Pesto avec Creme Fraiche

Today marks day 10 of my 30 day challenge, and the biggest thing I have noticed is that I do not notice. I have transformed my thinking so much that I just think of it as a way of life now. Today, as a reward for my long summer of non-stop work at the pool cafe, and because I just adore homemade everything, I went to Williams-Sonoma and bought an ice cream maker. Don’t worry, it wasn’t too bad, just $68 and it came with a bonus freezer bin so that I can make two different types of ice cream without having to wait for my ice cream bin to be cleaned! Both freezer bins are in the, well, freezer right now and it’ll be another 16 hours or so until they are ready for some ice cream loving. The possibilities are endless! I think I’m going to start out with toasted coconut and dark chocolate shavings first and see how it goes. I already have my organic milk, agave nectar, and  cream waiting in the freezer! Ah, can you just feel the excitement and anticipation!? Plus, I’m pretty darn sure these freezer bins will fit in my freezer at school so I may just have to keep blogging about different frozen yogurt, ice cream treats, etc during the year as well! Anyways, enough about ice cream… hehe

Moving onto olives…. This is a lovely olive tree I came across last night when we visited Longwood Gardens.

Tonight my lovely cousins were over and I made them a super simple pesto pasta dish that you might consider trying. I could only have the pesto because the pasta isn’t part of the challenge I’m on since it has more than 5 ingredients : (. We were short on time so I just used Trader Joe’s mini ravioli and made a quick arugula pesto with creme fraiche. The creme fraiche, of course, makes it a creamier pesto than the typical olive oil base… they liked it!

Here’s the quick recipe. You’ll need a food processor! (I’m telling you, it’s the gift that keeps on giving… hopefully I’ll be able to say that soon about my new ice cream maker too ; ) )

Pasta avec Creme Fraiche Pesto

1/4 cup creme fraiche (french style cream, you can get it at most high-end grocery stores, I got this from Janssens)

1 big handful of arugula

1/3 cup of almonds (or pine nuts traditionally… or walnuts.. or pecans!)

couple dashes of nutmeg, sea salt, and pepper to taste

2-3 tbs olive oil, (eye ball it)

Shaved parmesean for garnish

Cook pasta in boiling water as directed. Preferably wheat (unbleached) of some sort. In food processor add arugula, pulverize. Then add nuts, 1/4 tsp sea salt, pinch of pepper. While processor is running add about 2-3 tbs olive oil until it is a creamy consistency. Remove cooked pasta from boiling water, immediately add pesto to pasta while hot, add creme fraiche, dash of nutmeg, pepper, and sea salt, and stir until evenly combined. Serve with parmesean and shaved parmesean and a leaf of arugula for garnish. Voila!

I think next time I make this I might add some white wine and lemon to cut the cream a little bit.. and make it more of a lemony pesto dish when I’m not in the mood for a creamier sauce. We’ll see!

Bon Appetit!



Nutrishion Lesson: Maybe the problem is acids?!

Happy Sunday! Today I stumbled upon my “Eat This and LIVE” book today and something caught my interest. Apparently, according to Dr. Don Colbert MD, “Our cells thrive in an alkaline environment but get constipated with metabolic waste and toxins in an acidic environment”. Here we thought it was simple: eat more veggies, more fiber, less cholesterol, blah blah blah.. but it turns out it’s much more scientific. Apparently there are even some fruits, veggies, you should limit in comparison with other types. I’ve known for a while that corn isn’t the greatest vegetable for you, but seeing it on the list of acidifying foods in the veggie category only next to olives and winter squash really brings that truth home. You should shoot for about 60/40 alkalizing foods to acidic foods. It’s probably easier to understand like this:

“That’s about one serving of vegetables and one of fruit or other alkalinizing foods for every serving of acidic foods (meats or grains). Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, green vegetables, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts. Acid-forming foods include meat, fish, poultry, chicken, eggs, most grains, legumes, and especially desserts, processed foods, and fast foods” (Colbert 64).

Sounds obvious right? Well, check out these categories:

Alkalizing foods:  A rainbow of nutrition!

Veggies: Alfalfa, Barley grass, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chlorela, collard greens, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green peas, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, nightshade veggies, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, rutabaga, spinach (green), sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watercress, wild greens, wheat grass

Fruits: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, berries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries (sour), coconut (fresh), cranberries, currants, dates (dried), figs (dried), grapes, grapefruit, honeydew melon, lemon, lime, muskmelons, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangerine, tomato, tropical fruits, watermelon.

