Author Archives: sunshineandkale

Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant

During our recent trip to Carmel By The Sea, we came across this wonderful restaurant. It’s mainly vegetarian but almost everything can be ordered vegan.  It is the perfect place to grab a healthy bite and carb-load before the Big Sur International Marathon. It’s conveniently located in Pacific Grove, only a few miles from the running expo. Their motto is: 

“We are a bunch of fun, loving, festival going, home-cookin’ folk here to provide you with quality vegetarian food with flare”

We ordered fresh watermelon & mint “agua fresca” to drink. For entrees, I had their seasonal wild mushroom pizza with a gluten-free crust. 

My husband ordered a scrumptious tamale pie – a layered Mexican style casserole with polenta, spinach, mushrooms, pinto beans, poblano red sauce, served with a tomatillo guacamole and roasted vegetables. Is your mouthwatering yet?

Because I was only running the first leg of the marathon ( 5 miles) the next day, I decided not to order dessert. If I would have known that I would end running 17 miles, I would have also tried their Ginger Apple Spice Cake. I guess I have an incentive to come back next year 🙂    

I am glad we found this place. No doubt it would be our mandatory eating stop every time we visit the Monterey – Carmel area. I highly recommend it!

For more information about this restaurant, check out their website Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant – Pacific Grove, CA

It’s “Mint” To Be

After practicing yoga for almost 17 years, I just made the decision to enroll in the Yoga Teacher Training program at CorePower Yoga, starting this summer. It seems like all planets are finally aligning.

Photo Credit: All About Space magazine

At the start of the RnR Seattle Half Marathon #run #yoga #roga

To celebrate, I am sharing my favorite smoothie recipe. I am calling it “It’s Mint To Be”. This is my go-to recovery drink after an intensive hot yoga class or long distance run.

It’s simple, cool, refreshing, delicious and nutritious. I promise you won’t taste the spinach at all!

It's Mint To Be
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of almond milk *
  2. 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  3. 2 dates
  4. 1 large ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen overnight
  5. 1 cup of ice cubes
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract**
  7. 1 teaspoon of Om, Organic Mushroom Nutrition Fit (optional) ***
  8. 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs ( I like the brand Navitas)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, except the cacao nibs. Blend until smooth. Add the chocolate nibs and blend for 10 seconds to break them down.
  2. Pour into one large glass and garnish with mint leaves and chocolate nibs.
  3. Serve immediately.
Options
  1. * For a nut-free version, use hemp milk and vanilla extract.
  2. ** You could use 1 drop of Young Living EO instead of the peppermint extract.
  3. *** OM: https://ommushrooms.com/mi/superfood-blends/fit.html
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Love and Light!
~ Ciry at SunshineandKale

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand Market & Organic Cafe

If you live in the US and you consume organic produce, most likely you are familiar with Earthbound Farm. I personally love their organic arugula, spinach, and mixed greens. 

During a recent trip to Carmel By The Sea, we came across the Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand, located just down the road from the original 2.5 acres farm.

As we walked into the Farm Stand, we learned from one of the employees that Earthbound Farm was established in 1984. Over two decades later, the company employed 150 growers on 30,000 acres. By 2015 nearly 50,000 acres were in production.  This is the largest producer of organic salads in the US.  It was the first company to produce pre-washed  and packaged salad greens on an industrial scale.

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand was established in 1992 as an outdoor seasonal farm stand to sell fresh and delicious Earthbound Farm organic produce. In 2003, they expanded the Farm Stand and opened an Organic Café (at the time, it was just the third certified organic kitchen in the country).

The market offers beautiful organic produce, flowers, earth-friendly gifts and locally-produced specialty organic packaged foods.

The Organic Café features hot meals, sandwiches, smoothies and a great salad bar fully loaded with all Earthbound Farm produce. 

We ordered colorful and organic fresh juices, salads, and dessert.

This raw vegan blueberry cheesecake was surprisingly light and not too sweet. Perfection, in my books!

The surrounding property is wonderful. You can enjoy your meal on their outdoor patio too!

