real raw kitchen: June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Radical Inspiration: be your own author

Every so often I have one of those days, and I'd like to think that we all do, where I start to have a pity party. I begin to wonder where the time has gone and how I got myself into a certain situation that is not at all ideal. I begin to feel sorry for myself, for the fact that I'm young and sometimes impulsive, that I follow my heart more often than my brain, and that I've found myself in a world I hardly recognize sometimes. 

It can spiral out of control pretty quickly if I don't keep it in check and realize that this is really just a part of being young. I keep it in check, mostly, by checking in with nature. Nature is an incredible pacifier for me and calms me down almost immediately when I realize how magnificent and present it is.

Then, this quote comes to mind:

"If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page."
~ Mark Houlahan

How wonderful is it that we have the power to create our own lives, our own stories? Several years ago, when I was on the aftermath of a life changing decision that had rattled me to the core, my father told me, "You're never stuck. You can always redirect your life any way you choose. All you have to do is just decide what you want and go for it." 


This isn't always a sad and regretful thought, though. This can also be a huge motivating force behind new and exciting ventures. Every time I do something I do it with my end story in mind. Will I be proud of the life I have led? Will I have anything interesting to share? If I find myself getting a little too comfortable with too much routine, I throw in a road trip or a day at the Flea Market to ensure that I've got some kind of story to tell.

What's the story you're telling? Are you re-writing your story??


Thursday, June 27, 2013

RECIPE: Carob Mousse Pie

So what the heck is carob??

Carob is actually the dried pulp from the pod of a carob shrub or tree from the evergreen family. It is mostly found in powder form and is often used in recipes to replace cacao or cocoa. It doesn't taste much like chocolate but actually has a mocha-ey, caramel-ey flavor that is hard to describe (at least for me!). A lot of people use it as a substitute for cacao mostly because it is caffeine free. 

It also differs from cacao in that it has twice as much calcium but also about twice as many calories per serving. It is technically from a legume so it also has quite a bit of protein. It also has potassium, fiber, zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron, and B vitamins. 

So, it's basically a powerhouse.

In the past I've never really been a fan of carob. I would add it to shakes here and there hoping that I would eventually "get" what the hype was about. Then, one day I had a carob mousse pie from a cafe in California and I was in love. It was all raw and just incredible. I immediately started dreaming up combinations to recreate it.

This particular recipe is amazing because I gave it a shot and it was an immediate success! All of the flavors came together perfectly and it won the hearts of everyone. Chocolate lovers, chocolate haters, savory eaters, sweet tooths ... everyone was raving. It was delicious.

Because I was nervous about how it would turn out (this was my first attempt at a legitimate carob recipe, after all) I made a very small portion. This recipe is for two 4" spring form pans, so if you're making it for a larger dish then feel free to double everything!

Carob Mousse Pie
makes 2 small

For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup dates, soaked and peeled
For the filling:
  • 1 coconut, meat only
  • 2 T reserved coconut water (as needed)
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 1 cup dates, soaked and peeled
  • 2 T coconut butter
  • 1/4 t vanilla bean powder (about a half to a whole bean)
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
For the crust:
  • Whirl these in a food processor until a sticky dough is formed, though still chunky.
  •  Press into the bottom of your dish.
For the filling:
  • Combine everything in a high speed blender or food processor and process until smooth. 
  • Keep it thick as there is no key ingredient in this to keep it "set" if you add too much liquid. 
  • If your blender does not have a stopper to push the ingredients down toward the blade, and/or cannot handle a heavy blend, then use your food processor. Pour over the top of the crust.

Try it out in mini-pans, in little bowls, or any small dish, really. And then report back what you think!

ENJOY ... xo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: june 26, 2013

I love playing with very simple flavors, combining them in ways that provide such depth. It's one of the easiest ways to prepare meals and one of the easiest ways to eat whole foods. I never feel like I'm missing out when I'm able to have this as my line up of foods!

The neat thing about this, too, is that most of it is very approachable. A few times a week I'll make something with a superfood or make something that requires a fully raw kitchen, but for the most part I really just enjoy very simple ingredients. 

So when I say that I'm so excited to reflect back on my eats, I'm not even kidding. It's usually so simple and it's always so delicious. This week, I had some killer combinations:

Carob Mousse Pie. One of the best things I've ever created. And that's sayin' something ... ;) This has relatively few ingredients, but is made up of dates and the flesh from a coconut, plus some carob.

