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Lime Tabouleh with Farmers Market Veg

When packing for our epic van trip, we threw in a magic bullet in hopes of being super-deluxe van campers making smoothies and hummus. I was originally hoping to make roasted red pepper hummus and homemade tabouleh to wrap in pitas. Unfortunately, we quickly realized our first night trying to inflate our air mattress that the capacity of our car converter would not support anything much larger than our computer and phone chargers. Thus, hummus would have to be for another time. Arriving at a cliff-side campsite in California, it was tabouleh time! Earlier in the day we had picked up some fresh veggies from the UCSC organic farm stand, and I was hoping to incorporate all of the organic veggies into the tabouleh.

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups bulgur

3 cups water

2 bunches flat leaf parsley

2 limes, juice 

1 lemon, juice

3/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

salt and pepper

choice of fresh chopped veggies, I used-

1 heirloom tomato, 1 small cucumber, 1/2 diced kohlrabi , 1 diced red pepper

** Note: Since this was all done while camping, without measuring utensils, measurements are estimates, thus feel free to add more seasonings, or acidity if needed.

To make-

1) Bring the water to a boil, add in bulgur, reduce heat and cover to simmer until all of the water is absorbed or the bulgur is tender (but not too soft).

2) Meanwhile, stir together lime juice, lemon juice, and garlic. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while quickly whisking. Set aside.

3) Once bulgur is cooked, take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour dressing over, season with salt and pepper, then allow to cool fully. 

4) Finely chop the parsley and dice all of the veggies of choice. Stir the parsley and veg into the cooled bulgur. Eat by itself, serve along side chicken, or wrap into a pita with hummus.

Enjoy! It's Epic!



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Summertime Key Lime Pie

When I think of summertime, a few things come to mind.  Sunshine, spending time in the water, fresh local foods, bright refreshing flavors, and time spent with awesome people. This 4th of July weekend was the epitome of summer, including all of the above. The day started out at the parade filled with kids sports teams, bands, antique bicycle riders, and traditional soldiers shooting off rifles — an iconic parade celebrating our county’s birthday. Afterwards, my mom and I packed up the car and headed for Maine. On our way up, our car received a nice free carwash from the spitting sky; however, we were pleasantly greeted by opening clouds and sunshine once we arrived to the lake. A night out wake boarding, wake skating, and wake surfing was followed by a delicious dinner. 

I love cooking and baking for holiday’s because there always seems to traditions associated with each holiday. For me, I always think of bbq, fresh corn, strawberries, and blueberries on the 4th. Our night included all of the above. For dessert, I wanted to make something delicious, fresh, refreshing, and quick (I had not left myself very much time to make something sweet to bring up for dessert). 

I decided to make a Summertime Key Lime Pie. This recipe couldn't be easier! I used a recipe by Emil Lagasse (my childhood obsession) as a guide. I first made a buttery graham cracker crust (I always forget how delicious and easy it is!), a creamy lime filling speckled with lime zest, topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream, and decorated with strawberries, blueberries, and lime wedges. 

 

 Ingredients: 

For the crust— [what I have always called my “Stick and a Stack” crust]

1 package of honey graham crackers (normally a box comes with 3 individual packages inside)

1 stick of salted butter

For the filling—

2, 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk

zest of 2 limes

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract 

For the top-

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (chilled)

4 tbsp powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

6 strawberries and 1/4 cup blueberries for decoration

To Make:

For the crust-

1) Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the stick of butter in a pan over medium heat. Crush the graham crackers either in a food processor, or placed in a ziplock and then hit with a rolling pin or any large object (this can be a lot of fun!). 

2) Mix the melted butter and crushed graham crackers in a small bowl. Press into a 8-inch pie pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it starts to turn a light golden color. Remove and allow to cool. 

For the filling-

3) Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over the cooled pie shell. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until just set (when lightly shaken, the filling barely jiggles). 

4) Remove from oven and allow to cool, then place in fridge.

For topping-

5) Whip all of the ingredients together until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe onto chilled pie and then top with fruit and any other garnished (ie. fresh mint, lime wedges, or lime zest). 

6) Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

 

Enjoy! It’s epic(ly) delicious!

 

 

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Banana Chocolate Rebuilding Smoothie

Two of my main passions in life, athletics and food, go directly hand-and-hand. The types of food one eats will have an undeniable effect on how the body will feel and preform. I learned from my mom at a young age the importance of nutritious, wholesome foods and the adverse effects of sugary, processed foods. Growing older as an athlete, I have found it almost exciting, like a game to try and find the kinds of foods that will make not only make body happy, but taste amazing. Consequently, many of these types of foods and meals are far better for global food systems, people involved, and event the planet.

