Sesame Latte

Recently, I noticed a sesame latte on the menu of a cafe across the street from my school. Completely intrigued, I abandoned my classic order (a chai latte) to give the sesame latte a try.

I was a little suspicious, but I figured the nutty, toasty, creamy flavor of sesame seeds could be a good complement to the basic coffee + milk combo that I know and love.

Sesame Latte

Unfortunately, when I went to order I was told that the sesame latte wasn’t actually offered anymore. I was disappointed for a moment, but a chai latte was more than enough to console me. Still, the idea of a sesame latte lingered in my mind, and I eventually decided to try to create my own.

This cozy drink absolutely delivers on all the complex, warming flavors I had hoped a sesame latte would have, and I totally think all coffee shops should serve it.

If you try this recipe, be sure to comment or share with me on Instagram!

Tahini Latte
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup your favorite milk (cow, almond, coconut, etc)
  • ½ tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, tahini, syrup, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk constantly as milk comes to a gentle simmer.
  3. Pour coffee into a mug, then top with milk mixture.
  4. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you would like frothier milk, you can mix all ingredients except coffee in a blender before adding them to the saucepan.

 

San Francisco Wellness Guide

Recently I was hunting online for fun, healthy restaurant recommendations in San Francisco, and I was shocked that there weren’t actually very many resources. So I decided to make a San Francisco Wellness Guide to share all my favorite wellness spots in the city, from cafes to workouts.

  •  Cafes

San Francisco Wellness Guide

  • Jane on Fillmore
    • This is my absolute favorite restaurant/cafe in SF, hands down. I just went for lunch today and, as always, it was bustling, cozy, and delicious beyond words. The first time I ate there I promised myself I would try something different every time I visit because everything on the menu sounds (and in my experience is) absolutely incredible.

  • Blue Danube
    • The vibe here is very different from Jane: slightly cluttered, homey, and laid back. It’s the perfect place to settle in and do homework for an afternoon- with a mint mocha latte in-hand of course.
  • Easy Breezy Frozen Yogurt
    • This place is so cute! They have dairy and dairy free yogurts in tons of creative flavors, so it will absolutely satisfy a variety of eaters.

  • Rainbow grocery (submitted by @youngnhangry)
    • Bulk bin of dreams! It’s like Disneyland for any foodie.
  • BiRite
    •  BiRite is a small grocery store with a big focus on local food, organic produce, and absolutely incredible sandwiches. The Vegan Hippy Sandwich is one of my all time favorite meals. Their ice cream is also delicious, and they always have a couple vegan options too.
  • Haight Street Market
    • This is one of my favorite grocery stores in the city. They have an amazing cafe, tons of gorgeous produce, impressive pre-made food, and all the kombucha a girl could ask for.
  • Restaurants

    • Artesano
      • This Latin American restaurant is a hidden gem in Laurel Village. I haven’t found dishes quite like theirs anywhere else in SF, and I routinely bring family and friends (who always come away raving about the food). I LOVE their salads, and you have to be sure to try the plantain chips.
    • Greens
      • I haven’t had a chance to eat here yet, but it is absolutely on my must visit list. An entire restaurant dedicated to vegetable focused, vegetarian food? With gorgeous views of the bay? Sign me up.
    • Little Gem
      • This is another spot I can’t wait to visit. The entire menu is gluten free, and all the dishes look incredibly original. And it’s located in Hayes Valley, so the ambiance is bound to be amazing, plus you’ll have plenty of options for dessert after.
    • Blue Barn (submitted by @youngnhangry)
      • Their seasonal salads are always on point
    • Gracias Madre (submitted by @youngnhangry)
      • Vegan Mexican food.
    • Seed and Salt (submitted by @youngnhangry)
      • Two words. eggplant. bacon. And their baked goods are delicious.
    • Plant Organic Cafe (submitted by @shakethatmarshmallow)
      • All organic produce + sustainable seafood and meats in downtown SF.
  • Workouts

  • BodyRok
    • I am OBSESSED with BodyRok. I took classes there in December and fell completely in love. They have spin classes, reformer pilates, and some locations even offer yoga. The playlists are amazing, the instructors are friendly, and overall the classes are just so fun. I can’t wait until I have time to go back!
  • Yoga to the People
    • I’ve never been here, but I can’t wait to try it. They offer donation based yoga classes to make it accessible to everyone, and the space looks absolutely gorgeous.

