vegan

Happy Spring & Meyer Lemon Pudding

Spring has sprung and our bodies are ready for fresh lighter foods and more movement. It can be a difficult transition at times since we’ve been moving slow for so long, but our bodies actually thrive when we can adapt to the seasons.

This is a time of shedding what doesn't serve us (physically, mentally, emotionally) and become a fresher, lighter, and more powerful version of ourselves. 

I personally like to ease my body into Spring by freshening up my meals with a bit of raw foods, start with a few room-temp smoothies, and snacking on fresh fruit. I also like to start taking my movement outside more. I feel this helps my body adapt to the change better instead of going all in.

This pudding was one of the first Spring treats I made and enjoyed in the sun. May you have an easeful and inspiring transition. 

meyer lemon pudding raspberries

Ingredients

1 can full-fat BPA free coconut milk

½ cup filtered water

4 Tablespoons chia seeds (I used white chia seeds but any color works)

Zest and juice of 1 large meyer lemon

2 Tablespoons maple syrup, more to taste

½ teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of sea salt

1 cup raspberries, mashed with a fork, for garnish

 

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except raspberries. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking.

  2. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Pour into pretty glasses and top with mashed raspberries.

 

meyer lemon pudding with raspberries

Best Ever Apple Pie

ReishiApplePie2.jpg

What makes this apple pie the best ever is the love and quality ingredients that went into it. My lovely friend Julia from Dessert Medicine was visiting and we got busy in the kitchen. 

It's a wonderful experience to share space in the kitchen with someone and let each others intuitive powers flow and blend together. 

We had an abundance of apples and a vision of an apple pie a few days prior to making this, and without rules, recipes, or expectations, we joined to execute the most amazing pie I've ever created. Julia made the crust and I made the filling. Together we made magic! 

I invite you to play in the kitchen with friends, lovers, and family. You too can create something delicious, wether you're a self-proclaimed chef or not. All you need is some inspiration, a few ingredients, and some good intentions. 

Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups gluten-free oats

1 cup almonds

2 Tablespoons flax seeds or chia seeds, plus 1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon lucuma powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, cardamom

1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

 

Apple Filling:

5 apples, sliced

¼ cup coconut palm sugar

3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons lucuma powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon reishi powder

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

To make crust:

  1. Grind flax or chia in a spice grinder, to make a powder and mix with water to make a gel.
  2. Blend oats and almonds in a high power blender, into a flour. 
  3. Melt down coconut oil, if not already liquid.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix by hand.
  5. Press crust mixture into a pie dish, evenly pinching the sides and set aside.

To make apple filling:

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness to your preference.
  2. Pour over crust and spread out evenly in pie pan.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until crust is slightly browned and apples are cooked through and soft. 

Serve with ice cream. We served it with a homemade Honey Lavender Coconut Ice Cream that I had in my freezer (recipe coming soon!). 

Creamy Sleep Tonic

One of the most important keys to health is rest. Quality rest and sleep. We live in a fast-paced society where we think we can go forever and don't need to sleep because we have too many other more important things to do.

Perhaps we can get away with it for a short period, but with time, we get worn out and don't function as efficiently as we want.

Personally, I like to tell myself that I can go without a lot of rest and sleep sometimes, but I know that is not true. I've learned that staying up until the very late hours of the night doing work is not very efficient. It takes me twice as long to accomplish a task and the lack of sleep causes me to feel more stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, emotionally unstable, and simply ungrounded.

Not allowing ourselves to rest can play a huge toll on the body, which leads to inflammation, lower immune system, and disease. Lack of rest and sleep is also a common factor to not being able to lose weight.

That said, It’s often hard to slow down and even fall asleep at night since we are so stimulated by technology, lights, and mind chatter. It is very helpful to have a night routine that creates ease, peace, and relaxation before bed.

Here are a few things I do:

  1. Shut off electronics at least 20 minutes before getting in bed

  2. Read a good book or journal

  3. Apply some lavender essential oil on my hands, neck, and nose or light some incense

  4. Drink a hot cup of herbal tea or sleep tonic that I’m sharing below

This routine is still challenging at times, but I do my best because I know that getting good sleep makes me feel refreshed and happier in my life.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup coconut milk (Homemade or Organic BPA-free canned coconut milk)

cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 inch fresh ginger root

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2-3 Tablespoons raw honey, to taste

Procedure

  1. If using cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods: Add all ingredients to a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes. Strain into mug and enjoy.
  2. If using powdered spices: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and bring to a simmer to heat up. Pour into mug and enjoy. 
  3. Garnish with cinnamon, optional. 

Serves 1-2

ote: You can substitute almond milk for coconut milk but the healthy fats in coconut will aid relaxation more than lower fat content. 

Sweet dreams! 

