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

What I Ate Wednesday #5



I haven’t done a WIAW in awhile; please comment or send me a message if you like these food posts so I can keep bringing them to you! This is all vegetarian:

WIAW Honolulu cereal

I LOVE this breakfast I came up with: Annie’s chocolate cereal, with almond milk, topped with cacao nibs and a sliced banana. It’s basically [healthy-ish] dessert for breakfast; you’re welcome.

WIAW Honolulu la tour cafe

In between work and errands, I picked up lunch from La Tour Cafe in Aina Haina: avocado toast! It came with a side salad and a very tasty, creamy dressing.

WIAW Honolulu

I stopped home in the afternoon before my evening job and had some coffee and half of a Bouchon Bakery cookie (made by me, from a box mix). It’s kind of like a homemade oreo. I have to say, I wasn’t really a fan (but I still ate the second half later, after dinner, because in any battle against sugar, I am the loser).

WIAW Honolulu healthy bowl dinner

My homemade dinner was healthy and delectable: quinoa mixed with red onion, kale, parmesan cheese and capers, topped with roasted acorn squash and a soft-boiled egg. So good!

What did you eat today?

HealthySkoop Powders

green smoothie bowl

I have been eating smoothie bowls almost daily all summer. One of my favorite add-ins I’ve found are powders by Healthy Skoop. My favorite for flavor (and to add a thicker consistency) is the Choco-lot Plant-based protein powder (16 grams of plant-based protein delivered with only 1 gram of coconut sugar per serving).

healthyskoop review

These delicious powders are

  • Gluten-Free
  • Soy-Free
  • Vegan / vegetarian (whey-free & dairy-free)
  • Non-GMO
  • QAI-Certified Organic (contains 80% organic ingredients)

healthyskoop green smoothie bowl

And if all that isn’t enough motivation to try this brand, how about this: they donate 3% of every purchase to Project Produce, a give-back initiative they co-founded to help kids eat more fruits and veggies.

green smoothie bowl

The greens blend (which pairs perfectly with sweet fruit to mask the most savory taste) naturally fights inflammation, boosts energy and powers your best, most resilient super-self. Smoothie bowls can be difficult to make since they consistency and thickness needs to be just right; powders are a huge help. Especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan, it can also be helpful to add some protein to your bowl, to ensure you’re properly fueled.


Click here to try a free HealthySkoop sample!

Cool Choice Nutritional Supplements

cool choice nutritional supplements

Although the efficacy of nutritional supplements is contested, I still sometimes find it helpful to supplement my diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs (especially if I am traveling, or if people around me are getting sick). 

cool choice nutritional supplements

I recently discovered Cool Choice, and true to its name, it’s cool because it lets you choose a blend of vitamins, minerals and herbs based on your desired result. You don’t have to actually pick the supplements; you just choose from the above list of benefits, then you are sent a supply of personalized packets containing your unique combination of supplements.

cool choice nutritional supplements

I was a little skeptical, because almost every supplement that I’ve tasted from one of these little packs either contains questionable ingredients, or tastes terrible, or both. Not Cool Choice, I’m happy to report!

cool choice nutritional supplements

Sure, it looks a little weird. It contains no sugar (or sugar alternative!) and contains fiber. A win-win!

cool choice nutritional supplements

I mixed it with water. It tastes like watered down lemonade; perfect for me, because I always water down my lemonade anyways. I have to say, it’s really delicious (even with zero sweetener, it tasted just slightly sweet to me). Especially if you don’t like drinking plain water, this is a great option. I chose, as my benefits: beauty, brain care, and eye care. I’m not sure if every combination results in the same flavor.

cool choice nutritional supplements

They’ll give you 10% if you follow them on social media, and reward you with free packets once you buy a certain amount (see details in the above photo). I’ll maybe try out a different combination of benefits next time.

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?

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.

Vegetarian Month at Hard Rock Cafe {Honolulu, HI}

vegetarian month at hard rock cafe

Today I had a lovely vegetarian lunch with my friend at Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki. We started with some delicious carrot juice and a couple appetizers (not pictured here, but you can see them in the video below). One was a crispy flatbread topped with garlic oil, grilled ratatouille vegetables, shredded Romano and mozzarella cheeses and a drizzle of garlic aioli. YUMMM

vegetarian month at hard rock cafe

OMG this house-made patty of cauliflower, garlic, egg, goat cheese, oregano and breadcrumbs, topped with zucchini, squash, Monterey Jack cheese, arugula, tomato and garlic aioli, served on a toasted brioche bun was DELICIOUS. I made a mess eating it, but it was worth it.

vegetarian month at hard rock cafe

I so appreciate it when restaurants (and especially big companies), acknowledge and embrace their vegetarian customers! See the whole Waikiki location’s menu here and enjoy this quick video of our lunch:

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

The Beet Box Cafe {Haleiwa}


The Beet Box Cafe used to be a small counter where you could order food in the back of a health-food store, on the North Shore of Oahu (in the small, touristy town there called Haleiwa).

beet box cafe haleiwa

I ordered an iced tea for while we waited for our food (you order at the counter, but they bring the food to you at the table. You then have to bring your dishes to a bin, but sometimes they come get the dirty dishes for you. It’s pretty confusing). I love that they added frozen blueberries in with the ice; by the time I finished the beverage, the plump blueberries had absorbed some of the tea, and tasted even better than regular blueberries.


I hold a special place in my heart for restaurants that serve breakfast all day. The breakfast options here are so good that even Kiyo ordered off the breakfast menu (and he never does!). He got the Mexicali Blues: eggs scrambled with a crunchy, toasted, sprouted-corn tortilla and jalapeño jack cheese topped with homemade salsa, avocado, and sunflower sprouts, and served with brown rice and Brazilian black beans. He opted to add soyrizo (vegetarian chorizo).


On the recommendation of a friend, I ordered the Zen, a scramble (choice of tofu or egg) of broccoli, onion, carrots and zucchini “seasoned with curry and love,” served with a scoop of brown rice and black beans and topped with avocado and sunflower sprouts. I LOVED this; it’s the kind of plate of food that I will think about and start to crave. I would definitely brave the traffic of Haleiwa to get to this again.


Although it was a little pricey (more than $12 per plate) we were both very impressed and satisfied with our meal. We each finished our plate of goodness, and felt very full, but managed to avoid the food coma that comes from overeating food that isn’t nutritious.


We had to save our cinnamon sugar [vegan] donut for later, since we were so full. I wouldn’t choose to eat this again; it was much too moist to be a donut. There wasn’t anything terrible or disgusting about it, but if I’m going to treat myself to dessert, I want something that’s worth the sugar and calories.

The Beet Box Cafe

66-437 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

(808) 637-3000