The Choice to Cook

Life can go in a vast array of directions. It can also start up stream and decide to whip around and change course dramatically. Often I see my life in colors. Some days are filled with brightness chartreuse light slipping around me, while the blue in the sky beams down making all the colors of the world around me magnify. Other days, are filled with a deeper contrast. Indigo blue shrouds my sight, and a dark sultry red trickles delicately onto everything I create. It is on these days, the dark days that I crave creativity more than ever. The kitchen was always home to me. The smells of my childhood are cilantro, parsley, basil, rosemary, and garlic on soft hands. I was born an introvert, I cared more for my colored pencils, and my animals than I did for people. There was an exception to this, and that was I blossomed when I created food for others. It was exactly like when I wrote words on my favorite paper, cooking became a means of expression, a way to show people I loved them, a way to create beauty through simplicity.  Food is nourishment for your body, but when you eat food that is pure that is real it is nourishment for your soul. The choice to cook, was a decision I made for myself, but it has grown it has rooted deep within me and now my desire is to share this love with others. Beyond making meals and sharing recipes I also want to make a point to stop people around the world from going hungry. There is plenty of sustenance on this earth for all, but just as my course changed the planets course has altered from the choices of mankind. I cook to bring joy to people, I cook to create something magical out of what some would deem ordinary ingredients, I cook to bring life to my body and others bodies, I cook to create beauty, I cook to remember my childhood, and I cook to create my future. As I spend late nights configuring how my first cook book is going to look, the voice that will be present, and all the other little details that create a whole, I am most excited about sharing vegan simplicity with people all over the globe. I am hopeful that one book will turn into 10 books, and that every book will give back to people who deserve for more than myself. ❤

Children's School Mathare

Lilla Baci Weekly Menu

                                                                    Lilla Baci- Weekly Menu

Above is a link to the official weekly menu for Lilla Baci!! I am beyond excited about this next step in spreading the word on organic vegan cuisine and lifestyle! For the first time I am putting all of my energy and time into growing a beautiful vegan business. Vegan food is such an adventure. For many who were not raised in a vegan or vegetarian household it is a whole new exploration in the kitchen. It also forces you to make a connection with your plate. You start becoming interested in where your produce comes from, new ingredients bring you to different locations and connect you with fabulous local organic farmers that you begin to establish relationships with. The vegan community I am becoming part of has become family. Like minds and like hearts striving for a similar purpose; to give every creature on this earth a fair chance at a wonderful life. I would love for you all to take a minute and read through the menu! It will be changing weekly based on the produce available through my farmers and the seasons. I would love to hear all of your thoughts! I thank you for sharing this with me and I look forward to getting to know so many of you on a more personal level! Blessings and love to all! xoxo

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Roasted Beet Salad with Baby Kale, Blackberries, and Tangerines dressed with a Balsamic Reduction

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This colorful array of goodness has been my favorite salad since I was a tiny little girl. I have always adored beets, their rich varying colors, their earthy robust flavor. Simply sent from the divine. In this dish the roasted beets give way to the sweet juiciness of blackberries, and then a tart blast from the tangerines all evened out by the grounded baby kale. The balsamic reduction that is added with the warm beets becomes a caramelized sensation that brings you on a journey you will want to take again and again. This dish brings together simple, seasonal ingredients and takes you back to what nourishment from food is all about. Get ready to crave this daily!!

Roasted Beet Salad with Baby Kale, Blackberries, and Tangerines dressed with a Balsamic Reduction

Serves: 3-4

The Goods:

2-3 Bunches of beets, red, candy, golden whatever is available

2 bunches of kale, or a bag full of baby kale

2 tangerines

1/2 pint of blackberries (more if you so desire)

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 bunch of parsley

10 basil leaves

lemon zest and tangerine zest

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves

salt and pepper

Put it all together:

Wash beets well, you can save the greens if you wish and make delicious sauteed beet greens. Place washed beets in a roasting dish. Rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over them and place in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The beets will take about an hour to an hour and half depending on size. You want them soft yet firm. While the beets are roasting, prepare the kale and herbs. Wash the kale well, if you are using bunches of lacinato kale, de-stem it first and then wash well. If using baby kale just wash well and add to your favorite salad bowl. Chop basil, parsley and garlic cloves. Add to bowl with kale. Zest one lemon and one tangerine and add zest to salad bowl. Massage all with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add tangerine and blackberries. When the beets are finished roasting take them out of the oven and allow them to cool on a cutting board. Once cool peel the skin off and slice however you wish. Now for the balsamic reduction. You will put the two cups of balsamic in a pan over medium heat, feel free to add lemon zest or herbs of your choice. Let the balsamic reduce for about 5-7 minutes. It will reduce to a gorgeous thick syrup. Pour this reduction right over the warm beets in the salad and then toss the salad together. You can also add fresh squeezed lemon juice for an extra punch! That is all. Simple ingredients, exquisite taste.

Enjoy!

