Pumpkin Puree

homemade, pumpkin puree

It’s not only apples that are in season right now – pumpkins are also everywhere! Americans are crazy about pumpkins and make all kinds of things out of it, that inspired me to try out many pumpkin recipes, and I love it! First, I decided to make my own puree and I bought a huge pumpkin, roasted it and blended it until I got a nice and smooth puree. You can also peel it, chop it up and boil it if you prefer that method. I made a large batch and froze most of it. Pumpkin is a must during fall and I love all the spices you can add to it. A few things pumpkin puree is good for is to make pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and more. I will post recipes soon 🙂

Some health benefits of including pumpkin in your diet:
-It’s rich in Vitamin A, which aids vision.
-It’s high in dietary fiber and low in calories
-It’is said to help protect the skin from radicals
-It’s high in potassium, so its perfect to eat after exercising

Ingredients:

1 pumpkin, rinsed and dried

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F/175 ˚C. Cut the pumpkin in two. Put it in a heat proof dish or line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Put it in the oven and let it bake for about 45-60 min. It’s ready when you can easily slide a fork into it.
3. When the pumpkin has cooled off, take out the seeds (don’t throw them away, you can, for example, roast them in the oven with some olive oil and salt – yum). Take the skin off the pumpkin and chop it up into smaller pieces and add it to either a blender or a food processor. Blend until you have a smooth puree.
4. Store in an airtight container and put in the fridge for about 5 days. Alternatively, you can pour the pumpkin puree into freezer bags and freeze.

homemade, pumpkin puree
homemade, pumpkin puree

Easy, Unsweetened Applesauce

easy, homemade, unsweetened applesauce, apple puree

It’s apple season and the grocery stores are overflowing with delicious, sweet apples. There are so many good treats you can make with apples.. I’ve been making my own applesauce lately and it’s so easy to make.

Applesauce or apple puree is an ingredient in many recipes and can be used to replace eggs, oil and fat in baking. I use it in cookies, muffins, bread, pancakes etc. You can now buy it in a lot of grocery stores, however it’s really simple (and tastes much better) when you make it yourself.

Ingredients:

4 Apples
3/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon, optional

Instructions:

1. Peel, core and chop up the apples.
2. Add apples, water, lemon juice and cinnamon in a saucepan and let it cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. The apples are done when you can easily mash them with a fork.
3. Let it cool, and add to a blender and blend until its smooth.
4. Pour it  into a glass jar and store it in the fridge.

easy, homemade, unsweetened applesauce, apple puree

San Francisco to LA Coastal drive

Sunday we visited another coffee shop (my favourite!) in North Beach (the Italian district of San Francisco).

Beacon coffee san francisco
Coffee and Breakfast!

From there we started our drive back to LA, with the first stop in Mavericks, which is world famous for its big-wave surfing opportunities. However, this day there  were no waves at all.

Mavericks
Mavericks

Justin Brannock in Mavericks California

Mavericks California

The coastal drive was beautiful, surrounded by tall cliffs and crystal blue water. We made many stops along the road and enjoyed the gorgeous views. Another thing I loved was all the farming along the road and the little farm shops where you could buy their produce, so of course we had to stop to get some fruit and veggies.

farm produce california

farm produce california

farm produce california
It’s Pumpkin season!

We had lunch in a beach town called Santa Cruz and spent some time walking on the beach since it was such a warm and beautiful day.

Santa Cruz California
Santa CruzSanta Cruz California

Make sure to stop in Piedras Blancas to have a look at all the elephant seals! I could watch them for ages, they are so fascinating. They just laid there and made funny noises, clumsily climbed on top of each other and occasionally went into the water for a swim. The male can weigh up to 2 tons, that is one big seal!

Justin brannock in Piedras Blancas, elephant seals

Piedras Blancas, elephant seals

Piedras Blancas, elephant seals

Piedras Blancas, elephant seals

Christina lindal California Scenic costal drive

California Scenic costal drive

Justin Brannock California Scenic costal drive

christina lindal California Scenic costal drive

christina lindal and justin brannock, california coastal drive

christina lindal and justin brannock California Scenic costal drive

We took our time and made A LOT of stops, so by the time we got back to Santa Monica it was already 10 pm. It was a really nice drive and San Francisco is definitely a cool city to visit with lots of things to do 🙂

Out and About in San Francisco

christina lindal, san francisco

Saturday morning we found a nice little coffee shop and after that we parked our car close to Lombard street which is a famous street in San Francisco known for its history, steep hill and turns. From there we walked down to the Fisherman’s Wharf, which was very hectic and full of tourists. So if you don’t enjoy big crowds, you should avoid the Fisherman’s Wharf on the weekend. We took some time to look at the many entertaining sea lions on pier 39. They were adorable.

