Homemade Almond Milk

I have come to love making almond milk; it's quick (under 15 minutes with cleaning), healthy and delicious. ...And now that I have a Nespresso coffee maker, I've been making fancy coffee drinks with my fancy homemade almond milk—so fancy. ;-) In addition to coffee, you can use your almond milk for smoothies, oatmeal or even just to drink—it's nice to know that I made it myself and it's all natural ingredients! Drink up! Also, get yourself a nut milk bag (OneLuckyDuck for $8.95) which will make straining the almond meal a breeze.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic, raw almonds soaked in filtered water, overnight (8 hours) 4 cups filtered water 1 T agave, maple syrup or another organic sweetener (optional)

Directions: Drain liquid from the nuts and rinse a few times with filtered water. Drain again. Then I peel the almond skin off the almonds (takes about 5 minutes and a task to be done while watching the news or something) Place in blender with 4 cups of water and blend for about 2 minutes.

Pour the contents of the blender into your nut milk bag over a medium-sized mixing bowl and squeeze the liquid out. I discard the almond meal, but you can save it for baking if you're creative like that (I'm clearly not). Poor the almond milk into a container and you’re all set! I usually do about half this amount of nuts because I don’t drink it every day, so make it for yourself or share with friends; they will be impressed with your skills!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I never was a huge fan of Reese's peanut butter cups, but I do like dark chocolate and peanut butter so I consulted my friend, Google, and found this delicious recipe from the Goodness Green blog. I changed the cocoa to cacao, but really it's probably all the same. I made these three times and I definitely feel they came out differently each time, so remember that if you try to make these treats. Surprisingly enough, these are actually somewhat healthy, if you eat only one or two in a serving, so this would make a nice and easy dessert for a party, minus the calories you might find in a regular sugary treat.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup organic coconut oil 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract 4 tablespoons raw agave 1/3 cup raw and organic cacao powder 1/4 cup organic peanut butter 1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't use any, so you can make the call) 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Cooking Instructions: 1. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat. Once melted stir through the remaining ingredients until a smooth in consistency. 2. Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate into 8-10 tiny cupcake holders and freeze for 20 minutes. 3. Meanwhile combine the peanut butter filling ingredients and set aside. 4. Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer. With a teaspoon of the peanut butter mix form a small flat disc and place on top of the set chocolate. Spoon over remaining dark chocolate and freeze until set. 5. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in the freezer for a much longer shelf life.

Cauliflower & Lentil Porridge

'Tis the season to eat lentils! I mean, they are so much tastier than a cookie or egg nog, right? Exactly. ;-) With the onions and carrots in this dish, you will be eating sweet vegetables, which actually helps with sweet cravings and regulating blood sugar - I like to call this a win. Embrace our cruciferous friend the cauliflower to help add nutrients and flavor to a hearty lentil dish, add some other veggies, like carrots, and get excited for a nourishing winter meal. I usually make my lentils with an Indian/Moroccan flavor, but you can add any spices you like - lentils are so diverse, you really can't go wrong.

Ingredients: 1 T olive or coconut oil (coconut gives it a sweeter taste) 3 cloves of garlic, chopped 1/2 red or yellow onion, chopped 1 bag of baby carrots or about 2 large carrots, chopped lengthwise into pieces to your liking 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch pieces (doesn't need to be precise) 15oz organic kidney beans (buy the bagged, rather than canned if possible) 2 cups lentils 4 cups organic vegetable broth (organic chicken broth is also fine) 2 cups water 1 T curry seasoning 1/2 T ginger 1/2 T paprika 1 T cumin 1 t salt 1 t pepper

Cooking Heat the oil in a large pot and add the garlic and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add carrots and cauliflower. Saute, stirring somewhat frequently for about 10 minutes. Add the beans, lentils and broth, and bring to a boil. Add all seasonings. Cook for about 40 minutest to an hour, until the broth has evaporated for the most part and the lentils are soft (varies based on type of lentil you buy). I sometimes cook my lentils for 4 hours, but today I only did 40 minutes, so it's up to you!

