On The Menu: Gratitude

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-Fresh herbs growing inside the new Lyfe Kitchen in Culver City, yum-

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-A new yoga mat from Lululemon and glass water bottle makes my practice feel fresh and rejuvenated-

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-Actually taking walks on the beach in Santa Monica, leaving foot prints in the sand, bliss-

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Yogi Tea, bringing me wisdom with every cup, mmm-

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-A positive reminder about what this whole journey is about spotted on the side of the rode, oh Los Angelenos-

Recently, it feels as if time has sped up. We are nearly half way through 2013 and although I feel as if I have been present in most of the moments it is easy to get caught up in the routine of going through the motions. With a new series of posts titled ‘On The Menu: Gratitude’, I want to share with you moments and things that truly made me stop and smell the roses (humor me)! Things that make me feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for where I am right now in this beautiful life of mine. I want to share that positive energy with all of you.

xoxo,

SSP

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FIG-tastic Chewy Cookie Bar

Fig Newtonphoto-2image-3image-4photo-3image-2This is a raw and vegan interpretation of the classic Fig Newton, which dates back to 1891, that I happily renamed the Fig-tastic Chewy Cookie Bar! It is also gluten free, kiddos! The Fig Newton is hands down my moms favorite cookie but I never fully understood why until I made these! HOLY COW they are delicious and positively bursting with health benefits! Also, being the adventurous cook that I am, I added some dried apricots to the mix up as well (good idea)!  Feel free to get creative with the dried fruit my friends, this would be a hard recipe to mess up. Photographing these proved to be a challenge because I couldn’t stop eating them…

Benefits of Figs:

  • High in potassium – which helps lower cholesterol
  • High in dietary fiber- good for weight management and digestion
  • Good source of calcium- bone density. KAPOW!

Recipe: FIG-tastic Chewy Cookie Bar – aka the Fig Newton

What you need:

Dough:

1 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 tspn cinnamon

1-2 tbsp raw honey or agave nectar

1-2 tspn water

Filling:

1 cup dried figs- soaked in water to soften

1/2 cup dried apricots- soaked in water to soften

1/2-1 tbls water

Method:
Combine the walnuts, cashews and cinnamon in the bowl of your food processor and grind until it resembles a meal. Add the honey or agave and process until it is well combined and crumbly. Then add 1tspn of water at a time until a ball of dough forms in the processor. If you add to much water, simply add more nuts. Remove the dough and form into a ball and roll out on a piece of parchment paper. Place in the freeze to stiffen. Clean out your processor and add the soaked figs and water. Process until a paste forms. Remove dough from freezer and spread the paste over the surface evenly. Roll up like a cinnamon roll/ pinwheel or completely in half to form a classic looking Fig Newton. Cut the cookies appropriately and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
xoxo,
SSP

Pickling Party- Pickled Suga Snap Peas

photo-2photo-3imageSuga Peas and Carrots pickledPickled SSP

I have really rad girl friends who decided we needed to have a pickling party. We all love pickles (No, no one is pregnant, yet!) and thought it would be a beautiful vacation from the normal wine and cheese nights! We all collected every jar we had, popped a few bottles of Champaign and got down in the kitchen. Each of us did our own recipes and I choose to pickle SUGA SNAP PEAS, duh. Other choices were okra, sliced and whole cucumbers and carrots. This was my first time pickling so I made three slight variations of the same recipe adding different ingredients to the brine to see what flavor combinations my taste buds favored.

Recipe: Pickled Suga Snap Peas

What you need:

12 oz suga snap peas (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 cups vinegar (I chose White Balsamic)

1 1/2 cups cold water

1 1/4 tbsp pink Himalayan salt

3 cloves garlic sliced

1 tbsp sugar – optional

1 red jalapeno sliced – optional

1 carrot sliced – optional

pickling spices- optional

a sprig to two of fresh dill – optional

Method:

In a sauce pan heat the vinegar with the salt (and sugar if using) until dissolved. I did not use sugar in any of mine, but if you like sweet pickles, go for it. Once the brine has cooled, pack a jar or bowl full of the suga snap peas and garlic and pout the brine over it.

If you want to repeat the recipe and add any of the optional ingredients then repeat and get creative! I did one jar with just the SSP’s and garlic, a second with red jalapeno peppers, carrots and spices and a third with carrots and dill. I have to say that my favorite was the plan a simple recipe.

Pickling recipes suggest leaving it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before eating but I couldn’t wait that long; they are just too delicious. I was digging in with 24 hours and they were marvelous!

xoxo,

SSP

P.S. I love my friends!

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

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I am fairly new to Quinoa; I’d say we had an introduction within the last two years but I haven’t taken advantage of this supergrain until recently. It dates back three to four thousand years ago having been discovered by the Incas as a suitable seed for human consumption. According to Forbes and WHFoods quinoa is loaded with benefits. My favorite is that it is a complete protein, YES! No need for meat peeps as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Also on a need to know basis it is grouped in the same family as spinach, swiss chard and beets! Cool!

Benefits of Quinoa:

  • Complete protein
  • High fiber content
  • Contains iron, lysine, magnesium, maganese, Riboflavin (B2)

Recipe for Fiesta Quinoa Salad (Serves 1-2)

What you need:

2 cups quinoa, cooked (follow instructions on label)

1/2 cup mini tomatoes, halved (any variety is fine)

1/2 an avocado, sliced

1 garlic, minced

olive oil

chopped cilantro to taste (I used about 1/2 cup chopped)

green onions to taste (I used about 1/4 cup or 2 springs)

1/4 teaspoon cumin

tortilla strips (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic in pan until fragrant roughly 2-4 minuets. Turn to low heat, stir in the cooked quinoa and cumin and mix well for 2-3 minuets to slightly toast. Removed from heat and put in a mixing bowl with the cilantro, green onions and tomatoes. Mix well. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced avocado, tortilla strips if using and get ready for a fiesta in your mouth!

This would be a great side dish to grilled veggie tacos or enjoy as a main course! I whipped this up on a sunny california afternoon and enjoyed it with a bottle of Corona. BLISS!

xoxo,

SSP

Oh! Hello There!

Oh! Hello and welcome to my awesome blog! I am so excited to share this wonderful, yummy, creative, beautiful (and an abundance of other positive adjectives) life of mine! I live in California and that plays a huge role in my quality of life as I am vegan more days then I am not, outside as much as I am in and documenting it all with every known portable device. I am very new to cooking, photography and love-ing myself. I invite you along for the ride.

The picture is me 10 years ago at age 15. More on its significance later, for now lets just enjoy how cute and fresh faced I am. Wouldn’t ya say?

xoxo,

SSP