Favorite Beauty Products: Five Winter Essentials

I’m a self-diagnosed beauty junky. When I got a new job, the first thing I did was make an appointment to get my hair done and go to Sephora. Although I stick to a pretty simple beauty routine, I’ve always loved experimenting with makeup and trying new products. However, now that I’m older, I focus on finding products that I love and that keep my skin looking fresh and rejuvenated.

Can we all agree that winter is the worst for skin? Outside is cold and dry. Inside, I spent most of my time curled up next to a space heater that zapped all the moisture and shine from my skin. So, these are my favorite beautify products to keep my skin balmy and radiant regardless of the weather outside (or the overuse of a space heater).

Best Winter Beauty Products

Murad Acne Clearing Solution  

I suffer from the occasional adult acne, and the acne products I’ve used in the past have always dried out my skin. I was a little hesitant about this product at first because it seemed too creamy and thick to be an acne product, but I’m totally converted. I love this product a lot – probably as much as you can love a skincare product. It always clears up my blemishes without drying out my skin, and it has become a trustworthy part of my daily routine.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Light 

I’m pretty sure that argan oil has taken at least three years from under my eyes. I softly dab this under my eyes after I wash my face in the AM and PM, and like magic, all those barley-there crow wrinkles disappear. I also use argan oil everywhere else – cuticles, dry hair, scars, or rough spots, it’s all fair game. I rarely leave the house without throwing this stuff in my purse.

Moisturizing Lip Products 

I’m obsessed with super lush lip products. My favorites include Mac Shy Girl and any of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. Both these lipsticks are ultra moisturizing and leave my lips soft.

Macadamia Leave-In Nourishing Cream 

Hair gets dry in the winter too, and this is my favorite product fix for dry hair (in addition to argan oil). I usually run some through my roots and on the ends of my hair before I blow dry it, and I use it anytime my hair feels brittle and dry. Macadamia products can be a bit pricey, but I’ve had this same bottle for almost a year and half, and I use it almost every day. And I love this stuff because it isn’t greasy (even when you use a little bit too much).

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream 

I go back and forth on this product. Sometimes it is can be a little too heavy for my skin, and I end up breaking out, but in the winter months, when my skin is parched, I put this on before putting on a tinted moisturizer in the mornings. I also have a lot of skin damage (the perils of being pale), and I really think this has help to fade some of my sun damage  and to protect my skin from outside elements.

There you go, those are my favorite beauty essentials for Winter, but hopefully, Spring will be rolling around pretty soon. I know we’ve had some warmer weather in DC lately (thank goodness). And just for reader information, please note this is not a sponsored post, I just honestly love these products (and use them religiously) and wanted to share them with you.

Buenos noches.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich {Meatless Monday Recipe}

Welp! My unemployment has officially come to an end. Unemployment is one of those things that just sucks (really no other way to put that) in the moment, but the second you get a job, you immediately miss all your personal time. And I actually like having a job, I love routine, and I love getting up and going somewhere in the morning. But, my new commute is average an hour and fifteen minutes, so it’s taking some getting used to (would love your podcast suggestions )!

Minus the whole not-getting-a-paycheck thing, I really enjoyed unemployment this time around. For a few weeks, I did a lot of yoga. I dove headfirst in to revamping this blog. I practiced my food photography, put together my first photography proposal, and learned about photoshop. I started to dabble in some HTML and CSS. And I had time to enjoy some reprieve from the hectic day-to-day of partisan politics.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

A few weeks ago, I found myself at a super hipster coffee shop (Big Bear for those who are local) meticulously putting together job applications. The cafe was full of crunchy hipsters, and I almost felt like I was back in Seattle, and I instantaneously regretted carrying my Kate Spade computer bag. In the midst of sending job applications, I ordered the Portabella “Melt” without the cheese, and it was so good I knew I wanted to recreate as soon as possible. Public service announcement: portabella mushrooms and pesto a winning combination.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

