Elote {Recipe}

My mom gave me a photocopied recipe for “Elote,” which is typically defined as Mexican street-style corn. Sometime served on a stick for easy-eating, elote is corn topped with mayo, cotija cheese, lime, chili powder, or some combination of those ingredients.

It’s as delicious as it sounds. This particular Elote, however, is a play on that street-style. This recipe turns Elote into an addictive dip.


  • 6 ears of corn, husks intact
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp. Cholula brand hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup broth
  • 1/4 cotija cheese, ground or crumbled
  • pure-ground red chile to taste
  • tortilla chips

First, grill the corn (if possible) in the husks. Once they cool, remove the husks and cut the corn off the cobs.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine (I know, it looks gross at this point):

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp. Cholula brand hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup broth

You just want to heat it all up, so once it’s warmed through, remove it from the heat.

Pour it over the corn and add the cotija cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

Using Essential Oils During the Holidays

Here is a useful piece I wrote for my Holiday 2016 Newsletter. Ask me for a printed copy in person, or download the full PDF here.

Nothing triggers happy memories as strongly as a delicious scent or flavor. Remember, you can always add more oil, but you can’t take it back out; so always start with just one drop and you can add more from there. If you buy quality essential oils, they are not diluted, so use them sparingly (they can be very strong). When using them topically, always dilute essential oils in carrier oils (such as almond or coconut oil). You can use many essential oils internally (more on that here) and best part is, they’re dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. 


Try mixing your own holiday blend (think peppermint, cinnamon, clove, etc.), or buy doterra’s Holiday Blend oil, which is made with these warm, spicy, sweet flavors:

  • Wild orange
  • Siberian fir
  • Clove bud
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Cassia
  • Douglas fir
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla absolute

christmas cookies

  1. Add a couple drops of oil to your coat, scarf or wrists throughout the day (make sure you’ve diluted the oil first, if you’re putting it onto bare skin)
  2. Use your Holiday Blend in a diffuser
  3. Add 5-10 drops of oil to a spray bottle of water and mist your Christmas tree, your car, or your sheets
  4. Bring your bottle of Balance (doterra blend) with you to take a whiff of straight from the bottle in stressful situations
  5. Add a drop of oil to a bowl or vase of pinecones – DIY potpourri!
  6. Add a single drop of peppermint oil to your hot cocoa or mocha
  7. Add a drop of peppermint, cinnamon or clove oil to your Christmas-cookie batter
  8. Use essential oils instead of spices to make MULLED WINE: add 1 sliced / peeled orange and ½ cup sugar to 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce heat & add 1 bottle red wine, 1-drop clove oil and 2-drops cinnamon oil. Slowly reheat but do not boil. Serve warm in mugs & garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serves 4-8.

christmas beverage mulled wine

Essential Oil Spotlight: Cardamom

doterra cardamom

You might recognize the delicious scent of cardamom from chai tea (which is black tea combined with clove, cinnamon and cardamom). Here’s why you might be interested in this oil:

Key Benefits:

  1. Calms nerves
  2. Supports healthy digestion
  3. Promotes clear breathing and respiratory health
  4. Makes a flavorful spice for cooking

Blends well with:

  1. Cedarwood
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Clove
  4. Fennel
  5. Ginger
  6. Patchouli
  7. Sandalwood
  8. Vetiver
  9. Ylang-Ylang
  10. Citrus oils

How to use:

  1. Aromatic: use 3-4 drops in a diffuser for soothe and calm the mind, uplift the mood and alleviate nausea and motion sickness
  2. Internal: add to bread, teas, smoothies, meats, and salads to enhace flavor and aid digestion
  3. Topical: Apply 1-2 drops to the chest or stomach to promote clear breathing and to reduce digestive upset. Dilute with oil to reduce skin sensitivity

Autumn Baked Tofu Bowl {Recipe with Ips Chips}

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

Recently, and totally randomly, I came up with a winning vegetarian dinner recipe, which I’m not so concisely calling: Autumn Baked Tofu Bowl.

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

It’s rice, topped with baked (faux-fried) tofu, roasted squash, and homemade vegetarian gravy. Imagine Shake n Bake, but way better. This is like the adult, atumn version. If you know me, you know that precision and attention to detail are NOT in my repertoire, especially when it comes to cooking. So here’s the recipe, but be ready to adjust and substitute according to taste. Think of this as your starting point, and then get creative.

