My Melrose Musts

Happy Monday! I visited Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California, for a fun girls’ day seeking out the best coffee and tea and healthy eats!

I listed my itinerary here as well as my recommendations for each place you must stop next time you go to Melrose Avenue–it is worth the trip!

Alfred Tea

This isn’t the first time I blogged about this adorable pink tearoom! It is way too cute not to mention again! I ordered the hot chocolate tea with almond milk. Instead of tasting like tea, it tasted like a rich, decadent, yet healthy dessert! PLEASE go try this!

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Alfred Coffee

Home of delicious coffee and cool vibes, Alfred Coffee is the perfect place to grab a drink and work on a project or meet with a friend (like I did!).

Urth Caffe

Deliciously healthy, I ordered a gluten-free chicken pesto sandwich! Urth is full of healthy options for vegans, gluten-free people, or even those with no dietary restrictions! Everyone can find something here.

Live Beaming

And for dessert…Live Beaming! I ordered an organic, gluten-free, and vegan chocolate chip cookie. It is truly rare that I can enjoy a dessert when I’m out of my house, so I was thrilled! Plus it was absolutely delicious and tasted like the real thing.

Carrera Cafe

Perhaps I saved the most unique destination for last! Carrera Cafe has a coffee printer–yes, you heard that correctly! You can select a pre-designed option or create your own design to be printed on any type of latte you choose! I created my own designs then sent them to Carrera’s coffee printer via their app! This was a highlight of my week. Plus Melrose’s infamous pink wall lives directly across the street, so you can grab a drink then head to the pink wall for some photos! See the middle picture below for the latte design of my Health and High Heels logo! 

And for final words of wisdom…

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Why We Should All Go to Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Right Now

About a week ago, I casually strolled along Abott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California, on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Nothing could have improved my day until….I discovered a Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck! Van Leeuwen sells infamously delicious vegan ice cream that I had been desperate to try. I happily ordered one dairy-free peanut butter and one chocolate scoop, and it did not disappoint!

Hands down, it was the most scrumptious vegan ice cream I have ordered to date. Seriously, please, everyone, go try this…..Van Leeuwen sells ice cream in pints in grocery stores and from LA and NYC locations. Consider this my public service announcement for all the dairy-free and vegan ice cream lovers of the world!

Not only was the ice cream great for me, but my family (who all enjoy regular ice cream), loved it too! We each devoured our scoops.

The vegan ice creams are made from house-made cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, and organic carob bean.

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I love the emphasis on organic and whole ingredients, and I think this is the best type of treat!

Fun Foodie Fact: According to Britannica.com, Cashew nuts (used in Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream) actually grow attached to a fruit. Cashews also contain approximately one-fifth of the daily recommended value for magnesium. Magnesium provides the body with energy and promotes healthy bone structure.

Sweet Cinnamon Squash

When I think of “fall food,” warm meals and pumpkin spice lattes instantly pop up in my mind. Since I posted my healthy pumpkin spice latte recipe the other day, today I want to share with you a great way to prepare one of my alltime favorite fall foods: Butternut squash! I love butternut squash in soup or simply roasted. Roasting your own butternut squash is easy, delicious, and healthy!  And adding cinnamon makes for the best fall treat.

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Here’s how to make your own sweet cinnamon squash:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the squash open and remove the inside “threads” of the squash. Place onto a baking sheet.

Lightly brush it with olive oil, then sprinkle sea salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar atop the butternut squash halves.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. You can dig in right away, or save some for a later day (if it lasts that long without you first devouring it!). I love eating mine fresh out of the oven, which is perfect for a cold and cozy autumn afternoon.

Enjoy! 🙂

Fun Foodie Fact: According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of butternut squash provides over 4 times the amount of necessary daily Vitamin A! Vitamin A does wonders for the body such as boost immunity, promote cell repair and renewal, and produce glowing skin and healthy eyes!

 

 

15-Minute, Mouth-Watering Stir Fry

Are you ever in a rush to make dinner, but you don’t know what to cook? And of course you want something delicious and healthy, but what would be quick, yummy, and nutritious? I have the perfect answer: my veggie stir-fry recipe!

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This week I am guest posting on The Illest Optimist to share my mouth-watering stir-fry recipe that you can customize to your own dietary needs and whip up in a hurry.

Like me, Ashley from The Illest Optimist battles Lyme disease.  She strives to raise awareness for chronic illnesses and healthy living as well as inspire those with illnesses to remain positive and keep fighting! I absolutely love what she stands for and the work she does in the health activism field.

Check out my post here! 🙂

 

 

Your New Go-To Summer Salad

Summer days require refreshing salads like this one. 😍  Beat the heat with these simple ingredients: Lettuce, sweet peppers, avocado, tiny tomatoes, & cucumber! Easy to make and yummy to eat!  Naturally gluten, dairy, soy-free and vegan (never flavor-free!). 

Did you know? Cucumbers are 96% water, so hydrate your body on hot summer days by throwing chopped cucumbers in your salad (0r even in your spa-themed water)!☀️

(Click here to read more health benefits)

Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend, everyone! 🙂

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The Indie Girl Baking Collaboration

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Last week I collaborated with my dear friend Olivia of The Indie Girl!  We spent the day cooking delicious healthy food!  Each of us wore our favorite 50’s-inspired sundresses!  Olivia is so inspiring, and I love her passion for nutrition, the environment, and health.  Like me, she follows an organic and gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free diet!  We had a blast discussing healthy food and restaurants, fashion, and just life in general!

