When life is as unpredictable as a box of chocolates, there isn’t much as comforting as a box of chocolates themselves. Why? Because chocolate always tastes good, that’s why.
When Giovanna told me she was making her own chocolates (available to order online soon!), I imagined it being a super intensive and laborious process. But–as most things in life–this chocolate only LOOKS harder to make than it is.
– ½ cup raw cacao powder
– ½ cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
– 1-2 Tablespoons raw honey or grade B maple syrup
– Pinch of sea salt
1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed.
2. Line a tray or flat plate with parchment paper and pour mixture over it. Spread out evenly to about ¼ inch thickness.
3. Place in refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes. Break up into pieces and enjoy.
Raw cacao: High in antioxidants, magnesium, and iron. Aids in balancing blood sugar, boosts energy, balances mood and fights stress.
Raw honey: Antimicrobial and antibacterial. Supports the immune system.
Extra virgin coconut oil: Anti inflammatory, antibacterial, high in healthy fats, supports brain function, supports skin health and aids in weight loss by keeping us full longer.
Try this recipe for the next time you have a gathering. I bet you’ll impress every one of your guests! And they won’t even have to know it was a cinch to make. (Our lips are sealed).
Something has happened to the United States and it’s called Snowvember. If you’re in Buffalo, New York, Snowvember takes on a whole new meaning. Case in point? This. And this. BuzzFeed even made a post about it. I somewhat spoiled living in California because Snowvember has decided to skip right over the extreme west and plague the rest of the nation. But still, this Herbal Vanilla Latte is the perfect solution for all.
HERBAL VANILLA LATTE
– 4 Tablespoons raw hemp seeds
– 1 cup spring water
– 3 cups hot herbal tea (chamomile, mint, nettle, rose)
– 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
– 2 teaspoons maca powder
– 2 teaspoons vanilla
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– 4 drops vanilla stevia or 1 teaspoon raw honey
– Pinch of sea salt
1. Place hemp seeds and water in blender and blend until smooth to make hemp seed milk.
2. Add remaining ingredients to milk and blend until smooth and frothy.
3. Serve and garnish with extra cinnamon.
Herbal teas are anti-inflammatory and most support digestion. The maca in this drink is what provides a boost of energy, enhances mood, supports strength and endurance, balances hormones and helps us cope with stress.
You can make this latte with any nut milk of choice, but I chose hemp seeds to add some complete protein and healthy fats to the drink.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and the undeniable autumn chill is in the air. Which means it’s time to start cooking some comfort food. Except comfort food usually comes in the form of rich, heavy foods that leave you feeling bloated and bleh. And who likes to feel like that?
Gratin is typically an oven-baked dish that has a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Noooot exactly the healthiest choice. Plus, I recently found out I’m both lactose and gluten intolerant, so a dish like this would put me into whatever’s the stomach’s equivalent to cardiac arrest.
I teamed up with my pal Giovanna to bring you a gluten free and vegan take on the traditional gratin. This dish is still rich & hearty, except you’ll want to do a dance party after eating it instead of taking a nap.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. They help regulate blood sugar and immune support.
Zucchini is hydrating, anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant support and helps blood sugar regulation.
Tahini is rich in beneficial minerals that support bone health, vascular and respiratory health, arthritis, PMS, migraines and helps lower cholesterol.
SWEET POTATO & ZUCCHINI GRATIN WITH TAHINI CREAM
– 1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced by hand or using a mandolin
– 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced by hand or using a mandolin
– 2 cups spinach
– 1 onion, thinly sliced
– 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
– ½ cup tahini
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic
– 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
– Juice of 1-2 lemons
– Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
– 4 slices gluten-free bread, chopped
– 2 Tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil
– Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Prepare filling: chop vegetables as directed and set aside in a large bowl.
3. Prepare tahini cream: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. If cream is too thick, add a bit of water.
4. Prepare topping: Place bread pieces in food processor and pulse until they reach consistency of crumbs. Add melted ghee or coconut oil and sea salt to taste and pulse once more.
5. Assemble: Add tahini cream and half of topping to vegetables. Toss to coat well and spread out evenly in a baking dish. Top with remaining topping.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through and the top has browned.
Whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, the summer season is on your mind. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re bidding summer your last goodbyes (side note: today is the last day of summer!!) and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re getting ready for the warmer weather to come.
San Francisco is pretty weird in that we get our warmest weather during the months of September and October. Our famous Indian Summer means that we get to hold on to our sandals and sunnies a little while longer before the crisp air of autumn takes over.
Today’s recipe features strawberries, dates and matcha green tea.
Strawberries are definitely a superfood. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, anti-cancer benefits and anti-inflammatory. Strawberries contain the lowest in sugar of all fruits, which keeps blood sugar stable.
Matcha green tea is another food that offers a lot. It’s also rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, supports metabolism, provides energy, regulates blood sugar, supports longevity, cancer-preventive, boosts metabolism and aids detoxification.
This sorbet is naturally sweetened with fresh dates to keep it free of refined sugars.
– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
– 1-2 medjool dates
– 1/3 cup coconut water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– Pinch of sea salt
1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to stop blender and use a spatula to push ingredients down from time to time (if using a Vitamix, just use the tamper to keep things moving).
2. Once smooth, place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, sprinkle on your favorite toppings (we used coconut flakes), then enjoy!