Feeling like an ant in this gigantic chair – with my “sole” sis Wendy

You can also take a tour of their organic grounds or pick your own fresh herbs from the garden and berries from their patch. Since we arrived late in the day, we didn’t have a chance to do this but I am pretty sure we’ll be back next year.  This is a lovely place to stop on your way to Carmel By The Sea ( it’s just 10 minutes away).

For more information about the Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand, click here

Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts – Graduation

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I graduated from the Rouxbe’s Essential Vegan Dessert Course. I just want to send a BIG thank you to all my culinary mentors at Rouxbe for this wonderful experience!

During this course, I learned to make delectable vanilla coconut cakes,  addicting drop biscuits, luxurious chocolate cakes,  graham crackers, rustic fruit desserts and a plethora of “Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts” to quote our fantastic teacher, Fran Costigan  aka Queen of the Vegan Desserts.

In order to graduate, we were asked to prepared five one-bite desserts.  This was my final dessert showcase:

{German}  Black Forest Parfait – Multiple layers of chocolate cake, coconut whipped cream and cherry syrup, topped with a wild Italian Amarena Cherry  preserved in syrup and a drizzle of Kirschwasser. 

{Nicaraguan} Mini Tres Leches Triffle –  Luscious Lemony Cream with vanilla coconut cake, coconut shreds, evaporated coconut milk, condensed coconut milk and aquafaba meringue, topped with a banana chip

{USA} Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Candy Cups – prepared with firm tofu, maple syrup, peanut butter, Dutch-processed cocoa, vanilla and almond extract.

{Thai Inspired} Dragon Fruit and Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes – prepared with pecans, dates, cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract and dragon fruit.

{ Spain – Inspired} Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream – a simple chocolate cake with a soft orange tofu cream topped with a small mandarin and mint

{Spanish Inspired} Mini Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream and Mandarins

Hope you enjoyed it! 
 
For more information about Rouxbe’s Essential Vegan Dessert Course, check out my previous post here. If you are thinking about joining this course ( who wouldn’t? *:x lovestruck ), drop me a line.  Join me on Facebook and Instagram at @sunshineandkale.

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Happy New Year!!

I just want to THANK everyone for your support this year! May the New Year bring HAPPINESS & JOY to you and your love ones!

My hope is that with each post, I was able to bring you a little bit of sunshine and kale  into your life.

Love & Light!
~ Ciry

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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

These Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are made with Aquafaba. What is Aquafaba? Literally, it means “water bean” in Latin. It’s the liquid that most of us pour down the drain after opening a can of chickpeas. It’s a great egg white substitute for confections such as cookies, cakes, brownies and also savory dishes too like mayonnaise, butter, and cheeses. Aquafaba can act as a binder, leavening agent, emulsifier, and practically anything that an egg white traditionally does.  Needless to say, the discovery of aquafaba has revolutionized the world. Vegans and people with egg allergies can now enjoy meringues, mousses, and macaroons. YES!

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My Baked Alaska, prepared with Aquafaba

I recently purchased Zsu Dever’s book, “Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free” and immediately fell in love with her recipes.

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Imagine my surprise when a few days later I learned that she would be speaking at our Rouxbe Vegan Desserts Course lead by Chef Fran Costigan. This is what we call synchronicity!

Zsu Dever has an extensive background in the restaurant business and vegan cooking. She hails from a long line of culinary professionals and restaurateurs too. She proved to be very knowledgeable about cooking with aquafaba and was able to answer ALL our questions (YES, there were many of them!). After this live event, I decided to prepare her Vegan Poppy Seed Muffin. I reached out to Zsu to make sure it was ok to share it with you. Enjoy it! 🙂

