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Great Caesar’s Ghost!

I love a good variation on a classic salad.  The Caesar Salad, created somewhere in the early 1920’s by Italian born chef, Caesar  Cardini,  consists of a Romaine type lettuce, croutons, parmesan Cheese and a dressing made with egg yolks, lemon juice, olive oil, etc. Today, most restaurants do stray from the original recipe, however, this usually consists of adding grilled chicken or shrimp to make the salad heartier and more protein rich. The salad we make in my family, however, is really nothing like the original Caesar, but does borrow some key elements. The ingredient list might sound funky, but trust me, this salad is amazing!

Great Caesar’s Ghost! Salad

Mesclun Salad


Dried Cranberries

Roughly diced Avocado

Chopped (Salad Bar) Olives (We use green olives that are marinated in minced garlic. Make sure to get good olives, it really makes the salad)

Bolthouse Farms Caesar Parmigiano Yogurt Dressing (You can use any dressing, but I HIGHLY recommend this one. The tangyness of the yogurt mixed with the sweetness from the cranberries really works well together)

Optional: Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese and/or  SnackSalad Snapea Crisps

Mix together and enjoy!

Variations on a Variation

The best part of this salad is how many other variations there are!

Tropical Caesar: Lettuce, Avocado, Diced Mango, Grilled Shrimp, Dressing

South-of-the-border Caesar: Lettuce, Black Beans, Corn, Avocado, Cubed Pepper Jack Cheese, Dressing

A Greener Caesar: Lettuce, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Avocado, Dressing

The possibilities are endless. Happy experimenting!

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White Bean and Chorizo Chili

I know, your probably thinking, chili? But it’s summer! Well, this isn’t your typical chili. Surprisingly light, this recipe makes more of a chili topping to serve a top a bed of rice or quinoa. It’s perfect for rainy summer days when you want to stay in and eat something warm, and plus, after the prep work, it comes together fairly quickly.

White Bean and Chorizo Chili

• About 3 ounces (Vegan) Chorizo ( I used Melissa’s Soyrizo, which is about half of one link. If you’re a meat eater, you can substitute for regular chorizo, but I can’t guarantee the same results)
• olive oil (for the pan, I eyeballed)
• 1 red onion, roughly chopped
• 1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
• small bunch of sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• 3 fresh bay leaves (or two large ones)
• 1 cup vegetable broth plus 1/2 cup water
• 1 19 oz can cannellini beans (you can probably experiment with other white bean varieties as well)

1. Begin by peeling your onion and deseeding your pepper. At the same time, either spray or add some oil (about 1T or less) to a non-stick cooking pan on medium-high. Break up your chorizo and add to the pan. If you are using Soyrizo, press into the pan like a pancake. Soyrizo will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, and you will need to flip it half way through. You want the Soyrizo to get dark and crisp, but not burnt. Once the Soyrizo is done, remove from pan (do not wash pan).

2. Roughly chop the red pepper into slightly larger cubes than the onion. Add a little more oil to the pan where the chorizo was, turn down the heat to medium lower, and add the pepper and onion. You’ll want to cook the onion and pepper 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and pepper is soft. Both should take on a slightly darker color from the chorizo remnants in the pan.

3. Gather your rosemary and bay leaves

4. Finely chop your rosemary (pictured above). Once your vegetables are almost done, add your chorizo back into the pan.

5. Once the chorizo has been added and vegetables are cooked through, add bay leaves and chopped rosemary to pan and incorporate into mixture. (Your vegetables should look like above at this point)

6. Add your beans and 1 cup vegetable stock and 1/2 cup water to the pan. The liquid should completely cover the beans. If it does not, add a tiny bit more water or vegetable broth. Cook for about 25 minutes or so, until all liquid is cooked out, beans are soft and mixture has thickened.

7. Remove bay leaves, season with salt or pepper if needed, and serve. (Serving suggestion: top a southwestern quinoa with this chili and avocado, add veggies or salad on the side)

Happy Eating.


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Weekend Brunch and Vegan Brunch

One of my favorite weekend activities has always been having a great drunken brunch with friends. Now that I’m abstaining from alcohol (for the time being, to get healthy) brunches, thankfully, haven’t become less fun. The one thing I do miss, however, is actually being able to eat brunch food. Along with alcohol, I’m staying away from a plethora of different things; land meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, processed and fried foods, etc. Brunch basically consists of all of the things I can’t have; waffles and french toast, omelets and Eggs Benedict, sugary jams and maple syrup. Even the healthy options, yogurt and fruit and granola, still have to be ordered sans yogurt and granola. I’m not complaining, I’m pretty happy with the way I feel and I still manage to find quite a few options every time I go out to eat, but I do miss a good, proper brunch.

While hanging out in my sisters apartment and thinking about making myself something to eat for breakfast, I remembered that I had purchased Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz a while ago, but never cracked it open. Although vegan, many of the recipes still contain gluten or sugar, are fried, and loaded with calories. Healthier than their non-vegan counterparts? Definitely, but not healthy enough for my current diet. However the one recipe that caught my eye was the Vegan Omelet. I’ve seen photos of vegan omelets on blogs for quite some time now and they’ve always looked delicious. Perusing the ingredients, I was excited to find that the recipe actually fit within my current diet! Containing tofu, chickpea flour, tumeric, garlic, arrowroot, salt, and oil, it was perfect. I made a few adjustments however, I did not have silken tofu so I subbed lite firm tofu and omitted the oil from the recipe altogether. With the firm tofu, the batter was quite thick so I added some carbonated water to thin it out and keep it fluffy. I also only made half the recipe, which should be 2 omelets, but I managed to get 3 which was a total score.





The last omelet was my sister’s and had tomato and dairy cheese. Mine is the one with just tomato. Both omelets came out really well.  Did they taste like egg omelets? Not at all, more like chickpea pancakes but they were great and definitely resembled the type of brunch food I no longer eat. I’m going to play around and tweak the recipe, maybe I’ll post in the future once I think it’s good enough. (Email me if you want the recipe now) All in all, a fantastically delicious and healthy morning.

P.S I know this post seems off topic, but the blog has never been strictly fashion. If you’re a longtime reader, you probably know that already. Either way, hope you enjoy my little change of pace.