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Simple Sweet Potato Quinoa Hash Recipe


Today I started my 21-Day Vegan Challenge. For some time, I’ve been vegan-curious but was very intimidated by the meatless, cheeseless, butterless way of eating – which were pretty much my primary 3 reasons for eating..period. Let’s face it, for me that’s like squeezing all the joy out of life. Blah blah food- nope, not for me. My life includes a spectrum of rich, feel good comfort food that you daydream about many moments after you’ve delighted in it which includes the smokiness of bacon, creaminess of cheese and richness of ooey, goeey, cheesy foodstuffs.

Today I want to share a simple yet delicious vegan sweet potato quinoa hash recipe – check it out below!

  • Recipe type: Vegan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ cup of quinoa
  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • ½ cup chopped kale
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring the quinoa and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan add the coconut oil, garlic, chopped onions, kale and sweet potatoes, white pepper and salt.
  3. Cook on medium heat continuously stirring and moving the hash around so all of the sides of the sweet potatoes cook evenly. Cook until the onions become translucent and the kale and sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the quinoa and thoroughly mix. 

Mango Berry Sorbet Recipe


What do you do when you’re waiting on a Tropical Storm to pass you by? You make Mango Berry Sorbet, that’s what! It’s the whole make-lemons-into-lemonade analogy, right? It’s hot, humid and raining, so we need to manufacture a little bit of sunshine to brighten our day.

And it’s this. –>It’s mangos, and it’s macerated strawberries and it’s blueberries, lime juice and coconut water. That’s it! It’s bright and happy Mango Berry Sorbet for us today. Yay!

I gotta tell you, I couldn’t wait for this sorbet to hurry up and finish setting in the freezer.

  • Recipe type: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Amercian
  • Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Equipment

  • 2 bowls
  • Blender/food processor
  • Whisk
  • Knife
  • Freezer-proof container
  • Plastic Wrap
  • 3 medium-sized mangos, peeled and cut
  • 1 cup of strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • ¾ coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon rum

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the sliced strawberries and sugar to a bowl. Stir them gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. The result is this wonderful strawberry juice. Set it aside.
  2. Scoop out the mango with a measuring cup, or ice cream scoop or score it, then scoop it out.
  3. Add the mango to a food processor or blender and puree it until there are no visible large chunks. The texture should be very smooth.
  4. Puree the strawberries and set aside.
  5. Add the pureed mango into a bowl and whisk in the rum, coconut water and lime juice until it is one uniform texture and not separated.
  6. Add sorbet mixture to an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. During the last 10 minutes of churning add the strawberry slowly and then finally add about 10-15 blue berries.
  7. Once the sorbet is completed spoon into a freezer-safe container and freeze for one hour.

Tropical Storm Inspiration

What exactly is sorbet anyway? It’s a pureed, fruit-based frozen treat. The word is actually derived from the Arab word “sharab” which means alcohol.  The alcohol lowers the freezing temperature of the sorbet which results in a softer texture so you can freeze it nicely without needing an ice cream machine. Cool beans! And what’s even more perfect about Sorbets is they contain no dairy ingredients so it’s a vegan dessert, baby!

At first taste it, it’s like you’re literally biting into a frozen mango- that fresh. You get a very subtle hint of lime, and the ribbons of pureed strawberry are just like heaven in your mouth. If you loved my Mango Banana Sorbet, you’re definitely going to love this Mango Berry Sorbet.

For dinner we had Tilapia with Lobster Ravioli, which was sorta heavy, so this Mango Berry Sorbet was the perfect palate cleanser and just in time for that sweet-tooth craving- which I always have.

I started out by prepping the fruit: Add the sliced strawberries and sugar to a bowl. Stir them gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. The result is this wonderful strawberry juice. Set it aside.

Scoop out the mango with a small measuring cup, or ice cream scoop. Or you can score it, then scoop it out.

