Sunday, January 4, 2015

Easy Greek Frittata

Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

I hope your transition into 2015 has been delightful and full of celebrating in anticipation of what this coming year has in store. I rung in the new year with some of the most wonderful people that I know, playing taboo, watching What If, and of course eating some delectable food.  


I've been relishing all the free time I've had to pursue more creative activities while on break. I'm going back to school tomorrow, but with the time I've had I was able to whip up this easy and delicious Greek Frittata (with my sister's help) and a gluten free onion tart (coming soon).

On that note, I have some exciting news to share! My sister (Joanie) and I have just launched a Youtube channel called The Birds of Passage. So far we have a few videos up, including my citrus kale smoothie recipe and video where Joanie talks about a few of the musicians we've been enjoying lately. We're hoping to continue to upload recipe videos, share our favorite musical artists, and film any other adventures we happen to be a part of. Go check them out if you feel so inclined! We are also really new at the Youtube thing so we'd appreciate any kind of constructive feedback!

Now that you know about that, let's move on to the good stuff!


This recipe was inspired by Guy of Bondi Harvest. You should check him out on Youtube!


Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh arugula
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup kalamata olives
5 eggs
about 3 fresh sage leaves
about 1/4 cup of goat cheese or to taste (I probably used a bit more)
salt
pepper
1 T of coconut oil for the pan


Directions:

Chop the spinach, arugula, tomatoes and olives and set aside in a medium sized bowl. Grind the sage and 1-2 tsp of salt together in a mortar and pestle. (Alternatively, you could simply crush the sage with your hands and sprinkle it over the eggs, but I thought it added a nice touch to grind them together.) Add half of the salt mixture to the chopped vegetables and toss lightly. Crack the eggs and whisk them with the other half of the mixture in a medium bowl. 

Heat a medium cast iron skillet on medium low while the coconut oil melts in the pan. Pour the eggs in and keep an eye on the pan's temperature. Let the eggs cook in the pan for about 30 seconds until the base is cooked. At this point you may want to turn the temperature down to low. Place the chopped greens and vegetables onto the eggs and crumble the goat cheese on top. 

Let the frittata continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the eggs are thoroughly cooked and firm.



And there you are! This is such a nice breakfast for the winter time when you want something a little sturdier than cereal or fruit to start off your day. 

Enjoy!






Monday, December 22, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

It's been a little while since I've been in a real kitchen. Reading and writing has been my focus for the last few months, and the only "cooking" I've done has been reheating a pork chop. 

Now that Christmas break has arrived, I'll hopefully have the time to immerse myself in experimenting with some new recipes. 

One of the first meals I ate when I got home was this simple brussel sprout recipe. 


Never in my life did I think I'd be promoting brussel sprouts. Clearly they're extremely healthy, and I've always wanted to like them, but until this year, I've never been able to stand their taste. Every time I had them I thought they were so bitter and horrible, and I'd given up on ever being able to enjoy them. 

That is, until my mom urged me to try them at Thanksgiving dinner this year. I hesitated of course, but once I tried them I was amazed. They were not remotely bitter. 

I've found that roasting vegetables of any kind always results in a wonderful depth of flavor, and I think the roasting process is exactly what removes the bitterness from the brussel sprouts in this recipe. 


Making this recipe was so simple it's almost silly. Enjoy this healthy dish as an easy side to virtually any meal. 

Ingredients:

2 lbs brussel sprouts
3 T extra virgin olive oil (I used lard, but you could use coconut oil as well)
3/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1/2 to 1 tsp freshly ground pepper (to taste)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit, with oven rack on highest setting. 

Cut of brown ends and pull off any yellow outer leaves from the sprouts. If using lard, place on a cookie sheet in the oven while it's preheating. When the oven is ready and the lard has melted, pour the lard into the bowl with the sprouts. Combine the sprouts, lard or olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Spread onto a cookie sheet and roast in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan a few times while in the oven so that the sprouts brown evenly. 

Serve warm. Add salt and pepper to taste. These are also delicious sprinkled with some goat cheese. 


Friday, June 13, 2014

Garlicky Broccoli

Broccoli. 

I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 


I grew up disliking most vegetables (sadly potatoes don't count as veggies). Brussel sprouts, gag. Green beans, gross. Asparagus, you couldn't even bribe me with hollandaise sauce. But broccoli was something I was always happy to eat. 



Thankfully my taste buds have matured a bit  a lot, and I'm much more adventurous with my veggies. (I still have a hard time with the asparagus, despite my desire to like them). 

What I've found with vegetables is that it's all in the preparation. I've been forced to try foods that I thought I hated, but if it's cooked the right way, anything can be delicious. 



While this broccoli dish is simple, it's totally fool proof. It works great as a side dish, although I admit sometimes I'll eat just a big bowl of it for lunch. It's that good. After one bite, you want to eat all of it. 

If you have leftovers (doubtful), it works great cold as a flavorful addition to a tossed salad. 



Ingredients: 

1 head of broccoli
5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon



Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Meanwhile, chop broccoli into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Add minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and toss until broccoli is coated. Lay broccoli out on a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy. When the broccoli is done, place in a serving bowl or tray and toss with lemon juice and zest. 




