Mediterranean bowl with olive-oil fried chicken + quinoa tabbouleh

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Here’s my approach to weekly lunch prep, which always includes a type of salad or “bowl”:

1) Choose a flavor profile (Mexican? Mediterranean? Thai?).

2) Stock up or assess where I’m at with ingredients (if it’s Mexican, I’m gonna need black beans and jalapenos, for example).

3) Cook or prep necessary components to throw together a salad/bowl every morning before work.

More often than not, I choose Mediterranean. Continue reading

Tahini + almond stuffed dates

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I’ve been abundantly blessed to live in not only one but two places where dates are grown and harvested: first in California, where I was born and currently live, and then in Morocco, where I spent three years teaching English. Dates have been experiencing a sort of renaissance lately, what with paleo-ites desperately looking for dessert that meets the stringent requirements of a caveman’s diet. I’m pretty sure a caveman might be especially tempted by dates, especially if he stuffed a tablespoon of tahini and a single roasted almond inside. Continue reading

Roasted winter citrus fruit

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I am not a creature of habit. I have one eating ritual every day, and that is drinking a hot coffee when I wake up. And the rest, I leave up to the routine of the day: what produce is in season, how my body feels, and what’s available at the tasting station at Trader Joe’s. One day I might eat an herb-filled omelette for breakfast, the next day half a gluten-free brownie. I thrive on the unexpected. And this week, what I craved was a big bowl of roasted winter citrus fruit, simple and clean with that slight salty/sweet bite you get from pulverizing citrus rind with heat and a little olive oil in the oven. Continue reading

Caramelized + whipped white sweet potatoes with maple syrup & butter

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‘Tis the season for all things starchy, sweet and dripping in butter, but I wanted to at least keep my Christmas-y cooking and baking binge in line with clean eating. Thankfully, that’s not too difficult with a little bit of creativity with winter tubers, natural sweeteners like coconut sugar and maple syrup, and a healthy belief that butter is in fact, good for you (I trust all things Dr. Josh Axe). Continue reading

Warm winter squash + olive-oil fried chickpeas

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I’m on a squash kick lately. It’s the season for pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash, and since moving back to California, I’m happy to see that we have plenty in the produce aisle, despite a Mediterranean climate and July temperatures in November. I’m throwing it into curries, pureeing it into soups and dreaming of ways to make squash-style sweets. But my favorite way to prepare winter gourds is easy: throw them cubed into a hot pan with olive oil and onions. The result is rich, sweet and so much more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading

Coffee with almond-coconut cream & cardamom

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When I lived overseas, I noticed that cafés served tiny cups of coffee that would barely qualify as kid-size in the U.S. At first, it was a bit infuriating- where’s my half-gallon latte? But then I realized that, duh, just like super-size fries and giant plates of pasta at Cheesecake Factory, we overestimate portion size in America. So I became accustomed to having a tiny, strongly flavored drink in the afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. Continue reading

Chipotle-spiced sweet potato soup (vegan)

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Since I stick to a gluten-free and mostly paleo diet, sweet potatoes are my sweet, starchy saving grace in the midst of crisp green veggies and meat. Technically, I could eat them all year round, but something feels wrong about sinking my teeth into a hot, just-barely caramelized fire-orange potato mid-summer (the one exception being sweet potato fries, which are always a good idea). So when the skies cloud over and temperatures dip just a little bit, I rejoice because it’s that time again- time to haul a big, heavy bag home of these tubers that take on spice, butter and maple syrup so well, but are also super-duper delicious all on their own.

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Overnight oats with buttery cardamom- spiced pears & toasted pecans

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A couple weeks ago, I posted a summer-to-fall transition recipe: a warm bowl of quinoa and spiced eggplant with sweet, just barely caramelized onions. And since it’s the end of October and we’re still getting some warm weather waves down here in sunny Southern California, I have another summer-to-fall bowl for you. This satisfies that strange combo of craving festive, spicy flavors while dealing with July-style weather. Cool, creamy overnight oats with pears pan-fried in butter and sugar, topped with toasty pecans: it tastes like fall, but it’s still cool enough for breakfast on warmer mornings.

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Spinach + kale smoothie with aloe and coconut oil

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When I was a little girl, I woke up every morning looking forward to a bowl of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Or Frosted Mini Wheats. Or- if I was on vacation, Mom’s rule- Lucky Charms. Things have changed. I’m not looking to jumpstart my day with a crash-and-burn sugar and carb fest. I’m looking for an easy way to pack in nutrients and superfood ingredients so that I can feel great the rest of the morning and make sure my body gets what it needs right away. Enter the green smoothie. Hate it or love it, it’s here to stay.  Continue reading