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Foodophiles, Recipes

My Coffee Shop Worthy Golden Moon Milk Recipe

April 9, 2018

Golden Milk

Though this drink has garnered more than it’s fair share of hipster-hatred, Golden Milk is one trend that we should all be happy to see, as it’s a beverage that’s both healthy and delicious. Haldi doodh, “turmeric milk” in Hindi, is exactly that — a drink of turmeric and milk in following with Ayurvedic medicine.
Golden MilkThis foundational recipe of milk and turmeric has been built upon to include many more ingredients so as to create an even more powerfully healthy drink. In my Golden Moon Milk version, I’ve prioritized the addition of sleep aid ingredients. 
Golden Milk

(If you hate when blogs put a bunch text before the recipe I’M SORRY just scroll way down past all my hard work and attempts at sharing knowledge because the golden milk recipe is the last part.)

Golden Milk

Here’s a breakdown of the health benefits some of these everyday golden milk ingredients offer:

  • TurmericThe active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to possibly prevent depression, reverse liver damage, and prevent and treat Alzheimer’s. It’s also anti-inflammatory, making it beneficial for pain management and healing. Turmeric even helps your skin by controlling eczema and rosacea It’s possibly also literal magic but that requires further study.
  • Cinnamon – Rich in antioxidants that promote the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cardiovascular diseases like heart disease AND cell mutation and tumor growth that leads to cancer. That is 3 out of the 4 most common causes of death. (Here’s an interesting podcast about health and the 4 major preventable causes of death if you were looking for some light subjects to pass the time with)
  • Coconut Milk – I switch out dairy in any recipes I adapt for my own usage because dairy is unbelievably bad for you, seriously listen, it’s lowkey ruining (and shortening) your life but it’s such a strong part of American cuisine we usually don’t question it. Using coconut milk removes the harm of dairy while also adding in a bunch of benefits like reducing your risk of stroke and heart attack through controlling cholesterol levels. Yeah it’s a little high in calories but you don’t get the goodies without some fat (yes this is a body positivity, thickness appreciation joke).
  • Ginger – This is not my favorite flavor, I’ll be honest, but I’ve added it to the recipe in a small enough amount not to offend me. I include ginger whenever and wherever I can because it’s a serious Super Root (I made this term up but you better show respect and capitalize). Ginger is anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, eases nausea and pain plus it can maybe help you get your shit together since it’s been shown to improve attention and brain function. Lord knows not even intravenous turmeric applications can help me there. 
  • Cardamom – This ingredient is kind of like a guy who’s really good looking but stupid – you’re willing to have him around for a bit but not in any major capacity. If you just love cardamom I’m sorry, but it’s an offensively mild flavor. What it isn’t though, is unhealthy. Cardamon is a pretty serious cancer preventative as well as heart protectant through its ability to lower blood pressure.
  • Nutmeg – Now THIS is a damn flavor. Aw man, is my overplayed pumpkin spice obsession showing? I’d prefer to pretend I’m in it for the health benefits, some of which include a high manganese, copper and magnesium content which help in metabolizing carbohydrates (oh now you’re listening right?) and facilitating cell repair. 
  • Coconut Oil – Yall know damn well this shit is an elixir of gods I’m not even gonna bother.

Golden Milk

Golden Moon Milk
Serves 2
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (DIY Coconut Milk) (canned is for lazy champions but other shit works too)
  2. 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain cashew milk (or almond if you’re less exciting than me)
  3. 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 tbsp ground cinnamon – or both, you party animal)
  4. 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  6. 1 tsp of coconut oil
  7. 1/4 tsp ground ashwagandha
  8. 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  9. 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  10. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  11. “a pinch,” which basically means, an-amount-that-translates-to your-feelings-on-this-flavor of black pepper
Optional Add Ins
  1. Saffron – 5 strands
  2. Sweetener - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of honey or alternative for strict veganism. Adjust as needed based on your taste preference.
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a small pot.
  2. Whisk to mix ingredients and warm over medium heat, without boiling (about 5 minutes). Stir frequently.
  3. Remove pot from heat and adjust flavor per your taste. You can ddd more sweetener or turmeric and ginger for more spice, or vanilla and nutmeg for a more mild but flavor boost.
  4. Serve warm out of the pot, as it's best when fresh. If using cinnamon sticks, I place them into the mug and serve them with the drink because it looks fancy.
  5. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Just reheat using the microwave or the stovetop.
Oh You Fancy notes
  1. Garnish by serving each cup of golden moon milk with it's own cinnamon stick.
  2. I always dust cinnamon (or your preferred of the spice ingredients) on top of the served drink.
  3. If using saffron, you can drop a few strands on top as a garnish as well.
Luna Gemme http://lunagemme.com/

Golden Milk

This recipe might look complicated but seriously it’s a 10-minute effort that’s totally worth it – you just have to throw a bunch of spices in a pot! Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried golden milk before and what you thought of it. I’m also curious if you have your own recipe and how your version differs. You can also share your thoughts with me here and here.