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Key Lime Pie in a Glass





I know it sounds too good to be true, but I promise you it's not. This drink literally tastes like a glass of creamy, limey dessert. This is the second green smoothie I've made that I've fallen in love with. I found the original recipe from the wonderful Sarah of My New Roots. (By the way, you should totally go check out her site. Every single thing she makes looks amazing!) I modified her recipe a bit to fit my own tastes, and I think it turned out fantastically.



This is a great breakfast smoothie to share with someone, especially since it's got a whole avocado as well as a cup of coconut milk and is quite filling. On the other hand, this is something I'd be completely happy to drink for dessert. I even shared this smoothie with a friend who has an extreme dislike for avocados, and she loved it anyway. So that's good news for those of you who may not particularly enjoy avocados. You can't taste them at all, they just help to make a rich and creamy drink.

Not only does this smoothie taste like a tropical island vacation, it also has such a lovely color. My brother keeps telling me I need to vary the color on my site and stop making so much green food, but I just can't help it!

I'll do my best to try to make something orange or purple or red next time!




Ingredients:

1 avocado
2 limes, zest and juice
1-2 medium chunks of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup coconut milk
3-5 leaves of fresh kale
2 frozen bananas
handful of ice cubes (optional)


Directions:

Blend avocado, lime, ginger and coconut milk in food processor or blender until smooth (I use a Vitamix). Add kale and blend until combined. Add bananas and blend until smooth. If you prefer your smoothies to be a bit icier, add a few ice cubes until you reach the desired consistency. Pour into a pretty glass and drink your dessert.





Monday, May 19, 2014

Burgers with Guacamole and Red Beet Salad




It's been a long winter and a very cool spring so far this year, but it feels like the weather might finally be warming up. Eating outside during the summer is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm so excited to be making fresh meals to enjoy out on the patio again.



One of the easiest and most delicious summery meals is ham burgers with homemade guacamole, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and a fresh salad. Lately I've become a bit obsessed with avocados because they are so versatile. They can be used in smoothies, ice cream, mousses, egg salads, deviled eggs, cakes and most importantly, guacamole.



My mom has been using these burger and guacamole recipes ever since I can remember, and I'm not exaggerating when I say they are the best versions I've ever had.



My favorite part of this meal is definitely the guac. I could eat it at any time of the day, even for breakfast. The way I make it is a bit spicy, but if you're not into that kind of thing, just scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before mixing it in. I also make mine without tomatoes because my brother can't eat them, but they are definitely a delicious addition. Throw in 3 cubed plum tomatoes if you so desire, and they will add a nice little burst of flavor and color.



I hope you enjoy this wonderfully simple (yet so unimaginably mouthwatering) meal!


Ingredients:


Burgers:
(makes 6-8 servings)

2 pounds of grass fed beef
4-5 large cloves of garlic
~11/2-2 tsp kosher salt
~1 tsp ground pepper
1-2 T fresh (or dried) herbs, I use a combination of thyme, oregano and rosemary

Toppings:

1 large onion
1 package of button mushrooms
pure maple syrup (if desired)
coconut oil



Directions:

Place all ingredients in a very large bowl and mix with hands until fully combined. Make into patties approximately 30 minutes before grilling. Grill (or pan fry) over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, turning over once after 4 or 5 minutes. Place a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté mushrooms for 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Add more coconut oil to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium high. Place onions in pan and drizzle about a teaspoon of pure maple syrup over them, cook until caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.



Adding the mushrooms and onions may take a bit of time, but they add so much flavor to the burgers that it's completely worth the extra effort.





Guacamole:

5 ripe avocados
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño, finely minced (take out seeds for a less spicy version)
3-4 large garlic cloves
11/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


Directions:

Halve avocados and remove the pits. Use a knife to score the flesh and scoop out with a spoon into a large bowl. Add the lime and lemon juice, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro, and still until fully combined. Add salt and pepper, and add more to taste if necessary.




Fresh Salad with Red Beets:

fresh greens (spinach, romaine, etc.)
2-3 medium red beets, roasted in the oven for 40-50 minutes, peeled and sliced
goat cheese
fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
green or black olives





Directions:

Toss and serve!







Friday, March 21, 2014

Citrus Kale Smoothie

I found this recipe a couple of days ago on thisrawsomeveganlife and switched it up a bit according to what ingredients I had on hand. I've made it every day since.



I've had green smoothies before that I wasn't too fond of, so I was unsure how this would turn out. I was pleased to find that this drink blows away all other green smoothies I've had.

It's packed with nutrients from fresh oranges, lemons and kale, and a nice little kick from a bit of ginger.


Ingredients:


1 lemon, peeled
2 oranges, peeled
2 1/2 cups fresh kale
1 to 2 frozen bananas (depending on how sweet you want it to be)
chunk of fresh, peeled ginger (or a dash of ground ginger if you don't have any on hand)
ice


Directions:


Put the citrus fruit in a Vitamix or other powerful blender. It's important to use a high-powered blender, otherwise the kale will not be blended enough and you'll end up with little green pieces. Blend the fruit until it becomes juice. Add the kale and blend until completely incorporated, slowly moving up to high speed. Once completely combined, add the bananas and ginger and blend until combined. Add ice until you reach your desired consistency. I usually use about 2 cups.


