Make Out Every Day? Yes, Please!!

I am sure you read this title and thought, okay…what on earth is this going to be about? Sorry folks, I am actually NOT going to talk about making out (which is fun, but that’s a whole other blog post!), this post is regarding a very cute and chic incognito cafe I happened upon while walking to a workout class in Culver City.

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Make Out is nestled in the heart of Culver City, in between the Archlight Culver City and the historic Culver Hotel. I say it is incognito because the location is rather small and it is easier to find walking by then to drive around looking for it. I was headed to a workout class, as I mentioned, and I was feeling rather tired and needed a pick me up. I walked into this cute little cafe hoping to find something caffeinated, and indeed I did, and much more.

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Preceding this cafe was the raw/live food restaurant M.A.K.E, which was raw chef Matthew Kenney’s dining experience located on the top floor of Santa Monica Place until it closed in June of 2015. Make Out came along to cater to the growing demand of plant based whole foods and makes this type of food more accessible in an everyday setting. The name is supposed to align with “sexy” food.

I did not sample any of the actual sexy food at this cafe, but the desserts look heavenly. They have everything from raw cheesecakes, to macaroons and raw chocolate truffles. Raw sushi, flatbreads and wraps are included in their savory delights.

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I guess I should get back to my point of needing a pre-workout pick me up. This cafe sells cold brew coffee or chai with different medicinal herbs added to it. A very cool, unique (and hipster, I admit) concept, however, I am intrigued.

While they have different juices, smoothies and kombuchas on tap, a smoothie with avocado and almond milk can be found at many juice/smoothie bars nowadays. Make Out has something very unique they call Latte Potions. So a person can chose, again, a chai or cold brewed coffee with coconut oil and coconut nectar or honey, and then there are six different potions you can choose from to add. Different coffees have different physical and emotional intentions based upon their names. There is the Make Out, Geek Out, Bliss Out, Work Out, Chill Out and Shroom Out.

I chose the Work Out. My coffee had Tocos, Eucommia Bark, Cordyceps and Astragalus in it. Some of you may be familiar with these herbs, but for those who are not, here is a short de-briefing…

Tocos-a very potent source of vitamin E, contributes to healthy skin and liver, Kosher and non-GMO, delicious in smoothies and desserts.

Eucommia Bark-used to treat lower body pain and weakness in the bones.

Cordycepsknown for strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging.

Astragalus-is said to increase blood flow and speed up healing and fight bacteria, but there is not enough scientific evidence to determine its efficiency.

A few other herbs found in some of the other drinks…

He Shou Wu-a good source of iron, helps maintain strength and stability in the lower back and knees, promotes healthy aging process.

Pine Pollen-good for hormonal support, brain food, supports and detoxifies the liver and can be a natural aphrodisiac.

As for how much of these herbs is put into each coffee or chai, it is all mixed up into a potion (hence Latte Potions!) and the amounts are measured out and safe for consumption. You can get your drink iced or warm. I got mine warm, apparently if it is too hot it can destroy the effects of some of the herbs.

I downed my potion before I finished my walk to the class and I did feel revived and ready to get my workout going. At 7 dollars a coffee, I can honestly say this would be a once in awhile indulgence, but I suppose it is something anyone could try at home given the right tools (and you can buy most of these herbs online) and the desire.

Persimmons are FINALLY back in season!!

Yesterday I went for my weekly (when I am free on a Tuesday, which lately has not been often!) walk over to the Culver City Farmers Market. I am not an avid farmers market shopper. I enjoy some of the more random findings that a farmer’s market can offer from time to time, like cotton candy pluots and cactus based tortillas, but more often than not I just go to Trader Joe’s or Sprouts, because the quality is usually fine there and a lot cheaper. However this time of the year I am on a mission, and lucky for me the season started the week I decided to show up. persimmons

PERSIMMONS! Ok, you are probably thinking, what is the big deal. I just love them. They are my favorite fall fruit and their season is pretty short, from about October until February. The fuyu and the hachiya are the most common varieties found in the United States.Fuyus represent almost 80 percent of the persimmon market in the United States and are most commonly eaten raw. They are characterized by flat bottoms, a squatty shape and a slightly crisp texture. Fuyus should be yellow-orange in color and are at their best when they are slightly soft. This is the variety I prefer. Hachiya persimmons are very astringent unless they are perfectly ripe, in which case, they have a unique velvety flesh. Differing from the fuyu variety, they have an elongated, acorn shape and are slightly larger than the fuyu.

