Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MUY Importante Blog Announcment [!!!!!!!!]

Special, VERY important, yet exciting announcement.....

Remember when I told you that in the near future I would start self- hosting my own site?  Meaning, no more blogger and MUCH more leeway as to what I want to do with my site?  Well, that time has come my friends.

My site url has moved to: http://www.namastegurl.com/

I won't be posting over here anymore, just moving all my posts over there and starting fresh.

See you at the new site :)

Namaste Gurl

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mexican Made EASY!

I promise you my post will be much different than the show, Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network.  I'm not referring to that show in any way, nor have I made any recipes from that show.  I'm just choosing to  share some of yummy, authentic, and healthy takes on Mexican in a simple way.  I'm Mexican so why not bring out my culture more?

I forgot to capture the last time I made a full- on Mexican feast, so I did a do-over last night for my mom and I.  It came out delicious.  There's SO many processed, non-authentic, and overall unhealthy takes on Mexican fare out there.  It's quite sad how our country views Mexican food.  It really doesn't need to be smothered in lard, meat, preservatives, additives, cheese, etc.  It really can be simple and authentic, without wrecking the flavor.

Here's my take on a couple Mexican meals I've enjoyed the last few days.  First Mexi- meal: Veggie fajitas with whole-made corn tortillas, guacamole, and beans.  Second: Black bean burgers!

For the veggie fajitas, I sauteed a bunch of veggies I got last weekend from my local farmers market:
Really, you can do ANY veggies you choose for fajitas-- they don't need to be solely onions and peppers.  I choose onions, zucchini, homegrown chard, bell peppers, garlic and carrots.  
I chopped up them all up finely, then threw them on the heat!
Colors of the rainbow?!?

Then, while the veggies were sauteing over medium heat, I started on my whole-made corn tortillas...
Whole-made Corn tortillas
1 1/2 C. Corn Masa (Corn flour)
1 Cup warm water
Sea Salt
Lime juice (optional)
Combine all ingredients and kneed with hands till well combined.  Cover dough mixture with a towel for 15 minutes or so.  
Make into small balls, and put in a tortilla flattener, if using.  If not, flatten with hands or kneed into small tortillas with a rolling pin.  
Fry in a non- stick pan till cooked through or desired  texture.

Dough after 15 minutes covered.  

Flattened, using my authentic handy-dandy tortilla flattener.

And onto the heat:
Mmmm, now there's some NICE looking preservative- free tortillas for you :)!

Meanwhile, I started on my beans...

I could've gone the whole nine yards and boiled my own, but I took the shortcut for this one and just used a can of no- salt added black  beans, which I heated over low- heat till I was ready to eat.  To jazz them up, I added about 1/2 t of ground cumin, as well as a tablespoon of fresh lime juice and some sea salt.

I then started on my favorite part-- The guacamole!

And wah- lah!  There's really not much to this guac, I like mine fresh and simple, but I'll share the recipe I used.
Guacamole Authentico:
2 large avocados
Juice of 1-2 limes
Sea salt and pepper
Onion, jalapenos, or peppers (optional, if desired)
Agave or other sweetener (optional, I opted for none)

Puree or mash till smooth and creamy.

Easy as one, two, three-- I told you the genuine Mexican food doesn't have to be over the top and it's coming from a true (somewhat) Mexican :)

 Veggies cooked and lookin' fine...

Tortillas done and in my authentic warmer

And it's a meal!
Veggie fajitas with whole-made corn tortillas, black beans and a generous amount of guacamole-- just how I likes it :)

So yummy, fresh, easy and yet, authentic.  

And I promised you these easy hummus black- bean burgers I came up with--

Yep, still working my way through this Costco beast!

Hummus- Black Bean Burgers--

3/4 C. Black beans (pinto would work fine, too)
1/2-1 C. veggies of choice (I choose onions, and peppers, but anything would work)
2 heaping tablespoons of hummus (I choose roasted- red pepper)
1/4 t chili powder
Cayenne pepper (depending on the fire you like)
1/4 t paprika
Garlic gold 
Sea salt and pepper

-Start off by mashing beans till well- mashed.
-When beans are mashed, add all other ingredients and combine with clean hands till well mixed.  
-Form into flattened balls and bake on a non-stick baking sheet at 415 degrees for about 15 minutes or until well cooked and golden.