Rawified Pizza. A definite indulgence but so worth it. It's completely nut and seed free too! The recipe is here if you'd like to check it out.

 Mango Cherry Bowl. I love mangoes. I love cherries. So I put them together quite often for a delicious and light fruit meal. It's like my Central Valley roots meets my SO's tropical roots in one tasty bowl.

Pink Veggie Smoothie. This was an epic combo that has won my heart over: fresh OJ, frozen strawberries, red bell pepper, cucumber. Try it. I promise you it's delicious.

Mango Tart. This was divine. Simple, light, creamy. Just mm. Dried fig base and mango gooey center.

Avocado Blueberry Salad. This is a new one for me but it is a delicious combo. I tossed it with a bed of arugula and a simple spirulina dressing

How simple is that? A lot of very accessible and fresh ingredients combined to perfection.

Try it out! Hope this helps with your search for menu ideas!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

RECIPE: pizza night, raw food style

Pizza is just one of those things that is special, delicious, and always a cheat meal ... even when it's raw. I mostly avoid raw pizza because it's very heavy on the nuts and seeds (nut crust with a seed spread and nut cheese covered in veggies-soaked-in-oil ...). I also tend to stay away from pizzas because they also take a lot of work to make.

This is the way it is with most dehydrated foods. I treat my dehydrator like a mistress, visiting her in secret when the SO is away and only for very special occasions. Desserts make an appearance more often than dinners, but when I use the dehydrator I go all the way.

As a disclaimer, this recipe is a lot of work. It is not something I typically do and not something I'm proud to admit I spend my time doing. But when I do it I am so glad I did. It's like a really special meal; a gourmet take on pizza. So if you're up for the challenge then I think you will love this. If you're trying to make something quick and easy ... keep scrolling. 

Also, to be clear, no special talents are needed to make this. Just patience and time.

This particular dish was an excellent compromise for me. I got to indulge in pizza but then also stayed away from the heavy and hard-to-digest nuts. Instead, I used chia seeds and sweet potato as the base. It gave a lot of flavor but also left the crust a little bit chewy ... which I like.

I might add some hemp seeds the next time I make this just to try out the crunch-factor, and so if you're looking for a crunchy crust then maybe you can try that, this time.

You know what the most satisfying part about this pizza is? It was a success, even with my regular pizza-loving SO. He is not a fan of these "fake" versions of cheat meals, and he's especially not a fan of, what he calls, "that dehydrator taste". And even he said this was really good. So for me, I'm over the moon excited to share this with you.

Nut Free Pizza Crust:
a recipe
6 T chia seeds
1 sweet potato
1 handful fresh oregano
1 handful fresh basil
2-3 cups spinach
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 t sea salt and ground pepper
any other seasoning, to taste
hemp seeds (optional)

Put the chia seeds into a jar (about a 12 ounce jar will work, think: an old almond butter jar) and fill the jar with water. Shake vigorously and then place in the fridge for at least an hour, up to an overnight soak. Give it a shake every once in awhile to make sure all the chia seeds get nice and swell-ey

When you're about ready to start dehydrating the crust you can begin the next steps. Chop the cleaned sweet potato and place in your food processor. Process until it is broken down quite a bit, almost to a pulp. Then start add the oregano, basil, spinach, and seasoning, until it is all well incorporated. Lastly, add the chia seeds and then process until a dough is formed. This will not necessarily be dry like a dough but it will be pudding-like.

Pour everything onto a Teflex sheet and spread into a circle as big as the tray. Place into the dehydrator at 105-115, depending on your preference. Allow this to dehydrate for at least a few hours before flipping onto a mesh tray and peeling the Teflex sheet. I waited almost 8 hours, waiting until the entire top portion is dry to the touch.

The ends will curl up as it dehydrates, just as a warning!! Once it's flipped it flattens back out. Continue to dehydrate until dried, through. You can allow it to dry to your desired texture. 

Basic Marinara Chunky Sauce:
a recipe
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3-4 sundried tomato halves, soaked
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 handful fresh oregano
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil

Place everything into a food processor and process until saucey, leaving some chunks behind. Pour into a colander that is resting over a bowl and drain the excess liquid while you work on the other layers.

