I’ve been getting back into vinyassa yoga lately. Most of the time I do yoga sculpt classes with weights, but recently I’ve needed some deep stretching and some major stress relief. The mind-body connection that yoga brings me is often times my favorite part of the class; I’m more self-aware, compassionate, and thoughtful with each class. I’ve also noticed that my anxiety diminishes.
The other day my instructor was talking about how you have to be brave in order to become your true self. How you have to go beyond what you think you’re capable of if you want to make something happen. Take a chance on something or someone.
Little conversations like those push me to be better. I’m happy to have the ability to to make choices, change my future and create opportunities that I would have never thought possible. Thus on my journey to having a clear mind with less stress, I’m also focusing on having a healthy body. Eating clean, preparing my meals, and taking care of myself is so important.
This past weekend I made a big batch of this summery salad (with fall flavors?) My mom came over to help taste test, and she absolutely loved it. We enjoyed it cold served with some greek yogurt.
This salad was inspired by my favorite little meal at Whole Foods made with couscous. Every time I’m there I search for it.
Oven roasted green beans with garlic, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes – the perfect side dish!
Green things! Finally, right?
For the last month, I ate way too much Mexican food, drank too many bottles of wine, and consumed wayyyy too much sugar. Talk about an overload. What I really need in my life (and maybe yours, too) is a little balance.
The good news is that work finally seems to be slowing down and I’m planning a couple of things including a blog redesign and a trip to Australia!
Yes, my boyfriend and I are headed down under for almost two weeks next month! Our trip starts in Sydney, then we’re road tripping from Brisbane to Byron Bay, then back through the Gold Coast, and finally ending in Brisbane for one of my darling friend’s wedding. She just sent me a picture of the bridesmaid’s dress and it’s beyond gorgeous!
Even though I briefly lived in Australia and explored, I’m excited to head back and do some adventuring! Above is a picture of me at Byron Bay, the most eastern point of Australia; it was where I first learned to surf!
If you have any recommendations of things to do, see, or visit – please leave a comment or send me an email! I’d love to hear them!
So this weekend I shoveled snow in my heels because I didn’t have any boots with me. It was completely ridiculous but also a little riveting as it proves I’m a total badass. Call me Beyonce.
Just kidding, please don’t do that.
Something that’s actually ridiculous though? My complete obsession with brown butter. It’s life-changing, and I have a slight feeling that I may be responsible for introducing many of you to the magic it can create in a recipe. How can something so simple be that delicious? I don’t ask questions I just try and put it in as many things as possible.
Now I enjoy making my own sweet potato fries, but if I’m in a bind I’ll purchase Alexia Sweet Potato Fries; they’re delicious and a great option if you don’t feel like peeling and cutting your sweet potatoes. Plus, you can always spice up your fries to your liking. My favorite sweet potato fries are heavily dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They remind me of the flavors of Thanksgiving, like I’m eating a slice of sweet potato pie.
But do you know what really takes it over the top? Drizzling them with a brown butter marshmallow glaze.
I think need to repeat that. A BROWN BUTTER MARSHMALLOW GLAZE. I feel giddy every time I think about it.
Are you a french fry lover? I sure am! Good quality french fries of all shapes and sizes are one of my favorite ways to indulge on a Sunday.
In my experience, some of the best fries can be found at your local burger joint — you know that hole-in-the-wall spot everyone loves? In Minnesota there’s a small dive bar called The Nook and my goodness… it is completely amazing! I don’t even eat beef burgers, but I would totally devour a Juicy Lucy (a burger stuffed with cheese) if I was there. Oh and their fries? Heavenly, hand-cut, and rich with flavor to balance out that juicy burger. Please go if you ever find yourself in the Tundra.
And now that we’re onto the subject of restaurant fries, we should chat about Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California. This place is one of my favorites and truly has some of the best fries I’ve ever tasted in my life. I should also mention that MB Post makes bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits that are so good they make you want to cry, which is another reason you should stop by. Just please don’t forget the seriously huge steak fries that are so effortlessly perfect for dipping. Mmmm I just lovvveee them!