Baked Asian Chicken Salad w/ Heart of Palm

I used to hate cooking chicken. I mean, I think we can all agree that a piece of uncooked chicken is not that attractive, or any raw meat or fish, for that matter. But, alas, we need our protein, and if cook and eat animal protein, we should get accustomed to handling the meat, right? Well, maybe just slightly shut your eyes or have your significant other do it. ;-) After all that, I have to admit that the main event of this salad is really not the chicken. It's the heart of palm! So nutty, yet sweet, and oh so delish! I could eat an entire can, but I somehow managed to make this last through four salads. :) Also, I love mache. If you haven't tried this lovely baby lettuce, you are in for a treat! This salad is simple, but elegant (mache is mainly produced in France) and would also bode well as a starter salad by eliminating the chicken.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes Cooking Temperature: 350 degrees Serves: 1 (there will be enough chicken for 2, so just double the other  ingredients below)

Chicken Ingredients: 4 chicken breasts that weigh about 4-8 ounces (I use the extra pieces of chicken for lunch or dinner the next day with a side of veggies) 1 T olive oil 1/2 T sesame oil 1/2 T tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce 1 T gomasio seasoning (get this at your health food store, Whole Foods; or just use  a mix of sea salt, sesame seeds, and garlic powder) 1/2 T pepper

Salad Ingredients: 1 T olive oil 1/3 box of mache lettuce 2 stalks of heart of palm 1 T olive oil Fresh squeezed lemon, to taste Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste 2 T finely diced scallions or red onions 1 T balsamic vinegar

Prepping & Cooking: Clean and cut off extra fat from chicken (those weird white parts) and place into a shallow dish or bowl. In a bowl, place olive oil, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, Gomasio, and black pepper. Give it a stir and pour over chicken. Flip the chicken a few times to make sure all sides are coated with the marinade and set a timer for 15 minutes.

When there's about 5 minutes left on the timer, pre-heat oven to 350. Place tin foil on baking sheet and when chicken is finished marinating, evenly place on the foil so the pieces aren't touching. When oven is ready, put the chicken in and set the timer for 30 minutes. I usually check it around 20 minutes and cut the thicker pieces to see if they are still pink. Cook the chicken until you see no pink (depending on the thickness of the breasts, it could take 25-30 minutes).

While the chicken is cooking, place the mache on a plate and top with fresh squeezed lemon, sea salt and pepper. Cut the heart of palm into small pieces in any shape you like and put on the lettuce. Once the chicken is ready, cut into bite-sized pieces and place on the salad. Sprinkle the scallions on top and drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Enjoy!

 

Garlic and Olive Oil Mahi Mahi over Sautéed Kale

I have learned to love making mahi mahi. This fish is light in color and rich in nutrients and can be be pretty much topped with anything, making it similar to chicken (okay, maybe that's like saying you can cook a snake with some lemon and it tastes like chicken, or camel, but you get the idea). I will get back to the point: this mahi is topped with olive oil, gomasio seasoning (sea salt, garlic and sesame), and fresh ground pepper. That's all and it's fabulous - make this on your next Tinder date and everyone will be happy with your culinary skills.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes Cooking Temperature: 425 degrees Serves: 2

Ingredients: 2 wild mahi filets at about 8-10 ounces for the pair, (or, Whole Foods has wild mahi in the freezer section for about 10 bucks!) 1 T olive oil 1 T gomasio seasoning (get this at your health food store, Whole Foods; or just use sea salt, sesame seeds, and garlic powder) 1/2 T pepper 1/2 bunch green kale (cut off stems, rinse and dry) 1 T olive oil 3 cloves of garlic 1 T Gomasio

Cooking & Chopping: Pre-heat oven to 425. Place tin foil on baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Place fish on top and rub with olive oil, Gomasio and pepper. Place in heated oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, remove kale from stalks and break into 1-inch-sized pieces. Make sure kale is mostly dry by patting with paper towels or a clean dish towel.

While the fish is cooking, start on the kale. On medium heat, warm olive oil and add garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute until garlic is cooked. Add kale and mix frequently with a wooden spoon until the kale is wilted and add the gomasio. If you feel like a lot of smoke is coming from the pan, lower the heat a bit. The kale should only take about 5-7 minutes.

Once fish is cooked, remove from oven and set aside while you plate the kale. I take the sides of the foil and cover the fish until I'm ready to eat it - this let's it steam up a bit more and prevents it from cooling off. Put the kale on a plate and plop the fish on top. You now have a beautiful and nutritious meal! Nom nom!

Arugula Salad with Halibut, Pinto Beans & Veggies

I love salads. Especially when I just spent 14 days in Morocco eating bread with numerous meals (lots of healthy stuff happened, don't get me wrong, but bread is a staple over there). And yes, I ate the bread and yes, I liked it. And yes, I felt majorly bloated after the meal.

Anyway, here is a simple salad that will satisfy your tastebuds and also looks pretty nice on a plate. ;-) I used artichokes, avocado, pinto beans, olives, Persian cucumbers, but you can use whichever veggies you want - onions, tomatoes, carrots, or anything you fancy!