Spinach Layer:
a method
2-3 cups fresh spinach

Run this through the food processor until chunky. Then squeeze the excess liquid out through a nut mylk bag so you're left with a nice, dry spinach pulp.

Marinated Mushrooms and Onions:
a method
2 cups mushroom slices, any variety
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 T olive oil

Combine the lemon, garlic, and oil in a bowl and whisk vigorously. Pour over the mushrooms slices and onion slices and let them marinate for a few hours to overnight. When you are about 3-5 hours away from serving the pizza, pop them into the dehydrator. The warmth and the juices wilt the veggies, giving them that sauteed feel.

To Do:
  • Take the crust out of the dehydrator when it's done.
  • Pour the drained marinara sauce over the top and spread out, evenly.
  • Sprinkle the spinach over the top in an even layer.
  • Spread the sauteed veggies over the top, evenly.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, like basil, and sliced tomatoes if you'd like
  • Place back into the dehydrator to warm through, 10-15 minutes.
Take out, slice up and serve!

You can also add a nut cheese if you'd like. I'm curious what it would have been like with a cheesy sauce or drops of fermented macadamia cheese. But like I said, I really do not like eating such dense and dehydrated foods so I tend to stay away from them. But if you add some, let me know!

Let me know what you think and if you get around to conquering this beast of a pizza!


Monday, June 24, 2013

weekend wanderer: a day in the sun

This weekend was just so incredible. It was slow, easy, insignificant and exactly what I needed. I had hoped to go for a long run this weekend but the unbearable heat made it very difficult for me to get outside (at least for running). Instead, I spent my time moving slowly on the beach and on the water.

I also introduced some new routines into my life, and boy am I glad that I did! I've started using my own homemade toothpaste. It's a game changer. I've always been extremely skeptical because toothpaste is just one of those non-negotiables for me ... one horrible experience with Tom's and I was scarred for life. 

This time, however, I decided to give it a go because the ingredients were cheap and already in my kitchen. One sample brush couldn't hurt, right? If I didn't like it I could go back to my ultra cheap (89 cents!) Ultrabrite standard OTC toothpaste. If I did like it, however, then I've just discovered an even cheaper and safer toothpaste!


Anyway, I'll write more on that later. Just know I'm loving it and I think you will too.

I did lots of indoor yoga with my mat laid up next to the air conditioner. It felt so good to slowly work my muscles and just relax into the poses. I have laid off my yoga practice lately, mostly because I was getting killer arms and that's not really a look I dig ... but it felt SO good to be back on the mat.

Then we headed over to the beach, like the rest of Miami, and parked ourselves on the $5 sheet I got from Urban Outfitters that-one-time back in college. It has turned into the perfect beach blanket for our adventures.

The sun was shining so brightly, the breeze was just right--not too strong, not too stagnant--and the water was warm and clear. It was perfect .

On our way to the beach we had to cut through Midtown in order to avoid the major backup on the causeway. I love it whenever this happens because you always see the neatest things in this part of Miami.

Midtown is known for two things: questionable safety and hipster art. This is the area where all the trendsetters like to hang out, all the artists like to display their epic proportions of art, and a lot of the crime in Miami sort of just happens.

During the day and early in the evening it is the quintessential art district. I love it so much and I think out of all of Miami this is really the best "culture" it has to offer. So I snapped this picture because I just could not get over how neat it is and how incredible this sub-culture here is.

When we got home I was greeted by a very lovely surprise package from Conscious Box. I was so excited when they contacted me and I was even more excited to open the box. I can't wait to share my review with you!

Sunday I spent the day with the girls. We went kayaking and then grabbed lunch nearby. Look at that view ...

There's just something so soul-replenishing about girl talk. Kayaking through mangroves doesn't hurt, either ...

This was my down-to-earth, no-fuss, soul-replenishing, sun-shining weekend. I feel very strongly about self-care and I love, love, LOVE being able to support the cause!

How was your weekend??


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Ritual: oil pulling for optimal health

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is really a fantastic method used in Ayurveda to treat all sorts of ailments. Most commonly, it is used to help improve overall dental hygeine related to bacteria and toothaches, as well as improve skin conditions, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and more. 

It is a more recent discovery here in the US but is really gaining popularity among holistic groups. The main idea is that "like" cleans "like". Just like you would clean your engine with cleaner oil, or you might use oil to clean out your digestive tract, oil can also be used to clean out your mouth without harming the teeth or gums.

