Zucchini Noodles

A few weeks ago the hubs and I road tripped it out to the beautiful Central Coast with open hearts and open minds. Friends if you have never been to the Central Coast you need to seriously start packing now! Its a beautiful area that we absolutely love!  We stayed in Shell Beach and spent a few days visiting Morro Bay, Montana de Oro, Pismo Beach, and Downtown San Luis Obispo. We headed out there to visit our dear friends Aaron and Sarah, they are serving with YWAM Pismo Beach and we were lucky enough to spend a few days with them in their new home. Unlike most of our trips we actually did a lot home cooking in this one and it was a welcome changed. Sarah and I made a delicious bowl of zucchini noodles with roasted veggies and tomato sauce. I was lucky enough to have my husband document the process while I was completely unaware, the joys of being married to a photographer. I have been living on variations of this recipe since starting the 21 Day Detox. It really is delicious and makes perfect use of the abundance of zucchini that’s in my garden!

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Zuccini_noodles_web-8Ingredients 

1 – medium Zucchini
1 – Yellow Squash
Assortment of veggies
Organic Marinara Sauce
Olive Oil
1 tbsp  fresh herbs
salt
pepper

Directions

Run a vegetable julienne peeler down the length of  the zucchini and squash , creating long strips (“noodles”). Add salt, pepper, herbs, and drizzle with Olive Oil. Steam or microwave for 2 minutes.

In a sheet pan place your favorite veggies, add salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. If you vegatables require more time leave them in the oven a little longer.

Toss the veggies and noodles with your favorite pasta sauce.

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Horchata Paletas

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Hi lovelies its going to be one HOT day today! Stay cool and make some paletas! These paletas are so delicious and the perfect healthy treat to keep you cool in the hot days to come. It’s supposed be 110 degrees this weekend. Horchata, the  cinnamon-vanilla rice drink is a frothy Mexican staple – delicious and so refreshing. It only made sense to turn it into paletas. Unlike the sugary not so healthy but super delicious version that I grew up with I decided to make some changes and make it healthier without compromising flavor! Health Nuts rejoice! You can still enjoy this delicious drink and have your paleta too!!My version is sweetened with dates and agave nectar instead of sugar and condensed milk.

I bought my paleta molds at World Market. You can find some at Target and many other retailers. If you do not want to invest in some molds you can use small pixie cups and cover the tops with plastic.

Fun tip – add some some rum to the left-over horchata and you’ll have a delicious cocktail.

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Horchata Paleta

  • 1 cups Rice (soak over night or for 2 hrs
  • 1 cup brown rice (soak over night or for 2 hrs) the brown rice adds nuttiness sort of like a Central American Horchata
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk (or sub light coconut or rice milk)
  • 2 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp – Agave Nectar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Soak rice over night or  in 2 cups very hot (not boiling water) for 2 hours. The rice should be soft but still raw – if you can snap a piece with your fingernail without much effort then you are good to go. Drain and add to a blender.
  2. Add 2 cups water, dates, 1 tbsp of agave, vanilla, and the cinnamon stick. Cover the lid with a towel just in case you have some spillage. Blend for about 1 minute until the mixture seems well combined. It doesn’t have to be 100% pulverized.
  3. Scoop out a small sample with a spoon to test sweetness. If it’s not sweet enough, add the rest of the agave.
  4. In two batches, pour the mixture over a bowl or pitcher covered with cheesecloth, wrap a rubberband around the bowl to ensure it does not come loose, but this isn’t necessary.
  5. Strain the mixture until only pulp remains in the cloth, squeezing to get all of it. It will take a little effort depending on how pulverized your pulp is.
  6. Next, stir in almond milk (optional), whisk and transfer to large beverage container , from there pour liquid into the paleta molds, place paleta sticks, cover, and put in the freezer over night! You’ll have a refreshing drink and paletas.

