no milk monday


reinvent: chicken and rice

reinvent: chicken and rice
yesterday was a day of feasting. a joyous celebration of my mouth-hole, which resulted in an all day eating frenzy.
by myself, with myself.
sitting in the fridge was a mason jar with leftover curried rice and chicken that I had no desire to eat for the third day in a row. more recently, protein has been a big part of my diet and finding new ways to take it in – proves to be quite a challenge. without adding more chicken to the previous chicken-laden dish I thought to add eggs. but how many?
i knew then what needed to be done…
take out your muffin tins, friends, it’s time to reinvent our leftovers and the way we use bakeware.

how to:
preheat oven to 350
coat the inside of the tin with oil to prevent sticking
spoon leftover rice and chicken (or ANYTHING) in each hole, about 3/4 full
crack an egg into each
using a fork, stir into the rice and chicken
bake for 25-30 minutes

egg avocado

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What an egg’cellent way to start the day.
After a hot, sultry evening of romance between desperation and motivation this child/recipe was born.
The less romantic explanation:
A long week of resourceful cooking in making sure to not let groceries go to waste (resulting in an empty fridge), coupled with forgetting to purchase ingredients for my latest recipe idea.
BUT! At any given moment, I am prepared to make the best with any food straggling behind…
Not every time, but some of the time, I am impressed. By my own self.
I don’t want you to feel confined to the ingredients I’ve listed. I want this to be a base for any future ideas you have and any ingredients you may have on hand.
For example: An after-Thanksgiving frittata with stuffing, cranberries, ham and spinach?
This could even be your ‘night in shining armor’ go-to recipe for the ends and bits of vegetables you’ve used in a previous recipe that you just didn’t have the heart to throw away.
Come on, you know there is a 2 x 2 piece of a bell pepper or onion in your fridge right now…
Those frozen peas you thought you’d use in the freezer .. let them make a guest appearance.
Let those unintentional items bring pleasure to your tastebuds. Give them life.
Feel free to first follow my amazingly simple recipe to fall in love with the technique.
Thank me later.
I’d also like to encourage people to test out this “nutritional yeast” craze. And if you haven’t heard, now you have.
The deal: Nutritional yeast is a HEALTHY and CHEESY alternative to dairy. Unlike most dairy alternatives – this one is packed with b vitamins and happens to be …
NUTRITIOUS! (hence the name)
Still reluctant? Where does this crap come from?
Nutritional yeast is the yeast found growing on molasses. Who would have thought it would bring such cheesy happiness to Vegans and health conscious people everywhere?
ON SECOND THOUGHT .. who decided to name it such a god-awful name that prevent most average consumers from ever trying it?
Even if you eat dairy.
Even if you aren’t vegan (I certainly am not).
This is a great staple ingredient to get to know. To use.
Find it in bulk bins at your local health food stores or packaged in most major grocery stores.
Now go get em’ tiger.
Or just preheat your oven.
Whichever statement motivates you.
serves 4 – 6

1/2          tablespoon olive oil
1             white onion, diced
4             cloves garlic, minced
1/4          cup fennel, roughly chopped
3             carrots, sliced6             eggs, 3 with yolks, 3 without (whites only)
1             cup quinoa, cooked
1             cup basil, chopped and loosely packed
1/4          cup nutritional yeast
1/2 – 1     tsp salt
1             tsp pepper
*2             cups marinara *optional to serve warmed on top)
Preheat oven to 350
In a medium pan, bring heat oil.
Begin by adding the onions until fragrant and slightly softened (1-2 minutes)
Add the following three ingredients and saute (also) until softened (additional 2 minutes) and very fragrant.
Coat a 8 x 8 baking dish with oil and combine all ingredients.
Blend with spoon ( fork, or anything on hand)
Bake for 25 minutes
Using a wooden implement, stick in the middle making sure the mixture has cooked thoroughly.
* in the meantime, begin heating marinara on lowest setting in small/ covered saucepan


