Zucchini Cornbread Muffins

Friends, Sunday Night Football (49ers beat the Patriots!), Chili, Beer and Cornbread!

Does it get much better? I don’t think so.

Katherine provided the 3 day cookin chili, big screen and beer… I just showed up the some cornbread.  Gluten free not to mention…plus these little guys are so moist thanks to the zucchini and cottage cheese.  I actually think it’s best when made in a 9×13 pan…but muffins are more fun for parties :)

Directions:

Beat 6 eggs.  Add 3 cups shredded zucchini, 2 cups cottage cheese and 1/2 cup safflower oil.  Add 1 package of Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Cornbread mix (here).  Bake according to directions.  Easy Peasy.

 

 

Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting

Last night we celebrated Morgan’s birthday…a dear friend who is so fabulous in every way… she’s loving, smart, loyal, caring, funny and easy going – I know, a catch right?!  The plan was to start at my apartment with Light Bites, Moscow Mules and Cupcakes before making our way down the hill to a few dive bars… well we ended up talking well into after the time for last call… That’s what happens in good company, you loose track of time.  Sending much love to my wonderful girlfriends!

Loving the use of almond meal lately in place of regular white flour.  It adds so much more depth, texture, flavor and not to mention is better for you than wheat.  Almond are packed full of vitamins and minerals whereas nutritionally, wheat flour doesn’t have too much to offer.

Ingredients:

Cake:

2 eggs, 1/3 cup maple, 1 t lemon juice, 1/3 cup safflower oil, 1 T vanilla

1 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt, 1 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (can use only 1.5 cups of almond meal if you do not have rice flour)

Mix the wet with a fork. Mix in the dry.

Makes about 9 cupcakes.  Probably would have been 10, but I ate a lot of batter :) (hey, the eggs were organic and local, it’s all good!)

Frosting:

1 cup butter, 1/2 t salt, vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 6 T maple syrup

Mix in a blender until smooth – adjust the ingredients to get the correct smooth consistency .

 

 

What my Meal Delivery service looks like…

I just made a couple beautiful dinners for a wonderful family who I drop off to every Thursday in Marin.  The momma is busy raising 4 kids and running a successful business (aaahhh can you imagine) so I bring them a few healthy home cooked meals to help get ’em through the hectic week.  I thought today’s were particularly pretty and wanted to share…

Above is an example of what my Meal Delivery service looks like and what gets delivered to your door!  Meals come in containers that can go from fridge/freezer, oven/micro to dishwasher…woohooo.  All dinners are customized to your likes/dislikes, allergies, dietary restrictions, portion sizes, you name it!  PLUS YOU GET A SIDE OF A HEALTHY FRESH VEGETABLE  (not pictured).  With the Italian dinner was Roasted Broccoli Rabe tossed with pine nuts, lemon zest and parmesan.  Along with the duck was sautéed garlicky spinach with a squeeze of lemon (there’s lemon in the Pomegranate sauce and they accompanied each other quite nicely)

I love duck and I think people should eat it more often, in moderation.. but only when raised organically and humanly.  Duck (without the skin) is so tender, delicious and actually quite healthy.

100 g of duck compared to chicken:

Duck: 140 cals, 2.5 fat, 28 protein, 5 iron

Chicken: 165 cals, 4 fat, 31 protein, 1 iron

Personally I do not eat like this :) a couple bites is good enough… My days look more like this HERE!

 

 

Sliced Seedy Bread

At my parent’s house with nothing on the agenda for the afternoon, an  avocado on the counter I’d been admiring for a day and a nutty/bready consistency sounding very comforting.  The result was a loaf worth sharing…for having had thrown literally every grain, seed and nut they had into a bowl, this turned out surprisingly well.

I would have liked for it to have sliced better and not crumbled so much…I’ll keep working on perfecting this…I think another egg would have done the trick.  Bonus: gluten free and packed with vitamins, omegas (from chia seeds and flax) and full protein (quinoa and grain + seed + nuts! here)

Ingredients:

Mix Dry:

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup sun flower seeds

1/4 cup sun flower seeds

1 cup Gluten Free Flour

1/4 cup Brown Rice Flower

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 cup quinoa crisps

1.5 t baking soda

1 t good salt

separately mix wet ingredients:

4 eggs

1 T sweetener (maple, honey, sugar)

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup walnut oil

MIx wet and dry ingredients together.  Grease a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

I had leftover rosemary butter I made on Thanksgiving and dolloped it on top before baking.

 

So what do you eat??

Is the question I get all the time, accompanied by the look of whaaaat the heeeeeck, when I tell people what it is I do not eat.

And my response is “Everything from the eaaaaaarth!”

What it is I do not eat:  Gluten, Soy, Sugar, Processed/Packaged Foods (which usually contain all of those ingredients), pigs and animals raised inhumanly on factory farms.