Add the mango to a food processor or blender and puree it until there are no visible large chunks. The texture should be very smooth.

Puree the strawberries and set aside.

Add the pureed mango into a bowl and whisk in the rum, coconut water and lime juice until it is one uniform texture and not separated.

Add sorbet mixture to an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. During the last 10 minutes of churning, add the strawberry slowly and then finally add about 10-15 blue berries.

Once the sorbet is completed, spoon into a freezer-safe container and freeze for one hour.

Why You Will Love This

  1. It’s vegan
  2. It’s so refreshing
  3. It’s all-natural
  4. Will make you forget about tropical storms!

Bahn Mi Tacos Recipe


Folks, this is the foodie bliss I call Bahn Mi Tacos!

This week, as I sat down to write my weekly meal plan  I knew I had to stick Bahn Mi Tacos in there somewhere. I’ve been dreaming about Bahn Mi since my first trip to San Francisco last year.  The Bahn Mi Sandwich, pronounced “Bawn Mee” is by far one of the best sandwiches I have ever had- and this girl’s been around the foodie block a few times!

Bahn is Vietnamese for bread and Mi for wheat since this sandwich is typically made on a French baguette which was a result of the French influence during their colonization.

  • ​​Recipe type: Main
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese Mexican
  • Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs of pulled pork
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced
  • 2 cups of carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup of cilantro leaves
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced *optional
  • ¼ cup of soy or teriyaki sauce
  • 8 soft tacos

Bahn Mi Tacos

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the sugar, salt and vinegar in a small pot over medium heat. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from the heat.
  2. Place the carrots in a separate bowl and pour the pickling solution over them. The carrots will begin to soften. Let sit for 20 minutes or put in the microwave for 2 minutes to speed up the process. Once the carrots are tender, completely drain the pickling solution. Now it’s time to assemble our tacos.
  3. Add the pulled pork to the middle of the soft taco. Add the sliced cucumbers on top of the pulled pork, then the cilantro leaves and the pickled carrots. If you like a little heat in your tacos, add a couple slices of jalapeno on top.
  4. Drizzle with some soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

The Bahn Mi Inspiration

I was in search of some cool foodie joints on my business trip and found this hole-in-the-wall spot in downtown San Francisco, Saigon Sandwich. They only took cash and you knew the moment you walked in this place the food would be unforgettable! Don’t these types of holey joints all have that in common?

There was a couple of older Vietnamese women working there – one taking orders and the other serving the food. The menu only had about 6 items and the place was big enough for walking up and ordering your food, but the line was out the door and down the street! I placed my order and only waited for a few minutes. I walked out of that place with both the Chicken and Pork Bahn Mi sandwiches- one in each hand! One to take back to my hotel room and one for the next day.

I know what you must be thinking..two sandwiches…ha! but I had to taste both the chicken and pork…you understand right?…my taste buds begged and I followed. Judge if you must..lol but every bite was worth it. I can’t express how amazing those sandwiches were. If you know me by now, you know I loooove sweet and salty and YEP–>> this Bahn Mi sandwich was all that and had so much more goin’ on. Most Bahn Mi sandwiches have the following components in common:

  1. cucumbers
  2. shredded sweet & sour carrots and daikon <<–OMG
  3. cilantro leaves
  4. oven-roasted pork or chicken
  5. jalapeno peppers

Ok, I’ve never had fresh cilantro in a sandwich like this before and I think every sandwich in the world should be so good. My Bahn Mi variation this week replaces the bread with soft flour tacos and I added a Cilantro Mayo- but that’s optional. After trying it with the Cilantro Mayo I felt it made the tacos a little too salty with the salt from the pork and teriyaki sauce. But if you’re using baguettes, then I’d definitely go with the Cilantro Mayo, because the saltiness is more balanced out as the bread is more dense than the tacos and soaks a lot of it up nicely.

