Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce

A few weeks ago, I posted a pasta recipe using Avocado Basil Pesto Sauce and I was AMAZED at the response. I’ve posted pasta pictures in the past, and from them I’ve learned that nobread diners still love their (gluten-free) carbs! But moreover, I learned that you guys are super interested in plant-based, unique sauces! So this week I used Butternut Squash to make a vegan cheese sauce!

In doing my research I saw most people incorporate cashews into their cheese sauce. As much as I wanted to do this, cashews are the ONE nut I’m intolerant to! I know… it sucks… and it seriously limits my vegan ice cream selection! Well, although I’ve never had a butternut squash/cashew cheese sauce and I can’t make a comparison, I can say that my cheese sauce turned out pretty darn good!

What You Will Need:

  • 1.5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened nut milk
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (1T was used in sautéing the squash! 1T was added after)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice from half a lemon!
  • Gluten-free pasta!

What You Will Do:

Steam/Boil your butternut squash cubes for 10 minutes on the stove
Drain and add your butternut squash to a blender or Vitamix.
Add nut milk, olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast.
Blend on high until all ingredients are totally incorporated.
Taste with a spoon! And add any of the above ingredients until your desired taste is achieved. I added one more squeeze of lemon and a dash more salt.
Pour over your favorite gluten-free pasta, nachos, veggies, etc., and serve!

Tulum

It’s official, I’ve crossed Tulum off of my travel “Bucket List” (Hawaii and Bali still remain…)! And Tulum is just as beautiful and magical as I knew it would be. All of Tulum’s society (cafes, hotels, shops etc.) takes place right on/off of a single main road, and the town couldn’t be more authentic and charming.

My friends and I stayed at a private villa, Casa Chic, and if you are looking for a villa, I highly recommend it! The 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom private waterfront villa was totally breathtaking. A full pool and deck on top, and private beach access with multiple beach beds down below. Also, given the house was two stories, it never felt too crowded… you wouldn’t have known 10 people were staying there!

The best part about the house was that it came with a private chef who cooked us the most glorious meals! I can sum up the cuisine of Tulum in one word: ceviche. Ceviche was a staple at every meal (both in the house and out at restaurants), and the fresh shrimp, octopus, and white fish soaked in lime and citrus flavors was absolutely incredible everywhere we went.

 

For breakfast each morning a delicious fruit platter was set out and eggs cooked to our liking had us full and ready for the day. Oh, and before I forget, our kitchen came with a blender and it’s safe to say it got a TON of use. Margaritas, anyone?!

Hotspots:

Be Tulum: The first place I went to in Tulum. It only took about 5 seconds to realize that Be Tulum is the nicest/fanciest spot in the town. Keleigh and I arrived in time for a day party, and even though the security tried to turn us down for not being on the guest list, we were able to finagle ourselves an invite 😉 For sure grab a day bed and spend the day relaxing (or partying next to the DJ).

Food-wise the menu is amazing. It was here that I had my first ceviche of the trip, and Keleigh and I treated ourselves to a ceviche/taco feast. I had food-FOMO when the guys at the bed next to us ordered all of the salads… they looked like a dream! Specifically the cucumber cashew one!

We went to Be Tulum for dinner one night, too, with the whole crew! Order the whole fish, lobster, and short rib, and all of the veggie options! When the lobster and whole fish came out we were in AWE of the spread!

In asking for spa referrals, everyone told us to go to Ya’an Wellness… the spa at Be Tulum! The treatments are my dream, and I will absolutely be back for them. My crew and I participated in a shaman healing ritual one night, and it was by far the most special moment of the trip. Sitting in a pitch black cave filled with fire and heat, surrounded by your best friends, forgiving and setting intentions for the year… I have no words to describe how special this was.

Hotel Viento de Mar: My friends and I stumbled upon this beachside hotel when we were out for a walk. Just a couple hundred yards away from our place, the hotel is super casual and offers a full menu of tacos and margaritas. Notable menu items: any of the tacos, guacamole, and mixed ceviche.

Wellness:

Matcha Mama: MY LITERAL OBSESSION. Vegan and gluten-free everything! Smoothies, coconut based matcha ice-cream, latte’s, raw bites, acai bowls, and more!! The cafe is tiny and just steps off of the main road, and between it’s ambiance, hammocks, and swinging seats, you will instantly be transported to your happy place. To my New Yorker’s, it should come as no surprise that the owner of Matcha Mama is the man behind Chalk Point Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in New York City!

I ordered the Mamacita Smoothie and altered it a bit! Almond Milk, Matcha, Almond Butter, Banana, NO mango, Add Blueberries. Creamy and filling… just how I like it! I also ordered a coconut milk matcha latte. The matcha latte’s I had here at MM and at Raw Love tasted SO fresh. You could tell there was no added sugar and the coconut milk came straight from the coconut! To round out my order, I tried the matcha ice cream! Coconut milk based, I tried both the classic matcha and matcha with passion fruit. Both were incredible! 

Just look at this place! How fricken adorable!!

Raw Love: Prior to coming to Tulum, all of my friends in the wellness-sphere told me I HAD to go to Raw Love. Vegans, this is the place for you. Set just off the main road, Raw Love feels like an oasis in the middle of the jungle, and is surrounded by calming centers and yoga spots.