There are a few things I love about this sandwich. Number one is the pesto. I love pesto. I know people say that feta makes everything better, but I’m pretty sure pesto trumphs  feta. I also don’t eat cheese, so feta doesn’t really do much for me. Number two is meaty mushrooms. I  forget how tasty and satisfying marinated portabella mushrooms can be, but they are one hundred percent delicious and sure to make meat eaters happy. Third, I love carbohydrates, and anytime you put tasty things between good pieces of bread, I’m happy.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

5.0 from 1 reviews
Portabella & Pesto "Melt" { Meatless Monday }
 
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Mushrooms, pesto, roasted red peppers, and sprouts are a great combination, especially when served together between two pieces of bread.
Serves: 2 heavenly sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 2 Portabella mushroom caps
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 pieces of awesome bread ( I love Pan de Champagne from Whole Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons of Just Mayo (or your favorite mayonnaise)
  • 4 teaspoons of pesto
  • 1 cup of jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup of sunflower and radish sprouts
Instructions
  1. Clean mushrooms, slice thinly, and put into a gallon size plastic bag.
  2. Add olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper to plastic bag. Shake to ensure all mushrooms are coated with liquid and seasonings.
  3. While mushrooms are marinating, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  4. Spray pan with nonstick spray, and cook mushrooms, flipping until the mushrooms are dark and tender.
  5. Toast bread.
  6. Put sandwiches together. Spread two piece of bread with mayonnaise, and top with roasted red pepper and sprouts. Spread other pieces of bread with pesto and cooked mushrooms.
  7. Carefully smash together and enjoy warm.

Portabella and Pesto Sandwich

Cheers to delicious vegetarian food, and Happy Meatless Monday! And please Podcast suggestions really are welcome.

Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

After being vegan for a number of years, eggs are the thing that brought me back to the vegetarian side. I love eggs … a lot, and lately, they  have  been a staple in my daily breakfast.

I’m also a believer (although I am not a registered dietician) that eggs are good you for you even if they have a bit of cholesterol. NPR agrees.
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Speaking of of eggs, this Saturday, I made the ill-advised decision to venture into the snow for brunch. After a lovely brunch and a gut-wrenching $61 in Uber receipts (seriously), I was safely delivered back inside to hibernate from the unfriendly  winter weather. However, I did have amazing scrambled eggs for breakfast: cilantro scrambled eggs with ginger and jalapeños.
Eggs and Ginger

At first, I was a little thrown off by the idea of ginger in eggs. Cilantro and jalapeños are an easy thumbs up, but ginger … Yet, my unyielding desire for eggs after a hellish snow-bound commute trumped the oddity of the flavor combination. And I was pleasantly surprised and  immediately decided I had to come up with my own version cilantro scrambled eggs to share the weird combination of eggs and ginger with the world or at least the world of people who read blogs. Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

Cilantro Scrambled Eggs
 
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Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil ( I used Earth Balance)
  • ½ jalapeno chopped
  • 2 tsp - 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened original soymilk
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup of loosely packed cilantro
  • Rice or bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat a small fry pan over a low-medium heat.
  2. Add butter or olive oil to pan, and add ginger, and jalapeños. Cook until fragrant (just a minute or so).
  3. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, egg whites, soymilk, and salt. Whisk until well-combined.
  4. Add egg mixture to fry pan, and cook egg slowly over a low-medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent eggs from sticking to the pan.
  5. As the eggs reach desired consistency, stir torn cilantro into eggs.
  6. Serve warm with rice, bread, and maybe some sriracha sauce.
Notes
I used store bought minced ginger (pictured above), but you could certainly mince the ginger yourself. If using fresh ginger, I would start with 1 teaspoon and increase to taste.

