Saturday, April 5, 2014

22 things about me

Hi everyone. I hope you all had a great week. Since I haven't shared much about myself on this blog, I thought I would dedicate a post so that you can get to know me a little better. It has been a busy week here at school and my computer screen decided to stop working on me! So sorry for the lack of posts lately! Hopefully I will have a new computer soon. Today I am blogging from my campus computer.

I had a great spring break last week. It was a nice opportunity to relax and recharge. I was able to cook a lot and go to new restaurants, which was really fun. I always find it relaxing to cook and it has been one of my hobbies to find new restaurants ever since I can remember. I spent a few hours in the kitchen on Monday before I had to go back to school on Tuesday and made a vegan quiche, some seed and date balls, the heavenly carrot cake oatmeal from Oh She Glows, and some sweet potato fries. It was all so good! I also went to Sprouts and discovered a vegan Daiya pizza that I had for an easy dinner. It was a great discovery for a vegan pizza lover :)

Note: I was going to post recipes for my vegan creme brulee and granola, but I want to perfect the recipes first.

Anyway, back to the post about me!

1. I was born and raised in California and currently live in Southern California.
2. I was a cheerleader and on my homecoming court in high school. I went to an all girls Catholic school and cheered for our brother school. You would never know I was a cheerleader because I am very shy and introverted.
3. I love New York City and it is my favorite city. I have missed it so much since I left after going to Fordham University for 2 years.
4. My favorite country is Italy, after taking a family vacation there last summer. Venice is absolutely beautiful and the food in Italy is amazing.
5. I studied abroad in Germany for my Spring 2013 semester and it was an amazing experience that I did not think I would be able to have. I am so grateful.
6. I have three sisters, Mary, Celina, and Juliana. I am the third of the four.
7. My family and I all live around the United States so I miss my sisters and my dad a lot.
8. I want to be a Registered Dietitian so that I can help others find a healthy and balanced diet to improve their health and gain confidence. It is my goal to help others no matter what happens in my career.
9. I am German and Polish, but mostly Puerto Rican on my mother's side.
10. I believe that living every day in gratitude is important for happiness. Thinking about what I have and not complaining about what I don't have is something I actively do every day.
11. I can't live without Netflix or my Nutribullet.
12. I love to cook and find inspiration from watching Food Network, Cooking Channel, and from reading other blogs.
13. I love to travel and hope to be able to travel more after I graduate. I have a long list of places I want to go such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Puerto Rico, Greece, Poland, and more. I feel very fortunate that I was able to travel to many countries during the time that I studied abroad. Thank you to my parents for that! I couldn't have done without them.
14. I cannot wait to be a mom, but that probably won't be for a while!
15. My mother and grandmother are the most inspirational people to me and my mom is my best friend. I lost my grandmother 2 years ago, but she is always in my thoughts. My step mom is also someone who I think about every day and I am doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in her honor. You can donate on my Avon Walk page.
16. I am currently studying Psychology. I find it very interesting and am learning so much about people and how we think. I love how it is connected to so many other fields such as science and sociology and works as a base for any career. I think that social psychology is my favorite and I am also very interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It all fascinates me.
17. I am 22 years old, born on July 21, 1991.
18. I love to go wine tasting, hiking, doing yoga, going to Farmer's Markets, going to the beach, and having new experiences. I find peace going out into nature and appreciating what God has provide, although I do not do it enough or as much as I'd like.
19. I have gone sky diving. Maybe bungee jumping is next?
20. Since becoming vegan, this is the first time that I have been able to really stick to healthy eating because I have finally learned the balance of indulging and staying healthy. Moderation is key. I can still have sweets and then have healthy foods for the rest of the time without beating myself up. And I indulge in Mexican food once in a while; it is my favorite. Margaritas, anyone?
21. My favorite shows are Law and Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Bones. Can you tell I like crime shows? My guilty pleasure show is The Vampire Diaries and I have also gotten into Believe and Resurrection. I also loved Breaking Bad and How I Met Your Mother and I am sad they are over.
22. I love to learn about new foods and to read about nutrition and eating healthy. I have learned so much from fellow bloggers and am inspired every day from the knowledge I am gaining.

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know me a little better! Things may be slower around here because I am really busy with school papers and assignments and do not have complete access to a computer. :( I will be posting pictures on Instagram though so I hope you can follow along.

