Vanilla Coconut Granola

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Ingredients:

1 cup oats

1/4th teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

1 tablespoons flaxseed

2 tablespoons honey (add an extra tablespoon if you like your granola sweet)

1/8th teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut shreds

Chopped nuts and dried fruit (optional)

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (except coconut and dried fruit). If the mixture is too wet add more oats. If the mixture is too dry add a splash of almond milk or more melted coconut oil.
  2. Cook at 350ºF for 15 min. After 10 minutes add the coconut shreds and dried fruit. Stir every 5 min. Let it completely cool before storing it.

Thanks a brunch, SF!

Waking up Saturday morning is my favorite part of my week—you have the whole weekend in front of you. I enjoy starting it off with an almond milk latte and eggs benedict at a bustling cafe. Luckily, there is no shortage of brunch options in San Francisco. There are over ten decent places walking distance from my apartment in the Marina. I’m naturally an early  riser  and I immediately start thinking about breakfast. I try to wait until at least 10 so I can consider breakfast…brunch. Needless to say, my friends and I are the first in line. I love the energy and excitement (probably caused by the caffeine) at brunch as my friends and I eagerly share our latest life updates. The atmosphere is carefree and giddy. Nothing compares. Here are some of my favorite places from the past two months:

Tipsy Pig (Marina) Popular bar by night and trendy brunch tavern by day

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Goat Cheese-Chive Scramble

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Dutch Pancake

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Regular Bloody Mary

I was pleasantly surprised by the food and atmosphere. We sat in the back patio on a nice day and it was the best brunch experience I’ve had in the city. My friend and I shared the Dutch pancakes (with candied bacon, caramelized strawberries, and ricotta cheese) and the goat cheese-chive scramble (with asparagus and prosciutto). My other friend ordered the breakfast sandwich, which wasn’t as good. Everything was very tasty though. They have excellent Bloody Marys as well. I recommend the regular, not the spicy one. Recommend: Dutch pancakes, goat cheese- chive scramble, and the regular Bloody Mary. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

The Mill (Alamo Square) Eclectic and airy café known for their fresh bread and spreads

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Ham and Cheese Pastry

They also serve four barrel coffee and decadent pastries. I came with a group of friends and we ordered everything on the menu—granted they only have 4 specialty toast options a day. I ordered whole wheat poppy seed bread with house-made pear blueberry jam and butter. I would come here alone to read and sip on coffee. You order at the counter then find a table. On the weekends the line will be out the door. It is also around the corner for Alamo Square Park. Recommend: Everything—you can’t go wrong! (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Jane on Fillmore (lower pac heights) Small bustling cafe with light and creative breakfast options, Stumptown coffee, and homemade baked goods

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They offer a simple and healthy menu. Some options include avocado toast (with pickled onions and jalapenos on homemade sourdough), chia seed parfait (with berries and house-made granola), and gluten-free pastries. They also have gluten-free bread available. Great lattes and cappuccinos made with Straus milk. They have soy and almond milk available as well. It gets crowded on the weekends but the line goes pretty quick. This is the kind of cafe I envision myself opening (way down the road). Recommend: Chia Seed Pudding and avocado toast (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Brenda’s French Soul Food (Tenderloin) Southern comfort food with Creole and French influence

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Pulled-Pork Eggs Benedict

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Special Breakfast Sandwich of the day

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Beignet Flight

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Open-face egg sandwich and creamy grits

It is a very popular spot so go early or get Philz Coffee (around the corner) while you wait. You have to order the beignet flight (chocolate, apple, crab, and traditional). The savory crab and traditional were my favorite. Most breakfast dishes are served with creamy grits or potatoes. I ordered the creamy grits but wished I ordered the potatoes. The grits are extremely rich (loaded with butter and cream) so it is hard to eat more than half of the heaping bowl they give you. The portions are large—no one finished their meal. Overall the food was very tasty but a little too heavy for me. Recommend: pulled pork eggs Benedict or goat cheese omelet. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Sol Food (Marin) Healthy Peruvian food

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You order at the counter then find a table. We ordered the bistec platter, bistec sandwich, veggie sandwich, and fried plantain chips. I recommend ordering half regular plantains and half garlic plantains. The platter comes with a large serving of the bistec, black beans, rice, garlic, salad, and fried plantains. They also make their own limeade. It is the kind of food where you feel satisfied and full but not uncomfortable. It is very colorful and lively inside with large communal tables. Great food and company. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself here. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Causwells (Marina) Another great brunch spot in the marina

