4th of July Red, White & Blue Sangria!

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Independence Day is next week and this would be the perfect drink for the celebration! It is loaded with yummy berries and boozy liquors to make sure your 4th of July is one to remember. That is, if you don’t drink enough to forget. You’re following me, right? 🙂 Sangria is and probably always will be one of my favorite cocktails of sorts. Not only is it always made with two of my favorite things, fruit and wine, it really leaves room for your inner concoctress to come out (thats a word right, concoctress?)!  I could not find a decent recipe for White Wine Sangria that mixed berries and ginger ale, which were my two requirements, so I did what I always do, got creative! Oh yeah, and this also has no added sugar. Bonus!

Benefits of Sangria 😉

  • Taste really good & easy to drink
  • Great to mix and match ingredients- allows for creative combinations
  • Made with healthy, yummy, colorful fruit

What you need:

2 Bottles of White Wine (750 ml)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup strawberries – trimmed and cut in half

1 cup blueberries

2 cups homemade ginger ale

1 cup xylitol

2 oz white rum – I used Bacardi

2 oz Blueberry vodka- I used Stoli

Method:

If you are going to make homemade ginger ale then follow the recipe up until ready to assemble the soda. You will want to wait to make it so the carbonation hasn’t fallen flat. Then put wine, berries, xylitol and liquor in a pitcher or beverage dispenser and put in the refrigerator overnight (3-5 hours will work too). These both can be prepared one day ahead. Just prior to serving assemble the ginger ale with a new bottle/can of seltzer or soda water and add to the sangria. You can add ice to the pitcher or to the individual glasses. Watch fireworks and give kisses to the ones you love! Happy 4th of July!!

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Tri-Color String Bean Garlic Fries- A Fry Lovers Fantasy

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Again, Mother Nature you are awesome. period. Look at these string beans; I mean up until a few days ago I didn’t even know that string beans came in multiple colors. Did you? I found the organic beans at my local farmers market this weekend and had to have them even though I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them. I thought about it and settled on fries. I am a french fry lover (anything fried really) but lets be honest, one can’t keep her girlish figure in check if she is constantly eating fried potatoes. Insert baked string bean garlic fries! Nom, Nom, Nom!

I decided to play around with food styling a little and use the natural evening light that was coming through my kitchen window to photograph the beans. Kinda cool, eh? (pats self on the back). What do you think?

Benefits of String Beans

What You Need:

2 cups string beans, washed and ends trimmed (green is just fine, but tri-color is better, obviously)!

1 Tbls EVOO

1 tsp garlic powder

2 cloves garlic- one thinly sliced, the other chopped into small pieces

1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper

2 Tbls almond meal

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and lay the garlic glove that you thinly sliced over it. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl except the string beans and almond meal. Stir to mix. Put the almond meal on a plate. Toss beans in the bowl with oil mixture and mix until well coated. Then roll the beans in the almond meal. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minuets and then broil for 3-5 minuets until brown and toasty. Then enjoy these garlicy strings of goodness and remember to thank me later!! 😉

xoxo,

SSP

Be sure to click the image below and follow me on instagram! @caracarin

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Ginger Ale- Freshly Brewed and Sugar Free

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Soda is one of those things that I have given up almost entirely over the last three years but there is something about Ginger Ale that seems less threatening then a coke (i.e. ginger). I decided it needed to be made at home using fresh ginger and xylitol instead of sugar. Sugar is another one of those things I try to stay away from completely (try being the key word) as well! Ginger Ale was first created in 1851 in Ireland  but the well known Canada Dry Ginger Ale was created by John J. McLaughlin in the early 1900’s. I think it is the best of all sodas. Somebody grab the Makers, its time for a Whisky Gingers! Happy Sunday!

Benefits of Ginger

  • Anti-inflamatory properties that can help with joint pain- AKA post night in high heels remedy.
  • Remedy for motion sickness or upset stomachs
  • Strengthens your immunity and helps fight against certain cancers

What you need:

1 1/2 cups chopped peeled ginger

2 cups water

3/4 cups xylitol (or sugar if you must)

1 quart chilled seltzer of club soda

3 Tbls fresh lime juice

Method:

Put ginger in a small saucepan with the water a cook at a low simmer, covered, for 45 minuets. Remove pot from the heat and steep for 20 minuets still covered. Strain the mixture in to a bowl using cheesecloth or a sieve. (I rubber banded a cheesecloth over a bowl and poured the liquid in slowly, see image above) Squeeze the ginger while in the cheesecloth removing as much liquid as possible. Then put the ginger liquid back in the sauce pan with the xylitol (or preferred sweetener), add a pinch of salt and stir over a low heat until xylitol has fully dissolved. Pour syrup in a jar with the lid on and chill in the fridge until cold.