Winter Bounty – Citrus Salad

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We have been hosting Life Group (bible study-ish) at our home every Tuesday for a few weeks now. I like it because there is always some sort of dinner involved which means that we get to gather around the table and  make meals they are never fussy or elaborate, they are just simply delicious. I crave this sort of thing, meals with people who I enjoy being around. I soak it right up – in our home, sharing our walk with the Lord, and the lives that we are living –  yes dirty dishes and all, I enjoy it all. This salad will join us this Tuesday, I love sharing meals with them and sharing my love and respect for food with them, I  feel like an educator. This salad is simple.  Crisp leaves of romaine lettuce, tuscan kale, pink grapefruit, sweet blood oranges,  with crispy avocado. This salad is filled with textures, fragrant, and exploding with a perfect combination of sweetness and tartness… I know what you’re thinking salad in the winter?! But in the winter if we can call Southern California winter…a real winter. In the winter you can find some of the best citrus. My father in law grows some of the best tasting blood oranges and I get to enjoy them in the winter. Feel free to add your favorite protein to this salad. I paired it with a beautiful cut of salmon.

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Citrus – Avocado Salad
2- pink grapefruits
1- blood orange
4- cups of romaine
2- cups of tuscan kale

Dressing
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of Greek yogurt or coconut cream (coconut cream for paleo)
Left over citrus juice
Sea salt & pepper

Avocado Wedges
1 cup of almond meal
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 egg
1 firm ripe avocado wedged

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Instructions
Segment the citrus and remove all skin and white pith. Do this over a bowl to collect any juice that drips. In a large bowl combine the greens and citrus
Preheat oven to 450 degrees line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow bowl mix the almond meal, salt and pepper. In another bowl whisk the egg. Peel and cut avocado into 1-inch wedges. Dip avocado in egg mixture and then into the meal (repeat) and set on the baking sheet. Bake until toasty brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Make a dressing with the remaining juice, yogurt it coconut cream, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined and creamy.
Dress the salad with the dressing and top with the crispy avocado wedges. enjoy!

The Garden that Keeps on Giving & New Year Resolutions

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I think I am slowly starting to find my green-thumb my garden has kept on giving and giving. I love being able to walk out to my front yard and pick all sorts of beautiful greens – kale, rainbow chard, ruby chard, salad blends, spinach, etc. Everyday I have an excuse to go out and explore. The garden gives me the opportunity to see life happen to pick the perfect radishes, eat tender pea shoots, saute fresh bok-choy. The giving doesn’t stop and for that I am grateful. This morning I decided to tug at the carrot tops and to my surprise I found that I had these beautiful carrots. They taste delicious raw but toss in olive oil and roast at 350 degrees and they become sweet and slightly spiced. Roast and top with fresh herbs and you’ve got a wonderful meal. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians, paleo, or anyone looking to eat something healthy yet tasty!

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The last few weeks where hectic to say the least…we spent lots of time with family and loved on each other as much as we could, we are blessed and we enjoyed every-minute of it but it’s nice to return to a slower pace of life – to have time to think; yes really think! I needed this time of silence to re-charge and re-focus my vision for both 2013 life/business. You can read more about our business goals, achievement, failures, and expectations here. Needless to say, 2012 was amazing in every way, we had a lot of changes and blessings; realizing how good God is makes me feel unworthy. This past year was busy. Our business is taking off and we’ve been blessed to meet with and call friends some of the coolest people around. But it has also been A LOT of work. Whoever said that Self Employment was easy LIED… So for 2013 my goals are simple

  •  In HIS name
  •  With HIS power
  •  For HIS glory

Sounds simple but I know it wont be as we’ve discussed on here before, I have a hard time letting…I’m somewhat of a control freak. Declaring that I will trust, depend, on the Lord to guide and carry us into a fruitful future is one of the bravest things I’ve ever done… To say that I will do things in his glory is even harder…see sometimes I don’t want to behave like a believer. None the less I am so excited and ready for this journey and the challenge! I hope that this will be a year like none other…no year is ever the same but I pray that this be the year in which I grow wiser and mature in the Lord.