caramelized onion raviolis (with herb sauce) {vegan}

featured on September 9, 2013
When you first begin cooking, you feel confident and unstoppable. You can make anything at home and serve it to hungry guests or company. You wanted to cook, therefore, it can be made. By you, the new chef and cook extraordinaire.
I certainly went into cooking with the same vivacious attitude of thinking I could produce anything I set my mind to.
Until that one night. The night of The Laughing Ravioli.
It was cold outside with and empty inside my stomach.
I google’d: Ravioli recipe.
Yeah, that would be nice. A fluffy, warm-filled pasta with some type of sauce.
A recipe, similar to this one, popped up. Almost instantly my enthusiasm ‘balloon’ popped.
Like helium quickly escaping, thoughts began rushing out…
How many ingredients?
A rolling pin? (That’s the wooden thing with the spinning handles …  yeah?)
A floured surface? Shit. How do you flour a surface? (side google search: flouring surfaces)
How long does this take?
MAKING MY OWN DOUGH? Do people REALLY do that?
Next came the denial and excuses:
I am not a chef … chefs ‘do’ these kind of things.
I didn’t even WANT to make raviolis.
Yeah, what was I thinking …
Who even likes raviolis?
Not me.
In the end settling on the most firm and resolute finding:
Raviolis are stupid. And gross. But more stupid.
With my quickly deflating confidence, I seized the fleeting moments ‘afloat’ to salvage my cooking courage.
Closing the computer window and grabbing the nearest bag of pasta, I decided that it was a much better dinner idea and HAD I thought about it for longer initially – I wouldn’t have even wanted raviolis. Because they are stupid, remember?
And gross.
But mostly stupid.
Now without the glaring evidence of a complicated recipe illustrating my inability and illuminating my defeat, I could begin boiling the WAY BETTER CHOICE, penne pasta.
In the silence of the night, stirring boiling water (for no apparent reason) I could have sworn I heard a chuckle.
Did the computer just laugh at me?
Was the ravioli taunting my from cyberspace?
Did I just boil pasta in defeat?
I was a giver-upper and I knew it.

Well guess what ravioli?
Look who’s laughing now.
‘Look at them (these) apples’
Or raviolis. Whatever.

Now it’s your turn friends.
Start making your grocery list. Breathe. Conquer. Divide (onto plates).
It’s ravioli time.
2 cups        semolina flour
2 cups        all-purpose flour
1.5 cup(s)   water
                  salt to taste
1 cup          raw almonds
1 cup          raw pine nuts
2 tbsp         raw walnut
1/2 cup      vegetable broth
1/4 tsp       salt
1/4 tbsp     pepper
1                yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp         olive oil
1/2 tbsp      sugar
{herbed sauce}
2 cups         vegetable broth
2 tbsp         fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp         fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp         fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp         olive oil
1 tbsp         corn starch
Ravioli preparation (which is much easier than I assumed):
Combine ravioli ingredients in bowl, adding only 3/4 the water to start
Mix completely in bowl with water (possibly adding more) until a smooth dough is achieved
On floured and large surface, place ball of dough
Using an (also) floured rolling pin, begin aggressively rolling the dough flat
If the dough should stick to the pin, first make sure it is sufficiently floured or simply peel off and place on surface gently and continue to roll.
(Mine were a bit thick and I plan on cutting the thickness in half next time)
Using a sharp knife, cut desired ravioli size – keeping in mind that there needs to be room for filling
(I imagined a tablespoon of filling and gave myself fifty percent more space along the edge)
Also, know that there must be two squares for each ravioli – one for the bottom and another for the top
Filling preparation:
In medium pan, add oil and cook onions on medium-low heat to caramelize – or brown {if you’re lazy} at a higher temperature
Add sugar and two drops of water to expedite the caramelizing process
In food processor, combine remaining (first six) filling ingredients and process until a cream is achieved
Depending on the freshness and quality of the nuts used, more or less liquid may be used to create a paste-like texture
Herb sauce preparation:
Simmer broth, herbs, and oil for 1 -2 minutes until fragrant
Slowly, Add corn starch and whisk into boiling water
Continue to simmer for an additional minute
Remove from heat and cover to keep warm
Assemble ravioli(s):
First spoon on cream/ nut mixture in middle of ravioli square, leaving enough room to seal edges
Add caramelized onions
Top ravioli with another (ravioli) dough square and press edges until seal is formed
Fingerprints will disrupt the square shape, simply cut the edges (once sealed) to create a hard line again
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
Add raviolis and cook until each one floats to the top
Remove and drain
For crispy raviolis, heat oil in large pan
Add raviolis and cook until golden on each side
Serve hot from pan pouring herbed sauce over the top.

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spicy penne with roasted vegetables and balsamic


IMG_7612Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan

Your mom called.
She was wondering why you weren’t eating enough vegetables?
Tell her this.
“Settle down chick. I’ve got you covered.’
OK, depending on your relationship with you mother calling her ‘chick’ may not be the best idea, even if it is a funny one.

