Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (or Brunch): Dairy and Gluten-free Chicken Fried Maitake Mushroom and Butternut Squash Waffle

I officially became a vegetarian when I was about 22 years old. In those 22 years I had never heard of chicken and waffles – it wasn’t a thing in New York. I moved out to LA when I was 33 and everyone wanted to meet at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles before drinks. I showed up later for drinks. The closest I ever came to Roscoe’s in LA was rewatching Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. Being a New Yorker, I like to watch sporting events (the few I do watch) and election debates in bars – so during the 2012 election, I watched the debates from a bar on Pico located very close to a Roscoe’s. Turns out the person I was talking to next to me was Herb Hudson – the founder of Roscoe’s. He is a Harlem native and we talked a lot about NYC vs LA. He suggested I visit Roscoe’s noting that Obama had made a stop at a Roscoe’s, but once I told him I was vegetarian the conversation came to an abrupt halt. I have often been curious about the appeal of chicken and waffles. So I created a chicken-fried mushroom with a gluten-free and dairy-free nut crust. And put it on top of a gluten-free dairy free waffle. And topped it with sweet fruit toppings, green veggieful toppings, savory toppings, spicy toppings. Savory. Sweet. Soft and Crunchy. Chicken and waffles. I get it now.

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Break Bad and Bake Bread: Spiced Zucchini Pumpkin Chia Bread with Pecans and Cranberries

Up until two weeks ago, I was really on top of eating clean, but after the election, I found myself struggling to eat well. Thanksgiving this year really inspired me to make a change – get out of my rut. But that did not turn off my cravings. The cold weather combined with the holiday feeling left me with the craving for warm bread…so I made one that would keep me healthy and happy.  What better than a slice of a healthy flavorful bread and a cup of tea. This whole wheat, oat, zucchini, pumpkin, cranberry, pecan, chia bread made with psyllium husk, sweetened with dates and spiced with green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove will keep you satisfied. It was moist, filling and full of flavor.

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Wake me up before you go go: Flourless energy cookies with coconut, nuts, sunflower seeds, currants and more

Recently I have had a lot of conversations with people that ask about my lack of sleep and schedule during the day. My schedule is pretty typical and routine for a full-time working mom, but seems to shock people that don’t have kids or have forgotten what it was like. The number one question I am asked is, how are you able to work out at 5 am after only a few hours of sleep? Really, there is no choice for me right now, so I just do. The next question is what do you eat for breakfast? I eat more like a hobbit than human with an early wake up call – breakfast, second breakfast and an elevensies. So it requires having a lot of food around. The easier it is for me to eat and the more filling, sustaining and nourishing it is, the better off I am (and less likely to reach for junk since I have a constant desire to eat). That’s what makes these energy cookies so good: rich with good fats and protein from a variety of nuts and seeds, fiber from oats and sweetened with nothing but banana, dates and bites of currants so I don’t crash.

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