What A Food Blogger Does on Her Day Off

As I many of you know, I am still in college, I work part-time, I’m on my school’s magazine, I am part of the organization, ShareFood, and I run this blog.

Doesn’t really leave much time for a crackin’ social life.

But I manage. Just barely.

I really do try to make the most of my free time, ESPECIALLY if its nice outside.

What do I do?

Well, my favorite thing as of late is walking 3 blocks down from my house into the San Francisco Botanical Garden to hike, picnic, or just plain hang out.

Yea, I live 3 blocks away from all this gorgeousness.

There are about a million trails like this all throughout the garden for people to explore. I swear, I’ve never taken the same path twice.

This past year, Matt bought me this amazing picnic basket that came stocked with dishware, glasses, and cutlery, so we often pack it full of goodies to enjoy on our blanket (normally we sit on the grass, but it had rained the night before, so the grass was pretty damp and muddy)

Homemade garlic hummus with a sweet potato crisp anyone?

After we eat, we like feeding the squirrels brazen enough to scoot up to our blanket. Matt likes taking pictures of me taking pictures of squirrels

Matt also likes taking pictures of me just plain feeding squirrels

Look at this little man! How the heck could you not love him?! I was not zooming on my camera by the way, this is how close he was.

I too like taking pictures of my cutie boy feeding the squirrel cutie boy. This little man seriously couldn’t get enough of our fruit, he just kept coming back for more. It was great, he would even come if I call him. It was so sad feeding him our last strawberry, cause then he scampered off, leaving only the stem and leaves behind.

THIS IS REAL?!?!?! I love nature.

Geese do the weirdest things when they clean themselves, don’t you think?

The garden has a bunch of ponds and streams everywhere with tons of benches, so sometimes its nice to just sit and watch the birds flock about.

Again, I didn’t even have to zoom for this shot.

I love the Botanical Garden – its phenomenally gorgeous, its free, its close to me, and we know where the back gate is so we can sneak in and out whenever we please.

What do you like to do on your days off?

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Orecchiette with Broccoli and Goat Cheese

Good morning!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I am excited for today because:

1. I am Irish

2. I turned 21 a few months ago, so now I can finally enjoy the glory of today…GREEN BEER, YES PLEASE!

3. Green is my favorite color, though surprisingly despite my abundance of green paraphernalia, I barely have any green clothes.

4. Even though I work today, I’m off at 5, giving me ample time to celebrate

5. If all other plans fall through, I live 3 blocks away from an Irish bar that I know will be a good place to get down.

6. As silly as it sounds, today marks a year and a half since Matt and I started dating, so if nothing else, I will drink to that!

I thought that in spirit of today I would give you a sort of green recipe that I tried yesterday with my friends Sohini and Kati.

One of my favorite cooking magazines, Saveur, posted an article preaching the wonders and versatility of goat cheese – as if the world didn’t already know!

No matter, I promptly sent the link to Sohini, who loved it and insisted we cook all of the recipes, so I headed over to her house to start cooking up a goat cheese feast.

Ok, so there’s like 20 recipes and there was only 3 who would be eating, so we toned it down to 2, a savory and a sweet goat cheese application.

More on the sweet later.

For the savory, we settled on a Orecchiette Salad, which we altered slightly from the original.

Our recipe goes as follows:

16 oz Orecchiette Pasta

12 oz Broccoli, sliced thin and blanched

12 oz Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

8 cloves of peeled garlic, sauteed until golden brown

Zest of 1 lemon

Moderately sized handful of red pepper chili flakes

5 oz. Goat Cheese, or more, at room temp

A drizzle of olive oil

I love the color variants heirloom tomatoes provide!

The assembly is simple,

Boil orecchiette in lightly salted water until slighty al dente

Blanch broccoli in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to keep their bright color

Halve cherry tomatoes

In a large pot saute garlic until golden then add chili flakes

Incorporate pasta, broccoli, and tomatoes into pot

Drizzle with olive oil and zest lemon

Mix together

Top with small dabs of goat cheese

Allow the cheese to soften and then stir together

This may be one of my new favorite pasta salads. The goat cheese acts as a fabulous sauce and works well with the lemon zest and chili flakes. This is the perfect summer picnic salad or side dish at a BBQ because its so bright and flavorful! The best part about this pasta salad? Its just as tasty hot or cold! (I’m eating the cold leftovers this very moment)!

Us girls ate it as our entree, but we were also making a delicious goat cheese dessert, so we wanted to keep dinner light.

For a a little more protein some roughly chopped walnuts and/or grilled chicken would be GREAT in this!

Well, I am off to celebrate a very jolly Saint Patty’s Day! Everyone have a wonderful evening and be safe!

RAW Food Challenge Day 4

I’ve made it to the halfway point!

Wahooo! Yippee! Yaahaaa!