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 (or 2 meals for the single diner)

Ingredients: 2 frozen halibut fillets or of course you can use fresh (I buy from Whole Foods - open packs and let defrost overnight in the fridge) 1 T Olive oil ½ of lemon, squeezed Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 2-3oz prepared package of arugula (about half a package or as much as you want!) 5 chopped artichoke hearts 1/4 chopped avocado 1/4 cup pinto beans (strained and rinsed) 1 Persian cucumber or 1/4 cup chopped regular cucumber 6 small black olives (I used black turkish olives) 1 1/2 T Olive oil (for dressing) 1/2 T Balsamic vinegar (for dressing) 1/2 lemon, squeezed (for dressing) Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper - topper

Cooking & Chopping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put fish in a shallow dish and top with olive oil, white vinegar, and salt and pepper. Then place halibut on a cookie sheet with piece of foil (to save cleaning time) Once the oven is preheated, place halibut into the oven. Set timer for 25 minutes and chop up your salad toppings. Check the fish in 25 minutes - it should flake with a fork.

Place arugula in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper; place on plate. Top with your veggies. When halibut is cooked, remove and separate halibut from skin carefully with a spatula (unless you like the skin). Place about 5 ounces of halibut on top of your salad and top with a little fresh squeezed lemon and ground pepper. Put on a plate and eat up! Yum!

Greek(ish) Baked Mahi Mahi

Whenever I make mahi mahi I find it incredibly hard to find a recipe that I like and I'm not sure why this happens. With this recipe, I have solved my problem. This is my version of a Greek-style mahi mahi...if you add citrus fruit, olive oil and salt, you can make anything amazing. :) Cooking Time and Temp: 25 minutes at 425 degrees

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients: 2 wild mahi filets, (also, Whole Foods has a nice wild mahi in the freezer section) 1 t sea salt 1 t coarse ground pepper 10 chopped baby tomatoes 10 chopped black olives 1/4 chopped red onion lime juice of 1 lime 1/2 T olive oil 1/2 T white vinegar

Cooking & Chopping: Pre-heat oven to 425. Place tin foil on baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Place fish on top and rub with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place in heated oven. Chop tomato, olive and onion and top with olive oil and vinegar.  Mix and set aside.

Cook fish for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with tomato mixture and cover lightly with foil. Cook 5 to 10 minutes longer until opaque and flaky. Remove and put over your favorite veggie or grain (I like a combination of 1/8 cup brown rice and sauteed onion and bell pepper) - photo below. For the veggies, coarsely chop and sauté in olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy!! Or if you want to get fancy, you can say it in Greek: καλή όρεξη

Happy New Year (yes, I know it's February)

Happy 2013, everyone! I realize this post is a little past due, however, I needed some time to get my thoughts together…and a Puerto Rican vacation. For me, this year is going to signify focus – it’s a toughy, but I’ve got this. (For those of you who know me, my mind is all over the place.)

When looking back on 2012 and the intentions I set for myself, I said, “I want to explore some of my personal goals and really focus on being happy, while still maintaining my success at ‘the office.’” What does this mean for me in 2013? Focusing on the present: there is no reason to dwell on the past or let my mind take over my state of being—this can turn into an unhealthy emotional spiral. That’s just no fun. :)

One of the most important accomplishments for my career in 2012 is graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I am proud to say that I am officially a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and accepting new clients! If you or anyone you know wants to learn more about their health, please reach out for a free consultation! Yes, I’m shamelessly promoting myself.

In the world of Equinox, I just finished a nutrition certification through Precision Nutrition and, upon passing the test at the end of January, was just promoted to Tier 3+ (the highest level at my gym). I can now offer my clients nutrition advice, in addition to kicking their butts into shape. Next up in the nutrition world, I will be taking a three-day course to become a Poliquin™ BioSignature Practitioner. This course will allow me to provide my clients a well-rounded approach to fat loss by utilizing nutrition and supplementation. I’m super excited!

In my personal life, I went through a pretty big breakup, but was a long time coming, but I came out as a better person. I learned a lot about myself, what I want in a partner and to follow my heart in all situations. A break-up is just a stepping stone to finding the person you will spend your life with, right? And for now, I will continue to enjoy myself as a single woman in Manhattan. :)

In terms of my career, I want to begin putting together a plan to start my own company, which will combine nutritional coaching and personal training. I hope to do this with a girlfriend of mine who is quitting her job. More to come on this new development!

Overall, in 2013, I want to explore, create, and of course, focus.

INTENTIONS FOR 2013

• Enjoy simple pleasures: short trips, books, yoga, meditation, cooking

• Spending time with and visiting friends and family

• Volunteer work - in the US or overseas

• Make every moment count and use my free time productively

• Continue advancing my studies of nutrition, kinesiology and anatomy

• Finally use the art supplies under my bed (I purchased last year) to paint

• Take weekend trips (lots of them!)

• Monthly massages

• Visiting sites in NYC that I’ve yet to see

• Updating this blog!