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Homemade Coconut Milk

Look, Ma! Homemade Coconut Milk!

Ever since I was introduced to the art of making my own nut milk, I couldn’t bare to buy the boxed variety in stores. The main reason, other than the cost, is that preservatives are added to these milks, to retain freshness for much longer. The only thing I was bummed about was that I didn’t know how to make my own Coconut Milk – until now! This heavenly milk has a pretty short shelf life – 3 to 4 days, so I don’t make a lot at a time. But oh boy, it’s delicious!

Ingredients: coconut_milk

  • 4 cups warm filtered water (water should not be too hot, to retain the natural enzymes found in the coconut meat)
  • 1 cup raw unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice, or no sweetener!)
  • Dash vanilla extract


  1. Add ingredients to your blender or vitamix. Blend for about 2-3 minutes, until milk is frothy. Keep your hand on top of the blender while blending, to avoid any messy explosions (yes, that’s what happened to me).
  2. Place a nut milk bag or cheese cloth over a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl. Pour contents in the bag or cheese cloth, and with your hands, squeeze out all the liquid from the pulp. Discard the bag with pulp (or use it for your baking or in your smoothies!), and pour the milk into a glass jar or bottle. Tightly seal and store in the refrigerator. Will keep 3-4 days.

What are the benefits of Coconut Milk, you ask?

Coconut milk is high in enzymes and vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and panthothenic acid.

It is high in Lauric Acid, a a medium-chain fatty acid that is otherwise only available in human breast milk. Lauric Acid converts into Monolaurin in the human body, which helps destroy fungus, bacteria and viruses.

And most importantly, it’s delicious, and will make you go, Mmm!



Thyme Lemonade

TGI Hot Summer Friday Thyme Lemonade

thyme-lemonadeWe’re having a heat wave in Southern California, I don’t feel like cooking, and it’s finally Friday. So I thought I’d make some thyme infused lemonade to sip on until the evening hour rolls around, and then I look forward to spiking Mr. Lemonade with Ms. Gin. Here’s what I did:






  • 1.5 cups sugar (2 cups if you like it sweet)
  • 1 cup water
  • About 5-8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (About 5 lemons)
  • 3.5 cups of cold water


  1. Boil 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Add the sugar (if you prefer a sweeter lemonade, combine 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water) and the sprigs of thyme. Allow the thyme and sugar mixture come to a boil, for about 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool down.
  2. Squeeze juice of 5 lemons in a lemon juicer (or by hand if you’re up for the challenge – just make sure to keep the seeds out).  Combine the lemon juice and 3 1/2 cups water with the thyme-sugar water. Refrigerate.

Once the evening hour rolls around, feel free to spike your lemonade with some gin or vodka, or do as I learned from some dear Canadian friends, make beer lemonade – fill up half a glass of light beer (there are a lot of great Summer brews out right now!) and half of the lemonade. Sit back, and inhale the hot air!


Cooking with Boys

I have a very special and rewarding job. I teach cooking to two adorable (future heartbreakers) 13 year old boys. Their enthusiasm for food and trying new ingredients gives me faith in humanity. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I love seeing them waft their hands over a pot of soup, inhaling the scents, and sighing excitedly over the aromas. I love how badly one of my boys wants to put cumin into everything. They love cracking eggs, and rolling dough and trying new flavors. On one of our lessons, we cooked lentils, they kept snacking on little fingerfuls of the freshly cooked lentils that were cooling in a colander, excited to discover a new food they hadn’t had yet.

I try to come up with nutritious recipes and dishes that boys their age would eat. While they are certainly more ambitious with their palette than one assumes of the average child and teen, they are still kids, and love pasta and pizza and burgers. My goal has simply been to pack these same dishes with tons of vegetables, and to make the pasta and bread products with whole grain alternatives. Below are some of the dishes that they have prepared in our lessons.

