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.

Breakfast Cups

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Ingredients:

1 ½ cup oats

3/4th cup almond meal

3/4th cup dates

½ cup coconut oil

1/4th cup maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Yogurt (I recommend Noosa or Coconut Bliss)

Fresh fruit (Strawberries or blueberries)

Directions:

  1. Blend the oats and almond meal in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender until they are powder.
  2. Add the dates, coconut oil, sweetener, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend until smooth. Add more coconut oil if the dough is too dry. The dough should be thick and easy to mold.
  3. Grease muffin tins with coconut oil or butter.
  4. Place roughly 1 tablespoon or large spoonful of the mixture in each tin.
  5. Mold the mixture into the sides of the tin with your hands.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes then place the cups on a cooling rack.
  8. Place a dollop of yogurt inside and fresh fruit on top. 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)

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.

 

Zucchini Fritters

 

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2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)

2 eggs (beaten)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4th cup nutritional yeast or 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon fresh garlic (minced)

1/2 onion (minced)

Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Grate the zucchinis and squeeze out the water.
  2. Mix the ingredients together.
  3. Roll into small pancakes and fry. Brown well on both sides.

These are best eaten as soon as they’re ready so eat as you go! I serve them with a traditional Korean dipping sauce: 2 parts soy sauce with 1 part rice vinegar (regular vinegar will work) and crushed roasted sesame seeds on top. Enjoy!

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.

 

Vegetable Paella

Vegetable Paella

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Fun fact: Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. This little container costs $10!IMG_2478 IMG_2481 IMG_2482 IMG_2497 IMG_2502

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1/4th teaspoon saffron threads

1/8th turmeric

2 bell peppers

1 onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh garlic

2-3 carrots

3/4th cup artichoke hearts (canned 6.5 oz)

1 1/2 cup arborio rice

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups chard (or other leafy green)

1 cup tomatoes

1 can chickpeas or kidney beans

1 cup frozen peas

Lemon

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil and add saffron.
  2. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Sauté veggies.
  4. Add rice then vegetable broth.
  5. Cool rice for 10 minutes then add chard and tomatoes.
  6. When rice is fully cooked add the beans and peas.
  7. Cook until the water is absorbed.
  8. Squeeze lemon juice on top.

Thai Coconut Red Curry

Thai Coconut Red Curry

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Instructions:

1 cup jasmine rice

1 onion

1 bell pepper

1 teaspoon fresh garlic

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

2-3 tablespoons red curry paste

1 can coconut milk light

1/4th cup coconut cream

1/4th cup chicken broth (or 1/4th cup coconut milk)

3 carrots

1 pound tofu or chicken

1 cup frozen peas

3 green onions

1-2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari sauce

Handful of leafy greens (optional—I used baby broccoli)

Cilantro for garnishing

Pinch of chili flakes

Directions:

  1. Wash and cook rice with 1 ½ cup water.
  2. Sauté onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger, and curry paste.
  3. Once onions are soft add the coconut milk, coconut cream, and chicken broth.
  4. Add carrots, tofu, leafy greens, frozen peas, green onions, and soy sauce.
  5. Sprinkle cilantro and chili flakes on top.

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.

Cauliflower Corn Chowder

Cauliflower Corn Chowder 

My mom found this recipe in Follow Your Heart’s Vegetarian Soup Cookbook. Throughout the years we changed and substituted different ingredients. This is my dairy-free adaptation of the soup.

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Ingredients:

5 c. water

2 potatoes (diced)

1 large onion (diced)

2 c corn (fresh, frozen, or canned – I’ve used all three)

2-3 stalks celery

1/4 head cabbage (thinly sliced, I used purple cabbage but any kind is fine)

1 large head cauliflower (dice the core, reserve the florets)

4 Tbs butter

2 tsp basil

1/4 c. minced fresh parsley (I often omit this)

2 Tbs Spike

2 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp dill weed

1 c coconut cream from can

1/2 c soy milk or milk

1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

2 Tbs. dried chives

sea salt or more Spike, to taste

To make the traditional dairy version use sour cream instead of coconut cream and add ½ block of cream cheese. Blend together sour cream, cream cheese, and milk. Mix into the soup.

Directions:

1. In your largest soup pot bring to a boil: water, the diced potatoes, onion, 1 cup corn, celery, cabbage, the cauliflower core, butter, and basil. Cook for 1/2 hour or until potatoes begin to dissolve.

2. Add remaining corn, potatoes, parsley, Spike, garlic, and dill weed. Simmer about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add reserved cauliflower florets and cook another ten minutes, until they are tender but chewy (almost like clams).

4. Add coconut cream and soymilk. Add the nutritional yeast and chives. Heat gently without boiling.