorite nyc bakeries, hot bread kitchen.  i'm also looking forward to gaining inspiration from Blue Apron's cache of recipes, including this quinoa and tofu "fried rice", and this cozy tuscan ribollita soup with farm eggs!  

you can find the recipe for this lovely squash salad here, where i substituted the farro for sprouted quinoa :)  by the way, the pomegranate molasses dressing in the recipe was a complete revelation, and it's totally making a comeback in my kitchen asap!



this kind of service certainly strikes a chord with me as i know a lot of people don't cook because they can feel intimidated or apprehensive about where to start, just like my friend did, and how so many people fall back on take out and fast food, even though they really want to be eating more healthfully.  so, in the spirit of getting people back in the kitchen, Blue Apron was kind enough to give the first 25 readers 2 free meals on their first order, just click here.  happy healthy! xo

*this post is in partnership with Blue Apron, all opinions are my own.


vibrant valentine's day: pink quinoa salad w/ beets, blood orange + chimichurri


it's funny, for two people who choose not to really celebrate valentine's day, the occasion is a significant date in me and frank's dating history.  we were friends for a few months before we began dating, and although he and i didn't speak to one another much, we kept in touch through facebook (i would often read and laugh at his rants about film vs digital projection, or how 3D movies aren't the wave of the future).  the following year, frank reached out to me on valentine's day to ask for a date.  while i wasn't sure if we would be more than just friends, we went out to a movie and a walk in central park a few nights later, and we've been together since then.  it was 2 years later when we celebrated our anniversary by going to the same movie theater and taking the same route through central park where frank asked me to marry him.  we're coming up on 5 years together in a few days and i can't help but feel super mushy and overcome with happy feelings about this life that he and i have together.  sometimes it feels like we were little babies then, and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday; we've grown, and changed, found new personal paths, and remain wholeheartedly committed to rooting for one another.  

speaking of rooting...this beet salad!  (<--- see what i did there?!)  these past couple of years i've shared chocolatey valentine's recipes, here and here.  this year i wanted to create something just as festive but in salad form - basically because i've been craving all the savories lately.  while i wasn't always a firm believer in beets, i've come to love them in almost any form (even tacos!), i also knew they would make my quinoa the most vibrant shade of pink/magenta.  because beets are so earthy in flavor i wanted to juice it all up by adding some acid in the form of some lovely blood orange segments, and a parsley chimichurri sauce.  it's all served up with some green sprouts, toasted hazelnuts and a few squeezes of orange juice; a simple meal or side to enjoy in the company of others, or on your own! :)

also, tiffany (from offbeat + inspired) and myself contributed some advice  on how to throw a gluten-free dinner party - it's over on the recently re-launched Epicurious.  i also have an interview of sorts over on Zeit Magazin, it's all in german, so google translate is a good tool to have here!  

have a lovely week! xo



vibrant valentine's day: pink quinoa salad w/ beets, blood orange + chimichurri (v + gf)

i love this salad, not just because it's super heart and tasty, but because most everything can be made ahead of time and assembled the day of.  or, assemble the salad (sans toppings) and refrigerate until ready to serve.  either way this dish is most forgiving.  

| serves 6 |

chimichurri ingredients

  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salad ingredients

  • 3 medium red beets, washed 
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented
  • juice from half of an orange, or a few squeezes lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • course sea salt

to finish

  • big handful sprouts/micro green
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped


instructions

chimichurri

  • place chopped parsley, garlic, salt, chili flakes, vinegar, and olive oil into a food processor or upright blender and blend, scraping down the sides until thoroughly combined.  taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate until ready to use

salad

  • preheat oven to 400° 
  • place beets inside a foil packet; prick beets all over with a fork, drizzle with olive oil to coat.  secure foil in a packet and place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 1 hour, or until fork tender.  remove from oven and let cool until ready to handle.  once cool, slip beet skins off, rinse beets and pat to dry.  cut beets in eighths and then slice into small chunks. set aside
  • place rinsed quinoa along with a big pinch of course salt into a saucepan; cook according to directions on package.  once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.   
  • in a large bowl, combine the beets and quinoa, add orange segments, chimichurri sauce, and orange juice (or a few squeezes of lemon juice); toss to combine.  taste and adjust
  • serve warm, topped with sprouts, chopped parsley, and chopped hazelnuts  

(mini) granola + pear scones


i've been getting quite a few questions about why i choose to bake with certain gluten-free flours, and because i do use specific flours for specific reasons, i decided i would go ahead and explain a little :) 

for cookies, cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts, quick breads, muffins, scones, etc., i use a mix consisting of brown rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, and usually a bit of arrowroot powder/starch/flour.   i use brown rice flour basically as an "all-purpose" flour, which is why i always use a larger proportion of it.  it's a great low-glycemic flour (it won't make your blood sugar spike, and then crash which is always a good thing), super versatile for both sweet and savory meals, and (in my opinion) it has a way better flavor than white rice flour.  oat flour is my absolute favorite flour!  it adds so much nutty delicious flavor that i have a hard time not using it in everything - plus, if i'm in a pinch, i just throw some rolled oats into a blender or food processor and i've got flour!  oat flour is great for lasted energy, and it also helps to stabilize blood sugar which is just another reason why i love utilizing it so much.  almond flour is one of the first gluten-free flours i ever worked with; it's also a versatile flour, but because it's a fat-dense, nut flour i only occasionally use it on its own.  however, when mixed with other flours, it adds depth, flavor, and fat - which can really help keep baked goods moist.  arrowroot powder is generally known as a binder, and is a great substitute for cornstarch.  even with the use of eggs, i use arrowroot in baked goods for extra binding purposes and also for lightness, as some gluten-free baked goods can bake up a little heavy.  i tend to stay away from starches like potato or tapioca starch as they can be hard to digest, as well as white rice flour.   

