Frame of Mind

Halli hallo! I hope all of you are doing well, and enjoying the last day of July. The last day of July? Yep! In two weeks I’ll be going back up to Virginia to settle in to my place (yay for not having to actually move this year), and then starting my final year of college. Yessssss! I’ve been doing wonderfully with taking care of my liver. It really hasn’t been hard. If anything, it’s been relaxing and rejuvenating. Ayurveda doesn’t just cover the topic of food (although it is key), but also helps us take notice of how our environments may affect us. For instance, what we smell can be aggravating, calming, or what have you. For my constitution sandalwood is suggested to pacify the excess Pitta. I’m a combination of doshas, and that’s quite common actually. What exactly does dosha mean? “It’s an essential biological energy or structure in Ayurvedic anatomy. There are three primary doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which sustain all life. They move cyclically on a daily basis, and act as transporters and communicators between the essential tissues, and the bodily wastes. Their balance is a key to health. They also determine our physical constitution at birth.” Vata-Pitta is mine, and I benefit from oils; so it’s even recommended that I rub coconut oil on my feet and legs before I go to bed. Am I reading correctly? Treat myself like an Egyptian queen? Why, of course.

I’ll carry some sandalwood around, and Matilda can carry her skeleton leaf with her.

Now this was a real treat for my taste buds!

Remember when I tried the Coconut Bliss pint of ice cream? Specifically the cherry amaretto flavor, m’mmm! Anyway, I was also kindly sent a voucher to try their ice cream bars. You can choose from two flavors: dark chocolate or naked coconut. Oh gosh, speaking of flavors I just looked at their list of retired flavors. Ah so sad! Maybe a Dr. Frankenstein move can be pulled and some of these flavors can be revived! It’s ALIVE!!! Okay okay, so time to turn this frown upside down by giving my review for ze bar! Guess which flavor I chose? If you guessed naked coconut then you know me well hehehe. Ah yes, the review. Well, I LOVE COCONUT! So now that that’s clear, I also want to make it clear that these are the bomb.com. I loved the flavor; and the texture was so awesome because it was creamy, melt in my mouth (but not in milliseconds), and I spied the shreds of dried coconut too. Imagine a hot summer day (that is going to take little imagining as I just have to step outside) and all you want is something refreshing, tropical, and creamy. Yes, this bar would be my answer. “The pure coconut experience on a stick.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sweet potato and yellow split pea dhal + flax seed oil & ghee

Watercress is a new vegetable I’ve been incorporating into my diet. I’ve had it before, and I use to just think of it as more of a garnish. Now I see that it can also make a delicious salad! Speaking of salads, I found a helpful guide on how to make a great salad with lots of side tips: salad days. “Try and get all the tastes at each meal, even if it is a salad: carrots/beets for sweet, greens for bitter, cilantro for astringent, fresh ginger for pungent, lemon juice for sour and rock salt for salty.

Munching like a goat is easier

One of my favorite foods.

I think many of you can agree with me on this one: sweet potatoes are delicious… and happen to be very nutritious. They are a great source of beta carotene, which may explain why my palms and the bottoms of my feet look the way they do. The beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in your body, and may help slow the ageing process and reduce the risk of some cancers. And did you know that it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well? I’ve been having mine with a combination of flaxseed oil and ghee.

Last week I did some major re-organizing and decorating around my parents house.

It’s pretty cool that the black-and-white photo is of me with my film camera, and I’m in the mirror with another one!

Remembering vacations in South America.

Frames galore!

Rather than painting a wall.

Different colors for frames as well.

A diptych of little Matilda going on an adventure.

Some call this a pampering room, but for some reason ever since I was little I’ve called it “the emergency bathroom”.

My “office” area.

I also decided to take out something I got when I went to London.

A fireplace in Florida? Indeed.

A combination of something I made, nature, and a thrift-store find.

Another fitting thrift-store find–except change the ‘c’ to a ‘k’.

And one of my favorite thrift store finds!

I left a note by writing one of my favorite quotes.

Stay tuned for next post! I’m finally going to make a video, and share with you all that even while taking extra care of my liver, I was able to cook wonderful meals to share with my family’s guests.

I Keep Asking Questions, and It’s a Good Thing

Wow! I am so thankful to have such supportive and kind friends. It was also encouraging to be reminded that our most beautiful quality is our soul. And you know what else is awesome? I hear that some of you may be in the same boat, and are really interested to see how this works out. I’m excited that with my posts I’ll be able to keep you guys updated on my progress! I’ll also be incorporating some information throughout my posts. How about I start out the post with some information I stumbled upon recently that I’d like to share with you all:

Omega 3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat, lowers heart disease and stroke risk by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, slowing down the growth of artery-clogging plaques, and lowering blood pressure. Omega 3’s have also been shown to help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, and may possibly help with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. There is some evidence to show that it reduces depression as well. In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3s, fish is low in saturated fat, and is a good source of protein. Omega-3s are most prevalent in fatty, cold-water fish. Other forms of omega 3’s are available in fortified eggs, flax seed (linseed), and walnuts.

I always heard my parents talk about omega-3′s, but I never really took anything to heart. Now I’m incorporating it into my food in ways that I find flavorful, and I can’t wait to see the benefits in the long run. It’s funny because I often hear people say that the way I eat is healthy. I guess it’s true, but I think a lot of it comes from growing up in a family and in cultures where people cook with real food. I remember when I first moved to the United States and my step-dad brought home packages of Hamburger Helper and instant mashed potato. Of course they have “instant-foods” everywhere, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a heavy reliance on them as I have here. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s when I became a picky-eater because I went from having mashed potatoes made from scratch to these bizarre looking flakes that were weak  tasting in comparison. Fortunately, now that I’ve ventured into the wonderful world of cooking, I’ve become far more adventurous with what I eat. And you all know I’m all about what tastes good! So now that I’m really trying to strengthen my liver I’ve become more conscious of what I should be doing right now to take care of it. And you know what? I’m actually finding it to be more of a relief than a stressor. For instance, I’ll look up different foods I have in the kitchen and how they may affect my liver. More likely than not, my liver benefits from it. Take peaches for example…

The magical floating bowl!

Peaches, golden flax, and pumpkin seed butter over some Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and oats.

Peaches are great for those with gastrointestinal problems and liver conditions. As opposed to many fruits, they are very useful for digestion due to its alkaline content.

The best mango from someone’s backyard, the tastiest peach, and sweet cherries all in one bowl sprinkled with ground golden flax seeds over Greek yogurt and chia seeds.

On the toast I spread some pumpkin seed butter and fig preserves on one slice, then ghee and fig preserves on the other. The slice with ghee and preserves tasted so good because of the sweet and salty flavors going on!

A picture from a past post, but I wanted to show you again.