With this amazing gathering of vegetables and spices, you’ll feel full in the stomach and full of yourself. This is a simple and yet gourmet dish to bring to the table.
Get it girl.
Get these veggies in the oven.
Relax. Do dishes.
Do anything but worry about the flavor this meal will bring.
With a little kick of spice and a lot of love you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create and you’ll be able to tailor it by adding your own favorite flavors next time.
Green beans?!
The possibilities are really endless.

I realized recently while feeding my ‘man beast’ (boyfriend) that sometimes bulk within a meal (and boyfriend) is needed. Pasta in the form of complex carbohydrates does not do the trick. You  need to fill the space with things more meaningful to your diet – vegetables.

The one-stop meal has you thinking that maybe, just maybe, life could be a bit simpler with one entree to serve and nothing to worry about.

Serves 6

1 lb                     penne pasta (gluten free), brown rice
1 1/2 cups          acorn squash, cubed
1/2  lb                 portobello mushrooms, slices ( stemmed)
1/2  pint              red cherry tomatoes, halved
1     tbsp              garlic, minced
1/2  tbsp              rosemary, minced
1/2  tbsp              sage, minced
1/2  tbsp              parsley, chopped
1/2  tbsp              ground salt
1/2  tbsp               ground pepper
1/4  tbsp               red pepper flakes
4     tbsp               olive oil
4     tbsp               white balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400
In medium bowl combine squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, sage, parsley, red pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In about 30-40 minutes the tomatoes will have deflated and the vegetables will be  roasted to perfection.
Toss pasta with roasted vegetables and spices and add remaining balsamic, tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Now enjoy. Told you. So good.

*Serve pasta sauce alongside this dish to “dip” pasta bites in, and to make it look extra special :}



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ricotta cheese {vegan}

1098079_10151612238642252_366580867_nI have nothing clever to say about this ricotta. I’m all out of ‘funny’ today.
I can tell you that this was WELL received by the mouths of many. Because of it’s ‘making up’ for not containing dairy, it’s actually more flavorful. The nut(s) used in this recipe create a creamier depth than traditional ricotta. Plus, you’re giving those poor cows utters a mini-break.

I have two recipes, one containing pine nuts and the other using soaked cashews. I used my food processor with both recipes – so no need to start throwing out the “I don’t have a fancy Vitamix like you do, Rosemary” comments. And yes, the fancy one tastes better. It just does. Like most things, the more you put into cooking and recipes – the more you get out (and in your mouth?). Does it mean that the first one isn’t worth trying? Absolutely not. It is amazing in every sense of the Vegan word.

Layer this guy in lasagnas, use it beside a field green salad with a warm berry vinaigrette or just spoon it in your mouth… whatever you choose to do with it is fine, just make this one. Plus – it stores well and can be used for a few weeks :}
Once it’s in a container and cold, you may want to add some liquid into the amounts you’ll be using to loosen it back up before spreading. It’s quite a thick mixture.

Simple pine nut ricotta *shown above in picture
1/2 block         extra firm tofu (8 oz)
1 cup               pine nuts
1/2                   lemon, squeezed
1/2                   cup water
1                      tablespoon nutritional yeast (can be omitted if it’s hard to find)
salt & pepper to taste

place in food processor and blend until creamy with tiny bis of lumps.

Fancy cashew ricotta *adapted from Scott Jone’s recipe in The Conscious Cook
1/2 block                extra firm tofu (8 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon          garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon          shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon          rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon           lemon juiced
1 teaspoon             extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon             nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon          basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon          parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

place in food processor and blend until creamy with tiny bis of lumps.

2013-07-05 10.27.13

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portobello & lime {breakfast} tacos

featured on July 17, 2013

When I think breakfast, I think calories. I think of stuffing your face while simultaneously dooming your body into being tired all day – leaving you wondering why you didn’t just eat the seasonal fruit bowl {with one too many grapes in it}.
I’m just like anyone else …
I love the smell of bacon crisping next to eggs being scrambled in a pan.
I love freshly-brewed coffee and the thought of a warm, buttered biscuit to bite in-between the sips.
There is nothing more nostalgic than the sweet smell of maple syrup that you’ve already decided would be soon poured over your whole plate, not just confined to the
stacked pancakes.
I don’t love the idea of regretting a whole meal you’ve decided to eat before you even given your brain cells the chance to wake up and calculate the consequences of that bad decision.
There are only so many meals in a day to get your complete servings of veggies in, so make breakfast count. Scrambling eggs with spinach is a thing of the past and cutting out a decadent morning meal isn’t what I’m implying.
This particular morning I was thinking Mexican food. See, living in San Diego leaves you blessed and cursed with fantastic Mexican food shops on every other corner. Inside those shops, they are patiently waiting for that perfectly weak moment you’ll be thinking:
“Hey, what’s one day? I can start that ‘cleanse’ tomorrow”
{cleanses are still in, right?}
Before I stepped out and gave into their friendly faces, warm welcomes, and heart-attacks-in-a-tortilla – I needed to fill myself with a savory and comparable flavors, STAT.
It was time to call in the trifecta of Mexican cuisine:
Cilantro, lime and avocado.
I present to you: the mouth-watering, much anticipated, breakfast tacos with two servings of vegetables and a lot of love ….