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins POPPY SEED MUFFINS
Serves 12
The lemon is subtle if you use only the zest, so if you love it with more of a lemon punch, add the optional extract. (from Aquafaba, copyright © 2016 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission.)
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Ingredients
  1. 2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  3. 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/3 cup aquafaba (see Note)
  6. 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  7. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated organic sugar
  8. 1 cup nondairy milk
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  10. 3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract, optional
  11. 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from approximately 2 lemons)
  12. 3 tablespoons coarse or raw sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-well regular-size muffin tin with paper cups or spray the wells with oil. Set the tin aside.
  2. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Place a separate medium bowl on a folded kitchen towel. Add the aquafaba and, using a large whisk, whisk it until it is frothy, about 1 minute. Add the oil slowly while whisking to emulsify. Add the sugar in the same way. Add the milk, vanilla, lemon extract (if using), and zest and whisk well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and, using a wooden spoon, mix the batter until almost no more flour is visible. Lumps are fine; do not overmix.
  5. Fill the wells about three-quarters full with the batter and sprinkle the coarse sugar on top. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the muffin in the middle well comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  6. Cool the muffins on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing them from the tin. Cool the muffins completely before storing in airtight containers, where they will keep for a few days.
Notes
  1. Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Before serving, I prepared a simple Lemon Glaze (1 cup of organic powdered sugar + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice) and drizzled it on top. The muffins were light, fluffy, lemony and not overly sweet or tart.

This is by far the best lemon poppy seed muffin I’ve ever tasted in my life! Thanks Zsu!

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My Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemon Glaze Recipe: Zsu Dever Photo Credit: SunshineandKale

To learn more about the history of Aquafaba, click here

To learn more about Zsu Dever, check out her page Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

{Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am currently attending the Rouxbe Essential Vegan Dessert Course.
My first assignment is to prepare a vegan pastry or sweet baked recipe that I am familiar with and that is part of my regular repertoire.  
 
My go-to dessert is cashew cheesecake. In the spring season, I like to prepare cashew cheesecake with lemon and lavender or pineapple and rose petal syrup. In the fall, I like to mix it up a little bit, adding seasonal ingredients and spices like pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. 
 
For this first task, I prepared my {Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, a Thanksgiving must-have! Enjoy it!
 
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Pumpkin Cheesecake – Mise En Place

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Pumpkin Cheesecake – In Process

 
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{Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
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Crust
  1. 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (approximately 8)
  2. ½ cup almonds
  3. ½ cup pecans
  4. 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
  1. 1 1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for 4 hours)
  2. 1/3 cup agave
  3. 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tbsp cinnamon
To prepare the crust:
  1. Place the almonds and pecans in the food processor and pulse for about 10 times. Add the dates and keep processing until a ball is formed. Press this mixture into the bottom of a mini springform cake. Place in the refrigerator.
To prepare the pumpkin cheesecake:
  1. Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more water or agave. If it's too watery, add more dates. You should have a creamy consistency.
  2. Pour mixture onto your crust.
  3. Let it set overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Notes
  1. I like to top my pumpkin cheesecake with maple syrup, whipped coconut cream and nuts.
  2. This recipe makes 2 mini cheesecakes.
Adapted from The Nutty Scoop
Adapted from The Nutty Scoop
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
 
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Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts

What is my next culinary adventure?  Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts.

It’s a 90-day online intensive course led by world-famous vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan. It’s based on her popular  Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive taught at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. 

 

The course includes 50 videos and  100 hours of coursework focusing on essential techniques and recipes so students can create vegan desserts with confidence. We’ll practice over 85 recipes to prepare decadents desserts ranging from pies, cakes, tarts and cookies to aquafaba, mousses, gels, trifles and sauces. Is your mouth watering yet? 

vegan-dessertsFollow me on this SWEET journey by subscribing to my blog.

I’ll be posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram as well @sunshineandkale.

For more information about this course, check Rouxbe Vegan Desserts 

Mindful Monday – Drink Your Tea Slowly

drinkyourtea

“Drink your tea
slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves,
slowly, evenly, without rushing
toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life”
-Thich Nhat Hanh-

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Tea Room at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery. Photo Credit: @sunshineandkale

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Tea Room at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery. Photo Credit: @sunshineandkale

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Tea Lounge Room at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery. Photo Credit: @sunshineandkale

“Tea is an act complete in its simplicity.
When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves.
There are no worries about the future.
No dwelling on past mistakes.
Tea is simple: loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup.
I inhale the scent,
tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup.
I drink the tea,
the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me.
I am informed by the tea, changed.
This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth
of the world suddenly becomes revealed,
all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense,
invented in our minds for no good purpose.
There is only the tea, and me, converging”

Thich Nhat Hanh

smile-to-the-cloud-in-your-tea 

 Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

 Happy Mindful Monday! Smile to the cloud in your tea!

