Pantry Essentials + Recipe Mondays: Grama’s Sweet Chilli Sauce

Welcome to the first post of an upcoming weekly tradition: Pantry Essentials + Recipe Mondays (aka PERM), where I’ll post every Monday about an item I love and give you a recipe to try out as well.

I realized there were so many delicious things I love, and so many ways to prepare them, that why not share them all!

I’m also open to any companies sending me free samples (I mean, who doesn’t love free samples?), and I will always let you know what delectables I have discovered on my own versus what has been provided.

Let’s start it off with another one of my impulse buys at Whole Foods (yes, I found this on my own): Grama’s Sweet Chilli Sauce. This sauce is fantastic. I use it in stir-frys, as a dipping sauce, and even on salads. It gives dishes that extra pizazz.

Tofu Stir Fry with Lentils & Sweet Chilli Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz Firm Tofu (cut in to 1/2 inch thick squares)
  • 1/2 C Broccoli Florets
  • 1/3 C Frozen & Shelled Edamame
  • 1/2 C Precooked Lentils
  • 1 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP Water
  • 2 TBSP Grama’s Sweet Chilli Sauce

Heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the tofu in the skillet. Let it fry on each side for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic, mix it around, and cook for another minute.

Add the broccoli and edamame, and about 2 TBSP water and cover with a lid (the water will steam the vegetables as it is sauteing at the same time!). Let it cook for 4 minutes.

Uncover, add the lentils and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add to your plate, cover with sauce to taste (I suggest about 2 TBSP).

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Quinoa “Pudding”

I call this quinoa “pudding”, because it reminds me a lot of rice pudding. It’s super delicious; I could eat this all day long! And so fast and easy to make.

Ingredients:

Simply make quinoa the night before: boil 2 parts water, and add 1 part quinoa in. Reduce to simmer, and let it cook for 10-15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. (Note: most quinoa must be rinsed before cooking!).

Let it cool completely (I usually let it chill in the fridge over night), and then add it to the yogurt in a 3 parts yogurt: 2 parts quinoa. A good starting ratio is 1 C yogurt with 2/3 C cold quinoa.

 

Great Way to Start the Day (Juicing, Of Course!)

I am totally obsessed with juice. The problem is, when you’re buying tons of produce, it can add up quickly. But here is a simple recipe, and using the ingredients below, it comes out to about $1.50 per juice. Not too shabby when you compare it to $5 or $6 drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag of Organic Carrots (I use the Organic Trader Joes Carrots which has about 10 medium carrots)
  • 1 Lemon (I usually cut off some of the peel)
  • Ginger (1 square inch)
  • 1 Clove Garlic

Feather Clip Tutorials

In 2 days, I will be here:

That’s right, week 1 of COACHELLA! And you can’t be prepared for Coachella without feather clip ins, right?!

I have 2 tutorials, and both are pretty simple. One requires a little more work with pliers and bending wire rings, but they both require feathers (obviously).

I found the best way to find cheap, cool feathers was to go to Forever 21 and buy some earrings. They have a plethora of various colors and feather types at very reasonable prices (ranges from $2.80 to $6.80 per pair). Plus, once you take the earring hook off, you already have a loop for attaching the string or chain.

For the hair clip, I got mine at Nigel’s Beauty Emporium ($1.99 each). If you don’t live in LA, I would imagine you can find them at most wig stores or online (these seem close to what I bought). These clips tend to be used for attaching to clip to hair extensions, so they can hold some weight and they have little holes on the side that are perfect for attachments.

Materials:

  • Snazzy Feather Earrings (or Necklace)
  • Hair Clip
  • 2 Sets of mini Jewelry Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Thread Skeins (Looks Like This) [String Clip Only]
  • Jewelry Chain [Chain Clip Only]
  • 4-6 Jewelry Loops (These can be found at any crafting store in the jewelry section… these are little metallic loops with a cut in the loop so that you can open and close it wit pliers)¬†[Chain Clip Only]

String Clip Tutorial:

STEP 1: Remove Feathers from Earring

For the earrings I bought, all I had to do was take pliers and pull back the metal earring backing, and the feathers (with the loop still attached) slid right off. If the earring is somehow sealed around the feather loop, carefully use wire cutters to cut the earring part. Make sure to keep the loop attached to the feathers intact so you can tie string through it!

If you are using a necklace, slip it right off the chain. If there is a piece stopping it from coming off the chain, use wire cutters to snip off the end of the chain.

STEP 2: Cut String

Measure from the top of your head to where you want the lowest feather (1) to start; I suggest having the actual feather end about an inch above the bottom of your hair. Take that length, double it, and add an extra 1/2 inch, and then cut the string. (Who knew you’d be getting math lessons in crafting?!)