What I do eat:  Absolutely every single fruit and vegetable I love.  There isn’t one I don’t like.  Actually, I’m not a big truffle fan.  I think I must have had too much truffle oil on a hot summer day and now the smell gives me the willies.  Well, maybe not the willies, but I’m just like, “eeeeh no thanks”.  Love all gluten free grains: millet, rices, quinoa, cornmeal, amaranth, buckwheat.  Now just imagine all of the amazing combinations we can make with these ingredients woohoo yummy!

I know cutting out packaged/processed foods may seem intimidating or overwhelming at first, but just take a look at what I ate today – you’ll be surprised at how simple it can be! Living a whole, clean, earth based life is delicious, healthy and easy!  Bonus: everything I ate today can be prepped on Sunday and stored/enjoyed for about 5 days.  I’m telling you, I don’t even get out a knife or cutting board during the week – all veggies, fruit and grains can be prepared ahead of time.  Because honestly, who really has the time to spend making BLD (breakfast, lunch, dinner) every day?!  Try starting off with these 20 staples to help get you on your way to whole livin’!

Breakfast: Cut fruit.  Lately I’ve been enjoying grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple.  ChiaChatta is a chia seed pudding that tastes like horchata.  It’s so simple to make and can be made in a big batch on Sunday and enjoyed until Friday.  Combine 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup oats 1.5 cups almond milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon.  Mix well and store in a glass container.  Read here all the amazing benefit of chia seeds. You should start enjoying them daily!

Lunch: I usually like to stick to a salad with plant based protein during the day (check out veg/protein combinations here).  On Sunday I always prepare a grain (this week brown and black rice) and throw in a vegetable towards the end of cooking (this week edamame).  Also, cabbage is soooooooo good for you and stays fresh for awhile.  It’s just a real winner.  So, a big bowl of cabbage with a few spoon fulls of rice and edamame.  Then I was feeing a little Asian inspired and added avocado, black sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.  Done.  2 minutes tops! Packs well for work too.

Snack: The perfect combination of fat, carbs, protein and sugar are medjool dates filled with almond butter.  They pack well, can be made in advance (do I need to keep mentioning that?) and are sooooo delicious.  I actually can not walk down the bulk aisle and not put my hand in the date bin and take one. I seriously begin salivating as I approach them.  So awkward getting caught mid bite, ek!  Hard boiled eggs also make a great snack on the go.  Don’t eat them in meetings though, please.  They may be the most disturbing food to watch people eat – eeeh – actually deviled eggs are worse.  I think my mom is the only person who still brings them to every occasion and holiday party.

Dinner: Usually a cooked vegetable and animal protein.  Today I just cooked some green beans I had on hand in a little coconut oil  (make coco oil your new cooking staple – it has so many health benefits), added a little of that already made rice and edamame, throw a fried egg on top and viola! So yummy and again, only 2 minutes.  Another way to reheat the rice and cook fish at the same time – check this recipe out and while you’re there read up on how Eating Healthy is Easy and Cheap!

Start small you guys.  Maybe try just one new vegetable a week.  Or replacing that roll with your salad with a whole grain, like rice.

I also start every morning off with a shot of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (aaaah painful) and end my day with Natural Calm, A Relaxing Magnesium Supplement.

Dr Weil’s Food Pyramid.  I replace the tofu with red wine.  You gotta get your antioxidants, right!?

Oatmeal is also a great way to start off your morning.  I assembled these for my friend who’s a nurse and would buy oatmeal every day at work.  She was spending $3 every morning, plus the oatmeal she was buying was packed with sugar, preservatives and ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.  I spent $20 on ingredients at TJ’s and assembled 20 baggies-to-go (a waste of plastic, I know, sorry).  Plus, they were way healthier because I added chia seeds and cinnamon (so many health benefits) and no sugar or preservatives were added.  10 minutes on Sunday will save you money, time waiting in line and your waistline!

 

Featured On: From My Coast to Yours

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Just had a wonderful afternoon cooking up a storm with my girl KK and her 2 lovely friends! One of the cooking classes I offer is called the 5-in-5 and this is where you’ll learn how to prepare 5 meals on a Sunday afternoon so that during the week you only spend 5 minutes of hands on time!

Check it out here and learn all out hosting a fun cooking lesson with your girls!

 

Featured On: Head Over Heels

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So thrilled to have  had Melanie of  Head Over Heels style the shoot for my site! Melanie is a great friend and a person whom I think everyone should know :) she brings so much love and laughter to the world!

 

And there she is in the background :)

Melanie has worked for years in theater and bridal salons and has a true talent when it comes to listening and understanding her clients and knowing how to make them feel beautiful.

Thanks, Mel!

 

Giving Thanks Soiree

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today is my favorite day of the year!  It’s a day that represents what I love most: family and friends coming together over healthy home cookin- amen!