I woke up a little late so I drew inspiration for my breakfast and lunch from the blogger who gave me the idea to do this Raw Food Challenge in the first place. Her blog is awesome, it’s one of my favorites right now!

Breakfast: Banana Almond Butter Roll Up (AB&B Roll Up)

This took about 3 minutes to make and just about as long to gobble down, its a sweet little play on a PB&J roll up, ‘cept I used Almond Butter (AB) and (&) Banana (B) rolled up in a red chard leaf.

So easy, you see?

My breakfast went a little something like this

Because I was running a little late, I was eating super fast. Raw nut butters tend to be a little drier, and therefore stickier on your tongue, than processed nut butters. Red chard leaves stick reallll well to nut butter. That being said, there I was trying to eat as quickly as possibly, not chewing as much as I should cause I was doing some last minute reading for class. All of a sudden, I swallowed a big bite and started to choke because some almond butter was left on my tongue and a piece of chard leaf stuck to it. I freaked out trying to cough it up and ended up having to fish it out with my finger.

This was not the best way to begin my morning.

So please, to anyone who tries this, chew your chard thoroughly and be careful.

On a much lighter note, it was raining again today so I threw on my favorite leather ankle boots, a nice long sleeve shirt, and my heaviest coat.

Off to school with my lunch in my bag!

Lunch: Apple, Raisin, and Pecan Pie in a Jar

It is well established in my family that my grandma is the best baker around. Every holiday season she whips out phenomenal, in a crust. You name it, she can make it taste unbelievably good inside a pie.

My favorites:

Strawberry Rhubarb

Pumpkin

and her Pecan Pie

The pecan pie took a few years to grow on me, but now that it has, I can’t get enough. So really, its a blessing to my waistline that my grandma only makes them once or twice a year.

The blogger who inspired my breakfast inspired me once again for lunch. Pie in a Jar.

But it was my grandma who inspired the pie filling

 

Here’s the rundown on layering:

1/4 cup of raw oats

3 small handfuls of pecans

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp. Agave Nectar, optional

1/2 of a Granny Smith apple

1/4 cup of raw oats

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. All-Spice

1 cup of Raw Almond Milk

Let it sit in the jar for 4 hours to soften the oats, pecans, and raisins

I made it in the morning and kept it in my purse and flipped it over after about 2 hours so that the oats on top could soak

I ate it while sitting on the floor waiting for my afternoon class and it was all I could do to not scream out in joy at how good this was!

This is a recipe I will carry with me long after this challenge. It is a GREAT meal to travel around with because it’s all contained.

Just remember to pack a spoon!

Dinner: Corn and ‘Cado Salad with a Creamy Cilantro Dressing

I know there is controversy over corn because of GMOs ect ect

But today, I don’t care.

I was craving it. BAD.

I started constructing a salad around it because a cob of corn was a $1 at the corner produce market. A dollar!

Along with the corn, I chopped up some:

Red Onion

Red Bell Pepper

Grape Tomato

Avocado

I was about to add some cilantro in there, but then I thought, wait! what am I gonna do about dressing?! Why don’t I make a gorgeous green dressing with it?

Despite my almond milk, I’ve been craving something creamy, especially in the dressing area so I put the salad on hold to make a nice creamy cilantro dressing.

It went a little something like this:

1 cup of Sunflower Seeds, soaked (I soaked them for an hour, but you should do it for longer)

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1/2 cup Cilantro

1 Tbs Himalayan Pink Salt

3 cloves of Garlic

1 Tbs. Cumin

1 cup of water

Yes, I poured olive oil straight on my counter.

Oh the things I do for you all.

I blended that all together in my food processor, tasted it, and determined it was missing something.

But what?

A hint of citrus, that’s what

So I used 1 tiny lime that I had, plus the juice of half a lemon. It’s your choice of which citrus/exactly how much. I like my stuff real bright and fresh, so I was heavy handed.

I am really a fan of beautifully shaded green dressings

Finally, my dish was complete.

A little fresh cracked black pepper and it was ready!

(I added the dressing on after cause I thought the salad was just so beautiful!)

Today. my energy level was pretty high. I felt really good and productive. The on and off rain couldn’t hold this girl down! I think I also feel great because this challenge is all downhill from here. While it’s been a lot of fun so far, it’s also been mentally draining trying to think of filling, healthy, and nutritiously satisfying meals that are all raw.

Do any of you have some good raw recipes I could try on days 5, 6, and 7? I’d love to hear them!

Raw Hummus

I’ve gotta say, after a few days of practice from my raw food challenge, I’ve really gotten into all the things you can actually do with just raw foods!

Sometimes, it’s just the prep work that kills me.

Like for this recipe for raw hummus.

I had to soak dried chickpeas over night

Then let them soak at room temperature for another 3 days.

I wanted my hummus to be bursting with flavor so I thought I’d spice it up, literally

Olive oil is a must, I love garlic, and Cumin may just be the best spice ever.