Ghee is clarified butter, and in India it’s highly regarded! I actually learned more about it in my Hinduism class, and how it’s considered a holy food. I found a source that kind of sums it up: “Ghee builds the aura, makes all the organs soft, builds up the internal juices of the body-Rasa, which are destroyed by aging and increases the most refined element of digestion-Shukra or Ojas, the underlying basis of all immunity and the ‘essence of all bodily tissues’.” Here’s a link with more information on it–very interesting stuff to read.

Breakfast drama queen shot!

This was inspired by Katie’s breakfast the other day. She had served the berries at the bottom, and it reminded me of those yogurt cups with the hidden fruit. Plus, I loved how it just felt like something special to start off the day. If you can’t tell those aren’t berries at the bottom. I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom, but promise not to think I’m weird? Okay, you can think I’m weird, but not because of this. The bottom is leftover pulp from one of my dad’s juices that has ginger, kale, beets, and carrots. There’s also some papaya and 1/3 of a sliced banana. A third? Well, I’ve been reducing my banana consumption since it can be chilling to the liver. However, I’ve also read that because of their potassium content, they are beneficial. Through my research I’ve come across many contradictions. I have to ask myself what the sources are, and how does it actually affect me? Afterall, we are all individuals and our bodies may respond differently. I could happily live with monkeys because of my love for bananas. On second thought, the monkeys might not love me because that would mean less bananas for them! I don’t really want to have monkey poo flung at me. So yes, for right now I’m just reducing how many I eat, but not eliminating. Thank goodness this is only temporary.

Made some small changes in the kitchen eating area.

Who knew a new light, seat cushions, and new place mats could make such a big difference.

Ani Phyo’s recipe for sesame snap cookies

Turned into ice kream sandwiches with Ani’s coconut ice kream recipe.

Quick grab one before it’s gone!

I have some leftover coconut ice kream, so I want to make her spiced blueberry cobbler recipe and top it with the ice kream. I love raw vegan desserts so much because they’re incredibly flavorful! If you have never tried one, I suggest you do. The recipes in “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts” are also easy to make. That’s actually part of the reason why she put this book together. Overtime Ani noticed that she had less and less time to make elaborate meals, so she started to come up with simple recipes that don’t require a lot of work. It’s also nice and encouraging to keep exploring these recipes after you make one and it’s a hit! That’s how I felt about baking bread. I started out simple, and then next thing you know I went from Irish soda bread to making Armenian tahini bread.

Very ripe plantains cooked with freshly ground cinnamon, yellow squash, onions, and mango chutney.

Then I proceeded to drizzle coconut oil and flax seed oil on everything. Did you know that the plantain seed expels disease and toxins from the body? It’s also good for respiratory problems because of it’s high mucilage content. And if your tummy isn’t feeling well, it can help because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Actually, some apply it directly to the skin on sores.

I’m loving it with coconut oil and ghee as well.

Rainbow Swiss chard

Pan-fried with onions, garlic, raisins, and balsamic vinegar for a little bit of time (3-5 minutes) on medium heat so the nutrients don’t get lost. Salt and pepper to taste, of course!

All in a day’s work.

Do you all like the little random tidbits I’m including in my posts? Or is too much like an encyclopedia? To me it’s cool to learn all of these things, and that so much of the delicious food from nature I eat really has all of these wonderful benefits; not just for the liver! Of course, I always knew that, but not the specifics. I would also like to reiterate what I mentioned earlier in this post about how we can all differ from one another. I’m going to quote an excerpt from a book I’m currently reading: “Ayurveda is universal, it can be used by all peoples. Its principles do not change from culture to culture…(and yet) the foods and herbs used in an Ayurvedic program can vary from area to area, they need to that’s fine, healthy. Ayurveda is not limited to India and Indian foods. It is a universal medicine.” And that pretty much sums up how I feel about us as individuals. Of course, feel free to try the things I’ve been trying, but don’t just take my word for it. This is the beginning of my journey, and I’m learning things everyday.

p.s. I’m hoping to do a video post soon! So keep an eye out for it.

Looking Forward

Hello everybody! Recently, I’ve made some relieving discoveries in my life lately. Most of my past days have been spent researching… (and decorating)! Researching what? Well, it all started out with a painful pimple I got last week. The day after the nasty bugger popped up I had to think to myself, “what did I have the other day that might’ve been different?” Hmm… I’m pretty sure it was all of those cookies and chocolates I had when I went to Ikea. Over the months of observing what could be triggering breakouts… stress, periods, or even foods, I realized that it was mostly processed sugars triggered my breakouts. I definitely knew hard liquors did it for me, but when the next morning I woke up with a painful pimple on my cheek I had an inkling it was the all of the sweets I had the day prior. And that’s when Detective Katharina showed up. After reading many studies, books, and articles; I came to a possible answer. Let’s just say I was enlightened. I don’t believe it’s the sugars that directly trigger my breakouts, but rather that my liver isn’t as strong. Which is why the things that the liver normally processes out, pretty much come out on my face. I’ve dealt with this problem for years, and I’ve been longing for clear skin for so long. No matter how many creams I’ve been prescribed, they never seemed to tackle the issue. And I believe it’s because the doctors really only assessed the problem at a superficial level. The body is a wonderful thing, and communicates to us in many ways. Sometimes the real source of it is further than what meets the eye. I’ve been reading a book on Ayurveda–when am I not reading something about Ayurveda–and it makes so much sense. My approach to things in general is a very holistic one. Rather than only focusing on one component, I look at how it might be connected to something else, and maybe the solution lies within that. Gosh, I have so much to say on this, but I think my upcoming posts will give me more of an opportunity to talk about this more. Perhaps I’ll make a video post… yes? I wanted to share that with you, but let’s move on to some feasting for the eyes that will maybe inspire you to create a feast for you taste buds and belly!

This…

with the sweet addition of my long forgotten lavender honey…

All together now… yum!

When was the last time I had a bowl of “carrot cake” oats?

Oh, it’s been too long!

I spy something golden…

It’s all in the details.

Next thing you know I was transported to someone else’s living room.

Ikea’s living room that is.

It was also the day before I had my “epiphany”. But back to my day at Ikea… After hours of looking and shopping around we went back to my friend’s house.

Isn’t her kitty adorable?

And kind of crazy too!

My friend wanted to surprise her mom with a newly decorated and rearranged home!

A little more to the right…

Look what I did! Her little sister let me use her glow-in-the dark marker set.

It’s a blind contour drawing of her kitty when she was sitting on my bags, if you couldn’t tell hehehe.

Eventually I came home and I was inspired and still in my zone…

My friend had given me decorating fever!

Check out the new bowl! Banana and peanut butter is a classic combination.

With coconut? I think you can already guess what I’m going to say.

I went to the store and recruited my army.

Together, I think we will be victorious!

