Butterscotch Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee

I had no idea of the health benefits when I started making my own version of bulletproof coffee. I just drink it because it tastes so good. So here is how I came to start drinking it. I love that I had two friends in the same week ask me the same question “so what is this Bulletproof coffee thing?” It meant two things to me. First, my friends see me as an expert when they hear about trends in food. Two, the way I am eating is becoming more mainstream. When they asked me I actually had never had bulletproof coffee anywhere. I had tried just grass fed butter in my coffee and loved it but had not been drinking coffee for so long while I was pregnant that I forgot about it. A few weeks ago I was visiting a friend of mine and her husband asked me if I wanted to try bulletproof coffee and I happily said “yes!” I already had my coffee from home so he blended in some coconut oil and ghee and it was delicious. It tasted like butterscotch to me and I thought to myself why does anyone want to have sugary flavored syrup in their coffee when they can have this? So I started making it myself at home.

The name bulletproof coffee was created by Dave Asprey who stumbled upon the idea on a trip to Tibet. He felt more energized on that trip than any other high altitude trip he had been on and credits the yak butter tea the sherpas drink. When he returned home, he created his own version with coffee. He sells a whole line of products including coffee and oil. It’s now available in local coffee shops nationwide and he plans to open Bulletproof stores. To read more, click here.

I personally feel more satisfied and energetic when I drink it but still only drink it because it tastes really good. Here are some of the health benefits of drinking bulletproof coffee from reading various websites:

Improves cognitive function
Keeps you feeling satisfied
Keeps your energy level balanced
Trains your body to burn fat for energy
Eliminates Snack Cravings
Reduces Inflammation
Boosts Metabolism

In the past I wrote about how we make our coffee every morning using a Chemex. Since that post we have started crushing a small piece of cinnamon stick and adding it to the bottom of the Chemex filter which you will see in the photos. This is how I make my Coffee Bulletproof- Combine the following using a blender or handheld milk frother. The blender does a better job mixing everything together but I prefer the handheld frother because it’s faster and less to clean. I just use the frother for a couple of minutes to mix it really well and it has almost the same emulsifying effect of using the blender.

This is the amount I currently use because it is very rich. However, it is recommended to work your way up to 1-2 Tablespoons of the Ghee and Coconut oil.
8oz. Coffee
1/2 tsp Ghee
1/2 tsp Unscented Coconut Oil

Bulletproof Coffee 1

Bulletproof Coffee 2

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Bulletproof Coffee 9

Bulletproof Coffee 10

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Juicy Fruity Prickly Pear Margarita

Cactus Fruit Margarita 2

Did you know the fruits that grow on Cactus trees are edible? Not only are they edible, they are delicious. They have many names – Cactus Fruit, Prickly Pear, Cactus Fig, Optunia, and their Spanish name, Tuna. I find them almost year-round at our local hispanic food market and make Margaritas with them. To remove the nubs on the skin which contain spines: slice off the ends of the fruit, make a lengthwise incision, and peel off the rind. This post was featured on BevMo!’s Thirsty Times blog. To see the recipe and instructions, click here.

Cactus Fruit Margarita 3

Cactus fruit margarita 5

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Spiked Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot Cocoa Bar

This New Year’s Eve try surprising your guests with something unexpected – A self-serve hot chocolate bar. It’s an ideal drink to make as a self serve station so you too can enjoy your own party. It’s a great treat for both adults and kids who will have fun making their own personalized versions. For the kids and adults have fun with toppings and for the adults provide some fun alcohol to spike their drinks with. To get started, all you need is to make the hot chocolate, set up the toppings, and provide cups. See the full post on BevMo!’s Thirsty Times Blog.

Hot Cocoa Bar 3

Spiked Hot Cocoa Bar

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Pulled Pork Arepas

Arepas 2

I LOVE arepas, a flatbread made of corn flour dough commonly eaten in Colombia and Venezuela. They are so satisfying especially when you want a warm sandwich but know you cannot have regular bread. They have so much more flavor than bread. The first time I had them was at Empanada Mama in New York. And there are a couple of places in LA and Orange County that are fantastic. Cafe Bolivar in Santa Monica and Mil Jugos in Santa Ana. But I have yet to find any Arepas near Long Beach so I decided I needed to learn how to make them.

I received so many amazing gifts for Christmas this year and am so inspired to cook some great new recipes. For this post I used my new Secura 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker and my new Arepa Maker. I love them both.

I have always been afraid of the pressure cooker for some reason. It seemed complicated and also scary when the pressure releases. Honestly it is so easy to use and not scary at all. I love the 6 functions of the electric one I bought because we do not have a lot of storage space so it is really nice to have something that is multi-function. The other advantage of the electric pressure cooker is you can set it and forget it. You can leave the house to run errands and program it to have something ready when you get home from work just like a slow cooker. You don’t have to babysit it or worry about leaving your stove on. I’ve already used it to keep soup warm for a party, make pinto beans, cook the pork for this post, and it is currently making some bone broth. It made the pork for this post in 1.5 hours and the beans in only 30 minutes. I also cooked a butternut squash in 17 minutes and sweet potatoes in 7 minutes. I can’t wait to use it to cook spaghetti squash, pumpkin, etc.