I used my leftover pulled pork from Wednesday’s dinner which tasted even better the next day. You can use chicken or any protein will work as well. 

Meal planning tip: Slow cook a nice-sized portion of meat, enough for two days’ and cut your cooking time in half for one of the two meals by using the leftovers. 

Bahn Mi Tacos

Bahn Mi Tacos5

The first thing I did was prep my veggies: I shredded the carrots and sliced the cucumbers and jalapenos. I soaked my cilantro and rinsed away any grit. Make sure you clean your cilantro thoroughly or any residual grit is going to kill this masterpiece.

Bahn Mi Tacos

Then I combined the sugar, salt and vinegar in a small pot over medium heat. Once the sugar dissolved, I removed it from the heat.

I placed the carrots in a separate bowl and poured the pickling solution over them. The carrots will begin to soften. I put mine in the microwave for 2 minutes to speed up the process. Once the carrots are tender, completely drain the pickling solution. 

Bahn Mi Tacos

Now it’s time to assemble our tacos. Add the pulled pork to the center of the soft taco. 

Bahn Mi Tacos

Then layer with the sliced cucumbers, the cilantro leaves and the pickled carrots on top. Drizzle with some soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

The moment you take your first bite, your taste buds get hit with the salty, flavorful pork, then the crisp, refreshing taste of the cucumber, then comes that crisp, wonderful cilantro and the sour-sweetness of the shredded carrots. Foodie bliss with every bite!

Bahn Mi Tacos

So as far as my meal plan goes, we might just bump Friday’s meal out and do Bahn Mi Part 2 because once was not enough.

I think this time I’ll buy some baguettes to get that traditional Vietnamese thing going here. Yeah- it’s that good! So thanks to Bahn Mi,Thursday night’s dinner was off-da-chain! and so is my recipe post for the week! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and will do again and again and..well you get the point.

Sancocho Recipe – Traditional Carribean Stew


Sancho is a latin american stew that I grew up eating Puerto Rican-style from my mother and grandmother’s kitchen. My variation uses turkey thighs and drum sticks.

I am a soup and stew nut. There, I said it. Let’s face it, soup may not be the best thing in the world but it is unadulterated comfort food. Can you say: feeeeel goooood fooood. Like the kind that makes you feel whole after a long hard day at work. Or the kind that keeps you warm inside after being out in the blustery cold.

  • Recipe type: Soup
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican
  • Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup cilantro, rough chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 pounds turkey drum sticks, thighs
  • 3 corn on the cob, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 red potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 yautia, peeled, chopped
  • 2 yucca, peeled chopped
  • 4 green cooking bananas

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Saute the cilantro, garlic and onion in butter over medium heat. Add the turkey and toss the turkey around to coat with the sautéed aromatics.
  2. Add all of the vegetables and fill the pot with water. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat for a half hour and reduce heat to low for remaining hour or hour and a half.
  3. Stir stew and make sure turkey meat is easily separating from the bone. Salt to taste.

Tips:

  1. Make sure you use a heavy bottom pot or the ingredients at the bottom may cook unevenly.
  2. Make sure to clean your Cilantro thoroughly.
  3. Cook the soup for a full 2 hours if you want the meat falling off the bone.
  4. You can serve with a little squeeze of lime for a flavor enhancer.

If you want more of a soupy consistency, limit the amount of stirring you do. For a thicker stew, stir occasionally as the sweet potatoes, red potatoes and yucca will break down and thicken the stew.

Well, this soup is true and dear to my heart. I grew up feasting on my mother’s and grandmother’s Sancocho, a Puerto Rican stew loaded with not just your run-of-the-mill root vegetables, like your red potatoes, sweet potatoes but we add Yucca and Yautia. Ohh yeah. Yautia is this creamy, pink, potato-like vegetable that is just dreamy. It’s the cousin of the Malanga and it’s skin’s texture is pretty hairy and dirty. 