i've slowly begun using various other gluten-free flours, among them sorghum flour.  i've found that when using it in more delicate baked goods like pie crusts, or scones, it lends a perfectly smooth texture with a gentle crumble.  which brings me to these scones... i've made a few different iterations of this recipe, using cold solid coconut oil, different flour combos, and various kinds of plant-based milks, but this recipe right here has a (close to) perfect scone quality, one that reminds me of the gluten-y scones i used to indulge in.  scones for me always get crammed with whatever seasonal fruit that's available, and topped with nuts.  i had some leftover granola in the pantry and decided that we all would benefit from some sweet, nutty, crunchy goodness!

hope you're all staying warm + cozy! xo



(mini) granola + pear scones (gluten + dairy free)

i made these scones pretty tiny, they're basically bite-size. however, if you want to make them larger, do so - the baking time might need to be adjusted a bit longer though.  also, feel free to cram these babes with whatever fruit situation you've got going on where you are! i noted below that the psyllium husk powder is optional; you can substitute xantham gum if you prefer, or leave it out altogether, but your scones will be a bit more crumbly. 

| makes 20 two-inch scones |

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 large free-range eggs, divided
  • 1 ripe pear, cored and chopped small
  • 1/2 cup granola


instructions

  • preheat oven to 400° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. set aside
  • in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, psyllium husk, and salt; set aside.  in a small mixing bowl, combine the milk and oil, whisk in the egg; using a rubber spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry, combine until dough comes together (the dough should be sticky, but not that it sticks to your hands.  if you find that it's too wet, add more sorghum flour a teaspoon at a time until you are able to manage it.  conversely, if the dough is too dry, add more coconut milk 1 teaspoon at a time until dough comes together. )  gently fold in the chunked pear
  • turn dough out onto a piece of parchment; pat and flatten into a round with 1-inch thickness.  grease a 2-inch round cookie cutter with a bit of oil; stamp out scones.  roll scraps back together a repeat until no dough remains.  place scones onto prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.  crack the remaining egg into a small dish and whisk.  using a pastry brush, gently pat top and sides of scones with egg wash; top the scones with crumbled granola.  place in oven and bake for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned
  • remove scones from oven and let scones cool completely.  they can be stored on a platter covered with parchment at room temperature for up to 3 days 

enjoy!


fennel-roasted carrot + shallot salad w/ shaved apples


we're sitting here in the midst of a (non) blizzard, hunkering down in this super snowy, windy, and frigid weather.  we got up this morning to take our little pup, quint out for a walk, needless to say he wasn't happy.  we're not sure he's really into snow, as he runs away from us when we attempt to put his little black turtleneck sweater on, and when we try to squeeze his dainty feet into snow shoes he hates it even more.  it's become a 10-15 minute process, depending on if it's both me and frank or just one of us, all for a 2 minute "walk" consisting of quint trotting in circles and finding the nearest vertical object to relieve himself on.  we come back inside and the timid dog he was outside quickly disappears into a bold, playful pup zipping around the apartment, sometimes hopping on all fours, and poking us with his tiny snout encouraging us to play with him.  most times you can find frank on the floor with him playing as if he were a dog as well, and as i'm sure you can imagine, quint is always totally delighted by that.   we're constantly so amazed at how such a little guy can have such a tremendous personality - he's totally filled with life, and brings us so much love and light each day! this week, just under a year ago we picked him up at the shelter, all 7 3/4 pounds of him, so me and frank are reflecting a bit on how special he is, while also wondering what our lives were like before him :)

while quint isn't a fan of veggies (he actually eats around them), he is a big lover of apples - i often mash a couple slices up for him, which he loves to crunch on.  most meals i have to be careful of setting them at a height he can reach, but salads never worry me - i know he'd rather occupy his time doing other things like playing with his reflection or chasing his tail.  this carrot-centric salad is super simple, but also super tasty, with crushed fennel, sweet caramelized shallots, crunchy apple, and a respectable amount of blood orange juice to top.  it was inspired by a salad over at vinegar hill house, and it's one of those little dishes that continues to have flavor, texture and depth in each bite, while also being really simple to put together and enjoy. plus, it's a salad served on the warmer side of spectrum, for these chilly days when thinking of eating something cold is just a no-go. 

love + warmth, xo!



fennel-roasted carrot + shallot salad w/ shaved apple

this is the perfect salad to serve warm or at room temp.  also, feel free to use larger carrots as opposed to the baby ones indicated below, just make sure to adjust cook time if need be. and i could also imagine this dish benefitting from more crunch, perhaps roughly chopped hazelnuts or roasted pistachios

| serves 2 |

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 bunches organic baby carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half (or 1 bunch large carrots, sliced in half and then in quarters)
  • 2 small shallots (or 1 large), ends trimmed and sliced with half-inch thickness 
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
  • sea salt + fresh ground pepper
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, cored and shaved thin (using a mandolin or a sharp knife)
  • handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • juice from half of 1 blood orange
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, to top


instructions

  • preheat oven to 375°.  line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  set aside
  • heat a small pan over medium-low heat, add fennel seeds; shake pan back and forth a few times so they don't burn or stick.  toast seeds for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant and slightly brown.  remove from heat and place in a mortar; once cooled, grind with pestle.  set aside
  • in a large bowl, combine sliced carrots, shallots, crushed fennel, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. turn out onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.  set aside and let cool slightly
  • in a serving bowl, combine the roasted carrots and shallots with shaved apples, toss in the chopped parsley, drizzle with olive oil, blood orange juice, and toasted sesames; taste and adjust seasoning.  serve warm or at room temperature

enjoy!