Secret Superfoods with Andrew Weil

If you have been reading Sweet Potato Bites for a while, you probably know of my love for True Food Kitchen.  I have the cookbook, I’m frequently dining there, and I love their use of seasonal ingredients.  Recently I was invited to attend a Secret Superfoods with Andrew Weil cooking demo, and jumped at the chance to go.

superfoods with dr andrew weil demo

I have been a big fan of Dr. Andrew Weil for quite some time now and try to follow his anti-inflammatory diet.  For this particular event, he was going to be creating some new superfood-inspired dishes that will hopefully appear on the True Food Kitchen menu this weekend.

I recruited my fellow fabulous fitbooker Tianna to come with me, and when we arrived at True Food Kitchen we were immediately presented with the Natural (which happens to be my favorite beverage there), which has fresh ginger, agave, and club soda.

superfoods with dr andrew weil the natural

Unfortunately, I forgot my cookbook, so I wasn’t able to get that signed, but Tianna and I were lucky enough to meet Dr. Weil and snap a pic.

superfoods with dr andrew weil picThen it was time for the cooking demo.  The first dish that was created was a curried cauliflower soup made with cashew cream.

superfoods with dr andrew weil soupI’m not really a curry fan AT ALL, so I wasn’t sure how I would like this, but the soup was excellent.  The recipes were provided to us during the demo so we could follow along but this soup contained cauliflower, vegetable, cashew cream and sautéed apples.  The apple sounds totally weird but it worked.  There was also a hint of turmeric and curry powder which has anti-inflammatory properties.

The main course was a toasted buckwheat salad (with buckwheat groats, not flour) with autumn vegetables.  Unfortunately, this dish contained walnuts so I could not taste it, so I just took pictures of Tianna’s plate (and have plans to recreate this at home).

superfoods with dr andrew weil buckwheat saladThe staff at True Food was kind enough to bring me my own dish, so I got the harvest chopped salad which included mixed greens, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate, apple, and goat cheese.  A beautifully grilled piece of salmon was placed on top as the finishing touch.

superfoods with dr andrew weil harvest choppedI remember having the harvest chopped last year and I forgot how amazing it was.  All the flavors in this salad just work.  If you visit a True Food Kitchen this fall, be sure to order this salad.

Dessert was sea buckthorn bars.  They created a vegan and non-vegan version, and we were served the vegan one which was made with gluten-free flour.

superfoods with dr andrew weil sea buckthorn

The bars had a lot more citrus flavor than I was expecting!  We had tasted the sea buckthorn juice by itself earlier and it was quite sour, so it was nice to have a dessert with a little added sweetness to balance the sea buckthorn flavor out.  I’ll admit this dessert wasn’t my favorite, but I do like the idea of using different ingredients.

After the meal Dr. Weil hosted a Q&A and explained his perspective on living a healthy, balanced, diet.  Some of the takeaways included:

  • Grapeseed oil is a great alternative to olive oil in cooking.
  • Use natural sugars as opposed to artificial sweeteners in cooking.  Honey, maple syrup and palm sugar are some of the best.
  • Dr. Weil firmly believes in a diet that consists of whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and healthy starches.  Sweet potatoes are one of his favorites (heck yes!)
  • Do not fear the fat!  Healthy fats are a great addition to your diet.
  • Beware of overuse of antibiotics.  Dr. Weil believes this is a contributing factor to why people have more and more food intolerances these days.  He also mentioned how less and less people are breastfeeding, which can contribute to food intolerances in babies which I found interesting.
  • And of course, nothing should be off limits, but everything in moderation (which we already knew).

Thanks True Food Kitchen and Dr. Weil for an informative evening!  I can’t wait to see the new recipes appear on the menu!

Brunch at SeaLegs Wine Bar

A couple of months ago Karla and I decided that the only way to proper celebrate our last long run of half marathon training was to treat ourselves to a delicious brunch.  We decided to have our celebratory brunch at SeaLegs Wine Bar after stumbling upon a groupon that included an entrée and bottomless mimosas for $15.

Our brunch was set for 11 AM, and after running 11 tough miles that included a strong headwind, almost getting attacked by poodles and aggressive transients on PCH, we were more than ready to get our grub on.  And apparently we weren’t the only ones as the line to have brunch at SeaLegs Wine Bar was out the door when we got there.  Thankfully Karla made reservations and we were seated right away.

brunch at sealegs wine bar champagneAs promised, our meal started with champagne and orange juice, which was a nice way to start brunch while we perused the menu.

The Englishman (who is also training for the Big Sur Half) decided to get things started on the right foot by ordering the “donut of the day” which was a chocolate maple bacon donut.

brunch at sealegs wine bar donutSince I have such a high standard for donuts (thank you Sidecar), I didn’t end up sampling it but he said it was tasty, however not on the same level as Sidecar’s donuts.  Noted.

