Tag Archives: plant based diet

The Secret Ingredient in My Crème Brûlée….

Crème Brûlée is one of my favorite desserts.

The crunchy sugar topping, the beyond decadent cream.

It is my go to after a fancy meal at most restaurants.
It is a special occasion treat. An Anniversary dessert..
Well, I wanted to create my “Naked” Version, so it didn’t have to be a once in a while kinda thing.

It could be a whenever you want kinda thing.
I am really proud of these 2 recipes, they just turned out perfect.

This has become a permanent recipe item down at The Retreat.
And you’ll never guess the start ingredient…. Cauliflower.
That’s right, I created Cauliflower Crème Brûlée and it is perfection.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Caramel Crème Brulee


2 cups steamed cauliflower
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup lucuma powder
3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut sugar for topping

Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes and then mash, you can use a food processor.

Combine the maple syrup and the lucuma powder in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

In a small pot preheat the coconut milk. Add the unflavored gelatin, salt, vanilla and caramel paste made with the maple syrup and the lucuma.
Mix all these ingredients with the mash cauliflower and put in small containers approximately 3 oz each and put in a fridge at least 4 hours.
When is ready, put a little bit of coconut sugar on top and melt with a torch making a crust. Or you can place the ramekins in the oven on highest rack and turn on the broiler to high. Broil for five to 10 minutes, watching very carefully and rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Serve immediately.

Coffee Crème Brulee


2 cups steamed cauliflower, mashed
3/4 cup coconut milk

½ cup concentrated coffee or espresso
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut sugar for topping

Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes and then mash, you can use a food processor.
In a small pot preheat the coconut milk and then add the unflavored gelatin, salt, vanilla, coconut sugar and maple syrup.
Make the concentrated coffee using less water to make a stronger flavor or espresso.
Mix all these ingredients with the mash cauliflower and the coffee. Put in small containers approximately 3 oz each and put in a fridge at least 4 hours.
When is ready, put a little bit coconut sugar on top and melt with a torch making a crust. Or you can place the ramekins in the oven on highest rack and turn on the broiler to high. Broil for five to 10 minutes, watching very carefully and rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Serve immediately.

Tico Fresh Vegan Tacos

Have you ever hear of the term Tico Fresh?

Tico is short for Costa Rican, so when we talk about Tico Fresh food, it embodies all the beautiful things about this country.

It means the food is fresh, local, and scrumptious.

The food here is Farm to Table.

That’s why each recipe I develop at The Retreat is perfection.

The ingredients just pop!

And this Tuesday is no exception.

But you can enjoy these Vegan Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream any day.


These are made with Portobello Mushrooms and Cashew Sour Cream

Small corn tortillas
2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, sliced

Marinate vegetables in Nama Shoyu and cumin for 15 minutes.
Sauté veggies in ghee for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Warm
the tortillas on a flat sauté pan. Fill each tortilla with veggies and
Cashew Sour Cream (recipe below) , and top with diced tomatoes and avocado.

Cashew Sour Cream

½ cup cashew butter
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

Place all cream sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth.


Red Bean Ceviche

This recipe was developed down at The Retreat. Our whole philosophy down there is “Tico Fresh” and Farm to Fork, basically we want to give you the freshest foods from what we have locally available. And if you know me, you know I love taking familiar recipes and making them “Naked”. When you are craving something fresh and filling, this recipe is perfect. It’s also a great dish to bring to potlucks and picnics.

Red bean ceviche
Red Bean Ceviche
• 1 can of Red Kidney Beans, rinsed thoroughly
• ½ cup red onion, chopped finely
• ½ cup bell pepper, chopped finely
• ¼ cup cilantro, copped finely
• ½ cup fresh lemon juice
• ½ cup fresh orange juice
• salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow all the flavors to combine.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avo Choc Mousse
Did you know Avocados and Dark Chocolate are two of the most perfect foods? Avocados are packed with the good kind of fat that helps lower cholesterol. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants. So I’ve combined them into this decadent powerhouse of a dessert. This will have your whole family asking for seconds.

• 2 ripe Avocados, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
• ¼ cup Cacao Powder
• 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
• 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
• 1/3 cup Coconut Milk
• 2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1. Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler. Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in your saucepan. Set the heatproof bowl in the mouth of the pot, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir chocolate occasionally as it softens. When you have just a few small un-melted chunks, remove bowl from heat (residual heat will melt the rest).

2. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse on high for 15-20 seconds. Add the melted dark chocolate and pulse for another 10-15 seconds. Spoon into 4 serving cups and chill for an hour before serving.


