Posts in Breakfast
Chocolatey Banana Cake

Dear Everyone!

Today's post is a special one for me. I posted a picture of this scrumptious cake on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and received several requests for the recipe, which led to the creation of what you are reading right now! The reason that this is so special, is that I am very passionate about community engagement. And nothing could bring me more joy than to share a post that is inspired by my community. 

This cake is a take on Christina Avaness' recipe for Chacocoban Cake in her book Living Beyond Organic- nutritional knowledge redefined! (1) Christina is my dear friend and mentor and she has taught me so much about foods that nurture my body and my creativity. So it's a huge honor to share this yumminess in honor of her! 

And since I always like to weave in my two cents as far as creativity goes... even though this recipe is a desserty treat, it'll still nourish your creative vessel thanks to an abundance of coconut oil, dark chocolate and, of course, BANANAS. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found in coconut oil feed your brain cells and boost your energy & endurance. Dark chocolate and bananas are both memory and mood boosting. Also, I love this recipe because it doesn't require any added sugar. The sweetness comes purely from the bananas & the dark chocolate. So you don't end up getting a crazy sugar rush, but rather, can focus fully on tasting all of the yummy flavors. 

Ingredients
(use organic whenever possible)

One 9" x2" pie dish (I know this technically isn't a pie, but for some reason I enjoy using a pie dish when I'm making this cake) 

4 large bananas (as ripe as possible. If they're already starting to look brown and kind of unappealing, that's exactly how you want them to look =))
1 cup raw coconut flour
1/2 cup organic sprouted wheat flour
1/2 cup organic barley flour
2.5 cups goat milk (any type of nut milk works great as well) 
3/4 cups raw coconut oil
3oz 70% organic baking chocolate, chopped into course chocolate chips (I love Theo. If you want your cake to be really deep and chocolatey, you can use a higher cacao percentage. But because I'm not using any other types of sugar, I've found that I like my chocolate chips slightly sweeter for this recipe)
1/2 cup dry roasted almond slivers (optional, for extra crunch)
3 tsps organic vanilla extract
2 tbsps organic baking powder
1/2 tsp organic baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch Real Salt
organic chocolate syrup (to drizzle on top, optional) 

Preheat oven to 375º. Combine bananas, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a bowl, mash together with a fork. Stir in chocolate chips and almond slivers. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and Real Salt. Whisk until all dry ingredients are distributed evenly. Add dry ingredients and goat milk to banana mixture in half-cup increments, gently stirring as you go along. Once all ingredients are mixed together, add to greased pie dish (I used the leftover coconut oil to grease my dish). Place in oven. Bake for 45-60 min. Note that your knife will never come out completely clean because of the moisture of the bananas. Remove from oven & let cool. Once the cake has cooled, I love drizzling it with organic chocolate syrup. 

This cake is super yummy by itself. But I can imagine that adding a scoop of vanilla coconut milk ice cream will make it even more decadent. 

Other than chocolatey banana cake goodness, things that are happening in my life right now include: another secret project I am working on! I say another, because before it was birthed into creation, I referred to this blog as a "secret project" as well. I've found that there's a certain power in not revealing what you are working on until it becomes a tangible, concrete thing. That doesn't mean that I'm not bursting with excitement to share this secret endeavor with you all, but I know that for the time being, I'll pour that energy into the work of completing it. So, I better stop writing about it before something slips out... 

May this yummy banana cake treat your creativity, your sweet tooth and your soul.

I wish you all so much creativity, joy and inspiration.

Leah 

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author: Leah Salinas // photos by: Leah Salinas

Sources

(1) Avaness, Christina. Living Beyond Organic- nutritional knowledge redefined!. Las Vegas: Tiara Publishing, 2009. Print. p. 154

Cafe Con Coconut Panna
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Father's day is coming up and I share this recipe in honor of my Dad, a veritable coffee lover. Especially espresso. His coffee beverage of choice is Espresso Con Panna- a potent cup of espresso snowcapped with a generous heaping of homemade whipped cream. Being more of a french press kind of gal, and since I love putting my own spin on recipes, I've naturally made this combination my own. While I love the dairy version* of homemade whipped cream, I've found that this coconut cream is a wonderful alternative when I'm in the mood for plant-based foods. Plus, summer finally came to tickle us hello here in LA and right now coconutty things are making me feel summery and happy. 
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Ingredients (yields several servings of cream) 

1 can organic coconut milk (full fat)**
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
Dash cardamom
Some organic lemon zest (optional) 

Guidelines

Pour contents of can into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add vanilla extract, spices and lemon zest (if using). Using a hand mixer, whip cream on high until frothy. Garnish a freshly brewed cup of coffee*** with several tablespoons of cream. Store remaining cream in an airtight glass container (this will keep in your fridge for 3-4 days).  

