Healthy + Local Last Minute Holiday Gifts

'Tis the season to show the ones you care about how much you truly care about them. Though I do think that this should be a year-round event (and one not focused so much on the material aspect of gift-giving), I've started a list of some of my favorite gift ideas that are healthy and if you're in the Bay Area, local. Check them out below, and feel free to add more of your favorites in the comments!


Massage with an Amazing Therapist. David "Dayalan" Clark moved to San Francisco in January 2012 and has been one of the best therapists I've seen since. He is also a certified yoga instructor and holistic health practitioner. You can gift 60 or 90 minute massages directly through his website at 4dbliss.com.

 Photo courtesy of David Clark at 4d Bliss

Photo courtesy of David Clark at 4d Bliss

Healing Acupuncture Session. If you're looking for a holistic health care clinic in San Francisco, Golden Point Acupuncture is that place, and the talented Rebecca Fettig is the person you want to see. She has helped replenish my health immensely. The perfect gift for the person needing less stress, more energy, and ultimately a transformed body and mind. (Wait, isn't that everyone?) While you're getting holiday presents, book a session for yourself at goldenpointacupuncture.com.

Recovery and Restoration through Depth Hypnosis. Suzanne Katanic provides integrated counseling through hypnosis and counseling. Essentially, she helps her clients find connection with their personal purpose and direction and will use Shamanic practices, Huna, energy medicine, and Buddhist psychology to do so. Visit artofdeepbusiness.com to learn more and schedule (or gift) a time to meet with her.

 Photo courtesy of Broth Baby

Photo courtesy of Broth Baby

Comforting Bone Broth. Described as "a hug from your mother," Broth Baby's bone broth is pasture raised and perfect for cooking or sipping. It's my personal most favorite thing to sip on after a long day! You can FEEL the nourishment. Check out this wonder at brothbaby.com.

Herbal Apothecary Goods. Sometimes it can be difficult to shop for the men in your life. But MoonriseCreek Herbal Apothecary makes it easier with its natural, eco-friendly botanical skin care line, aromatherapy oils, and other plant-based, artisanal products. Plus, they even sell men's grooming products and personalized gifts as well! Put in your order today through their Etsy shop.

Private or Event Yoga. Perhaps you're looking for a more experiential gift this season. Why not organize an energizing yoga session for a group of your friends, colleagues, and/or family members? Regina Garcia is a fun, knowledgable teacher who will help you begin the New Year "on the right foot." Bonus: Regina also doubles as a photographer, if you are interested in gifting a photo session too. Schedule your session with Regina at yogafelice.com.

 Photo courtesy of Yoga Felice

Photo courtesy of Yoga Felice

 Photo from A Purified Life

Photo from A Purified Life

Wholesome Cuisine. Last but not least, you could gift my private chef services - a helpful present for the busy individuals in your life! I'll plan, shop, and cook the meals and in return, your recipient will enjoy the nourishment and health benefits of a week of wholesome, home-cooked meals. Alternatively, I also offer private brunch/dinner party catering and in-home cooking classes. Check out A Purified Life's website for more information.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Herb Dressing

Winter squashe might be one of my favorite things about the fall. Aren't they just so delicious?

You can't ever go wrong with a baked squash of any kind. This recipe here is a simple go-to of mine that takes little preparation and packs a lot of flavor. 

What's best about winter squash varieties is that they are super nutritious. They are high in antioxidants (hence their bright color), contain fiber, and have good amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Squash is meant to be comforting on all levels for this time of year. Get cooking! 

 

Ingredients

Roasted Acorn Squash:

1 acorn squash

1-2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted, enough to coat squash

Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

 

Herb Dressing:

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup basil, finely chopped

½ - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover herbs

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Pinch of chili flakes, to taste

 

giosquash_5.jpg

Procedure

To cook squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out seeds with a spoon and save (you can toast them or blend in smoothies). Cut into ¾-inch thick half moons.
  3. Toss squash with coconut oil, sea salt, and black pepper on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Spread out evenly and bake for about 30 minutes, turning at 15 minutes, until squash is soft in the middle.

To make dressing:

  1. Place finely chopped herbs in a small bowl.
  2. Add olive oil slowly while whisking. Add enough olive oil to cover and create a dressing-like consistency that can be poured.
  3. Season with lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and chili flakes until you reach desired taste.
  4. Serve cooked squash and drizzle herb dressing over it.

Serves 2-3

This recipe was created for Oh My Drifter and photographed by the lovely Micaela

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! 

Oat & Pear Muffins

I love fall and all it's glory. So much goodness, nourishment, and warmth. I believe in eating with the seasons since what's in season (locally, wherever you live) is naturally what our bodies need. So although you may love your smoothies and raw foods (I sure do), if you're in cold weather, you might benefit more from cooked local and seasonal foods. 

The San Francisco cool weather sure has me wanting starchier and more grounding foods. Like pears, winter squashes, and persimmons. Yum! 

I gotta say that I'm not the best baker, but I've been surprising myself lately as I get more comfortable with it. 

These muffins are the perfect amount of sweet for a morning or afternoon treat. 

Ingredients

1 cup oat flour (ground up gluten-free oats) or almond flour

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

2 organic pasture-raised eggs

1/2 cup spring water or almond milk

1/4 cup raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ripe pears, diced

Coconut palm sugar, to garnish muffins

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  3. Whisk together eggs, spring water or almond milk, raw honey, and vanilla. 
  4. Pour egg mixture onto dry ingredients and mix to combine well. Add diced pears and mix again. 
  5. Coat muffin molds with coconut oil or organic butter. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each mold and garnish with a few pinches of coconut palm sugar. 
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of muffin. 

Makes 8 muffins. 

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

 

Captures of Late Summer Brunch

It's a beautiful thing to prepare a comforting and nourishing meal for like-minded individuals. I'm grateful for the ongoing support and beautiful community that is building from these events. 

Photography by Regina Felice.

We'd love to see you at an upcoming event. 

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.