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Cheesecake is my kryptonite.

I eat a piece of the real stuff every year for my birthday (yep, the REAL stuff. Remember, 80/20), but for other times of the year when I have the urge for some cheesecake as a reward day treat, I like to have my real food remixed options available.

These pistachio lime “cheesecake” squares are the perfect real food remixed remedy for that cheesecake itch, as they have that same kind of rich, creamy cheesecake texture, but without the refined sugars, dairy and flours we may find in traditional cheesecake.

If you’re a cheesecake fan and dig that pistachio-lime flavor vibe, give these a try!

These pistachio lime cheesecake squares are recipe ingredient-friendly:

  • raw
  • paleo
  • vegetarian & vegan
  • gluten-free & grain-free
  • dairy-free
  • made with real food ingredients

Ready for a bite?

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Raw Zucchini Bread

Summer may feel over after Labor Day weekend, but seasonally many summer veggies are still growing strong here in SoCal, including green zucchini.  This season I’ve been growing a bunch of summer squash varieties that I’ve mainly been slicing up and freezing for future meals, but I’ve also used a lot of the green zucchini to spiralize and add to soups like pho, shred up for mixed veggie latkes, and even used the flower blossoms for this stuffed zucchini flowers recipe.

With summer coming to an end soon (seasonally speaking), the one thing I realized I hadn’t made yet was zucchini bread!  So I ended up making this double chocolate zucchini bread by my friend Alexis over at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, and then I wanted to try adapting one of my most popular real food remixed recipes on the blog, homemade raw bread, into a zucchini bread version.

I’ve adapted the raw bread into a rosemary olive bread before (so good if you like olive bread!), so I figured a zucchini bread version should work.  It took making this new version a few times to get the consistency and flavors how I wanted it, but ultimately it turned out really tasty and it’s loaded with great, real food ingredients versus the processed flours, sugars, etc. we would typically find in a traditional zucchini bread.

This raw zucchini bread can be sliced thin for sandwiches, used open face for crostini or avocado toast.  Many options with it and it’s recipe-friendly:

  • paleo
  • vegetarian & vegan
  • raw
  • gluten-free
  • dairy-free
  • ReBoot Protocol (week 2+)
  • 100% real food ingredients

Let’s check it out!

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This week I whipped up of one of my all-time favorite Vietnamese soups, Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’), with a bit of a veggie-loaded kick to it.

So if you’ve ever had Pho, you know traditionally it has thin slices of meat and rice noodles in it, right?

But for this particular recipe I wanted to keep it ReBoot-friendly without the meat and use different mushrooms for the “meaty bite” alternative.  To keep it grain-free, I swapped out rice noodles with kelp noodles (lower in calories comparatively- kelp noodles have virtually nil), as well as an assortment of spiralized veggie noodles like zucchini and carrot.

Finished off with an epic veggie broth that has ginger, garlic, sesame oil, & lime, and some tasty toppings like mint, cilantro, scallion & chili, and this entire meal comes together very nicely as a tasty real food dinner meal for the fam or a great meal prep for our week.

This Veggie Pho is recipe-friendly:

  • paleo
  • vegetarian & vegan
  • gluten & grain-free
  • dairy-free
  • ReBoot Protocol: Week 1+
  • and made with 100% real food ingredients

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Roasted Garlic Maple Rainbow Carrots

Nothing like Mother Nature’s beautiful rainbow carrots; and always a little extra special when you grow them in your own healthy soil.

This year I planted organic carrot seeds in early spring and around now, mid-summer, they’re really starting to get happy and ready to harvest.  I haven’t successfully saved carrot seeds yet, so all I do each year is buy a new organic carrot seeds packet from a seed company like Natural Gardening Company or Renee’s Garden for a couple bucks.  With a little patience and TLC, the couple dollars is well worth the investment because the return on our money gives us a plethora of “food profits” (i.e. saving money at the store buying carrots:  one bunch of 5-6 organic carrots costs about the same price as a carrot seed packet with hundreds of seeds/potential carrots in it).  Non-monetarily, we get the rewarding satisfaction of growing our own integrity food for optimal health, vitality & performance (investment in our body!).

This particular harvest this year has been one of my best.  In the past I’ve grown little stumps (here’s an example), but each year I’m dialing in my growing skills and I’ve had much better luck growing bigger, beautiful carrots.  Just look at this picture of this years harvest. Frame-worthy, no?

With carrots whether I buy them or grow them, they’re great for snacking, making raw carrot salads or to turn into a veggie noodles dish, but they’re also a great root vegg to roast in the oven.

These particular rainbow carrots I roasted in a quick glaze I threw together and they turned out great… definitely give this one a try next time you’re making a main meal and need a tasty side, or if you just want something sweet like candy to snack on (parents, try these for your kids if they have a hard time eating veggies… they truly are sweet!).

