Entertaining · Food · Shopping · Travel

The best thing you NEED for the beach this summer!

IMG_6463 (2).JPG

We went to the beach for the first time this season! It was a gorgeous day on Friday and our friends invited us for pizza on the beach! Not only did we all need a break from the usual nighttime routine, it was so nice to enjoy a beautiful night on the ocean! Sailor had never been to the beach and she loved getting her feet all sandy (and yes, she did put a fistful of sand into her mouth…but I think that’s a rite of passage) and Dash got to play with sand toys and dip his toesies into the ocean! And we all got to enjoy dinner al fresco. Since it was our first trip to the beach this season (and with 2 kiddos), we are not yet seasoned in the ways of packing for a successful beach trip. I remembered most of the important things, and we figured our friends (who also have small kiddos) would be able to fill in the gaps. When we got to the beach, our friends had THE BEST beach table. It was this cool little table they had set up in the middle of our ring of beach chairs and blankets. It kept all our drinks, chips and pizza sand free ALL night! (I honestly hadn’t even thought of where we were going to put the pizza boxes down once we got to the beach, so we were grateful our friends are seasoned beach pros!) This little table was seriously a life-saver! Then, as we were getting ready to leave and pack it up, my friend flipped the table over into the sand, unscrewed the legs and ROLLED IT UP! It even fit into a little beach bag!!! I was literally geeking out over this table; it’s so portable and so convenient, and perfect if you’re bringing any food or drinks at all to the beach. Long story long, I ordered two as soon as we got home, one for us and one for my folks. I can’t wait to use it on our beach vacay to South Carolina this summer! Oh, also, it’s on sale! Do yourself a favor and order it now! Don’t be intimidated by the third picture of the table below- the assembly is literally 2 seconds and my 2 year old could do it! (p.s. This post is not sponsored in any way, at all, I’m just obsessed with this table!)

Table In A Bag

Table In A Bag

Table In A Bag

Food · Food Trends · vegan

2017 Food Trends!

food trends cartoon header_1Okay, so we all know about food trends. If you consider yourself a “foodie” or even if you’re into food at all, you’ve witnessed the rise of kale, doughnuts, bacon on everything, cupcakes ‘erry day and avocado toast (to mention a few) in the last few years. And here’s the food trend from the year you were born! (Mine’s Penne Alla Vodka! Yum!)

Well, 2017 should be no different with a vast array of new and exciting food adventures. (Like these, and these.) Since I consider myself a vegan foodie– I’m totally into trying and experimenting with all things food trend this year. After reading multiple lists and predictors- I came up with an (exhaustive) list of the food trends I’m most excited about for 2017 (some may look very familiar, some might be brand new to you!) In my new FOOD TREND FEATURE, I’ll be diving into each one of the following food trends headfirst to share reviews, recipes, articles and twists on each one of the items on the list. So, without further ado, (and in no particular order) THE LIST!

Sourdough bread

Plant Butchery

Dosha dining

Edible cookie dough

Plancha Grilling

Pickles and Fermenting

Sea Vegetables

Creative/Housemade Condiments

Empanadas

Ethnic Breakfast Foods

Frybread

African food

Buddha bowls

Cauliflower

Jackfruit

Kombucha

Naan Pizza

Pho

Poke

Tamales

Street Food

Tumeric

Wellness Tonics

Food by products

Purple Food

Persian Influence

Root to Stem dining

Moringa

Pulses

Mexican food

Mushrooms

Spirulina

And just for fun…Tom Haverford’s take on food.

 

Environment · Food

Food waste

Image result for just eat it

Have you seen the documentary “Just Eat It” ? It’s streaming now on Amazon- and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! I definitely consider myself an environmentalist and try my best to do right by the planet, however, watching this film made me reevaluate some of my habits. The statistics were crazy about how much food we waste as a society, not just in our own households, but also in the waste that is generated by supermarkets. The film focuses on the documentarian and his wife challenging themselves for 6 months with only eating food that has been or will be discarded. It was actually pretty eye opening to see their journey and the types/amount of food they end up coming across and consuming. The film also points out not only the economic strain caused by food waste, but also many of the different angles of the environmental issues it causes, from wasted resources and wasted packaging, to over flowing landfills- which produce methane from anaerobic decomposition- which, in turn, contributes to climate change. Although the documentary does a cracker jack job of highlighting this (enormous) problem, it also provides tips for reducing your own waste. I’m a big believer in small changes and the idea that every little bit helps- so I will definitely be incorporating these ideas into our routine to reduce our food waste.

Top (small) changes you can make to reduce your food waste right now!