Here are some foods that your liver will be giving you extra thanks for: broccoli, watercress, kale, celery, artichoke, carrots, turmeric, garlic, onions, mango, beets, berries, oranges, spinach, Swiss chard, and the list goes on! Also, fresh squeezed lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning helps produce bile. How could I almost forget! Papaya is also on that list. Hooray for having a papaya tree in my backyard! I’m so happy that there are so many foods that will help strengthen my liver.

Omega-3′s are your friend.

Since I’m a vegetarian I did some research on ways I can get great sources of plant-based Omega-3′s. It’s also important to note that the ratio of Omega-3′s is higher than the Omega-6′s in your source. Some examples would be flaxseed (ground or oil), chia seeds, and hemp seeds.

Also got a new plate and placemat as well.

More importantly, what’s on the plate?

Kidney beans cooked and mashed with spices and herbs like cinnamon, oregano, a bit of chili, and cumin. I served it with a fresh salad, rice, avocado, and cilantro. I also poured on some flaxseed oil–my liver said thank you!

A grateful liver breakfast… that sounds gross actually, but this wasn’t!

I purchased some golden flaxseeds at the store the other day and ground them to reap their benefits. Mandiee has this all the time, and it definitely sparked my curiosity! I served it over oats mixed with another ingredient which is now apart of the “usual”. Enter maca powder, known for its hormone balancing properties. I’ve known that my hormones have been out of whack since last summer when I went through a long period of medical testing. Come to think of it, I don’t remember mentioning it on my blog. I decided to bring this issue to the forefront though because you know what? You never know who may be going through something similar, and it may help them out! Anyway, this bowl was incredibly delicious with all the cherries, blueberries, kefir, pumpkin seed butter, the whole kit and caboodle. Surprisingly, the maca powder did not make this bowl of overnight oats taste icky.

Such a delicious soup and calming as well.

As soon as I read the words “Butternut Squash Pear Soup” from Joy’s list of fantastic recipes, I knew I had to make it. Not to mention, this was incredibly easy to make. Just the simple addition of pear took this soup to another level. I also served it at a temperature that felt comfortable for the warm weather–not completely chilled and slightly warm.

An incredibly creamy hummus… and it’s homemade?

I added in a special ingredient to this classic hummus recipe. Actually, I added in a few! While making the artichoke hummus I kept a reader’s comment in mind. Awhile back when I posted my sun-dried tomato hummus recipe, I remembered that Phoebe had shared this greatly appreciated tidbit with me: “the secret to amazing hummus is blending your together the lemon juice , oil, garlic and tahini in the food processor to make an emulsion, before you add in the chickpeas, then (this is the secret bit) you add a tablespoon or two of plain greek yoghurt, its typical of turkish hummus, and absolutely delicious!” So I did just that. You must take her word for it!

A “snacky” lunch

I finally decided to pick up a box of Mary’s Gone Crackers when I was at the store the other day. The fact that they have flax seeds in them is just another incentive! Have any of you tried them? I was thinking of getting the black pepper or caraway flavor, but I opted to stick to the original since it was my first time trying them. I just steamed some kale and broccoli, cut up a carrot, some cherry tomatoes, and marinated artichokes. Served with artichoke hummus and flax seed oil drizzled on everything! Honestly, it’s amazing because I can already see changes in my skin, and I’m not the only one commenting on its noticeable clarity.

Since I like to keep things light, airy, and fun–not dark, dreary, and dull; the mentality of focusing on what I can have versus what I can’t have will make this easier. No strict regimen for me! Not to mention, I’m so excited about clear skin and new recipes that I think my positive outlook will help greatly on my little journey. By the way, if you have any recipes that you’d like to share that crossed your mind when reading this post, please let me know! Just because I’m going to have to be more concentrated on certain foods, doesn’t mean my eats have to become boring and routine. I like to add that “spice to life” no matter what may come my way.  Plus, in the end I know that once I reach the light at the end of the so-called tunnel, it’ll all be worth it. Afterall, it’s not something that is going to take forever.

What do you have to look forward to?

p.s. any advice is always greatly appreciated!

Not Quite a To-Do List

Wow! Thank you all so much for the kind words. Now there’s only one thing I ask of you… consider it your excuse to look extra cute! How about wearing something today that makes you feel your absolute best. Trust me, you will shine!

On a random note. Apparently while someone was searching for “at this point my buttcrack was showing” my blog was their answer… Anyway.

Looks as refreshing as it tasted!
A bowl of orange slices, mango, pumpkin seed butter, coconut flakes, and sunflower seeds on top of my oats.
Something was missing though… a-ha!
I couldn’t help but notice how colorful my mom’s eggs looked that morning.
Speaking of my mom… I leave the spinach soup to her since she makes the yummiest.
But I’ll leave the split pea soup to me!

I pretty much followed 101 Cookbooks’s vegetarian split pea soup recipe except I added thyme and carrots. I really recommend that you add the extra olive oil when serving. It really does tie this easy peasy dish together.

So comforting and yummy.
And then a bit of sweetness to polish off the meal.
And this fig preserve tastes so good with pumpkin seed butter!
Last Sunday was Colombia’s Independence Day.
At one point there was a huge ball being tossed around by the crowd.
It started to rain too, but it didn’t last too long.
After the rain passed I looked up at the sky and I snapped some pictures of the cool light post.
She is seriously one of the best friends anybody could ask for.
We saw the legendary Grupo Niche play! The crowd and the band were all dancing.
Afterwards, we spotted part of the band.
Hola chica!
Two mamacitas waiting for their arepas de choclo…
Make that three mamacitas–these are one of my favorite things to eat ever!

These are like latkes to me… in the sense that everyone knows I get the most (in this case biggest and cheesiest), and everyone is okay with the fact that I take bites of theirs mwahaha!

Yumyumyum
I also spotted some free coconut water samples as well!
Brain freeze!
Remember those chocolates I got from the Lindt store?
Silly me forgot to show you how pretty they looked inside.
Another yummy chocolate I had picked up.
Hellooo, anybody in there?
And something we’ve had for awhile…

My family got this chocolate cabernet sauvignon wine sauce at a vineyard the last time we were all in New York. I’ve featured other sauces from this vineyard on my blog, such as the amaretto cream sherry, black raspberry vinegar, and sherried wine BBQ sauce.

This took my usual bowl of oats to new heights–astronomical perhaps!

Super chic and and sweet Claire was kind enough to bestow this fun award onto me! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you definitely should! It’s brimming with beautiful, fresh pictures from food to fashion! She also has an interesting story that inspires me.

The rules are as follows:

Tell 10 little known facts about yourself and then pass it on to 3-5 other bloggers!

I love filling things out like this! Looking back on my answers sometimes gives me a good laugh, that’s for sure.