I totally get your hesitation. I know eggs and ginger seem unnatural , but this is my new favorite scrambled eggs combination. Perfect for brunch at home on the weekend. Perfect for a weeknight dinner (maybe served with some roasted eggplant). And if eggs and ginger are a winning combination (which, I promise they are!), I’m pretty sure that anything is possible. Cilantro Scrambled Eggs

Hasta luego. XOXO.

Vegan “Egg” Salad Sandwich

One of my very favorite places to eat lunch is Pret a Manger, which I lovingly refer to as Pret for short. If you aren’t familiar with Pret, they serve a lot of salads, sandwiches, and soup that are made fresh everyday. Most of Pret’s food is reasonably healthy, reasonably priced, and amazingly convenient when you need a cheap, quick meal.

I should probably mention that I’m not compensated by Pret, but I’m kind of a Pret groupie. Vegan Egg Salad

I first started eating at Pret when I lived in London, where there is nearly a Pret on every corner. Since I didn’t have a kitchen, I would routinely grab a sandwich on the way home from the gym. My favorite sandwich was (and still is) their egg salad sandwich. Egg salad, watercress, and soft whole wheat bread. It’s so creamy, so filling, and so yummy.Vegan Egg Salad

Fortunately and unfortunately, they opened a Pret about five minutes from my current residence in DC. As tempting as it would be to walk to Pret every single day for lunch, I have plenty of time to cook for myself, so this week, I decided to recreate my favorite Pret sandwich, except that I replaced eggs with tofu because tofu is my jam. Vegan Egg Salad

In all honestly, I find that tofu is a bit of a learned taste, especially raw tofu, so this definitely isn’t a recipe for a tofu novice. If you want to start getting into tofu (which you should!), I would highly suggest pan frying it. But for my fellow tofu lovers out there, this is a great lunch that can be made in minutes and easily taken to-go because all of us are way too busy for our own good.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tofu Egg Salad Sandwich
 
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Serves: 4 Sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu (about 14 ounces)
  • ¼ heaping cup of vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Pepper
  • 8 slices of soft wheat bread
  • Bunch of fresh watercress
Instructions
  1. First, press your tofu. Cut the tofu into 4 - 8 slices. Place the slices of tofu flat, and wrap in a towel or paper towel. Put a heavy object (skillet or coffee table books) on top of the tofu for 5 - 10 minutes to extract excess water.
  2. While the tofu is drying out, mix mayonnaise, mustard, turmeric, and paprika together in a bowl.
  3. Crumble the tofu into the mayonnaise mixture, and mix everything together with a fork. Add pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble sandwich: bread, watercress, tofu salad, bread. Slice, and serve.
Notes
You could easily make the tofu mixture ahead, and put on a sandwich for lunch, so that the bread doesn't get soggy.

 Vegan Egg Salad

Enjoy! XO.

Creamy Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

When I was younger, I adored eating at La Madeleine. I loved the French country ambiance, and I always felt so grown-up and sophisticated eating there although I usually embarrassed myself trying to take as many free slices of french bread as I could conceivably fit onto my plate. I have such fond memories of La Madeleine sitting next to the fake fireplace and dipping crusty slices of buttered bread into a flavorful and steaming bowl of creamy tomato basil soup. These days I prefer to make my own dairy-free soup, but I still love my soup served with plenty of bread.

Some things never change. Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

There is something so luxurious and romantic about a piping hot bowl of soup, and this winter I have been all about that blended soup. Blended soups just seem so appropriate for winter. Easy but filling. Hearty yet healthy. And most importantly, served warm and served with bread. Basically, blended soup is the perfect meal for every winter night. Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

This vegan tomato basil soup is packed with carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. Baked potatoes are absolutely my favorite way to make a non-dairy soup super thick and creamy. Baked potatoes give soups such a hearty texture while adding a lot of depth and substance. And I’m pretty sure your tastebuds won’t miss the cream. Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
 
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Serves: 4 Meal-Size Soup Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper chili flakes
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean each russet potatoes, rub with a dash of olive oil and salt, and wrap in foil. Cook potatoes for 1 hour or until tender.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, heat a large stock pot over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, diced onion, and roughly chopped carrots. Add basil and crushed red chili pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, and roughly chopped potatoes (skin and all) to stock pot. Bring everything to a boil, and then, let simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.
  4. Blend soup with an immersion blender adding vegetable stock or water if needed to reach desired consistency.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve warm and preferably with homemade bread croutons.