Cheers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carrot Orange Juice

This morning I woke up in need of an energy (and immune system) boost. This juice was the perfect remedy. It's incredibly refreshing and is full of vitamins A and C. It's also good for your hair, skin and of course, your eyes.

I snapped this with my phone after already consuming
half of it, but next time I'll take better pictures!


This recipe makes more than enough for 2 people, depending on how much you plan to drink. I used a very large glass for myself with enough left over for two more normal servings. One thing I love about this drink is that it not only gets you started on a helping of vegetables and fruit, but it fills you up too! 

I use a Vitamix for juicing, so all the fiber isn't lost. 


Ingredients:


4-5 large oranges, peeled and separated
3 medium carrots, chopped into chunks
1 tsp lemon juice
dash of cinnamon
1/2 cup water


Directions:


Place the orange pieces into the Vitamix, a couple at a time, and slowly turn the machine to high until the oranges become liquified. Add in the chunks of carrot, again, a couple at a time, until completely incorporated. Next, add the lemon juice, cinnamon and water and blend for a few seconds. Depending on how thick you want your juice to be, you may want to add another 1/4 cup of water or so. 

That's all there is to it, folks! This is the kind of juice you could make daily because of its simplicity and tastiness. 

Enjoy!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Citrus Cashew Cheesecake


Today I am so excited to share this wonderful cheesecake recipe with you all! This was the first vegan, nut-based, dairy-free dessert that I ever attempted, so it is very near and dear to my heart. I also consider it to be my best creation. It probably even trumps most of my favorite pre allergy-free desserts.


Sometime last year my friend and I went to this healthy, little organic restaurant and for dessert we ordered a dairy-free cheesecake. When the server told us it was made of cashews, we figured he meant the crust was made of cashews and the filling made of tofu. No, no. He assured us that the filling was made of cashews. This was our first introduction to cashew cream.


I was blown away.

When I got home I searched the internet for anything resembling what we ate, and although I didn't find a recipe for our particular kind of cheesecake, I discovered that this whole cashew thing was pretty big among vegans and the like.

Determined to recreate what we had tasted at the restaurant, I combined and tweaked a few cheesecake recipes until I came up with this.

If you'd like to view some of the recipes that inspired mine, they can be found herehere and here.


I hope you enjoy this spring treat!


Ingredients:


Crust:

2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup whole dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/8 tsp sea salt
zest from lime, lemon and orange

Filling:

3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-7 hours
1/2 cup raw honey
2/3 cup coconut oil, in liquid state
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
juice from one orange (approximately 1/2 cup)
2 tsp zest from orange, lemon and lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:

For the filling, blend the cashews in a food processor for about 15 seconds. Then add the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until completely smooth. I always blend a little longer than I think it needs. Pour into a bowl and set aside in refrigerator.

For the crust, blend the almonds, cranberries, coconut and salt in the food processor. Add in the dates in small amounts until the crust begins to hold together. Press into the bottom of the springform pan. Then pour in filling. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, let thaw for 30 minutes.






Sunday, May 5, 2013

Berry Spinach Smoothie

(makes 2 large servings)


As the days are finally becoming warm and sunny, I am getting so excited to start making smoothies again. I love all kinds of smoothies, and this recipe is one of my favorite, go-too options during the summery months.

Please don't let the spinach turn you off! I've had "green monster" smoothies before that I really dislike. I made one once that I could hardly swallow because I felt like I was drinking liquid spinach. Blech.

I like healthy food but I expect it to taste good!

So in order to get a little more greens in my diet and still enjoy my food, this recipe was conceived. I found the problem with most spinach smoothies I attempted was that I could taste way too much spinach. But in this one, the berries hide its flavor. You truthfully cannot tell it's there.

So even though it's a little scary, give this recipe a try! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Ingredients:

1/2-1 cup fresh spinach
1 banana, frozen
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen berries of your choice (My favorite is blueberries and raspberries)
1/3-1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (use according to desired consistency)
1 lemon, freshly squeezed



Directions:

Place spinach in food processor and blend for a few seconds. Add the banana and berries and blend until they become small to medium chunks. Add lemon juice and coconut milk and blend until you reach the desired consistency. I like my smoothies really thick, so I only put in 1/3 cup of coconut milk. Top with a few berries and drink to summer!









Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hot Cocoa for One


Before winter leaves us, I thought I'd share with you all this simple hot cocoa recipe. I don't drink hot cocoa very often. I'm actually not really into sweet drinks at all. But once in a while, when it's unbelievable cold and snowing and bleak outside, I suddenly get a craving for some hot cocoa. Whether you drink it all the time or like to enjoy it sparingly, this rich, creamy, and not too sweet drink will hit the spot.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup almond milk
1T cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
11/2 T pure maple syrup

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a medium pot on low heat. Stir mixture until hot, 3 to 5 minutes.


Pour into mug, top with cinnamon, cocoa powder, whipped (coconut) cream, or all three! Enjoy this winter treat!