These roasted carrots are recipe-friendly:

  • paleo
  • vegetarian/vegan
  • ReBoot Protocol Week 1+
  • gluten-free/grain-free
  • dairy-free

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Watermelon Summer Salsa

“Happiness is chips & salsa.” -Anonymous

If that quote is true, then this seasonal spin to salsa is next level happiness.

This was my first time making a watermelon-base salsa thanks to my friends Ralph & Angie over at Fallow Ground Farms, and I’ve got to say, this stuff turned out epic and it’s so easy to make as a summertime salsa.

Think:  traditional salsa with all the typical ingredients we find and love, but rather than tomato-base, we do watermelon-base.  Added my own spin to it with small cubed avocado as well because watermelon + avocado = happy taste buds.

Recipe-friendly:

  • paleo
  • raw food
  • vegetarian/vegan
  • gluten-free/grain-free
  • nightshade (utilizing watermelon rather than tomato)
  • dairy-free
  • ReBoot protocol week 1+

and the perfect addition to any 4th of July festivities this weekend!

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Masala Caulirice

I found out last week that Trader Joe’s is now carrying ready-made cauliflower rice (and life just got a whole lot easier!), which promptly got me motivated to make a new caulirice recipe this week for my meal prep.

Cauliflower rice, or “Caulirice”, is one of my go-to grain-free additions to many of my meals during the week.  I’ll meal prep a big batch and have a convenient, healthy real food refrigerator “grab” anytime I need it.  

Cauliflower can obviously be bland by itself, so the key to making a tasty caulirice is adding different combos of flavor and spices.

This particular caulirice I wanted to add a garam masala flare, an Indian spice blend consisting of spices like cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black pepper and coriander; so I loaded it with veggies, fresh turmeric, ginger, garlic and more and it turned out to be great flavor combos.

This dish is fairly quick to make and goes great with just about any protein source of your choice.  And if you do like I do, double this recipe up as a meal prep and it will last you over 8-12 meals as a nice side.  At about 15 minutes to make this dish, over that many meals, is 1-2 minutes a meal throughout your week… It’s hard to put a real food meal together in 1-2 minutes, right?   So that’s FAST timing in the kitchen when we’re on the GO GO GO, especially during our busy week.

Recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Vegetarian / vegan
  • Gluten-free / grain-free
  • Dairy-free
  • ReBoot Protocol Week 1+
  • Real food

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Caramelized Maple Salmon Salad - Nutrition You Can Trust

One of my all time favorite fish is salmon.  It’s rich, fatty and loaded with nutrition like the essential fatty acids EPA & DHA (omega-3s), B-vitamins,  potassium, selenium and more.

However, we must remember that food & the nutrition in it is only as good as it’s source (how it’s raised, how it’s grown, etc).

When looking for a salmon source, or really, any fish source, I always recommend trying to find a wild-caught source versus a “farmed” version.  Here’s one main reason why:

Many factory farmed fisheries are much like land animal factory farms (CAFO) – usually fed unnatural diet of grain & legume (corn, soy, etc. and likely GMO), given antibiotics, growth promotents, and more.  Fish aren’t designed to eat this stuff, they never have in the whole history of, well, fish…when’s the last time we saw a corn plant growing in the ocean and a fish eating corn on the cob from it?

We haven’t, ever.

It would be like if I fed you processed junk food or fast food all your life…you’re not designed to eat that stuff, right?  Let alone all your life?  And what do you think your state of health would be like if you ate junk food every day of your life… optimal health? or poor health?

Same goes for the fish (or any animal) that eats an unnatural diet and lives an unnatural lifestyle, that we at the top of the food chain ultimately eats; and as we know, we are what we eat, we are how it’s grown and we are how it’s raised.

Here’s some more things you should know about farmed fish.

Since we’re on the topic of Salmon, I should add we also have GMO salmon in the pipeline to be approved by the FDA.  According to FoodandWaterWatch.org, “the biotechnology industry says it has genetically modified a fish that grows at twice the normal rate, so it can get to market sooner and make more money, faster. But this dangerous lab experiment is all hype and full of downsides to consumers, salmon growers and the environment”.  More so, a Canadian risk assessment conducted by Canadian government scientists refute the FDA and found that GMO salmon are susceptible to disease.

Remember, food industry is just that, industry.  With Big Food, it’s all about business and “the bottom line”, not health.  The bigger and more fish produced to maximize X amount of fish farm space = more $ per unit (and thus profits) when fish are ready to go to processing, then shipping, and finally ending up in our major grocery stores that we then buy and eat (this includes fresh fish at the fish counter and frozen fish).

I’m even a bit weary of the “responsibly farmed” fish signs we can find at Whole Foods… however I will eat it if I know the farming practices and wild-caught fish is not available.  Whole Foods seems to be fairly transparent so you can decide, but that doesn’t mean all fish farms are when we see a “responsibly farmed” or “sustainably farmed” sign.  Both those terms, “responsible” and “sustainable”, actually carry no legal meaning in terms of labels (much like how “natural” means nothing on a label and is often used by Big Food to portray a positive perception to the consumer).

