Spicy Smoothies and Vegetable Pun Contest with Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

Just in time for Mardi Gras, I had the chance to review a nudie vegan cookbook Squeeze Life by Karliin Brooks, “Your guide to the best bare body at any age.” This book is full of colorful, gorgeous foodie photos, pun after pun after pun, and has a casual, often profane narrator. The prose reads like a snarky email from your best girlfriend. While I don’t whole-heartedly support all of her advice (like drinking your own urine), I do concur with two of Karliin’s guiding principles: 1) “Green juices are the ultimate babe fuel,” and 2) “What you put inside your body affects your overall well-being. So why eat shitty foods?”

All the recipes are based on raw, organic fruits, veggies and legumes. Because of this book I made milk out of cashews for the first time and enjoyed a delicious smoothie with curry spices.

Mardi gras this year is supposed to be 80 degrees, so KP and I have been working on getting a good primer coat on our tender, pale bodies.

Curry in a Flurry

I used MegaFood Turmeric powder as a substitute for the fresh turmeric in the smoothie recipe below… pretty spicy.

Some pages are rated R, fair warning. Not probably a book you want your kiddos to get their hands on. But the pun lover will have endless pleasures. I’m giving away one free copy of this book to my readers, just post a comment with your favorite vegetable pun… and then you too can “grab life by the sprouts and squeeze.” Ha!

And then, since we’re on a smoothie kick right now and I’m still loving the Just Spices shipment that came last week, try this very tasty smoothie with a Smoothie Booster shot! Photo taken amid the chaos of the current state of affairs in my “kitchen” which admittedly becomes more like my office every day.

Just Spice Smoothie

One cup plain Greek Yogurt

½ cup nonfat milk

2 cups frozen fruit (mangos and peaches are my fave)

1 scoop of protein powder

1 tsp of Smoothie Booster from Just Spices

Spiced Ricotta Pancakes with Just Spices

All is right with the world (in my little New Orleanian Mardi Gras bubble; note also that in the la la land of residency I really don’t have much time to belabor the weight of daily news). We have been trotting out to some of the early season parades, last night was Cleopatra, and we caught some great stuffed animal throws for Izzy to chew up. Turns out she also loves beads. Very stylish bully.

And Goodness, what wonderful gifts have been coming at Bake This Day via the mail! Thank you to Just Spices for sending some Pancake Blend and Smoothie Booster spices to test out on Saturday morning. I LOVED the Pancake Blend, which has cinnamon, lemon peel, cardamom and vanilla bean. You can’t go wrong! I’m gonna put this stuff in snickerdoodle cookies too. Love that it’s organic—working on a smoothie next…

Spiced Ricotta Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 TB sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 cups whole milk

4 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1-2 tsp Pancake Blend spice from Just Spices

Warm pure maple syrup, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk with the egg yolks, ricotta and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of lemon zest. Whisk the mix into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

In a clean, large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (this is key—makes the pancakes so fluffy!); fold them into the batter.

Preheat a griddle and grease it with butter. Scoop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto the griddle. Cook the pancakes over moderately high heat until bubbles appear on the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the pancakes are risen and golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes longer.

 And so it begins. The Season of Spice and Light. All is right. #sponsored, thanks Just Spices.

Red Snapper en Papillote

Succulent snapper. So much moisture retained by the parchment paper, steaming in white wine. Very spicy, perfect balance of flavor. This is a perfect dish to serve when hosting company—easy to control on a time-sensitive schedule, hard to mess up and SO SO delicious. Or you could always go out to eat for a good snapper– I recommend The Pelican Club, our Valentine’s Day treat to ourselves in the French Quarter last night.

Red Snapper en Papillote
Adapted from Louisiana Cooking

2 sheets parchment paper, cut crosswise
4 (6- to 8-ounce) snapper fillets (I have used grouper as well as substitute)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
12 fresh thyme sprigs
12 thin lemon slices (from my own lemon tree!!!)
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 (5-ounce) bag kale salad mix
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
1 grapefruit, segmented and juices reserved
½ cup toasted pecan halves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400°. In the center of each piece of parchment, add fish fillets. Sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Top each fillet with 3 sprigs thyme, 3 lemon slices, jalapeño, and crushed red pepper. Fold parchment over, sealing top and bottom ends.

