A Perfect Dessert Smoothie

TropicalIslandSmoothie

I absolutely love this smoothie! This blend of strawberries, pineapple, and coconut is perfect. I truly feel like I am on a gorgeous, tropical island when I am drinking this smoothie. I can honestly say that it makes the perfect dessert, as it’s refreshing, sweet, and satisfying. This is the same as my Tropical Island Smoothie – please try it and share it with friends and family. It’s so good that I feel that I have to share it again and again!

Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl

BlueberrySmoothieBowl

I made this Blueberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl one day when I wanted to have a smoothie, but I also wanted to add other things to it. I ended up blending organic blueberries, pineapple, half a banana, and organic, ground flaxseeds. I chopped up the other half of the banana and put it on top. I’ve added walnuts, too. One time I had some healthy cereal (I hardly ever buy cereal) and I added some of that, too.

I usually follow this rule, “eat it alone or leave it alone” when it comes to fruit, but I’ve never had any issues when I’ve eaten this bowl. In fact, I love it! Fruit is easily digested, so the reason why we want to eat it by itself is that if we’ve had a meal and then we eat fruit, the fruit will want to pass through our digestive tract, but it will just sit on top of the other food, and it may ferment and give us a stomachache – yikes!

I haven’t found this to be the case with this bowl, so I recommend trying it and seeing how you feel! It’s super tasty :). And thanks to the blueberries, it’s packed with antioxidants! Pineapple is anti-inflammatory, so in addition to making this smoothie super yummy, it’s also really good for you. The flaxseeds will give you omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans. Try it and tell me if you like it! I’ve made this before early morning meetings, put it in tupperware, and chopped up the banana during the meeting – it’s that simple!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-free

1 cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)

1 medium sized banana

2 tablespoons organic, ground flaxseeds

Enough water to cover the fruit

Add all of the ingredients to the blender, blend, and enjoy!

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

SlicedOranges{Sliced oranges on my cutting board – yum!}

When I went to visit my friend Felice in Ojai, we picked oranges from the gorgeous orange orchard that was essentially in her backyard. Ojai is filled with delicious, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and people often leave bags of oranges on the side of the road where you can make a donation (based on trust and honesty) and take some home for yourself. I’ve also seen people leave out avocados with a small donation box next to them. I love the idea of living amongst a group of people who are genuinely committed to helping each other.

Felice has a beautiful young daughter named Phoebe, and together, the three of us picked lots of oranges. For the remainder of my trip, I had freshly squeezed orange juice at least once a day. I even got to take a big bag full of fresh oranges home with me. This was in the fall; even though I am enjoying my summer, I still want one more cup of freshly squeezed orange juice from those yummy Ojai oranges.

My parents actually have an orange tree in their backyard. They swore to me that the oranges are bitter, but I was so excited to see them that I decided to pick some for myself. This was several months ago, but they were tasty! I was happy that I could have freshly squeezed orange juice for just a little longer. Some oranges were a little sour, but combined with the sweet ones, my juice was perfect. I am thinking that I’ll step into my parents backyard and see if I can gather any more oranges. I may just be able to squeeze enough for one more cup :).

I would definitely recommend squeezing your own oranges, instead of buying orange juice from the store. By then, the juice has been pasteurized, and it has lost almost all of its nutrients. It’s best to buy (or pick!) your oranges and make freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning (or whenever you’d like). That way, you get all of the nutrients – right in your cup – and then straight into your body! In addition to lots of vitamin C, oranges also have fiber, folate, vitamin b1, vitamin b5, and minerals such as potassium, copper, and calcium – wow!

Start thinking ahead for fall and grab those oranges when you can!

Native Foods in Culver City

When I first tried Native Foods several years ago, I have to admit that I was not a big fan of the food. But since so many people kept raving about it, I knew I had to give it another chance – and I am so happy that I did! Now I go to Native Foods about once a week (mainly because I can’t get enough of their delicious tortilla soup!). I’ve tried many of their bowls and handholds, so I want to share some of my favorites, and hopefully you’ll stop by! I live closest to the Culver City location, so I go there the most; they’ve also got locations in Santa Monica, Los Angeles (on Gayley), Palm Springs, Colorado, Oregon, Chicago, Orange County, and San Diego. I’ve been to their location in Santa Monica and it’s just as yummy as the one in Culver City!