1. Practically every night, all the way into high school, my family would gather around my bed and we’d read books to each other before we went to bed. This means my parents actually know what the Harry Potter stories entail.

2. I believe that our astrological signs are relevant to our tendencies. For example, I’m a gemini–an air sign. One of the most annoying things to me is when I feel like someone or something is tying me down or clinging to me. I like to feel free. I love people, but I also like to do most things on my own.

3. Lately, I’ve been trying to decrease my availability especially through technology. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Facebook and cellphones. But I do think that a lot of people have become so dependent and addicted to these things. It really bothers me because I don’t think that’s how life should really be lived. Life should be lived mostly in the moment.  Remember when the only people who knew your whereabouts were either your parents or the very people you were with? The last thing I want to hear when I’m having a heart-to-heart with a friend is my phone telling me I just got a text message. This is partly why I have a watch. A stylish excuse to not carry my cell-phone around with me everywhere? Check! Who knows, maybe this is something a gemini would do hehehe.

4. Doing things the old-fashioned way gives me reassurance. It’s helped me get a deeper sense of appreciation for things since I know the labor that goes behind them. I take care of my belongings because I want them to last. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person amongst my friends who’s owned a garment steamer since my first semester in college. Moreover, it’s very grounding and satisfying to know that what you make and have is a labor of love, care, patience, and effort.

5. I love tea! Anyone that hangs out with me knows that. Which is why I’ve been gifted all sorts of delicious teas through the years. Thank you, friends! I’m not the only one in my family that’s a tea lover though. My mother and I know that one of us will turn on the kettle after we finish a meal. It’s just nice to sit at the table for awhile longer, talking, and sipping on something delicious and comforting. Come to think of it, I just realized that even during the summer months I still drink my tea warm… unless I’m drinking it outside then I prefer my cup iced.

6. I wish I had continued taking ballet classes. I dropped out when I was around 15, but I still have a pair of ballet shoes that fit my Egyptian feet. Of course, I don’t need to go to a ballet class to dance! No, oftentimes I’ll randomly turn on some classical music and pirouette around the house, giving my parents a show.

7. I’m a dreamer. Practically everything I do has some imaginative source behind it. Sometimes I come up with wildly detailed “what-if” stories on the spot. Or even when I choose a perfume for the day I ask myself, “what kind of woman do I feel like today?” When I am feeling especially sophisticated I spritz on my Prada fragrance. If I’m in a whimsical mood I choose Fresh’s Lemon Sugar scent or Nanette Lepore. If it’s just a day of classic me I reach for my signature scent, Marc Jacobs.

8. I can imitate accents very well. Maybe it’s because I learned three very different languages at such a young age. Stressing certain pronunciations comes as second nature to me.

9. Speaking of languages, I want to go to a part of the world where I’d feel completely lost in translation. Somewhere in Asia or Africa would be ideal! My dream places would be India or Egypt. I’ve been able to communicate and understand effectively in the places I’ve traveled to because of language similarities. For instance, in France I can get by because I know Spanish and a bit of French, and in Holland I make due with my German. Of course there’s English, the universal language. Side-note: I never understood why my classmates in high school never wanted to learn another language, and they’d just whine and say, “why can’t they just learn English.” I would always reply matter-of-factly, “they already do!” Anyway, I want to go somewhere so different from anything I’ve ever known.

10. My best ideas have hit me while I’m sitting on a toilet. It’s true! Sometimes people will ask me, “wow, where’d you come up with that?” My response, “actually I was sitting on the toilet one day…” I’m not joking!

At first I thought this list would be a daunting task to complete, but once I got started these little things popped up into my head! Now I’m going to pass this on to three people… hmm who should I choose?

Katie

Lynn

and Mel!

Who Does Your Future Belong To?

Hello hello! Greetings with another post–a much anticipated one at that. I haven’t been on the computer much lately, but you know what means. I’m brimming with things to share!

Lately I’ve been feeling like my pumpkin kabocha has turned into a carriage.

I’ll explain what I mean later…

Because a steamed carriage just doesn’t make sense, but it definitely tastes good!

I steamed it with thyme, and ground all-spice. I didn’t know that you could steam herbs! I guess in reality, you can really steam anything, even nuts.

This may explain why my palms and the bottoms of my feet are rosy.

I was inspired by Averie’s sweet-and-sour honey lemon tofu. However, instead of baking the tofu I fried it, but I followed her cue and used mango chutney and lemon. I sprinkled on some sesame seeds and cilantro for the final touch.

A great idea!

I took Mel’s advice on spreading Nutella on the brötchen. Although this wasn’t Nutella per se, it was close enough as it was, after-all, chocolate hazelnut butter. This was so delicious and went perfectly together! I decided to simply spread a date on one of the halves.

Alongside came a bowl of Greek yogurt with chia seeds and a medley of fruits.

Getting ready to go out for Wednesday ladies' night!

The dress...

The shoes...

And a picture courtesy of my iPhone hehehe

I think I may be one of the few people who drinks a glass of wine and doesn’t get sleepy, but instead dances their butts off long enough to get some blisters. Anyone care to join me? I guess you don’t have to get blisters though!

A delicious breakfast to revive me sounded really nice at the time.

Actually, when does that not?

In the mix: overnight oats with dried cranberries and chia seeds, a diced pear, cinnamon, chocolate almond butter, and puffed millet

Another bar variation!

I can't believe that this bar tasted like a delicious, fruity wine!

I used a mix of oats, puffed millet, and puffed corn for the grains in this bar. I also added some grated chocolate, dried fruits, pecans, and more mixed nuts to the continuously evolving secret recipe.

And a pick-me up lunch!

I made a sun-dried tomato cauliflower mash, since my mom has never tried this vegetable in that form. Eating anything mashed is such a comfort food for me. Maybe because it’s like baby food… but tastes way better!

I highly recommend this recipe!

I recently received a newsletter from the Vegetarian Times and saw they had a recipe for smoke baby portobello sliders. The picture looked appetizing alone, and I happen to get some portobellos on sale at the market. This was sweet, smoky, juicy, savoury, and just wonderful to bite into. The herbes de Provence gave it a great sweet, flowery, and Italian flavor. I love how portobellos really suck up the flavors of the rubs and marinades because otherwise they would be too earthy for me on it’s own. I actually prefer my mushrooms cooked unless I’m dipping raw ones into hummus or my favorite BBQ sauce. I also suggest that if you try this recipe, use a bread that isn’t whole wheat. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine these flavors going well with a grainy bread.

I also thought that maybe a smoothie with some leftover pulp from juicing + the usual ingredients would make my lethargy go away.

Unfortunately, I was feeling under the weather pretty much the whole day, until I took an afternoon cat-nap.

Another portobello recipe!

I found a great recipe in the Veganomicon, Portobello Salad with a Spicy Mustard Dressing. This was delicious, and I don’t think I can ever get over how great the texture of this mushroom is.