 

This year was a little different than my past 27… my mom has decided (to my pleasant surprise) that it’s time to pass down the turkey torch to me.  I am so thrilled to be able to carry on our family tradition of hosting dinner for 20+ family members, neighbors and friends.

I hosted my first Thanksgiving for 15 Italian friends when I was 19 living in Milan.  I didn’t have an oven so I’d jet across our courtyard  and up three flights of stairs to my friend’s apartment to baste the turkey.  Just imagine a little American carrying a turkey through Milan, sigh.  So, this year in my parent’s kitchen and with my mom’s expertise it’s going to be a walk in the park.

I want to mention how I’m able to sit at my computer and enjoy a trail run on Thanksgiving morning and not stress that company will be walking through the door in an hour… The secret to stress-free hosing is

PREP ladies and it’s what I teach in my cooking classes! Yesterday my mom and I (plus pops was a huge help too!) prepared everything.  All we have to do today is throw things in the oven.  I’m telling you, I won’t even need to get out a knife today if you can beleive it or not.  Hosting a dinner for 20+ people should not be stressful, it’s something to be enjoyed and loved.

I will post the recipes later, but here’s the menu:

Wishing everyone a wonderful thanksgiving.  I am so grateful for all of the kind, loving and supportive people in my life.

 

 

Featured On: Style Me Pretty

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Ah SO exciting! Today my good friend Melanie Kluger of Head of Heels was published in Style Me Pretty… and I had the pleasure of dressing up for the shoot too! From New York City, Melanie brings style, glam and class to the San Francisco wedding scene.  With the energy  and personality (and NYC accent!) like no other person I know, Melanie is one fabulous chica, my cheeks actually hurt from laughing so much when we’re together!

Beautiful flower arrangements were created by Daisy Rose Floral.  Behind the lense was talented Krista Marie Photography.  Check out the FULL article.

 

 

Planks & Pinot

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plus healthy appetizers! What better way to spend your Friday night!?

Pilates Pro Works hosted a party Friday and I was so thrilled to have my first official Stiletto & Spice event with people who share the same philosophy for a healthy lifestyle as me: Exercising, Wine, Friends, Natural Whole Foods!

The Menu 

Recipes by Stiletto & Spice

Healthy & Hearty

Quick & Easy

Chic & Smart

PB&J Quinoa Crunch Bars (Full story here)

2 cups peanut butter – 1 cup brown rice syrup. 1 t vanilla . 4 cups quinoa crisps

and 2 cups rice crisps

Warm first 2 in saucepan.  Add vanilla.  Combine with crisps in a big bowl.  Press into a lined pan.

Spread 2 cups jelly.

Top with 2 cups chopped peanuts nuts.

Roasted Beets and Carrots with

Lemon Pistachio Dressing

Roast Beets in Foil – cut carrots into pieces, toss with evoo and s&p.

400 cooking times will vary.

½ cup evoo, juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 T honey. Toss all with

1 cup chopped pistachios.

Recipes can be made ahead and enjoyed all week!

 

Sushi, Caipirinhas and Dancing at Mercedes

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My last night in Milan (and first night in Greece) may have been the most memorable of my 2 weeks in Europe – besides for of course Mindee and Peter’s wedding!

I’m a pretty easy going traveler – I really do not care where we go, what we see, where we eat, how we get there, when we get there or really anything at all…I’m just along for a good time!  So for my last night I was not expecting much but was thrilled when Cecile got us a reservation at Temakinho and on the guest list to a party at Mercedes! Temakinho, is a snazzy sushi place famous for their fresh fish and Brazilian cocktails, Caipirinhas.

Mercedes launches a new car (don’t ask me what it was) and turned their dealership into a giant discoteca :)

 

 

Bread Sticks with Fabrizio

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About 40 minutes outside of Milan lives my friend Fabrizio.  Apparently, he is a famous chef in the region – how exciting.  We met last summer in San Francisco through a mutual friend, Daniella.

Anyway, I promised him I would stop by his restaurant the next time I was in Milan… donna della sua parola…

Daniella’s and my intentions were to help him in the kitchen and learn a few tricks… but to our pleasent surprise he insisted that we sit and enjoy a 3 course lunch – all ingredients locally sourced from within 20 miles!!!!

It was just Fabrizio, Daniella and me in his restaurant, enjoying lunch and broken conversation (Fabrizio does not speak a work of English!) while his sister and momma cooked and served for us!

After 3 hours, 2 bottles of wine, more gluten and pork than I’ve eaten in the past 5 years (seriously!) we slowly wobbled into the kitchen to learn how to make these amazing bread sticks.