Salomé

*If you’re into living holistically or want to be, this post is meant for you. If you’re more into cooking, here’s the perfect recipe to use if you want to show off when you’re cooking for someone.*

Tips for Immortality

Why You Should Throw Out Your Air Fresheners – From a Self Professed Scentophile

March 20, 2018

A few weeks ago I did something kind of scary; I, a born and bred Miamian with cafecito and humidity in my bloodstream, went to snow-covered Vermont in the deepest part of winter. I expected to experience a forested mountainside blanketed in snow but also I encountered something else I would have never expected…breathing!!

I’ve had asthma on and off throughout my life and while it’s not life-threatening it’s definitely a constant discomfort when something triggers that lung-constricting feeling that burdens my breathing and makes me hope my inhaler is near. While I hate the feeling, I figured using my inhaler once or twice a week was just my life and thus something I’d have to contend with basically forever. 

Then I spent a month in a cabin in the woods of Vermont and realized, even though I was sharing the space with 4 long haired pets, a good deal of dust and a few other major asthma triggers, my inhaler was practically untouched for the entire trip. The whole month. Just 1 use out of my normal 5-8 uses a month. 

That one use was what made me realize how environmentally dependant asthma is. I lit up a scented candle and had it on the table near me; something I’d done a million times before, yet this time I felt my lungs reacting in slow motion, that chest-tightening feeling rising up in me once again. My reaction to this candle was the difference between night and day compared to all this free and easy breathing I’d been doing.

Suddenly everything was so obvious; the air quality on a forested mountainside in Vermont felt like freshly cleaned white linen compared to the air of a traffic-filled city like Miami. The house I was staying in had a total of 0 air freshening products, save for that one candle, which immediately triggered my asthma, but my own house had an assortment of air fresheners in basically every room, plus I love lighting incense as well. I realized that the bulk of my allergies and breathing issues were environmental, not just biological. 

The minute I realized labored breathing and allergies weren’t just my burden in life, they were actually my body’s natural response to dirty air and products filled with harsh chemicals to create artificial scents, I couldn’t wait to get home and completely rid my house of all these toxins. 

Just as I had thought, removing as many artificially scented things as was possible (you’ll find artificial fragrance in things you would never expect once you start looking) improved my asthma symptoms almost immediately. Within a few days of opening my windows and letting any built up artificial scents filter out, my breathing felt less constricted. Breathing more easily after removing certain items from your space is the most bright and clear sign that those things are harmful. 

The Science Behind The Spite

No, I don’t just irrationally hate air fresheners, although I do really, really hate them. It just pisses me off that companies will use ingredients in their products that are proven to be detrimental to people (i.e. their customers!!) and actually charge us to be poisoned. Yes, I’m mad about it, but here’s the less angry sounding more science sounding reasons for my anger towards air fresheners.

  • Air fresheners don’t get rid of smells; they just mask them with artificial fragrance or by interfering with your ability to smell. The latter is done by coating your nasal passages with an oil film or releasing a nerve-deadening agent.
  • Known toxic chemicals that can be found in air fresheners include formaldehyde, camphor, ethanol, phenol, petroleum-based artificial fragrances (which contain their own mix of toxins) and benzyl alcohol. 
  • These chemicals can cause symptoms like headaches, rashes, dizziness, migraines, asthma attacks, mental confusion, coughing and more. Some of the substances in air fresheners are also known carcinogens and others are hormone disruptors (the latter which cause issues with obesity, diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer in males, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems as well as the healthy development of a fetus).
  • Severity and triggers, as well as symptoms, vary from person to person. But when used in a confined area like a house, the intense amount of toxins in a small area can be especially problematic. Children and animals are particularly susceptible to harm from chemicals in indoor air.
  • Asthma is a major problem related to air fresheners and perfumed cleaning products. In a 2007 European study, researchers found that using air fresheners as little as once a week can raise the risk of developing asthma in adults.
  • In aerosol form, the dangers of these products are multiplied because of the micro-particles that are created of the chemicals.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council found that 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained phthalates (chemicals that are used to prolong the length of time that scented products maintain their fragrance).
  • Regular exposure to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems. Some of the brands that tested positive for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients; some of these brands were even labeled as being “all-natural” and “unscented.”