Cooking with Boys

[img src=]00Chickpea Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa Pasta
[img src=]00Broccoli Cheddar Hot Pockets
[img src=]00Bistro Salad Happy Face
"Bistro" salad with pears, walnuts, egg and garlic toast. We were working on plating that day. :)
[img src=]00Chopped Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Apples, Dried Cranberries and a Homemade Healthier Ranch Dressing.
[img src=]00Cilantro, White Bean and Lime Hummus, with Homemade Seasoned Pita Chips that we made from fresh pita bread.
Look at that presentation!
[img src=]10Spinach + Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
(Accompanying creamy tomato soup, of course!)
[img src=]00Creamy Tomato Soup
(Accompanying grilled cheese, tomato and spinach sandwiches, of course!)
[img src=]00Homemade Broccoli Mac n Cheese
(Our first lesson!)
[img src=]00Mexican Baked Eggs with Black Beans, Tomato and Cheese.
[img src=]00Spring Pesto Pasta with Peas, Pine Nuts and Spinach, made with quinoa pasta.
[img src=]00Pizza Making in Action
Putting the finishing touches on their homemade Very Green and Very Cheese Pizza on Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.
[img src=]00Very Green and Cheesy Homemade Pizza on Wholewheat Pizza dough.
Voila! The finished product!


A Wealthy Green New Year

Have the holidays made your belly feel as full as mine? Today is the last day of the Year, and I began it with a new ritual that I’ve promised myself to practice each morning of January 2013. I don’t like resolutions, because I find that I never stick to them as much as I hope/plan to, and then I end up disappointed. But I’m good at keeping promises – realistic ones – and I think this one I can keep.

Every morning in January, I will blend up water, juice of one lemon (although this morning I used a tart little orange I got off of a tree in the neighborhood), a big handful of greens (this morning I used the new “Power to the Greens” variety from Trader Joes) and a chunk of ginger. Whenever I drink this Green Lemonade, I feel full and satiated. So what a better way to start the day?

Tonight, I’m making a vegetarian Hoppin’ John. I just learned about this traditional Southern New Year’s dish, that is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. It’s is essentially black eyed peas with dark leafy greens, both of which symbolize good luck and prosperity. Traditionally it is made with bacon or ham hock. I’m going to use mushrooms and smoked paprika to flavor my dish, in their place. I found this recipe in the Vegetarian Times, which I will use to inspire my dish tonight.

*Note: I am going to loosely follow this recipe, and will omit the apple cider vinegar and agave. I am also going to omit the veggie bacon, and add mushrooms and a fair amount of smoked paprika and Old Bay to give my greens that smokey baconey flavor. And finally, instead of rice, I will make farro or quinoa for my grain. That’s the best thing about beans n’ greens – you can customize them to your liking.

Wishing you a wealthy, abundant, healthy and delectable 2013 darlings! May you bring your dreams into reality!


Vegetarian Hoppin’ John

Serves 4

Southern cooks put cruets of vinegar and bottles of vinegar-based hot sauce (like Tabasco and Texas Pete) on the table for guests to doctor up this classic New Year’s dish with tangy flavor.
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. chili powder, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 large bunch collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices meatless low-fat bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped (¾ cup)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped (¾ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 15.5-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1. Whisk together 2 Tbs. vinegar, agave nectar, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt; set aside.

2. Cook collard greens in pot of boiling salted water 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.

3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, onion, celery, garlic, and remaining 1/2 tsp. chili powder. Cook 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add collard greens, vinegar-agave nectar mixture, 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid, 2 Tbs. vinegar, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until greens are tender. Transfer to serving platter.

4. Add rice and beans to skillet. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid, and cook 3 minutes, or until heated through. Serve rice and beans over greens.


The Great UnDivide

After attempting to put this blog post together for weeks, I realize today, November 1, 2012 is THE day to spread a few words from my heart; the first day of November, on a very important month, of a very important year. This is the month of gratitude, at which month’s end, many of us will gather with our loved ones and find ways to be grateful among each other’s bountiful food and company.

Additionally, on November 6 this year, some of us will be feeling very grateful, while others will undoubtedly express other emotions; perhaps disappointment, anger or fear.

THIS is the time we must come together. Whatever our politics, we share this space in this nation, this world, this Universe.

This blog post has been challenging to assemble, as I have been gathering information about something very important to me – Prop 37 a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative. If approved by voters Nov. 6, the labeling initiative would make California the first state in the US to require labels on genetically engineered crops or processed foods, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and Hawaiian papayas. It would require labels on supermarket shelves or on food packages. While I don’t want to use this space as a political soap box, I feel we have reached an important crossroads that may strongly affect the future of our food in this country (and possibly in this world). I want to provide you with a fair amount of information from both sides, and let you know that I am voting YES on Prop 37 and here’s why:

  • While the studies are still inconclusive, we have reason to be concerned that GMOs may cause allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Since most of our corn and soy products are GMO, and much of our manufactured food contains either or both of those ingredients, we should have a right to know whether we are consuming products containing GMO.