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu


  • About an hour of time
  • An oven
  • A baking sheet
  • A cutting board & knife
  • 3 shallow bowls (plus 2-4 individual serving dishes or bowls)
  • coconut oil and/or olive oil
  • 1 squash of choice (I used acorn)
  • 2 small bags chips of choice (I liked using Ips because 1 bag has 6 grams of protein & only 4 grams of fat!)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 cup rice (and whatever you want to cook it in)
  • water
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • Wine jelly (or, just use a dash of wine. But I highly recommend using the jelly)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu


  1. Slice your squash, douse it in coconut oil, salt & pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Check regularly, and flip them over once before they’re done (they’re done when they’re soft and you’d want to eat them at that consistency)
  2. Chop up celery (including leaves) and shallots
  3. Crush up 2 small bags of Salt & Pepper chips by Ips Snacks, which are gluten free and non-GMO (they also have a delicious White Cheddar flavor, if you prefer) and dump the crushed chips into a shallow bowl
  4. Place a cup of flour in a shallow bowl
  5. Whisk one egg into a shallow bowl
  6. Press a block of firm tofu, and slice into medium-sized strips (about 12)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu


  1. Remove the squash from the oven, and turn it down to 325 degrees
  2. Coat each slice of tofu in the flour, then egg wash, then Ips chips
  3. Place these slices one at a time onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake in the oven until they begin to crisp up/brown just slightly (I believe it took about 20 minutes)
  5. Cook the rice (this is best done in a rice cooker, which you can then ignore, or on the stove, in which case, remember to pay attention to it)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu


  1. Sautee the shallots and celery in olive oil over medium heat. After they brown, add a dash of water.
  2. Add a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard and another of Wine Jelly. Season with salt & pepper (take a taste… add or omit anything you want. I recommend nutritional yeast if it needs an extra punch)
  3. Make a rue by moving everything in the pan to one side, and adding more water. Place 1 tbsp of cornstarch into the water and stir it quickly, keeping it all close together. Once it thickens, mix the entire pan together again. Adjust with more or less water and wine jelly, as needed (it should look like gravy)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu


  1. Serve the rice in bowls
  2. Top with gravy
  3. Add a few slices of squash (before the tofu, so the gravy doesn’t ruin the crunchy of the tofu)
  4. Top with 2-4 slices of baked tofu

What’s your favorite autumn dinner to make?

tsp Spices

tsp spices

Last year I discovered the cutest thing: tsp Spices.


These little boxes contain individually-wrapped teaspoons of spices! This clever packaging lets you get full use of your spice dollar. It’s also less wasteful than ordinary spice bottles. Twelve teaspoon packets is only 6 grams of packaging weight, compared to the 17 grams of typical plastic spice jars, which usually end up in landfills. And the tins and boxes are fully recyclable.


tsp spices are protected from light, air and moisture, so they always taste fresh. They’re pre-measured, so you don’t need to hunt down those elusive measuring spoons. They’re organic, so you can be confident you are getting 100% pure flavor, none of the fillers or additives allowed in conventional spices. These make the best hostess gift for your Thanksgiving or other holiday events coming up!

Cookbook Review: Simply Delicious Vegetarian

zucchini quiche recipe

A couple years ago, I bought the cookbook Simply Delicious Vegetarian by Carla Bardi. It was on sale at Barnes and Noble, and I liked the feel of the book (and flipping through, the recipes seemed easy enough but interesting). This isn’t my favorite cookbook on my [highly-curated] shelf, but it’s a fantastic staple, especially now that I have been eating completely vegetarian.

vegetarian cookbook review and zucchini recipes

I appreciate that the recipes are things that I would not have thought to make, but are simple and don’t require unusual ingredients.

vegetarian cookbook tomato recipe

Also, each recipe includes, at the top, how many it serves, how long the preparation and cooking will take, and difficulty level.

vegetarian cookbook review and zucchini recipes

The book is definitely geared toward all English-speakers, including those outside of the US; the recipes include Celsius as well as Metric measurements, in parenthesis, where applicable.

vegetarian tomato potato dish

Even though this book was published in 2008, some of the photos look very old to me. However, the recipes that I’ve tried have all been very good.

zucchini quiche recipe

The 318-page book is organized into the following sections:

  1. Salads
  2. Soups
  3. Savory Pies, Focaccia, & Pizza
  4. Pasta & Gnocchi
  5. Grilled Vegetables
  6. Vegetable Stews & Stir-Fries
  7. Gratin & Casseroles
  8. Fried Vegetables
  9. Beans & Lentils
  10. Rice & Grains
  11. Eggs & Cheese

vegetarian zucchini frittata recipe

I went on a zucchini-cooking-spree this summer (since I adore summer squash).

zucchini quiche recipe

Zucchini Quiche

This is the recipe on the cover of the book

Serves 4

Preparation: 30 min

Cooking: 55 min

Difficulty: Level 2

  • 8 oz (250 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used phyllo)
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 6 zucchini, with flowers attached
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch arugula, shredded
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

vegetarian cookbook review and zucchini recipes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch pie plate or springform pan.
  2. Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of poppy seeds. Roll out into a thin sheet. Line the prepared pan with the pastry. Cover with a sheet of waxed paper and fill the pie with weights or dried beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes.
  3. Trim the zucchini flowers and cut each one into 3-4 pieces. Slice the zucchini thinly lengthwise. Sauté the zucchini in the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the flowers and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat the eggs and egg yolk in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until frothy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, cream, and Parmesan. Mix in the sautéed zucchini and flowers.
  5. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and sprinkle with the remaining poppy seeds.
  6. Bake until golden brown and set, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

zucchini quiche recipe

Next I want to try making the Green Paella.

zucchini quiche recipe

I also made a delectable zucchini frittata (I made the mistake of adding salt; it didn’t need it with the salty cheese).

vegetarian zucchini frittata recipe

Zucchini Frittata

Serves 4-6

Preparation: 10 min

Cooking: 15 min

Difficulty: Level 1

  •  1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb (1 kg) zucchini (courgettes), cut into short, thin lengths
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

vegetarian zucchini frittata recipe

  1. Sauté the garlic in the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until pale gold. Add the zucchini and sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Beat the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the egg has almost cooked.
  3. Slide the frittata onto a plate, turn onto another plate, then slide it back into the pan to cook the other side. Cook until golden brown and the egg is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the frittata to a serving dish and serve hot.

Avocado Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

avocado date breakfast cookies

This a recipe for a delicious, healthy on-the-go breakfast that I adapted from a similar recipe I found in a magazine.

avocado date breakfast cookies

Each cookie has about 160 calories (perfect then as a snack, or to make a full meal, paired with nonfat yogurt or juice, or topped with peanut butter).

avocado date breakfast cookies

I prefer to halve this recipe so that I don’t get sick of eating these cookies before they run out.

avocado date breakfast cookies

Avocado Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 avocado (peeled & pitted, of course)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain 0% or low-fat yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups dates

Optional mix-ins: nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, bee pollen

avocado date breakfast cookies

avocado date breakfast cookies

avocado date breakfast cookies

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper OR foil (if using foil, also top with nonstick cooking spray)
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium/large bowl
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients (everything else) in a food processor
  5. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry
  6. Add any of the optional mix-ins, to taste
  7. Bake for 19 minutes, until slightly crispy/golden brown on top
  8. Cool slightly
  9. Enjoy!

avocado date breakfast cookies

Corn & Basil Chowder {Recipe}

Ok, one more summer recipe! This is from the AWESOME vegan cookbook Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a Fuck. It’s less than $15, includes so many helpful tips and tricks, and even my boyfriend (who is a meat-loving home cook) says that it’s his favorite cookbook. I will definitely post a full recap of this book soon; but for now, here’s a counterintuitive summer recipe: it’s soup. But corn is sweetest and cheapest at the height of summer, and basil makes the soup feel light, fresh and summery. Corn chowder is one of my favorite soups, so I was excited to try this lighter, vegan version. Here’s the recipe.

thug kitchen corn chowder with basil summer recipe cooking

Corn & Basil Chowder

  • 6 large ears corn, shucked
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium russet (baking) potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  1. First you want to use a sharp knife to cut the corn off the cobs. It’s easier if you snap the cob in half, stand it on its end in the middle of a large bowl and cut the kernels off from top to bottom. When you’re all done, you should have about 4 cups of kernels. Don’t get lazy and use frozen corn here; that shit will not taste the same. Chop the onion, celery, bell pepper, and potato into bean-size pieces and mince the garlic. Prep work done.
  2. Now grab a large soup pot and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it browns lightly, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, potato and garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the salt and then three-quarters of the corn kernels and stir. Add the broth and let that son of a bitch simmer until the potato pieces are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the potato is soft, turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender and blend until that motherfucker looks nice and creamy and without a bunch of chunks. (You could also pour it into your blender and do it that way; up to you. Just return the blended soup to the pot.) Add the rest of the corn and the lemon juice, and bring it back to a simmer. Turn off the heat, add the basil, and then taste. Add more salt, more lemon juice, more basil, whatever. Serve right away with some more basil on top to make that shit look as legit as it tastes.