You have to peel it and cut it up in chunks. Sancocho requires quite a chopping commitment but it is truly a labor of love. In addition to the root vegetables, you add carrots, green cooking bananas, corn on the cob, cilantro, garlic and onions for the aromatics. It’s a whole harvest in a pot and it is deeeeelicious.

We made Sancocho for my in-laws over the weekend. We made two big pots for a party of 9 and finished off almost a whole pot so this recipe can handle a large party or seconds and thirds. I love to use fresh, chopped turkey legs and thighs because of how its hearty flavor infuses the stew. For my vegan friends, this stew can stand up on its own without any meat and is equally as  satisfying. 

This stew is pretty easy to make. I like to sautee the cilantro, garlic and onions in some butter or oil. I then add the turkey and toss it in the sautéed aromatics before I start adding the veggies. I usually fill up my pots about 3/4 of the way with veggies then fill with water. I add sea salt and cracked black pepper and let it go for at least an hour and a half for the veggies and meat to cook fully but I like to cook it for at least 2 hours so the meat can fall off the bone.

After I mince the garlic, chop the cilantro and onions, I sautee them in a 6-quart stock pot then add my chopped turkey. They play around in the aromatics a little until fully coated.

So make this if you wanna break up the week with something lighter and veggier. Make this if you want to make something your family will want to eat a couple of days in a row and give yourself a little cooking break. Make this if you want something hearty and tasty, but healthy. Or you can mentally bookmark it for that, dare I say, chilly night when you wanna warm up a little. I know! Summer’s almost over but at least you’ve got this beauty to look forward to.

To your warm and cozy insides! 

Eggs In Clouds Recipe


Every now and then I come across a dreamy recipe that puts me on cloud 9. But wait, this one was literally a recipe filled with clouds-egg white, fluffy, clouds.

Ok, picture fluffy, egg whites, whipped to white, majestic peaks and speckled with green onion, Canadian bacon and then a perfectly gooey soft-baked egg yolk right in the middle?

Yes, now you see what I mean! I whipped these up for a quick, light lunch  and after I was done just staring at how pretty they came out, I went in.

  • PREP TIME 10 mins
  • COOK TIME 6 mins
  • TOTAL TIME 16 mins
  • Recipe type: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: American
  • Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly-grated preferably
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • ¼ cup of Canadian bacon, diced

Eggs in Clouds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites
  2. Put the egg whites in one large metal bowl and the yolks in 4 separate bowls
  3. In a metal mixing bowl, whip the whites until stiff peaks form
  4. Carefully fold in the Parmesan cheese, chives and Canadian bacon
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon in 4 mounds of whipped egg whites. Oven-safe ramekins will work well too
  6. Use a teaspoon and make a deep well in the center of each mound
  7. Bake at 450 degrees Farenheit for 3 minutes then remove from the oven
  8. Add one yolk to each well and season with salt and pepper
  9. Return to the oven and bake until the yolks set. This can take about 2-3 minutes for a soft egg yolk
  10. Adapted from the Cooking Jar

NOTES

If you use a ramekin, leave them in the oven for an extra 2 minutes.

Eggs in Clouds

You know how I mentioned before that I started looking for healthier alternatives to some of my favorite feel-good food cravings? Well, these babies are IT.

They are light

They are tasty

They are lower in calories than my usual scrambled eggs

They have less cholesterol

They are quick to make

So fun to make

And they are sooo yummy!

In my version of this recipe I used Canadian bacon instead.

Raise your hand if you like making beautiful but quick and easy food? Meeee tooo! Enjoy these Eggs in Clouds and if you forget to eat them because you love admiring how pretty they turned out, then that’s ok too. 

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos Recipe


Summer in South Florida always means, ripened mangos falling from trees, sunny, clear, blue skies, warm ocean waves, multi-colored, fruity water ice, fall-off-the-bone BBQ-scented neighborhoods..and of course sweltering heat. It’s HOT! And dog walking now means I can lose 10 lbs of sweat per day- that’s awesome! Not! 

