creative cooking

Flow States and Kelp Noodles...

The benefit of having a 7am roll-time start on a holiday is that there are absolutely no cars on the road... (Photo cred: A. Daluyaya)

The benefit of having a 7am roll-time start on a holiday is that there are absolutely no cars on the road... (Photo cred: A. Daluyaya)

Have you heard of flow states? It turns out that people who experience more 'flow' in their lives are more creative, more productive, and live more meaningful lives. The way we enter into 'flow' is unique for each individual...some people are able to enter flow states during intense physical activity or extreme sports, while others need introspective times of stillness, preferably surrounded by nature. If you are as obsessed about this as I am, read more about entering your own flow states here. One of the ways I enter flow is by riding my bike. I do my best thinking, mental processing and creation of ideas on two wheels. I think clearing out the lungs and clearing out the lactic acid in the legs also helps to clear my mind. 

Kelp noodles with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, edamame and cilantro with a miso ginger tamari dressing. #vegan #glutenfree

Kelp noodles with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, edamame and cilantro with a miso ginger tamari dressing. #vegan #glutenfree

Another way that I enter flow is by experimenting in the kitchen. Trying new recipes and branching out of my comfort zone is no longer stressful; I view it now as exciting. Time stands still, I feel like all of my good intentions are going into this new dish, and I'm always so pleasantly surprised. Tonight, I experimented with kelp noodles! Check out the full recipe for the Asian Veggie Noodle Bowl here.

My new mantra... #PlayHardDazzleOften

My new mantra... #PlayHardDazzleOften

Kelp noodles are gluten-free, low in calories, and contain calcium and iodine. They come ready-to-eat and do not need to be cooked (leaving more time to lay out by the pool) and best of all, they are delicious. You can find kelp noodles online at Thrive Market or Let me know what recipes you come up with using kelp noodles, or what activities help you reach your own flow state...and Happy 4th!

Vegan Cauliflower Crust

I feel bad for cauliflower.

It's like the kid who was picked last in P.E. for a team.

Having a superstar sister like broccoli doesn't make life any easier.

So I decided to give cauliflower some love and attention...  

Recently, I've tried cauliflower 'rice' and was impressed with how it turned out.  So I decided to step things up a notch and try it as a base for pizza.  

Today at the end of the workday, we were talking about having multiple food allergies and how frustrating that would be.  I mean, it's one thing to have a gluten intolerance, but what if you were allergic to wheat, gluten, lactose AND eggs?  Not only would this make for an interesting dining-out dating experience, but it would be extremely tedious.  I can't imagine...

And what if you were just craving some pizza?

Well, here is a recipe for you.  Did you know you can substitute a egg in a recipe with a "chia egg" that consists of 1 Tb. chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp. of water?  Well, now you do...

Cauliflower is now officially the 'cool kid' on the block...

Vegan Cauliflower Pizza

Ingredients for the crust:

-1 head of cauliflower

-1/4 c. almond flour

-3 'chia eggs': make by mixing 3 Tb. chia seeds with 9 Tbsp. water

-salt and pepper

-Italian seasoning, basil, thyme, whatever other fun seasonings you feel like adding

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Make your 'chia eggs' in a separate cup and set aside.

3. Wash the cauliflower and place in a food processor with an "S-shaped" blade and pulse until the cauliflower is into rice-size pieces.

4. Microwave for 3 minutes until soft.

5. Squeeze out the excess water of the cauliflower with a towel.

6. Mix in the almond flour and seasonings and combine well into a 'dough' ball.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Add your pizza toppings, place back into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes longer.

9. Enjoy your nutrient-dense, plant-powered pizza!

Vegan Mac 'n Cheese (aka #yogafail)

First things first- I normally shy away from the word "vegan" since it's such a highly-charged word.  I would much rather prefer to use the term 'plant-based,' but for some reason, "plant-based mac 'n cheese" just sounds strange, not sexy.  

Also for the record, I had grand plans to go to yoga tonight with my favorite teacher Pradeep. His classes land late in the day and go until 9:30pm-ish, which mean I have to plan hard that morning to pack


(mat, clothes, towels, makeup remover, facewash, waterbottle, snacks, UGG boots, jacket for after class, you name it...).  Once everything is packed in my car, and I am registered online, there's a 99.9% chance that I'll go.

Unless I get inspired.

Which is always the case when I work in close quarters with PK.  This morning she mentioned that she made a vegan mac 'n cheese recipe.  It sounded pretty incredible, and the creative 'cream' sauce piqued my curiosity since it was made from tofu, versus cashews or other nuts that most other vegan mac 'n cheese recipes called for.

I cancelled my yoga class online.  I went to Berkeley Bowl.  I got busy in the kitchen, and the finished product was almost as good, if not better, than relaxing into savasana at the end of an intense class.

Here it is- major props to my fellow dietitian and culinary muse, Praveena.  Not many people can say that they know an intelligent and beautiful plant-powered/ayurvedic practitioner/yoga instructor/dietitian, but I do.  And I get to eat lunch with her everyday.  I know...It's ok to be jealous.  Lucky for us, she shares her delicious recipes...

Meatless Monday at its best!

Vegan Mac 'n Cheese

1/2 pound dried elbow or shell pasta

1/2 c. water

1 c. unflavored soymilk or almond milk

8 oz. firm tofu

1/2 c. canola oil (I used a lot less; adjust to desired consistency)

1 c. nutritional yeast

1/3 c. soy sauce

1 Tb. sriracha sauce (optional)

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c crushed toasted walnuts (optional for topping)

1) Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.

2) Mix the remaining ingredients (except for the walnuts) into a Vitamix or food processor to create the 'cheese' sauce

3) If desired, add roasted broccoli (mix broccoli with garlic, olive oil, salt/pepper and roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees)

4) Add the sauce and the cooked pasta to a large pot and cook over medium heat until everything is nice and hot, about 5 minutes.

5) Spoon into bowls, top with the crushed walnuts, and serve.  Enjoy!