whole foods

10 Things I've Learned About Food & People During My Chef Years

In my years as a chef, I've learned so many interesting things about common eating preferences and what's most important for someone when they hire a personal chef. 

  1. The simpler, the better. You'd think that people hire a chef because they want complicated meals prepared, but simpler meals somehow still become favorites. One-pot meals in particular are always a huge hit. Perhaps they offer more of a comfort feel. 
  2. Chia pudding for the win! Seriously this delicious 5-minute treat is the most requested by my clients and the recipe that most people visit and make from my blog
  3. Variety is not always the case. I check-in with clients consistently to make sure I'm meeting their needs and expectations. Variety is something most claim they really want, but when I check-in and take requests, everyone wants their favorite meals repeated (all the time!). We are creatures of habit after all. 
  4. Love over flavor, most of the time. My work is all about satisfying people's taste buds with the healthiest meals. What I've found to be even more valuable about my services is the love and care I put into every single dish. In those mentioned client check-ins, most responses are about how much they enjoy working with me personally and having my energy in their home. This is a compliment as much as a reinforcement that love put into something overrides any outcome. 
  5. "You can make vegan food taste like real food". True story. A client said this to me after making a Mediterranean stew that apparently tasted exactly like pizza. I took that on as my new 'skill'. This did become a favorite dish. 
  6. Yogurt dressing on everything. It is one of the most requested toppings/dressings from all my clients - I make a special herbal yogurt dressing. They literally dollop it on everything and can't ever get enough. I personally cannot tolerate dairy, but I know the deliciousness of yogurt, I'd be putting that on everything also if I didn't get a stomach ache every time. 
  7. Vegan desserts are the most favored. This was ironic to me when writing this right after the yogurt craze, but vegan desserts for some reason seem to be most popular. There's something about using alternative ingredients to dairy and eggs in some desserts that make them more enjoyable and indulgent, my clients and I sure think so. 
  8. Brussels sprouts - roasted vs. any other cooking method. I think 99% of people I know LOVE brussels sprouts but there is something about roasted that just makes someone melt, and turn their face when cooked any other way. My clients have made it very clear that if they're not roasted, they don't want them. I agree. 
  9. Attention to detail. There seems to be great appreciation for my attention to detail when it comes to storing my client's food, leaving necessary instructions, and most importantly, cleaning up. This is a no-brainer for me, but I get so many ecstatic comments about how clean I leave a client's kitchen - cleaner than I found it. I feel grateful every time to know that my clients truly value this service as so much more than just any meal delivery service. 
  10. A personal chef is not for everyone. Although hiring a personal chef sounds luxurious and like a dream come true, some people try out the service and realize it's not for them. These people are mainly ones that love cooking, don't necessarily want everything prepared for them, and simply need more direction as to what, when, and how much to cook. Because of seeing this so often, I created a meal planning service option to support those who either can't afford a personal chef or simply don't want one but want to save time with meal planing. 

It's these little things that make my work oh so fun and pleasurable.

Comment below or email me personally (giovanna@apurifiedlife.com) if you'd like my support making your life healthier and easier. 

Berry Breakfast Bars

Don't be fooled by the title of this recipe. These bars can be eaten for breakfast, as well as any time of day or occasion. I wrote this recipe a while ago and had not posted it, so I thought it would be fitting to share it for 4th of July weekend since it's colorful and festive. 

I sampled these bars out at several events the past month, and people went crazy for them. So simple, yet so flavorful. I'm all about making food easy to prepare while really emphasizing on taste and eye appeal. Luckily, with living organic whole foods, there's not much work to do because it's so pretty and packed with deliciousness. 

Ingredients

2 cups medjool dates, pitted
½ cup gluten-free oats
½ cup raw sunflower seeds or nut/seed of choice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup mixed fresh berries, chopped

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor, except fresh berries. Process until ingredients are well combined and mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers.
  2. Transfer to a parchment lined dish such as a pyrex or cake tin. Press mixture down into pan to flatten out. Here you can decide what thickness of bars you want. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  3. While bottom layer is setting, place mixed berries in food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop them up. You may leave a few whole ones out for decoration. Spread over date mixture and slice into bars.

I hope you are inspired to make this recipe for your celebrations this weekend. Please share your pretty creations with me on social media with #apurifiedlife, I love seeing them.

Recipe was created for Oh My Drifter blog and photographed by the talented Micaela Hoo.  

Happy 4th of July!

x,

Giovanna

Caramel Apple Smoothie

CaramelAppleSmoothie featured image

Ah, I love thriving off whole foods! Don't you? The best thing about eating unrefined whole foods is creating your favorite flavors without harming your health, and instead, providing a nutrient-rich and tasty experience. It's a win-win if you ask me. I hope you enjoy this guilt-free sweetness! I encourage you to play with the ingredients to adjust flavor to your liking.

Ingredients

1 large apple, cored and chopped

2 cups nut milk of choice

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 Tablespoon homemade sunflower seed butter (Or almond butter)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon Levity (Red Asparagus Root from Longevity Power), optional but has a caramel-like taste

Pinch of sea salt

CaramelAppleSmoothie

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 1

 

X,

Giovanna

January Brunch Club - Morning Rituals for the New Year

BC_January_Website

Let’s get together to ring in 2015 with a delicious meal, great company, and good intentions! We’ll gather for a family style meal made with all organic, local, and gluten-free ingredients by Giovanna Garcia, Natural Chef at A Purified Life. We'll learn the importance of a personal 'Morning Ritual' to set the tone for our days and help us sustain our New Years resolutions. Giovanna Garcia will give us tips to get our metabolism going and recipes for quick and healthy breakfast options. Crystal Sanders, Yoga Teacher for Yogafish, will show us simple stretches and breathing exercises to get our energy flowing in the morning and throughout the workday.

Also, an optional pre-brunch yoga class at 10 AM is available to add onto your ticket, space is limited so get your ticket and come get down (ward facing dog) with us.

Note: If you purchase only a brunch ticket (no 10 AM yoga) you don’t need to wear workoutattire, we won’t be engaging in a yoga practice during the event. Simplywear something that’s comfortable for moving around in your chair, as youwould at your desk.

Date: January 17th, 2015

Location: Naked Kitchen (945 Valencia Street, San Francisco)

Optional Yoga Class: 10:00am-11:00am

Morning Ritual Brunch: 11:00am-1:00am

Eventbrite - Brunch Club: Morning Rituals for the New Year

Get tickets here

Presented by A Purified Life and Yogafish