a different take on the buffalo ‘wang.’

Do you have that one particular [cheat] food that is blatantly against your normal diet? Well, I  certainly do! One [key word: one] of mine so happens to be wings. Yes, you heard me right, as in chicken waaangz. The last time I ate them was at a baseball game at Fenway Park, where I inhaled an entire basket full of wings. And let me tell you- not only did I feel extremely guilty afterwards, but I felt utterly sick to my stomach. Never wanting to have that feeling again, I hopped on the cauliflower-buffalo-wing train to satisfy these guilty cravings. But these aren’t just any cauliflower buffalo bites……Hint: I hope you like beer.

I recently spent a lovely weekend at my parent’s lake house on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Enjoying [finally] warmer and sunnier weather, mommy dearest and I decided to experiment a little in the kitchen with some of the ingredients we already had, one of them being an overly excessive amount of beer in our fridge (which is an anomaly for my wine-drinking mother.)

This is a minimally easy and superbly delicious appetizer, meal, snack, whatever your heart [or stomach] desires it to be. While I have also tried baking these for a healthier option, the effect is entirely different and not as tasty. It left my bites soggy and not crispy (isn’t that why we like buffalo wings in the first place?!) I say treat yo-self and enjoy in the sunshine with a few cold brews! Or whatever tickles your fancy…

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*cauliflower buffalo ‘wangz’

servings: 2 to 3 people

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower (equivalent to about 6 cups of Cauliflower Florets)
  • 1 cup of flour (you can use All-Purpose or Whole-Wheat)
  • 1 1/2 cups of beer (you can use any type you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup of Frank’s RedHot Wings Buffalo Sauce (more or less depending on how saucy and spicy you like it)
  • 3 tablespoons of grape seed oil 
  • for garnish: bleu cheese or ranch dressing and celery/carrots

 

 

Here’s what to do:

Pre steam the cauliflower by placing the florets into a pot of boiling water until fork tender. While that is happening, whisk together the flour, baking powder, beer and salt/pepper in a bowl. Once your cauliflower is ready, strain and dry.

Heat up a skillet with the grape seed oil until sizzling hot. While the skillet heats up, place cauliflower florets in the bowl full of batter. Slowly place the battered cauliflower into the pot for about five minutes until you can see a golden color. Place aside and let cool for around1 0 minutes.

Once all cauliflower florets are fried and cooled, place them into another bowl and pour  the Frank’s hot sauce until fully coated. Place in a serving dish with chopped celery and/or carrots. While I did use non-vegan Bleu Cheese dressing, you can click here for a 100% vegan option.

It’s that simple! Bon appetit, my friends.

XO,
SOF

gettin’ juicy fresh in Europe.

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Buenos días, bonjour, buongiorno!  Some of you may have noticed it’s been over a month since my last post. For this, I must apologize….but only a little because I have been adventuring in Europe 🙂 As you can imagine, preparing and posting recipes isn’t the easiest while living in hotels, so I appreciate your understanding. Now that I have returned [only by mere force] and slowly getting back into the routine of reality, I would love to share some of my experiences, specifically my top two favorite markets I fell in love with on the Mediterranean.

As I mention in my “About Me” page, I am not a DIE HARD vegan and that I will indulge……and boy, did I indulge. Yes, I tried the softest of Mozarella di bufalo on the freshest of tomatoes  in the Italian Riviera and the creamiest of gelatos in the Tuscan hills. But you want to know something? I enjoyed every second of it. Life’s too short NOT to try these things while exploring the world. You can beat yourself up, but you’re going to drive yourself insane if you do! The Europeans have a different mindset on the production of animal products, and it’s more ethical than the hormone-pumping-abusing one we have here in America. Of course, I consumed these things in moderation, and it was not as hard to keep a vegan-ish diet as you’d think. Fresh fruit can be found on almost every street corner, and the “Pizza Marinara,” which consists of tomatoes, garlic, and basil (that’s right, no cheese!) is a local and new personal favorite.IMG_2404