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

Hasta luego! XO.

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Happy Wednesday! Getting through Wednesday is always an accomplishment, but when you’re unemployed, the weekend doesn’t have quite the same allure. The only bonus about Saturday and Sunday is that you don’t feel bad about sleeping in and your friends are available for brunch. But, my bout of unemployment won’t last forever, so I try to enjoy it while I can. 

Today, I have another great vegetarian and FODMAPs friendly recipe to share. If you aren’t familiar with FODMAPs, which stands for a bunch of scientific things that I cannot remember, you can read more here.  

Growing up, I loved quiche. I remember having these adorable mini quiches at special occasions – like mother-daughter teas, and my guess is that these memorable tiny quiches were probably frozen food from Costco, but they always felt like a special treat. These days I’m not really into the fancy frozen finger food thing, but I like to create my own versions of things that I enjoyed in my childhood. I find food so nostalgic, especially in the winter when I crave things that are comforting and warm out of the oven. Maybe I have some innate desire to ensure I don’t miss out on old favorites even though my diet has changed so drastically, but whatever the reason, it’s usually good inspiration for a new recipe. FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

This quiche is a bit healthier than a traditional quiche, but personally, I think you can lose a lot of less healthy aspects of a quiche without losing a lot of flavor or experience. I mean as long as you include a egg soufflé of sorts and a decently high calorie crust, you can still call it a quiche, right? This recipe is super easy (seriously) and versatile, and it’s FODMAPs friendly! 

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Spinach Quiche
 
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Serves: meal-size servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spelt crust (I used the Wholly Wholesome brands from Whole Foods Market)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of baby spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg whites (optional)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • Salt
  • Peppercorn
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a fork to poke a few small holes in the pie crust, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add olive oil and roughly chopped spinach. Cook until the spinach is completely wilted.
  4. Put cooked spinach into pie crust.
  5. Whip eggs, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper together. I think parsley would also be a great additional here.
  6. Pour egg mixture over spinach.
  7. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes until eggs are done.
  8. Top with hot sauce, mayonnaise (yes mayonnaise on quiche is delicious - especially pesto mayonnaise), or whatever you desire. Serve warm!

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Enjoy your Wednesday evening!

Tofu Toast – Two Ways { Meatless Monday Recipes }

I think one of the hardest things about transitioning to veganism was finding a few go-to meals that were really low maintenance. I would love to spend a few hours in the kitchen everyday, but in reality, that isn’t always an option. I’m not strictly vegan anymore, but tofu toast is still one of my kitchen staples. In my mind, tofu and toast is just another version of eggs and toast. The options are endless, and an open-faced sandwich is something effortless to throw together when you come home late after a long day of work.

It’s no secret that I love tofu. For the longest time, I was really intimated by tofu unless it was fried because anything fried is amazing. But the more I started cooking with tofu, the more I really began to develop an appreciation for its utility. Tofu is pretty bland, but it generally takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. In my mind, this means lots of possibilities!

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Both these “recipes” are easy dinners you can put together in five minutes – ten minutes tops. It might not be a perfect, well-balanced meal, but it is the perfect weeknight dinner when you have a million other things to do and need food. This has quickly become one of my favorite easy meals. And if you love tofu as much as I do, I hope you’ll try this toast.