Tomorrow I am going to go to the Farmer's Market to get some fresh produce for the favorite part of the weekend :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next time,


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cafe Gratitude Review

Last weekend my mom and I decided to try out Cafe Gratitude on Larchmont Blvd in Los Angeles. Since I have switched to a primarily vegan diet, I have not gone to vegan restaurants in the area. I had heard a lot about this restaurant from various sources and concluded that I must try it out. It sure did not disappoint! We went on a Sunday afternoon after church for lunch and they had a table available for us within about 5 minutes or less. The restaurant is bright, airy, and inviting. They had a sign of the monthly specials on the wall which all looked absolutely delicious. We had a table right by the dessert case (of course, right?!) and saw all the amazing-looking desserts. I probably would have tried them all if I could have! Anyway, back to the restaurant... We looked over the menu and I decided to get their Divine juice with apple, beet, ginger, and lemon. My mom got their Elevated- rose water lemonade on ice, which was a little sweeter than we would have liked, but delicious and refreshing nonetheless. My juice was delicious as well. For an appetizer we got Present, which was their version of a bruschetta served on whole wheat crostini with some arugula. It wasn't your typical bruschetta, but it was so tasty. For our meal we decided to share the Hearty raw pizza served with a Caesar salad. I told my mom, "it is a unique combination of flavors but it works really well." We both really enjoyed it. For dessert we decided to get the strawberry pie with a serving of their ice cream. I thought that the pie was good but the real star was the coconut ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. I want to learn how to make it!

I would definitely recommend this restaurant and I can't wait to go back and try what else they have. Everything on the menu looked so delicious and fresh.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next time,


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Veggie and Lentil Coconut Curry

This recipe was a fun one to try because I love curry and have never made it before. I had a can of coconut milk to use up after a failed attempt to make coconut whipped cream, so I decided to use it for this instead. I got inspiration from a few recipes and kind of combined them all into one. It came out really great!

This recipe is inspired by the Oh She Glows cookbook Creamy Vegetable Curry and Angela's coconut curry on the blog a while back.

Serves about 4-5

For this recipe, you will need:
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion or half large onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper (or the whole pepper), chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup uncooked lentils
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp salt, to taste

1. Place onion, garlic, curry powder, and ginger in pan and heat on medium high heat until onion is translucent.
2. Add in pepper, carrots, sweet potato, and tomato and cook for another five minutes.
3. Add in the coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, turmeric, and half of the vegetable stock.
4. Cook the veggies for about 15 minutes. When the liquid is mostly absorbed and the veggies are mostly cooked, add in the remaining vegetable stock and the lentils and cook on low heat until the lentils and veggies are soft and the flavors have combined. I would say about another 20 minutes, but taste as you go along and cook more or less depending on how soft you want the veggies.
5. Serve and enjoy! I would recommend serving it over some brown rice or with some Mary's Crackers for dipping. It was really good!

Note: You can also cook the lentils in a separate pot using whatever cooking directions are on the packaging and then add the lentils to the cooked vegetable mixture. I did it all in one pot to save some dishes.
If there are other veggies you would like to add, go ahead! This can be custom-made with whatever you like :)
If you need more liquid while cooking the veggies and lentils, add water or more vegetable stock as needed.

P.S. You can still donate to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer by visiting this page.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Coffee "Frappuccino" and Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I needed a little rest and yesterday my internet went out! Today I have a couple of recipes I threw together this morning and they turned out really great. I hope you enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Coffee "Frappuccino"
Serves 1

1/2 banana
1 cup coffee
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 dates (more or less to taste)
dash cinnamon
dash vanilla extract
4 ice cubes
1 tsp almond butter
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Note: If you would like it sweeter, add a sweetener of your choice. Top with unsweetened coconut and cinnamon.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
*This recipe is inspired by the Oh She Glows carrot cake oatmeal*

1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup oats, gluten free is necessary
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp flax seed meal
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
dash cinnamon
dash ginger
dash nutmeg
dash vanilla extract
1/2 cup pear sauce (optional)

1. Place ingredients into a pot and bring to a low boil.
2. Bring the heat down to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed by the oats.
3. Serve and top with your choice of walnuts, extra cinnamon, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a spoonful of maple syrup.

This was such a delicious breakfast. And so easy!

Happy hump day everyone!

P.S. I also added the coffee frap and my tropical green smoothie I put on Instagram the other day in the Smoothie Archive. Enjoy!