  • Running in Golden Gate Park
    • This is my go-to workout. It’s free and absolutely beautiful. There is no shortage of routes throughout the park, so I never get bored, but one of my favorites is definitely running around Stow Lake.

If you find this San Francisco Wellness Guide useful, I’d love it if you shared with friends, and definitely leave a comment/contact me if you have any additional recommendations!

Banana Walnut Cookies

Another cookie recipe? Yes. But they satisfy a very different need than the Lemon Raspberry Cookies I shared last week. While those cookies are sweet, light, and buttery- a perfect dessert, these Banana Walnut Cookies are chewy and hearty- a good breakfast or snack.

Banana Walnut Cookies

I didn’t even realize these cookies have NO added sweetener until I went back to write up the recipe. I’d planned to add maple syrup, but I luckily I forgot because I found I love these cookies just the way they are.

They’re so much fun to eat, because the soft cookie sort of melts in your mouth, but then the little nuggets of walnut provide an amazing texture contrast.

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These Banana Walnut Cookies would also be perfect for meal prep, as they are simple to make and keep well in the freezer. I layered the cookies with parchment paper in an airtight container and kept them in the freezer for about a week. Then, any time I wanted a cookie I unwrapped a couple, popped them in the toaster, and had a warm cookie in my hand in about 2 minutes.

 

If you make these Banana Walnut Cookies, be sure to comment and/or share with me on Instagram!

Banana Walnut Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine)
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Whip aquafaba with hand mixer until frothy
  3. Mash banana, then stir in almond milk, vanilla, and aquafaba.
  4. Add flour, spices, and walnuts, then stir gently.
  5. Spoon onto parchment paper 2 tbsp at a time
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes

 

Egg Muffins

I’ve always liked the idea of egg muffins, because they’re a perfect easy, protein packed breakfast option. However, in my opinion, the fatal flaw is the lack of carbs. So when I have egg muffins, there needs to be some sort of toast or fruit on the side, but that sort of defeats the make-ahead, grab and go nature of egg muffins.

Therefore, I set out to create a “muffin” that rolled all essential components of a meal- protein, veggies, and carbs- into one adorable package. These muffins accomplish that mission perfectly, and they are absolutely delicious.

They crunchy, crisp tortilla provides the ideal contrast to the soft, savory filling. The veggies also provide some fresh, bright notes to balance out the custardy egg. Essentially, these muffins are the perfect balanced meal, both in nutrients and flavor.

If you make these muffins, be sure to comment and/or share with me on Instagram!

Egg Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Lunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped kale
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 small tortillas
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Sauté kale and onion with a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Mold tortillas into ramekins or muffin tins.
  3. Fill each tortilla cup with half of the veggie mixture.
  4. Crack an egg gently into each muffin cup.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes

 

Personally, I can never have enough lunch inspiration, so if you are looking for more easy lunch recipes, be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive a free PDF download of my Week of Lunches guide.

Lemon Raspberry Cookies

These Lemon Raspberry Cookies taste like the essence of sunshine and spring. They are so fresh and light, with tangy lemon and tart raspberries. At the same time, they are buttery, crumbly, and completely satisfying.

These cookies were created when I promised to bake for some friends, but then realized I had no chocolate chips. And in my experience, if you promise cookies, you only have two options. 1. Chocolate chip cookies, because you can’t really go wrong with chocolate. 2. Another type of cookie that is absolutely AMAZING. Essentially, if your cookies aren’t chocolate chip, they better be really good.

