After a weekend away in Seattle, a stream of plates being served to me at Walrus and the Carpenter, Bateau, Kin Khao and Nojo Ramen (okay, and takeout sushi, let’s not kid ourselves here), I was craving something fresh and homemade. On top of that, embracing my last month on the young side of my twenties has let me drink some really great cocktails and wine.
Once upon a time, smoothies were my go-to breakfast, until they were replaced by even quicker grab-and-go options. But with this most recent bout of stuffing my face, I’ve returned to my blended roots and whipped up a protein-packed smoothie to help me start the day (whether it’s at 7 a.m. or noon).
Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup milk kefir
1/4 cup mango juice
2 bananas, frozen then sliced
1/2 cup frozen mangoes
For this smoothie, I tried out milk kefir—a tangy, thick variation of milk made from kefir starters that resemble the consistency of cottage cheese. It’s lauded as being better for those with sensitive stomachs and packs in probiotics to boot. And chia seeds? Did you know that these pencil-tip sized seeds are packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants and fiber.
1. In a small bowl, combine your milk kefir and mango juice with your chia seeds. Let these rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours—the seeds will expand and get soft!
2. Once your chia seeds have soaked, combine all of your ingredients into a blender and enjoy!
I’m constantly snacking on hummus at work, since we’re cursed (by mostly blessed) with small packs of Sabra hummus. So when Sabra announced that they were coming out with sandwich spreads, I knew things were about to get next level. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise, but I always crave something a little flavorful and saucy on my sammies.
Bonus points, Sabra’s hummus spread has 75% less fat than mayo, is made with fresh ingredients and comes in a squeeze bottle to feed my lazy tendencies.
Grilled Steak, Arugula and Sabra Spread Sandwich
1 pound of fresh rib eye (I got mine straight from the farmers market)
1/4 cup arugula
2 slices of fresh bread (mine was from Oakland’s Firebrand Bakery)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Sabra’s Cracked Black Pepper Sandwich Spread
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1. Heat a grill or a pan to medium-high heat. Dry rub your ribeye with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to soak in all that flavor.
2. Once your steak has marinated with all that dry rub, place it into the pan to sear until it’s medium-well. I like the tried and true method of pressing on my steak to figure out if it’s done or not. If it’s as firm as the middle of your palm, you have a medium-well steak.
3. Take two slices of thick bread, lightly butter and pan fry until golden brown while your steak finishes up.
4. Slice your steak into small, 1/4 inch pieces and assemble your sandwich with your arugula. I gratuitously used about 2 tbsp. of Sabra’s delishhhh Cracked Black Pepper sandwich spread—perfect complement to the fresh arugula and steak. Enjoy!
Just as an FYI: I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
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I’m spoiled. I’ve grown up in a near-perfect state that rarely dips below 50-degrees, never lived more than 5 miles from the ocean and I can get fresh, local vegetables all year long. I mean, talk about being born with a silver spoon in my mouth or what.
Now in San Francisco, we have fertile farmland to the north, east and south of us, so I’m not even sure why we need grocery stores. Everyone should head to the farmers market once the weekend rolls around. One of my favorite farms, Tomatero Organic Farm, always brings the goods when it comes to fresh vegetables that taste just as perfect as they look.
Do yourself a favor this weekend, get out your blender and make some gazpacho with veggies straight from the farmers market.
Fall Garden Gazpacho
6-7 garlic cloves
1 Anaheim pepper
3 Early Girl tomatoes, cubed
2 heirloom tomatoes, cubed
1/2 red onion, diced
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Cracked black pepper
1. Before you whip up your gazpacho, refrigerate all of your vegetables for at least an hour to have them a little chilled before they go into the blender. You don’t want warm gazpacho!
2. Once your vegetables have chilled, combine all of your cubed vegetables in a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add the sherry vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!
Guess what everyone, I actually broke a sweat in the city this week. Twice. Otherwise, this whirlwind of a week (in life, work and everything in between) flew by (I mean, what’s new) and now my neck hurts really bad. Otherwise, here are my favorite things that I discovered this week:
I got a haircut a couple of weeks ago (which I love) and my stylist recommended that I try out the three-day method. Which basically means don’t wash your hair until the third day. Without the Death Valley dry shampoo by R+Co., I wouldn’t have made it throughout the week.
Narcos on Netflix has been my TV jam as of late. Get ready for lots of drugs, guns and other unmentionables.
New week, new book. Just kidding, I’m lucky if I finish a book within two months. I’m crushing on Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett—it has pictures!
How can I forget the magic that is a Beyoncé concert? That woman sang, danced and made me cry. She really can do it all.