California will be following the standards of the 61 countries all over the world that are already restricting or labeling the use of GMO in their products. This includes meat, dairy and vegetables. This does not include restaurants being required to list the ingredients in their products (as they currently are not), as well as consuming meat and dairy from animals fed on GMO food. Alcohol too is exempt from labeling.

I have read some incredible articles written by incredible leaders in the food world. I have pasted a few of my favorites below (granted they are ALL from the NY Times – they are great articles).

Vote For The Dinner Party by Michael Pollan

A Simple Fix For Farming by Mark Bittman

Chefs Back Measure on Labeling GMOs

Now for some concerns regarding the wording of the Prop. This LA Times article shows that the wording can lead to trouble. The concern is that the wording of the proposition which will require companies to label their foods a certain way, “could threaten the livelihood of mom-and-pop grocers, lead the way to a plethora of lawsuits even when there’s little to no evidence, and in the end leave consumers no better informed than they are today because food companies quite possibly would just slap labels on all their products with vague wording that they “may” contain genetically engineered ingredients. It’s true, though, that there’s reason for environmental concern over genetically engineered foods, and they haven’t always been welcomed by consumers.” (Taken from Seven Foods, genetically engineered, LA Times)

The companies against Prop 37 include Monsanto, Dupont, Coca-Cola Co., Pepsico Inc. and Nestle Inc. have raised over $41 million in ad campaigns, that include messages like, passing Prop 37 will increase the cost of food, among other scare tactics. They have not released any independent studies that prove why not labeling foods containing GMOs will benefit consumers, nor have there been any independent conclusive studies proving any health benefits of GM Foods.

The Yes on Prop 37 campaign has raised $6.7 million, from contributions from smaller companies, like organic food growers, Kent Whealy, the founder of the Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve seeds for heirloom plants, as well as retailers and consumer groups as well as Health Resources, a privately held Illinois company that operates a “natural health” website. Naturally, as the “underdogs”, they have had to use the power of social media, vs the power of money to get their message across. And ultimately, their message is simple, we have a right to know what goes in our food.

After speaking to a family friend, who is the Director of Food Safety at a major food manufacturing plant, she confirmed that the opposing argument over a spike in food prices because of labeling is misleading. There would not be a change in price if food companies had to switch to labels that say whether food contains GMOs. Manufacturers will have time to phase in new labels or decide to change their products so they can avoid the labeling requirement. In addition, if the prop passes, it will likely have a ripple effect, including ballot initiatives in other states. Some analysts say food companies will not want to make a different set of products for California, which could mean labels on foods that contain GM ingredients nationwide.

We have to start somewhere. Regardless of your stand, please make sure to vote on November 6.

Now, if you ARE STILL READING THIS, thank you and kudos to your longer than average attention span! There is one other important thing happening in November, that I wish to share with you. My beloved yoga studio alerted me in their monthly newsletter, that this is actually MOVEMBER!

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Moksha Yoga is doing a fundraiser for Movember, if you would like to participate. And while I am generally not a mustache fan, I say, grow ’em boys! Let’s raise some awareness and kick Cancer in the ass and balls!

Love and prayers to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please donate to the Red Cross if you can.

Happy November friends! I am so grateful for all of you!



Cooking In The Buff


Drawing by Roger Cruz

Maybe I’m impatient, or have issues with authority, but I really don’t like to follow recipes when I’m cooking. I know that’s not everyone’s thing. Some people prefer to design their delectables via measurements and procedures written out in an easy to follow format.

How did I get comfortable cooking au natural? Well, to start, I love eating! Specifically, I love to uncover and discover flavors, and decipher what ingredients are used in the dishes I love, and then try to guess how they were made. These flavors inspire my kitchen improvisation. I might start with an ingredient I’m craving or see at the farmers market, or maybe something in my fridge that needs to be consumed before it goes bad. For example, if spinach were my starting point, I think it would be lovely tossed raw in some hot fusilli with ricotta until it wilts. But wait! Some bold flavor would be nice. Since I’m not a meat eater, pancetta or everyone’s favorite, bacon isn’t an option, so perhaps rather than the subtle taste of ricotta, I could use goat cheese or parmesan, add olives, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs tossed with some olive oil to keep it summery, or make a light white wine cream sauce… There is a chance that these flavors could fail. There’s only one way to find out.