So this is how my Friday started out...

A nice but very wavey day at the beach--perfect for the surfers!

The waves here are just good for simply riding… unless there’s a hurricane. That’s another story! A lot of people get arrested because they’re not suppose to be out there when the weather is that bad. Their dangerous, but their probably the best that Florida can get!

Then it was time to continue the dancing from the other night!

We went to go see a new talent signed to one my favorite DJ’s (Steve Aoki) label, Dim-Mak records. It was so much fun and so many things went our way that night.

While trying to find parking in South Beach and as soon as I said "someone please pull out just for me".. reverse lights came on and we had a spot!

That’s when I knew that things would go my way. We headed over to this place…

Got there, got through the ropes no problem

We payed, but then somehow one of the doormen knew we payed called us back and had the cashier give us our money back because “we were with Norman”. Whoever Norman is…(?) thanks! After dancing our feet off we headed back to the car and met a friendly stranger. Actually, at that late hour… almost everyone is friendly. I can’t tell you how many people I walked by that put their hands out for a high-five. I loved it! Anyway, friendly stranger encounter brings me to the next day.

First I had to get refreshed with this perfect summer breakfast.

Somehow I managed to wake up in time for my favorite yoga class.

Overnight oats topped with Cacao Bliss banana "soft-serve", macadamia nut butter, coconut shreds, and sprinkles of course.

I love the crunch those little sprinkles add!

After yoga class and lunch, I got ready and dressed!

It’s about time I made a debut with this blouse! Oh my goodness, this top is insanely vibrant and a new favorite. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many ooh’s and ahh’s from a single item of clothing. It was funny because at one point when we were heading up to the W Hotel, I saw these women looking at me, and making the motion around the shoulder and literally gasping with a smile. Which makes sense because guess what was going on this past week? Mercedes-Benz Swim Fashion Week! I headed to the W Hotel to catch some of the action.

Of course I brought one of my partners in crime!

A glorious hallway filled with beautiful swimwear.

A suite with a great view is the perfect environment to get work done, right?

As soon as we got there, they generously offered to make us some drinks.

I’m not the biggest fan of tequila, but one of the guys promised that it would be the best tequila I had ever tasted. He was actually right! No foul face was made, and I was happy with my slice of sweet orange dipped in cinnamon to have afterwards. Then a very handsome (that’s an understatement people) gentleman offered to make me another drink. Uh… you had me before hello!

The view from the balcony was so nice.

See you soon!

It was a really nice evening, and I got to meet a lot of new people! I think the best part was that it encouraged me even more to pursue my dreams. Whatever it is, whatever I want… I can make it happen! Oh gosh I’m biting my tongue right now because I still have lots to share! Until next post, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Yes, I think Henry David Thoreau had the right idea!

Feeling Nostalgic

I loved reading everyone’s world-class titles! It seems we have a few world-class worriers in the house. Don’t worry I won’t make you fight for first place! But I do have a little challenge for you. The other day I was reading Joy’s blog and I came across a wonderful list to help you stress a little less and smile more: “25 Instant Pick-Me Ups to Get Happy Now!

Visiting my mom's side of the family in Colombia.

On a random note, the other day I saw this movie with my mom called “A Talking Picture” directed by the legendary, Manoel de Oliveira. It was about a mother and a daughter taking a cruise from Lisbon through Mediterranean ports, and the Indian Ocean. The little girl’s mother was a professor  and she shared the history of those places, while actually experiencing them for the first time herself as well. There were some parts in the movie where there was a table of people each speaking their native language, yet the managed to understand each other. Their conversations were reflections on civilization. Anyway, the movie really reminded me of my adventures with my mom across Europe when I was little, and how I would question everything. It was just us two, until my mom met my step-dad of course!

The two of us in Bavaria!

Speaking of Germany…

Brötchen for breakfast

One half has melted butter, the other has the homemade macadamia nut butter I made with marmalade. Looking at the picture above I noticed that the strawberries look like obscenely large nostrils belonging to a happy bug-eyed somebody. On the side I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with chia seeds, sesame seeds, and strawberries.

My favorite half!

Homemade macadamia nut butter

When I was making this I blended the nuts till they got to a creamy consistency. Then I threw in some more for crunch–I’m a crunchy kind of girl!

More delicious bread from the Germany bakery.

My dad had also picked up a nutty, honey loaf. This bread is dense, slightly sweet, and just so tasty! One slice has macadamia nut butter with pumpkin butter (great combination take note), and the other slice has coconut oil + cinnamon. I haven’t had that combination on toast in such a long time! And I use to have it all of the time. In the glass I made a parfait of sorts with my favorite Greek yogurt combo lately but this time with apricots and blueberries. And who can forget the baby mango!

Then my sweet tooth politely reminded me that I really confectioner's sugar with coconut oil and cinnamon.

I was bursting at the seams with stuff I wanted to talk about, so I called my girl!

A lot can happen in a few days, and we hadn’t seen each other since Friday so that means we had to catch up on our thoughts on the World Cup. Our plan is to save up money to go see the next World Cup in Brasil. We already came up with a plan and I’m going to start learning Brazilian Portuguese seriously after I graduate in a year. We are also hoping that our easiest plan will work: date a soccer player. Oh, I have some in mind!!!

Kick that ball!

After a few hours of talking and making our appearance in our swim-suits and cover-ups, we headed back to my place for some popcorn and Sex and the City. Funny story. As soon as I got home and got out of my car, my over-up fell down to the ground. Imagine if that happened when I was getting up from my seat at Starbucks…

The next morning I remembered that I had something chilling in the fridge...

My friend also made key-lime pie out of scratch! I love that I’ve been able to feature some culinary delights by some of my favorite people in the world. Anyway, she said she was inspired by me and attempted to bake this dessert. I was so proud of her and seriously touched. She admits that she barely goes into the kitchen, so cooking or baking is a big step for her. She wanted my approval, and oh my goodness was it given! Key-lime pie is my dad’s favorite so she packed an extra slice for him. Uh oh! I hope he’s not reading this post because that would mean that I just spoiled his surprise for when he gets back from his business trip.

Dessert was followed by breakfast!

I made a bowl of oats that had some comforting things like apples, cinnamon, vanilla, and peanut butter. Of course, this bowl was enjoyed chilled! My mom has the week off so we dropped Matilda off at the groomers and ran some errands. We came home just in time to answer to our grumbling tummies.

Hey! It's me with my brötchen!

Step 1: cut your brötchen in half.

The assembly "line"

Step 2: get your fillings.

Alles auf Deutsch!

Step 3: assemble!

What a colorful meal!

I am very ready to eat my sandwich.

The winning combination: sun-dried tomatoes, muenster käse, fresh basil, avocado, yellow onion, and some freshly ground black pepper.