Grains: Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat

Nuts: Almonds (wahoo! i knew it was good I switched to Almond butter instead of peanut!!), Chesnuts

Sweeteners: Stevia (I don’t use this though, I use maple syrup, honey, and agave)

Spices and Seasonings: chili pepper, cinnamon, curry, ginger, herbs (all), mustard, sea salt

Other: Alkaline antioxidant water, apple cider vinegar, duck eggs, fresh squeezed fruit juice, ghee (clarified butter), green juices, mineral water, quail eggs, soured dairy products, veggie juices

Minerals: Calcium pH 12, Cesium pH 14, Magnesium pH 9, Potassium pH 14, Sodium pH 14

Acidifying Foods

Vegetables: Corn, Olives, Winter squash

Fruits: Pickled fruits, cranberries

Grains, grain products: Barley, bran (oat), bran (wheat), bread, corn, cornstarc, crackers (soda), flour (wheat), flour (white), macaroni, noodles, rice (all), rice cakes, rye, spaghetti, spelt, wheat germ, wheat

Beans and Legumes: black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, soybeans, white beans

Dairy: butter, cheese, cheese (processed), ice cream, ice milk

Nuts and butters: Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, legumes, peanut butter, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts

Animal protein: bacon, beef, carp, clams, cod, corned beef, fish, haddock, lamb, lobster, mussels, organ meats, oyster, pike, pork, rabbit, salmon, sardines, sausage, scallops, shellfish, shrimp, tuna, turkey, veal, venison

Fats and Oils: almond oil, butter, canola oil, corn flour, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, all fried foods

Sweeteners: corn syrup, sugar

Other foods: catsup, cocoa, coffee, mustard, pepper, soft drinks, vinegar

Drugs and Chemicals: aspirin, chemicals, drugs (medicinal), drugs (psychedelic), herbicides, pesticides, tobacco

Your pH should be between 7.0 and 7.5. You can get a pH test from your drugstore if you’re curious!

Now, don’t forget, Dr. Colbert isn’t recommending you eliminate all the foods from this category from your diet, but you should shoot to eat foods from the Alkalizing foods group more commonly than those from the acidifying group.

Sugar and your pH balance: Not only does it lead to type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol, obesity, an impaired immune system, but scientifically check this out: Sugar is bad for your pH, thus can lead to osteoporosis: “Sugar creates an acidic environment in your tissues, which causes your body to cry out for alkaline foods. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body may pull it from your bones and teeth to rebalance your pH, and you may develop bone loss and eventually osteoporosis” (Eat, 33).

Video of the Week: Dr. OZ:

I’m still working on what recipe to share with you later today, so stay tuned!

Bonne Santé!


30 Day Challenge Day 3: Tip: Nighttime Eating

Well, I had whole milk for the first time in a very long time today. I am wondering why I haven’t been drinking this before besides the cholesterol and fat… it is delicious!!! I got the “Natural by Nature Grass Fed Organic” kind.. amazing. Smart idea: don’t drink before you run. You can get away with drinking skim milk, but when you up the fat it is much harder to run and not feel sick. Common sense, but I learned that the hard way this afternoon.

Inspiration of the day: stop eating at night. We hear it all the time, but sometimes it’s the science of a situation that makes us understand it better. It turns out there are two hormones that are connected to appetite and sleep. According to this article, “Leptin helps suppress food intake and stimulate energy expenditure, while ghrelin stimulates appetite, fat production, and body growth. When one is sleep deprived, the level of leptin drops and the level of ghrelin increases. The result is a drastic increase in hunger. One study reported a 24% increase in hunger, with excessive, uncontrollable cravings for calorie and carbohydrate packed foods such as cookies, candy and cake. It can all add up to a vicious cycle of late night binges, lack of adequate sleep, uncontrolled snacking, late night binges, and so on.” No wonder when I come home from work I want to eat all of those chevre brownies I made the other day!!

Overeating before bed can also cause indigestion and trouble sleeping… especially if you’re like me and you eat chocolate (caffeine). Plus, you’re not really burning it off because you are asleep. Who runs laps in their dreams?

When I find myself getting tired I will go to sleep, not reach for some bedtime snacks. Or I’ll drink chamomile tea and eat an apple or a slice of turkey (which has tryptophan so I’ll fall asleep faster anyway…).  Plus, I am going to plan my meals better so that I eat about 5 small meals throughout the day. Apparently the less meals you eat during the day, the more you binge at night.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

I hope this encourages you fellow night eaters out there!




Refined Sugar: Foe not Friend.

Today was my first (and last) day off my Real Food Challenge. My weakness has always been sweet treats– mainly because I love to bake, and I adore chocolate. But, I must say, I feel so sick right now. I ate the Harry Potter cake as a ‘reward’ for my achieving 15 days without fried, processed, or fast food, without refined sugars of any kind, without processed food that has more than 5 ingredients, without white flour, and the cake was less than rewarding. On the challenge I felt sooooo amazing, I had more energy, was happier, and was shocked at my large amount of self control. Eating that cake was disgusting, and I felt like I was going against my moral philosophy honestly–maybe that’s a little dramatic but I really don’t believe in putting this nasty stuff in my body.