Chocolate Dipped Persimmon Bars

If you haven't noticed by now, dessert is one of my favorite things to make (and perhaps eat). I love creating treats that are indulgent but also provide nourishment and satisfaction. I believe that dessert is one of the best ways to connect with others and build stronger relationships. Because who doesn't love dessert? 

I had the pleasure of spending a day creating treats with my amazing friend, Julia Corbett. She has a beautiful blog where she shares inspiration and recipes for Dessert Medicine (Yes, that exists!).

This recipe was specifically created to share in Dessert Medicine. Julia and I made magic in the kitchen and then played at the park while we enjoyed these delicious bars. Hop on over to her blog to get inspired and see pictures of the process: http://www.dessertmedicine.com/blog/2015/10/30/dessert-maker-giovanna-garcia. I also share how I personally get inspired to create healthy desserts and why I created my superfood chocolate bars.

 Photo by  Julia Corbett

Photo by Julia Corbett

Ingredients

4 Fuyu persimmons, chopped

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup dried figs

1/3 cup goji berries

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 Tablespoons lucuma powder

1 teaspoon he shou wu powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Sea salt, to taste

4 Superfood chocolate bars, melted

 

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

2. Place chopped persimmons in a baking dish and toss with coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, and a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 10-20 minutes, until soft. 

3. In a food processor, combine baked persimmons along with remaining ingredients (except chocolate). Process until mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers. 

4. Line a dish or baking tin with parchment paper and press mixture down to flatten into desired thickness. Place in the freezer while you melt your chocolate. Melt chocolate on a double boiler. 

5. Remove dish from freezer and cut mixture into bars. Dip each bar into melted chocolate and place on a  parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Once finished with all bars, place back in freezer until chocolate firms up. 

6. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Makes ~10 bars

 

Buckwheat Noodle Stir-Fry

I'm all about making healthy food taste amazing while spending little time in the kitchen. I have to say I do a pretty good job at it and love sharing that with you so you too can eat healthy on-the-go. 

As you know, I am a personal chef and prepare weekly meals for my clients. When I cook for private clients, I get to make more elaborate and time-consuming dishes, which challenges me in many ways that I love. 

But when I get home from cooking for 5 hours, all I want to do is eat good food and put my feet up. So I've mastered the art of making quick meals for myself with whatever I have in the fridge without jepordizing my health. 

So much can be done with fresh produce and staple ingredients. It just takes a bit of patience with yourself and some mental relaxation to get the creative juices flowing. 

I encourage you to get creative - really, anything goes! If it tastes good, you've mastered cooking. It's meant to be fun. Play with your food, friends. 

This recipe here is one of those easy and very tasty recipes I threw together last week. Enjoy!

Ingredients

12 ounces gluten-free buckwheat (soba) noodles

1 Tablespoon toasted unrefined sesame oil (or extra virgin coconut oil)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 white onion, sliced

1 cup brussels sprouts, halved

1 cup wild mushrooms, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

Splash of coconut aminos or tamari, to taste

Handful spinach

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Juice of 1/2 lime

Pinch of dried chili flakes

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish

Procedure

  1. Cook buckwheat noodles according to package. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil in pot or large bowl. 
  2. In a pan, heat sesame oil on medium heat. Add garlic and onion, season with a pinch of sea salt and cook for a minute or so. Add brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and bell peppers and continue cooking until tender. Add coconut aminos and spinach and sauté until spinach has wilted. Season with sea salt, black pepper, lime juice, and chili flakes. Taste and adjust to your liking. 
  3. Add vegetables to cooked noodles and toss to combine well. Taste and adjust with lime juice and sea salt if needed. 
  4. Serve and garnish with sesame seeds. 

Serves 4

Colorful Cauliflower Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and so delicious! So much can be done with it besides roasting, such as cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice. This stuffed bell pepper magic I'm sharing with you today is made with 'rice' made out of Romanesco (green cauliflower) and purple cauliflower.

The natural colors of vegetables blow me away sometimes. Every color pigment has it's own purpose and function in the body. The colors literally give our body specific codes as to what to do. 

Can you guess what green and purple color pigments do?

Here's a quick download of each: 

  • Green foods are liver cleansing and detoxifying. Hence why when we think 'detox' or 'cleanse' we think greens. 
  • Purple foods protect the central nervous system, the gut nervous system, and nourish the brain. 

Interesting, right? Nature is smarter than we think at times. Nothing is coincidence. 

This recipe is a variation of my first ever blog post over 3 years ago. What a trip it's been. My meals (and life!) are so much more colorful these days. Transformation is real. 

That's a whole other story. For now, I present to you these very pretty stuffed bell peppers that will color your world.

