Category Archive

Spices 101

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of spices in my spice cabinet that I hardly ever use. They were probably for recipes I wanted to try and either made them once or didn’t make them at all. For this month’s food post with Giovanna Garcia we decided to make a little ‘Spices 101′ guide. There are so many health benefits packed into each teeny grain, I figured it was time to give the little guys some credit.

spices 101 - drifter and the gypsy blog

We underestimate the power of spices. In my journey to health and in helping others reach their optimal health, I’ve learned to incorporate spices in every dish to enhance health benefits, but also for their amazing flavor. Spices have been used medicinally and therapeutically for many years. Each spice provides it’s unique flavor, color, and healing properties. Get creative with these beautiful offerings nature provides us with and enjoy the wonderful benefits.

CINNAMON

Cinnamon is a delicious naturally sweet and warming spice that has been used for thousands of years for it’s medicinal properties. It helps balance blood sugar, it’s high in antioxidants, improves risk of heart disease, anti-microbial, anti-clotting and the scent boosts brain function. Cinnamon is most often used in sweet dishes, but also goes well in savory dishes. Use in smoothies, chia pudding, desserts, porridge, tea such as homemade chai, soups, sautées and on roasted vegetables.

CAYENNE

Cayenne is used for it’s therapeutic properties in many populations. It packs a punch of benefits and has been commonly used in America for detox and helping the body become less acidic. Cayenne pepper is anti-inflammatory, eases pain, anti-cold and anti-flu, anti-fungal, aids digestion, reduces blood clots, and promotes heart health. It can be used in all types of cooking such as sauteing, roasting, salads, dressings, dips, sauces, teas, and even chocolate desserts. I love adding it to my superfood hot chocolate drink for a nice kick.

CUMIN

Cumin is a delicious spice with a nutty and peppery flavor. It is commonly used in Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. It also contains some important nutrients such as iron, manganese, copper and calcium. Cumin supports the immune system, aids digestion and is cancer preventative. It can be used in soups, stews, as meat and vegetable seasoning and dips and sauces such as hummus and pesto.

PAPRIKA

Paprika is a spice a spice made by drying and grinding up fruits that come from the chili family. It is used in many cuisines to season and add color to rice, soups and stews. Paprika is high in antioxidants, vitamin E and iron and is anti-inflammatory. It is often used to garnish dishes, but it’s benefits actually increase when lightly heated. Use paprika in soups, stews, to season vegetables and meats, in rice and salads.

TURMERIC

Turmeric has a bitter and peppery flavor. It has an orange color and resembles ginger root. It is one of the main ingredients in curry, which is what gives it the orange-yellow color. Turmeric packs a punch of nutrition as well as adds an earthy flavor to dishes. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, cancer preventative, aids circulation, high in antioxidants, supports the immune system, eases pain, anti-bacterial, supports detox, speeds up wound healing and protects against flu and cold symptoms. It is mostly used in savory dishes, but can also be incorporated into sweet foods. Use turmeric to season vegetables and meats (it combines great with cinnamon), smoothies, curries, stews, soups, drinks such as hot chocolate or smoothies and chocolate treats.

NUTMEG

Nutmeg is a spice used to add flavor and aroma to dishes. It can be used in sweet and savory cooking. We commonly see it in dishes related to the holidays. Besides it’s delicious flavor, it has many health properties. It is anti-inflammatory properties, aids digestion, supports the immune system, relieve pain, boost skin health, aids detox, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, and improve blood circulation. Use nutmeg in porridge, smoothies such as this awesome pumpkin spice smoothie, desserts (especially chocolate), pesto, to season vegetables and meats and sauces.

spices 101 - drifter and the gypsy blog
By Giovanna Garcia // Intro & photography by Micaela Hoo

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A winter’s salad

a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
You know what makes me sad? Winter produce. Not that I don’t like it, but the fact that it frequently gets overlooked. We often attribute fruits and veggies with the summer season. (Helloooo loves of my life: tomatoes, peppers, stone fruit, strawberries, watermelon….) But the winter has so much beautiful produce to offer as well!

a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND ENDIVE SALAD

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Salad

– 2 cups endive
– 8 brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
– 5 radishes, thinly sliced
– ¼ cup kalamata olives

Dressing

– Juice of 1 grapefruit (about ½ cup)
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
– 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 1 small shallot, minced
– Sea salt and black pepper

Procedure:

1. Place all prepared salad ingredients in a bowl.

2. To make dressing, place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, whisk all ingredients together for a dressing with more texture.

