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.

IMG_2496

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.

IMG_2497

IMG_2500

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.

IMG_2463

IMG_2464

IMG_2465

IMG_2466

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.

Quinoa “Enchilada” Casserole

One of the things I know for sure. Some people love burgers. Some people love pizza. One of my favorite “guilty” pleasures is Mexican food. I love chips and guacamole and could eat them all day. One of the things I don’t like about Mexican food, however, is how GREASY and FULL of CHEESE it can be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little cheese here and there, but I don’t like my food covered in it. It’s way too congestive for my system to handle in massive quantities.

That being said, I am often looking for ways to make food dishes that are “Mexican-inspired” without all the cheese and grease. There are quite a few quinoa bakes on the Internet with turkey and black beans, but mine I did with NO cheese and used bell peppers and tomatoes instead of corn, which I find a totally useless vegetable to eat, unless its grilled on a cob from time to time.

This dish can also be made meatless. If you chose to go meatless, I would use a full cup of black bans in the dish instead of 1/2 cup so you get a little more protein in there. I was really impressed with the flavor in this dish and I really don’t even miss the cheese at all!!

photo

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

1 cup of organic quinoa

1 cup of organic ground turkey meat ( I used kosher)

1/2 cup black beans

1 large organic red bell pepper, diced

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 large avocado, diced

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup of Frontera Red Enchilada Sauce (feel free to use whatever brand you chose, I liked this brand because it was lower in sodium than others)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F

Cook the quinoa (boil in 2 cups of water for 12-15 minutes)

Cook the turkey meat (sauté for 5-7 minutes until cooked through)

Once cooked, combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl

Pour into a greased or sprayed square baking pan

Bake approximately 15-20 minutes

Top with more avocado and tomato, or add a favorite salsa if you chose.

Enjoy!!

Breakfast On The Go…Apple and Almond Butter Baked Oatmeal

I was recently asked about creating breakfasts on the go. What is a breakfast on the go? Specifically, this is means a breakfast you can easily pack up and take with you on a busy morning and either eat on the road or once you get where you are going. For me, this is typically a breakfast in a mason jar (like a homemade smoothie or overnight oats), but recently my creative juices got flowing when I read about a breakfast idea called baked oatmeal.

photo 2

Baked oatmeal is basically taking your favorite traditional oatmeal and making it into a casserole. Unlike regular oatmeal, which is made on the stove-top and has a porridge-like consistency, baked oatmeal is made in the oven and has a consistency similar to that of bread pudding. What is nice about this sort of consistency is that once it is cooled, it is easy to cut into pieces and take on the road.

There are many ways you can make this sort of dish, but I decided I would add two of my favorite healthy choices that add fiber and flavor and some healthy fat and protein as well. Apples, especially when baked, add natural sweetness to this recipe and almond butter makes it more satisfying and gives this dish a rich, nutty flavor. Again, this is baked oatmeal is great for an on the go breakfast, snack, or even dessert.

photo 1

Apple and Almond Butter Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup coconut sugar (great because it is lower glycemic)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups skim milk (or milk of your choice)
1  egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crunchy almond butter
3-4 diced organic fuji apples, skin on

directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 square baking dish with cooking spray of your choice and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the almond butter and mix until combined. Add the apples and stir again. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and oatmeal is set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad…A Healthy Vegetarian Option

I am not a vegetarian, nor do I intend to be, but I do believe in this day and age we Americans are definitely over consuming protein. I am not talking about high biological value (HBV) protein, which is what REAL animal products such as chicken, turkey, fish and eggs contain…I am talking about all these bars and shakes (even protein based cookies and chips!) that people seem to think they need. I have clients with digestive issues, and when I look at their diets and see the overconsumption of protein bars and lack of water in their diet, it is no wonder they feel bloated, because the more protein you consume, the more water you should be drinking!

photo 2

Anyhow, I guess my point is, not every meal HAS to have animal protein in it. It really depends on you. I know because I exercise 7 days a week, more often than not, my meals contain a high biological value protein in them, because it keeps me satiated. Sometimes I do half a chicken breast if I don’t feel like I need a whole one and eat the other half later. It really just depends on how I feel. And sometimes I do find it easier once in awhile on my digestive system to have a healthy vegetarian meal. This dish is Mediterranean inspired ( a personal favorite of mine) and very easy to make.

Fun Fact-One cup of cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) contains 269 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrate, 15 grams of protein, 13 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of fat and 0 grams of cholesterol. Besides being an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of protein and fiber, chickpeas also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. The high fiber content in chickpeas has been known to help lower glucose levels, blood pressure and decrease risk for heart disease.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. lemon pepper

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into pieces

1 small English cucumber, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

A little juice from the kalamata olive jar (optional but makes it taste even more amazing!)

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together, 1 tbsp. olive oil, the cumin and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Then add the chickpeas and stir until they are coated with this mixture.

Next, in a medium non stick skillet, cook chickpea mixture over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are golden brown and slightly crisp, 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic about half way through this process. Transfer all of this to a plate.

In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, remaining olive oil, oregano and the rest of the sea salt and lemon pepper. Add the romaine, cucumber, onion, chickpeas, garlic and the olives. Toss it all together. Add the extra kalamata olive juice if desired.

ENJOY!