According to the EPA, air freshener contains four basic ingredients: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, aerosol propellants, and p-dichlorobenzene.

Formaldehyde can cause a number of health effects including:

  • Watery eyes
  • Burning eye, nose, throat and other mucous membranes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Asthma attacks

Petroleum distillates come from petrochemical manufacturing, which contributes to air, soil, and groundwater pollution. The effects on human health include:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Asthma
  • Chemical pneumonia
  • Pulmonary damage

Aerosol propellants can harm earth’s ozone layer. Likewise, they can damage human health including:

  • Increased cancer risk
  • Breathing problems
  • Development of chronic health issues

Paradichlorobenzene (p-DCB) is often found in mothballs and may cause:

  • Anemia
  • Skin Lesions
  • Liver damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes to the blood

So basically, air fresheners are literally made out of poison. It just kind of blows my mind that companies are selling scented poison and charging people to pollute their own air. Is there an Anti-Air Freshener bumper sticker? Because I really want like 5.

If you’re jumping to throw out all your air fresheners but love having a beautiful smelling home, don’t hesitate! I’ve often said scent is one of my favorite senses, so I’ve taken great measures in finding ways to keep my home aromatherapeutic without actually poisoning myself and others. Check out my guide for how to make your own essential oil based room spray or try to make your own homemade potpourri. These are so safe you could actually consume them and be fine; your air freshener could never.

homemade room spray

Let me know if you’ve felt any nastiness from air fresheners like I have or what you think about the production of these perfumed poisons. I’ve actually noticed that my sense of smell has become more fine-tuned since abandoning artificial fragrances; now I can’t stand how synthetic they smell!

Salomé

*If you’re into holistic living, you’ll love this Ayurvedic recipe for a cozy, nightcap. If you’re more interested in environmental issues, this is perfect for you.*

Foodophiles, My Big Important Opinions

La Fresa Francesa – Miami Restaurant Review

September 12, 2017

la fresa francesa I think this restaurant is adorable. It’s just lovely. From every thoughtfully placed doily to the curated French music playing, this restaurant takes the work of conjuring up a French bohemian atmosphere more seriously than you might think such a subject would warrant. La Fresa Francesa is not here to play games like some other restaurants that serve vaguely French food within the average white table cloth, dim lighting, and an otherwise style-less atmosphere. La Fresa’s decor shows such effort and attention to detail that even your boyfriend might actually notice.

La Fresa Francesala fresa francesaLa Fresa FrancesaWhat really made me want to shed light on this spot was that it’s not actually a traditional French restaurant; La Fresa Francesa bills itself as serving a hybrid of Cuban/French cuisine, and it’s located right in Hialeah on Okeechobee Road, no less. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to find out if someone was truly doing God’s work right in my own backyard and yes, La Fresa Francesa really is as amazing as it sounds.

la fresa francesaLa Fresa FrancesaLa Fresa Francesa First, let me state, I do have to take points off over their complete failure to offer vegan options. The only already vegan dish was one item from the sides menu: sautéed spinach. Listen, I am extremely lenient with who I levy this judgment against; I’m not about to go to a steakhouse and say the place sucks because there’s not a wealth of vegan dishes.

 That just isn’t the case with La Fresa Francesa. Crepes could not be an easier item to veganize; these type of substitutions are Veganism 101. Make a vegan crepe, add fruit + sugar + agave syrup – voila! You now have a completely vegan, stand-alone menu option. It really is that simple. Considering the owner and chef spent time studying and working in L.A., lack of exposure to the needs of vegan diners just isn’t an excuse. Y’all should know better. 

la fresa francesa  That being said, if you aren’t vegan, but vegetarian, or have no dietary restrictions, you’ll have a great experience. The menu is beautifully curated, taking a foundation of traditional French recipes and introducing traditional Cuban ingredients. It’s a wonderful formula that culminates in the type of addicting dish that makes you wonder whether these two cultures weren’t always meant to join: La Fresa Francesa’s Guava Creme crepe. Just the existence of this dish is an achievement in itself, but they manage to improve upon even this by sourcing their guava fruit locally; the guava they use in this recipe is grown right in Homestead, Florida.