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Tofu Toast - Two Ways
 
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Serves: 1 Serving
Ingredients
FOR SPICY TOFU TOAST
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 3 ounces of tofu sliced (about ¼ a normal tofu package)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo, which is vegan)
  • Sriracha sauce
FOR AVOCADO TOFU TOAST
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 3 ounces of tofu sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • ½ avocado
  • Sauerkraut
  • Freshly ground peppercorn
Instructions
  1. Toast the bread.
  2. Heat a small fry pan over a medium heat.
  3. Slice tofu into four small slices, and add olive oil and tofu to frying pan. .Cook tofu, flipping occasionally, until it is golden brown on both sides.
  4. Assemble your toast! Slather each toast with mayonnaise or dijon mustard, and top with warm golden tofu. Garnish with Sriracha sauce or avocado and sauerkraut.
  5. Top with freshly ground peppercorn if desired.
  6. Devour immeidately!

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Hope you a wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

The first time I had asparagus soup was nearly a year ago. I was in a small West Texas town on a staff retreat, and as usual, I was prepared with peanut butter and crackers, expecting my dining options to be slim. I was pleasantly surprised to find a small, local restaurant bursting with ambiance, eclectic art, and one vegan soup. I was a little weary of asparagus soup, especially in the middle of meat-eating country, but it was the only vegan thing on the menu. But, luckily, that soup was phenomenal – creamy, spicy, and everything that a good soup should be.

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I know, I know – it isn’t asparagus season. But I think that is exactly why it’s the perfect time to make asparagus soup. When asparagus are in peak season, you only want to eat them roasted with a little salt and pepper because the flavor is so delectable and fresh. In the winter, when asparagus aren’t in prime season, a blended vegetable soup is the perfect solution.

Also, Asparagus is rumored to help prevent a hangover, so this is a ideal dinner before you go out for a drink on a cold winter night.

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup
 
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Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus ( about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 - 2 jalapeños (depending on how spicy your jalapeños are/ how spicy you want your soup)
  • 3 - 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Sunflower seeds for garnish
  • Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Wash russet potatoes in vinegar, wrap in foil, and put in the oven for 1 hour.
  2. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and plenty of freshly ground peppercorn. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until tender.
  3. Heat stock pot on stove over low-medium heat. Dice onion and jalapeño, and add onion and jalapeño to stock pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté until onions are tender and translucent.
  4. Add roasted asparagus, roughly chopped russet potatoes, and vegetable broth to stock pot. Bring to a boil.
  5. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a blender. Add 1 tablespoon of dried parsley and salt to taste.
  6. Garnish with sunflower seeds and balsamic vinegar (not optional)!

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

XOXO.

Tempeh Fried Rice { Meatless Monday Recipe }

It is definitely winter here in Washington, DC. No snow today, but cold, unforgiving rain. Winter isn’t my favorite time of year – mostly because Starbucks doesn’t have pumpkin spice lattes anymore. However, I do like living in a place with seasons that aren’t unpleasantly humid all-year long (cough – Houston – cough). So while winter may be uncomfortable, I try to appreciate the fun parts of winter like curling up with tea and reading or staying in to cook luxurious weeknight dinners.

Tempeh Fried Rice

I haven’t cooked with tempeh in a while because I’ve been slightly addicted to Twin Oaks tofu, but I forgot what a fulling, tasty vegetarian protein that tempeh is. Tempeh is soy product made from fermented soybeans, and it is a great source of fiber, iron, and protein – among other things. I use a brand called Lifghtlife (not an affiliate post – just love their products).

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If you’re unfamiliar with tempeh, I would say that it has a really “meaty” texture. Unlike tofu, which I would describe as soft and a little bit flavorless, tempeh is chewy and has a thickness that reminds me of meat. It also has a bit of a sour flavor from the fermentation that adds depth to dishes. This recipe includes one of my favorite ways to marinate and cook tempeh, regardless of whether I’m mixing it with fried rice or not.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tempeh Fried Rice { Meatless Monday Recipe }
 