I do enjoy reading recipes, and watching cooking shows. I learn a lot, and get inspired. I saw a photo of zucchini gratin the other day, and decided to make a less heavy version in the form of a casserole. Since my casserole skills are a bit amateur, I looked up a bunch of recipes, and went with the easiest one, and then changed it to my liking. I tossed a bunch of zucchini with cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and placed the ingredients into a casserole dish. I topped it with a small amount of panko breadcrumbs, and placed the dish in the oven. Just before it looked ready with the veggies and cheese bubbling and smelling delicious, I decided to add some more breadcrumbs and freshly grated parmesan, and raised the oven temperature to broil to brown the top. Unfortunately, what I didn’t take into account was the wateriness of the zucchini. I needed to add something to thicken the dish and absorb the water from the zucchini. Next time, I’ll add more breadcrumbs or matzoh meal to that baby and my favorite ingredient, an egg, to thicken it. Cornstarch is also a great thickener, so I might toss some in with the zucchini, cheese and herbs before putting it into the oven. YUM!

A good improviser in the kitchen requires just a few skills: courage, flexibility, a basic knowledge of cooking (which you can acquire by following recipes at first), and a good flavor palette – to know what ingredients go well together. The worst thing that could happen is it won’t come out just right. It’s food! They’re ingredients you already like – so how bad could it be?

Sadly, the same doesn’t go for baking. Baking requires exact proportions, and an understanding how the flour, leavening agents, fats, eggs and sweeteners need to be properly combined and added in exact measurements and in the proper order to achieve the desired result. Once you have that understanding, you can alternate ingredients, and make adjustments – which is what I do to bring you delicious healthy baked goods!

Let me know how you’ve stripped away your cookbook attire and improvised some beautiful dishes in your kitchen!

Ode To Springtime…and the Soft Boiled Egg!

“I have met a lot of harboiled eggs in my time, but you’re twenty minutes.”
~Oscar Wilde

Happy Spring! Ever notice that the egg is a symbol of Spring in several cultures? Naturally, we have Easter eggs, which were originally thought of as a symbol of new life. A similar tradition of dying eggs has been practiced for more than 2,500 years for Nowruz, the Persian celebration of the Spring Equinox, and New Year, in which the egg is also the symbol of new life. A hard boiled egg is one of the items on the Seder plate on Passover, and it symbolizes the roundness of Earth and life which is always moving in circles, and is also in Judaism, a symbol of Springtime.

When I was a little girl, I loved, but was very finicky about my soft boiled eggs. As I grew into a teenager, I really let my Mom have it when my egg wasn’t cooked right (hormones raging and all). And since I’ve been on my own for awhile, I have finally developed a level of comfort making my soft boiled eggs just right. A perfectly cooked soft boiled egg is all about the timing. While there is also a science to it, varying by cooking time, size of egg, temperature, etc, I have found that the best soft boiled eggs I’ve ever made were when I felt they were ready. It’s hoakey, I know. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and vitamins, and soft boiled eggs are one of the healthiest ways of preparing them, since they don’t require oil or butter to make them. Here’s how I make mine:

Place your egg(s) into a pot of water, enough to cover the surface of the egg(s). When the water starts to boil, set your timer to 3 minutes for a perfect soft boiled egg. If you don’t trust yourself, heres’s a lovely little gadget you can get that tells you the state that your egg is in as it’s cooking (soft, medium or hard). After the water has boiled 3 minutes, turn off burner, and run cold water over the egg, or place it into a bowl of cold water, to make it stop cooking.

After the egg has cooled to touch, place it into an egg cup. If you don’t have one, get creative! Try a small vase, the wide neck of a bottle, a napkin ring. I’ve used these lovely little glass jars from a French yogurt company. (They’re great for candle votives too!) This time I used my favorite little chicken cup.

My favorite way to get into the egg is to crack the top of the shell with a spoon, and gently peel off the shell, placing the peeled shells in the egg cup (for easy clean up!). Some people like to be more precise, and they cut the top of the egg straight across with a knife. Peeling the top has been a lifelong ritual, and I delight in it every time.

Dig into the egg with your spoon, and unearth that ray of yolk.

My Grandmother used to put a tiny sliver of butter and a tiny pinch of salt on each spoonful before scooping out the meat of the egg. I have strayed from that ritual, and now vary with a small sprinkle of herb salt, or a spritz of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Below you can see I had my soft boiled egg today with a fresh arugula salad, and lavash bread, one half with avocado and cucumber, and the other half with my favorite salty Irish butter. Hungry yet? Feel free to send me your favorite ways that you enjoy your soft boiled egg!

