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Eating my way through D.C.

Ever want to just get up and go somewhere you’ve never been? Or maybe it’s a place you’ve already gone to but wanted to revisit? Instead of course, you do the more practical thing and brush that day dream under the rug because, well—life. For once I did that—I left work and my unfinished projects aside and just left.  Maybe I didn’t have quite the dramatic exit of throwing my papers and chair to the wall, because, well— I like having a job. After all, I didn’t need a start-over, I just needed a break. Mostly, I needed a season change–Florida heat can make anyone go a little crazy. So I asked Boss Lady for two weeks off, which she gladly gave me  because she’s an angel, called up my friend in Washington, DC, cousin in New York, and college roommate/bestie who had just moved to Brooklyn and told them I was coming up. My mission: to go anywhere and everywhere there was food.

Founding Farmer’s “Quality and natural ingredients”

Tip:

Make reservations the day before

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Why I Love It

Their ingredients come from sustainable American family farms, and taste incredibly fresh. It’s clear Founding Farmer’s takes their holistic approach very seriously. Plus the founder has an obvious sense of humor for puns; being in the capitol city, it only made sense to fashion the name of this establishment after  the nation’s Founding Father’s.

Something you might not know

As we sat down to eat our waiter told us the one time they had a tomato shortage in their kitchen, all they had to do was call up the local farmer who distributed them their tomatoes and have him bring in a new supply that day!

They have an open floor layout downstairs as well as a quieter intimate level upstairsIMG_1999

Catch up on your farming and food know-how in the reading section while you waitIMG_2000

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To accommodate for my wheat allergy, the server substituted the biscuits that came with the platter for fruits

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Pitango Gelato

Their specialty

Gelato, sorbets, and coffee-espressos. They use organic grass-fed milk, cream, and free-range eggs. For you vegans or lactose-intolerants, their sorbets are dairy free.

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Why I love it

Pitango’s gelato and sorbets are free of artificial ingredients, colorings, flavorings and chemicals, and low on fat and sugar content.

There’s always something new to try

Aside from the classics, they have exotic flavors like mojito, rhubarb, and passion fruit.

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I tried the NEW flavor CAFFE ESPRESSO

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Oyamel Concina Mexicana

Vibe: Vibrant, ambient, modern, artsy

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Specialty

They’re a tapas style restaurant. Everything comes out in small plates and is meant to be shared. It becomes a little pricey as you add on more platters. Don’t expect to leave on a full stomach from their portions.

Why I like them

They have a diverse allergy-friendly menu that not too many restaurants have and it is color coded at the top. Gluten, vegetarian, vegan, shellfish, nuts, & dairy. Plus their GUACAMOLE IS BOMB.

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Why I won’t be going back

They still made their ingredients with Soy. Having a soy allergy is probably the number one reason it’s difficult for me to eat out at restaurants, but I just ended up being creative and picked the one item on the menu which was soy-free and added some salsa and guacamole on top. Did I mention how good their guacamole was?!

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Protein Bar

Vibe: Modern

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Why I LOVE them

Aside from the fresh, great taste, Protein Bar is considered a Fast Food restaurant AND healthy — huhwut?! You can go in and place your order at the counter just like any usual fast food restaurant and have a smoothie, green juice, salad, wrap, quinoa bowl, or chili ready for you in less than 5 minutes.

Why I think there should be more

Protein Bar is an expanding franchise but it is still very very new–you can count the number of stores they have on two hands. I’m pretty sure if there were more franchises like this available in every local community, it would be less tempting to eat poorly when looking for a quick bite to eat. If Chipotle could do it, I think Protein Bar can do it too.

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 So that was my food adventures around D.C. in a nutshell, give or take a few that weren’t worth mentioning. Stay tuned for the next post Eating my way through N.Y.C. & Puking

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Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwich

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It’s that Fall time of year when everyone gets that sudden craving for pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin everything. But ice cream, although some would say is strictly a summer treat, can be had year round. In this recipe you can marry the two seasons into a, brace yourselves — Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwich.

You’ll need:

For the Cookies

Makes ~ 10-12

  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats(blended into a fine flour) + 1/2 cup Rolled Oats (to add later)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 heaping Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter(or dairy substitute)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  • 1/4 Cup Cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Dry ingredients Blend 1 cup of rolled oats in a blender for 20 seconds until it is a fine flour consistency. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.

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3. Wet ingredients Take the softened butter and whisk in the egg, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.

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4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.

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5. Add in the 1/2 cup of rolled oats(unblended) and cranberries.

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6. Use a cookie scooper to proportion out the batter. I found it helps to flatten the dough a little so it spreads out wide enough to fit the ice cream disk. (Make some bigger and some smaller since, as you will see below the ice cream disks will come out in varying diameters due to the shape of the carton).