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Creativity Boosters

Coconut Milk ~ is a powerful brain food. This is because it contains medium chain triglycerides, which the brain can access and use as fuel immediately (no need for them to pass through the digestive tract). This means that this coffee combination is amazing when you want your brain to function at super-speed for your very best creative work. 

Cardamom ~ I love sharing recipes that feature this spice. There's a reason I chose to use it as part of the blog's title. Christina Avaness, one of my mentors, and a food guru if there ever was one, first introduced me to the idea that cardamom is beneficial for creativity. While I haven't found any scientific research to back this up, I've found sources that share that cardamom has long been used as an aphrodisiac and mood-elevator****. Our sexual energy is closely tied to our creative energy. I believe that aphrodisiacs, foods that stimulate our libido, by default also stimulate our creativity. 
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In other news, for those of you who are wondering what is going with cacao: a journal, our wonderful Jules is currently embarking on new adventures up in NorCal. She's still very much involved with the C&C world, think behind the scenes work and long, creativity-inspired, blog development-related type of phone meetings. I feel so blessed and grateful to be collaborating with this shining creative soul! If you want to learn more about her work, check out her website and her profile on I Love Creatives
 

Thank you always for all of your support, dear readers, enjoy your coconutty cream, and happy creating! 

With love & creativity,

Leah

* If I'm going the dairy route I like to use organic heavy whipping cream. I always make sure to take an extra glance at the packaging to make sure that there aren't any other ingredients, just pure and simply organic heavy whipping cream.
** I'm not sponsored by these peeps, but I've found that the Native Forest CLASSIC coconut milk works really well for this. While it may seem super rich and creamy, keep in mind that you're only using a relatively small amount on your coffee. Also, their cans are BPA free, which is a huge added bonus. 
*** I love using French-pressed Papua Coffee for this recipe =)
**** http://www.foodalchemyinc.com/Default.asp

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

 

Tummy Soothing Smoothie


I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately on our ability to transform how we're feeling at any given moment. I've always fallen into the camp of sensitive people. When I eat something a little off, or go to bed a little too late or don't create time to exercise, my body usually makes it known. I used to be down on myself about this. But over time I've learned to embrace my body's finicky-ness and have made one powerful realization: if my body responds so readily to the harmful stuff, it will respond with equal sensitivity to the nurturing, energizing and healing GOOD STUFF.

It's all about giving your bod the right tools. And these can be very very simple. The other day I sat down to work and felt a little foggy minded. Instead of trying to plough through, I went outside for a brisk 15 minute walk. By the time I came back, the fogginess was gone.

Everyone's toolbox is different. I believe that one of the joys of being a human being is discovering which tools work for you. I think of it as a little hobby; discovering which simple actions can radically transform your sense of wellbeing. And after a while, when your toolbox becomes larger, you start to feel really really powerful, because you know exactly which tools to use no matter what life offers you.

One of the stars in my toolbox is this yummy Tummy Soothing Smoothie. It's challenging for me to function at my creative peak when my tummy feels off. I'm not talking about food poisoning or a tummy bug, that's a whole other story. But I'm talking about those days when I wake up and my tummy just doesn't feel as happy as it normally does. Normally I can trace this back to eating something that didn't agree with my system, or eating too much or too late. Whatever it is, I usually turn to this smoothie to reset my digestive system. I see it as kind of a peace offering to the friendly bacteria that hangs out down there. It's super easy to digest, it'll clean you out every so gently, and it'll revitalize your beautiful gut flora. 


Ingredients (for one serving) 

1/2 organic pear
1/2 organic banana
1/2 cup spring water
1 cup goat milk
2 tbsps. goat yoghurt
1/4 avocado
2 tbsps. fresh fennel, grated
  or 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 tbsps. flax seeds
1 acidophilus & bifidus capsule (optional) 
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
a sprinkle of real salt
a splash of lemon
a dash of cayenne (optional) 
2-3 spring water ice cubes
 

Guidelines

1) Combine pear, banana, ginger, fennel and goat milk in a blender. Blend on high for about 10 seconds or until smooth. 
2) Add remaining ingredients. If you're incorporating an acidophilus & bifidus capsule (which I highly recommend), open up the capsule and pour the powdery content into your blender alongside the other ingredients.
3) Blend everything until smooth. Pour into your favorite smoothie glass, sip and enjoy. 