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Pork Hash

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Chilaquiles

We sat outside on a perfect sunny afternoon. I ordered the omelet of the day, which was Canadian bacon, arugula, caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, and Parmesan cheese. A perfect combination. My friends ordered the Chilaquiles (tortilla chips, salsa, black beans, scrambled eggs, and sour cream) and the Pork Hash (braised pork, potatoes, and a fried egg). They are known for their breakfast hamburger that I’ve heard is spectacular. Recommend: Pork Hash and Omelet. (5 taste, 5 service, 5 atmosphere)

Blackwood (Chestnut St, Marina) Chic traditional American breakfast with an Asian twist

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My favorite brunch place in the Marina. Most brunch dishes have an asian twist and flavor. They have excellent dinner as well. It is the same owners as Sweet Maple and Kitchen Story. There is always a wait on the weekend and they do not take reservations for brunch (like most popular brunch places). Recommend: the BQ Scramble (chicken apple sausage, sweet basil, shallots, and carrots) and the eggs Benedict with millionaire’s bacon. (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 3 service)

Belga (Marina) Sophisticated European style café with dishes ranging from French Croque Madame to German sausages

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They also offer brunch and happy hour. They have fun drink options like Devil’s Advokaat (brandy, egg, lemon, & nutmeg) or Oude Cobbler (aged genever, vermouth, lemon, sugar, sherry, berries). They have the best cinnamon brioche beignets served with whipped crème fraiche. Recommend: Veggie frittata (squash and goat cheese) or flat bread with shaved brussels sprouts and a fried egg. (4 taste, 5 atmosphere, 4 service)

El Techo (Mission) Trendy Argentinean tapas and brunch dishes situated on a rooftop in the heart of the Mission

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I came here for a friend’s birthday. On a nice day you have a beautiful view of the city—unfortunately it was raining when we went. The food is great. I ordered the Chorizo Scramble with roasted veggies and potatoes. The potatoes were amazing but I was not a fan of the chorizo. I preferred my friend’s Techo Rancheros (tortilla, pork, fried eggs, salsa, and beans). Recommend: Techo Rancheros and the fresh squeezed OJ. (4 taste, 5 service, 5 atmosphere)

Grove (Pac Heights) Rustic café serving traditional breakfast and lunch dishes

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I ordered the avocado toast and my friend ordered the breakfast sandwich. The rosemary potatoes were disappointing but overall I would recommend this place to someone looking for a casual and reasonably priced brunch place. They have great pies too! The service is a little slow. You order at the counter then find a seat. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 3 service)

Perry’s (Financial District and Marina) American soups, salads, and sandwiches

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They also have decent brunch and happy hour.  There are 3 locations in the city: Cow Hollow, Embarcadero, and Potrero. The Embarcadero location near the water and is a perfect place to come on a nice day. The food is decent but you get what you expect. They do not experiment with unique flavors, spices or combinations. It’s a perfect go-to restaurant to bring your non-adventurous/picky friend who is visiting.  Recommend: California Eggs Benedict (comes with avocado, tomato, and spinach). (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Banana Pancakes

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1 banana

1 egg

1/4th cup apple sauce

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons oats

1 tablespoon shredded coconut (optional)

Chocolate Banana Pancakes

Add 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons honey

Mix the ingredients together with a fork or in a blender. Fry on a pan. I like to use coconut oil. Serve with berries and maple syrup. This recipe makes 2 medium pancakes.

Almond Oat Scones

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This can be a vegan recipe if you use almond milk.

Ingredients:

2/3rd cup oats

2/3rd cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4th cup or 4 tablespoons butter (melted)

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup almond or regular milk

1/4th cup shaved almond (plus an extra teaspoon to sprinkle on top)

1/4th cup raisins (optional)

1 cup fruit (strawberries or blueberries work best)

Directions:

  1. Mix the oats, flour, and baking powder together.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla, cinnamon, butter, and sweetener. Then add the lemon and milk.
  3. Stir the two mixtures together then add the almonds and fruit. I used fresh strawberries but frozen fruit works too.
  4. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle almonds on top then bake at 400ºF for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with tea or coffee.