Rainbow Organic Salad with a side of Garden Herb Wedges

 

 

Summertime is upon us, and in Southern California that means scorching hot days that make you want to cry, and yet the produce that comes is so heavenly I choose to ignore the heat bask in the shade of my kitchen and make delicious food with the goods available.  One day after work I was in the mood for a beautiful salad and luckily I had just gone to the farmers market the day before. I had a fridge full of greens, beets, avocado, tomatoes and herbs. YUM. At the same time I had a full bag of potatoes, and a garden full of rosemary and thyme. So garden wedges were made!! I hope you all are enjoying what this steamy season and all the delicious variety it provides!! Happy Summer!! xoxoxo

 

 

Juice Party!

Beet, Watermelon, and Lemon

A tasty treat on an amazingly beautiful day. I so wish the blistering heat would stay away and the cool breezy heat would stay for a spell. But sadly we are heading into the depths of summer, meaning long days of excruciating sunshine. On the bright side, juicing becomes so much more fun in the summer months. On winter mornings I have to force juice down, I wake up and just want to dive into a cup of tea and a big bowl of baked oatmeal. In the summer there is nothing more refreshing and energizing than a large bottle of juice. This baby was packed with beets, watermelon, and tons of lemon juice.  Give it a try if you feel like something refreshing and filled with live enzymes! Get juicing my beauties! 

 

 

Rose… A piece of writing from a time ago.

I wrote this many moons ago, and yet I still feel like I am continuing the journey I always imagined. Crossing seas, traveling to far off places, living and experiencing culture are my best memories, and my every future dream. Writing is something I have cherished since before I could remember, it has kept me alive and open. I will be sharing many pieces of writing, some simply about raw emotion, and others based upon the beautiful people I have met on my travels. Certain pieces have been written for projects to raise funds for causes such as the Rwandan Orphan Fund, and Maji Mazuri. I will be updating as frequently as inspiration allows, and sharing with you older pieces that are close to my heart. I will even be sharing some special pieces about my path to organic living! I hope you enjoy this little bit of prose and I hope for all of you to find the world of your imagination on a daily basis! 47602_619170752434_602485780_n

I have looked onto the horizon since I was a child, though the meaning of that perplexing line has changed somewhat over the years. As a child I looked upon it as if it were the most miraculous picture I had ever seen. A waterfall you see, the largest there ever was, and I was enraptured with every part of it. I would gaze for hours planning in my mind the trip of a life time, sail boats, pirates, and nonstop exhilaration. I wanted nothing else but to be witness to such a phenomenon. My imagination was wild back then, full of power and determination. My favorite spot was a desolate one, secretive and mysterious hidden in the shadows, but as in a fairy tale once you went through the shadows there was freedom. Freedom that could be felt through my soul, and make me forget the conceivable and loose myself in the impossible.  I grew of course and was constantly told that the line I saw out there, where the ocean seemed to perish, was really where the world I knew ended and the world I had never witnessed began. Yet how Could I trust them? In my mind the horizon was a waterfall into the never-land of my imagination; to them it was a perilous line that pried at their closed minds. They say you grow up in an instant and it’s so hard to believe that something so life changing could happen so quickly, but this is one thing I was taught, that I learned to trust in. One day you possess a certain childish innocence; you are fascinated by the small, and amazed by the simplistic rhythms of the wind. Then it happens, a threat to your imagination, or that first love that turns into despair, whatever it is, it strips the innocence you once possessed away, and in that instant you forget what it was like to be a child. I realized one day looking into the horizon that it possesses certain immortality, an immortality for my mind. I have yet to go past the world I know into the world I haven’t seen, but I do long to feel it, every bit of it, the pain, the power, the sorrow and the bliss. As a child the horizon was my goal, my only desire was to hold it in my hands and make it entirely my own. Now the horizon is my escape, my dream yet to come true. Though, one day I will travel to that waterfall beyond my vision,  I will conquer the fleets of ships in my dreams, and one day, I will be in that new world, and it will be entirely my own… I will be in the world of my imagination.

Organic Vegan Pesto with Tomatoes and peppers Roasted in Balsamic and Sherry Vinegar

Vegan Pesto Bites

 

So favorite foods in the world… Tomatoes, Basil, and Tomatoes. Seriously there is nothing I love more than a gorgeous organic tomato right off the plant. The farmers at Farmers Market are awesome, and of course I have made many friends among them. However the lovely people who run the heirloom tomato stands in summer know me on a whole other level. Crazy tomato girl level. This is one of my very favorite dishes to entertain with. Its simple, and sinfully delicious. It wows a crowd, and yet does not stress the host to the point of drinking all the wine before everyone shows up. Win, win if you ask me! So lets get started. 

 

The Goods for the Pesto-

2 cups of basil

2 large garlic cloves, or 3 smaller cloves ( use your taste buds if you want it stronger add more, but go slow!)

1/4 cup pine nuts

a small handful of walnuts

The juice of 2 lemons (add more or less depending on taste)

Enough olive oil to make a smooth lovely pesto. Just add slowly while processing

Salt and Pepper

 

The Goods for the Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers

You can roast any tomatoes you like, however for presentation I always use Organic Sugar Plum Tomatoes!