This was my first batch, I flattened them down a bit further in the second

This was my first batch, I flattened them down a bit further in the second

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool once done. These cookies will be a little more on the cake-like side, since a crisp cookie will fall apart once frozen.

For the Ice Cream

  • Pint-size – any flavor, I recommend Vanilla or for a Pumpkin Spice Latte twist – Cappuccino
  •  A bread knife

1. Starting at the bottom of the carton, grip the pint of ice cream firmly in your hand and begin to cut all the way through as if you were cutting loaf of bread. (As you move up the top of the carton the slices will get wider due to the shape of the carton. Use the bigger cuts for your bigger sized cookies, and the smaller cuts for your smaller sized cookies so they fit)

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2. Pop the disk out and sandwich into your cookies. For less mess, you can take a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the cardboard of the carton where the seams meet and peel the paper off the ice cream.

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3. Quickly roll the ice cream sandwich in some chocolate chips, wrap in wax paper and freeze until they are ready for eating.

 

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Summertime Sadness: Coconut Bliss New Flavors

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Fast.

It’s the word that comes to mind when I think of how this summer has gone by. Starbucks is already releasing their Fall Pumpkin Spiced Latte–contain yourself. I’ve been gone for the month of July and a good part of August from Little Bliss Book I remorsefully admit. I needed to unplug from this part of the virtual world, and with having hit my 1-year of blogging, and nearly 100 posts later I needed the sense that I was shifting gears before I could get my feet wet again in Year 2 of LBB. Speaking of wet, it rained here in Florida nearly every other day — not quite the best lighting scenario for ample food photography. My kitchen saw less of me this summer as I was off skirting the town for new eateries (posts and pictures to come). And I found my summer love — with ice cream. Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream to be exact—specifically Salted Caramel & Chocolate. Mmph. So good. I. can’t. even.

I have a small…ok maybe a big obsession with Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Somehow the lovely people at Coconut Bliss could tell I had this obsession as well from the ice cream filled Oat Flour Crepes Recipe I posted and they asked me if I would like to try out a few of their flavors. I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review, and also I didn’t want to be rude, so naturally I said yes. That’s one thing in life a girl never denies when offered: good ice cream, good chocolate, good wine, and Ryan Gosling memes.

Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice creams are made with Coconut Milk, natural ingredients, and agave syrup. It’s a good alternative for anyone lactose-intolerant, vegan, Celiac, Soy intolerant, Gluten intolerant, or Diabetic.

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Mint Galactica: I was hesitant to find out what coconut and mint tasted like together, but actually it’s pretty good. You don’t taste the coconut, and the mint is mild so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating toothpaste. t like it, but don’t LOVE it. But then again I’m not a Mint Ice Cream person, but my old roommate from college would love this.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate: MY FAVORITE! I was never big on salty and sweet together, but this is addicting. There’s chocolate shavings mixed right in, and need I say more about caramel.

Vanilla: Coconut and Vanilla are a classic. If I’m out of Salted Caramel & Chocolate — which I usually am — I reach for this flavor next.

Dark Chocolate: Coconut and Dark Chocolate is probably right up there in best classic flavor combination with Vanilla. They’re both a tie for me. I usually top with raspberries and coconut flakes.

To check out their full line up of flavors check out Coconut Bliss. Most of their ice creams can be found in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Earth Origins, among other specialty grocery stores.

For the remainder of the summer I’ll be off to Washington D.C. and New York, stay tuned for posts!

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Oat Flour Crepes Recipe

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Tips for making the perfect Crepe every time

  1. Have the right consistency. The batter’s consistency should resemble heavy cream. If it’s thick like pancake batter you can thin it out with milk. The batter should also be smooth. If there are lumps you can strain the batter.
  2. Use the right pan. Go for a pan that heats evenly. I like using a non-stick anodized pan.
  3. Use plenty of butter. I don’t mean coat the whole pan like the crepe is swimming in it, but do a generous swipe around the edges of the pan with a butter stick (or non-dairy substitute) as well as the flat surface. After the first two crepes or so rebutter the pan when it starts looking dry, but not as heavily.
  4. Ensure a nice even cooking surface of the pan. Make sure the surface of your pan is free of crumbs or previous batter. If anything is left from the previous crepe that was cooked, remove the debris before pouring the batter for the next batch.
  5. Circle quickly. If you want a perfectly round crepe you will have to spread the batter quickly, by rotating your wrist in a swirling motion to ensure the batter reaches the edge of the pan. Because your pan is so hot the crepe will begin cooking almost immediately after it touches the pan, so be quick or you will have uneven edges.
  6. Cook on low-medium heat. Everyone’s stove heat range is different so you may need to toggle with the heat to figure which setting works best for you. With 10 being the highest setting on my stove, I like to start off at 4 on the first crepe (the first two crepes will be duds anyways) and then lower down to a 3 or 2.
  7. Shimmy before you flip. Once the edges start to turn up and the rest of the crepe looks mostly dry and not wet, take the pan and give the handle a quick jiggle to loosen the bottom of the crepe from the pan just to make sure nothing is sticking before you decide to flip it over. If the crepe can slide around easily in the pan it’s ready to flip.

