Purple Cauliflower Salad with Cabbage, Cilantro and Lemon Vinaigrette

Purple Cauliflower Salad Caras Kitchen

The color of this salad is so striking to me and elevates the entire dining experience. Heres why:  Aside from being beautiful, the purple cauli offers additional nutrients then the standard white. Its hue is due to the presence of a flavoniod called anthocyanins which have been found to help regulate blood sugar levels, control body weight and potentially lower your risk for cancer. All good things in my book.

This salad has a really nice crunch that is so satisfying yet is no fuss to put together, perfect to make ahead as well since the flavors need time to blend. It is eaten as a main course around my place but it would be perfect served as a side along salmon, baked tofu or poached egg for brunch.

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Balsamic Ginger Beet Noodle Bowl with Avocado, Blood Orange & Edamame

beet boodle bowl caras kitchen

About a year ago my mother was diagnoised with high blood pressure. SCARY. It was a cause for concern for everyone in the family because according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), high blood pressure can be the primary cause if not a contributing factor to more than 1,000 American deaths EVERY DAY! It increases the risk for more lethal health conditions like heart attack, stroke and chronic heart failure. Although several members of my family work in health care as nurses, it was important to my mom that she give it everything she had to lower it through diet and lifestyle before resorting to perscription drugs. Of course, I wanted to be as supportive as possible.

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Spring Pea & Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Kale Pesto and Avocado

Pea and Asparagus Quinoa Salad with kale pesto and avocado CarasKitchen.net

About 7 years ago I went to my first farmers market in Santa Monica. It was then that I began to realize that food is seasonal and it gave a whole new meaning to the change in seasons. Although I have spent most of my life between Phoenix and Los Angeles where there really isn’t much varience in season (lets be honest), the colors and variety of produce change from winter to spring to summer to fall. And I love it.

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Protien Packed Kelp Noodle Bowl with Veggies, Tofu & Almond Ginger Sauce (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Kelp Noodle Bowl Tofu, Veggies, Almond Ginger Sauce Vegan Gluten Free Protien Packed CarasKitchen.net

Few things are more thrilling to this chick then a colorful, nutrient rich bowl of plants. From thinking about the flavor/texture combo, gathering ingredients, cooking and plating; putting these together is one of my favorite things do to and I feel so blessed that I get to do it. Not a day goes by that I dont think about how lucky I am to have access to such abundantly diverse food (and the ability to afford it) as so many people go without or not enough. It makes my heart full and sad at the same time because I want real food to be accessible to everyone.

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The Best Nut Free Vegan Alfredo Sauce with Pasta & Broccolini (Gluten Free & Soy Free)

Nut Free Vegan Alfredo Pasta Caras Kitchen

It happens all the time. Just as I am getting into the groove of my workout (spinning/yoga/running), a recipe idea pops in my brain out of nowhere. This time: vegan alfredo sauce.

Growing up in an Italian famliy (I’m from Chi Town, baby), I am no stranger to all kinds of pasta and spaghetti dishes. I practically grew up on that stuff but as I’ve gotten older and more mindful of what I put in my body I keep it to a minimum. Not trying to hate on #carbs or anything, I just try to eat mostly vegetables. When I was younger, Fettucini Alfredo was my favorite. There was not even a close second. It didn’t matter where we were, Dennys, Olive Garden, Grandmas house; if it was up to me that’s what we were having. And with good reason, the shizz is delicious.

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One Bowl Almond Butter Banana Bread (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Gluten Free Vegan Banana Bread Caras Kitchen 2

When there are two banans turning browner by the minute on your counter, it only makes since to either freeze them for smoothies or whip up banana bread. I chose the latter. One bowl magic inspired by my girl minimalist baker, cause lets face it, doing dishes can suck and gluten/free vegan so as many people as possible can enjoy this delicious baked good. All about inclusivity here on the blog, none of that you can’t sit with us bs.

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Savory Breakfast Bowl (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Savory Breakfast Bowl

It’s 2016 and sort of hard to believe that another year has passed by. Can you? Maybe you’re just as shocked as I am. Maybe not? I always find the holidays and year end to be a time of reflection filled with notaslgia but I am at a turning point in my life. 2015 will be remembered as the year I distingushed what I am committed to going forward as I continue to shed the skin of my former self. I am becoming a grown lady. It will be the year that I realized “someday” does not exists and I only have right now to chase my dreams. There were many accomplishments and triumphs but the biggest one was finally quitting my corporate job to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship. I am opening up a cafe and I am scared as hell but nothing great comes from comfort zones and lets just shout from the roof tops because I officially stepped outside of mine! The future is uncertain but it is exciting and I can not wait to see what 2016 has in store.

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5 Ingredient Almond Rosemary Crackers with Fig Tapenade

5 ingredient rosemary almond crackers

This past week I have spent a generous amount of my free time in the kitchen and I ain’t mad about it. I flew up to San Francisco last Friday with my boyfriend to visit my dear friends K&C who recently moved and we enjoyed a lovely dinner at home together on Sunday night. The evening began with a trip to a really cute local market called Oceana in Pacifica where we gathered ingredients and snapchatted away about some superfood ice cream we discovered (username: CaraCarin). Immediately after getting home we got to work, Christina on the crackers and me on a pear chutney. It was just like old times and I couldn’t help but feel nostaligic as we laughed and sipped on red wine together in the kitchen again.

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Holiday Kale Salad with Fennel, Sweet Potato, Apple and Pomegranate

Winter Kale Salad 058 #vegan #glutenfree #kale

Over the last 9 years I have been living apart from my immediate family spending 8 of them in Los Angeles and 1 in Melboune, Australia. There have been many years where I haven’t made it home for the holidays for various reasons including school, work, boyfriends or because sometimes going home for the holiday’s is difficult. Like many, my parents are divorced and figuring out which parent to spend what holidays with isn’t always easy. On the upside, so many people I know and love in LA also don’t go home for the holidays so there is always a friends-giving or gathering of the like so I’ve never felt like I missed out. However this Thanksgiving I am traveling with my dad back to Chicago to see the extended family- cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My traditional Italian family is not very vegan or vegetarian friendly so I have been thinking a lot about what I want to contribute to the meal and this kale salad recipe is a serious contender. 
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