Soothing Non-Dairy Turmeric Milk

Not only is this warm drink delicious, it is also soothing for sore throats and stuffy noses. Ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. The black pepper boosts those properties. You can make this with any fresh nut-milk you have on hand or even store bought coconut milk. Make sure you heat it gently to not curdle the milk.

Non-Dairy Turmeric Milk

2 cups homemade almond, coconut milk, or any non-dairy milk of your choice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1″ piece of ginger sliced
raw honey to sweeten, if desired

Combine all ingredients and whisk on low heat until milk is warm but not too hot. Serve immediately.


Soothing Turmeric Almond Milk


Cold and Flu Master Tonic

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
― Hippocrates

I truly believe in the power to heal yourself through food. But sometimes that yearly bug comes around and you want to head straight to the drug store. Stop! make this instead.

This tonic is a concentrate of powerful antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti- inflammatory medicine. All found at your grocery store. Make a batch today; it takes a few weeks to infuse properly.

Cold and Flu Master Tonic

3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
3 inch piece of fresh horseradish root, peeled
2 large organic white onions, peeled and quartered
3 large heads of garlic, peeled (not 3 cloves….3 HEADS!)
8-10 organic jalapeños (or any hot pepper you prefer), stems removed
1 (32 oz.) bottle raw apple cider vinegar

Wash and chop all of the ingredients. Shave the tough outer skin of the horseradish
Put everything into a high powered blender
Add a whole bottle of apple cider vinegar and blend until smooth
Put into a large glass jar. Cover with lid.
It should be shaken once daily while infusing
Cover with a towel and let it sit for 4 (or more) weeks on the counter
Then strain through a mesh strainer and put back into glass container
Store in the refrigerator
Should last up to 2 years in the fridge.

How to use:

Gargle and swallow. Don’t dilute with water.
Take 2-4 Tbsp, three times daily at the first signs of a cold
If you’re already sick then take it six times daily



Coconut Curried Pumpkin Soup

My girlfriend on the East Coast just called and asked for a recipe for Pumpkin soup.

She always calls me when she wants to make something yummy and healthy.

When we were little girls growing up, she used to come over to my house after school and watch me play in the kitchen.

I was a latch-key kid and was in charge of making dinner for my brother and my mom.

And one of my specialties was soup.

So, I took one of my favorite soups and played with it a bit

here is the recipe I gave her:

Coconut Curried Pumpkin Soup



3 cups fresh pumpkin, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons ghee

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 quart organic vegetable broth, either — •

  • Store bought (e.g., Pacific Natural Foods)•
  • Homemade •
  • 1 quart water and organic vegetable bouillon cube

2 cups coconut milk, either — •

  • Homemade (see recipe below) •
  • 14-ounces of organic store-bought coconut milk

¼ cup cilantro, chopped




In 4-quart saucepan, sauté onions and pumpkin in ghee until they sweat but do not brown. Add curry powder, sea salt, and broth. Cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Take pot off heat and add coconut milk. Using hand blender, blend until desired consistency. (Or cool and transfer to blender and blend for 20– 30 seconds.) Stir in cilantro and serve.

Coconut milk

1 1/2–2 cups coconut water 8 ounces coconut meat (or meat of 1 coconut, depending on size)

Place both in high-speed blender and blend on high until ingredients are emulsified.


Creamy Cantaloupe Soup

Cantalope soup

This soup is a perfect way to beat the summertime heat. It’s a little bit creamy, a little bit spicy, and a little bit sweet. Not only are melons are hydrating, they are great for the skin.


  • 1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes (approximately 6 cups)
  • 3/4 cups thick coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 2–3 teaspoons fresh chopped jalapenos (add more for if you like spice)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, but not too long. You want a soup texture and consistency. Taste and adjust salt, jalapenos, and lime juice, as desired. Chill for about 4 hours before serving.

In health & love,



Cherry Apricot Crisp


Prepare in a tart mold for an elegant looking dessert.


  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and sliced
  • 2 apricots (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 1 /4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave


Toss sliced cherries and apricots, agave and cinnamon together in a bowl and let sit to infuse flavors while preparing the topping.

Crisp Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 1 Medjool date, pitted and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt


Place all ingredients in a processor fitted with an s-blade. Pulse until pecans and dates are broken down. Place sliced cherries and apricots in serving dish of choice. Crumble pecan-date mixture on top of cherries and apricots, then press lightly to form a crusty top. Enjoy as is or serve with your favorite non-dairy frozen dessert.


