Spiced Pumpkin Bread

The season of bulky scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, and colorful leaves is upon us. Happy fall folks!

Now that it’s officially pumpkin season, here’s one of my favorites – spiced pumpkin bread!

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1/2 c honey, maple syrup, or agave

1/4th c brown sugar

1/2 c coconut oil

2 eggs

1/4th c almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/4th c apple sauce

1 c pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp baking soda

2 c whole wheat flour

Pecans or walnuts (optional)

Sprinkle oats on top (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil then immediately mix it with the honey, sugar, and eggs. The coconut oil will begin to solidify so stir in other ingredients right away. If clumps of coconut oil begin to appear, place in warm place (for instance, on top of the oven). Then add in the almond milk, pumpkin purée, apple sauce, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and flour) then combine it with the coconut oil mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan (9″ x 5″ x 2 1/2″). Sprinkle a few oats and cinnamon on top. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, around 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve with pumpkin butter from TJ’s.

Falafel Collard Greens Wrap with Tzatziki Sauce

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These tasty fried fritters are perfect to serve as an appetizer or as a protein in a sandwich or wrap. It is typically served inside pita bread with hummus. I opted for a collard greens wrap with homemade tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, and cabbage. Roasted eggplant would be a nice addition.

Falafel:

2 C dried chickpeas

1  bunch of parsley

1 chopped onion

1/4th C finely chopped cilantro

4-6 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

3 tbs lemon juice

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight then drain. Do not use canned chickpeas!
  2. Mix soaked chickpeas, parsley, onion, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice together in a food processor. Blend until thoroughly mixed, but not completely smooth.
  3. Mold the chickpea mixture into balls with two spoons and fry in avocado oil (used for high temperature cooking). Alternatively, you can use an ice cream scoop to form the balls. Fry until golden brown.
  4. Heat collard greens in oven or microwave until soft. Place falafel, chopped cabbage, tomatoes, and a dollop of tzatziki (recipe below) in the center of the greens. Roll like a burrito. Voila!

Tzatziki sauce:

2 C greek whole milk yogurt

1 finely grated cucumber

2 cloves of minced garlic

2-3 tbs of fresh dill

1 tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Grate cucumber and mix ingredients together. Let chill for 1-2 hours.

 

Energy Balls

Matcha and coconut and cocoa, Oh My!

If you are low on time, these energy balls are great to have on hand as a snack or healthy dessert. They are kid-approved and last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. So this year, fill your Halloween bag with energy balls coated with your favorite toppings.

S/o to my little brother for being my hand model! 6180853072_img_0040

1 c old fashioned oats

1/2 c cashews

3/4 c dates (chopped)

1/3 c flaxseed

2/3 c shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c agave or honey

1/4 c coconut oil

Preferred Toppings (Pictured: matcha, black sesame seeds, cocoa powder, coconut shreds, flaxseed)

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (oats, cashews, flaxseed, coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg) together in a food processor or Vitamix.
  2. Once the dry ingredients have reached a flour consistency, add the wet ingredients (chopped dates, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil). Blend together. The mixture should resemble cookie dough. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of soy or almond milk.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Guilt-Free Banana Bread (v +gf)

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons stevia (alternatively use 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave)

2 ½ cups gluten-free flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 ripe medium bananas

1 egg

1/3 cup almond milk

½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

optional

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* To make this recipe vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon flaxseed for the egg.

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the egg, almond milk, and OJ. Mix well.

Combine the two mixtures together then fold in walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take out and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.

La Cuisine Française

My food adventures from the last month:

Casa San Pablo (Marais): Tapas

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Balsamic mushrooms and calamari

Cute tapas restaurant in Le Marais. Order a few tapas to share and enjoy with a pitcher of Sangria on the side of the street. Waiters are friendly and happy to help you practice French 🙂

Season (Marais): Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple

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Quinoa Salad and Shakshuka

They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I need to go back and try their acai bowl. ALSO GIVEAWAY: if you like my new wood watch (Frankie Dark Sandalwood & Emerald) then enter in a contest for the chance to win a $75 gift card. PLUS everyone who enters automatically receives a $20 gift card.

Wooden Wristwatch

Mariage Frères (Multiple Locations): Famous up-scale tea house

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Classic brunch course (bougie eggs, vegetables, brioche, dessert, and choice of tea)

This is the kind of place I reserve for special occasions. The service and decor is elegant and refined. I celebrated my 23rd birthday here with my friend Dawkins, a dear friend who I’ve known since I was three. They have excellent tea and desserts. My favorite is Pleine Lune (almond black tea with honey) and Imperial Wedding (chocolate black tea with caramel). The tea list is extensive and daunting so ask for recommendations, otherwise you will be lost.