And of course, I ate mine with sweet potaters, avocado and a classic cabbage salad.

Yum-- I just LOVE Mexican fare and I don't know why I don't cook it everyday :).  It does take some work, but overall, it doesn't take much to create a decadent, healthy, authentic and fresh meal.  You don't  need a bunch of cheese, preservatives, and added crap to cover the true flavors and taste of true, honest to goodness Mexican food.

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you have ANY questions what so ever :)

Enjoy your evening and Tuesday.  Be back soon. xoxo

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Easy- Peasy Cashew Collard Wraps!

Happy Saturday, ya'll :)

It's been warm and sunny here in Santa Cruz, which I'll take in mid November!  No work till late today, so I started of the day with a trip to my local farmer's market and a lovely beach walk/ run.  I said I'd take today off for running and my usual workout, but I did run some of my walk.  For some reason my upper quads have been KILLING me, even though I stretch them quite often after running.  Despite, I had a great beach wralk (walk- run).

My mom and I went a little crazy at the farmer's market-- lots of goodies were brought home, which is fine for me since I'm a veggie- holic!  I bought an unusual green that I usually don't buy: collard greens.  I've seen ideas around blogs for making collard greens into "wraps" so that's just what I did for lunch:

Filled with a cashew pate, sunflower sprouts and mushrooms.

Alongside a monda salad with farmer's market mushrooms, carrots, local almonds, sunflower sprouts and  blended quinoa.

Dressed in Annie's Gingerly Vinaigrette :)

Super Easy Cashew pate:

1/4 cashews (soaked for a couple hours)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon agave (or stevia)
1/2 teaspoon miso
salt and pepper
water for thinning

--Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor; process till smooth and creamy.  Add water till desired consistency.  

I could of added ginger, garlic or other spices, but since I was hungry and had my mind on a cashew pate, I opted for simpleness.  Turned out really yummy and dense.

I'm on Twitter now, too!  So you should follow me when you get a chance :)

Have a lovely Saturday and I'll be back soon!  Tomorrow post will include some yummy, simple hummus black bean burgers.....stay tuned! *

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Running Motivators

Burrrr, I just got back from a very CHILLY run if I do say so myself-- 40 degrees, to be exact.  Yes, I live in Santa Cruz and it's supposed to be warm, yeah, yeah.  Not true.  The mornings and nights, especially nearing winter, get pretty cold and because I live on the coast near water, it's pretty foggy and cold most of the time.

Despite, I had a motivating and good run.  The last few days my stamina and speed has come back since I hurt my foot 7 weeks ago or so.  Instead of my recent run/ walks, I've been running most of the time and getting my speed up.  Today a women who was running ahead of me at the beach caused me to keep going and not stop to walk at all.  I went further than usual, too, finishing in my usual hour.  I don't have special running gadgets, such as the Garmin, or gear, I simply do it recreationally for fun.  I don't count to see how many calories or how fast my pace was.  I enjoy running and do it to fit my style uncontrolled.  I'm guessing I did about 5 miles this morning.

I prepared my breakfast quickly before I left for my run this morning, so upon return I ate my pumpkin- chia bowl of goodness.....

Pumpkin chia/ hemp/ almond pudding

The Mix:
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax
3/4 Cup Almond Milk
1/2 C. Pumpkin puree
1/2 scoop Hemp protein
1 tablespoon almond butter
cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice
Topped with coconut, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

Told you it was filled with a chock- full of goodness :)  Love that mix-- inspired by Gena @ Choosing Raw :)

Happy Veteran's, lovelies!  I'll be spending the day at work selling away!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Currylicious Meals....