  1. Shop more often! (Instead of placing large orders in the supermarket, try to frequent the market a couple times a week- if it fits in your schedule) The food will be fresher, and you will be more focused on what you actually need.
  2. Meal plan! Make and stick to a solid meal plan about the items you truly need and will truly use. (I’m super guilty of this one!)
  3. Incorporate an “EAT ME FIRST” bin in your fridge. Place all items that are nearing their shelf life or are in small amounts (i.e. leftovers) in a bin that is clearly labeled to encourage high turnover!
  4. Take the Food Waste Challenge or the food waste quiz! The first step to changing your ways, is realizing the problem. You’ll spend 2 weeks getting a “baseline” about how much food you waste, then you will get email tips and tricks to reducing food waste in your house. Then, you calculate how much you actually save but not wasting so much food!
  5. Visit the I VALUE FOOD site for some awesome resources about tips to keep produce longer, what to do with sale bread, how to start a compost bin, recipes for leftovers, how to meal plan and shop effectively, how to organize your fridge, loving ugly vegetables, and so much more!
Food · Halfway Homemade · vegan

Tofu Polenta Stacks with Mushroom Medley

IMG_6364

So, this is the type of recipe that I like to call “halfway homemade”, because it is so easy and a lot of the prep is done for you- if you choose the right ingredients! I got everything at Trader Joe’s, if you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s or would prefer to prepare everything on your own, it totally do-able, and I’ll leave notes below on making this recipe from scratch- however, most nights I’m scrambling to get dinner together so I’m so thankful for quick meals!

What you need:

1 block of tofu- drained and pressed

1 cylinder of precooked and formed polenta

1 package of chopped porcini mushrooms

1 onion

5 cloves garlic (I like to use this!)

1 package of mushroom medley

4 TBSP olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste (we used Himalayan pink salt and lemon pepper- also from Trader Joe’s!)

Here’s the plan:

Mince the onion and garlic. Add 2 TBSP olive oil to a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the chopped porcini mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the bag of frozen mushroom medley. Cook 6-7 minutes, flavor with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a small grill pan and add 2 TBSP of olive oil to the pan. Slice the tofu into squares or triangles about an inch-1.5 inches thick. (You should get about 10 slices out of 1 block of pressed tofu.) Slice the polenta into slices, also about an inch and a half thick. Once oil in pan is warm, add the slices of tofu and polenta to grill pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until you get those nice grill marks.

Stack your polenta and tofu in alternating slices on a plate, top with mushroom mixture. Enjoy!

NOTES ON COOKING FROM SCRATCH:

If you can’t find precooked polenta, you can make your own polenta (it’s just cornmeal and water!) After you cook it, you can mold it with your hands or place in a dish to make it conform to the shape you want. Let cool in fridge until hard and slice-able- usually an hour or two.

If you can’t find the frozen mushroom medley- try to find a few different varieties of mushrooms to use- cremini, oyster, etc- you will need about 2-2.5 cups chopped mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms in the olive oil with the onion and garlic. Flavor with mushroom onion mixture with 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley and an extra teaspoon or two of olive oil. Increase the amount of garlic in the recipe from 5 cloves to 6 or 7.

 

 

 

 

Food · vegan

Beet noodles with cashew cream sauce (so easy!)

IMG_5911

I love this recipe for 3 reasons:

  1. First and foremost, it’s so good!
  2. It’s easy!
  3. There are so many options so you can make this to your perfect liking…

What you need:

Beet noodles (16 ounces) (if you have a spiralizer, you can make these yourself, if you don’t have a spiralizer, or don’t want pink stained hands for a day, you can purchase these at your local market already done for you.) , 1 1/2 Cups of cashews (soaked in water, completely covered, for 2 hours, drained and rinsed- if you have a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, you DO NOT need to soak), 5 cloves of garlic (that’s right, 5) 1 1/2 TBSP nooch (nutritional yeast), 1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice, 1/2-1 TSP Salt (I prefer Himalayan pink salt, but if you don’t have it you can use any salt here), a couple of grinds of fresh pepper, 3/4 Cup water, 1 TBSP Olive Oil

Here’s the plan:

Blend the cashews, garlic, nooch, lemon juice, salt, pepper and water in your blender. Blend until completely pureed and homogeneous. It should be a thicker consistency, but pourable, similar to an alfredo sauce.

Grease a saute pan with the olive oil. Heat on medium. Toss beet noodles in pan to heat for about 5-7 minutes. (I used tongs to toss the noodles to heat them thoroughly)

Once warmed, move noodles to a bowl, and transfer cashew cream sauce from blender into pan to heat.

Dole out a serving of beet noodles on a plate or bowl and drizzle with as much or little cashew cream sauce as you would like. (Full disclosure, I smothered my noodles in much more sauce after above picture was taken…it’s so good!)

OPTIONAL SUBSTITUTIONS:

  1. Use zucchini or sweet potato noodles if you’re not a big beet fan!
  2. Serve raw without heating for more of a crunch from your noodles
  3. Add other veggies, such as halved grape tomatoes

Cheers!

