Citrus-y Green Beans with Almond & Cashew Crumble- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipe

Citrus-y Green Beans

Green Beans, specifically green bean casserole is a common dish at most Thanksgiving feasts. It’s serious comfort food when served the typical way with the butter, cream, flour, sugar and cheese with fried onions on top. Seriously, whats not to love? Well…, a whole lot actually but no need to get into the lethal combination of ingredients like that. This citrus green bean dish is really light, healthy and delicious. The toasted almond and cashew crumble give it that crunch we love from the fried onions of traditional casserole but with nutrient dense nuts instead. The subtle hints of the peppery parsley add a savory aspect to the dish that is balanced by the vibrant lemon vinagerette. It really is very tasty, trust me. I couldn’t stop eating the green beans with my fingers as I was photographing them. Ekk!

Citrus-y Green Beans 3

What you need:
1/2 cup blanched and slivered almonds

1/2 cup cashew pieces
2 Tbsp coconut oil

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Flaky sea salt
Pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Method:
Lightly toast almonds and cashews in a skillet over medium heat. Let cool, then crush with your hands into little pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds, cashews, garlic, and lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.

Place lemon juice in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare a bowl with ice and water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer the green beans to the bowl of ice water, let sit for a minute to stop the cooking then drain green beans, return to the pot, and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette.

Arrange green beans on a platter, drizzling with vinaigrette left at the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle almond and cashew crumble mixture on top. Enjoy!

Stay tuned to Cara’s Kitchen because I will be posting healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday dishes!

xoxox,
Cara

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MindBodyGreen(dot)Com Recipe Feature- Decadent Vegan Strawberry Basil Cheesecake

Strawberry basil cheesecake2

Today, I am celebrating because my recipe for raw, vegan strawberry basil cheesecake is featured on MindBodyGreen.com. It is a crazy good feeling seeing it up on their homepage. Like so many of you, food blogging is not something we do for a living, but something we do because we love it and we want to share good eats with the world. I really do have a healthy obsession with food (finally) and want to help the people in my life, near and far, to take better care of themselves. Having a recipe published on a site that I read regularly is, well awesome, and motivation to keep doing what I am doing because of the joy it brings. I’d love if you headed over there to check it out and shared it with your cake loving friends! 
xoxox, Cara 

Strawberry basil cheesecake

Vijitas- Vegan Fajitas with Cucumber Salsa, Avocado, Sour Supreme and Pickled Red Onions

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Tacos are sort of an instituion in Los Angeles and it really is no surprise considering there is such a large population of hispanics living in this city. I have always been a fan of their food and their culture but to be completely honest, I do not know too much detail about it except from what I have experienced here in Los Angeles. My mexican vacations have consisted mostly of body shots and bikinis in Cabo on spring break when I was in college. Thank god I am past that phase. phew.

Although I still love a cerveza from time to time, what I love most about mexican food is the use of herbs and spices to flavor the food. Chipotle peppers, chili pepper, cumin, cilantro, garlic, onions, I love it all. One of my all time favorite things here in Los Angeles are the mexican street vendors who sell fruit with spices and lime juice or better known as Ensalada de Frutas con Chile. It is like the best deal in town! You get a massive serving of watermelon, cucumber, mango, pinneapple, jicama with fresh lime and spices for $5-$7. I refer to these vendors as “the fruit man” and I always get so excited when I see their rainbow umbrellas on the street. #delicious    

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5 Delicious Avocado Recipes- Gucamole isn’t one of them!

avocado recipe

I love avocados. Not only are they tremendously healthy for you but they taste pretty good too! If you follow me on instagram then you know I eat them almost everyday. However, there was a time in my life when I not only thought they were gross but that they were so high in fat that they would make me fat. Boy, was I crazy or what!? 