Add 1 tablespoon white wine to each fillet. Seal third side by rolling. Place on a rimmed baking dish. Bake until fillets flake easily, 10 to 12 minutes. In a large bowl, gently combine salad mix, grapefruit segments, and pecans.

In a small bowl, whisk together grapefruit zest, oil, tarragon, Dijon, reserved grapefruit juice, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Drizzle over kale mixture. Serve fish with salad immediately.

Chocolate Caramel Swiss Roll

Well, I’ve had my obligatory one month-ish break from sugar after the holidays and now here we are on the verge of Valentine’s Day, and I’m snuffle-hunting for chocolate recipes to stir up rohmahnce. May it take you to sunny heart-filled scapes deep within your nostalgia. Today, that place for me is the purple house and purple heart-leaf tree in Minnesota. And a Prague garden and sunset to match.

Found one. Izzy is hoping her birthday gets here soon.

Chocolate Caramel Swiss Roll

Adapted from Martha Stewart magazine


1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Pinch of coarse salt

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1/4 cup sifted Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pan and dusting

1/2 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark

1 1/2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

Whipped cream: Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small, heavy pot, stir together granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water; heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, stir cornstarch into 1/4 cup cream, then stir mixture into remaining 1 1/4 cups cream. Add cream mixture and salt to caramel, whisking constantly (it will bubble up), and bring to a boil. Set pot in bowl of ice water and let cool, whisking occasionally, 30 minutes; then refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Cake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment; spray parchment, then dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Whisk together cocoa, flour, and salt.

Combine eggs, yolks, and granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed 2 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 4 minutes more.

Sift cocoa mixture over top of egg mixture, then fold in. When almost incorporated, pour butter down side of bowl; gently fold to combine, scraping bottom of bowl. Transfer to prepared sheet, using an offset spatula to spread evenly. Bake until center springs back when lightly touched, 6 to 7 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around edges of cake.

Invert onto a clean kitchen towel; remove parchment.

Immediately, starting at one short side, roll into a log, incorporating towel. Let cool 30 minutes.

Syrup: In a small, heavy pot, stir together granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water; heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, 1 minute. Continue to cook, without stirring but swirling occasionally, until syrup turns dark amber, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 cup water (it will bubble up), bourbon, and cocoa. Whisk until smooth. Let cool about 30 minutes.

Whisk confectioners’ sugar into chilled cream mixture, then whip to stiff peaks. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Whisk again just before filling cake.

Unroll cooled cake. Brush surface generously with syrup. Use offset spatula to spread whipped cream over cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.

Starting at a short end, roll cake to enclose filling (without towel). Wrap towel around cake (for a tight roll, hold closed with binder clips). Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Dust with cocoa and serve. (For cleanest slices, use a serrated knife.)

Pledge to Mind the Gap – MegaFood Smoothie Time

It is well known that doctors, in particular, residents-in-training, have some of the worst health habits of all the land. We walk around with acute kidney injuries from daily dehydration, and when we finally get a chance to catch up on eating/hydrating, we dump cans of caffeinated diet sodas down the hatch chased by fistfuls of whatever is salty and nearby in a bag. Sometimes I wonder how my cells are scraping by with what I give them to build with. My brain in particular. I went to a lecture on vitamin supplementation by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog at the 2016 ShiftCon, and felt personally convicted to do better this year with regard to nutrition—to mind the gap, as it were. She has partnered with MegaFood to formulate a multivitamin that meets a host of stringent standards: vegetarian, dairy free, non-GMO, and farm fresh. These vitamins taste and smell like they could go bad if you don’t use them in a month. That’s a good thing. Real things rot. Avoid what’s not.