There’s only one thing that I wish my parents had let me do when I was a kid. I’m fine with the 11 p.m. curfew on New Year’s Eve, but I wish those sticklers let me spend more time in the kitchen (hi mom & dad!). With two working parents, quick meals were the norm but as a picky eater, two-ingredient meals were the norm for me. Enter hot dog stir fry—the meal that my parents would make almost every week. For me, it was simple hot dogs and rice. But now that I’m older, I’m down with a little more color and flavor.
Spicy Sausage Stir Fry
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 baby bok choy leaves, sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
1 cup. shredded sweet potato
2 spicy sausages
2 cups brown rice, cooked and frozen
1. Heat a large pan on medium heat and toss in your frozen rice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let those cook for a couple of minutes until the rice softens.
2. Now mix in everything else and fry for 8-10 minutes until all of the vegetables are al dente. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!
P.S. Not a registered dietician, but I do cook with only fresh ingredients (minus frozen rice).
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T-30 days until I head back north to Seattle for a few days of eating, eating, and a little bit of walking. It’s been a while since I’ve last been there (where I literally only spent only a day), so it’s like I’ll be going for my first time! Per usual, it’s bound to be cold and a little rainy while I’m there. But I’ll be with my number one travel partner and a little weekend away never hurts either. Here’s what I’ll pack for Seattle:
Good ol’ blue jeans: Can’t really go wrong here, right?
Grey & White Sweater via Zara: I’ve been craving some warm basics and I think that this might just make the cut for the cold and damp weather in the PNW.
Small Leather Backpack: Seattle has less bustling streets than SF, so I’m going to take that opportunity to not get robbed with a backpack. Plus, they’re chic again!
A Wool Beret: I’m a hat girl—I love them and I will wear them for any appropriate occasion. This one from Goorin Bros is chic and so is this one from ShopBop.
Water Repellant Jacket from Zara: I’ve had my eye on this rain coat for a while—it better not sell out before I leave!
The Heel Boot by Everlane: Everlane launched a new (and higher) ankle boot. Would def wear these with a pair of black skinny jeans and a chambray top for work, work, work, work, work.
Windowpane Cape Scarf by Madewell: Just because it’s cloudy with a chance of rain, it doesn’t mean that I won’t be layering up with a thick scarf.
I’m a mad soup lover. If someone served me up a different soup every day, I’d be so(up) happy. This weekend it was a little overcast here and I had a bag of black beans and some cojita cheese that I wanted to get through. Combine that with some daydreams of taking a trip to Mexico and I knew what I had to make.
Black Bean Soup
2 cups dry black beans
6 cups of water
1 medium white onion, diced
1 link of Soyrizo (or chorizo)
2 dried chiles de árbol
4 tomatillos, sliced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp. adobo sauce (from chipotle and adobo can)
1 tsp. salt
Crumbled cojita cheese
1. Quickly rinse and drain the beans. Combine the water, beans and salt in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil.
Tip: If any beans float to the top, they’re not the best beans in the bunch. Skim them off the top!
2. Bring your boiling beans down to a simmer and add in the onions, chiles, tomatillos, chipotle and adobo sauce.
3. Let your concoction simmer for two hours on low heat but be sure to check on it and stir occasionally. Be sure to add more water if you start to see the top layer of beans.
4. Once your soup has simmered, use an immersion blender to puree your soup. Add in your chorizo and simmer for 15 more minutes.
5. Top off with some crumbled tortilla chips, a little salsa, avocados, cojita cheese and plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice. Enjoy!
You know what wasn’t my favorite thing this week? Cramming five days worth of work into four short days. Otherwise, it was a beautiful week in San Francisco where the sun actually came out and evenings were filled with rosé and good meals. Here were my other favorite things from this week:
- Tokyo-based, Mensho Ramen, actually opened up in the city a while ago, but we finally made it out! Pro tip: Get in line on the early side (we’re talking 5:30 or earlier) and know exactly what you want to order the minute you sit down. They’re not ones to wait while you ponder over the menu.
- I’m a sucker for the wood wick candles by the Santa Cruz-based Let’s Put a Bird On It. I’m obsessed with the ‘Mermaid’ roll-on fragrance.
- Engagement parties! I am so, so happy for my friends who are in love and about to mutually put a ring on it. I’m sure there’s more engagement parties in my horizon and for now, I love them!
- I’m a big fan of palm leaf prints and this ‘Palm Beach’ water bottle by S’well is just waiting to be added to my ever-growing collection of water bottles.
- New ideas. If you can’t tell from the photo above, there’s a new segment coming on the blog. And no, it’s not how to wear hats or how to prevent farmer’s tans (because let’s be real, I frequently rock them).