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If you’re ever in Barcelona, go to La Boqueria [pictured above.] Actually, I demand you to go. Really, you must. It’s a plant based foodie’s paradise. It’s located in the heart of one of the most popular streets for tourists: La Rambla. It’s open Monday-Saturday from 8AM-8:30PM. I recommend getting there on the early side to take advantage of the freshest options. Oh boy, is it worth it. You may get slightly overwhelmed with the never-ending selections and over-zealous crowd, or if you’re like me–you will be in personal heaven and have all eyes on the beautifully adorned and not to mention unbelievably affordable fresh fruit (and fresh squeezed fruit juices!) surrounding you.

Having been to Barcelona before, I already knew this was going to be my first stop after getting off the plane and dropping my bags off at the hotel. The thought of which fruit juice to get first immediately shook me out of my jet-lag. I must’ve spent over an hour in La Boqueria, because I left with a hilarious amount of fresh fruit and cartons of dates that would normally last any other person days, however, it only lasted me the rest of the afternoon. (I mean, a girl’s gotta eat….)

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My next stop was Nice. Nestled in the heart of the Côte d’Azur, I think I fell in love with Europe all over again. I had been to parts of the French Riviera before, but this was a first to Nice. In Old-Town Nice, there is a marvelous farmer’s market that takes place in the Cours Saleya Tuesdays through Saturdays from 6AM-1:30PM. There you can find strawberries the size of your fist,  exotic veggies, confiture galore, and a striking selection of fresh flowers.  They aren’t as cheap as what you’d find at La Boqueria, but the quality and the breathtaking views is 100% worth it. Take a look at the pictures below to see for yourself 🙂

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If you have ever been to either of the two places I suggested above, please tell me about your experience! Or if you have other suggestions of your own that you’ve come across on your travels, I’d love to add them to my bucket-list! After all, it’s an ongoing love affair between me and Europe and I cannot wait until we meet again.

à bientôt,

SOF

 

 

 

Bye, Bye Winter Blues. Hello Blueberries!

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Today was an amazing day. Do you want to know why? It felt like the first day of spring! We all know I like to jump the gun on these things and that we have a month to go for the actual first day of spring, but today was different. I don’t know if it was because I heard the birds chirping for the first time since December, or because there was not a single cloud in sight, but the sun was shining and I’ve been smiling. It’s crazy how just a change in the weather can have a change on your mood and outlook.

A couple of weeks ago during one of our endless “snow days,” I was long overdue for a grocery run and trying to come up with something hearty and wholesome to make for breakfast. I almost always have rolled oats in the pantry because they are one of the most simple things to throw together when your groceries and meal planning is scarce. You guys, this is one of the easiest recipes yet incredibly delicious and good for you! It’s not just any ordinary oatmeal, oh no, it tastes like blueberry pie. Blueberry pie for breakfast? Yes please! This dish is filled with omega-3’s, protein, antioxidants, and fiber that will leave you incredibly satisfied and powered-up to conquer your day!

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*Blueberry chia-flax oatmeal

servings: 2 small or 1 large

here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 cups of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal (you can also use flax seeds, but in an oatmeal I prefer the meal)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • ½ cup of fresh blueberries

optional: hemp seeds

here’s what to do:

Place the rolled oats and almond milk in a saucepan over the stove. Bring to a low-boil and then keep on simmer until the oats have slightly soaked in the almond milk to a thicker consistency. Stir in your chia seeds, flaxseed meal, vanilla extract and maple syrup. If you like a thinner oatmeal consistency, you may need to add additional almond milk. Gently stir in your blueberries until they have been in your oatmeal for about 5 minutes—this will allow time for them to cook a little in the oatmeal but not too much. You want your blueberries warm and a bit cooked. Take off the stove and serve immediately. I like to sprinkle some hemp seeds at the end in my bowl for an added crunch (and it doesn’t hurt to get that additional Vitamin E in for the day!)

