Monday, July 21, 2008

Another Super Healthy Vegan Bakery: Zen Bakery

I'm not sure why it took me so long to buy something from the Zen Bakery.. maybe because most of the stuff there is super fiber-y and I am always looking for cupcakes and sweet stuff like that. At any rate, I finally picked up some Blueberry Mango Cranberry muffins from the Co-op grocer in Santa Monica. They are really good! Very moist and flavorful and lots of volume for the calories. You can get the muffins, cookies, and scones at a number of different places around California. And for my peeps back home, they even have a location in Milford Mass!

Zen Bakery
10988 Pico Blvd.
West Los Angeles, CA 90064

Saturday, July 19, 2008

BabyCakes: Super Healthy Baked Goods

There is a bakery in NYC called BabyCakes. While I've never been there, I've been aware of their approach to baked goods: vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten free, and now soy-free. They also replace these things with things that are super healthy like agave nectar, coconut oil, flax meal, and other great ingredients. So, since they promised to open up a store in West Hollywood, I've been waiting with bated breath. While they've had to keep delaying the opening of the store, they have finally posted some of their recipes online!! I can't wait to try them.

To see a video about gluten-free baking with Erin McKenna, owner and master baker at Babycakes, as well as four recipes to try:

Click to go to Food Networks' Conscious Cooking videos, then click Gluten Free.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jiraffe Restaurant

JiRaffe on Urbanspoon

One of my new favorite restaurants in Santa Monica is Jiraffe. I'd wanted to try it for the longest time, so my boyfriend took me there for my birthday.. awww. The atmosphere is up-scale and romantic and the service we encountered was super warm, friendly, and helpful. What I think is interesting about the place is that while the food is amazing it isn't one of those places that serve tiny portions.. the entree was so big I had to take half of it home.

I had the glazed pork chop with wild rice and Autumn vegetables (picture above.. and I am pretty sure it's the dish pictured on the restaurant's menu page on their website). It was delicious and such a huge portion that I got to enjoy it the next night all over again! For an appetizer we shared the purple gnocchi (picture below). I LOVE gnocchi and this recipe was so great, I wish I could make it at home. It was made with purple potatoes and served with purple onions and shrimp. They also served our desserts (cookie ice cream sandwich and warm chocolate cake) with a Happy Birthday note and a candle! This is a great restaurant for special occasion or to turn any night into a special one.

502 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Power Breakfast: Almond Cranberry Oatmeal

One of my favorite breakfasts I eat on a regular basis is oatmeal with blueberries. I just cook one serving of oatmeal and then add 1/4 cup defrosted frozen blueberries and a little stevia and sometimes a little vanilla. Since variety is the spice of life, I've come up with another tasty breakfast for one.. I think I am hooked on this one too:

Almond Cranberry Oatmeal
1 serving, 170 calories (without sugar or milk)

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 T dried cranberries (orange-flavored are good)
  • 1 T sliced almonds
  • drop of almond extract (optional)
  • a little stevia (or sugar or honey)
  • splash of half and half, milk, soy milk, whatever (optional)
  1. Cook oats with water in the microwave or in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garlic Shrimp with Spinach and Shiitake

Although someone recently told me that I am too young to be reading Prevention magazine, it is nonetheless one of my favorite magazines. One of the great things about it is the recipes. I tried this one last week and it was a winner:

Garlic Shrimp with Spinach and Shiitake
Makes 4 servings, 200 calories each
  • 2 T reduced sodium soy sauce

  • 2 T sherry or 1 T rice wine vinegar (I used Shaoxing Cooking Wine)

  • 1 t packed brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 t toasted sesame oil

  • 1/2 lb fresh shiitake mushroom caps, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I crushed mine with a garlic press)

  • 1 T finely shopped fresh ginger

  • 9 oz baby spinach leaves
  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, sherry, and sugar in a small bowl.

  2. Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add shrimp, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute. Add spinach and soy mixture and continue stir-frying until spinach has just wilted (shrimp will be cooked), about 1 minute.
  3. Serving recommendation: serve with brown Basmati or Jasmine rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.