Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Thai Pumpkin Soup (5 of 5)  How are we doing on New Year’s Resolutions so far? I’m gonna be honest and say that Cheeseburger week in Pasadena has made it very difficult to stick to mine!

Anyway, as you may recall I’m dedicating the month of January to posting my favorite recipes from the Whole 30 Challenge. We started with my go-to breakfast and now I’m going to present my go-to lunch: a fantastic soup I adapted slightly from one of my favorite blogs, Love and Lemons.

This soup was everything during those 30 days; it was easy to prepare, could be made in bulk and was extremely satisfying. It’s creamy, spicy and warms you from your cheeks through your soul. You don’t have to be on a diet to love this soup, even now I still make it all the time and have been asked for the recipe by multiple people. I’m constantly tweaking this recipe to add more spice or veggies depending on my mood. I encourage you to do the same. Enjoy!

Thai Pumpkin Soup (3 of 5)

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Whole 30 Breakfast Shake

Whole 30 Shake (1 of 1)

Yes, I’m well aware that it’s a total cliche to post a green superfood smoothie at the top of the New Year; but this recipe, adapted from the fabulous Oh She’s Glows blog,  was the cornerstone of my Whole 30 experience. It tastes like a chocolate milkshake but with a host of different nutrients to power me through each morning. I know spinach and chocolate sounds dicey, but I promise you can’t even taste it. Even now that I’ve finished my Whole-30 challenge, I still find myself making this for breakfast most mornings.

It’s lot easier to throw a bunch of stuff in a blender each morning than cook the egg, veggie and sausage type breakfasts typical of the Whole 30/Paleo diet. When blending greens, veggies and seeds it’s important to have a high power blender. Some of my friends swear by the Vitamix but I’m not willing to shell out that kind of money. I purchased the Magic Bullet NutriBullet over a year ago and it still works like a champ.

Whole 30 Shake (1 of 2)

Depending on what I had on hand, I’d tweak and tailor the recipe to change things up – A few slices of avocado, why not?  Cinnamon, flaked sea salt, flax seeds, cashews, cayenne, vanilla, coconut milk, I experimented almost daily with this shake. I’ve discovered my new found love of protein/omega rich hemp hearts. And I finally figured out the perfect use of the latest superfood Maca powder. Of course, there were some fails too: ginger (does NOT go with chocolate!) spirulina (I attempted the ultimate super foodie shake and it was absolutely disgusting. Don’t do it!). Feel free to have fun with this recipe, adding any Whole-30 approved foods to the mix. Enjoy!

Whole 30 Breakfast Shake

Makes 1 serving

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1-2 very soft dates, pitted and chopped**
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1-2 tsp Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened Cacao Powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Hemp Hearts
  • 1 ice cube (optional)
  • Optional dash of cinnamon or sea salt

** If your dates are not soft, soak overnight otherwise they might not blend into the shake. If you’re not doing the Whole 30 challenge, you can also sub a drizzle of honey.

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and Enjoy!

*Adapted from Oh She Glows

 

Whole 30 Shake (2 of 2)

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Kick off 2015 with the Whole 30-Challenge

 

Whole30

Have you heard of the Whole 30 Challenge? It’s essentially an extreme version of the paleo diet designed to “reset” your body on all fronts. The premise is straight forward: by eliminating processed foods, sugar, gluten, grains, legumes, dairy and (sigh) alcohol for 30 days, you can restore your metabolism, immune system and digestive track. Your diet will focus on healthy proteins (meat, fish, eggs), vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats. There’s no cheating. If you slip up, even just a little bit, you have to start all over.

Sound difficult? Well, I can safety say that despite my love of wine, cheese and everything carbs, I just completed my 30 day challenge and it felt surprisingly great! While I’m not willing to swear off all processed foods forever, it’s nice to have a month long detox to boost my energy levels and prove I have control over the foods I’m putting in my body.

In honor of the New Year and healthy resolutions, I’m dedicating the month of January to posting some of my favorite Whole-30 recipes. Keep reading below for some of my tips to completing your challenge.

Fresh produce at the Farmer's Market

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Cranberry Swirled Brioche

Cranberry Brioche (8 of 9) I’m baaaaaack! There were many developments since my last post so many months ago. I’m back on US soil for one thing, I moved to a beautiful Pasadena Bungalow (in the background above!),  and my 9 to 5 job turned into a 9 to midnight job pretty quickly. The late nights meant lots of frozen pizza and and Thai takeout…certainly nothing pinterest worthy was coming out of my kitchen. But alas, work has slowed down and my ovens have fired up again. Make way for some festive brioche!

Now that I’m home, the thing I miss most about France (other than everything) is the bread. I pretty much survived on flour, water and salt for three months: a sturdy baguette while strolling through town, flour laden slices of country bread with a smear of fromage for dinner and starting the day with a just-sweet-enough roll of brioche. Whether or not I was hungry, the smell of freshly baked bread would always lure me in.

Cranberry Brioche (2 of 9)In the US, you kind of have to hunt for good bread and there isn’t exactly a boulangerie on every corner. I feel like So-cal in particular seems to repel bakeries in favor of organic cold pressed juice bars. Bah!!! For Angelenos, Zoe Nathan is pretty much the go-to name for breads and pastries. Her small empire in Santa Monica includes greats like Milo and Olive, Rustic Canyon, Sweet Rose Creamery, and the cream of the crop: Huckleberry. 

I was beyond thrilled when she released the Huckleberry cookbook last month – her recipes are humble crowd pleasers that highlight seasonal ingredients. This is my holiday take on her blueberry brioche, a sweet, visually striking bread that would be perfect for Christmas brunch or even gifting. (Sidebar: I originally meant to give this to a neighbor but I literally devoured half the loaf in 10 minutes). Enjoy!

Cranberry Brioche (5 of 9)

 

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London Calling

Kendall_London Street Art

First stop on the European tour: Foggy London Town!

My first visit to this city came with a welcomed sigh of relief. After two months of adjusting my audio to French speakers, it was strange to finally understand people again. Spring was there to welcome me and my visit was accompanied with long strolls through Hyde Park, bustling city walks through the Strand and just general meandering through alleys lined with magnificent street art in Shoreditch.

London Eye

The food was vast and lived up to the hype. I had an unforgettable dining experience at Heston Blumenthal’s celebrated Diner, steaming hot dumplings and Dim Sum in China Town, Indian cuisine boosting sweat inducing curries and of coarse, greasy fish and chips with tarter sauce.

To wash it all down? Pints upon pints of beer, a pleasant change from all the wines in France. The pub scene in London is like non other, with charming historic pubs once favored by Charles Dickens, cavernous underground drinking holes and elegant rooftop bars.

In a mere 3 days, I got a great taste of what the city has to offer: a true mix of old and new, having seen London Tower and Big Ben in the same skyline as the sweeping, glass monstrosities popping up all over town. And while there’s still so much more to do and see for my next visit, I can proudly boost I even got to see the Queen!

Here are some highlights from London:

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