I have always had a fascination with the natural world and have a deep appreciation and respect for all that it provides us with. I am currently studying environmental science in school and through every one of my class, my eyes are constantly opened to the interconnected nature of humans, plants, animals, the environment — and the peril we are currently facing. I am extremely passionate and interested about the complex relationship between people, food, and the environment, therefore I have created a separate page titled SUSTAINABILITY to focus on these issues. But for now, I will stick to the yummy and delicious food!

Now that I got so far off track from my initial thoughts, let me bring it back to the food. As I mentioned, what goes into your body will be directly reflected in how your body will feel and act. After a hard, heavy weight workout this week, I made a delicious Banana Chocolate Rebuilding Smoothie. Protein powder (mine is by the brand Juice Plus, and is vegetable based) will aid in muscle regrowth. The banana provides adequate carbohydrates, which along with the protein help to rebuild muscles. Furthermore, the raw cacao powder not only tastes delicious, but gives my body an extra boost of antioxidants. Give this smoothie a try for breakfast, or after a strenuous workout.

To make:

Blend together-

2 cups almond milk

1/2 a frozen banana

1 scoop protein 

1 tsp raw cacao powder

Enjoy! Its epic(ly) delicious!

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Thai Coconut Lime Soup with Chicken & Rainbow Veggies

Recipe: 

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 vidalia or yellow onion diced

1 clove garlic

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1/2 sweet potato diced

1/2 red bell pepper diced

1 large chicken breast diced

1/2 cup chopped shitake mushrooms

5 large rainbow swiss chard leaves (stems and leaves) chopped

1 quart good chicken broth

1 can coconut milk (regular or light)

zest of 1 lime

1/4 tsp chili powder (more if you would like more heat)

1/4 tsp dried lemongrass (optional)

salt and pepper

top with: lime wedge and chopped cilantro 

 

1) Heat up a small dutch oven or soup pot with coconut oil. Over medium heat, add in garlic, ginger, and onions. Cook until onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add in the potatoes, chicken, and peppers. Season with salt, pepper, and add chili powder and lemongrass. Let cook for about 3 minutes. 

2) Pour in the chicken broth and coconut milk. Then add in the mushrooms and rainbow swiss chard. Stir in the lime zest. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and the chicken is cooked all the way through. Taste and re-season with more salt and pepper if needed.

3) Ladle into bowl, squeeze a lime wedge over the soup and top with chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!

 


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Cake Coverings!

I absolutely love to bake cakes, and especially to decorate them! There are endless possibilities to make each and every cake something completely new and beautiful. I am always excited when a family member or friend's birthday rolls around because I have the opportunity to make a large cake (which I don't do other times because I would eat the entire thing if it sat in my kitchen). I brainstorm for days ahead of time, daydreaming about the cake while I am driving, in class, falling asleep at night, and on runs (yes... I brainstorm recipes while I run...strange I know). Below are a few of my favorite ways to decorate cakes.

"The Drip"

Dark Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting and a Salted Caramel Drip

It is a lot of fun to take something like caramel or chocolate ganache and gently pour around the boarder of the cake, allowing excess to drip down the sides and create a really cool visual on the cake.  

Colorful Flowers

Coconut Rum Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting 

In the spring and summertime, I love using fresh flowers to decorate cakes. It is great when edible flowers are available; however, if they are not, I try to get flowers without a lot of pollen and remove all of the flowers before cutting the cake. 

 

Fresh Fruit & Berries

Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, Fresh Red Berries & Slivered Almonds

The third way I love to decorate cakes is with fresh fruit or berries. You can decorate with any types of fruit; however, try to stay away from fruits containing a lot of water because they might bleed color if the cake is not served immediately. It is fun to play around with arrangements, place them around the boarder, create a full mound in the middle, or line the bottom perimeter with them. There are endless possibilities!

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Vibrant Arugula Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Homemade Lemon Cayenne Hummus

This salad is for sure a keeper! Arugula tossed in a lemon, olive oil vinaigrette, topped with warm sweet potatoes and a fresh lemon cayenne hummus. Tucked away underneath the sweet potatoes are little gems of fresh corn, chopped apples, and roasted pistachios. 

How to make-

Salad Ingredients: (Makes 1 serving)

2 cups arugula

1/4 cup chopped fuji apple

1 ear fresh corn (cut off the cob)

2 tbsp roasted shelled pistachios

1/2 small sweet potato

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

juice of 1/2 of a lemon

salt and pepper

Herbs de Provence (optional)

1/4 cup hummus (I used homemade hummus, but you can use your favorite brand as well)

 

To Make:

1) Place the arugula, apple, corn, and pistachios into a small salad bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and lemon juice over the arugula. Toss to mix.

2) Chop the sweet potato into 1/2 by 1/2 inch cubes. Heat a small pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, add in the sweet potatoes, and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of Herbs de Provence (if using). Cook until fork tender. 

3) Place the tossed salad onto a place, top with the warm sweet potatoes and a dollop of hummus.

Enjoy! It's Epic!

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