 

Apple Rose Tarts

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Ingredients
Dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter
  • 3 tablespoons ice cold water

Filling (slightly modified)

  • 3-4 apples (the recipe calls for only 2 but I cut extra to practice on)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons butter
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons

The recipe also calls for strawberry preserves, which I omitted.

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the butter and water. Mix the dough until it comes together. I used my hands. Put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  2. Place cupcake/muffin holders in the baking tray.
  3. Roll the dough out and cut into small circles. The recipe suggests using the top of a mug or cup. For some of them I just molded the dough into the cupcake holder.
  4. Cut the apples into fourths then thinly slice them with the mandolin.
  5. Pour the sugar, butter, and lemon juice over the cut apples.
  6. Microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes until the apples are moldable.
  7. Line about 10 slices in a row, slightly on top of each other. Roll the apple pieces together to form the “petal.” Place in the muffin tin.
  8. Bake at 375ºF for ~30 minutes.

Most Popular Recipes from 2015

1. No Bake Brownies

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For the recipe click here.

2. Zesty Coconut Slaw

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For the recipe click here.

3. Vegetable Paella

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For the recipe click here.

4. Cauliflower Corn Chowder

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For the recipe click here.

5. Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
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For the recipe click here.

6. Quinoa Kielbasa Stuffed Bell PeppersIMG_1786

For the recipe click here.

Thank you everyone for the sweet comments and feedback over the past three months. I’ve really enjoyed creating Bella’s Belly and I look forward to expanding my blog in 2016. Keep a lookout for new recipes and restaurant reviews.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

Polynesian Coconut Pumpkin Pie (Gluten-free and Dairy-free)Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 5.08.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 5.06.30 PM

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Sorry my pumpkin pie recipe is a little late. Things always get hectic around the holidays. The goods news is that this pie can be made throughout the holiday season. Enjoy!

The crust is an adapted cookie recipe from Wheat Belly. The pie filling is a Polynesian coconut filling that my mom and I adapted from Epicurious.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie CRUST

1 cup of coconut flour
1 cup of ground almonds [I throw whole almonds into my vitamix to grind them to flour]
1 cup of almond flour [almond “meal” is easily found at Trader Joe’s]
a handful of coconut flakes
1 tablespoon honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup almond milk
1 cup melted butter [I use Earth Balance]
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease pie pan.
  2. Stir together all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Whisk almond milk, butter, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs.
  4. Add to dry ingredients.
  5. Mixture should be like cake batter, so add a small amount of water to thin it, if necessary.
  6. Mold into pie pan and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.It does not puff up much.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie FILLING

3 eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 partially baked 10-inch pie shell

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the honey and whisk until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, and rum. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and mix until incorporated.
  3. Pour mixture into the pie shell. Bake the pie for about 30 minutes, until set. Cool the pie to room temperature and then serve with ice cream. Yum!

Raw Peanut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Raw Peanut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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A great snack or healthy dessert. Very simple and no baking required.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4th cup shredded coconut (can be left out if you do not like coconut)

1/4th cup flaxseed

1/4th cup peanut butter

3 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4th cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Blend oats and walnuts.
  2. Then blend in the coconut, flaxseed, peanut butter, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Blend in the raisins last.
  4. Roll into balls and refrigerate for 2 hours.

 

No Bake Brownies

No Bake Brownies

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds (blended)

2 tablespoons almonds (slices)

1 cup dates

1/4th cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4th teaspoon vanilla

1/4th cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Blend almonds in a Vitamix or food processor.
  2. Blend in dates, coconut, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and cocoa powder.
  3. Mold mixture into baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle coconut shreds and almond shreds on top.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours then cut into squares and serve.

Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

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My mom and I bake my stepdad carrot cake every year for his birthday. Anyone who claims they do not like carrot cake because it’s “healthy,” has not tasted this cake.

The recipe is an old xeroxed page from somebody else’s cookbook, so unfortunately I can’t give proper credit. However, there is a blurb at the bottom of the page, which says:

Grace Meadows from Taylorville, Illinois was a finalist in the “Bake-A-Cake” category of the Blue Ribbon Culinary Contest at the Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family does!

Directions:

Makes 8 to 10 servings

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups grated carrot

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Beat eggs and oil in a small bowl. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add egg mixture; mix well. Stir in carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing: Combine 1 box (16 ounces) powdered sugar, 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup margarine, softened and 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Beat until smooth.