This is a great dish because it’s hearty enough that you can have it just by itself or with any of your other breakfast favorites. If time permits, I love accompanying this oatmeal with a variety of fresh fruit or a smoothie/juice. If I’m meal prepping for the week, I like to double the recipe. I always add more almond milk to the oatmeal before re-heating to help make it less dry and bring it back to life!

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To all my New Englanders—I know this winter has been tough during this snowpocalypse, but we’re one day closer to warmer weather and sunnier days! What better way to snap out of those winter blues than to have some blueberry chia-flax oatmeal to start and power your day 🙂

XO,
SOF

 

 

strawberries & bubbly for one? yes, please.

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It’s that time of year, again! Yep, you guessed it- another commercialized holiday that hypes up love with chocolate and red roses. I cannot wait to spend this romantic evening with my man talking about how much we love each other! [I hope you got my sarcasm, there.] Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those cynical Anti-Valentine’s-Single-Awareness Day kind of girls….well, not entirely.

I am a huge fan of love and when you’re in love with the right person, it’s an incredible and lucky thing. I guess maybe I am a bit bitter because a day like today just rubs it in that I currently don’t have it. My two cents on Valentine’s Day: I think it’s silly and unnecessary. Shouldn’t relationships be cherished every day?

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ANYWAYS. Enough of my single girl rant. Let’s get to the goods! What better way to celebrate today than with some chocolate covered strawberries (especially dairy-free) and champagne? Or in this case- Prosecco. I know I must sound like a hypocrite, feeding into the commercialization, and all.

These puppies are extremely easy to make, and not to mention decadently sweet and juicy. Here’s what you’ll need:

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*Vegan Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

– 1 carton of Driscoll’s Organic Strawberries 

– 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips. I used the brand Chocolate Dream, which are delicious. If you want to keep it dairy-free, you could also use carob chips.

– 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance Vegan Butter

– 1 pinch of sea salt

-Optional: Any extra toppings- I used coconut flakes, but you could also use nuts, or anything else you fancy!

– A double boiler if you have it, or you can create your own using a metal bowl and a saucepan.

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Before you start anything on the stove, line a baking sheet with wax paper to set up a place to put your strawberries afterwards.

I do not own a double boiler. Instead, I had to improvise and make my own by using a bowl that only partially fit into a saucepan. If you are using a double boiler, you can skip this part. If not, then fill a saucepan with enough water so that when the bowl rests in the saucepan the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Pour your chocolate chips into the bowl that is over the boiling water until the chips start to melt. Take off after a minute and stir. Add in your sea salt and vegan butter, this should thin your melted chocolate significantly (we want this!) Put back on the stove for another minute or two until your chocolate is completely melted.

Take your strawberries and dip/coat in the chocolate and place on the wax paper. If you are adding any toppings, I would dip the strawberry in the chocolate and then immediately into your toppings before the chocolate starts to harden. Once this is complete, place in your refrigerator for about 2 hours before serving.

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Voilà! You just made a decadently delicious dish (ain’t that a mouthful?) that is sure to be crowd pleasing. I even got the taste approval from my roommate who is always hesitant to try anything of mine “vegan.”

Now, who says vegans have limited options???

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I don’t know about y’all, but I’m about to pop open this bottle of prosecco and enjoy these treats with some friends as we play Cards Against Humanity. Who needs a man or flowers to enjoy this night? 🙂

XOXO
sof

sipping on sunshine.

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I don’t know about you, but ever since Juno came and invaded our city with her white fury, I have been dreaming longing for the salty ocean water washing away the sand from my warm, sun kissed skin.

I’m sorry, I got a little carried away there and jumped the gun big time. First of all, my skin is anything but sun kissed right now and second, I am currently under a pile of blankets wearing at least 3 layers. A girl can dream. 5….more….months. We can do it! (At least that’s what I keep telling myself just to get through these next months. A new mantra, perhaps?)