After I lost my fabulous food contributor, Arielle, I hit up the Internet in search of a replacement for the monthly column. I found Giovanna Garcia of A Purified Life through Yelp of all places! She’s a nutritionist and certified natural chef living in San Francisco (you can read more about her here) with such an infectious passion toward health and wellness. I’m so excited to have her join the Drifter & the Gypsy team as a monthly contributor. Without further ado, Giovanna, take it away…
Summer is probably my favorite time of the year. The amazing colors and flavors just blow me away. Not to mention the nutrient value of these colorful foods. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and hydrating properties to get us through the hot days. Nature truly knows best, so it’s important to eat seasonally to get the nourishment our bodies need at any given time of the year.
This simple mango salad is beautiful, delicious, and a no-brainer to make. It makes for a perfect summer meal or snack. My suggestions is to serve it with a side of homemade seed crackers (recipe here) or throw a handful of nuts on top for some extra crunch (& protein!), but that’s entirely optional.
SUMMER MANGO SALAD
– 1 large mango, diced
– 1/4 red onion or 1/2 cup radishes, sliced or diced
– 1/2 avocado, diced
– 1 cucumber or zucchini, cut in half and sliced
– Small handful of chopped fresh mint
– Juice of 1 lime
– Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
– Pinch of chili flakes
– Pinch of sea salt
Place all ingredients in a medium-large bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve on a bed of greens or as is along with a side of seed crackers.
Summers in San Francisco are known to be a bit different from summers elsewhere in the United States. While my home back east gets sunny and hot, hot, hot, SF gets foggy and chilly. I personally love the blanket of fog that comes rolling down our famous hills, but it does take some getting used to. This simple recipe for rice and beans is hearty enough for a nippy evening, yet keeps the sense of more tropical climates at the tip of the tongue with added lime and cilantro: the perfect balance for a summer in San Francisco.
This recipe is very simple and can be made in large batches at the beginning of the week to tide you over for lunches on-the-go and easy dinners. Feel free to throw the rice and beans into the same container for storage and handling. The effect will be the same! Pack a big kale salad to start you off, then heat up a bowl of the rice and beans for a hearty, fibrous meal that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
SIMPLE RICE AND BEANS
-1 c. water
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
-1/2 c. short-grain brown rice
-1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
-1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
-Juice of 1 lime
-Freshly cracked black pepper
-1 avocado (optional)
For the rice:
Combine the water, salt and smashed garlic clove in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the rice, returning to a boil, then reduce the heat to low until all of the water is absorbed. Set aside.
For the beans:
Heat the oven to 450°F. Place the halved cherry tomatoes in a baking pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until juicy and fragrant. Remove from the oven.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and ground herbs and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the drained black beans and roasted tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Allow the beans to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Place a helping of the brown rice into a bowl, add a helping of the black beans, and top with sliced avocado and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Sometimes a girl just wants a cute, old-fashioned red velvet cupcake. And this chick delivered… with a healthier, gluten-free, vegan twist of course!
This recipe really came about as I was looking through old film photos. A few years back, I made a big batch of rich, cream cheese-covered red velvet cupcakes to share with my family and friends. I carry such wonderful memories of that day, but couldn’t quite remember feeling my best after eating those cupcakes. I figured I’d try making new memories by revamping the old recipe with a new one. They’re mighty yummy if I do say so myself!
Let me elaborate on a few perhaps strange or unfamiliar ingredients I use:
Chia eggs are so versatile in vegan cooking to replace regular eggs and are simply made by soaking chia seeds in a small amount of water so they can create a gel.
Mesquite flour is a gluten-free flour ground down from the bean pods of the Mesquite tree. This flour lends a sweet, nutty, almost cocoa-like flavor to these cupcakes that is to die for. Feel free to sub this out with more buckwheat flour, teff flour or brown rice flour if you’re unable to find it.
Finally, I use arrowroot starchto help the coconut cream icing thicken up a bit more to create a lovely top to my cupcakes. I prefer this to corn starch because most of the corn used is genetically modified and should generally steered clear of. If you don’t have/can’t find arrowroot starch, feel free to leave it out or sub with corn starch.
VEGAN RED VELVET CUPCAKES
Makes 1 dozen
– 2 tbs. chia seeds
– ⅓ c. water
– 1 c. mesquite flour
– 1 c. buckwheat flour
– ½ c. almond meal
– ⅔ c. coconut sugar
– 2 tbs. cocoa powder
– 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
– ¾ tsp. sea salt
– ¾ c. melted coconut oil
– 1 c. almond (or other plant-based) milk
– 1 tbs. vanilla extract
– 8-10 drops natural red food coloring (ie: India Tree on amazon.com) or beet juice
– 1 can coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 8 hours
– 3 tbs. maple syrup
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 tbs. arrowroot starch
For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water and let sit for 5-10 minutes to create a “chia egg.” Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: the mesquite flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients: the “chia egg,” melted coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well incorporated.
4. Line a cupcake tin with 12 liners, then spoon your batter in. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a rack before icing.
For the icing:
1. Open your can of chilled coconut milk, being careful not to shake it.
2. Scoop off the top layer of coconut cream and place into a medium-sized bowl or KitchenAid mixer (save the coconut water in the bottom of the can for another recipe!).
3. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract and arrowroot starch to your bowl, then use an electric mixer on a low speed to begin the whipping process.
4. Gradually increase the speed of your mixer until your icing becomes fluffy and all the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Transfer your bowl to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set up, then ice your cupcakes and enjoy!
The icing can be made the day before the cupcakes and the remainder stays in the fridge for 2-3 days.