Until the hot and sticky nights subside, I can tell you I’ve been dreaming of chilled, deep-red and juicy watermelon, bursting with watermelon juice.  But not just watermelon, how ’bout Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos?? Uhuh..Now I know I have your attention… Let’s face it, watermelon has been very neglected throughout history. It’s been underrated and underappreciated but let’s give it, it’s rightful summer props, why not? It’s the perfect element to keep that sweaty glistening version of you at bay.

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos Recipe

  • PREP TIME 15 mins
  • TOTAL TIME 15 mins
  • Serves: 5

INGREDIENTS

Equipment Needed

  • Knife
  • Food Processor
  • Strainer or Fine Sieve
  • Muddler or wooden spoon
  • Large Pitcher

Ingredients

  • ¼ of a medium seedless watermelon or half of a small watermelon, chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 30 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cane sugar (can substitute sugar with 2 tablespoons Agave Syrup)
  • 1 small can (8.5 oz) of club soda
  • 8 oz of a light rum, I used Bacardi
  • 1 cup of blueberries, frozen

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos - the perfect melon berry summer cocktail!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. First, cut the watermelon into chunks, so it can fit in your food processor of choice. Puree the watermelon until there are no visible solid pieces left.
  2. Then, place a sieve or fine strainer over a bowl and pour the watermelon juice in. (If you like a pulpy mojito, you can skip this step.)
  3. Shake the sieve or strainer a little, until all of the liquid is removed and only the pulp is left behind. Discard the pulp and set the juice aside.
  4. In a muddler, add the sugar, lime quarters and mint leaves and smash until all of the sugar has been absorbed. (If you don’t have a muddler you can add these ingredients to a large pitcher and use the back of a wooden spoon to smash the ingredients.)
  5. Add the watermelon juice to a large pitcher and add the muddled ingredients.
  6. Finally add the club soda and rum. Mix well.
  7. Before pouring Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos, add a handful of blueberries to each glass and fill. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime.

NOTES

Yields: 5 cups

Where do I begin?

First of all, a fruit that yields that much water is just crazy good for these hot and sticky summers- 4 cups of watermelon juice in all!

Why didn’t I do this last summer?  That’s because I used to not be that adventurous in the kitchen- that’s why. Now, even a swarm of gnats inspires me to make something tasty and amazing- just kidding- but you never know, it is possible..lol

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos - Your new favorite summer melon berry treat!

First,  cut the watermelon into chunks. Puree the watermelon until there are no visible solid pieces left.

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos - Your new favorite summer melon berry treat!

Then, place a sieve or fine strainer over a bowl and pour the watermelon juice in. (If you like a pulpy mojito, you can skip this step.)

Shake the sieve or strainer a little, until all of the liquid is removed and only the pulp is left behind. Discard the pulp and set the juice aside.

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos - Your new favorite summer melon berry treat!

In a muddler, add the sugar, lime quarters and mint leaves and smash until all of the sugar has been absorbed.

Add the watermelon juice to a large pitcher and add the muddled ingredients.

Finally add the club soda and rum. Mix well.

Before pouring Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos, add a handful of blueberries to each 8oz glass. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime.

Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos - Your new favorite summer melon berry treat!

Why You Will Love This

The blueberries in this recipe should be frozen which is so cool(no pun intended) because it keeps your drink cool and they look so cool floating around in the Mojito. <<— I don’t recommend using “cool” in a sentence that many times..unless of course you’re trying to describe these lovely Watermelon Blueberry Mojitos!

The mint in this drink is perfectly-balanced with that hint of lime. The Mojito is not overly sweet and if your blueberries are as sweet as mine then even the sweetness is nicely balanced. It’s THE happenin’ drink of the summer..you heard it here first..and I know..because I live 40 minutes from South Beach and baby…we know cool.