3. Toss dressing into salad and serve.

a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
I don’t normally put grapefruit in my salads, but the tangy mixture of tart and bitter is a most wonderful juxtaposition of flavors.

a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
Ingredient Highlights:

Grapefruit – High in vitamin C and other antioxidants, cancer protective, prevents kidney stones and aids detox.

Brussels sprouts – High in vitamin K and vitamin C, aids detox, anti-inflammatory, supports cardiovascular health, high in fiber and aids digestion.

Apple cider vinegar – alkalizing, aids detox, supports skin health, soothes a sore throat, aids digestion, anti-bacterial and aids allergies.

a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
a winter salad - drifter and the gypsy blog
Recipe & ingredient highlights by Giovanna Garcia // Words & photography by Micaela Hoo

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Citrus Cream Tarts

citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
I am a firm believer that pretty food tastes better: Vibrant green smoothies, colorful salads… nature’s candy, right? These little tarts get bonus points for being pretty AND cute.

citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog

CITRUS CREAM TARTS

Makes 3 tarts

Ingredients:

Crust
– ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
– 15 soft medjool dates
– ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Citrus Cream
– 1 cup coconut cream
– 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar
– ½ teaspoon vanilla
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt
– Zest of ½ lemon
– Zest of ½ orange
– Juice of ½-1 lemon

citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
Procedure:

1. To make crust: Place all crust ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture holds together when pressed with fingers. Line a small pie pan or 3-individual size pie pans with parchment paper and press mixture into bottom and sides of pan. Place in the refrigerator while you make filling.

2. To make filling: Place all citrus cream ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed. Pour cream over crust and place in freezer for about 30-45 minutes, until filling has set.

3. Once tart cream has set, garnish with desired toppings and slice to serve.

citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
Ingredient Highlights:

Medjool Dates – high in fiber, provides energy, good source of B6, potassium, manganese and copper.

Coconut Milk – provides quick energy, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, great source of good quality fat.

Citrus – high in vitamin C (antioxidant), alkalizing, aid detox, anti-inflammatory.

citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
citrus cream tart - drifter and the gypsy blog
Recipe developed by Giovanna Garcia // Intro & photography by Micaela Hoo

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DIY Food: Dark Chocolate

diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.
diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
DARK CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

– 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

Procedure:

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.

diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
Ingredient Highlights:

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.

diy food: dark chocolate - drifter and the gypsy blog
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).

Recipe developed by Giovanna Garcia // Intro & photography by Micaela Hoo

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DIY Food: Herbal Vanilla Latte

diy food: herbal vanilla latte - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: herbal vanilla latte - drifter and the gypsy blog
HERBAL VANILLA LATTE

Serves 2

Ingredients:

– 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

Procedure:

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.

diy food: herbal vanilla latte - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: herbal vanilla latte - drifter and the gypsy blog
Recipe developed by Giovanna Garcia // Intro & photography by Micaela Hoo

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Sweet Potato & Zucchini Gratin with Tahini Cream

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
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?

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
SWEET POTATO & ZUCCHINI GRATIN WITH TAHINI CREAM

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Filling

– 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

Tahini Cream

– 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

Topping

– 4 slices gluten-free bread, chopped
– 2 Tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil
– Pinch of sea salt

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
Procedure:

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.

diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
diy food: sweet potato gratin with tahini cream - drifter and the gypsy blog
Recipe developed by Giovanna Garcia // Words & photography by Micaela Hoo

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DIY Food: Strawberry-Matcha Sorbet

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
Today’s recipe features strawberries, dates and matcha green tea.

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
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.

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
STRAWBERRY-MATCHA SORBET

Serves 2

Ingredients:

– 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

Procedure:

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!

diy food: strawberry-matcha sorbet - drifter and the gypsy blog
Recipe by Giovanna Garcia // Photography by Micaela Hoo

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