You know what is also crazy? Tinder. Tinder is crazy. I was having a potluck dinner with some of my girlfriends, and we caught up over multiple glasses of red wine and girl talk. My one friend was filling us in on her most recent breakup with a guy who simply “played it too safe in life.” Eventually, I asked her how she met him and she responded quickly with “oh, we met on Tinder.” I looked at her completely puzzeled. “People actually use Tinder?” I responded in shock. And the entire table of girls started to laugh. Turns out all 4 of my girlfriends were using Tinder and it was of no surprise to them that I would be unaware of the apps popularity and user base. I am known for not being in the know about many things, celebrities, movies and dating apps included. Although I live in a bubble and under a rock I do know how to spot great ingredients and tell you about their nutrient content. 

So, back to Avocados…

Avocados are overflowing with health benefits including a high luten content that slows the degeneration of your eyes, is higher in fiber than any other fruit helping to keep you fuller for longer and aids in blood sugar regulation. Thats not all, one avocado has 35% more potassium than a banana (sorry naner), reduces inflammation and helps increase collogen production. Avocado’s are seriously one of natures most healthiest foods which is why I created 5 recipes using avocados so we all had even another excuse to eat more of them. I hope you enjoy! PS. The last one is my favorite.

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Butternut Squash Pizza, with Brown Butter Brussels & Carmelized Leeks- Vegan

Butternut Pizza2

Its a couple of days before October so according to the calendar it is fall but the weather is only changing slightly so it is hard to really notice except by the date on the calendar. However, as I look out the window into the cloudy Sunday morning, listening to the birds churp, it feels like fall and I am calm and happy. I am house sitting at some friends for the next couple of weeks while they are in Europe which means I get to enjoy all the benefits of an actual house that my studio apartment does not offer including: washer and dryer, backyard with hammock, garden with organic vegetables, a TV, a driveway to park in, and two KITTIES! Oh, #lifeperks! Yes, I just started a new hashtag. Hopefully it catches on more the Gretchens attempt at making “Fetch” happen. 

Speaking of happenings! This pizza, although is still a work in progress, is delicious and I wanted to share the recipe. I was attending a potluck with my girls and I knew I wanted to bring something with brussel sprouts and butternut squash. I had planned on making a roasted dish of veggies but decided to step outside of the culinary comfort zone and turn my dish into pizza because really, what is better than wine and pizza with your girlfriends? nothing. 

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Cara’s Cabbage Salad- Vegan, Gluten Free

Cabbage Salad2

Cabbage is under rated in my opinion. It might not be known as super healthy when compared to kale or spinach but it helps prevent against cancer, is great for weightloss and is food for your brain. Cabbage is also very hydrating and the crunchy texture has me grabbing for it whenever I want to make a delicious and refreshing salad. I tend to keep it pretty simple and balance out the flavors and textures with fresh herbs, almonds and avocados. 

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Blueberry Babe Smoothie- Raw, Vegan, Delicious End of Summer Recipe

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Who doesn’t love smoothies? Clearly that is a rhetorical question because I am hoping that everyone likes a good smoothie from time to time. Its a great way to get all sorts of nutrients into your body in an easily digestable way. By blending up the fruit and veggies, you are in a way starting the digestion process by breaking it down in to a liquid form. One more reason to love smoothies!

This is a smoothie I tossed together with some summer fruits that are unfortunately on their way out of season! I am really sad for summer to slip away but fully ready to embrace fall as I love everything it brings. 

What you need: 
1 1/2 cup blueberries
5-6 figs
1/4-1/2 cup water – for desired consistency
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2-3 big mint leaves
juice form one lemon
pinch cinnamon

Method:
Combine everything in a blender, turn on high until smooth and creamy. Garnish and serve. 

I hope you love this end of summer smoothie! What do you love most about transitioning to fall?
Xoxo,
Cara

Raw Food Recap- 3 Day Raw Vegan Food Cleanse

raw food recap

I, like many passionate foodies, have been inspired by the crazy beautiful energy that is Fully Raw Kristina. I am inspired by her committment to what she believes in and her constant generosity towards all life. I recently was watching a couple YouTube Videos of hers and decided I wanted to give raw food a try. My boyfriend and I decided to do a 3 day raw food cleanse together. What I learned not only about my diet, but about myself was surprising.