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What’s worse than being held captive indoors during a snowpocalypse? Being sick at the same time. Flu season has sprung and because I refuse to get sick, I did some experimenting in my kitchen and came up with this delectable flu fighter that almost tastes like summer.

Not only is it quite the immune booster, but if you close your eyes while sipping, you can almost feel the sand in between your toes. Who says you can’t drink cold smoothies in the heart of winter? Not even the Blizzard of 2015 can hold us back….

*immuneburst smoothie

  • 2 navel oranges or minneolas 
  • the juice of 1 lemon (more if you don’t want your smoothie as sweet)
  • a good chunk of fresh, peeled ginger (the more, the better)
  • Fresh or frozen pineapple (1.5 cups, more or less depending on your sweetness preference)
  • 1 banana
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • carrot juice (3 cups, more or less depending on your thickness preference)
  • a few ice cubes

Beware: This smoothie has quite a punch to it. The spicier, the better, as those are the key immune boosting ingredients doing their job. Now, let’s kick flu season in the butt 🙂

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If you have any suggestions or renditions of your own, please share! I love seeing your recreations. You can use the hashtag #sofiesworld on instagram. Stay warm, stay healthy, and most importantly— stay positive! It’s easy to get the winter blues during this time, but remember there’s a white sandy beach at the end of the tunnel!

xo,
sof

What’s the Buzz on Bee Pollen?

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*see below for smoothie recipe

A month ago, I was visiting some family friends as some of us were running the Beach 2 Beacon 10k in Portland. One of my friends had made this mega smoothie for all of us to scarf down the morning of the race. It tasted somewhat different but nonetheless delicious. I asked her what was I tasting and she pulled out this big container of Bee Pollen. I skimmed over the container, shrugged, and kept on with my day.

I am not the biggest runner, nor am I the biggest fan of running, but let me tell you- that morning I had the best and longest run of my life. Was it the bee pollen? Maybe. Was it the adrenaline and endorphins? Most definitely. Whatever it was, I’m convinced the bee-pollen made an impact of some sort, because it’s the only thing I did different before any of my other runs.

I immediately went to Whole Foods and found the very same container of bee pollen and have been incorporating it into my diet since. I have definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels, muscle building, and overall complexion. At first, I didn’t really think anything of it, but after reading up about bee pollen and sharing some of the benefits, I am intrigued. If you are interested in exactly what is bee pollen and its powerful benefits, click here.

How do you eat it?

You can put bee pollen in anything, really! I mostly put mine in smoothies, yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal. It doesn’t really have a taste, but the texture is a bit waxy so I don’t recommend eating it by itself.

*My Almond-Vanilla Busy Bee Smoothie:

  • 3 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1 table spoon of almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2-3 cups of almond milk (depending on how thick you want it)
  • 1 table spoon of raw maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 table spoons of bee pollen

Blend all ingredients together for a delicious and beneficial treat! I usually throw mine in a mason jar and top it off with a sprinkle of bee pollen. For all my busy bees out there- this smoothie is quick, easy, and perfect for on the go!

 

Mighty Macro Bowl

I FINALLY made it into the well-talked about and highly recommended Life Alive Cafe in Cambridge. It is a vegan/fullyraw/vegetarian’s utopia, and needless to say, a new favorite. Don’t be intimidated by the long line or the overwhelming selection on the menu—it is well worth it all, I promise!

I loved what I ordered SO much that I decided to create my own interpretation.  My “Mighty Macro Bowl” was inspired by Life Alive Cafe’s Emperor Bowl—quite similar with a few added and swapped ingredients tossed in my very own homemade sauce.

If you were only able to eat one dish for the rest of your life, this would [should] be it. Everything you need to keep a sustained and healthy diet in one bowl. Macro heaven!