Now of course, I can’t go around eating hand cut french fries at restaurants allll the time. That’s why I love that Alexia Foods makes frozen fries that come out perfectly crisp when you bake them in the oven. Their sweet potato waffle fries were my go-to snack during the Super bowl and I made an incredible spicy dipping sauce to go with them. It’s essentially love at first bite. And no, I’m not just saying that.
I think it’s obvious what the answer is: this coconut rice!
I was offered the opportunity to partner with Campbell’s to make a recipe from their site, which to be honest, I didn’t even know existed until now!
I chose to make a coconut rice dish I stumbled upon, because I knew it would pair perfectly with many of the things I eat. And guess what? I loved it! It’s incredibly simple to make.
Basically all you do is start with chicken broth and coconut milk and bring the liquid to a boil, then add the rice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper (for a little spice) and garlic powder, then simply cover and simmer over medium low for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is sweet and tender. This side dish is then finished off by adding almonds and green onions, however I subbed in cilantro because I love the freshness it brings. I also think it’d be great to add chopped pineapple for a touch more sweetness.
Head over to Campbell’s website for the recipe, then check out their other simple and easy recipes that you can make or adapt to your liking.
During my younger years, my Mom used to bring me along to grocery store while she went shopping. I was always excited to go on these weekly trips because I knew she would buy me the crispy wedge fries from the Deli counter. They were incredibly delicious and basically everything you need in your life at the age of four. Especially when you’ve got ketchup to dip them in.
I specifically remember the fries having this incredible crunchy golden brown coating on the outside with a hint of spice. But the inside? Pure bliss. An incredibly soft texture that I still remember to this day. We called them Joe-Joes; I’m still not really sure why.
Anyway there I’d be sitting and snacking delightfully on my little bag of Joe-Joes with a little (or A LOT) of ketchup all over my hands and face. I was probably grinning ear to ear.
Is it wrong that I kind of want to do that again? Probably. Well because adults don’t sit in shopping carts, nor do they have messy faces or hands.
Growing up is tough guys… especially when you grow out of eating joe-joes. However, I’ve realized that fries can be so much better with flavor combinations that could fill up an entire book and dipping sauces that are completely creative.
Welp, it’s Monday. I have a lot of things that I need to share with you. So let’s just get to it!
1. I got an iPhone. My life has officially changed… I don’t know if it’s for the better since I’m pretty obsessed. This weekend my godson downloaded like 5 ninja apps. He also read my texts. Yes, quite entertaining. Oh and obviously I now have Instagram. I basically just take photos of food, brown butter, and things that don’t matter. SO COOL, right? Wrong.
2. I’m headed to NYC this week! Eeeek! Can you believe that I’ve never been before? I am SO excited. I’ll only be there a few days, but trust me,you are going to want to see the recap. We’re staying in the Trump tower! I also really need some incredible restaurant recommendations so send them my way puhhhlease?
3. My birthday is in like, a month and 10 days… but who’s counting? ANYWAY due to this immediate holiday coming up, I have to start thinking about what I really want to do. I have concluded that I need an incredible meal, followed by a HOMEMADE pumpkin pie served with real whip cream. Really, it’s all I want. Or a trip to Greece. Either one would work.
4. That being said, Thanksgiving is soon. There will be epic desserts on this blog in the next coming weeks. Bear with me as we expand our waistlines… OR you could just make the recipes for other people and give them yoga pants for Christmas.
5. This HUMMUS needs to be made by you. Also bonus points if you make homemade pita chips and eat it for breakfast because you know that’s what I did. I have to thank the fabulous Giada for the inspiration. I have to thank myself for slathering it over everything in sight.
My basil plant is still producing huge leaves, so I decided that it was time to use them up. Holy italian-hummus-love this is GOOD. The basil, garlic, and white bean hummus makes the perfect appetizer and is pretty great on just about anything.
Hummus on sandwiches. Hummus for breakfast. Hummus snacking is totally good. I would know, I dipped carrots, snowpeas, and every veggie imaginable in it. At one point I contemplated putting it on a granola bar, but decided that was taking it too far. But I don’t know. It might still happen.