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Movie Theater Concessions Caras Way- Raw, Vegan & Healthy

Movie theater Concessions

Growing up I used to go the movies almost once a week. I absolutely loved every aspect of seeing a movie from the massive screens, buttery popcorn, a soda as big as my head and a box of my favorite candies; usually Snickers, Milk Duds or Raisinets. Unfortunately, I rearely make it to the theater at all anymore but last weekend my boyfriend, Jaime treated me to Gardians of the Galaxy. It was awesome and I got so inspired that I wanted to remake all my childhood favorites in the CaRawr’s way: raw, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and delicious! Obviously the popcorn is not raw, but I made it vegan and healthy!

movie theater popcorn

Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

What You Need:
-3/4 cup popcorn kernels- organic
-2 Tbsp vegan butter
-1 tsp coconut oil
-pinch pink salt to taste

Method:
1. In a large pot that has a lid, melt the butter and oil then add the kernels put on the lid and let the magic happen.
2. As the popcorn is popping shake the pot to mix up the kernels and prevent them from burning.
3. Once the popping is 1-2 seconds apart turn of the heat and leave on the lid until the popping completely stops.
4. Transfer to a bowl, spinkle with pink salt if you’d like and enjoy!

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Rollin With The Homies- Rice Paper Rolls

rice paper rolls3

Do you remember that part in Clueless when Ty hits her head on a light at a party and Elton helps her feel better by singing “Rollin with the Homies” to her? She sings it back to him and creates a wave like motion with her hands. Its the moment when Ty totally falls for Elton. Everytime I make rice paper rolls this scene runs through my mind and then I really want to watch Clueless. I sort of feel like Clueless is the 90’s cult classic that Mean Girls has become of the early mellinial. It’s one of those films that resonates with us Generation WHY-ers and reminds me what a special place in time we all grew up in. 

We have more freedom than any generation before us and an abundance of information is only a touch screen away. I also think about how lucky I am to have an abundance of healthy food available almost all the time. Maybe that readiness of organic vegetables is unique to sunny California where farmers markets occur daily but instagram sure makes it seem like organic veggies are accessable around the globe all the time. Either way, I am so grateful everyday for it; Healthy food is the key to a healthy life. 

So getting back on topic: Rice Paper Rolls…

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Rice Paper Rolls are like a more healthy and trendy version of a sandwich. Everything taste good and makes sense between two slices of bread just as everything tastes good and makes sense in a rice paper roll. Seriously, think outside of the box and put sweet potato in a rice paper roll and chances are I am gunna say “cool, I want to eat that.” Heck, I do want to eat that. If you want to put doritos in the rice paper roll more power to you. (I don’t actually eat doritos but who remembers those kids at lunch who put french fries and chips in their sandwiches? I can’t be the only one who had friends who did that)!! Anyways, I have become obessed with these things. Anything that is mean’t to be eaten with your hands is a favorite food of mine.

rice paper rolls
 This post is an ODE to the Rice Paper Roll!

Lets be real though, rice paper rolls are gluten free, lower in calories and carbs then a slice of bread. They might not have the nutritional value of some whole grain, sprouted varities but the ingredients inside can surely make up for it. These little guys are gaining traction and I sware it is only a matter of time before they are available next to the egg salad sandwich at 7-Evelen. Ok, that might be a stretch but it’s totally possible.

Some of my favorite rice paper roll ingredients:
The Greens: Romaine, Spinach, Red Lettuce, Micro Greens, Sprouts
The Veggies: Cucumbers, Avocados, Carrots, Beets, Jicama, Sweet Potatoe, Zuchinni , Bell Pepper
The Grains: Quiona, Rice noodles, Brown Rice
The Herbs: Basil, Mint, Cilantro
The Protien: Tofu, Shrimp

My Favorite Dipping Sauce:
4 Tbsp tahini or raw peanut butter
1 Tbsp raw honey or agave
1 tsp sesame or peanut oil
1-2 Tbsp boiling water
whisk vigorously until emulsified

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