2-3 peppers, I love yellow with the red and green, but feel free to use any color you like and add more or less!

Sherry Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive oil

One full head of Garlic

Salt and Pepper

Basil and Parsley ( Optional)

 

The Goods to put all this great stuff on-

I use Organic French Baguettes sliced and toasted. You can use any bread you like really even Gluten Free!! Yum!! And feel free to toast with some olive oil and garlic!

I prepare the pesto first as it can sit in the fridge and get even tastier while I cook the rest. If you want to prep it the night before go for it! Just beware that the green can become less vibrant while sitting overnight but if you add more lemon on top it lessens the discoloration a bit!  You will need a food processor or a blender for this pesto. Start off by toasting the nuts lightly in a pan on low heat. Watch them carefully, I have personally murdered many a pine nut. Once the nuts are toasted set them aside. Wash your basil and make sure to pick as close to the stem as possible. If you get to many stems in the pesto it will be bitter! Place the basil in the food processor and process until chopped. Add the nuts, lemon, and garlic. Start processing and slowly pour in the olive oil until there is a nice smooth consistency. Lastly add salt and pepper,  add slowly and keep processing until the flavor is just right. With this recipe it is really based on personal taste. I love lemon, and I adore salt so I am pretty generous with both. Taste throughout and find your perfect pesto! Now onto the roasting of tomatoes and peppers. Your house if going to smell like bliss so be ready to start twirling around your kitchen with happiness. Place tomatoes and peppers into a roasting pan. You can do whole peppers or slice in half, which for me makes it a bit easier to peel! Place whole garlic cloves in and add a little chopped basil and parsley if you have it!  Drizzle olive oil,  and balsamic over the veggies and use your hands to coat evenly. Add just a bit of sherry and once again use your hands to coat! Put in over on 375 F for about 40 minutes give or take. Toast bread lightly in the oven and then slather the pesto on each piece, add tomatoes and peppers in whichever way is visually pleasing to you, and then devour! Remember to save some for your guests and family.  🙂  I hope you all love these little bites as much as I do! Enjoy!

 

Organic Vegan Cupcakes

 

For the love of organic vegan cupcakes! I love making new flavors of cupcakes, so many to try and conquer. Let me know which ones you like the look of and I will post the most requested recipe! If you need it to be gluten free and or sugar free I can help make that happen! 🙂 Hope you are all having a beautiful Saturday! 

Fair Trade Organic Clothing… That’s cute!

So I try to be as kind to the environment as I can. But I have a confession… I LOVE CLOTHES! I really do. I love lingerie, I love dresses, I love anything and everything that is pretty.  Over the past 6 years being vegan, and learning more everyday about how as a consumer I affect the people and animals of the world, I have come to realize many of the companies I love are not always kind. I am an Anthropologie gal, I cannot deny it. I love everything from their window displays to the bedding, to the attire. The company as a whole has improved many of their practices, but overall I still do not see them as a truly fair trade and organic environment. Hopefully one day they will get there, as I would host a party in their honor. In comes a huge problem. Most organic fair trade clothing lines I have come across just do not fit my style. I love the companies for what they are, and the practices they partake in, and yet I cannot seem to fall in love with their clothing. So I searched, and researched, and came across three companies that I have ordered from that I am absolutely enamored with. Number one being People Tree. UK based company makes gorgeous clothing, with all fair trade and often organic materials! Check out this beauty I ordered the other day! O sweet love! Beautiful clothes, nightwear, and accessories that treat the earth and the people in it kindly! I felt like I hit the jack pot when I found them! 

                                                                                                                                                                                            People Tree Dress

 

Next up is Indigenous Organic and Fair Trade Clothing.  I do not love everything but really do you ever love everything from one place? The things I do love, I am crazy about. They are 100% organic, I want to kiss them for this, and every material they source is fair trade.  Bliss.  This Coat is something I can’t seem to take my mind off of, and I may just order it for the coming Autumn. Yes it is a long way away, but Autumn is the most spectacular season and the fashion is so fun and cozy.  If you are looking for everyday cute attire, and some adorable dresses as well check them out! Feel good about what you buy!                            

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                            54333MERLOT

 

Now lingerie, a girls favorite secret something for under her clothes. You have the huge companies like Victoria Secrets who source their material from lord knows where. Why not look and feel beautiful while keeping up with your sustainable and kind life? There are a couple sites I frequent and fear not I will share all of them with you in time. Tonight I am going to share my absolute obsession. G98 is a French organic lingerie company and I am so infatuated with their creations, I cannot get enough!  This corset set is so feminine, the details are exceptional and its made out of recycled white pine pruning.  How cool is that??

                                                                                                                                                                                       top-marylin

I will leave you with the links to these three amazing companies! Check them out and then let me know your thoughts! Do you love them? Are you looking for something different? Let me know and I will try to help! We all have the capability of making a huge impact by being smarter consumers. When we spend a little more time and sometimes a little more money on goods, you help so many people and you help the environment.  Happy Fair Trade Organic Shopping! ❤

http://www.peopletree.co.uk/

http://www.indigenous.com/

http://www.organic-lingerie.com/en/