Ingredients

Cauliflower Stuffing

½ head purple cauliflower, coarsely chopped
½ head green/Romanesque cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Splash of lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Bell Peppers

• 3 bell peppers, halved longwise, seeds and core removed (type of bell pepper doesn’t matter, but we used 3 types to make it more colorful!)

Tahini Dressing

• ½ cup tahini
• ½ cup spring or filtered water
• 1 clove garlic
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Pinch of sea salt & black pepper

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make stuffing: Place chopped cauliflower in food processor and process until it resembles rice. Transfer to a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Toss, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

3. To stuff bell peppers: Place prepared bell pepper halves in an oven safe baking dish. Stuff each pepper with cauliflower stuffing. Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes, until bell peppers are tender.

4. To make tahini dressing: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If too thick, add more water until you reach desired consistency.

5. Serve stuffed bell peppers warm and drizzle with tahini dressing.

I created this recipe for Oh My Drifter. Photos by Micaela. 

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

I've been on a simplistic approach to meals these days. Lots of smoothies and simple vegetable bowls (I will share a few more of these recipes soon). It works quite well with my busy schedule and being on my feet all day. I like the lightness of these meals so I can continue energized throughout the day. 

Being able to digest our food is so important, but it's hard to do so when we're rushed and adrenaline is going. When we don't digest our food properly, our bodies respond with bloatedness, gassiness, heartburn, and feeling overall uncomfortable. 

Feeling like this after every meal is not ideal for anyone. I personally went years feeling like crap after every time I ate thinking it was normal. When we're bloated and gassy, our bodies are stressed and expanding tons of energy to try to get back to a relaxed state. Proper digestion itself takes up a lot of energy, that's why when we eat large meals, we feel tired afterwards and it can be hard to think. Not super ideal for midday when there's still lots of energy to expand on other things. Eating wisely is key! 

There are things that could help digestion such as sitting down for a meal in a quiet place away from all electronic devices, breathing deeply before and during meals, eating lighter meals, drinking your meals (blended foods are predigested for us!), avoiding fluids with your solid meals (unless drinking your meal, of course), avoid foods that cause you bloatedness and indigestion (usually processed foods, refined sugars, processed and inorganic dairy, gluten (for some), and fast food), and chewing your food! We undermine chewing and it's key for proper digestion. 

Below is one of the quick smoothies I've been making for myself while the delicious berry season continues. Try it yourself. Feel free to add raw seeds, nuts, or your favorite organic plant-based protein powder for extra protein. 

What do you do to stay nourished in the midst of your busy schedule?

Ingredients

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries (or berries of choice)

1 cup raw coconut water

andful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup, or more to taste)

1 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter (Homemade recipe here)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Top with extra blueberries or berries of choice. 

 

Captures of Summer Brunch

What a heart warming thing it is to come together with amazing people and enjoy super delicious food. 

I'm blown away by the incredible outcome and support at our summer brunch. I just love sharing nourishing food with people and seeing a huge smile on their face. Truly grateful and filled today. 

Here's a glimpse of how much fun we had.

Stay connected with us to hear about upcoming events and more!


Matcha Mint Acai Bowl

MatchaAcaiBowl Featured Image

I'm sure you've all seen the beautiful acai bowls popping up at your local shops. I think it's great that we have easier access to these superfoods such as acai and matcha now, which do not originate in our country but are packed with incredible nutrients that support longevity and overall wellbeing. Did you know that both of these foods are two of the top foods highest in antioxidants? Antioxidants are essential vitamins that help our bodies kill off and prevent free radicals, which form in result to cell damage due to acidity in the body from high levels of stress (physical/emotional/mental), highly refined sugars and processed food intake, smoking and alcohol, and environmental toxins. An excessive amount of free radicals in the body leads to disease, illness, and aging at early stages. As an added bonus, antioxidants support beauty and skin health.

That said, let's get some antioxidants in you!

In my opinion, the best part of having access to these wonderful foods is that we can recreate our own goodies with even higher nutrient value and unrefined ingredients at home.

Below I'm sharing one of the many acai bowls I've created. I intentionally added the matcha to this one, not only for it's antioxidant content, but for a nourishing afternoon energy boost that won't spike blood sugar.

MatchaAcaiBowl
MatchaAcaiBowl

Ingredients

1 frozen acai pack (I use Sambazon)

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1 yellow peach, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup spring or filtered water - just enough to help blend but not too much so it doesn't thin out

2 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice)

1 Tablespoon raw honey (or 1-2 medjool dates)

2 teaspoons Encha Matcha Culinary Grade - Amazing quality!

Generous handful of fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to move things around a few times. It's meant to be a thick sorbet-like consistency.
  2. Top with toppings of choice. I topped mine with some homemade gluten-free granola and fresh blueberries.

Serves 1-2

I hope you enjoy this recipe and share with me what variation you come up with!

xx,

Giovanna