Oh and the whole making your own pita chips thing? Probably the easiest thing you could ever do. I usually buy the 100 calorie whole wheat pita bread. Western Bagelmakes an amazing high-fiber, lower-carb pita bread, but feel free to use any you like!
There are certain things that we all take for granted. We easily forget how blessed we are to have caring people in our lives, to have good food on our plates, and to have opportunities in our future. Little things like a simple conversation with a friend or an embrace with a loved one may seem to always be there. We go through our day to day motions of buying overpriced cappuccinos and putting gas in our cars without a thought. We hardly ever think about how privileged we truly are.
There are days when we even take ourselves for granted. We forget what we love to do, those passions we all have, and get lost in the big world for a moment or two. Often, we put our dreams aside because we’re afraid to fail. We forget to say I love you to those who matter. And sometimes, we just forget to be ourselves. Our pursuit of happiness gets buried somewhere.
And so before we talk about super amazing things with bacon and maple syrup, I thought I’d write you a little inspirational post about how awesome you truly are. Because I think sometimes we all need a little reminder about the things we should never forget.
Never forget you’re beautiful and unique. You aren’t like anyone else on the planet, so don’t even try to be normal. Always, always be yourself. Embrace your quirks and weirdness. Be who you are and then you will find what you want.
Never forget to believe in yourself and those around you. This is life. We’re all just getting along on our journey; figuring it out and taking those uphill battles one day at a time. In some way, we’re all struggling, so offer compassion to those around you. Be encouraging to both yourself and others. Projecting kindness never feels bad.
Never forget to follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure, because it leads to success. Having a passion is daring, but it makes you inspiring and remarkable. Remember that part of life is pursuing a happiness. Forget what others think or say, go after what’s in your heart. Life is short and moments are always passing.
Never settle. On love or in life. You deserve something amazing because you are amazing.
Since being in LA, I’ve been trying to get out and do as many things as possible. Most days all I wanted to do is eat ice cream but you know I guess I have to get out and do things besides cook. This past weekend a friend invited me to go hiking and have a picnic in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. We purchased delicious salads at Trader Joe’s (the best place evaaaa) and packed fresh fruit. I mean for heaven’s sake I was eating those peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt allllll last week so sweat and salad sounded pretty awesome.
Ohhhh and sweat is exactly what I did. The hike was uphill and grueling, but the views were absolutely breathtaking! We could see the beach, the bright blue ocean and Catalina Island in the distance. Sometimes there is nothing more fun then getting out and being a little adventurous. It just feels good, you know?
After our hike I was still incredibly hungry, but I wanted a healthy snack since I knew I was going out for dinner that night and would be most likely stuffing my face with warm tortilla chips and a giant Mexican salad. So what did I decided to make? Zucchini chips!
Don’t you look at your computer screen like that. Just trust in the power of your oven.
Zucchini is in season and if you haven’t found a recipe to use with it, here’s your chance! These are easy to make, cheap, and healthy. Who knew zucchini was such a triple threat?
I should also mention that zucchini is low in calories so I love finding new ways to eat it.
To make these I simply cut my zucchini into about 1/4 inch thick rounds, then dipped them in egg whites and coated them in a bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. I even added a little bit of red pepper flakes for spice, which I highly recommend!
These would be the perfect side dish to any burger you are cooking up for labor day. However, if you’re chowing down on them for a snack, I suggest dipping them in a classic marinara sauce!
Zucchini coated in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese then baked until crispy and golden.
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with Parchment paper.
Place egg whites in small bowl. In separate small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Dip each zucchini slice in egg whites then dip each round into the Parmesan bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat it evenly on boat sides. Place slices evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes or until zucchini chips are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Feel free to add or subtract spices to suit your tastes.
Usually for peanut butter. Sometimes for a big banana milkshake. Always for a slice of pumpkin pie. But today, I wanted sweet potato fries more than anything else in the world… with a little somethin’ special: homemade honey mustard dipping sauce.
If you’re wondering what the combination of the two is like, it’s quite difficult to say. I mean, how do you explain magic when it happens?