Coming up later this week: My Cafe Gratitude review, homemade granola, vegan "creme brulee", and homemade coconut curry recipe!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chocolate for Breakfast? Yes please!

While this week wasn't as stressful as previous weeks at my university, I am excited to say that it is the weekend and the beginning of my spring break! Yesterday I was happy I was able to see my friend Christine who I do not get to see very often because she is getting her Master's degree right now. We got pedicures and then went out for Mexican with my mom. It was a really fun night because we ran into my cousin and his wife who were at the same restaurant. Small world!

I think that people may be a little scared to go out to eat while being vegan, but it really is not as bad as it may seem. It may take some more time to look over the menu, but a lot of restaurants now have vegetarian and/or vegan options that are just as tasty as other options. I ordered some vegetarian tacos with black beans, guacamole, shredded carrots, cabbage, and I told them no cheese to make it vegan. I also enjoyed some chips and salsa and a margarita :) It was all very delicious!

I plan to relax for the rest of this weekend, do some new recipe testing, and maybe visit a new vegan restaurant that I want to try as well! I have a few surprises up my sleeve :) I also have to start training for my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in September! To learn more about the walk, my story, and to donate, you can visit  this post. It contains the link to my personal page.

This morning I was wanting a chocolaty oatmeal and threw together the easiest combination of oats, cocoa powder, and banana to make a sweet and satisfying oatmeal.

Enjoy the recipe!

Chocolaty-Banana Oatmeal
Serves 1

1 really ripe banana, cut into small slices
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp almond butter
1 tbsp flax seed meal
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

1. Put oats, milk, flax, salt, cocoa powder, almond butter, and banana into pot and bring to a low boil.
2. When mixture comes to a low boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until the oats have absorbed all of the almond milk.
3. Take the oats off the heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla extract.
4. Serve and top with anything you would like. I used walnuts, a pinch of shredded unsweetened coconut, some grain-sweetened chocolate chips, hulled hemp seeds, a tsp of almond butter, and a drizzle of agave nectar.

This was so delicious and will satisfy any sweet tooth!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: 3 Smoothie Recipes!

I tend to have a smoothie just about every day, so I thought I would start a smoothie archive. You can reach the page here. I will add recipes periodically for smoothie inspiration for you all. I hope you enjoy them :)

Happy first day of spring!

Chocolate Surprise Green Smoothie
1 banana
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup mixed berries
1-2 cups mixed greens
1 cup almond milk or water

Banana-Carrot Green Smoothie
1 banana
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 cup water
1-2 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup mango

Berry-Banana Smoothie
1 banana
1/4 cup berries
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 cup almond milk or water

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Decadent Chocolate Coconut Truffles

I don't know about you, but I certainly have a sweet tooth. In my first 2 years of college I was known to buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's or a shake and eat the whole thing or share it with a friend. I definitely gained the Freshmen 15 and could not get enough of the cookies at my college, Fordham University. This sweet tooth was definitely in overdrive while I was studying abroad in Germany. There was a new bakery on just about every street corner and I spent a lot of time trying new pastries, gelato, and any other sweets I could get my hands on. I love trying out new recipes and watching shows such as Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel (a definite guilty pleasure).

Now that I have changed my lifestyle a bit, I search for healthier vegan alternatives for my favorite desserts that are still as satisfying as the real thing. These truffles definitely fit the bill.

Decadent Chocolate Coconut Truffles
Makes about 18 truffles
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp water (as needed to make the mixture stick together)
To make the truffles look extra fancy, roll them in your choice of shredded coconut, unsweetened cocoa, and a chocolate glaze (1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 square of Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate melted-Easiest glaze ever!)


1. Place the ingredients into a food processor and process until combined. If the mixture is too dry, add more water until the mix comes together.
2. With a small spoon, spoon the mixture into the palm of your hand and roll into a ball. If you want them to be larger, just add more of the mixture in your hand and make a bigger ball.
3. Roll into your choice of shredded coconut, cocoa, or the chocolate glaze. I made 6 of each kind, with one left for me to snack on at the end :)
3. Repeat this process until there is no more of the mixture left.
4. Keep in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!

I think that these are just about the easiest truffles ever, and they were so fun to make! My mom, step-dad, and I could not stop eating them on Sunday. My mom sent me a text yesterday saying that she was craving them! I think you will enjoy these as much as we did.

Happy Tuesday everyone!