So I got to work incorporating some of the flavors I’ve been craving recently- crisp, refreshing, delicate- into a cookie I would be proud to present to my friends, despite the lack of chocolate chips.

Unfortunately, when I asked my family to taste test they fell in love and devoured nearly the entire batch. But now that they have the seal of approval from everyone from my little siblings to my grandparents, I will be making plenty more.

These Lemon Raspberry Cookies are so quick and simple, they will definitely be one of my go-to recipes for bake sales and potlucks. Maybe I can even use them to bribe my math teacher for a good grade…

If you make these cookies, be sure to share with me on Instagram and/or let me know what you think in the comments!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Raspberry Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, softened
  • ½ cup honey (can sub maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup. raspberries
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Whisk together coconut oil, honey and lemon juice.
  2. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and stir gently but thoroughly until the flour is fully incorporated.
  3. Chop raspberries, then gently fold them into the dough.
  4. Chill the dough for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form dough into 1 tbsp balls and place on baking sheet.
  7. Press lightly on each cookie to flatten the top.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.

 

Vegan Pizza: True Food Kitchen Style

As you can see from my last post, I feel head over heels in love with True Food Kitchen on my recent trip to LA. Everything on their menu sounded absolutely amazing, but I ended up getting the wild mushroom and brussels sprout pizza. Normally I’m not a huge cheese person, but the cheese sauce on the pizza was so light and fresh, it was absolutely delicious.

To my complete horror, however, they don’t have any locations near the Bay Area! I looked into using Postmates to deliver True Food from LA to SF, but apparently it doesn’t work like that. But I NEED that pizza in my life, so I got to work trying to recreate it at home.

The most important part of the pizza (and of pretty much everything) was the sauce, so that was what I focused on recreating. But to make sure everyone can enjoy the deliciousness, I took on the additional challenge of making it vegan.

Once I had the sauce perfected, I whipped up a batch of my favorite thin crust pizza dough (see notes for details) and sautéed some broccoli rabe to put my own original spin on things. However, you are absolutely welcome to use any veggies you like, and if you want to be more of a True Food purist, I can vouch for the fact that the mushrooms and brussels sprouts combo was absolutely incredible.

The sauce is deeply savory from roasted garlic and creamy from cashews, with bright notes of lemon to remind us that spring is just around the corner. If you need me you can find me spreading the leftovers on absolutely everything until further notice.

So here you have it: a True Food Kitchen inspired vegan pizza that tastes incredibly close to the real deal.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Vegan Pizza: True Food Kitchen Style
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Serves: Serves 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza recipe (one that makes 4 servings)
  • 8 stalks broccoli rabe
  • ¼ cup vegan cream sauce
  • Vegan cream sauce:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Quick soak cashews by bringing a saucepan of water to a boil then turning off the heat and adding cashews. Soak for 20 minutes.
  2. While cashews soak, roast garlic for 20 minutes at 350º F.
  3. Drain cashews and add to food processor with olive oil. Process until nearly smooth, then add lemon juice, almond milk, garlic, and salt.
  4. Continue to process until mixture is completely smooth.
  5. Prepare and bake pizza dough according to recipe.
  6. Spread ¼ cup sauce on the pizza.
  7. Sauté broccoli rabe with a drizzle of olive oil, then add to pizza.
  8. Bake for 5 more minutes at 350º F then remove from oven and serve

 

Notes:

I used this recipe from How Sweet Eats for my pizza dough and subbed maple syrup for honey to keep it vegan.

Sauce will make more than you need for this recipe, but it is delicious and you will want to spread the leftovers on EVERYTHING.

SoCal Trip Recap

Day One

Around 2 pm on Sunday my dad and I packed up the car and left San Francisco. I brought one bag of clothes and one bag of real essentials. Real essentials = snacks (bare snacks apple chips, kind bars, and homemade trail mix), a full water bottle, my favorite notebook, and wireless headphones.