For the second feather, you’ll want the base of the feather (2) to start about 2″ to 2.5″ above the feather 1. Double that (so 4″ or 5″) and subtract it from whatever length of string you ended up for feather 1, and then cut that piece of string.

If you have any more feathers, add another string, always subtracting a few inches, so the feathers don’t end up clumped together.

STEP 3: Add Feathers to String

Fold the string in half and make sure the loose ends meet exactly.

Take the other point (non-loose end), and slip it through the feather loop part way. Take the loose ends and pull them through the string loop, so that it makes a knot around the feather loop and looks like the picture above.

Repeat for each set of feathers.

STEP 4: Tie String to Clip

Pull the two loose ends through the hole in the top of the clip. Tie it around the hole and double knot. Cut off any extra ends (leave a little bit so it doesn’t fall out).

Chain Clip Tutorial:

STEP 1: Remove Feathers from Earring

Same thing as above. Take off the earring part so that you just have the feathers on a loop.

STEP 2: Measure Chain

Take your first set of feathers and figure out where you want them in your hair (I suggest they end an inch above the end of your hair).

Measure from the top of the feather loop to your part. Using wire cutters, cut this chain length.

Cut another chain about 2 – 3 inches shorter than your first chain (exact length depends on feather length and personal preference).

If you have any more feathers, add another chain, always subtracting a few inches, so the feathers don’t end up clumped together.

STEP 3: Attach Feathers to Chain

Take the jewelry loop and open it slightly using 2 sets of mini pliers to pull apart.

Slip the feathers through the open jewelry loop.

Close it securely using the pliers. Test to make sure the feather loop cannot slip out.

Repeat for each chain.

STEP 4: Attach Chain to Clip

Open another jewelry loop slightly using the 2 sets of mini pliers.

Slip the jewelry loop through the hole in the clip.

Before closing, slip the last loop on the chain through the jewelry loop as well.

Close the jewelry loop using the pliers and make sure neither the chain, nor the clip will slip out.

Repeat for each feather chain.

And ENJOY looking like a little hippie child at Coachella. I know I’m going to!

I'm a little (okay.. a lot) excited for Coachella.

Green Protein Oatmeal

So I’m a little late for St. Pattys Day, but this oatmeal tastes great and keeps you full longer. And who said green was just for smoothies?

Spirulina Powder, which is what turns the oatmeal green, is a microalgae, and is extremely nutrient dense and high-protein (for 1 TBSP, it is only 20 calories and 4g of protein!). It is also very high in antioxidants, boosts energy, high in iron and Vitamin B-12, C, and E. It helps your immune system, cleanses your liver, kidneys, and blood. Read more about health benefits here.

I buy my spirulina in powder form from Nutrex-Hawaii. It goes great in smoothies! Nutrex-Hawaii also has an assortment of Spirulin in mulitvitamins and tablets.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Flax Milk or Almond Milk
  • 2 Eggs (egg whites only) (Vegan Version: 1/4 C Soft Tofu)
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon
  • 1/2 TBSP Spirulina Powder
  • 1/2 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 TBSP Flax Seed
  • 1 Packet Stevia or Truvia (if you don’t like plant sweeteners then use Agave to taste)

Start by heating up 1/2 C of “milk” on medium to high heat. After a minute or two, throw in the oats, cinnamon, and chia seed and let them simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the egg whites or soft tofu. Stir vigorously for about 20 seconds to make sure it is evenly mixed with the oatmeal. Eggs will cause the oatmeal to thicken, so add the other 1/4 cup of milk (you can add more or less depending on your desired consistency). Let it cook for another 3 minutes.

Take it off the heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Then add the flax seed, spirulina, and stevia.

Mix it up, and serve!

Paper Mache Heart Ornaments

These take a little while, but they are a lot of fun. They make great gifts (I might have to re-vamp this for Christmas!) and look cute if you hang them on your wall or put a bunch in a fake tree.

Paper Mache Paste:

As far as the recipe goes, I was a little hesitant to use one with flour in it, because I didn’t want it to mold (although I hear if you add salt, then you’re good to go).

A lot of people also make the mix out of glue resin.

I chose the lazy way and just mixed Elmers Glue-All with water. When using glue, use 4 parts glue to 1 part water. These heart ornaments are small, so you don’t need a ton of paste.

Click for Other Recipes Here

Materials:

  • Newspaper (in tiny 1/4″ – 1/2″ strips, and 1 8.5″ x 11″ piece for each heart base)
  • Masking Tape
  • Paint Brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Pliers (for bending wire)
  • Mod Podge
  • Acrylics
  • Thin Ribbon and/or Gold String
  • Scissors

STEP 1: Make Heart Base

Start with a 8.5″ x 11″ piece of news paper (note: I used a magazine page, but it will work a bit better with newspaper). Hold at a 45 degree angle and rip the top part about 1/3 of the way down.