And try to remember to leave at least one brötchen in the basket. I’ll leave one for you, Neela!

And I can't leave out my vibrant salad--I haven't had kale in ages!

After our lunch, the princess was ready to be picked up from the groomers.

Everyone knows her at the store and she gets extra treats just for being so cute!

Cutie patootie with her updated summer-do

Hi evewybody!

These puppy paws are waving good-bye till the next post!

I just got an idea! Going back to the delicious key-line pie my friend made… what if me and her have a weekly dessert night. Then we alternate who makes the goodies every week. What traditions do you have with your friends?

At the Top of Your Game

I’m glad to see that so many are in the same boat as me! That’s one of the reasons why I love keeping up with my blog and others as well. It’s helped me realize even more how we are all human! We have more in common than what meets the eye.

My beautiful friend came over for a special dinner on Friday.

While we were talking about being a single young woman, the World Cup, and whatever random things popped into our heads…

I was cutting the vegetables.

We were taste-testers that night!

Courtesy of Foodbuzz and Buitoni! I love pasta, especially anything stuffed like ravioli, tortellini, and cannelloni. I went to the grocery store and traded my voucher in for the four cheese & spinach ravioli with tomato basil sauce. Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?

Before you knew it, dinner was served.

Ze pasta.

I bulked it up with veggies and garnished it with some fresh basil.

Yummm

The verdict? I was actually pretty satisfied with the taste! I loved the cheesiness–I could actually taste the different cheeses–and the large raviolis!. The sauce could’ve been a little thicker though and I did add some salt and pepper to it, but I tend to do that anyway. I would definitely recommend this if you like pasta and find yourself sometimes pressed for time. A warning though! It is on the pricey side, or maybe I’m just not used to buying frozen meals? When I went to Buitoni’s website I found a coupon so that helps out! One day I want to make my own stuffed pasta! And my friend was satisfied as well! She’s a pasta lover like me, and it was so much fun to partake in this taste-testing adventure together.

We made an impromptu decision to go the movies--it was starting in five minutes!

This is what happens when I ask "Mom, can you take a picture of us?" Action-shot!

We wanted to watch “Grown-Ups” but it was already sold out, so we decided on “Knight and Day”. It was actually a pretty funny movie and I realized that I hadn’t seen an action movie in a long time! Within the first action scene I couldn’t help but burst out, “WHOA!!! OH MY GOSH!” I definitely laughed out loud at some of the one-liners and cheesiness in the movie. I love feel-good movies. Who doesn’t?

When we got home from the movies we formed an ice cream brigade.

Aye aye captain, more Coconut Bliss in my life! And you know what? Everyone loved it! I’m pretty sure my mom has been mentioning it everyday. The other day we went for a nighttime stroll along the beach and as we started heading back home she mentioned that she wanted ice cream. I pointed out the ice cream shop right across the street and she said, “no I want the coconut one we had the other day!” I sadly had to break the news to her that we didn’t have anymore. I think Luna and Larry’s creation is going to be a new staple in our household.

The next day I pulled out a delicious surprise!

My dad went for his long run on the beach and stopped by the German bakery. Usually he brings back a yummy loaf of freshly baked bread or maybe some German chocolates… but that day he brought back a bag of brötchen!!! You don’t know how happy this made my family. We so dearly miss going to the bakery first thing in the morning and picking up a variety of fresh bread rolls. No bread rolls in the world can top the beloved brötchen. I don’t care what anyone says haha! We could come back from the bakery and lay out a spread of toppings for our bread. Deli slices, cheeses, butter, cream cheese, marmalades, fruits, tomato slices, herbs… the works! Just sit down at the table, grab your roll from the basket, and enjoy to your heart’s content.

Remember the curried sweet potato and tofu dish I made?

Well I made it again, and this time my parents got to try it as well. That time around it was more satisfying because someone besides myself enjoyed it as well.

Brötchen!!!

And my dad made a delicious salad to go with the meal!

With baby spinach, tiny but incredibly flavorful bell peppers, avocado, baby mango (extra sweet!), cherry tomatoes, onion, and olive oil.

Germany getting third place...

My mom ran over to get my camera to take a picture of the television hahaha! They are great team full of young players, so I hope that in four years they’ll be the best! World-Class. Then I started to think about how these top soccer players must feel. On top of the world, and like nothing can bring them down? I would! But you know what? The great thing is that I think most of us have those moments from time to time. Those moments where everything just seems right in the world, and you couldn’t care for anything else except the now. Fill in the blank: I am a world-class ___________. Let’s see… I’m a world-class always-smiling-creative extraordinaire!

Within Yourself

I’m going to start off this post with a little piece of my mind. Lately, I’ve been thinking about where my life is going, and where I want it to go. Sometimes I let my ideas sit in my head, but I’ve been getting them outside of my head by discussing them with others and taking action. It’s very rare that the things you want just magically appear in your lap, so what are you waiting for? Rather than just sulking around, wishing for anything but now, do yourself a favor and look around you. Then look inside of yourself. Most likely, you have what it takes to make your dreams come true. Think of your qualities as bridges. Bridges that will help you on your journey, of course! And if you find yourself sounding like a broken record, well isn’t it time that you flip the side? The side that plays the beautiful tune called “believing in myself”.

A bowl of peculiar colors for breakfast.

I made my regular bowl of oats and let it get cold in the fridge overnight. In the morning I whipped up some banana soft-serve, and threw in some diced mango. While making the banana soft-serve I also blended in some Cacao Bliss since it hardens on contact. I topped this all off with some pumpkin seed butter, crunchy peanut butter, and sprinkles. I loved biting into the chia seeds, crunchy peanut bits, and sprinkles. This breakfast bowl kind of reminds of a desert scene with its colors.

Something else frozen and delicious to cool off on hot summer days.

Kiley generously sent me a couple of vouchers to try out Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice cream. I’ve heard so many great things about this ice cream, and I was so excited to see what all of the fuss is about. I went to the store and chose the cherry amaretto flavor–one of my favorite flavor combinations.

I also received a vibrant storybook of sorts!

This was such a fun way to read about the beginnings of this ice cream and health benefits of my beloved coconut! The booklet made my desire to get an ice cream maker even stronger. I want to have ice cream taste-testing parties with my friends and family as well!

So it was time to taste and test...

Oh my goodness! The first things that popped into my head when I tasted this, “creamy, coconut, flavor, delicious, rich, yum yum yum, bliss!” Next spoonful!

And I found the cherries!

Now I know why people can easily finish a pint of these ice creams in one sitting. I’ve had ice creams made with coconut milk before, but none have been as rich as Coconut Bliss. And it’s not short on flavor by any means. I can imagine how satisfyingly delicious the other flavors must be.