To do that, I’m grateful MegaFood makes it easy for busy people like me! I made a pledge to close my nutritional gap by taking a vitamin daily, and what is so awesome about this pledge drive is that my purchase of vitamins pays it forward to help cure nutritional poverty. In a nutshell, for every pledge Megafood receives, they are donating a bottle of MegaFood Multivitamins to those in need. All pledgees will receive a $5 off coupon toward a purchase of any MegaFood Multivitamin and will be entered to win a year’s supply of MegaFood Multivitamins and a trip to a wellness retreat.

In addition to taking a vitamin daily, I’ve been experimenting with some of their nutrient booster powder supplements, using a scoop daily in my protein shakes.

My Pledge: MegaFood Smoothie Time

One cup plain Greek Yogurt

½-3/4 cup nonfat milk

2 cups frozen fruit (mangos and peaches are my fave)

1 scoop of Healthy Skoop Viva-nilla plant-based protein powder

1 scoop of Healthy Skoop plant-based Greens blend

1 scoop MegaFood Daily Purify OR Daily C-Protect

My husband is a teacher, I’m a doctor, and together, we make the perfect viral farm where bugs can wreak havoc on our immune systems should we allow them to grow weak. I am hopeful that adding some of these much needed nutrients to my routine will translate to fewer days with fevers and sniffles. What I like about MegaFood products is how the nutrients are gathered that constitute the supplements. I used to think that fortification with vitamins and powders was cheating—shouldn’t I be getting my vitamin A from carrots themselves? Well, the problem with this, I think, is that the mineral content of our foods just isn’t what it once was. And because of that, we would have to eat a mountain of carrots to get enough Vitamin A. And don’t get me started on B-Z. Realistically, I don’t eat enough and good foods aren’t always an option (see call room posts of yon). So just take a vitamin. And make the  pledge so some who really needs them but can’t afford them can have one too. Make vitamins a part of your kitchen.

Check out their upcoming Facebook Live on February 7th. The Facebook Live will be our official pledge launch and will be filled with broadcasts from some very special guests!

Please note that this post was sponsored by MegaFoods with product donation to Bake This Day. #sponsored #ad

Romano Bean Fritters with Chosen Foods

This is definitely an ideal Superbowl snack. What a great way to eat beans and peas. This recipe I found in a Canadian magazine this summer while hiking around Cape Breton. The original features a creamy slaw made of mayo, avocados and red cabbage. It seemed a natural substitute (and much easier) to simply use the mayonnaise that was gifted to me by Chosen Foods this winter. What an incredible sauce. My mother always said that hunger is the best sauce–well, she might need to try this.

Romano Bean Fritters

Adapted from Chatelaine Magazine

1/4 cup mayonnaise—I used Chosen Foods Harissa flavored Mayo

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup water

3 tbsp Chosen Foods avocado oil

1 egg

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 cup French beans, drained and rinsed and chopped into one-inch pieces

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp hot-red-chili-flakes


Put mayonnaise into a little cup. Done—whoo that was easy!

Stir all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in water, 1 tbsp oil and egg. Stir in green peas, romano beans, green onions, 1 tbsp fresh thyme and hot-red-chili flakes.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium. Scoop 4 2-tbsp fritters into pan. Cook until fritters are golden brown and cooked through, about 2 min per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with another tbsp of oil and remaining batter. Serve warm, dip in mayo. YummMM!

Thanks so much for the gift, Chosen Foods!

Torta Caprese for My Birthday Cake

What a fabulous birthday. Surprise after surprise after surprise! Bright flowers from KP.

A dozen eggs (thank you magnificent seven!)

Presents and cards and several evenings out this week with friends and loved ones.

And the Italian Baker, by Melissa Forti. Literally the most beautiful baking book I’ve yet seen. Full of mouth-watering photography featuring cakes and pastries on fine china in Melissa’s Tea Room (in Italy where Forti has been learning to make Italian desserts.)

Per tradition, I had to make a chocolate cake for my birthday and the Flourless Chocolate Torte was a heavenly way to invest half of the latest dozen.

I highly recommend the Italian Baker to Bake This Day readers; please purchase her book, I think she is my new baking hero– you can get it here: http://amzn.to/2fCWmJe.

Thanks again to all for the birthday love. Time to boot up Rachel 3.2 — A bright year ahead.