Over the years I've observed how much easier it is for me to function at my creative peak when my tummy is happy. A lot of research has come out recently about how our gut is our second brain. After years of observing the sensations in my body, I've definitely come to find that a happy tummy also leads to a happy mind. Try out this smoothie and see how it affects your tummy and your mood. 

happy tummy = good mood = creativity boost!! 


Wishing you all so much good health & vitality. 
 

with love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

Crimini Mushroom Omelette

Most of my post ideas for C&C come to me. What I mean by that is that I don't spend very much time thinking about what I'm going to write. I just go about my day-to-day and my posts, or any creative ideas for that matter, usually greet me with a burst of inspiration. I was taking a Saturday morning barre* class a couple of weeks ago, and throughout the class the ingredients of this delicious omelette started coming together in my mind (go figure, I'm working out and dreaming up culinary adventures- ah, the day-to-day of a foodie.). By the end of the class I was so excited about creating this creation that I even went out of my way to pick up some cilantro & crimini mushrooms, which I felt were essential ingredients to making this omelette magic happen. And it was well worth it. This omelette ended up being easy to make, delicious and protein-y- which made it a perfect post-workout meal.

Before I delve into the recipe, I'll go into a little more depth about why duck eggs are my eggs of choice. They're full of healthy fats and proteins, making them yummy for the brain, the body and the palate. And they're much easier to digest than chicken eggs, which contain proteins that are indigestible for the human body. They also haven't been exposed to any form of genetic modification**. Although locating duck eggs can be a little challenging, they've become a lot more readily available over the years. If you're having trouble finding them, check out the egg stand at your farmer's market. You can also connect with local farmers to see if they have duck eggs that they're willing to sell. My parents live in Switzerland and they happened to come across a cop who breeds ducks as a hobby. He personally delivers their duck eggs on a motorbike 8-). 

So, after you've procured your duck eggs from the grocery store, the farmers market or a cop on a motorbike, you can proceed to create this recipe. 

Ingredients (for one omelette)

1 medium sized stainless steel pan
2 duck eggs
1/2 medium sized red onion
5-8 organic crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 an avocado
Approx. 1 teaspoon organic raw extra-virgin coconut oil
Some feta cheese (optional) 
Dash of goat milk (optional)
Some cilantro (to garnish your creation)

Guidelines

Finely chop red onion. Slice crimini mushrooms (not too thin, not too thick). Heat up your stainless steel pan on a medium flame. Once it has warmed up, add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Allow oil to warm for one minute and move pan around so the oil spreads evenly and covers the entire surface area. Add onion and mushroom. While mushroom and onion are cooking, crack two duck eggs into a bowl. If desired, add goat milk for a fluffier consistency. Whisk. Pour the egg mixture over the red onion and mushrooms in the pan, allow to spread out evenly. Sprinkle feta on top (if you're choosing to incorporate it). Put lid on pan and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until bottom of omelette is firm (you can use a spatula to check). At this point, I like putting my avocado slices inside my omelette, flipping it closed and letting it cook for another minute or so. If you prefer, you can also flip it closed and use the avo slices as a garnish. Once your omelette is ready, gently pick it up with your spatula and place it on your favorite breakfast plate. Decorate with cilantro. 

I love having this omelette with some fresh papaya on the side for a nice & refreshing enzymatic burst. Plus the bright orange, yellow & green color scheme of this dish just looks really pretty and bright on a breakfast plate.

Also, play around with different spices! Sometimes I like blending paprika or a bit of turmeric into my egg mixture. And I love adding a dash of cayenne to the final dish. Have fun and enjoy =)  

In other news, my Love and I have found a new LA home to call our own! And I could not be more excited. In many ways it's the ideal creative space. Lots of windows. A labyrinth. And a magical garden filled with flowers, trees and birds. We already have lots of ideas about how we're going to use the space to create more creativity-inspiring content for you. Stay tuned =)

Happy spring everyone! And remember to embrace the beauty of change. 

With love & creativity,

Leah
 

author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Juliana Mariia Rose


*Barre is one of my favorite types of exercise. It uses low impact isometric movements that work all of your major and minor muscle groups. I'll share more about this transformative workout in a future post. But just wanted to give you a snippet =)
** Source: Avaness, Christina. Living Beyond Organic: Nutritional Knowledge Redefined!. Las Vegas: Tiara Publishing, 2009. Print.