Honeymustardoholic: Not a word, but probably will be soon. This stuff is addictive.
With only three ingredients this honey mustard is incredibly easy to throw together. All you need is low-fat mayo, honey, and dijon mustard. Whip the three together in a small bowl, then be prepared to make more. Why? Because you will be putting it on everything.
It’s unusually versatile: Slather it on a slice of bread and top with turkey, dunk your kids chicken nuggets in it (eating them yourself, obviously), dip some veggies in it (you’re so healthy!), or just do like I do and eat it by the spoonful (I like you).
Oh and now you want to know about these crispy, LOW-FAT sweet potato fries?
I’ve been making my own fries for a couple of years now, so I’ve experimented with several different methods. Here are five tips that I’d like to pass along to ensure a crispy, delicious baked sweet potato fry.
Cut them thick. Cutting your fries into large slices about 1/2-3/4 inch thick will ensure a nice sweet interior that doesn’t dry up when baking.
Use cornstarch to keep them crispy. Sweet potatoes are made up of a higher percentage of water compared to regular potatoes which causes them to sometimes get soggy when baked. Coating the fries with a little bit of cornstarch prevents this, as the cornstarch will form a crust on the outside of the fry. I got the corn starch idea from The Art of Doing Stuff. I’ve also thought about using flour, but I’m not sure it would have the same effect.
Drizzle them with a little olive oil. We’re not fry baking them, so a lot of olive oil isn’t necessary. Usually 1 or 2 tablespoons is sufficient enough to crisp them up and add flavor.
Give them room to breathe. Don’t allow your fries to touch on your baking sheet. You want the air to circulate around them so that they will bake and crisp evenly. You can use two baking sheets if you are making a lot of fries; be sure to rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.
Turn them halfway through. We want crispy fries on all sides, not just one.
Hmm… what else could you possibly need to know about these?
Oh yeah, how about how to flavor them?
My favorite way is with a little bit of cinnamon and sea salt, but it’s up to you! If you like your sweet potato fries spicy, try adding cayenne pepper. Another great option is cumin and garlic powder for a little bit of mexican pizazz. I know a lot of people who prefer paprika as their seasoning of choice too. It’s fun experimenting with different flavors.
I love to make a giant batch of these because I never feel guilty about eating them. They are low in fat, and just so happen to be packed with vitamins and minerals! Technically sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat; they’re full of vitamin A, C, and E, plus fiber, potassium and beta carotene. They’re also a complex carbohydrate which means that they take longer for your body to break down, keeping you fuller, longer. Read more about sweet potatoes and their nutritional value here.
The daily health information session is now over. Let’s get back to drooling.
Crispy, golden orange, salty-sweet, incredible, plus one million other delicious adjectives.
My goodness I love these fries… and I think you should make them.
But don’t you dare forget that dipping sauce!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
For the fries
2-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1-2 tablespoons of corn starch
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (if desired) or your own spice combination
For the honey mustard dipping sauce
1/4 cup low-fat mayo (can also use fat-free or olive oil based)
1/4 cup dijon mustard (whole grain dijon is good too)
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut the sweet potatoes evenly into even fry shapes and place into a large bowl.
Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the uncooked fries and use your hands to gently toss sweet potatoes and corn starch together to lightly coat the sweet potatoes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the fries and toss with your hands, adding more if you feel the fries are not LIGHTLY coated. Sprinkle whatever spices you’d like onto the fries (I use sea salt and cinnamon) and gently toss again.
Spread sweet potatoes evenly on your baking sheet(s), making sure that they aren’t touching each other. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip fries with a spatula, and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. Do not overbake or they will burn. A little caramelization on the edges of the fries is good, but we don’t want black fries.
To make the homemade honey mustard combine mayo and dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy. Slowly add in the honey and stir again until combined. Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Preheating your baking sheet will also result in a crisper fry, but sometimes my fries cook quicker so just be aware of the timing.
I do not recommend using aluminum foil, as every time I do my fries come out soggy.
If you are making a smaller batch of fries, or if you cut them thinner, I recommend flipping them after 10 minutes and only baking for a total of 20 minutes.