Fold each size in to a round shape and tape down to secure shape. Then roll the bottom part in to a point and tape as well.

If anything looks like its going to pop open, put a little bit more masking tape to secure.

STEP 2: Paper Mache

Dip the little 1/4″ strips of newspaper in the paper mache paste (recipes above). Using a paint brush, paint them on to the the heart base.

Let it dry slightly, and do about 2-3 layers of newspaper over the heart.

After all your layers are on, let it dry completely.

STEP 3: Mod Podge

Paint on 2 layers of Mod Podge and let it dry completely.

STEP 4: Add Hook

Cut a small piece of wire (about 3/4″ to 1″), and bend it using pliers to make a tear shape.

Puncture the top of the heart with the wire, and push so that the widest part of the wire is just above the base of the hole.

Put mod podge in and around the hole with a small paintbrush. Let it dry and repeat.

STEP 5: Paint & Mod Podge Coat

Paint your ornament with whatever color your heart desires (get it?!).

Depending on the thickness of the acrylic, you will need anywhere from 1 to 3 layers. (My red was older and somewhat dried out, so it only took one coat).

Once it is completely dry, put another 1 to 2 coats of mod podge on top. Experiment with matte or glossy!

STEP 6: Add String

Two options here, so lets start with the gold string!

Stretchy Gold String Tutorial:

Cut about 8 inches of the stretchy gold ribbon (I’m sure it has a more sophisticated name, but you get the point).

At the top of the string, take about 1 inch of each end and cross them twice horizontally (like you’re going to tie a knot), and then tie 2 knots on top. Make sure you pull on each side of the loop below the knot so that the knot is completely tight and secure. Cut off the excess string.

With the non-knotted side, push the string through the heart hook. Then, take the knotted side, and slip it through and underneath the non-knotted side.

Pull it all the way through so that the knot is on top and you create a loop on the bottom around the metal hoop.

Your heart ornament is ready for hanging!

Ribbon with Bow Tutorial:

Cut 24″ of ribbon.

Pull it straight through the hook. If you have a thicker ribbon, you may need to pull it through with tweezers.

Three inches up tie 2 knots, and then a bow.

Pull the bow down to the metal loop, and then the top. (You can adjust how long of a bow you want by cutting off the ends of the ribbon tails).

Happy crafting!

Vegan Pizza with Daiya Cheese and Cornmeal Crust

My friend Carlie and I made vegan pizza last night and it was amazing. If there were left overs, I totally would have eaten pizza for every meal today.

I am obsessed with daiya cheese. My boyfriend actually got me hooked on it a while ago, and I eat it all the time. It is great on pizza because it is very creamy, and almost acts like a cheesy sauce. And the best part? It is dairy-free and soy-free!
(I would suggest never eating it cold. However, it is phenomenal once melted).

And now my other new obsession: cornmeal crust. This stuff is delicious. I got the pre-made cornmeal crust from my local co-op, Co-Opportunity. For one package of Vicolo’s 2 medium-size cornmeal pizza crusts, it was roughly $5.50– not bad at all!

If you’re a LA local, I definitely suggest you check out Co-Opportunity on 15th & Broadway in Santa Monica. This place is amazing and if you’re looking for the cornmeal crust, it is in the fridge section of alternative “cheeses” and “meats”, where you can pick up some diaya cheese as well!

Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 Small White-Skinned Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • 1 Pack Mozzarella Daiya Cheese
  • 2 Pre-Made Cornmeal Crusts
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Coconut Oil

STEP 1: Pre-Cook Potatoes & Vegetables

The potatoes take the longest to pre-cook. Carlie baked the potatoes before I came over: chop them in to very small pieces, place them on a baking sheet or tray, and cover with a little bit of coconut oil. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until lightly browned.

Steam the spinach until it shrinks down, usually takes about 3-5 minutes. If you don’t have an actual steamer, you can place it in a pan with water, boil it, and then drain the water.

Saute themushrooms in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

STEP 2: Prep Pizza

Layer 1 of cheese!

Place the cornmeal crusts on a baking sheet; both crusts fit on one!

Spread a layer of pizza sauce over the crust. Top with diaya cheese, so that most of the sauce is covered.

Add the pre-cooked vegetables to your desire.

Place another, thinner layer of diaya cheese on top.

If you have any vegetables left over, you can always add a few more!

Lots of mushrooms-- yum!

STEP 3: Bake

Place the pizzas in the pre-heated oven for about 12-15 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned on the bottom.

Let it cool for a few minutes and enjoy!