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For lunch, we assembled gluten-free sandwiches using rice almond bread, thinly sliced chicken and turkey, avocado, tomato, mustard, goat cheese, and cucumber! We also split a PB&J sandwich using the same bread as well as organic peanut butter and blackberry jelly (all added sugar-free!).  It was too hot to eat our picnic outside, so we decided to set a pretty table in my dining room instead!  We ate all of this along with organic strawberries and organic cotton candy grapes!  SO delicious!

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For dessert, we made s’mores as well as lemon strawberry cupcakes using the recipe from Goodies Against the Grain!  To make the s’mores, we used homemade gluten-free graham crackers from the recipe by A Whisk and Two Wands, 82% dark chocolate, and vegan/gluten-free/gelatin-free marshmallows! Instead of creating a campfire, we roasted the marshmallows over my kitchen stove!  For the cupcakes, we substituted coconut cream for heavy cream  and decided to dip the cupcakes in the strawberry coconut cream as a glaze for the cupcakes instead of frosting them!

I am truly thankful to spend the day with such a compassionate, amazing friend who I know will do incredible things!  Be sure to check out Olivia’s blog and her post of our collaboration here!

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Roasted Veggies

I love eating warm meals in the winter to offset the cold weather. This means I don’t eat as many salads as I do in the summer.  Instead, I love tossing veggies in the oven and roasting them.  They are a perfect side dish or even an afternoon snack. Here are some of my favorites! 🙂

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa and a Side of Broccolini

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This is a dish I learned because I had it at one of my favorite Malibu restaurants!  All you have to do is cut an acorn squash in half, roast it in the oven, and fill with quinoa.  You can add organic corn or any other veggies to the quinoa too!  For the broccolini, I usually prefer to steam it.  I love adding salt and pepper to give it a nice taste!  It’s important to play around with oven temperatures and times, but roasting the acorn squash at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes (more or less if needed) is typically good.  The key is just to keep checking it!

Roasted Eggplant

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Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Slice the eggplant and place on a baking sheet.  Spread olive oil on top of each piece and season with salt and pepper.  I also like crushing garlic on top of the eggplant before baking because it adds such great flavor!  Put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown (like the picture above).

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash the sweet potatoes and poke holes with a fork in them.  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.  I love sprinkling cinnamon on them before eating!  It tastes amazing.

Fun Foodie Fact: Eggplant contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, potassium, and phytonutrients that all support heart health! ❤

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

I made these cauliflower “mashed potatoes” for Thanksgiving and am so excited to share the recipe with you because contrary to what the name implies, there are actually no potatoes in this recipe!  These are much lighter than actual mashed potatoes, but they still taste very similar to the actual thing!

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  • 1 cauliflower head, broken up
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cartons vegetable broth (approx. 14.5 ounces each)
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional)

Put the cauliflower, garlic, and vegetable broth in a saucepan.  Make sure the cauliflower is in small enough pieces that the broth covers it.  Bring to a boil at medium low heat and wait until the cauliflower is soft and tender with the touch of a fork (about 15 minutes).  Drain the broth and transfer the cauliflower to a food processor.  Process until smooth and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as you see fit.

Fun Foodie Fact: Cauliflower is a great source of coline, which is a B vitamin crucial for brain development.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This week I made cauliflower pizza crust for dinner.  I had never tried it before, but I ended up loving it and so did the rest of my family!  My recipe is gluten, dairy, and soy-free as well as vegan!

This is a picture of one of the personal pizzas I made!  The recipe below yields 4 personal pizzas total 🙂

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Here is what you need for the cauliflower crust…

  • 3/4 large cauliflower head
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp crushed basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • shakes of salt & pepper
  • shakes of red pepper flakes or garlic salt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the cauliflower in a food processor and grind until it is fine and powdery.  Put this in a bowl and add the almond meal and water, then mix it all together.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly combine everything.  Put the crust on a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil to avoid it sticking to the sheet.  Spread the dough and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Here is a picture of the crust spread out on the baking sheet before going into the oven!  I sprinkled red pepper flakes on mine because I love spicy food!

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Toppings…

  • Red sauce
  • Veggies!!! (I used spinach, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, & cauliflower, but it’s totally up to you!)
  • You can add cheese if you like 🙂 whether it is vegan cheese or regular, but I don’t feel the pizza really needs it

Top the pizza then put it back in the oven for about another 15-20 minutes. Warning:  the pizza doesn’t always come off the pan perfectly.  The cauliflower crust is a little bit crumbly so it’s easier to eat with a fork than with your hands 🙂

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Here is a picture of one of the finished products! This has veggies, red sauce, and chicken sausage, which makes this individual pizza non-vegan, but adds extra protein.

Fun Foodie Fact: Cauliflower has phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which activate detoxification enzymes and maintain their activity.

Pesto Roasted Potatoes

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!!! I am so excited to see all my family and to spend quality time with them.  Here is a recipe for pesto roasted potatoes that is tried and true, so I will definitely be making this one tomorrow.  It is gluten, dairy, & soy-free as well as vegan!  Usually pesto has parmesan cheese, but this recipe is dairy-free!  Also, it is a great alternative to mashed potatoes which are normally loaded with dairy!

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Here is the recipe 🙂

  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil + some to drizzle
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3/4 to 1 cup basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound potatoes of your choice (For example, russet, red, purple, etc)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the basil, crushed garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor.  (If you don’t have a food processor, a blender also works.)  Blend until smooth.  Cut the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook on a baking sheet for approximately 40 minutes.  Once you take them from the oven, mix the pesto with the potatoes and enjoy!

Fun Foodie Fact: Basil has certain flavonoids that protect cells and chromosomes from radiation and oxidation!