{gluten free, dairy free}

8 small taco sized tortillas
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced in 1/4″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 limes
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of dried oregano/ 1/2
1 tablespoon unflavored milk {any milk you desire, I used hemp}
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat
Add onion and cook until softened (a bit)
Add mushrooms and red peppers reducing  heat to medium/low. Stir occasionally
In the meantime, combine/whisk eggs, milk, oregano, salt and pepper
Add a 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a separate pan and scramble the eggs
Using the open flame, place tortilla directly on the grate and flip every 5 – 10 seconds until edges become crispy and blackened
Return to the portobello pan, add garlic, salt, pepper and squeeze of lime
Quickly mix and sauté until flavors combine (a minute or so)

Lay tortillas flat on the plate
Add the eggs down center of the tortilla
Then the portobello mixture
Add 2 – 3 slices of avocado on each
Sprinkle cilantro over the top and squeeze desired mount of lime


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 1.21.32 PM

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blackened tilapia with kiwi-lime salsa {tacos}


It was a hot summer day with access to the best Mexican produce spots San Diego had offer. A close friend and I wanted make a quick and easy lunch that would ‘eat well’ outside by the pool. I had talked to other friends at work about the amazing combination of kiwi and lime … and paired with my obsession for incorporating tilapia into every summer recipe – I decided ‘heck’ what’s another day of flakey white fish, good company, and kiwi going to hurt?

Oh yea, and side note: I’m that difficult person ordering food when you know the waiter wants to scratch your eyeballs out just for asking …
“Is this meal gluten and dairy free?”

{yep, I’m that girl}
It even makes me want to scratch MY OWN eyeballs out …
So we were going to tackle this meal DF/ GF style, while also appeasing the taste buds of my carnivorous best man friend and his brother.
Great tip: Slip some jalapenos in a recipe to avoid it being ‘girl food’

So we went with (corn tortilla) tacos. Tacos are a safe bet to avoid gluten with all the guilt of eating carbohydrates in a bathing suit. Slip some slices of avocado next to the fish and add cabbage, Heeellllooooo Southern California.

“Oh my god,  these are really f — ing good. These are restaurant good ” – Tim Prezio
“No one likes your dumb food, Rosemary” – Reno Prezio
Can you tell which one is my better friend?

{kiwi salsa}

{blackened seasoning}

5                 kiwi(s), diced
1                 green tomato, finely diced
1/2              red onion, finely diced
1/2              bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2              jalapeño, finely diced
2                 limes, juiced
1/4             tbsp sugar
salt to taste

1               tbsp cumin
1               tbsp fresh cracked pepper
1               tbsp chile powder
1               tbsp garlic powder
1/2            tbsp salt

1               tbsp oil (I used avocado, feel free to use whatever)

1 1/2         lbs tilapia, thawed if frozen
8-10         small “street taco” sized corn tortillas
2              avocados, sliced
3              cups shredded green cabbage


In a medium bowl, combine first set of ingredients, cover and set aside in fridge.
*If you have a favorite white wine on hand, add a tablespoon to the salsa – for fancy fun.
Combine the next five spices and pour onto a large, flat plate.
Using a paper towel, dry the excess liquid from outside of tilapia.
Place the fish firmly down on plate of seasoning and coat evenly. Turn over to ensure both sides are completely covered. (If needed pinch some seasoning with you hand and pat it into areas that did not coat well enough)
Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the tilapia about 2-3 minutes on each side {until ‘flakey’ is achieved}

While the fish is cooking, use an available open flame on your stove to heat the tortillas. Keeping the flame on medium-low, place the the tortillas directly on the flame for a few seconds each side until the edges crisp and blacken a bit.

To assemble:
Start with the tortilla (duh)
Add tilapia first and lay avocado slices on top
Nestle some cabbage next to the avocado and generously pour the salsa over the top.

ENJOYYYYYYYY! Viva la summer.



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