Ingredients:

1 kilo flour

200 grams extra virgin olive oil

25 grams of salt

25 grams of lievito

500 grams of water

 

kneed

let rise

roll out into cornmeal

bake at 300 for 20 minutes and then at 200 for 10

(I think! This was about 2 weeks ago – I should have written it down)

 

Milan and a Moscow Mule!

I just spent a week in Milan, soaking up the Euro energy, roaming the cobblestone streets and enjoying long nights on the Naviglio!

I’ll admit, Milan does not have a ton to offer… the city is crowded, polluted and well, not so glamorous.  But despite it’s rough edges, Milan is one of my very most favorite cities in the world.   Not only because I spent a chunk of my early 20s living there, but because it is a city with so much life, energy, possibilities, culture, beauty, architecture, art and not to mention amazing night life and food!

I was staying with my best friend who has a wonderful apartment right next to the Naviglio.  The Naviglio is a canal that runs through the city, lined with bars and restaurants, where at 7pm the Milanese go to unwind and meet friends for an aparitivo (photo, top right). This is quite possibly my favorite Italian tradition!  I could get used to this custom, no problem.  Cape Town is a neighborhood favorite where they are famous for their Moscow Mules (photo, bottom right)!

I now keep Moscow Mule Makings in my fridge at all times, and I think you should too – they are so simple and refreshing on a hot summer day:

Moscow Mule:

Vodka, Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale, Fresh Ginger Slices.  You can even get fancy and add some cucumber of mint.

Late Lunch (top left picture)

Traveling is the best diet for me because I roam around cities for hours and completely forget about eating until I am famished and faint! One afternoon, just as I had been starting to feel HANGRY (hungry and angry) I stumbled across Botega Caffe Cacao.  9 euro included salad of choice, drink (I chose sparkling water), an espresso and a little in-house made dessert (strawberry slushy and a chocolate dipped wooden spoon).  I’m telling you, it is not expensive to eat well and healthy in Europe.  It’s not a class or status thing like it is made to be here in the states!  Everyone can afford to eat their veggies in Europe – the way it should be (shame on America and our subsidized, corrupt food industry)!

Salad in a Bread Bowl

Well, not really bread, more like a giant crispy flat bread! And look at the adorable oil and vinegar packets.  Italians also keep it light and simple with the dressings.  Ranch is NOT found in Italy – see more secrets to staying slim living the Italian life here

Nicoise is my absolute favorite salad to get out at lunch – it has the right amount of protein to keep me fueled until dinner, but not too heavy leaving me feeling blah.  Of course they added the mozzarella balls :)

Morning Coffee (bottom left picture)

Every Morning Cecile and I would enjoy a cup of coffee (American style – my style – big cup) at an adorable cafe downstairs from her apartment called That’s Bakery.  By the end of the week our regular server asked me to stay and marry him, or he would move to SF –  ha you gotta love the Italian men, so passionate!

Viva la Vita!

Back home and having Mule Parties yeah!

 
 

A Summer Soiree

I catered a lunch yesterday with a menu that I am so excited about!  It was such a beautiful representation of what you’d find at a Farmers Market in July – so fresh and delicious – I have to share. If you are not a big meat eater – I think salmon would substitute nicely for the skirt steak.

Appetizers:
Figs and Prosciutto over Ricotta, Drizzled with Honey  
(For the non pork eaters substitute chopped pistachios for prosciutto)

Salad:
Grilled Peaches with Toasted Walnuts, Pt Reyes Blue Cheese in a Balsamic Dressing
Main:
Skirt Steak over Fresh Corn Polenta
Sun Marinated Heirloom Tomato (soaked in a bowl of olive oil, balsamic, basil and garlic – Amazing and can go on anything! This is my summer staple)
Fresh Chopped Salad of Summer Squash, Zucchini, Wax Bean and Haricot Vert Swith Lemon Zest, Basil, Pine Nuts and Fresh Grated Parmesan

Dessert (not pictured)
Short Cakes, Vanilla Ice Cream and Plum Compote

Prep Ahead Tips:
Day Before:
prep, chop and blanch your summer veggies
Steam corn for polenta
Make your dressing and marinades
Start Marinating your Tomatoes
Chop nuts
make Shortcakes for dessert

Morning Of:
Make crostini
Grill the peaches
Grill the Steak (only to rare – let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and divide on 2 small baking pans.  Reheat in the oven for your guests right before serving – this will finish the cooking too.  I divided the meat between 2 pans so that one batch would be brought up to med-rare and the other batch I left in the oven a bit longer to bring the meat up to med)
Fill a large pot on the stove with broth and line up your polenta ingredients to throw in and make cooking/hosting as easy as possible (4 cups broth, 1 cup polenta. 1 cup parm, 2 cups fresh corn steamed and cut off ear)

Skirt Steak Marinade:
So good- I need to write this down so I don’t forget what I did
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Chopped Garlic, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce

Enjoy!!!