As I always say, “Know your farmer, so you know your food” (i.e. ask questions and find out how produce was grown and animals were raised, including fish in fish farms).

For this recipe, I used wild-caught Alaskan salmon I got at my local fish market.  In terms of integrity source, it’s one of the best we can eat.

Overall this caramelized maple salmon salad is recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Vegetarian (pesco)
  • ReBoot Protocol Week 2+ (see Kitchen Notes below for serving)
  • Gluten & Grain-free
  • Dairy-free
  • 100% Real Food ingredients

Let’s “dive” in..

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How-To Grow 100+ Plants in a 3x2 Space For Less Than $20

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I’ve posted a couple sneak peek pics of this garden bag idea as it was growing over time and you gals & guys seemed to love it, so I wanted to put together this DIY post with sequencing and time-lapse pics so you can see exactly what I did, and the growth of the veggies in real-time each week through the pictures.

This garden “grow bag” idea is great if you’re limited on outside space for a garden… a balcony, porch, concrete patio… whatever your living space may be, you’ll be able to grow your own food in abundance, for the mere size of a bag of soil, and the total cost of some take out food.

Cool stuff, right?

And overall, look at it as being a wise investor… an investor into your health, as well as into your bank account.  The total cost of doing this DIY garden bag will pay itself back many times over time as “food profits”, ultimately saving money on your weekly/monthly grocery bill.

My kind of investment.  Let’s take a look at how I did it.

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Black Olive Guacamole | NYCT.me

Cinco de Mayo is here and this homemade black olive guacamole has got your back for putting big grins on guacamole-loving faces.

Traditional guacamole we know has the basics:  avocado, tomato, onion, lime, salt & pepp… but I wanted to put a little flavor and presentation spin to mine, so this version I made with different colored rainbow cherry tomatoes, black olives for a flavor spin, jalapeno for a kick, and fresh cilantro from the garden.

You can use this guacamole for dipping chips, or would be great added to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc.   

As for the dipping, when I was stocking up with ingredients to make this guacamole I found this new brand of chips to go with it that gets as “nutrition you can trust” as it  can get when it comes to the potato chip arena:  Jackson’s Honest.

One of the more integrity brand chips I have found to date.  Made with organically grown ingredients, made with a more heat-stable oil using coconut oil (first brand I’ve seen using it) versus a vegetable oil in most potato chips that denatures quicker with heat (frying), and overall use very minimal ingredients in the three flavors I sampled:  Purple Heirloom, Salt & Vinegar, and Sea Salt.  They have other flavors too, including sweet potato-based chips.   Also love that they are a mom/pop with 4 children, and they started their company because they wanted a healthier chip alternative for their children.  Got to love that.

All three Jackson’s Honest chips I sampled were pretty tasty addicting and they would go great as a healthy chip with this homemade black olive guacamole.

Recipe-friendly:

  • paleo
  • vegetarian & vegan
  • raw food
  • ReBoot Protocol Week 1+
  • gluten-free & grain-free
  • dairy free

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Coconut Goji Berry Carrot Salad

A few days ago I was excited to be able to harvest my first official garden haul of the Spring that included different lettuce, kale & chard varieties, strawberries, cilantro & cilantro flowers, and a bunch of beautiful carrots.  

I started planting this year around the end of February and early March, and then all of sudden around this time in April and early May, everything starts to really grow crazy.  It’s a lot of fun growing your own food as an investment not only in your health with integrity-sourced real food, but in your bank account in terms of saving money.

And the ultimate perk is when you can include the freshest “fast” food garden-t0-table elements in your meals and meal prep throughout your week. 

This particular week I’m featuring the carrots.

Before we get to the recipe, I got to tell yuh, the sweetness (almost candy-like) and crunchiness was absolutely unmatched to store-bought conventionally grown carrots; even many store-bought organic carrots I’ve bought.  It’s all about soil health, and these particular carrots this year were grown in organic soil with added biodynamic compost.  

As for the recipe, I wanted to do a spin to one of those carrot slaw/salads made with raisins that we see (btw, very cool perk of growing… whatever is ready in your garden that you harvest, it makes you have to get creative and think of recipes/flavors to make with your food right then and there; a great added element when it comes to learning how to cook).

So my spin on this recipe is rather than raisins, I switched this carrot salad up with goji berries, and then added raw almonds, coconut & more with a coconut yogurt dressing rather than a traditional mayo-based slaw dressing.

Overall this carrot salad is made with 100% real food ingredients and recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Raw food
  • Vegetarian/vegan-adaptable
  • ReBoot Protocol Week 1+
  • Dairy-free 
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free (most mayo made with soy oil)

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