Ciry

A Day of Mindfulness at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery

This year, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery with a Day of Mindfulness. We wanted to keep it simple but meaningful. We both have been practicing and studying Buddhism and couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day together.

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Upon arrival at the monastery, we were reminded to slow down, both literally and figuratively!

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We were also reminded to: “Breathe You are Alive” …

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…   “Peace is Every Step” …

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… and “I have arrived”

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I have arrived. I am home
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

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The Days of Mindfulness at Deer Park Monastery usually start with a Dharma Talk at 9 am, followed by a walking meditation and mindful (silent) eating. Today, however, “things will be different” a monastic told us upon arrival. “It’s the end of the Vietnamese retreat which means there are lots of people visiting so the program might change”. My husband and I looked at each other with a little bit of disappointment in our faces. And just as he was reading our minds, he continued with a funny and mischievous smile “Well, this is part of life. Everything comes and goes, everything is impermanent”. The three of us burst into a laugh “yes, yes, yes … the Buddhist law of impermanence. We get it” .

My husband then asked “but are we going to get a chance to meditate?” Again, this man looked at us with an ever greater smile “When we walk, we meditate. When we eat we meditate. When we breath, we …”. Again, the three of us started laughing. He probably knew that my husband meant, “sitting meditation” but he gave us our first lesson, in the most Zen’ish way possible.

Around 9:30 am, we were asked to make two circles. The inner circle was for the first time attendees while the outer circle was for the rest of the people. We were a total of fifty people or so. One of the nuns started signing to Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem and asked everyone to join her:

I have arrived. I am home
In the here. In the now.

Soon after, we were given instructions for the walking meditation, based again on Thich Nhat’s teaching:

“When you practice walking meditation, you go for a stroll.  You have no purpose or direction in space or time.  The purpose of walking meditation is walking meditation itself.  Going is important, not arriving.  Walking meditation is not a means to an end; it is an end.  Each step is life; each step is peace and joy.  That is why we don’t have to hurry.  That is why we slow down.  We seem to move forward, but we don’t go anywhere; we are not drawn by a goal.  Thus we smile while we are walking”

She also suggested that we match our breathing to our steps (i.e. counting 2-3 steps while inhaling and 3-4 steps while exhaling. The exhales being longer than the inhales). One more thing, “no electronic devices”. 

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The walking meditation was beautiful and peaceful. We were surrounded by the chaparral mountains, the smell of white sage, the sounds of our shoes kissing the soft ground, kids laughing and fresh cold air.  I am not sure how long it took us to walk up and down the mountain behind the monastery. I completely lost track of time and space.

After the meditation, we were instructed to enter the Ocean of Peace Meditation Hall. Today, they were conducting a Dharma Talk in Vietnamese with simultaneous translation for the English-speaking attendees. We were all given headphones.

I'll be in this meditation hall all day tomorrow #deerparkmonastery #thichnhathanh #peaceistheway #peaceiswithin #mindfulness #meditate #meditateeveryday #buddhism #meditation

The Dharma Talk was 90 minutes long and focused on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Buddhist’s Noble Truths. At around 12:30 pm, we were invited to one of the Hamlet Dinning halls to  enjoy a mindful meal together.

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All meals were vegan and exquisite. I had Vietnamese collard greens soup, spicy tofu, a bean dish that taste like Spanish fabada and Vietnamese bok choy.

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After lunch, the Day of Mindfulness was officially over. We walked back to the top of the mountain to take pictures and breathe in the views. We also explored the camping grounds and agreed that we needed to come back with the kids for a weekend family retreat.

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What a magical day!

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About Deer Park Monastery

The Deer Park Monastery is a 400 acre sanctuary resting peacefully in the Chaparral mountains of Southern California. It was established in July 2000 by monastic and lay practitioners from Plum Village France. The monastery is under the direct guidance of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and follow the traditions of engaged Buddhism, practicing mindfulness throughout our every day lives. For more information, visit Deer Park Monastery.

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