Which is precisely why I am definitely doing that 30 day challenge starting tomorrow and after that I am going to allow certain things back in my diet– such as processed bread (all natural from Trader Joes– no preservatives) because I won’t have time in college to be baking my own bread (but the full description of my college style real food challenge is coming later…) Today I had a few things that I wasn’t able to have on my challenge: one crouton (yes, one) that was made with processed bread, 1/4 cup of cottage cheese (that has more ingredients than you can count– I really wish I looked at the label before I ate it freely– eww who needs locust bean gum, xanthum gum, mono and diglycerides, etc in their cheese!?!?!), and that darn harry potter cake I made (which had WHITE flour, powdered sugar, food coloring, heavy cream with mono and diglycerides in it). Man, I feel priveleged to not be eating that junk. You don’t really realize it until you do something drastic like this– we are so used to these preservatives etc that we don’t know what life can be like without them. Well, let me tell you, life is much much better without them. I’m going back on the challenge. Not just for the 30 day strict challenge, but I am making this an even more dedicated lifestyle pursuit. Refined sugar is officially gross and does nothing to help me!!


obviously infuriated and not-feeling-so-hot,


8 minutes or less Almond Butter

I’ve posted about this before, but now I am going to give you some pictures. I love this super simple treat and I am constantly making more.
empty jar…. soon to be full!!

Homemade Almond Butter

You’ll need:

2 cups Almonds, either dry roasted and unsalted, or raw unsalted (I used dry roasted today)

1 jar (I’ve been re-using this same jar for about a month already!)

sea salt


high power food processor (I swear by my Cuisinart 7 cup food processor– it’s magical)

Simply add almonds to food processor and turn it on. After 4 minutes scrape down sides. Keep blending and leave it alone until it turns into butter. At first you may be skeptical, but leave it alone– it’ll work, the almonds need time to pulverize and extract their oils. At 8 minutes, or before depending on how it looks, you should be left with a deliciously creamy beautiful almond butter. Now, if you want, you can add about 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1 tbs honey and stir with a spatula (don’t turn the processor back on otherwise it’ll make the texture less creamy, more grainy). Mmmmmmm. Everytime I run out of this stuff I just take my food processor out and blend some more. This jar has seen better days as you can tell, but not better almond butter! If you want to switch things up, try raw almonds– the flavor is so different but absolutely delicious. It’s much milder and probably better for sandwiches. I prefer dry roasted almond butter for slathering on apples.

yum yum yum.
delicious… and nutritious! Almonds are so good for you. They have much less saturated fat than most nuts, are great for your complexion, heart, hair. They have phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. They regulate your cholesterol. They are a great source of protein, which helps keep you full and build muscle.

Delectable Chevre Brownies with Sea Salt

Oh. My. Goodness. Do you like goat cheese? If you haven’t tried it go out and get some right now. Not only will you broaden your horizons (which aren’t very big in the food world if you haven’t had this yet anyway) but you’ll have 1 ingredient to make this delicious recipe already. I saw this recipe on the food network a couple years ago, during Lent of all times, and I wanted so desperately to make it but had given up chocolate (as always) and forgot about it. It popped into my head again today and so on my way back from work I scurried over to TJ’s and picked up an 8 oz log of it (it was about $2.30, not bad in my opinion). I searched online to try and find Vermont Brownie Company’s secret recipe, but of course they don’t post it. So after watching the episode online again (Throwdown with Bobby Flay vs. VBC) I got some hints and then found a fellow blogger online who posted a great recipe for the chevre swirl, and then I used a simple deep chocolate brownie recipe for the brownie part but substituted a lot to make it healthier. I actually used pure maple syrup from Vermont instead of sugar– I think those Vermont girls have some competition!! Now next time I make these I am definitely going to get 2 logs of goat cheese, 1 because I am obsessed with goat cheese, and 2 because these brownies really need some chevre loving!

Chevre Brownies with Sea Salt


Chevre Swirl Mixture:

12 oz chevre (aka goat cheese), room temperature

2 eggs

2 tbs whole wheat flour

2 tbs honey (or maple syrup or agave)

In a bowl, mix these ingredients together with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

Deep Chocolate Brownie Mixture (adapted from

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter (I ended up using 1 cup of olive oil actually because we’re out of butter!)
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate + 10 oz chunks to sprinkle on top
  • 1 1/2 cups light agave nectar or 2 cups maple syrup (I know maple syrup is expensive, so you can use honey or agave if you want, i’m sure it’ll be great too!)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (whenever you substitute maple syrup for sugar, always add 1/4 tsp baking soda per cup)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt, plus big chunks to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.

Melt butter and chocolate in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, then whisk into chocolate mixture until combined.

Spread 3/4 of the mixture in a pan. Cover that mixture with chevre mixture on top. Then add remaining brownie mixture. Take a knife or fork and make lines horizontally and vertically to create a swirl with the chevre and the brownie mixture. Beautiful right!?!  Sprinkle sea salt chunks (not pictured here– I ran out!) and chunks of dark chocolate on top. Bake until a pick inserted in center comes out with crumbs, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool completely.


2nd Attempt at the brownies:

Bon appetit!!!