Eat Your Heart Out!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon
 or not at all.”
~ Harriet Van Horne

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, food can be a wonderful part of Valentines Day. And you don’t have to overindulge and feel unhealthy. Think of the types of food that make you feel good, sexy, happy, fulfilled. If your favorite foods are not necessarily made up of the healthiest ingredients, perhaps you can find a healthier substitute, or simply allow yourself a little indulgence, but make sure to round it out with some healthy fiber-filled morsels to fill you up.

I’ll share with you what I think I’ll have today, and hopefully it will inspire you. For breakfast I’ll start off with a hearty hot cereal, with lots of fruit and pumpkin seeds. For lunch, I shall treat myself to my current favorite salad made with chopped kale, avocado, hazelnuts, persian cucumber, cara cara oranges and grated parmesan. I’m not sure yet what delectables I’ll have for dinner, but I think I’ll end the day with a delicious cup of hot chocolate, made with whole milk, unsweetened cocoa powder and a little bit of organic light cane sugar.

The most important thing you can do for yourself today (and every day) is love yourself as much as you want to be loved by another.

Here’s a little song I put together for you with my friend Alex Chu. Hope you enjoy.
Valentine’s Day Song

Squash On You

Yummy, filling and low in calories, Spaghetti Squash is an excellent, and easy to prepare delight! Some people watching their carb intake like to substitute pasta with spaghetti squash, and eat it with a marinara or alfredo sauce.

I’m a fan of having it as a side dish. Here’s a recent recipe I came up with that was oh so delectable (and ahem, healthy)!

1 medium spaghetti squash, cut in half
1 scallion, sliced
3-4 mushrooms (I used cremini), sliced
About a cup of your favorite greens (I used kale), chopped
About a quarter cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Place cut spaghetti squash face down on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft. Take out of oven, and allow the squash to cool about 10 minutes. Pull out as many seeds as you can, with a fork, and set them aside – they’re great toasted! Then with a fork, begin to scrape into the meat of the squash. You will quickly see why it’s called a spaghetti squash, as you pull up the yummy squash “meat”. Place a little olive oil (or oil of choice) into a pan on a medium heat. Once pan has heated, toss in the squash and scallions, and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, then add greens and cook for about 5 minutes, until greens soften. Toss in mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper (or my favorite combo of sea salt, cayenne and garlic powder :)). Place into a serving bowl and sprinkle crumbled feta on top. Serve warm.

Rinse squash seeds, and toast 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Makes an excellent snack!



Holiday Greetings and Happy New Year from Healthy Delectable!

This holiday season has been so truly magical. I got to spend a few days with my dear friends in Portland, and just days after I said good-bye, they gave birth to their beautiful baby girl, Joelle, 6 weeks early! She is perfect. From Portland I flew to San Francisco, for what was originally planned to be a 3 day trip. My sister, who lives in Paris decided last minute to come to San Francisco, and my family rented a house in The Sea Ranch over New Year’s weekend, 3 hours north of SF, where we sometimes go for a country “reset”.  At first, I felt that pang of family obligation to extend my trip. I had fun plans with friends in Los Angeles for New Years Eve, and I hated to cancel them. I delayed changing my flight, till I got to San Francisco, assuming I would be more relaxed and mentally clear, after a few days in Portland. The interesting thing is that when I originally booked my flight back to LA for the afternoon of the 31st, a little voice inside me said my plans would change. On the plane from Portland to San Francisco, the Captain said the view on the right (the side of the plane I sat on) was Bodega Bay. This is part of the journey north to The Sea Ranch. I looked out, and my gut screamed, This is where you’re going for New Years! But you know how it is, family dynamics and such, I wasn’t quite ready to admit it, when I arrived to San Francisco. I wanted to make sure we would all get along swimmingly, first. And I kept reminding myself to pay attention to the signs and my inside voice to guide me. Another cool thing happened. When I went onto to check the prices for flights, the tickets returning on Tuesday were $100 more than the tickets returning on Thursday! My sister’s flight back to Paris is on Thursday, and there was a return flight to LA that would get us both to the airport at the same time. So, I surrendered to the signs guiding me to spend a very quiet New Years, next to the Pacific Ocean, overlooking the bluffs and sea lions. We can’t remember the last time we all spent New Years together.

Wishing all of you a beautiful New Years. May you manifest everything you wish for in 2012…listen to that little voice inside and follow the signs!!