Since our washing machine was broken, I wasn’t able to pack any underwear (yeah, 3 different snacks, no underwear), so our first stop was Macy’s in South San Francisco. I think that’s a real right of passage- when you don’t have any clean undies so you go buy some instead. After spending way to long trying to figure out the difference between french cut, hipster, and bikini styles- apparently my lack of fashion sense extends to underwear- we were finally on our way.

I listened to the Fed + Fit podcast for a good amount of the drive, and by now I think it’s definitely fair to say I’m a podcast addict. I tend to go through intense phases with stuff like that, so I imagine it will pass eventually, but for right now give me all the podcast recommendations!

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After about 4 hours on the road, we arrived in Santa Maria. The restaurant options seemed to be pretty limited, but luckily the town has a Trader Joes and that’s really all I need in life. We grabbed dinner and stocked up on snacks, then headed over to the hotel to eat and watch NCIS. I had a lentil wrap with tahini sauce for dinner + dark chocolate almonds for dessert and it was AMAZING. To be fair, I was pretty hungry so my judgement may have been impacted. But it was really good.

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My skin has been a bit icky lately, so I put on my favorite clay face mask while we watched NCIS then went to bed.

Day Two

I’d been hoping to sleep in on vacation, but instead I woke up at 5:30 am. I tried to go back to sleep for a while but at 6:30 I finally gave up and watched Netflix on my computer for about an hour. By that time I was pretty hungry, so I just put a jacket on over my PJs and went down to the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Being the indecisive, breakfast loving person that I am, I find breakfast buffets a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple, I have a couple go-to meals such as oatmeal + fruit or eggs + toast. And always coffee, of course. I went with oatmeal (topped with brown sugar and walnuts) and cantaloupe.

After breakfast, we got in the car and drove a couple hours down the coast to Santa Barbara.The views along the highway were incredible and they reminded me how much I love seeing new parts of the world and how lucky I am to get to travel. We arrived with a couple hours to spare before the start of our UC Santa Barbara tour, so we hit the beach! We had a picnic with out Trader Joe’s goods from the night before, then my dad got on a quick conference call and I went for a walk on the beach. By the time we got back in the car to drive to UCSB, my pant cuffs were damp, my feet were sandy, and I was somehow missing a sock. The perfect first impression, right?

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For the next few hours we toured UCSB. I loved how the campus was so integrated with nature, and everyone seemed really happy. After the tour, my dad had a meeting in South Santa Barbara and I had some time to explore. I ended up at a cafe called The French Press. They had the foamiest lattes with gorgeous latte art and I felt very cool sipping my latte and working on this blog post.

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Then we got back in the car and completed the final 2 hours of our drive to LA. We checked in to our hotel in Century City (right by UCLA) then set out in search of dinner. There didn’t seem to be tons of real restaurants in the area (though there was TONS of fast food) so we settled for Cava Grill. I’d never been before, but it turns out it’s basically a Mediterranean version of Chipotle. So “fast casual” food with lots of veggies and fresh ingredients. I got a greens & grains bowl with 3 (!!!) kinds of hummus, roasted veggie mix (butternut squash + brussels sprouts), and a beet salsa type thing to top it off. My expectations weren’t all that high, but it was actually really good. The portions are pretty generous, but I loved it so much I managed to eat it all. It’s really a hard life when your delicious veggie bowls are a bit too big.

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As soon as we returned to the hotel I went to bed and fell asleep dreaming of beaches, beautiful colleges, and hummus.

Day Three

I slept in!! It was beautiful. In all honestly I only slept in until 8 am, but considering how conditioned my body is to waking up at 6 am for school, 8 is pretty good. I hit the gym first thing for a quick run on the treadmill. I kinda hate the treadmill and would much rather run outside, but we weren’t in a great neighborhood for running and I wanted to stay on track with my 10k preparation plan because I want to run Bay to Breakers in May! I’m on the 2nd week, so I did a 30 minute combo of running and walking.