Assembly:

Mix Ginger Syrup with Seltzer and lime juice. To make one drink use 1/2 cup syrup, 3 teaspoons lime juice and 1 1.2 cup seltzer and adjust to your own taste! Enjoy out in the sunshine!

 xoxo,

SSP

Cara’s Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Icing! Happy Fathers Day!

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I feel like a rabbit. This cake, which I have appropriately named the Cara Carrot Cake (CCC are my initials) has turned me into a carrot monster. It is Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free and BEAUTIFUL. I love love love all the colors. I have to say that I exhibited mild symptoms of OCD while individually applying each slivered almond and pistachio on the sides of this cake. It was creative expression of a kind I haven’t experience before and if you haven’t had cashew cream cheese icing then get ready for a new “could eat by the spoonful” obsession. I just want to thank the Universe or Mother Nature or what ever is in charge here for cashews. Thank you for cashews. This cake was inspired by my dad and I made it for Fathers Day! I can not wait to give him a piece today at our post hike in Malibu brunch! Nom, Nom, Nom. (Love ya, Pops)

Benefits of Carrots:

  • Anti-Cancer- Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.
  • Glowing Healthy Skin- the Vitamin A in carrots protects against sun damage and premature wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone.
  • Carrots are an Alkaline food and help balance pH levels in the blood

Unfortunately, this is going in my upcoming eBook and I cannot give you the recipe but below is a list of the ingredients!

Ingredients:

Carrots, mangos, dates, almond flour, GF oat flour, coconut, cinnamon, cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, almonds, and pistachios.


Rainbow Noodles with Sun Dried Tomato Cashew Cream Sauce & Avo

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I am a pasta/spaghetti/noodle addict – read Italian. Growing up my favorite dish was always Fettuccine Alfredo. The big flat noodles smothered in a creamy, cheesey, disaster delicious sauce, mmm bliss. The grown-up me much prefers this yummy version of the old classic. This dish is so satisfying and lovely to look at. I truly believe that we eat with our eyes first and how could you not when you have a rainbow on your plate! I just love colors and rainbows and unicorns! #pride Anyways- brb I have some NOMing to get to!

Benefits of Carrots:

  • Aids in vision, cancer fighting and beautiful glowing skin

Benefits of Zucchini:

  • Low in calories, high water content and contains protein and fiber

What you need:

Sauce:

4 Tb cashew butter
2 t miso
2 Tb tamari
8 Tb water
2 clove garlic
2 sun dried tomatoes (in oil)
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 Tb nutritional yeast
2 Tb hemp seeds
Pasta & Avocado Slices:
3 carrots, peeled
3 zucchini, peeled
Slightly pre-ripe Avocado
Method:
To make the sauce, blend all ingredients – except hemp seeds – together until smooth and creamy. If you want it thicker add more cashew butter or miso. If you want it lighter add more water or tamari. Then stir in hemp seeds.
To make the noodles, slice the carrots and zucchini with a vegetable peeler or on a mandolin!  Pour on the sauce.
Slice the avocados non-sysmetrically. Probably the way you don’t usually slice them and garnish as you wish.
(In the first picture I used the had the left over veggie noodles with some brown rice pasta covered in the cashew sauce) NOM!

Snack Pack: Pretty Chia Chip Pudding!

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Woah! I will never look at pudding the same ever again. I remember growing up opening my lunch box to such excitement every time my mom would pack a Snack Pack pudding. Did you know that the Snack Pack had a cameo in the movie Billy Elliot- Adam Sandlers character tries his best to snatch up some creamy, sweet, yummy childlike goodness!. I know you know what I am talking about! Well I am 25 now and still (sustainably) brown paper bag my lunch for work each day and this pudding has been constant since I first made it a week or so ago. This literally is loaded with only wholesome awesome ingredients! Chia seeds are so damn good for that you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t eat them on the daily. You really can eat this pudding with nothing but a smile inside and out! Yummy gluten free and vegan treats!

Benefits of Chia Seeds:

  • Perfect Egg replace- binds things together!
  • Loaded with fiber- help lower cholesterol and ride the body of toxins
  • Contains MINERALS- calcium, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium

What you need:

1 cup vanilla or chocolate almond milk (I used vanilla)

3 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 Tbs vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

2 medium strawberries

1/4 cup dark choc chips

1/2 Tbs agave

Method:

In a blender or food processor add the first two ingredients and blend until a uniform consistency appears. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until mixed well. If you want chunks of fruit then you can pulse a few times instead. Leave this in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (If you can wait that long, its hard) then ENJOY! This is creamy, yummy, childlike goodness!

xoxo,

SSP

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