La Fresa FrancesaLa Fresa Francesa They have a menu for savory crepes too, the Champignons dish was one that my sister loved and has ordered more than once. I would advise that you not waste your money on the bread. Two mistakes are made here when there should really only be one, at max. If you’re not offering a complimentary dish like bread, at least make the dish you’re charging for great. If you’re going to offer nearly inedible bread, then at least make that dish complimentary. La Fresa broke both of these rules. They will charge for what was arguably the worst bread I’ve ever tried to consume.

la fresa francesaLa Fresa Francesa✯✯✯✯ (4/5)

 Disappointing bread aside, every other item I tried from the menu was enjoyable. They have enough variety that you’ll want to come back several times just to try different dishes. If you’re a tea drinker, they have a great offer of an entire tea pot of two different tea varieties for only about $4.50 (my preference is the chamomile but only over the green ginger by a bit). Regardless of what you decide to try, let me repeat, they have a guava crepe…guayaba in a crepe. It’s impossible to go wrong.

la fresa francesala fresa francesa Have you been here before or are you planning to try it out soon? Comment and let me know!

Salomé

Recipes

Apple Spice Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

November 30, 2016

apple spice cinnamon rollsThis apple spice cinnamon rolls recipe somehow manages to make one of the most delicious desserts even more delicious. Cinnamon rolls just make me unreasonably happy so biting into one and tasting the thick, sweet apple cinnamon sauce squeeze out of it is an experience closer to pure bliss than anything I can imagine. Yes, I mean it. This dish is such a show stopper, it makes the perfect addition to any dinner table.

apple spice cinnamon rolls

This recipe is easily made vegan, as the main substitution you’ll need to consider is eggs. Check out this site for a list of all the different egg substitutions you can pick from.

Apple Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 12
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Total Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Dough
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  3. 1 package yeast
  4. ½ cup non-dairy milk of choice (heat until bubbles appears on the edge of the pan. Cool until lukewarm)
  5. ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 4 cups all-purpose flour
  8. vegan replacement for 1 egg (I used 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp white vinegar)
Filling
  1. 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  2. 5 granny smith apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  5. ½ cup sugar
Glaze
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Add yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add scalded milk, remaining sugar, salt, the egg and mix on until combined.
  3. Add in half the flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Add in yeast mixture and combine.
  5. Gradually add the remaining flour and mix.
  6. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  7. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside to let it rise until it's doubled in size (2 hours).
Filling
  1. Meanwhile, begin making the filling. Heat sugar and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet, then stir in apples. Sauté until the apples begin to caramelize. Then remove from heat and set aside.
Dough
  1. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and remove from the bowl.
  2. Roll out on a floured surface into a wide rectangle and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter all over, except the edges.
  3. Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar then sprinkle evenly across the dough.
  4. Spread the apple mixture over the dough.
  5. Roll into a cylinder shape.
  6. Using a sharp knife, gently cut 2 inch slices with a slow sawing motion so as not to pinch down the dough.
  7. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Then lay the cinnamon roll slices facing up on the pan, not letting them touch each other.
  8. Cover with foil and let them rise until they're doubled in size (2 hours).
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  10. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, watching that they stay soft.
Glaze
  1. Mix vanilla, butter and powdered sugar together.
  2. When cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread the glaze over the top and serve.
  3. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top afterwards as a garnish.
Luna Gemme http://lunagemme.com/

apple spice cinnamon rollsSo far this is the best recipe for cinnamon rolls I’ve worked with. The addition of slightly caramelized apple bits really upgrades this classic dessert. This is one of those recipes that people will ask you for again and again. She (or he) who has the cinnamon rolls makes the rules. apple spice cinnamon rolls If you’re as obsessed with sweets and cinnamon flavored food as I am, this recipe is going to be one of your favorites quickly. Let me know how it came out for you in the comments!