Everything on the menu is gluten-free and vegan, and the menu has anything and everything- from coconut milk latte’s and the most INSANELY delicious raw bites, to acai bowls and superfood healing remedies and shots. The photo below is a bowl of raw cookies- coconut macarons, cacao bites, and goji berry bites. AMAZING. Even my gluten-eating, non-vegan friends agreed! Go to Raw Love for lunch, too. The salads are full of greens and a dream.

Nightlife recs:
1. Be Tulum (had cool day parties)
2. Papaya Playa Project
3. Casa Jaguar- for sure THE SPOT of Tulum. Start with dinner and stay for the DJ!

What’s cool about Tulum is that you can visit the city literally ten times in a year and have ten totally different experiences. Given I was with a bunch of friends at a private villa, we stuck around the house for a lot of the trip. On my next trip I want to take advantage of the amazing wellness opportunities in Tulum. Yoga studios are everywhere and all of the cafe’s are so cute and have menus that are SCREAMING my name.

A few places I didn’t get to go to but hear I must try next time!

  1. Coco Hotel
  2. The Real Coconut- organic, GF, DF, grain-free EVERYTHING
  3. Charlie’s Vegan Tacos
  4. Papaya Playa Project- hotel- was told to go here for multiple things throughout the day/night.

OH! And before I sign off… BRING BUG SPRAY. I got EATEN alive. I’m still scratching and I’ve been home for almost a week now!

 

the incredible egg

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

This blog post is done in partnership with the American Egg Board.

The American Egg Board has posed this simple question to Americans for the relaunch of the brand’s trademark “Incredible Egg.” Deviled, baked, fried, scrambled, sunny side up, or omelet, there are so many ways to enjoy the egg. On toast, in a salad, or as part of a meal, this campaign (How Do You Like Your Eggs?) from The Incredible Egg, helps people think about the many ways and occasions to enjoy eggs.

I may be NOBREAD, but my favorite way to eat eggs is on top of #glutenfree toast! Whether the base is avocado, nut butter, greens, or hummus, eggs are the perfect, protein-packed compliment to your brekkie. My go-to egg combo is a sunny-side up egg on peanut butter! There is nothing better than biting into the egg yolk and having the yolk ooze out- and paired with peanut butter- YUM.

I used to fear the yolk, even though the yolk is packed with most of the egg’s nutrients (Vitamins D and B12 & selenium) and 40% of the egg’s protein, so back in the day I was all about the fried egg. Cook it sunny side up, but then flip the egg and cook the top until the yolk firms to your liking. When cooked like this you can control the amount of yolk you want to cut into and eat. Lastly, when in doubt, scramble your eggs. Each bite has the perfect ratio of yolk to egg white, and scrambled eggs are the quickest to make! I paired my scrambled egg here with almond butter!

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, with one large egg containing 6 grams of high-quality protein and nine essential amino acids, all for 70 calories. They also include choline (important for brain development), are packed with Vitamins D and B12 (don’t toss the yolk!), and are an amazing source of protein. Oh, and given eggs are inexpensive relative to other proteins, they are a great way to eat nutritiously and affordably.

Here are a few more of my favorite egg recipes:

Easy Egg Muffins

Baked Eggs in Avocado

Cauliflower Rice/Eggs Lunch

Paleo Blueberry Banana Bread

For more information about The Incredible Egg, its newest ad campaign and an array of delicious recipes, visit  IncredibleEgg.org and check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Cacao Banana Bread

chocbanana

So, who has made my famous banana bread?? And did you love it? It’s my go-to baked dish when I’m asked to bring breakfast or dessert to a party! Not only is it super filling, but it also uses few ingredients, and on the whole it’s pretty healthy! Well, I decided to take the recipe one step further and add a little cocoa to the mix. The result? Chocolate-y goodness.

chocbanana8

What You Will Need:
2 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup dairy-free butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1/3 cup cacoa powder
OPTIONAL: Walnuts, Blueberries, Coconut Butter

chocbanana7 chocbanana6 chocbanana5 chocbanana4

What You Will Do:
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas.
Add melted butter, coconut sugar, egg, and vanilla, and mix!
Separately, combine Almond Flour, cacoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined.
Optional: add walnuts or dairy-free chocolate chips!
Pour batter into a 9×5″ bread pan that is coated in olive oil or olive oil spray.
Cook for ~40 minutes! When finished, let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. chocbanana2

Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

What makes a good smoothie? Well this answer will be different for everyone! For me, a good smoothie is a smoothie that is creamy AF. It makes me feel fuller, and when you’re having a liquid as a meal, it can be tough to feel full after! My new Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie, which is a take of my Vanilla Avocado Smoothie, is my creamiest smoothie yet thanks to a special ingredient: cauliflower!

What You Will Need:
1.5 Cup Unsweetened Nut Milk
1/2 Avocado
1 Scoop Vanilla or Chocolate Protein Powder (the top two photos here use chocolate protein, the last photo uses vanilla)
1/4 Cup Blueberries
1T Chia or Flax Seeds
1/2-1Cup steamed then frozen Cauliflower (the more cauliflower florets the creamier)

What You Will Do:
Add all ingredients to a blender starting with the nut milk and ending with the frozen cauliflower.
Blend in a Vitamin or NutriBullet on high for 40-50 seconds.
Finish with toppings of your choice and serve!

Adding frozen cauliflower FLORETS, not cauliflower RICE, to this smoothie is the key to making it creamy AF. Next up I will be trying frozen zucchini… stay tuned!