Recipe

Yields 2/3 cups of batter ~ 6 crepes

  • 1/1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Milk (or dairy substitute)
  • 3 Tablespoons of melted butter (or dairy substitute)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon stevia
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate crepes

  • ½ teaspoon stevia instead of ¼ (aids with the bitterness of the cocoa)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  1. Blend the Milk, Butter, and Eggs in a blender
  2. Add the Oat Flour (you can make your own by blending it down to a flour consistency either in a blender or Magic Bullet), Salt, Stevia, and the vanilla to the blender and mix until smooth.
  3. The following step should be done twice. Once smooth, take the batter and strain it over a measuring cup or bowl to get out any lumps. Pour back into the blender to smooth it down again and strain once more.IMG_1140
  4. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to and hour to allow the batter to rest.
  5. Cook on the skillet over low-medium heat, ensuring the pan is buttered evenly and generously to prevent sticking. When the edges of the crepe turn up and the rest of the crepe is dry you can flip and cook for another minute.IMG_1153 IMG_1159
    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

  6. To store for future use you can refrigerate in a container with wax paper separating each crepe.
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Filled with Vegan Coconut Bliss Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream

 

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How to start a Detox : The Basics

So you want to start a detox.

Remember all those years ago when Cover of you were a teenager and all the grown ups said they envied you because you could eat whatever you wanted and not have it affect you? Well fast forward a couple years, the sand glass is running out and you’re probably starting to realize you can’t eat the way you used to anymore either. You’ve lost that spring in your step, you’re constantly tired, or sluggish, your allergies seem to be getting worse every season, bloating after a meal is a common nuisance, you’re not satisfied with your body as much as you’d like, and your skin is showing signs of gulp AGING! What is HAPPENING?! Years of bad eating habits is what is happening. For me, college happened. Late nights spent guzzling down energy drinks and cups of coffee, 4th meals at Taco Bell, eating out more than cooking in, tailgating every weekend during football season, and way too much ramen.

Continue reading

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Blogiversary and My Favorite Mistake

It’s officially been 1 year since I started this blog and close to 100 posts later, I thought it would be fun to answer what I’ve learned over the past year.

 Is there a mistake you’ve made that turned out to be a blessing – or otherwise changed your life for the better?

 I could probably name a few, but for time’s sake and to keep this post relevant I would say my favorite mistake would probably be of me posting my first selfie, seatbelt in the car and all. I’ll save myself the embarrassment of not re-posting myself making a duck face sipping on a straw from a smoothie cup. I was on my first detox cleanse last year and on a whim I decided to publicly announce to the world that I was going to start eating clean and as proof, I took a quick self portrait with my first green juice. The second I hit ‘Share’ I felt like I had made a mistake and I wanted to take it all back. The anxiety mortified me. Selfies then aren’t what they are now, but really anytime you post one you are opening yourself up to judgment and criticism. Before I could take it down a few ‘likes’ and comments had already started to trickle in so at that point I figured I might as well just keep it up. I didn’t check my phone for the rest of the day, but when I did, all the feedback was positive. People were asking me what I was eating, why I was doing it, and if the symptoms of my autoimmune disease were improving. I was touched that people were even curious to begin with. It inspired me to post recipes and foodie pics and eventually when answering questions on how to start a detox became redundant, I decided to start Little Bliss Book, a playbook on food, positive thinking, and finding bliss in the little things. So my little accident became my favorite mistake, and my favorite mistake lead to this blog.

A look at my first post:

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Some other takeaways I learned from blogging this past year were:

1. Learning to really cook.

I learned where my ingredients were truly coming from, I learned to read ‘labels’, and since I couldn’t rely on jarred bottles and sauces to cook anymore I learned to cook from scratch the old-fashion way, through trial and error, but mostly through error. Unfortunately.

2. Patience.

I think I believed I was going to become a great cook overnight. HA! I’d spend some weekends frustrated in the kitchen when I had no clue what I was doing. I wanted to quit sometimes and go back to the days of pre-processed foods and then I remembered I had a blog and I had to be accountable.

3. Accountability

You don’t want to be known as the person who half-asses on everything. Do what you’re going to say you’re going to do and stick with it. If you feel like you’ve failed, just try again. Repetition makes habit, and sometimes that habit can take months to stick.