Fashion tip: dressing up simple things is easy with colorful statement accessories.

I tend to have atleast one thing in my outfit that stands out, and often gets comments from strangers. In fact, when I wore this outfit the other day the woman at the store marveled at my necklace and then said to me, “Oh wow what a beautiful necklace, actually, everything is cute! The whole thing!” Thank you! It makes me smile when people can’t help but comment on how much they like something. There’s enough stress going on in the world, why not make it a bit more pleasant by saying some kind words, you know?

I stopped by the library the other day and picked up some books and a movie.

I love that I can leave the library with two arm-loads. I picked up Ani Phyo’s book on raw food desserts since I had seen it on so many blogs–curiosity was sparked! There are definitely some recipes I really want to make, like a raw version of tiramisu. I am so picky when it comes to what I consider a good tiramisu, so I’m eager to see how it will turn out. I also got “Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life” to get some ideas for me and my dad. None of us are intentional vegans, but we’ve found that most of what we eat is vegan-friendly. I also got some bread recipe books, and I can’t wait to make some loaves using rye flour. I’ve mentioned Ayurveda a few times on my blog, and whenever I come across anything related I like to read about it. This book explains a lot about this concept and includes some recipes as well. The ideas behind Ayurvedic cooking are so fascinating. I also picked up “The Single Girl’s Manifesta”!

Here's a recipe I've been eyeing on Averie's blog.

She has so many incredible recipes on her blog, and it’s about time that I recreate one of them! So what recipes is this? Her “Spicy Doritos” Cheezy Dip. It definitely doesn’t look as smooth as hers, but it’s the taste that matters!

And I could definitely eat this by itself, but having something to dip is fun!

Do fingers count?

I organized a little basket with some of the things I use to make my oat bars.

I was going to buy chocolate chips at the store, but then I thought about just grating my own chips by using a chocolate bar. A chocolate bar with a love poem, that is.

While we're on the topic of bars...

My dad created his own! He remembered that I told him how easy it was to make your own Larabars, and with that he attempted to make his own! I was sitting at the table reading, and next thing you know he comes to the table with a beautiful, homemade bar. Am I rubbing off on my parents? Although, they were the ones to introduce me to Larabars! He told me he just crushed a mixture of nuts and basically “glued” them together using medjool dates. Then he grated in some ginger root as well. It’s that easy folks! And you can get creative with flavors too. Go ahead, try it, and recreate some of your favorites!

I realized I hadn't had plantains in awhile, and I missed them.

I mashed one plantain and tried to make… pancakes? Inspired by tostadas which are twice-fried plantains. I fried these then drizzled on some coconut oil, coconut shreds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds.

And look at what we have here!

I made something else inspired by another blogger. Sweet Potato-IAJ a la Katie! I used up the last of the homemade cashew-macadamia nut butter. I guess this means I’ve got to make another jar!

Well, this chica is off to straighten up a bit because I’ve got a friend coming over for dinner. I’m so excited because we are both going to be taste-testers, and you’ll see what I’m talking about in my next post! What does Friday mean to you? Whatever it means, I hope you enjoy it!

Magic in the Kitchen

Hello everybody! Yesterday was a pretty upsetting day for the German team and everyone rooting for them. I was sulking around for awhile, but I decided to bake and my friend came over–Sex and the City marathon! I don’t know what it is about the World Cup, but my heart goes into it. I’m going to be sad once the games are over. Every four years this tournament becomes a big part of my life, and I find that my conversations are about the games or somehow find their way to that topic. Moreover, I loved reading all of your answers on my last post about style. And thank you so much for the compliments! I can tell that one of those shirts is “my new favorite thing”. I also saw that many of you commented on how nice the pictures look. Well, one thing I’ve been taking more into consideration is lighting and composition. The third eye never closes! It’s funny though how these little changes are noticeable. Anyway, here’s some candy for your eyes!

Vanilla Macaroon Granola... you are so good to me!

When I was at the bulk bins the other day I went over the granola selection to see if I spied anything new and interesting. Then I saw the words “vanilla macaroon” and I nibbled on a bit to see if I approved. Yes, very much so! Oh! And those little raspberries came from our garden. It was so exciting to see that our plant was finally producing fruit.

Sleeping baby got a new bed.

This is something I definitely have to make again!

This was a spicy curried sweet potato and tofu dish. I sautéed some onions, then fried the baked sweet potato and tofu in coconut oil with some freshly ground spices and curry leaves. Next, I added the spicy coconut milk mixture I made and let everything absorb it. Towards the end was when I added the spinach till it wilted, salted to my liking, and sprinkled some toasted coconut shreds on top. Voila!

Something else orange in my life, recently!

When I was at the market the other day I spotted a kabocha! I haven’t seen one or had one in months. Maybe even since last year? Anyway, I was so excited that I practically hugged it in my arms instead of simply putting it in the my basket.

I wanted to make something special.

I was inspired by Amanda’s Pumpkin Chili Mexican Scramble recipe. I grinded up some spices often used to make garam masala (as far as flavor goes, grinding spices yourself is the best). I fried the spices first, then I sautéed the onions and garlic. After that I threw in the kabocha with some water and let that cook. Once I could stick a fork in the cubes and the water was absorbed, I threw in diced red and yellow bell peppers.

What could this be?

On the side I mixed together a “scramble” concoction with: tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and black beans. That mix went into the pan as well with some coconut oil. I had almost forgotten the two ingredients I definitely wanted to use for this dish–hickory smoke and vegan worcestershire sauce. The deal was pretty much sealed by then and I knew I was going to be serving a delicious Friday night dinner to my family.

Bon appetit!

For the finishing touches I threw in a diced tomato, cilantro, crumbled corn chips, avocado, and cottage cheese (you could use sour cream, but I didn’t have any on hand). Magic in the kitchen! And now for some more magic…

I used the banana bread recipe from the "Veganomicon" to make muffins instead.

I changed the recipe a bit by using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and using half rye flour and half whole wheat. I love the flavor coconut oil lends, and I wanted to see how baking muffins with it would turn out. Scrumptious, delicious, and it reminded me a bit of Lebkuchen because of the rye. I have some more recipes in mind using rye. They taste so yummy plain, with coconut oil, peanut butter, ghee, and…

Crumbled over my breakfast.

I’ve been putting chia seeds in my breakfasts every morning now, and I also got a new protein powder: Jay Robb’s vanilla rice protein. I just wish it weren’t so pricey! I tried a few to see which one I liked the most. I’ve come to realize that there’s no escaping the slight texture change that a lot of plant-based protein powders give. Also, notice the different colors? When you can’t choose, just choose them all! I went ahead with pumpkin seed butter, peanut butter, and Cacao Bliss to top the melting banana soft-serve.

I cant tell that these muffins will be frequenting my breakfasts.

Another batch of bars!