The arepa maker cooks the arepa perfectly and is great for quick arepas but not so great for large quantities. 15 minutes seems like a long time but is really fast when you compare it to manually making arepa on the stove and in the oven. If you have more than 2 people I recommend looking at the larger capacity arepa machines.

Pulled Pork
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Ancho Chile
2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Salt and Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
5 Scallions
1 Diced Onion
Approx 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 cup of Gluten Free Beer
2 cups Water or enough to cover pork

1. Add the onions, garlic, scallions, and beer to the slow cooker or pressure cooker and stir to combine.
2. Combine the paprika, ancho chile, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over the pork.
3. Add the pork to pressure cooker or slow cooker and pour in the 2 cups of water to cover
4. For the slow cooker, cook on low for 8 hours. For the pressure cooker, cook for 1.5 hours once you have reached full pressure and allow pressure to naturally release
5. Pull the pork using two forks and mix in a bowl.

Serve on or with arepas and Guasacaca Sauce.

Pulled Pork Arepas 2

Pulled pork arepas

Arepas:
1 Cup P.A.N Harina Blanca (Pre Cooked White Cornmeal)
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Cup Water – add more if needed for the right consistency
Olive oil

Instructions
1. Turn on Arepa maker to preheat
2. Pour Water into a bowl and add the salt
3. Slowly stir in the Pan Harina Blanco until completely combined
4. Roll the dough into 4 balls and press each of them down until approximately 1/2″ thick
5. Spray or use a paper towel to coat arepa maker with olive oil
6. Close arepa maker and cook for 15 minutes
7. Cut open arepa and add pulled pork

Arepas 3

Arepas 5

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Pear Prosciutto Wraps – easy holiday appetizer

Pear Prosciutto Wraps 3

Looking for a great easy appetizer for your holiday potluck? You are in luck with these super easy and delicious Pear Prosciutto Wraps. One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep track of my favorite recipes and how I modified them. Keeping track of recipes I make and love is so much easier with a blog. My pinterest account is totally unorganized plus full of things i’d like to try. You also never know if a recipe that has been posted will still remain years into the future so the blog is a great reminder of what i’ve made that I love. This is one of those recipes I want to keep track of. I love using seasonal fruits and vegetables in my cooking and pears are in season right now. I found this original recipe here and I just realized now I totally made it wrong. I just went by the photo without reading the actual recipe and used the following ingredients and they were delicious:

Pears Sliced
Basil
Gorgonzola Cheese – Crumbled
Prosciutto

I loved the combination of sweet pears, salty prosciutto, lovely basil and strong gorgonzola. Next time I make these i’ll be adding honey to them and I think they will taste even better.

Pear Prosciutto Wraps 2

Pear Prosciutto Wraps

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Gluten-Free Pretzel Bites & Cookbook Giveaway

The Delight Gluten Free Pretzel Bites

That smell of the freshly baked pretzels in the mall or airports makes me crave their chewy doughy texture. It’s a craving i’ve had since I eliminated gluten from my diet. A craving I have yet to find a quench for until now. Thanks to The Delight Gluten-Free Cookbook written by Vanessa Weisbrod, executive editor of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine, and her team. This cookbook is a great resource for anyone on a gluten-free diet, whether you are just beginning or you have been eating gluten-free for years. The first section goes over the basics of being gluten free including a list of gluten free ingredients, how to shop, how to substitute for gluten ingredients, and lists of available resources. There a so many great recipes including breads, soups, salads, snacks, side dishes, main dishes, cocktails and desserts.

I decided to try the Honey Buttered Pretzel Bites with Cheddar Cheese & Beer dip. The recipe was really easy for both the pretzel bites and the cheese dip and both turned out fantastic. They make a great appetizer for parties. They are best right out of the oven and heat up well when you microwave them for 30 seconds. Your guests would never know they are gluten-free.

The Delight Gluten Free Pretzel Bites 2

Delight Gluten Free would like to give away one copy of the cookbook to one of my lucky readers. Here’s how to win your own copy of The Delight Gluten-Free Cookbook:

1) Visit http://www.delightglutenfree.com
2) Leave a comment below letting me know what recipe you would like to make from their site
3) One winner will be chosen on Saturday, November 15th at 10am PST

The cookbook is also available on Amazon in hard copy or kindle version.

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Spooky Halloween Cocktails

Happy Halloween! It’s been a busy few weeks. I’m in the process of selling my condo, buying a house, packing, and enjoying bonding with my daughter while on maternity leave. We’ll be settled into our new house by the time I go back to work in December. And, i’m really excited to cook and entertain in my new kitchen. The kitchen is brand new and open to a family room so i’ll finally be able to cook while entertaining and not have to be all by myself in the kitchen when guests come over.

Here is a photo of the three of us all dressed up for Antonio’s company Halloween party. Adriana has such a happy demeanor and was so excited to put on her costume. We feel so fortunate and adore her so much.