4. Put yourself out there.

Don’t take everything so seriously. Be a little spontaneous. Yes post that selfie, or that picture of your meal that you just made, hashtag to your heart’s desire. Who cares. Some things you post may be socially unacceptable to some, while others can find the humor or inspiration in it. People appreciate individuality and authenticity more than you think. Be bold.

There’s no knowing where this blog will take me in the next year. Outside of food, I plan on taking my camera to as many places as I will go, document as much as I see, create as much as I can create, share as much as time will allow, and write for just writing’s sake. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, commented, liked, shared, and supported me this past year, you’ve all inspired me in some way or another. I’ve learned hiccups are bound to happen, and sometimes you won’t know the answer to anything. Take a breather and make discoveries during the challenges.Happy mistake making!

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

If you’d like to see more of Year 2 of Little Bliss Book you can subscribe via Email in the side bar or follow on Facebook

The Daily Post: Favorite Mistake

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Bliss: Surprising My Parents

Happy June all! I had been taking a break from my regular blogging posts last month to refocus my attention to some exciting new projects and one of them was throwing together a surprise 30th Anniversary party for my parents. My brother and I were too young at the time of their 25th Anniversary to put something together so we figured 30 years was a great milestone to show our parents how much we really appreciate them.

Let me first say the amount of stress I endured from trying to keep this all a secret from my mom who is the biggest detective in the world was no easy feat. The 30th Anniversary theme was pearls so we decked the party in white, ivory, and pearls and made it a ‘White Attire Party’. Oh yea, that was another challenge, getting my parents to wear all white to their own party. We told them it was a white dinner party at a family-friend’s house and that the party started at 8pm when really it was 7pm. The lies I had to tell them, the strings I had to pull, and having my brother come in from out of town to surprise our parents were all worth it in the end to see the joy on their faces.

So this is all for you Mom and Dad, thanks for showing us what selfless love really is, not the easy fairy tales, but true working love. Happy 30 and beyond!

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Candid moment when they walked through the door

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Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

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NYC, 1984

NYC, 1984

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blogger spotlight

May Blogger Spotlight

Hello again I’m back! I had to take two weeks off from Little Bliss Book to refocus my attention due to a packed filming and work schedule and projects I’ve been working on, but not a day would go by that I would not think about writing or connecting with you all. Over the past few months I was able to connect with a great blogger named Jay of raiseyourself.net. He has a great message and is this month’s featured blogger.

But first, what is Monthly Blogger Spotlights?

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It’s a way to introduce great blogs of all different genres here on Little Bliss Book. The featured blogger will be featured in the sidebar for the month and also get a shout out on the Little Bliss Book Facebook page. You can submit your blog yourself or nominate someone.Here’s how it works…

The rules are simple:

1) Are we friends? If you’re following Little Bliss Book via WordPress, Email and one other blogging platformFacebook/Bloglovin/Google +/Pinterest you can submit even if you’re self-hosted or a blogger on Blogspot.

2) Contact me! Click on ‘Contact’ at the top of this page on the menu bar and briefly explain what your blog is about like this:

I’m a Bliss follower, yoga and DIY enthusiast, Amateur Chef focused on Gluten-soy-free clean eating, and eczema-free living

Mention who your general audience is, something interesting about you, and if you could follow your bliss what would it be and why.

3) Send me a quote! Who doesn’t love a good quote. I like bottling words of wisdom and inspiration and making it sharable to everyone so send in a quote to feature as well.

Here’s what Jay had to say…

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1) The main audience for my blog are those who are looking for more out of life and are sick and tired of the normal routine of going to work and coming back home, just as I did. I am hoping that my blog will provide people with the necessary motivation and inspiration to make some positive changes in their lives. I feel the World will be a much better place if everyone started to feel much better about themselves by being more positive through self development and awareness.
2) Something interesting about me, mmmm! I am a pescatarian and I like to wear cardigans! I just bought a new cardigan over the weekend! I truly believe that anyone can make it in life as long as they have a burning desire in knowing what they want and going after it. All we need to know is our purpose in life.
3) My bliss would be to live life to its absolute fullest, by being able to do whatever I want whenever I want and not having to worry about job/work commitments. I feel that way I will have more control over my life, rather than be dictated to on what my life should be and how I should be living it.
4) A quote that I love and that always makes my hairs stand on end, is a quote by the late Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

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Finding Center, Finding Bliss

20140511-150913.jpgSeeking happiness, chasing bliss are all attributes that we aspire to. Mine just happen to all derive from the teachings of my mother. She taught me to meditate and planted the seed of my ‘bliss seeking’ philosophy on life. I hope to do the same and carry on her words of wisdom and my love of yoga with my children one day. Thank you Mom for teaching me how to find my center, and for keeping me grounded. Happier homes make happier people, and happier people make a happier world.