pier 39 San Francisco

pier 39 San Francisco

Christina Lindal, pier 39 San Francisco

From here we went to buy tickets to catch a ferry to Tiburon. The ferry ride over was beautiful, we sat outside in the sun and watched as we drove right past Alcatraz. Tiburon is a cute town located north of San Francisco. We had a great time there. There are many cafes and restaurants to enjoy anything from ice cream and coffee to a fancy dinner. After relaxing in the park and enjoying the beautiful nature, we went to an italian cafe and had a nice lunch.

ferry boat, San francisco

Alcatraz

justin brannock and Christina lindal Alcatraz

In the evening we went to watch a movie at the Embarcadero Center, which is the most comfy cinema I’ve been to. Highly recommend this cinema 🙂

 

San Francisco

Early (waaaay early) friday morning, we left Santa Monica for a road trip up to San Francisco. We decided to drive the faster way up and then the coastal scenic drive on our way home. It took us about 5.5 hours (including 2 short stops) before we arrived in San Francisco.
The drive up was easy, no traffic at all, so even I did some driving.

sunrise
Watching the sunrise from the road

We stayed at a  really old place that was very arty and unique. A cool experience! Here are some photos from the house.

Art House

Art House

Art House

Art House

Art House

Art House

Friday we met up with one of Justin’s friends for lunch, then we went to check in at the place we were staying and slept for a few hours. In the evening we walked around in the Mission area. We found an Italian restaurant on Valencia street where we had a nice dinner. Valencia street has a lot of trendy restaurants lined up side by side, so this area is great if you’re after a good dining experience with a lot of international cuisine options.

San Francisco was a lot colder compared to LA (as I remembered from last time I went there). But, being 8 months pregnant I was happy with some cooler temperatures. LA has been so bloody hot lately, its actually been uncomfortable.

Anyway, San Francisco is a really cool city. It has a lot of cool street art, architecture, restaurants, coffee shops, shops, and famous sightseeing such as Lombard Street, the famous Alcatraz museum (former prison), the Fisherman’s Wharf and probably the most famous of all San Francisco attractions: Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco Architecture

San Francisco Architecture & The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Architecture

San Francisco Architecture

Snickerdoodle cookies (vegan)

homemade healthy snicker doodle cookies

Snickerdoodle cookies have recently become one of my favourite cookies 🙂 I got inspired by this recipe and made some changes to it. They came out great!

I’ve never heard about creme of tartar before and assumed it was some kind of creme. Surprisingly, creme of tartar is a white powder that is being used in many cakes/desserts for texture. You can for example add it in egg whites when whipping them stiff in order to get the right texture. (Hope that made some sense). Creme of tartar can be found in the spice aisle in most grocery stores, amazon or iherb.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Makes about 12 cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp creme of tartar (optional, but recommended!!)
1 tsp cinnamon
5 tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla
2 tbs unsweetened applesauce (optional)

Cinnamon, drizzle on top of the cookies before baking
Sugar/coconut sugar, drizzle on top of the cookies before baking (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F / 175 ˚C.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the wet ingredients.
3. Let the cookie mixture sit in the fridge for about 10 min.
4. Line to baking trays with parchment paper/baking paper.
5. Form cookies, using a spoon.
6. Drizzle ground cinnamon on top of every cookie and/or sugar.
7. Bake for 8-10 min, until cookies are golden.
8. Cool of completely on a cooling rack.

homemade healthy snicker doodle cookies

homemade healthy snicker doodle cookies

homemade healthy snicker doodle cookies

Note:
You can substitute the oat flour with almond flour by using only almond flour.

This recipe is gluten free if you use certified gluten free oat flour.

You don’t necessarily need to drizzle sugar on top of the cookies, I thought they were sweet enough without it. I made some with sugar on top and some without.

Applesauce can be left out if you don’t have any handy, but it makes the cookies a bit more moist.

Maple syrup can be replaced with honey, coconut sugar or other sweetener.

Coconut oil can also be replaced by other oil or butter.

homemade healthy snicker doodle cookies

Healthy ice-cream shop in LA

We’ve been driving past this little ice-cream shop called Kippy’s a hundred times now and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while. This weekend we made the trip (only 5 minutes from our apartment 🙂 ). The ice cream was really good and is made of only homemade raw coconut cream, coconut water, raw honey and fresh organic fruit. The perfect treat that you can actually feel good about eating 🙂  It’s all organic, raw, fresh and dairy free!