Butternut Squash – Pomegranate Salad

The last few days have been productive. Business has been booming and there isnt a day in which I dont thank God for his blessings. But sometimes I forget my rhythm with this working from home deal. Granted we are out and about a lot of the time between client meets, follow-ups, shoot days, and everything that involves running a business; life can get quite complicated but more than often I am easily distracted, usually off task. There are days when I miss the routine; the affirmation when I do something well. Being self-employed has it’s moments of lonliness, regardless of my husband being here with me most of the time. I feel immensely blessed for the schedule we keep and the ability to do what we love. But I miss hanging out with people whose presence I can delight in. I’ve had the urge to host an intimate dinner party and share and delight in the presence of people that we cherish!

This salad just makes me happy! It’s healthy and beautiful. A subtle reminder that food can be fresh and natural, while not compromising flavor.

This salad is chocked full of protein, amino acids, iron, and  general good stuff. It also keeps me full until dinner. And my husband loves it so that’s a plus.

In the last year or so, I’ve had a love affair with baby arugula. It’s so versatile and delicious and healthy.

Salad

4 cups baby arugula

2 cups of roasted squash

1/2 tbs of Pumpkin Spice

1 oz feta cheese

1 cup Pomegranate seeds

Dressing

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp of olive oil

1 shallot finely minced

1/2 tsp of honey

Salt & Pepper

Instructions

This salad is super simple and shocked full of flavor. Pre-Heat your over to 400 degrees. Rub the butternut squash with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, pumpkin spice seasoning and bake for 20 minutes until golden. In a mason jar toss  – olive oil, shallots, pepper, salt, pomegranates, pomegranate juice (from the fruit) honey, balsamic vinegar. Shake in the jar until all ingredients have come together. Toss cubed squash and all ingredients in a bowl with dressing.

Thai Basil Noodles

I am gentle cook one that believes that food goes beyond what sits on the plate. The delight that comes from placing a hand-selected seed into the soil and watching it grow and eventually make its way into my kitchen is like no other. My garden has been producing some wonderful herbs and produce – basil, rosemary, peppers, squash, salad blends, and so much more. This dish is the perfect solution for a garden exploding with thai-basil.

If you love Asian food but have been afraid to try making some of your favorite dishes at home, this dish is perfect and once you have all of the ingredients it takes less than 15 minutes! Healthy, full of flavor, and fresh!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh Thai-basil
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion Chopped
  • 1/2 Shallot Chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 small packet of Vietnamese Rice Noodles ( cook them according to package instructions)
  • 1 cup of dried shitakee mushrooms (soak in warm water for 15 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Low sodium soy sauce to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed chili
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Directions

If you’re using dry noodles, put them in a bowl and pour boiling hot water over them to submerge completely. Soak for as long as the package instructions require. Do the same for the mushrooms. When they are soft drain and cut into strips.

Stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili, ginger, and garlic stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, shallots, and some of the basil (the basil will infuse the oil); saute 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, drained noodles, and soy sauce mixture. Saute, stirring and tossing until everything is evenly coated and heated through, and all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in chopped basil.

Garden to Fork – Tempeh BBQ Burger

Whether you’re a vegetarian, practicing meatless Monday, or simply wanting to try something new – this recipe is AMAZING. Meat what, who?  This burger explodes with flavors – sweet caramelized yellow and red bell peppers, garden grown heirloom tomatoes, (I have an assortment of tomatoes, some from my garden and some from Trader Joe’s) garden grown lettuce, perfectly melted Muenster cheese, and of course BBQ sauce! This meal is hearty enough even for the most devout meat lovers. And the perfect dish to impress your vegetarian friends.

This lettuce is a 1″ heirloom plug that I bought from the farmers market…amazing how a 1″ plant can produce so much food.