Seriously.

My boyfriend, Matt, swears by it and pretty much puts it on everything.

Broken down, the recipe looks like this:

3 cups soaked Chickpeas

1/4 cup of soaking water

1/2 cup of Cold Pressed Olive Oil

2 handfuls of peeled garlic cloves (or as much or as little as you like)

1 Tbs. Ground Cumin

Salt to taste

Pop that all in your food processor and let it blend everything for a few minutes

Voila!

I’ll be honest, soaked raw chickpeas and cooked chickpeas taste WAY different. I admit I much prefer them cooked, but hey, raw is better for you, and the raw version is pretty delicious once you stop trying to compare it to the cooked version. Just a little crunchier and almost nuttier tasting. The garlic and the cumin were excellent flavor partners and the olive oil helped to smooth everything out.

RAW Food Day 1

Today is my first day of my RAW food challenge!

I woke up this morning freezing cold, which made getting out of bed a rather harsh experience. Especially since I was getting up 30 minutes earlier than I usually do to make my breakfast.

That has been the first adjustment on this challenge. Normally, I just drink coffee in the morning and then go about my merry way until lunch at about noon. So the act of eating at 7:30 in the morning was a little tough. But I’m really excited about what I made!

Breakfast: Overnights Oats, Fruit and Seeds

1 cup raw overnight oats

1 apple of your choosing, I went with Fuji

3 Tbs. Chia Seeds

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. All-Spice

1 Tbs. Agave Nectar

Best part? This is super easy to make

1. Soak your raw oats in water the night before, just enough to cover the amount you will be eating

2. Chop up an apple

3. Measure out your Chia seeds, agave nectar, cinnamon, and all-spice

4. Mix together

5. Devour

Snack: Raw nut mix and Kombucha

I have school on Monday’s from 9-11 but today I am going to be out and about working on a few articles for the magazine, so I thought it would be good to pack something to munch on. I erred on the lighter side and went with a mixture of raw:

Sunflower Seeds

Walnuts

Pecans

How to make it?

1. Put nuts in a Tupperware

2. Close with lid

TA-DA!

Then, I pulled a Kombucha out of my fridge, I went with GT’s Passionberry Bliss for today.

I packed these in my bag and left for school. Easy. Healthy. Tasty.

Lunch: Fruit and Veggie Salad with a Homemade Tahini Dressing

On the bus ride home from school I started thinking about what I was in the mood to eat for lunch. I knew I wanted some sort of a refreshing salad, and something with the Tahini sauce I made this morning. Then I thought, well, cucumber, tahini and dill taste good together. Cucumber and watermelon taste nice when paired together. Watermelon and Asian pear are a wonderful combination. And then I decided that some jicama would round the dish out quite nicely! Thus, my lunch was born!

This is extremely simple to make, start with:

1 Cucumber

1/2 Jicama Root

1/2 of a small Watermelon

2 Asian Pears

A hearty handful of fresh Dill

Homemade Tahini dressing to taste

Dice all the produce into bite sized pieces and put in a plate

Use a heavy hand to sprinkle Dill on top of it all

Top with a few Tbs of Tahini

I ate quite a bit of this because it was so yummy!

Dinner:

I wanted my first dinner to be something unique and a a bit of twist on an old classic. What’s more of an old classic than pasta?!

Raw pasta? Yup. Raw fettucini in fact. Vegetable fettucini.

How did I do it?

I used my handy dandy vegetable peeler…and after I got past the peel, I just kept going!

I wanted lots of color so I used:

1 Zucchini

1 Yellow Squash

1 large Carrot

and about 4 stalks of Asparagus

The asparagus proved to be a little hard to peel because of those most wonderful tips, so I just chopped them off and saved them to top my pasta with!

Now let’s get a little saucy with it.

What kind? Marinara, obviously.

I really enjoy roasted red bell peppers added to my marinara, so I decided to spice up my marinara with some raw bell peppers.

I kept the sauce simple by using:

10oz of grape tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic

1 whole red bell pepper

and a pinch of salt

I threw them in my little purple food processor and chopped it for a few seconds, tasted it and whew! That garlic sure did make the sauce spicy!

I finished the meal by putting my fettucini in a bowl, topping with my sauce and then garnishing with some roughly chopped basil.

Super good and incredibly fresh tasting and only took about 20 minutes to make.

My one qualm, it was cold. (Duh, its raw). But it’s cold out right now, and cold vegetable pasta just doesn’t warm you up the way normal pasta does. But hey, I guess that’s what blankets are for!

As the end of Day 1 fast approaches, I gotta tell ya, I’m feeling pretty nice. I’m a little tired (but then again, I only slept 6 hours last night), otherwise, I feel decently energized. Tomorrow, I’m gonna try to eat a little more of each meal, because I definitely didn’t eat 6 pounds today and I got super hungry a few times throughout the day.