Bob’s Kitchen (Marias) Casual laid-back vegan/vegetarian café

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Green Curry Veggie Bowl

Enjoy delicious home-made food and juices in a relaxed and casual setting. Bob’s Kitchen is hidden off of one streets by the centre Pompidou—you would not notice it, unless seeking it out, like I was. They have a small kitchen and serve dishes until they run out. They are known for their daily vegetable bowls. I got the green curry veggie bowl that comes with brown rice, sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, and broccoli. The other two options were lentil curry and peanut curry.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre) Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options

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Curry lentils with vegetables, greek yogurt, and toasted coconut

Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture. Highly recommend!

Angelina (Rue de Rivoli) Famous tea house known for their chocolat chaud and Mont Blanc dessert

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Famous hot chocolate

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Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon

The best chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in Paris!  It is touristy but the hot chocolate is the creamiest and richest I’ve ever drunk. It is so thick and decadent that I would almost classify it has pudding. I recommend putting on your most Blair Waldorf esque outfit and coming with a couple girlfriends on a chilly day.

Au P’tit Grec (Latin Quarter) Best street crêpes in Paris

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Crêpe with ham, chèvre, tomatoes, and lettuce

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Extremely delicious street crêpes located on Rue Mouffetard— lucky me it’s right down the street. My favorite combination (because there are hundreds) is jambon (ham), chèvre (goat cheese), salade (greens), tomate (tomatoes), aubergine (eggplant), and herbs de provence!

L’As du Fallafel (Marais) Famous out-of-this-world falafel place

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Situated in the heart of Le Marais, my favorite area in Paris, on Rue des Rosiers. The best falafel in Paris and I’ll go as far to say, the best street food in Paris! For only 6 euros you can enjoy a heaping pita filled with falafel, aubergine, cabbage, and special spicy tahini sauce.  There is always a line so I recommend avoid going on the weekend. You will wait at least 40 minutes.

Du Pain et Des Idées (10th arr)  Delicious baked goods

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A famous boulangerie known for their pistachio-chocolate escargot croissant.

Zesty Coconut Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

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1 head cauliflower (chopped into bite size pieces)

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas

1 cucumber

1 tomato

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons coconut milk

juice of 2 limes

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower and chickpeas on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on top. Cook for ~40 minutes, until the chickpeas and cauliflower have become brown on the edges and crispy.
  2. While the cauliflower and chickpeas are cooking, make the dressing by combining olive oil, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, coconut milk, and lime juice together.
  3. Cut the tomato and cucumber into small pieces and set aside.
  4. Once the cauliflower and chickpeas have cooled combine with the tomato and cucumber. Then toss with the dressing. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on top.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (DF)

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Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower (chopped into bite size pieces)

2 cups milk of choice (I used almond milk)

½ cups water

1 onion

2 cups mushroom

1 teaspoon fresh garlic

basil or cilantro for garnishing

salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on top. Cook for ~40 minutes, until the cauliflower has developed crispy edges. Take out and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic together. Once they are golden set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the cauliflower, onion, mushroom, garlic, milk, and water in a Vitamix and blend together. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large pot and blend together with an immersion blender. Add salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Serve with basil or cilantro on top.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

‘Tis the season for PUMPKIN! Here is an easy and delicious recipe for pumpkin oat muffins. Happy fall everyone!

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Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey (maple syrup or agave work too)

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/4th soy milk (or milk of choice)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup oats (plus more for garnishing)

Recipe makes 12 muffins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil then immediately mix it with the maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin purée, soy milk, vanilla, and almond extract. The coconut oil will begin to harden again so it needs to be stirred in with the other ingredients right away.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together (baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, flour and oats) then combine it with the coconut oil mixture.
  4. Divide the batter between the twelve muffin tins. Sprinkle a few oats on top of each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, around 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve with pumpkin butter from TJ’s.

Breaded Curry Cauliflower

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Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2/3rds cup coconut cream (canned from TJs)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into large pieces.
  2. Mix together the coconut cream, egg, almond meal, curry powder, coconut oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Coat each piece of cauliflower with the mixture.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with coconut oil and cook the cauliflower at 350 degrees for 25- 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with ketchup or dijon mustard. Enjoy!

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)