The burger itself is a treat but the fact that it comes with perks makes it all that better… letting a piece of Trader Joe’s tempeh sit in a puddle of BBQ sauce and freshly chopped garlic is much easier and less time consuming than grilling meat burgers. If you have never tried Tempeh I highly recommended its nutty and full of texture.  Tempeh is sold next to the tofu and other soy products at Trader Joes or Clark’s Nutrition Stores.

Tempeh BBQ Burger

Serves 2-4
1/2 pound tempeh, cut into square patties
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of good BBQ sauce
Slices of your favorite cheese
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
Fresh black pepper
4 organic whole wheat buns
1/2 a yellow bell pepper julienne
1/2 a red bell pepper julienne
1/4 lb of assorted heirloom tomatoes chopped
Organic lettuce leafs ( mine is an heirloom plant that I got from Rolling Hills Herbs and Annuals)

Place tempeh patties into a shallow dish and cover with BBQ sauce and garlic, turning to coat. Let it sit for about 10 minutes

In a hot pan lightly coated with olive oil sauteed the bell peppers.

Coat grill – skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Remove tempeh from dish and place on grill. Grill until dark grill marks appear, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Place bun on grill immediately place cheese on top half of the buns. Toast buns until cheese has melted. Remove from heat. These burgers can be grilled outside as well, I did not since its been about 11o degrees outside :-/.

Assemble your burger with all the toppings. I used vegannaise since I don’t like mayonnaise and added extra BBQ sauce, we recently shot a wedding and the B&G gave Lucille’s BBQ sauce as favors so that’s what I have been using, I love it. Feel free to change up the ingredients!

P.S Leave out the cheese and add some avocado and you’ve got a delicious vegan meal.

Basil-Peach Simple Syrup – Jasmine Green Tea

As you probably know by now, Johnny and I  love the farmers’ market. It literally is a weekend must. Luckily Redlands has three markets, one on Thursday and two on Saturday morning. Something about Saturday morning market makes my heart fill with joy. We have a must list but we always love coming home with a large variety of greens and new things we’ve never tried before. At the moment I have fallen in love with my ability to grow food in my front and back yard…who would’ve thought. Every Saturday morning I look forward to visiting the Rolling Hills Herbs & Annuals stand and picking up new heirloom edibles for my garden. A while back I picked up a 1″ plug of sweet heirloom basil. That 1″ plug has turned into an out of control bush that grows bigger and faster every time I cut it. So in my desperate attempt to consume as much basil as possible in forms other than pesto and an add-on to pasta I have experimented with it in many forms and adding to drinks seems to be one of my favorite. The weather has been scorching so this drink was a nice little refresher.

This tea is super easy to make! Boil  1 cup of organic sugar and 1 cup of water until sugar dissolves. Add basil and peaches and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Brew a batch of your favorite tea. I like green tea! Mix 3 parts tea with 1 part simple syrup. Enjoy!

Agua Fresca

It’s that time of year again when the farmers market’s spill over with all sorts of amazing produce and herbs.  It’s summer! And with it comes one of my favorite things in the entire world – aguas frescas.

Aguas frescas have grazed every party for as long as have been able to form memories. I once spent a summer alone in Guadalajara Mexico and fell in love with all of the concoctions that are served in every corner of the city! Huge containers of these cooling drinks are found at street stands all over Mexico, their thirst-quenching contents ladled out throughout the day. Seriously addicting!!! Aguas Frescas are very diverse and usually include whatever fresh fruits are in season, herbs, seeds, and/or edible flowers. My garden has exploded with basil, the basil madness started with a 1″ plug that I bought from Rolling Hills Farms at the Farmers Market. Since I have baskets full of basil I decided to make a Lemon Basil agua fresca. Delicious and absolutely refreshing.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • Handful of roughly chopped sweet basil
  • 1/4 cup of raw sugar

Directions

In a small bowl, combine  sugar and fresh lemon juice; stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon mixture and 8 cups water to chopped basil and mix well. Adjust sweetness with more sugar if desired. (Mixture can be refrigerated, up to 2 days.) To serve, add plenty of ice. I like to add berries or peaches to mine for an extra kick. Enjoy!