 

 

 

Environment · Food

Earth Day meal! Doing our part to rid the world of an ecological problem, by eating it…

IMG_5790

So, today is Earth Day! And also it’s my birthday! (Monday, the 24th) so Steve and I went out for a special dinner to celebrate. The last few years we’ve gone to this amazing sushi restaurant, Miya’s. Miya’s is unlike any other restaurant I’ve been to, sushi or not, because the chef and owner of the restaurant truly focuses on the future of eating and the importance of sustainability. (Perfect for Earth Day amiright?!) Much of his food is sourced locally, foraged, or are invasive species.

In the year 2150, people will be eating in a way that is healthier not only for their bodies but also for our whole planet. People will be eating fewer animals, since they will have learned that a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat; they will hunt and farm animals in a way that is more humane. At Miya’s, you will experience a kinder and more caring future, where sushi has evolved to become a way of eating that honors and celebrates all life on Earth. (From Miya’s Menu)

IMG_5789

The menu is incredibly extensive, like over 20 pages, because not only are there so many interesting and different choices, but there is also background information, personal anecdotes, and fanciful chronicles to go along with all of Bun’s careful curated menu. (Bun not only created the world’s first invasive species menu, he is also credited with concocting the very first sweet potato, plant based, sushi roll in 1995- which can now be found on sushi menus all over the country!)

I just love his approach to doing his part to solve some of our ecological problems, through food. Steve and I couldn’t resist trying something from the invasive species menu. We ordered the Dreamcatcher Onigiri ( description above) as well as a Wild Plant Nigiri (which was a medley of invasive weeds.)

IMG_5788
Invasive Plant Sushi 

It’s hard to put into words exactly how everything tasted- but it was so good. It had a very Earthy, slightly tangy, but sometimes bitter, but also at the same time sweet, flavor. (I don’t know how that description even makes sense at all, but somehow, if you tasted this sushi, you would agree with my assessment..) I couldn’t get enough. (Also, interesting side note, Mugwort- in the background of above picture, is known to induce contractions and labor in pregnant women!)

We also ordered some plant based rolls- because, how can you not?

IMG_5791

We ordered:

Kiss the Smiling Piggy (Far right): Sweet Potato, yuzu chutney and pine nuts

Chinese Superhero Roll: (Bottom of picture) Tempura fried broccoli, roasted garlic and black beans

Killer Squid: (Top left) Udon noodles flavored in shiitake mushroom and seaweed stock, black bean and scallions. (Looks and tastes like deep-fried squid! – or so the menu claims, I have never had deep fried squid to compare- but the roll was amazing!)

IMG_5787

With full bellies, I can confidently say that Steve and I did our part to celebrate the Earth and help the planet today! If you can support businesses that focus on sustainability, I urge you to, for ourselves, for our future, and for our children. If you would like to read more about Bun, especially about his solution to control invasive species by eating them, read this awesome article!

I’ll leave you with this thought on Earth Day…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

I hope you keep the Earth in your mind everyday, and not just on April 22nd. Cheers!

 

Food

The best vegan pizza trick!

IMG_5740

So this post is either going to totally rock your world and change your life, or you’re going to think to yourself, ‘yea, of course, I’ve been doing that for years..’ Either way, I couldn’t not share this amazing (yet obvious) vegan pizza work around.

First, let me start with a little background. Unless you live in NYC or LA, you probably don’t have a kick ass vegan pizza place in your neighborhood- a total bummer, if you are in fact, vegan. There used to be this great pizza place, about 15 minutes away from us, that served up a fantastic vegan pie. They were a regular pizza place, but also offered a vegan option, with artichoke hearts, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, vegan pesto… it was to say the least, delicious. Then, one day, all of a sudden, we heard that the branch close to our house was closing. Total bummer. We started brainstorming other options for vegan pizza.  There was another place that served up a vegan pie, but it was about 25 (or more) minutes away and not an ideal trip when you decide on a whim to get take out.

So here we are, Friday night, with no vegan slices… What to do… well, (and I’m not sure what the heck took us so long to figure this out) we ordered a regular pizza from a local place about 2 minutes down the road from us. We got eggplant and garlic (our favorite) and told them to make it for us sans cheese. We then went to our local grocery store and bought some vegan mozzarella to sprinkle over the top, place back in the oven, and voila! Our own vegan pizza that didn’t take an hour to pick up! We used Daiya shreds, but next time, I can’t wait to thinly slice some Miyoko’s fresh mozz for the topping! (Which you can get at most Whole Foods now!)

Also worth noting, did you know that you can heat your pizza back up in the oven in the pizza box! I used to take out a baking sheet, line it with foil, …ugh… now we just removed the top of the box, sprinkled our cheese on, set the oven to 350, and heated up! What a dream pizza night! (so… have you been doing one or both of these things forever? or did I just totally change your life?)

IMG_5738
Our pie with no cheese and just veggie toppings
IMG_5739
Our “veganified” pie!