This tortilla soup is so good, I could eat a gigantic bowl of it every day and be incredibly happy. I wish I could recreate this soup at home, because then I really would have it all the time! I also wish that I could order it more often at Native Foods, but it is only available on Fridays – TGIF, right? If you want this soup to be gluten-free, ask for it without the tortilla strips, because they are cooked in oil that has wheat/gluten.

NativeFoodsTortillaSoup

 

I enjoy the Bangkok Curry Bowl, which is packed with lots of vegetables, seared organic tofu, and drizzled with ginger coconut-milk. I love that it comes with lots of greens and is served over brown rice. This bowl is filling, and I always have delicious leftovers. I wish I had a picture to share, but trust me, it’s delicious! The menu says that the Bangkok Curry Bowl is gluten-free, but the page that discusses dietary restrictions says that the tofu is cooked in oil that contains wheat/gluten, so double check with the kitchen to make sure that this is truly gluten-free if you have allergies, an intolerance, or Celiac disease.

I also love the Soul Bowl; the menu says that it is back by popular demand, and I can see why everyone else loves it, too. This dish comes with lots of red beans, greens, steamed vegetables, and Native Chicken, but I always get it with blackened tempeh instead of the Native Chicken – and it’s so ridiculously good! The vegetables are covered with vegan ranch and barbeque sauce, but the sauces are not overwhelming when you mix everything up together. The Soul Bowl also comes with vegan, homemade cornbread – yum! I would highly recommend this dish for your next trip to Native Foods.

NativeFoodsSoulBowlTempeh

My boyfriend has gotten the Soul Bowl before. He got it with the Native Chicken, and I did manage to take a picture of it before he started eating, so here it is!

NativeFoodsSoulBowl

I love that Native Foods is sure to offer gluten-free entrees, such as the delicious Baja Blackened Tacos! You get two soft corn tacos filled with blackened tempeh, which is covered in guacamole, cabbage, and a delicious, creamy, chipotle sauce. I love ordering this with the tortilla soup; I’ve also gotten it with a side of the potato salad, which is pictured below.

NativeFoodsBajaTacos

My mom and boyfriend both love the gyro bowl. I’ve had a couple bites of it, and I agree that the flavors of this dish are so delicious! I really like that it comes with lemon garlic sauce and hummus – yum! If I were to get it, I would probably sub the seitan for tempeh, although the recommendation for making it gluten-free is to go with portabello mushrooms and black beans (maybe I’ll try that!). I don’t have a picture to share, but if you enjoy Greek gyros, I imagine you’d enjoy this bowl as well. I will sneak a picture the next time my mom or boyfriend orders this dish, because I know they will!

I tried the Scorpion Burger recently and it was really good. It was incredibly filling and hearty, but that’s because I’m not used to having huge sandwiches. If you are really hungry, or want a super filling sandwich, give it a try! The man working at the counter recommended that I have it with some vegan cheese, so I did. The bread is not gluten-free, but the tempeh is, so maybe you can ask for it on a bed of kale and ask if that will make it gluten-free.

NativeFoodsScorpionBurger

I’ve tried the Roccin’ Moroccan Bowl, but it’s not my favorite thing on the menu. I don’t have a picture to share, but it’s packed with vegetables, just like their other Earth Bowls. My boyfriend does enjoy this dish, so if it sounds like something you might like, give it a try!

Native Foods used to have this Raddichal Farm Salad, but I have not seen it on the Culver City menu in a long time. This salad has lots of grilled radicchio, roasted potatoes, greens, and other vegetables, and it comes with creamy caper dressing, tofu, and shallots. I’m not sure if the other locations are still making this salad, but if it sounds like something you’d like to try, I have a picture to share!

NativeFoodsRaddichalFarmSalad

I would recommend Native Foods for when you want a quick bite that’s affordable, filling, and mostly healthy. If you get the Earth Bowls or one of their salads, you’ll be enjoying lots of vegetables, which is exactly what I love to do! For dessert, try the chocolate cupcake. Sometimes they have a rose cupcake, and it’s delicious, but they always have chocolate cupcakes and brownies, so I would say that you should try one of those if you are a chocolate lover. Go easy on the sauces, but go wild with your greens! If you stop by, let me know if you enjoy your meal :).