Growing up I really hated drinking milk. Milk that was plain, milk that had chocolate in it, etc. I hated milk in my cereal, I always preferred eating the cereal plain, straight out of the bag, straight crunchy. But I was forced to drink it every morning before school, since milk has calcium, and milk is good for strong bones. I later discovered soy milk and almond milk as alternatives, and my life dramatically became better. Hah! So I went through a period of time where I made smoothies with and drank plenty of soy milk and almond milk. I bought them from Trader Joe’s, but always felt that the almond milk there was a little lifeless. Not very creamy or full body. So I set my sights on homemaking almond milk to see if there was a difference. And there is! Homemade almond milk is creamy and delicious, and when its homemade, you can add whatever flavors to enhance it. Almonds kind of got expensive, so I don’t make it very often, but if you want to drink the difference, give it a try!
I am increasingly bothered by the lack of Thanksgiving this year. Before we even crossed Halloween this year, news articles started talking about Christmas – whether it was retailers focused on this Christmas shopping, or food news articles skipping the Turkey, and going straight to Christmas cookies and yule logs. Starbucks has even stopped serving “Thanksgiving” blend before Thanksgiving even started! They’ve moved onto “Christmas” dark and blonde blends. Thanksgiving has not happened people!!!!!! What happened to the Thanksgiving that we Americans have celebrated since we were pilgrims? I am afraid to ask what they teach kids in elementary school right now – do they still have a craft day where we made turkeys by tracing our hand on construction paper? Do they have dress up day where kids dressed as pilgrims or silly turkeys? I sure had that in my childhood and it engrained in me the importance of Thanksgiving. Why are we in such a rush to Christmas? Why are we in such a rush to end the year? Does it have anything to do with all the horrific things we encounter in the world that we just want to turn the page and look to the future? Well my take on it is why don’t we just slow the way down, hug our families and friends when the world is so crazy, cherish those moments where we gather around and eat turkey and cranberry and stuffing, and embrace the spirit of the holidays.
Last night, I was able to do so with some of my friends for Friendsgiving. I am thankful for those times where we can get together, eat, laugh, be ourselves, when we are apart for most of the year. These moments occur less and less after we place ourselves in the real world. All the more important to get together and spend quality time with each other! I made these spicy sriracha chicken wings for the dinner and I am so happy with the results!
I challenge you to skip the Peppermint Mocha at the moment, and enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte until Thanksgiving is over.
Since this year was a hot hot hot year, with little rain, and an early summer, the peaches on our tree ripened so quickly so early in the year. We used to wait until about mid-july or august for harvesting, but we ended up harvesting them in mid-june this year!! So I learned this year that fruit trees bear delicious, juicy, sweet fruit every other year consistently. So one year it will be large and sweet and delicious, and the next will be smaller and less sweet, maybe even sour. Also, after the peach flowers have bloomed and it starts to form the fruit, on the same branches, you have to pick off some of the fruit so the other fruits on the same branch will have enough nutrition to form these big and yummy peaches!!! Darwin’s rule!! Funny how nature works and I have definitely noticed that with our fruit trees. Anyway, we have a ton of peaches so we needed ways to use them up. We made jam and peach salsa. The jam can go on homemade bread and jam cookies during Christmas! I am so excited.
For some reason I have always thought of kiwis as an all season fruit – it’s in my house all year long and they seem to be in Costco, always fresh, year round! With the summer abundance of fruit, I have been looking for ways to use them! As decoration (see Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Tart) or as more savory options, like this spicy jalapeño kiwi salsa!
Kiwis have a unique history – surprisingly, they are native to China, where it used to be called Chinese gooseberry. No idea where the goose came from (although there are red core kiwis according to Wiki). Then the cultivation journey of the kiwi fruit went to New Zealand, where there are birds that are called kiwi birds…LOL but New Zealanders named these bright green fuzzy fruits the kiwifruit, and it stuck!!!
This salsa only takes 4 ingredients and can be used as a chips and dip or a topping for fish!!!
It’s the middle of May and SUMMERRRR is almost officially here!!!! You know I am most alive during the summer months when the days are longer and the sun is shining! Being that I live in SF though, I gotta get out of the city to get this sunshine, so I will take whatever chance to this summer! Since I basically had zero, nada, summer last summer, well except maybe the weekend of July 4th fun, I want to make this summer the best summer ever since 2013!!! My plans this summer are to go to vegas, go camping for the first time, go to another national park, hike more hiking trails, run more trails, eat at a Michelin star restaurant, and explore more of SF! I owe it to myself to be a worldly person and that begins today.
Check out this yummy, easy cornbread I made for the Fight of the Century!!! It’s perfect for summer BBQs or camping trips 😀
I have been going to Starbucks almost every day to get iced coffee and I saw this flourless chocolate chewy cookie on display and I hella wanted one. But then I decided to procrastinate and make them so I didn’t have to limit myself to one! These are magnificently chewy and chocolatey – but make sure you eat them in a day or two (or share) or else they get hard.
HEALTH FOOD MEGA POST!!!! I love healthy foods as you all know- the weirder the better. I love the fascination with all this raw stuff lately and totally have toyed with the idea of going on a raw food diet for a week. Maybe when I am not about to study for finals and the bar. But anyway, if you haven’t heard, PITAYA has been popular for a year now – a very distant, more popular cousin in pop culture of the ACAI berry – but it is actually a DRAGON FRUIT! Dragon fruits are those pink crazy weird looking fruits you see at Asian supermarkets. My mom bought some once and eating the fruit inside of a real, fresh dragon fruit was totally meh. It was white on the inside with edible seeds, way slimy and lacked flavor. I had no idea that the famous pitaya was actually dragon fruit. The Asian ones however are white in flesh, whereas the Mexican and South American varieties have a red/pink hue. This is definitely a quality it shares with the acai berry: it has a big vibrant hue to it and is definitely the new craze of food health junkies. I tried a pitaya bowl for the first time a month ago at PB’s Rum Jungle and I loved it! The pitaya bowl is a lot less berry tasting, not sweet, and sorta has a slimy texture to it. Pitaya is normally paired with the same stuff as acai so they are both super interchangeable in terms of how you make them in smoothies and bowls. You can purchase pitaya packets at Whole Foods!!! Sprouts doesn’t have them yet (or at least at my local one doesn’t). I used to do a lot of those fun, fast facts about interesting food items so here are some about pitaya:
1. Pitaya flowers only bloom at night so only bats and moths fertilize them. (kinda like how a bee polinizes flowers).
2. They originated in Mexico, but spread in popularity and cultivation in Southeast Asia.
3. There are many varieties- the Asian store bought ones have white meat with seeds dotted all over it inside; the smoothie pack variety is the pitahaya roja, which has a pinkish meat with seeds dotted all over it inside.
4. If you eat a lot of pitaya, your pee might turn reddish HAHAHA.
5. It has powerful antioxidents, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber and omega-3s. All awesome stuff to keep you healthy and sane.
Here is a pretty powerful pitaya bowl recipe that I used for my first homemade bowl! Acai and pitaya are fun in that it can be paired with anything fun and healthy and colorful in your kitchen. Try it today since it’s so hot outside!