How to Use Essential Oils Internally

How to use essential oils internally


I bring this post to you from my own personal experience using essential oils. Questions? Comments? Tips of your own? Want to place an order? Please email me and/or share below!



Why to Use Essential Oils Internally

  1. As a fresh herb replacement (because let’s be honest: if you cannot grow your own herbs, those huge bunches from the grocery store always too much for the recipe!). Ideas include adding lemongrass oil to soup, basil to tomato sauce, etc.
  2. As a natural flavor (think: peppermint oil in chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon oil on oatmeal, etc.)
  3. To suppress appetite or soothe digestive system
  4. To treat ailments, such as, but not limited to (I am NOT a health professional; consult your doctor): migraines, cramps, indigestions, bloating, acne, common cold, etc. etc. etc.

How to Use Essential Oils Internally

  1. Follow recommended directions for use (printed on the label or bottle).
  2. Consult your physician if needed.
  3. Always just start with one drop; as you become familiar with each oil and your system’s response to it, you can slowly increase the number of drops until you achieve the desired result.
  4. ONLY use oils that are recommended for internal use! Here are ones that are generally safe, but check for impurities, adulterations etc. (varies by brand)


My Personal Favorite Ways to Use Essential Oils Internally

  1. Add lemon or wild orange oil to drinking water or iced tea
  2. Place a drop of Slim & Sassy oil under tongue to freshen breathe and suppress appetite
  3. Add lime oil to cocktails: works in a pinch if you want a margarita & don’t have a fresh lime handy, or helps make your cosmo a little more interesting
  4. Swish with water and peppermint for a convenient, on-the-go mouthwash
  5. Add a couple drops of dill oil to egg or potato salad
  6. Drink a drop of oregano oil with a tablespoon of water to ward off a cold (this burns! Which is why you don’t want to dilute it with too much water you’re left to chug; trust me)


dōTERRA Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use

  1. Basil
  2. Bergamot
  3. Black Pepper*
  4. Cardamom
  5. Cilantro
  6. Cinnamon Bark*
  7. Clary Sage
  8. Clove*
  9. Coriander
  10. Cypress
  11. Cassia
  12. Fennel
  13. Frankincense
  14. Geranium
  15. Ginger
  16. Grapefruit
  17. Helichrysum
  18. Juniper Berry
  19. Lavender
  20. Lemon
  21. Lemongrass
  22. Lime
  23. Marjoram
  24. Melaleuca
  25. Melissa
  26. Myrrh
  27. Oregano*
  28. Patchouli
  29. Peppermint
  30. Roman Chamomile
  31. Rosemary
  32. Sandalwood
  33. Thyme*
  34. Vetiver
  35. Wild Orange
  36. Ylang-Ylang

*Dilute these oils to minimize mouth sensitivity 

Rainbow Pasta Salad {Recipe}

This is a great recipe for when you want to make a healthier crowd-pleaser, like for a potluck or picnic. This recipe is like the healthy alternative to mac salad, which is so popular here in Hawaii. I found the idea for this recipe on Pinterest.


rainbow pasta salad recipe


Rainbow Pasta Salad 🌈

  • 1 lb. pasta (we used lentil pasta. Note: this was fantastic the first day, but the pasta got hard the next couple days. If you’re saving this, I’d recommend using the regular soft white macaroni pasta with gluten)
  • 2 small bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red)
  • 2 medium carrots (1 orange, 1 purple)
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 cup nonfat shredded cheese (your choice what type, we used Italian blend)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Chop all the veggies to bite-size while you cook the pasta (8 min for lentil pasta).
  2. Rinse pasta with cold water, dry. Mix in veggies.
  3. Combine with Greek yogurt, ranch, cheese, salt & pepper.
  4. If the pasta isn’t cool yet, chill (it, not you. Or both). Enjoy!