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice (2 cups, cooked)
  • Lentils (1 cup, cooked)
  • Steamed Kale (as much as you like)
  • Sweet Corn (1 cup)
  • Green Peas (1 cup)
  • Shredded Carrots (1 cup)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (1/2 cup, sliced)
  • Avocado (for garnish)

Miso-Ginger Tahini Sauce (whisk all ingredients together):

  • White Miso (2 tbsp)
  • Tahini (3 tbsp)
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • Minced Ginger (as much as you like…)

Toss all main ingredients together with sauce until everything is coated evenly. I usually do this in a large skillet or a wok on low heat. Place into a bow or on a plate and add as much avocado as you’d like to top it off (I used half of one here).

It’s a very simple dish where you can throw all of the ingredients together and maybe even get a little more creative with other ingredients you have in your fridge/pantry. I like to make a lot so that I have leftovers for the rest of the week. Enjoy! Your body will thank you for a very deliciously balanced dish 🙂

vegan mint chocolate chip smoothie.

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Ok, so I’ve always had a soft spot for Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Even being lactose intolerant, I would suffer the consequences just to get a taste. Now after changing my lifestyle and being an “aspiring” vegan, I have cut ice cream out of my diet 100%. It’s just not worth the stomach issues, anymore.

SO with that being said, I was experimenting with ingredients in my fridge and discovered something that not only is healthy for you, but literally tastes just like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream. Yum!

Blend the following ingredients all together:

2 Frozen Bananas

Handful of Spinach

TONS of Kale

FRESH Mint Leaves

Pitted Dates (You can adjust the amount depending on how sweet you want it)

Vanilla Bean (Or Vanilla Extract if you don’t have vanilla bean)

Dash of Cinnamon

2 Cups of Almond Milk

I topped with shredded coconut & dark chocolate chips, but you can add whatever your heart desires!

ENJOY!

Conscious Box First Impression

Conscious Box: “Discover the finest natural products on Earth. Always non-GMO. Always natural.”

Alright, so I’ve known about this whole new fad on monthly box subscriptions for a while now. I was even placed on the Birch Box waiting list! A waiting list to get a monthly box full of little beauty samples and products? Hmmph….I’m not the most patient individual….

So that’s when I found Conscious Box. Not necessarily full of beauty products but it sure is right up my alley with the whole “Natural Choices For Healthier Living” concept behind it.

At $20 a month, you get a choice of one of the following boxes: Vegan, Classic, or Gluten-Free. I like this because it gives you options. Naturally as an aspiring vegan, I chose the vegan option. Once you pay for one month, you are subscribed monthly and will be charged every month if you do not deactivate your account. If you’re happy with your first box and want to keep getting charged $20/month, by all means keep at it!

I was so excited when I found my little conscious box waiting for me at the door after a stressful day at work. I ripped that puppy open and was surprisingly underwhelmed. 🙁

I LOVE all things health, especially when it comes to snacks and goodies like that. But at $20, I would expect a little more than what I got. Don’t get me wrong, the products were pretty neat and a few of them even came in full size. I know all vegan and non-GMO products are pricier. That I’m fine with…but I feel like I could have just gone to Whole Foods and found these products myself. (A few I’ve actually already tried).

Even though I was underwhelmed, I am so excited and thankful for what Conscious Box is trying to do. Hopefully more people will get on the non-GMO and vegan train soon. Let’s keep this movement moving!

♡ Pink Banana Dream Breakfast Smoothie ♡

2 Bananas

2 cups of Raspberries

Small handful of Dates

Small handful of coconut flakes

2 Tablespoons of Almond Butter

1 Cup of Almond Milk

Handful of ice cubes

Blend it all together in your handy dandy blender and voilá! You have a delectable and fresh 32 ounce smoothie that will wake you up and keep you energized during your morning!

In order to get the darker pink on top, I just blended more raspberries with almond milk to make it more concentrated in color. I poured it on top of my original smoothie to fill up this beautiful glass jar to the rim. Then I added a few raspberries on top just to make it look purdy 🙂

Enjoy!