Salomé

Foodophiles, Recipes

The Best, Most Simple, Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

November 24, 2015

sweet potato casseroleThis is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes ever. Sweet potato casserole is simple, practically already vegan and tastes like a cinnamon sugar cloud. It’s the perfect recipe for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving or even just satisfying a sweet tooth on a random Tuesday night. Sweet Potato CasseroleSweet Potato CasseroleSweet Potato Casserole

The Best, Most Simple Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 11
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 5 large sweet potatoes
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 cup vegan butter
  6. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 5 tablespoons soy milk (or nondairy milk of your choice)
  8. 1 bag (10.5 ounces) vegan mini-marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees and set your largest pot with water to boil.
  2. Shave and cube the sweet potatoes, adding them to the pot all at once.
  3. Cook the sweet potatoes til easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  4. Drain water and place the pot back on the stove on low heat.
  5. Add butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg and soy milk.
  6. Mash the mixture as you would normal mashed potatoes, adding up to 6 tablespoons of milk to smooth the mixture.
  7. Spoon the contents into the dish you intend to bake in. Smooth the mixture, making sure the middle isn't higher than the sides.
  8. Top the sweet potatoes with mini-marshmallows. They don't have to be heavily layered, so adjust the amount to your liking.
  9. Bake til the marshmallows are lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes, taking care to not let the edges blacken.
Notes
  1. Serve with a dash of cinnamon!
Luna Gemme http://lunagemme.com/
sweet potato casseroleSweet Potato Casserolesweet potato casserolesweet potato casserolesweet potato casserole

Isn’t this recipe unbelievably simple? I’ve seen versions of  the sweet potato casserole recipe calling for eggs and double the amount of butter, but this dish really doesn’t require that much excess to create a creamy and sweet consistency. By using soy milk and vegan butter, you’ve got a vegan friendly, healthier and well balanced dish.

This is also a great recipe to customize with spices – change the amount of vanilla extract, nutmeg or cinnamon to reflect your own taste. Sweet potato casserole is just one of those foods that makes you stop a second and reflect on how truly wonderful food can be.

Salomé

Foodophiles, Recipes

Caramel Drizzled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

November 10, 2015

 

pumpkin spice frappuccinoI’ve seen too many jokes about girls liking pumpkin spice lattes (as if other beverages are more serious some how) so naturally I had to fully embrace pumpkin spice with a new, extravagant recipe. Enter the caramel drizzled pumpkin spice frappuccino. Because if men are making fun of women for liking it – it’s probably awesome. pumpkin spice frappuccino

Pumpkin is an amazing food. You can turn it into so many different dishes and they’re all wonderful. It’s even got plenty of health benefits. This isn’t a health conscious recipe but it is vegan and that always helps. This caramel pumpkin spice frappuccino recipe is definitely for those looking to indulge in some serious fall flavor.pumpkin spice frappuccino

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
Serves 2
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2. 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  4. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  5. 1 cup cashew milk (or milk of your choice)
  6. Non-dairy whipped cream for topping
  7. Cinnamon for garnish
For Caramel
  1. 1⁄8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  2. 1⁄8 cup sugar
  3. 1 pinch salt
  4. 1⁄8 cup coconut cream
  5. 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter
Instructions
  1. Mix your milk of choice, pumpkin puree, honey, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice evenly in a bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze.
  3. While your pumpkin ice cubes freeze, add the sugar, butter, salt, and coconut cream to a pot on medium-low heat to create your caramel topping.
  4. Stir gently until sugar is melted and mixture begins to thicken, about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool, then store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
  6. When your pumpkin ice cubes are frozen, add 1 cup chilled coffee and 10 pumpkin ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can use espresso or a colada like I did, but if the amount of coffee you add is less than one cup, make up the difference with additional milk.
  7. Taste test what you've got and add more pumpkin pie spice or sweetener if you want a spicier or sweeter drink.
  8. Pour out your beverage and top with whipped cream, cinnamon and drizzled caramel for serving.
Luna Gemme http://lunagemme.com/
pumpkin spice frappuccinopumpkin spice frappuccino

Let me know how this recipe turned out for you! I love finding delicious drinks to dress up my coffee with and this recipe is bursting with fall flavor. I gave this drink a Cuban twist by using a colada instead of just regular chilled coffee and it came out perfect, so feel free to experiment. And if some dudebro thinks your amazing pumpkin spice frappuccino is silly, just tell him bacon is overrated.

