As a self-confessed foodie I was almost horrified to learn that restaurants were closing down due to COVID-19. That would mean I would have to…COOK! What is that? Living in NYC I have to give the biggest props to those that actually go to the grocery store and then… USE the ingredients.
Bearing in mind, the pre-NYC me absolutely loved to cook. I grew up in a Caribbean household accustomed to delicious home cooked meals every night, but this quickly became foreign to me when I was introduced to Seamless, Grubhub and Uber Eats. This pandemic really made me face to the fact that I have an addiction to eating out. While this may sound dramatic to some, many New Yorkers were feeling the exact same way and almost stunned by the thought of having to cook for themselves, 3 meals a day, for the foreseeable future.
HOWEVER, while Coronavirus brought chaos and devastation to our world, I am grateful that it got me back in the kitchen. I have again fallen in love with fresh ingredients, my spatula and …… I now even have a favorite pot (Oh god, am I getting old?!). At some points I did struggle with inspiration, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite healthy meals/snacks to indulge in.
Working from home means more screen time and obsessing over my go-to ‘influencers’. I came across the fad of intermittent fasting and its benefits. Having come off a recent big trip to the Middle East and Europe, I was willing to give it a go to shed a few pounds, so why not? I chose to take on the 8:16 fast, which means you eat for 8 hours of the day and fast for 16 – crazy right? It is so much easier than I ever expected, and the health benefits were almost instant. My late-night cravings for Haagen Dazs were gone, I had more energy and my digestion was the best it’s been since my pre-teens.
Ok, enough about that. Let’s get into the food.
Usually I struggle with breakfast as I cannot stand eggs. Everything about them is honestly baffling to me, so finding healthy breakfast alternatives took time. Until I came across açai bowls. These heavenly smoothie style bowls are PACKED with antioxidants and can even boost brain function (I need all the help I can get).
Here’s the recipe:
Link to açai packets: https://www.sambazon.com/products/superfruit-packs/
Lunch: 2ish pm
Cauliflower crust pizza
Ah yes, another fad made famous by New Yorkers. If you have no idea how cauliflower can be made into pizza, don’t worry, you’re not alone but New Yorkers will literally find a way to make ANYTHING into pizza and you won’t be mad at this one. It is the ultimate way to get your pizza fix without the insane amount of carbs from regular dough.
Disclaimer: I am buying premade cauliflower crust pizza bases and there is no shame in that.
There are so many brands that have come up with their own version of this keto-friendly pizza. Some of my favorites are California Pizza Kitchen – this is sold frozen already topped with sauce and cheese. I prefer to work with a blank canvas, and yes, I am comparing pizza crust to a work of art and you will too when you try this! Whole foods sell the cauliflower base plain, no sauce, no cheese. I make my own marinara (inspired by my 3-week road trip around Italy) in big batches and freeze it in small Ziplock’s so it can be used for different recipes. I then top with fresh mozzarella and parmesan and then go wild with the toppings… salami, onions, peppers oregano, cayenne. You name it, I’ve put it on a pizza.
Pop it directly on the oven rack for approx. 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly, ooey, gooey and voila! Healthy-ish pizza.
Dinner: 6ish pm
Spicy shrimp almond flour tacos
I discovered almond flour tacos on Cinco De Mayo and being an almond flour lover already for sweet treats I was excited to try these out. I will mention that initially I was slightly horrified by the price, they are $7.99 for 8 tortillas in Whole Foods, for tortillas that is EXPENSIVE. I bit the bullet and tried them out anyway. Again, you can get as creative as you like with the shrimp marinade but here’s the recipe I used:
(You know your taste buds, depending on how you feel about the ingredients use as much or as little as you like, personally I go heavy on the cumin and cayenne… SPICY)
Whip these up in a frying pan with a little olive oil.
To warm the tortillas just pop them in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
Link to the tortillas: https://sietefoods.com/collections/tortillas
And, there you have it! Some great healthy options to inspire your next trip to the grocery store.
Now… while I’m hoping this cooking trend will continue, I am making no promises. Entering phase 2 with outdoor dining only a few days ago, I have already treated myself to oysters and rooftop rosé with a side of truffle fries (that didn’t take long). I am holding myself and my bank balance accountable and limiting myself to a treat once, maybe twice per week. Stay tuned for my next blog on the top 5 al fresco dining experiences in NYC!
Until then Travel Tribe, continue to pack light & travel deep.