We had to be at UCLA for a tour at 10:15 am, so I showered and got dressed then we grabbed breakfast to go at the Starbucks in the hotel. I got oatmeal and a latte then tried to eat and navigate at the same time as we drove to UCLA. After a few wrong turns we finally made it and the tour was lovely. The vibe was a bit more east coast college campus-y (it reminded me of Yale) and I learned they have the one of the best psychology programs in the nation! Now I’m just worried I’ll fall in love with every college I visit, but in the scheme of things that’s a good problem to have.

Once the tour was over we adventured into Beverly Hills to find Mitch and Cam’s house from Modern Family. My parents and I watched the show religiously in 2011/2012 so it was a pretty exciting moment.

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Since we didn’t have anywhere to be for the rest of the day, I convinced my dad to drive to Santa Monica for lunch at True Food Kitchen. I’d heard such great reviews on Instagram, and it did not disappoint! I wanted to try everything on the menu, but I controlled myself and we ended up sharing a kale salad and brussels sprout/wild mushroom pizza. Both were incredibly delicious and I can’t wait to try to recreate them at home. The people were so friendly and the weather was beautiful, so it was a wonderful experience all around. After lunch, we took a quick walk through a nearby park, then got in the car (again) for a 2 hour drive through crazy LA traffic to our hotel in Ontario.

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We decided to stay in Ontario because it’s close to the Claremont colleges, but as far as I can tell there’s not much there. There didn’t even seem to be any grocery stores nearby, so we ended up going to Target and getting sandwich supplies for dinner. To be honest that wasn’t tons of fun because I was hungry and tired and trying to buy dinner at Target, but it worked out and I ended up with a loaf of bread, a squeeze pack of Justin’s almond butter, and an apple. Back at the hotel, I put together a very sophisticated dinner of an almond butter sandwich, an apple, and a few chocolate covered almonds, ate in bed, then went straight to sleep. I’m pretty sure this is what everyone’s talking about when they mention the trendy LA food scene.

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Day Four

I’m writing the majority of this post at 8 am before beginning a day full of college visits and driving back  to SF. I don’t image anything too thrilling will happen, so I’ll spare you all the details, but I had so much fun on this trip and I really appreciate you following along. If you have any recommendations for fun spots/good eats in SoCal let me know because I hope to come back soon!

 

Trail Mix Remix

 

I’m leaving on a road trip to Los Angeles tomorrow and I can’t wait! For weeks I’ve been dreaming of taking in the views at Big Sur, listening to my favorite podcasts in the car, and trying all the amazing food LA has to offer.

I’m especially looking forwards to eating at Pressed Juicery (the freeze!!), Cafe Gratitude, and True Food Kitchen. I’ve been drooling over their food on Instagram for months and I’m so excited I’ll finally get to try it.

But until I get to the health food wonderland that is LA, I have to get through about 8 hours in the car, which means I’m going to be packing plenty of snacks.

I love finding creative solutions to the challenges of eating healthy on the road, so I see traveling as an opportunity to expand my healthy eating horizons. Some of my favorite snacks are sturdy fresh fruit (ex. apples, bananas, chopped melon), natural energy bars (KIND and Larabar are my favorites), and trail mix.

However, I find that classic trail mix can get sort of boring, so I prefer making my own. This mix combines salty, sweet, and crunchy with coconut chips, almonds, and cereal. I love that the sweetness in this trail mix comes from Bare Snacks coconut chips because while I love chocolate I find it can get very messy and melty on road trips.

This trail mix is fresh, fun, and filling, which, in my opinion, are essentials for a good on-the-go snack. The mix is beyond easy, made with incredibly simple ingredients, and totally customizable. If you try it, be sure to share with me on Instagram!

Trail Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: serves 4
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Bare Snacks original coconut chips
  • ½ cup roasted, lightly salted almonds
  • 1 cup Os cereal (eg. Cheerios)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in medium mixing bowl and stir gently until ingredients are evenly mixed.

 

I received complimentary samples of Bare Snacks chips for review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post, and, of course, all opinions are my own.