When you are "pulling" you are essentially swishing very high quality vegetable oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes (on an empty stomach), allowing the oil to pull the bacteria and toxins out of your gums and tissue. It's really fantastic and many people have reported incredible benefits. My experience has also been very positive and is actually the motivation to share with you, now.

My teeth are white, strong, and have healed since I've been oil pulling.

In fact, I haven't been to the dentist in years. I know, I know, that's bad. I've always had healthy teeth and gums and so I just sort of stopped going to the dentist because I felt I didn't need to. I avoided the dentist mainly because I hate the whole make-an-appointment-months-in-advance-then-spend-half-a-day-trying-to-get-to-the-appointment thing.


Then, last year I started to get this tooth ache ... a first-time experience for me. It  started out dull and then progressively got worse until I got to the point where I would only chew food on the left side of my mouth ... which is strange to me considering my diet and hygeine.

At about that point I had decided to add oil pulling into my routine for completely unrelated reasons. However, what I noticed was nothing short of a miracle. Within weeks the tooth ache was completely gone. It vanished, as if I've never had any sensitivities at all! I felt like it was a miracle, considering the amount of pain I had been in before. Afterward, I did a little bit of research to see if it was a result of the oil pulling and realized this is actually a very common way to treat tooth aches and works wonders!


So let me break it down for you ...

Here's my morning routine:
  1. Wake-up and drink a HUGE glass of water
  1. Pour 1 T of pure, cold pressed virgin coconut oil into an espresso cup (hehe)
  1. Take the oil in my mouth and swish it around, sucking it through my teeth and around my gums
  1. I do this for almost 20 minutes while I do other morning routines I would be doing anyway
  1. At the end I spit the oil out into the trash, rinse with water, brush lightly with my toothbrush (no toothpaste yet) and then rinse with hydrogen peroxide
  1. I later follow up with a regular brushing with some homemade toothpaste .. I'll be doing a post on that soon!

Have you ever tried oil pulling? Let me know in the comments!!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

RECIPE: ice cream fruit cake + Father's Day

My dad is pretty neat. I'm very fortunate to be able to say that I've had him around all my life and my parents are still married. It's not lost on me that this is a pretty fortunate situation and that I've had a fairly easy upbringing compared to others.

One thing he taught me was how to make food. Mostly cakes, ice cream, and breakfast but also anything pertaining to a grill and/or oven. Whenever my mom was out, at work, or out of town we would make a big fancy meal. He would ask what I wanted for dinner, probably casually seeing what his child was hungry for, and I'd test him with something I thought was absurdly difficult and fancy. His response was always, "okay". 

Now that I think of it, my mom would do something similar when my dad was out of town. With her, though, we'd have a very specific meal picked out to explore, all for the sake of spending time in the kitchen. 

I guess I've had a creative experience in the kitchen from the very beginning.

So any time I want to do something special for my dad I always do something from the kitchen. Unfortunately, we are on opposite sides of the country for Father's Day, so he can't really taste anything I am making. Instead, I made this ice cream fruit cake for him, in spirit.

The irony here is that this fruit cake is made, primarily, of bananas and my dad is allergic to bananas.

He will be here for a visit in a couple weeks, so I'll make it up to him, then. I don't think he will mind, I just won't make him this particular cake.

This cake had all the right flavors going on. A hint of salted chocolate in the crust, a creamy, frozen banana center, a sweet raspberry puree over the top, and the walnuts and cacao for the perfect crunch. I recommend freezing it for a few hours so it sets up and then serving and consuming immediately. If it's left in the freezer overnight it gets this sort of sorbet-esque feel to it, and if you don't consume it immediately it melts.

Chocolate Crust:
a recipe
1/2 cup walnuts
8 dates, soaked, peeled and pitted
2 T cacao powder
1/4 t sea salt

Dump everything into a food processor and process until chunky. Place the crust into a springform pan and press down until even. Place in freezer until you're ready to add the next layer. I used a smaller springform pan, and 6" so adjust your measurements accordingly.

Banana Coconut Center:
a recipe
2 T agar
1 cup hot water
3 bananas, frozen
3 T coconut butter
1 T coconut oil
1 t vanilla

Bring 2 cups of water to boil and then remove from heat. Put the agar into a bowl and then pour the hot water over and stir to incorporate. Continue stirring until it starts to thicken. I left it on the counter and stirred it frequently. When it cools it thickens, so allow it to cool a little bit before continuing.