Ten EASY strategies to curb a sweet tooth

Just kidding, nothing is easy. But with awareness, dedication and consistency we can beat the “sugar bug.”  It’s not surprising that Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Not only do foods with added sugar taste good, these foods also produce a calming effect on the body.

Recently on one of my social networking pages a woman wrote in about her 6-month-old granddaughter whose doctor suggested the baby NOT eat fruits or vegetables because she will grow to have intense sugar cravings. The doctor suggested rice cereal as the only option.  WHAT? Beware of misinformation.

“When you eat carbohydrates, either simple or complex, your body breaks them down into sugars, which are absorbed into the bloodstream” (from “How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar?”).

As you read the strategies below, you will find the culprits that cause a sweet tooth, and perhaps you will discover how the little bugs found their way into your lifestyle.

10 easy strategies to curb a sweet tooth:

1. Be aware of too much salt and processed foods
We crave and need dietary salt or our body won’t function. A lack of salt can cause fatigue and stimulate overeating and cravings for animal protein. With so many natural salts available, it’s quite easy to lose track of how much we eat. Craving sweet foods is one of the most reliable indicators of excess salt in your diet.

2. Eat little or no animal protein
Animal protein is the Holy Grail of the American diet, but the meat-and-potatoes mentality is so … yesterday. Extensive research shows excess animal protein can

lead to colon and prostate cancer (according to The China Study by  T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell). Limit your menu to three or four servings per week (maximum), as opposed to having meat daily. Like sugar, animal protein creates cravings that can be curbed.

3. Don’t stuff yourself
Overeating can cause fatigue and sluggishness. Sugar is a quick-fix “pick me up” that temporarily stimulates energy, or so our body is tricked into thinking. Eat frequent small meals and allow your body to use fuel more efficiently without weighing it down.

4. Don’t forget to eat
Waiting too long to eat slows metabolism and the delivery of glucose to the blood, therefore causing your blood sugar to drop. By the time you manage to eat, you will probably grab for a simple sugar. Protein bars are nothing but glorified candy bars, so be careful not to get lost in that cycle. Sometimes hunger is so overdue, we end up overeating with fatty foods to compensate for the sugar fix. Eating every 3–4 hours is key. Not a big meal, think light.

5. Avoid big dinners before bed
If your body is too busy digesting when it goes to bed, it will never get sufficient rest. You will likely awake groggy the next morning looking for a caffeine and sugar fix to jumpstart your day. Try eating lighter dinners 2–3 hours before bed time.

6. Simply avoid sugar
This may seem like a “no-brainer,” but knowing that eating simple sugars causes blood sugar to drop and stimulates a need for more sugar may help you understand the vicious cycle. Even though fruit is considered a simple sugar, switching to fruit is a good choice. Always eat the skin of the fruit because fiber slows blood sugar elevation.

7. Eat whole complex carbohydrates
If your daily diet mainly consists of whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats and barley) and vegetables (root tubers, leafy greens, squashes and cabbages), then you’ll find you already crave less sugar. A plant-based diet is balanced and thus helps to reduce cravings. Emphasizing sweet vegetables such as carrots, beets, cooked onions and corn can add just enough natural sweetness to meals.

8. Exercise consistently, not necessarily intensely
Daily exercise increases circulation and naturally increases your sensitivity to sugar. When you are more sensitive to sugar, eating it makes you feel bad. This naturally alleviates cravings. Brisk walking, biking, dancing, or light jogging for 20 to 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week should be enough to get you out of the sugar bug blues. Make sure whatever you do, you enjoy it. Exercise should not be a chore, it should be fun. Exercise also raises serotonin levels that can help you with emotional eating.

9. Don’t stress out
It is not healthy to suppress your feelings, which doesn’t mean you have to broadcast every emotion, unless that’s how you like it. When we hold back our feelings we tend to reach for comfort foods. That’s why people find themselves crying over a carton of cookies-and-cream ice cream. Sugar provides a temporary sensory pleasure, much like a drug, providing mental and emotional relief. However, long-term relief is further out of site as your coping mechanisms are hindered by decreased energy and mental clarity.

10. Don’t get triggered
A lot of how we feel about food has to do with our upbringing and  childhood memories. Certain foods have emotional and psychological associations for us that are ingrained in our history. More often than not, we will make poor food choices that feed our nostalgia. Beware of family associations, movie rituals, familiar restaurants, childhood habits, and know that the lollipop after your visit to the doctor was just a bribe, not a treat to get you through your vaccination shots.

In health and love,