This time I used a variety of nuts: pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. For the dried fruits I used banana chips, dates, and dried cranberries. Of course the usual coconut shreds went in the mix. I also added some honey. Other than that I kept the recipe the same pretty much since I liked how my second batch turned out. I plan on going to the store and getting some chocolate chips and who knows what else!

Oops these got a bit burned, but they taste good anyway.

Perfect for snacking on-the-go

My mom has been loving the weekly batches I’ve been baking.

The other day when me and my dad went shopping we stopped by the Lindt store.

It’s great because it’s basically like a buffet of chocolates. You can choose from all of their Lindor truffles and European specialities, then just pay by the weight. Not to mention they were having a sale going on–10 bars for $15! I chose their Tiramisu petits desserts, and the dark chocolate Mozartkugel. On the topic of sweetness, how about I leave you off with this one… tomorrow is Friday!!!

A Million Reasons to Celebrate

How to survive a summer of days where the mornings are also steaming hot…

A medley of fruits: blueberries, peach slices, and banana chips over a crumbled homemade bar, Greek yogurt + peanut butter swirled in.

And all of my bowls of oats lately have been cooked and then put in the fridge to cool down. It’s funny how I crave different foods, textures, hot/cold depending on the seasons. Sometimes it really varies from day to day, or meal by meal. Like lunch for instance, I don’t mind having something warm, but I’ve noticed that I’ve been letting my food cool down for a bit just in general.

Perfecting these bars still!

These are way better than my first batch. I made some changes like using macadamia nuts and cashews, dates, banana chips, and a flaxseed mixture.

When in doubt, go with egg noodles!

I couldn’t decide what to serve with the chickpeas and mushrooms with mango chutney, so I opted for these noodles. Not only are they super quick to cook, but you get to bust out the chopsticks!

My mom was curious about spaghetti squash...

I was so delighted when she asked me about it! Each time I cook spaghetti squash I’m wowed by how this vegetable can really look like that stringy, long pasta! I remembered seeing a recipe in the Veganomicon that used this squash: spaghetti squash Mexicana with tropical avocado salsa. This alone sounded yummy! I opted to take them up on the suggestion of using papaya for the salsa. Afterall, we had a whole bunch from our backyard.

This is a recipe that you can adjust to your likings

I accidentally let my hand go with adding the spices–oops! I loved all these flavors though. It was so fresh (perfect for summer) and you can use the salsa for other dishes or even just as a dip for chips! And now my mom knows why a spaghetti squash has its name.

Another fresh idea... like a banana pie

Inspired by raw desserts--I love how flavorful they usually are.

This isn’t completely raw, just inspired. But if you do want to make it raw you can omit certain things or use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, for example. I made a crust by mixing medjool dates, cashews, walnuts, cinnamon, and unsweetened coconut shreds in a food processor. Then I whipped up some cashew cream and mixed in the banana, honey, a bit of lime juice, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Then I started layering: crust, filling, and then topped it with banana slices, coconut shreds, and cinnamon. You want to let it sit in the fridge or the freezer so it solidifies. You pull it out when your patience has dwindled down to nothing, and enjoy!

This plate of food may be mistaken for a palette of vibrant paints!

I baked some sprouted tofu with leftover herbed bread crumbs, olive oil, and soy sauce. I sautéed some squash, red onions, mushrooms, and dates. Served it with jasmine rice, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, chopped scallion, and avocado slices! This was so random, but delicious and awesome to look at before I dug in.

Now this dish isn't nearly as nice to look at.

But it doesn’t mean that it tastes bad! Hey, Indian food doesn’t always look the most appetizing, but in my opinion I think it’s the most delicious cuisine out there. Anyway, I cooked some amaranth in a chipotle broth, then added black beans, sliced mushrooms, onions, garlic, spices, hickory smoke, brown sugar, vegan Worchestershire sauce. I also added some flax oil in the end since I’m trying to incorporate more omega-3′s into my diet. After seeing my mom’s amazing glow and all of the salmon she eats, I want that too! I’ve also started sprinkling toasted hemp seeds on to some things (today it was on some nachos), and chia seeds as well.

The girl with the goods!

Remember when I tried the ChocoVine way back when? Well I saw it at the store the other day and it was on sale! I mentioned it to my dad, and he actually confessed that he had been eyeing it for quite some time but wasn’t sure if he would like it or not. Uh Dad… they’res only one way to find out, duh!!! And if it so happened that he wouldn’t like it well there’s a little young lady that would happily finish the bottle off for him! Oh and we can’t ignore that jar of peanut butter. It’s my favorite peanut butter in the whole wide world and it just made sense to get the “big-as-my-head” size instead of the regular one. I definitely look like the happy bear that found the jar of honey whenever it’s opened!

No I didn't finish that big jar quite yet!

This was another jar of the same peanut butter that I had. Instead of using oats though I used a 10-grain hot cereal mix. So would this be called 10G’s-IAJ? Aka 10-grand in a jar? This sounds like something Jay-Z would enjoy, oh and me too. Jay-Z, care to join me for breakfast? Oh, and I found a book the other day called Extreme Beauty in Vogue. It’s so inspiring and wonderfully bizarre. You can find out more about it here.

Speaking of Vogue… here are some recent purchases I made that I can’t wait to wear out and about!

I love the neckline.

And let's talk about the back...

Perfect for the summer when the last thing I want to wear is... clothes haha!

A breezy silk top... weakness.

And a beautiful scarf marked down from $100 to $9--clearly that deal needed to be taken advantage of!

These are called "Broken-in Boyfriend Shorts"... I can pretend.

The "Hello! I still have arms in the winter" top.

And this shirt for the win!

I think my style overall is pretty eclectic, and I can’t quite pinpoint it because I just get what I really like. One thing that I have noticed though is that I’m a sucker for sheer things, silk, beautiful detailing, uniqueness, and I unintentionally don’t own a single pair of jean pants. Someone once asked me where my style comes from, and this is what I said, “My style comes from different past eras, nature, and what I think the future would look like.” I guess this is why I consider it eclectic–all over the place! I’d like to know how you would describe your style!

I think you can guess where we went for the recent Argentina vs. Germany match.

I love going out to watch the games because everyone around you is as into the game as you are! Lots of hands flailing, cheering, clapping, and thinking out loud… very out loud. Oh! And I can’t forget plenty of chocolate cappuccinos and black forest cake with fresh whipped cream m’mmm.

I believe this game is going to go down in the history of soccer!

I tried to capture the cheering, but really... the entire restaurant was filled and I could only remember to take a picture after the outbursts.

Auf gehts Deutschland!

Oh my goodness, I am still so happy about their victory. I can’t wait till Wednesday when Germany plays Spain! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and celebrating in one way or another. So many reasons to celebrate, right? Happy Independence Day, America!