Persimmons are high in vitamin A and zea-xanthin, good for skin and eye-sight respectively. They are also high in beta-carotene and lutein, good for fighting cancers and oxygen-derived free radicals. Persimmons are also great source of vitamin C, folic acid, B-6 and thiamin, which helps with circulation and carbohydrate metabolism.

Ok, so enough on the background. I bought myself a bag an brought them home. I washed one off and ate it, and then I decided I wanted to try to make something with persimmon. Instead of looking up recipes, I made up my mind pretty quickly. After eying the popsicle molds in my cupboard (as it has been unseasonably hot for October!) I decided I wanted to try to make a popsicle with persimmon in it, so this is what happened. This came out pretty good, except I would probably skip using the greek yogurt and just use coconut milk because the yogurt made the popsicles taste a little sour. Otherwise, a healthy treat and very easy to make.photo 1

PERSIMMON COCONUT POPSICLES

1 persimmon, chopped

1 single serving of Greek 0% yogurt (optional)

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1 cup almond or coconut milk

2 tbsp. honey

Blend in high powered blender until desired texture is reached.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze over night.

Enjoy!

Dessert Time…Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies!!

photo 3With the weather being kind of overcast and weird in Los Angeles tonight, after dinner I was craving something sweet, but not wanting to completely over do it. I was craving chocolate, but didn’t want to go crazy and eat a whole chocolate bar. The whole, gray, overcast and slightly rainy evening made me want something comforting as well…so I came up with the perfect treat.
These cookies are actually a healthy version of something that could be a caloric disaster. These are made with real oats, which are high in fiber and help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. I also used raw cacao powder and a little bit of my friend Sophie’s raw vegan superfood protein powder Cacao Magic, which contains maca powder and real cacao nibs. To sweeten the product I used a spoonful of raw organic honey, but you can use whatever sweetener you desire. I think this recipe would also be great with an added banana or some dried fruit, but it was enough to kill my sweet tooth and would be a welcome rainy (or sunny!) day addition after a healthy dinner. Tastes great with a glass of low fat milk or an alternative milk such as almond, rice or coconut.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup of uncooked oats

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 egg white

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp Cacao Magic (optional)

sweetener of your choice (I used a tablespoon of raw organic honey)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Set oven to 400 F. Mix together all ingredients. Place on foil on a baking tray for 12-15 minutes. Makes approximately 4 cookies.

 

 

Dairy-Free Mint Chocolate Chip

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Once upon a time I would have thought there was absolutely no way a decent dairy based dessert could be made WITHOUT dairy. Butter, yogurt or some sort of cream…it just couldn’t be possible! Brownies, frostings, puddings? No way. And DEFINITELY not ice cream.

Flashing forward to now, going through nutrition school and becoming friends with many raw foodists and vegans, I have learned there are many delicious dairy alternatives that can be used to create sweet treats. While these alternatives can still be fattening, chances are they are healthier and easier on our digestive systems than dairy products can often be.

There are some really creative options out there, and this one I found was quite a challenge, but at the same time, not so bad. The ingredients are simple, and it does not require an ice cream maker. I don’t own an ice cream maker (might be on my wish list!) so this recipe worked out perfectly for me. I also don’t have an ice cream scooper, so the pictures could have been nicer if the “ice cream” scoops were more “ice cream” shaped. It is actually quite delicious, and although it does not taste like the real thing to me, it is very close and a good alternative for those who are trying to watch their processed sugar intake and have issues with dairy consumption. If you do decide to stick to regular ice cream, just make sure it has as few ingredients as possible.Image 15

Mint Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”

2 Hass medium-large avocados

1 medium banana

1/4 cup coconut butter (could use coconut oil)

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey is also fine)

1 tablespoon peppermint extract ( a little more if you want it extra minty)

handful of fresh mint leaves

3-5 tablespoons of Enjoy Life chocolate chips (soy, nut and dairy free)

Directions

Pit and scoop out avocados.

Peel banana.

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips into Vita-mix or high powered blender.

Blend until smooth. Make sure it is well blended.

Place in large deep bowl.

Add in your chocolate chips. Stir them in.

Set bowl into freezer.

Stir every 30 minutes until desired texture is achieved. This can take up to 2 hours with stirring every 30 minutes, so make sure you do this on a day or night where you might be home. You could just leave it in the freezer and tend to it later, but it might be really hard and difficult to maneuver at that point.