Add everything else to your high speed blender and blend until a sort of ice cream is formed. You may need to use the stopper (I did!). Add the cooled agar pudding and blend until smooth. Pour the contents over the chocolate crust. Place in the freezer for a few hours to harden.

Raspberry Sauce:
a recipe
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup dates, soaked, peeled and pitted
2-3 T chia seeds

Combine everything in the blender and blend until smooth. I used frozen raspberries in this and I loved the consistency.

I poured this over the top, garnished with walnuts and cacao nibs and then served. You could, alternatively, pour of the top, still in the pan, and place in the freezer for a few hours so it is all firm.

This was so delicious and refreshing on a hot Miami day! But remember, it's an ice cream cake so it melts quickly... which shouldn't be a problem because you will probably eat it all in one sitting ...


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: june 19, 2013

This past week I've gotten into parents-are-visiting mode .. they will be here in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! So my brain has just been so busy thinking about what we can do and what I can make for them. I'm beyond excited! How this affects you is that I've been trying to get creative in the kitchen with simple and delicious meals to share with them.

This past week was very busy with work and my classes. The summer semester is ending so I've got lots of grading to do ... which means my meals need to be incredibly efficient as far as preparation goes and then also need to be able to sustain me for 12-13 hour work days.

And you know what, that hasn't been too hard to do! I promise. Once you start to get to know how your body responds to certain foods it becomes a lot easier planning meals. Maybe some of my weekly eats will spark some drool-worthy ideas of your own!

Cucumber Lemonade. I've been on this cuke lemonade kick because it is so delicious and so easy. 1 cucumber, 1 lemon, 1 apple juiced. I blend mine and strain through a nut mylk bag.

Cherry Pudding. Dates and cherries blended up make the perfect sauce for any fruit bowl. I poured mine over a banana, some figs, and some cherries. So easy and delicious. It's almost sinful how delicious it is.

Mango Tomato Cold Soup. This is so simple and so delicious and perfect for the intense heat here in South Florida. All you need are three ingredients: mango, tomato and zucchini. Done.

Wheat Grass Shots. There is so much to be done for the body when you take a little bit of wheat grass and so I've started incorporating these guys back into my diet. I'll be writing up more on it soon!

Mulberry Vinaigrette. This is to.die.for. I'm pretty impressed with it and it was so easy to drizzle over everything to add that creamy *oomph*.

Banana Ice Cream Cake. I made this for Father's Day and it has chocolate, bananas, and raspberries. What more could a girl need? It's low in fat, high in yum, and essentially frozen fruit in the shape of a cake.

 Corn Basil Salad. So easy: corn shaved off the cob, basil, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and a little bit of lemon squeezed over. Throw in some avocado or some pine nuts if you'd like some fat. So delish.

Simple Fruit. We made our way to the Redland's for a Flea Market excursion and munched on fruit to stay hydrated. You can read all about it here.

So much delicious food.

Any requests?? Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see up here!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

RECIPE: corn basil salad

When I first moved to Miami I was obsessed with this salad. I don't know why. I sort of made it up one day, realized it was amazing, and just continued to make it over and over again. So whenever I make it, now, I'm taken back to the days when I first moved here and was still infatuated with this city.

My first month here I spent unemployed. It was a transition period for me because though I had already found a job my start date wasn't until August, and I moved here in July. We lived on the beach at the time and so I spent my days mostly in the sun. I'd get up early with my SO and we'd go for a run on the beach. Afterward I'd make him breakfast and coffee and see him off. Then I'd spend the morning at the beach, lounging in the sand and reading books for fun (I had just graduated from Grad School so this was quite the treat!). This was one of those dishes that I liked to make for lunch because it was quick, filling, and perfectly light so I could head back out into the heat.

There is something so satisfying about sweet corn right off the cob. Everyone usually thinks "grill" or "boil" when they think of corn but it really is just as delicious, even moreso, when shaved off the cob, raw. It is the perfect ingredient for a warm summer salad and adds a sweet crunch to any salad. The basil offers a complimentary flavor that is really hard to describe, other than sweet and light. 