Salomé

Foodophiles, Recipes

Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread

October 1, 2015

Monkey Bread RecipeThis recipe is perfect for those who want a simple, but satisfying sweet tooth fix. I’ve put a fall flavor twist on the typical monkey bread recipe and made it vegan – both easy additions that step this recipe up a bit. Monkey Bread RecipeThough I can’t recall seeing monkey bread offered at any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, I’m convinced this recipe would be a great addition. And honestly, who ever complains about adding another dessert to the table? Monkey Bread Recipe Monkey Bread Recipe

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread
The perfect anytime dessert dressed up in seasonal flavors
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Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
25 min
Dough
  1. 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup + 1 separated tbsp granulated sugar
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 packet (1/4 ounce) of active dry yeast
  5. 1 cup cashew milk (or soy, almond)
  6. 2 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance)
  7. 1/3 cup warm water
Cinnamon & Sugar Coating
  1. 2 tsp cinnamon
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup butter (Earth Balance again)
Apple Cinnamon Caramel
  1. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup butter
  4. 2 cups apple cider
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 3 tbsp full fat coconut cream
  7. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, salt and butter together in a saucepan and warm on low til butter melts. Remove from heat and let cool til warm.
  2. Combine warm water, 1 tbsp of sugar and yeast. Stir momentarily and then set aside for 10 minutes. The yeast should double in size. If not, restart and be sure to have the water at a warm temperature.
  3. Now merge together the melted butter mixture and yeast mixture. Mix for 1 minute and then add 2 cups of flour. Mix for about 2 minutes and then add remaining flour. Mix completely and then remove dough to a floured surface.
  4. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes by hand. Add flour if you find it's too sticky. Grease a bowl and roll it around inside to ensure no parts will stick to the bowl. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
  5. Before the dough finishes rising, prepare the cinnamon and sugar coating by melting the butter into one bowl and combining the sugar and cinnamon in another.
  6. Begin making the apple cinnamon caramel by boiling the apple cider until half is left. Stir in the coconut cream, butter, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  7. Cook for 9-10 minutes until you get a dark brown color, then let it cool for about 5 minutes. Afterwards pour a little less than half the mixture into the prepared Bundt pan.
  8. Now lay the risen dough on a floured surface and flatten it into a square. Cut the dough into 1 inch by 1 inch pieces.
  9. Mold each piece into a ball and dip in butter, then roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Layer pieces evenly throughout the Bundt pan. Pour half of the remaining caramel mixture into the pan when you've just passed half full. Leave the rest for extra garnish if desired.
  10. Cover with a cloth once more and let the dough rise for 40 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden-brown in color.
  12. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then invert the pan onto a platter.
Notes
  1. The apple cinnamon caramel recipe makes a little more than needed, but some people have more of a sweet tooth than others. This recipe doesn't use all the caramel in baking, but leaves some aside for use as a drizzled garnish if desired.
Luna Gemme http://lunagemme.com/

Monkey Bread RecipeFlatten the dough out by hand into a square shape.
Monkey Bread RecipeCut it into four smaller squares equal in size. 
Monkey Bread RecipeThen measure out pieces about 1 inch by 1 inch and cut along the lines you created. Monkey Bread Recipe Monkey Bread RecipeFlipping anything made inside a Bundt pan is always kind of stressful, but with this recipe the apple cinnamon caramel helps to keep it all together. I chose not to grease the pan I baked it in and had no problems flipping it and getting it out. Monkey Bread RecipeMonkey Bread RecipeI never knew about this recipe until a friend of mine randomly decided to make it with me. Pretty much anything made with cinnamon becomes an instant obsession of mine and I was in love. If you’re needing a quicker monkey bread fix, try a recipe that uses pre-made dough, then add the apple cinnamon caramel. Let me know how this recipe worked for you and if you’ll be trying it out for the holidays!