Check it out at 326 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291

Kippy's ice-cream

Kippy's ice-cream

Kippy's ice-cream

Kippy's ice-cream

Kippy's ice-cream

Zucchini bread

I never tried zucchini bread before I moved to the states. Here it’s quite common in cafes as a treat with your coffee. I would think that it was a savoury bread, but it’s more like a little sweet treat. I recreated one I tried at my favourite coffee shop Toms, and it came out delicious and healthy.

healthy homemade zucchini bread

Ingredients

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup + 1/4 cup grated zucchini (about 1 big zucchini)
2 tbs chia seeds (used as a substitute for egg)
3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar, other sweetener or honey)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk if preferred)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 ˚F or 175 ˚C. Grease a nonstick bread pan with coconut oil or other oil.
2. Let the chia seeds sit in the milk for a little (about 10 min) to make the egg substitute and stir a few times. Mix the dry and wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Then add them together util it’s just mixed.
3. Pour it into the bread pan and let it bake for about  1 hour / 1 hour and 10 min. (Check after 50 min by sticking a tooth pick in the middle and if it’s done the tooth pick should come out almost clean).
4. Let it cool on a cooling rack and wrap it tightly with foil to keep it nice and moist.

healthy homemade zucchini bread

The Zucchini bread tastes really good toasted with some butter/almond butter, by itself, or for breakfast together with some greek yoghurt and berries :)

Note:
If you prefer a zucchini bread without too many spices, simply leave out the nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.

healthy homemade zucchini bread

healthy homemade zucchini bread

 

Crunchy Granola with Quinoa

A healthy portion of granola is the best morning fuel if you ask me 🙂 I love the combination of the nuts, apple sauce, spices and oats in this granola. It gives you a good portion of protein, dietary fiber and healthy omega 3 fats. So much better than the stuff you get in the grocery stores – nutrition vice and taste vice. Trust me!

healthy, homemade quinoa granola

healthy, homemade quinoa granola

Quinoa is considered one of the healthiest foods out there and should be included in your diet is because it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential 9 amino acids which your body can’t produce by itself. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.healthy, homemade quinoa granola

Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats
1/2 unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup raw, uncooked quinoa
4 tbs coconut oil
4 tbs maple syrup
1/2 cup seeds (I used sunflower seeds, pepitas/pumkin seeds and flax seeds)
5 tbs chia seeds
1 cup + 1/4 cup nuts, chopped (I used almonds, pecans and hazelnuts)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
pinch of salt
1 cup of dried fruit (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 ˚F/150 ˚C.
2. Add all the ingredients in a big bowl (except the dried fruit if you are using it) and mix it well together.
3. Spread the mixture on to baking trays layered with baking sheets/parchment paper.
4. Let it bake for about 30-45 min, depending on how crunchy you want it. Check every 15 minutes and use a spoon to mix everything around so it gets baked evenly.
5. Let the granola cool off completely once its finished baking and add dried fruit if you wish.

Store in an airtight container for up to 14 days.

healthy, homemade quinoa granola

Note:
Make sure to check that it isn’t burning as burnt granola isn’t very pleasant. This granola taste great if you add raisins to it once it has cooled off.

Serve with berries, yoghurt, milk etc. Enjoy 🙂

healthy, homemade quinoa granola

Sweet potato fries with chipotle dip

Sweet potatoes are actually ranked as one of the most nutritious vegetables out there. They are high in Vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fiber. The skin of the sweet potato has a lot of nutrients, so leave the skin on for baked potatoes and fries (oops, I peeled it off).

Sweet potatoes are a fat free and a low calorie food. Try these sweet potato fries as a side dish or by itself as a healthy snack 🙂

What you need:
(for 2 people)

2-3 organic sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp ground chipotle spice (or other chilli based spice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp coconut oil (melted or not melted, doesn’t matter)
salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 ˚F/220 ˚C.
2. Cut the potatoes up into the shape of fries (see photos).
3. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients above and toss the potatoes around until everything is well mixed.
4. Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray with parchment paper/baking paper and put in the oven to bake for about 20 min or until potatoes are tender.
healthy sweet potato fries
While the potatoes are baking, start prepping the dip 🙂

What you need:

3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup mayo, I used Vegenaise (an egg free “mayo”)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lime
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
Chives/gressløk (optional)

What you do:

1. Add yoghurt, mayo, minced garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and chipotle together. Squeeze in the lime and mix until smooth. Chop up some chives (if you are using it) and drizzle on top of the dip.

healthy sweet potato fries

Note:
This was too much dip for 2 people, so just half the recipe if you don’t want any leftovers 🙂 If you’re not a fan of chipotle, just leave it out for more of a garlic dip or replace with another spice you like. You can also replace the mayo by adding more Greek yoghurt.

healthy sweet potato fries

Food and travel for thought