All it needs is a few friendly supporting ingredients and a squeeze of lemon and this beautiful dish is done! Every once in awhile I make it to wow others with the simplicity of raw food ... and also because it's an easy dish to bring to others. Very few people are ever dissatisfied with this dish (I've yet to meet someone that passes!).

Corn Basil Salad:
a recipe
1 cob, kernels shaved off
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
3 sundried tomato halves, sliced
1 handful fresh basil, chiffonade style
1/4 lemon, juiced

Toss everything together and voila! So easy and so delicious. This is perfect for one person, so if you're making for a group add more. Sometimes I like to add avocado in there, or pine nuts are a great addition too.

Try it out and let me know what you think!


Monday, June 17, 2013

weekend wanderer: at the flea market

I'm a huge believer in self-care. Seriously. I truly believe that there is no way you can be your best self, wife, mother, friend, daughter, employee, etc if you don't first pamper yourself into happiness. This doesn't mean just pampering but a sort of soul-satisfying, mental-health-checking, weekend-adventuring, exotic-food-making pampering. And this is exactly what I set out to do every weekend.

This weekend was pretty spectacular. We didn't go anywhere exotic and I didn't do anything dangerous or fancy. Instead, we went to a flea market in the Redland's, which is the agricultural area outside of Miami Dade County, and shopped around for good food.

One thing you realize very quickly when you move from any outside city to the Miami area is that you are essentially moving into another country. There are so many Latin American cultures here, all claiming certain corners of the city, and very few of them have compromised their origins in order to live in the U.S. What has resulted from this is a very unique and very exotic experience that can really only be described as Miami.

One way I like to help myself transition to such a city (is it still a transition after 2 years??) is by exploring it as if I'm a tourist, visiting everything with virgin eyes and an open heart. 

What this allows me to do is see the hidden beauty of South Florida, push my boundaries, and get my hands on more and more juicy fruit.


The flea market was basically a big warehouse filled with tons of fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, and people calling out at you in Spanish. Connected to it, and behind it, is a sort of shanty town built of more metal sheets where they are selling various "goods". It goes on for what seems like forever.

Food trucks sit outside of it all, in between the street and the warehouse, all pumping out authentic and warm Mexican food, served in complete platters. Adjacent to the trucks are large tents filled with tables topped with fresh cilantro, lime, tomatoes and lettuce for your meal


The sweltering heat seemed to be trapped underneath it all as the temperature reached the 90s and the humidity peaked by early afternoon. We had sweat dripping from our backs and necks and had to use our hands to swat away the very curious flies. It was another world, one existing completely on its own about 30 minutes South of Miami.

  I loved every minute of it.

Raw cacao beans and dried chili peppers filled the bags lining each row. A scoop-and-weigh system was used with each vendor as they called out to the "mamacitas" and "papitos" to come check out their goods.

We stopped and got fresh coconut and mango to munch on while we browsed, all for $2 each (one expensive mango but a very cheap coconut). These handheld snacks proved to be the perfect way to hydrate ourselves as we made our way through the rest of the market.

We ended up loading bags up with fresh farm tomatoes (5), zucchini (2), onions (2), avocados (2), ginger (4"), bell peppers (3) ... all for about $10. We, sadly, didn't get any fruit because we didn't want the heat to get to them since we had to put the food in the car for a little bit.

We made our way to the food trucks and my SO ordered a plate of enchiladas, followed by a Fresas Con Crema: cut strawberries covered in condensed milk and topped with whipped cream. 

This seemed to help his mood ... he wasn't too happy about the heat or the flies.

Next we made our way down to the Fruit and Spice Park where they had a Fruit Festival going on. The park was lined with tents manned by local farmers and vendors, selling their fruits, trees, plants, and little farming and gardening gadgets.

My favorite part about the Fruit and Spice park (I visit several times a year) is that there is always exotic fruit. It's my favorite part about Miami, really. I've been introduced to so many different types of fruits I'd really only see here or another tropical country. Dragon Fruit is my favorite. It's like eating ice cream.

We also discovered that there seem to be a limitless number of varieties of mangoes, which is perfect because I love mangoes.

We ended the weekend at the in-laws, celebrating Father's Day with the family. We spent some time inside eating Colombian food (vegan arepas for me!!) and outside soaking up the Miami sun. Overall it was a wonderful weekend.

I love the weekends. They are my way to recharge and explore new things. How do you use your weekends?