For my entrée, since the runger (it’s a word I swear) was in full force, I went with the Vegetarian Omelette which came with kale, mushrooms, and truffle oil with a side of roasted potatoes.  I also ordered an extra side of avocado and fruit, because why not?

brunch at sealegs wine bar veggie omeletteI was pleasantly surprised at the portion size of my dish.  The omelette was cooked perfectly and was nice and filling, and the potatoes were a great compliment.

Karla followed suit and ordered the shrimp omelette which I did not try but will seriously consider ordering the next time I have brunch at SeaLegs Wine Bar.

brunch at sealegs wine bar seafood omeletteKarla’s boyfriend Jesse got the Chilaquiles, which included braised chicken and a poached egg over tortilla chips.  I couldn’t partake because of the corn component, but everyone else raved about them.

brunch at sealegs wine bar chilaquesI had told the Englishman there was a chicken and waffles dish which he immediately ordered.  The verdict was it was good and possibly better than famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles which is a pretty high compliment.

brunch at sealegs wine bar wafflesThe only knock I would give SeaLegs is that the service was a little slow and it looked like dishes were coming out at inconsistent times.  I do love the venue and their extensive wine list, so I think I’ll be back for happy hour and some tapas.

We all left brunch feeling pleasantly full and then proceeded to have post run/brunch naps, which is one of the best things about half marathon training.

Thanks Karla and Jesse for being such fabulous brunch companions!

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

This is probably one of the simplest recipes I’m ever going to post on the blog.  In fact, I hesitate calling in a “recipe” since it’s literally just blending ingredients together.  But since fall is in full swing and I can’t get enough pumpkin in my life, I felt it was only appropriate to share this pumpkin protein smoothie.

pumpkin protein smoothie pinI really love using pumpkin in smoothies because not only does it give the smoothie a nice creamy texture, it’s loaded with good stuff like potassium and Vitamin C, which makes the perfect recovery drink after a hard run.  I’ll get back from my run, throw the ingredients in the blender and then put the smoothie in the fridge to chill while I shower and get ready for the day, since I like my smoothies COLD.

Speaking of cold smoothies, am I the only one who wants them as chilled as possible?  I always load my smoothie up with ice and almond milk, and then leave it in the fridge to chill down even more.  My husband on the other hand, likes his smoothies more at a room temperature and always requests that I leave the ice out, which I can’t even fathom.  I’m the same way with water too – the colder the better.

Whether you like this pumpkin protein smoothie ice-cold or room temperature, you need this smoothie in your life.  It’s almost like pumpkin pie in a glass, but a whole lot healthier.

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie (makes 1)

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk (or any milk of your choice)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp almond butter (pb works great too!)

1 packet or scoop protein powder.  I use brown rice protein

LOTS of ice

Directions:

Place all of your ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Pour in a glass or container of your choice and enjoy (I love using the Starbucks tumbler cups).

pumpkin protein smoothie cup

I’ve found the following items also go great in this pumpkin protein smoothie if you want to amp it up a bit:

– Frozen Banana

– Cacao Powder

– Extra almond butter or PB

– Unsweetened coconut

– Drizzle of honey or maple syrup

So smoothie lovers tell me, do you drink your smoothies super cold?  Or are you more of the room temp variety?

Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are over halfway through October which means that pumpkin season is in full swing.  When the lovely Natalie from In Nat’s Shoes suggested we do another coast to coast cookie swap, I immediately knew I needed to make some grain free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to share.

grain free pumpkin cookies cards

I originally found a recipe for Sweet Potato cookies in Paleo Magazine, and decided to swap the sweet potato for pumpkin, and add some chocolate chips, because why not?  A lot of people are often skeptical of paleo baked goods, but I wanted to prove everyone wrong by creating these pumpkin gems.

grain free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

The cookies have minimal ingredients and are sweetened with honey, but you can definitely jazz them up with cranberries, coconut, chopped nuts…the sky’s the limit!

I was pretty pleased with how the cookies turned out and hopefully my cookie recipients were as well!  I was lucky enough to get some chocolate caramel cookies from Domestic Wannabe, chocolate chip coconut almond cookies from Foodologie, and cinnamon sugar cookies with apple topping from Urban Chick’s Foodie Ventures.  Needless to say, the cookies did not last long in our house.

Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from a recipe in Paleo Magazine)

grain free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies pin

Ingredients:

1 cup blanched almond flour

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 egg

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F.  In a small mixing bowl whisk together all of your dry ingredients.

In a larger bowl, mix your pumpkin, maple syrup, almond milk and egg until well combined.  Fold your dry ingredients into your wet mixture and continue mixing until blended.

Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper and gently place small spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet.

grain free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies tray

Bake for 20-25 minutes, then enjoy!

Thanks ladies for participating in the Coast to Coast Cookie Swap again!  To see their recipes, be sure to check out their blogs as well:

Natalie: In Nat’s Shoes

Karla: Foodologie

Coco: Urban Chick’s Foodie Adventures

Jazzy: Jazzy Jonez

Amber: Domestic Wannabe