Just like pumpkin, coconut, chocolate and my other foodie obsessions currently, thai fare is definitely up there....  Not sure if it's the curry, the coconut or what, but I just have been on a roll with Thai food recently!  Check out my previous posts for examples and recipes of the Thai obsession :)

Last night was a quick whip- up using leftovers and veggies I had on hand....

Chickpea veggie curry over quinoa (thank you, rice cooker!)
I'm not going to lie; twas' amazing.  One of the best Thai meals I've cooked up yet.  Not to worry, I'll show my steps on how resulted in this delicious meal I devoured.

Using these ingredients (most leftover) plus lots of veggies, I started my dish....

I first sauteed 1 clove garlic, 1/4 of an onion, broccoli, zucchini chickpeas (2/3 cup) and ginger together till soft.
Along with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, ginger powder, chili powder, and garlic gold, I added 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (no salt preferable)
I brought the mixture to a boil, then simmered with lid on for about a half hour.

I also added a smidgen of this amazing stuff-- Tahini :)

Results after a half- hour of simmering on low heat

I also put a my qunioa on in my handy-dandy rice-cooker:

Turned into a fabulous meal.

I also made more of my Thai Harvest Soup a couple nights ago for my mama-- she and I both loved it, once again!

Using the leftovers from the soup, I made a tasty lunch out using it as a sauce/ dressing!

Quinoa, roasted veggies, and leftover Thai Harvest soup.

Looks like poo, but I promise you it's not :)

Yes, I eat a lot.  Trying to gain weight on a vegan/ vegetarian diet takes a lot!

Off to dinner with my mama-- enjoy your night :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Operation: Pumpkin- Chocolate Coconut Fudge

Well, one week later, I'll say operation failed.  Yes, I tried to mold three of my favorites into fudge: Coconut (no brainer), chocolate and pumpkin.  I got inspired awhile back, by lovely Heather for her two ingrediant fudge, using just a dark chocolate bar and a can of coconut milk.  That being said, I rummaged onto make my own version, adding pumpkin.

I blended 1 can of coconut milk, vanilla stevia drops, 4 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of pumpkin (not pictured) in the Vitamix.

Then, I poured the "fudge" mixture in well- greased muffin tins.  I added a dollop of coconut butter and put the mixture into the refrigerator to do it's magic (aka, turn into fudge).

Well, the next day that wasn't the case....

 It was more puddin-y texture than fudge!  YIKES

I decided I didn't want to deal with this baking- extravaganza mess I made, so I then decided well hey, why not bake it and have fudge muffins?  MUCH bigger problem.

Results-- a gooey, dried up mess.  I SOOOO would've preferred the pudding texture than this one.
I put both tins in my downstairs refrigerator to avoid cleaning up the mess I made.

And now, I just have this ooey- gooey mess of pudge (puddin' and fudge!).  I knew I should've just left it the way it was after refrigerating and eaten as pudding.  I knew it.

Some factors that could've caused the fudge texture to not form:
--Coconut- chocolate ratio was off.  There needs to be enough coconut to do the magic-- harden the mixture.
--I used cocoa powder instead of a chocolate bar.  Different hardening properties.
--Pumpkin acts as an egg.  Me being a pumpkin goddess, added MUCH too much pumpkin which probably caused the gooey-ness.

Well.  Lesson learned.  I definitely won't be depending on my creativeness to bake anytime soon.  Let's just say I'll depend on others well- tried out recipes when I do so :-)  You will be seeing many more creative recipes on the cooking end, however!

Any ideas of what to do with this gooey mess?  I don't want to waste it-- then again it was a whole can of precious coconut milk, pumpkin, and raw cocoa powder!!

On a good note, I stocked up on some fabulous foodie items at Target....

Libby's Pumpkin (cheap Libby's-score!), sweet coconut chai tea (SO me), and some dark chocolate.

Whew, so glad I got that unsuccessful baking adventure off my chest.  Thanks for listening to that much needed post!  I'll definitely let you know if I create one that I'd advise trying, where then I'll list the exact recipe.  Have a good night, all! xx