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Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package of tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • Freshly ground peppercorn to taste
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 16 ounces of white button mushrooms
  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ginger
  • Sriracha sauce for garnish
Instructions
  1. First, chop the block of tempeh into small cubes, and marinate with Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, and freshly ground peppercorn in sandwich bag (or something similar). You can do this up to 24 hours in advance, or you can just let the tempeh marinate while the rice cooks.
  2. Second, cook cup of brown rice according to package instructions.
  3. After the rice is done cooking, get out your largest skillet or wok, and heat over a medium-high heat.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sesame oil, and marinated tempeh to skillet (or wok). Cook until tempeh begins to brown on each side, and then, remove tempeh from skillet.
  5. Turn down heat to low-medium heat, and add chopped mushrooms and finely chopped broccoli to skillet. Allow mushrooms and broccoli to cook until tender. If needed, you can put a lid on the skillet to expedite process.
  6. Remove mushrooms and broccoli from skillet, and drain any excess liquid.
  7. Return skillet to medium heat, add tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of fresh minced ginger. Cook until aromatic (around 30 seconds), and add brown rice.
  8. Cook rice for for a few minutes until a little crispy, and return tempeh, broccoli, and mushroom to pan, and mix everything together over a low heat.
  9. Serve warm with plenty of Sriracha sauce.

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Happy Meatless Monday! XO.

The Low FODMAPs Diet

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If you aren’t familiar with the Low FODMAPs diet, it is a diet developed by a research team at Monash University that focuses on alleviating IBS symptoms. Without getting too graphic,  FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are notoriously difficult for the small intestine to absorb and, as a result, cause gastrointestinal disorders.

If you’re like me, you’ve suffered from gastrointestinal distress at some point in your life. At a time when I was having particularly bad IBS symptoms, I tried eating low FODMAPs for one week, which is a lot less than the suggested 2 – 6 weeks, but I immediately noticed an improvement in my symptoms. However, the terrible thing about avoiding FODMAPs, which includes Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-daccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, is that there are a lot of vegetables, including garlic (!!!) and onions (!!!), that are not FODMAPs-friendly.

As someone who loves cooking and relied  heavily on garlic and onion to flavor everything, I suddenly had to come up with other ways to season my food. So, in solidarity with all those people who suffer from IBS or might be following a Low FODMAPs diet, I want to  share weekly recipes that are easy, vegetarian, and FODMAPs-friendly.

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Saffron Rice with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Tofu
 
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This FODMAPS-friendly rice bowl avoids garlic, onions, and other FODMAPS without sacrificing on flavor. The saffron rice is complimented by the smokey flavor of roasted eggplant, tofu, and tomatoes. In addition, it is easy weeknight dinner that involves minimal prep and a little of bit of waiting while vegetables and tofu tenderize in the oven.
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 pinches of Spanish saffron threads
  • 2 small eggplants
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes
  • 14 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid aminos (or substitute low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Fresh peppercorn
  • Dried Parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine rice, olive oil, vegetable broth, and saffron in a pot, and bring to a boil. Then, cover, and simmer for 30 - 35 minutes until rice is tender and all the broth is absorbed.
  3. Cut eggplant and tofu into small ½ inch cubes. Cut grapes tomatoes in half.
  4. Toss eggplant, tomatoes, and tofu in olive oil, liquid aminos, maple syrups, and season with fresh peppercorn.
  5. Spread eggplant, tomatoes, and tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  6. Serve tofu and vegetables warm on top of saffron rice. Garnish with peppercorn and dried parsley as desired.

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I definitely do not stick to this diet all the time, but it is nice to know that there is that there is something that works for me when my stomach is being particularly high-maintenance. If you  are interested in learning more about FODMAPs, Monash University has a smartphone app that has a lot of information about IBS and the Low FODMAPs diet. 

Buenos noches!

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Disclaimer: Please note, this blog is based on my personal experience with a Low FODMAPs diet. I’m not a dietitian, and I am not affiliated with Monash University in any way. If you are looking to change your diet, you should seek the advice of an experienced dietitian.