Halloween

Just in time for your Halloween parties tonight and for upcoming holiday gatherings, BevMo!’s cocktail expert, Jordan Catapano, has brewed up some frightful concoctions that are a real treat! If you’re looking for inspiration for your holiday gathering, there is a spine-chillingly delicious Boo Blizzard Cocktail and a creative Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini, perfect for the pumpkin spice-loving ghoul in your life.

Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini_2

Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini

2 ounces Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
2 ounces Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
½ Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
Dash Ground cinnamon
Dash Ground cloves
Halloween Pumpkin Peeps for Garnish

Directions
Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add the Fulton’s, Pinnacle vodka, honey, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and cloves, and shake to mix. Strain into a glass, then garnish with a skewer of Halloween pumpkin Peeps.

Boo Blizzard 4

Boo Blizzard Cocktail
2 cups Dolce de Leche Ice Cream
1 ounce Kahlua
1 ounce Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
4 Oreo Cookies – for gluten free, use Glutino’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies
1 White Ghost Peeps
Straws

Directions
Add the ice cream, Kahlua, and Pinnacle marshmallow vodka to a shaker. Stir until the spirits are mixed in and the ice cream is soft. Pour into a small glass and cover the top with crushed Oreos. Impale the Peeps with a straw, sink it into the cookie crumble, and serve.

Photos and recipes used with permission from BevMo!. For more great recipes, visit BevMo!’s Thirsty Times Blog

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Sausage Kale Soup

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

I love fall and I love soups – especially this Sausage and Kale soup. Even though it’s still hot in Southern California, fall is definitely in the air especially at night. I think most people already know how good for you kale is so i’ll skip that lecture. You’re welcome. I wouldn’t say i’m a fan of kale which is another reason I like this recipe so much. It doesn’t taste like you are eating kale or even something that is really good for you. This is a super easy recipe that is so fast to make. And, great for freezing the leftovers for nights when you don’t feel like cooking but still want something homemade, healthy and delicious. It is also an awesome one pot meal made all from items you can find at Trader Joe’s.

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion Diced
1 Package Un-cooked Chicken Sausage, Casing Removed
6 Cups Chicken Stock
4-5 Cups Kale, Cut & Washed
Kosher Salt to taste – about 1 tsp.

Instructions:
1. Saute garlic, onions, and olive oil until onions are transparent
2. Add sausage and cook through breaking into small pieces. I use a potato masher to break apart the sausage as it cooks.
3. Add chicken stock
4. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes
5. Add kale and salt. I serve quickly after adding the kale so it is still crispy.

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

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Antonio’s Moscow Mule Recipe

Moscow Mule Recipe

Maybe it’s the ginger that makes the moscow mule so good? Or it could be the adorable copper mugs that make them so delicious? I happen to be a huge fan of ginger and the ginger beer, mint and lime combination is so refreshing and makes this moscow mule recipe my new favorite cocktail. The moscow mule was a drink that became popular in the 50’s but seems to recently be making a comeback. At least at our house it is. Antonio has much more patience than I do in general and especially when it comes to perfecting cocktail recipes. After trying several variations, this is how we make Antonio’s version of the Moscow Mule.

Ingredients:
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 Tbsp. Minced Ginger
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (Optional)
4 Mint Leaves
8 oz. Ginger Beer
Ice
Copper Mug

Directions:
1. Fill mug 3/4 with ice
2. Combine vodka, ginger, lime juice, and agave with ice in shaker
3. Pour shaken ingredients into mug
4. Top with ginger beer and stir
5. Garnish with mint leaves

Moscow Mule Recipe

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Easy Ceviche

Easy Ceviche Recipe - Gluten Free and Paleo Appetizer

Ceviche to me equals party food. It doesn’t matter if it is a party or not. I am always super happy when I eat it so I like to make it for dinner too. It’s extremely easy to make this recipe and a great appetizer to bring for potlucks. It’s guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser as long as your party peeps like things spicy. If not, just reduce the chiles or de-seed the chiles to reduce the spice level. This can be served paleo with plantain chips, vegetables, endive, or lettuce cups. Or, serve with tortilla chips or tostadas for gluten free.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Frozen Peeled and De-Veigned Shrimp
Bowl of Ice Water
1/3 Red Onion, Diced
Juice of 6 Limes
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt for Ceviche and 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt for Cooking Shrimp
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1 Cucumber, Peeled and Diced
2 Serrano Chiles, Diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2-3 Avocados, Diced
Plantain chips, vegetables, endive, lettuce cups, tortilla chips or tostadas

Instructions:
1. De-frost shrimp in a bowl of luke warm water
2. Bring a pot of water to boil
3. Add 1 Tbsp Kosher salt to boiling water
4. Prepare bowl of ice water
5. Add shrimp to boiling water and remove from heat as soon as shrimp turns pink and is cooked all the way through
5. Place cooked shrimp immediately in ice water to stop the cooking
6. Dice cooked shrimp and combine in a bowl with 1/3 Diced Red Onion, Juice of 6 Limes, 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt, 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro, 1 Peeled and Diced Cucumber, 2 Diced Serrano Chiles, 4 Diced Roma Tomatoes, 2-3 Diced Avocados

Serves 6

Enjoy!

Easy Ceviche Recipe - Gluten Free and Paleo Appetizer

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