Salomé

Foodophiles, My Big Important Opinions

Kebab Indian Restaurant in Miami – Review

September 3, 2015

Miami in RestaurantMy version of comfort food is Indian cuisine that I don’t have to cook myself for a change. While Miami is a budding foodie haven, sit down Indian restaurants are not yet in abundance so I was thrilled to drive by Kebab Indian Restaurant and add it to my list of places to check out. A rarity in Miami, this spot has been around for over a quarter of a century, first opened 1976.Miami RestaurantMiami RestaurantThis is one restaurant in Miami you can feel comfortable eating at while wearing flip flops. While it’s a casual atmosphere, Kebab Indian Restaurant would still be a chill place for a family dinner. Opting only for older Indian songs played at a low volume, this place doesn’t push an overly stimulated atmosphere. Their decor is not overbearing but it also leaves a little to be desired.Miami RestaurantMiami RestaurantMiami RestaurantMiami RestaurantI’m all about the appetizer menu and so is Kebab Indian Restaurant. There’s a large, varied selection and vegans or vegetarians can easily eat well here. I went with vegetable samosas (how could you not?) and bhujia, which are spiced vegetable fritters. While the bhujia was underwhelming, the samosas were perfectly cooked to give them a crunchy, flaky exterior.
Of course the first thing I ordered when I stepped in the door was a cup of masala chai, but sadly I think this restaurant has curbed the spice of their dishes to fit the palate of their usual customer base. This isn’t really a bad thing if you prefer less spicy dishes or don’t usually eat Indian food, though you can probably just ask them beforehand to spice your food up.Miami RestaurantMiami Restaurant Miami RestaurantThe goal is to always order enough food to fill the entire table, which is never hard to do at a restaurant in Miami. I made sure it happened by ordering coconut vegetable curry with a side of vegetable rice plus aloo naan (bread stuffed with spiced potatoes) and my boyfriend had malai kofta which came with a side of rice. My dish was a little less flavorful than what I expected, but it was good and filling nonetheless. Both of our curries came in awesome portions and the aloo naan was soft and addicting. 

Recommended Dishes

  • Aloo Naan
  • Vegetable Samosa
  • Mushroom Bhajj
  • Malai Kofta
  • Gulab Jamun (little puffs of heaven really)

Miami RestaurantMiami RestaurantCan I just do dessert reviews? My favorite part of the meal is whatever comes from the dessert menu and Kebab Indian Restaurant delivered on the sweets. The kulfi (Indian ice cream) was traditional and great, but the gulab jamun was out of this world amazing. Sure, I’m probably completely biased because I really love this dish to begin with…but this restaurant served them with just the right sweetness and a soft, crisp but spongy texture that is so central to gulab jamun. If you’ve never actually had this dish, gulab jamun is a juicy, deep fried pastry with honey syrup and rosewater. It’s time to stop depriving yourself!Restaurant in Miami

✯✯✯ (3/5)

This is the type of restaurant you will leave satisfied from. It’s not overly decorated, there aren’t any fusion/novelty dishes but the food is good, the portions are large and it’s priced fairly. If you’ve yet to try Indian cuisine, this is the perfect restaurant in Miami to get acquainted with its goodness. If you regularly eat Indian dishes like me though, you’ll find their food lacking in the robust flavor we’re accustomed to. The service here was what good service should be – friendly, helpful waitstaff who are attentive. Kebab Indian Restaurant also does take out, which I’ll drive out of my way for on certain lazy occasions, but like I said, this is the best comfort food there is.

Salomé

Foodophiles, My Big Important Opinions

Waffle-era Tea Room in San Juan – Review

August 12, 2015

Restaurant in San Juan

The first morning in a new city is purely a mission to find the perfect breakfast spot. Luckily Waffle-era Tea Room is a centrally located restaurant in San Juan so it was easy to find. This quaint brunch spot served as my go-to breakfast place for most of my time in San Juan so I had to share it with you guys!Restaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San JuanThe open floor plan in Waffle-era is welcoming and lends just the right amount of casual lightness that a brunch place ought to have. They have a neutral color scheme with an understated antique decor that doesn’t beg for attention and lets the food take center stage. Dishes are made from a kitchen with glass paneling that makes it easier to stare in anticipation while trying to guess whether that’s your order they just finished making. It’s okay, we all do it. 

Restaurant in San Juan

Salmon Breakfast: manchego cheese, smoked salmon, egg, cherry tomatoes & capers

Restaurant in San Juan

El Caneloide: pecans, cinnamon, cream cheese & maple syrup

Restaurant in San Juan

Pami’s Breakfast: yogurt, granola, cinnamon, honey (or maple syrup) & berries + added fruit

Restaurant in San Juan

Custom dish: smoked salmon, capers, manchego cheese, cherry tomatoes & chives

Waffle-era serves either half or whole waffles, encouraging you to order two different halves – which I happily obliged. Every dish I tried was delicious and showed an expertise in melding flavors together. I judge dishes topped with ingredients like bacon or cheese harshly; mistakes and lack of creativity can easily be hidden under heavy flavors and I’m not impressed by an otherwise ordinary dish smothered in cheese or bacon (not that I’d ever eat bacon). Both their savory and sweet waffles were creations a chef should be proud of, as well as meals that would have me back the next day. Dubbed the “foodie-schoolhouse” by its creators, Waffle-era gives you the option to build your waffle from scratch by experimenting with a large list of ingredients to choose from. It’s nearly impossible to make a bad waffle so you get to play chef without risking your meal! While not being the most vegan friendly restaurant, vegetarians won’t have much trouble here.

Restaurant in San Juan

Restaurant in San Juan

Ceylon Coconut Tea

Restaurant in San Juan

A truly great tea room is a rare find, and I definitely didn’t expect to find one that also happened to serve amazing waffles, but Waffle-era Tea Room is just that place. With over 30 organic whole leaf and herbal teas that can be ordered hot or cold, you’re bound to find something you love and something you’ve never ever heard of. I tried out their Ceylon Coconut, hot of course because I can’t have my tea any other way. This tea is a blend of Ceylon Black tea with coconut shavings added to the cup. It was perfectly brewed and had such a smooth flavour to it; I wish I could’ve taken it home with me! Restaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San JuanRestaurant in San Juan

✯✯✯✯ (4/5)

This is one restaurant I do and don’t wish I lived a block away from. It’s probably best for my waistline this restaurant in San Juan is not next door to me because I would have no self control…plus they’re just a bit on the pricey side. But whenever I’m back in Puerto Rico I know exactly where I’ll be having my breakfast.

Salomé

Foodophiles, My Big Important Opinions

Kabul Restaurant in Prague – Review

July 22, 2015

Restaurant in Prague

As usual I was late. It was already 10pm and I was getting food-angry looking for a restaurant in Prague to have dinner at. I finally ended up at Kabul because they were basically the only place in Staré Město with a kitchen that hadn’t closed 5 minutes before I walked in. Kabul’s hours are a dream: 11:30am to 11pm, 7 days a week.

Let’s start out with my initial thought when I remember Kabul; “I can’t wait to go back.” 

Restaurant in Prague

The Atmosphere

An easy to find location, Restaurant Kabul greets you with a modest entryway over which a creative sign made to look like an Afghan rug lets you know you’ve found the right place. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the bottom of the narrow staircase that leads you into the restaurant but by this time I didn’t care as long as they were serving great food. Stairs have a way of making surprises that much more surprising and the effort and attention to detail that’s been put into Kabul Restaurant’s dining area was a pleasant one. They’ve crafted a warm, friendly and particularly unique atmosphere with richly patterned cushions and layers of famous afghan rugs throughout the restaurant. It’s great to see a culture expressed without becoming kitsch about the decor as some restaurants do. Plus the servers are helpful and actually seem to enjoy interacting with customers, which is always nice right?Restaurant in PragueRestaurant in PragueRestaurant in Prague

The Food

The owner’s wife is the chef at Kabul, and she really adds the comforting sense of a home cooked meal to every dish, something that’s very welcomed when you’ve been traveling a while. Restaurant Kabul’s sign offers you kebabs and pizza; there’s no pizza on the menu but there are plenty of kebabs. This isn’t the quicky kebab stand on the corner though, Kabul is more upscale than not and probably left the pizza but not the sign behind at their previous, smaller location.
Portions are fair, the food is served very quickly and is moderately priced ($$/$$$$). It’s not like you’ve had much Afghan food anyways so give this restaurant in Prague a try; Kabul offers a good variety of main courses and plenty of delicious side dishes. Definitely vegetarian friendly, vegans will struggle a bit but can also eat here with a little negotiating of the menu. 

Check out the full menu here.

Recommended Dishes

  • Mains: Bolani, Dal, Roast Zucchini
  • Sides: Roasted Potatoes (with yogurt dressing), Chalau, Afghani bread
  • Dessert: Ferni (it’s A+)
Restaurant in Prague

Ferni and Baglawa

Restaurant in Prague

Dal and Chalau (spiced Basmati rice)

Restaurant Kabul: ✯✯✯✯ (4/5)

With some restaurants you can feel the pride and effort their owner has put in and it makes for a genuinely enjoyable dining experience. Kabul is that restaurant and I hope it’s around for a long, long time. Like I said, I can’t wait to go back.  Give Prague’s only Afghan restaurant a try and drop your own mini review in the comments for me.

Salomé