Fresh Ginger Margaritas

I require that my margaritas be very strong and very sour.

I actually prefer all my cocktails this way. I want practically no liqueur or sweetener or anything--just the good top shelf booze, tons of citrus, and a fun addition like ginger or cucumbers or jalapeƱos. I like my drinks fresh and herbaceous and bursting with bold flavor.

If you ever go out to drinks with me, you'll probably hear me quizzing the servers about the sweetness level of their drinks. I'll often skip the house menu and just flat-out order a mojito with no sugar or a margarita with no triple sec or just plain old good tequila with soda and lots of limes.

Banana Dessert Sushi Recipe + The Dr. Oz #28DayShrink Challenge

Hey guys! I'm so excited to share that throughout the month of May, I'll be teaming up with The Dr. Oz Show to create and share super fun snack and dessert recipes as part of their #28DayShrink challenge to trim down belly fat before summer.

As you guys know, I'm ALL ABOUT indulgences, but I've also shared how balance is important to me, too (and not just because I have to go on TV every so often--though that's definitely a big part of it!).

To me, true indulgences are things that are really luscious and worthwhile. And I mean really worthwhile.

I don't want a handful of stale cookies or something from a vending machine; I want a lush super ripe pile of strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, a runny and crispy-edged fried egg served over a bed of beautifully-dressed greens, or a perfectly juicy and well-seasoned roast chicken with herbed quinoa salad on the side.

Basically it's the good stuff, which is why I LOVE this challenge.

It's about skipping all that so-not-worth-it stuff, and replacing it with loads of yummy, real ingredients like avocados, eggs, whole grains, fresh seasonal fruit and veggies, and protein. It's super do-able and very easy to personalize.

Even better? They've asked me and two other awesome food bloggers to take those ingredients and turn them into gorgeous, super Instagram and Pinterest-worthy recipes that you can eat and enjoy as you follow this program. Basically our job is to inspire you and keep you loving the food so you make it all the way through the challenge.

I'm going to be sharing healthy snacks and desserts that feature MUFAs (like these Banana Dessert Sushi). MUFA stands for monounsaturated fatty acids, and are found in nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and other fabulous ingredients. They're essential for keeping you full and helping cut down belly fat.

Also, they are some of the most delicious things on earth!

Beth from Blue Barn Kitchen is handling breakfast with all kinds of fun avocado and egg recipes (I'm kind of jealous that it's her job to make avocado recipes now--not gonna lie).

Kate from Simply Savory by Kate is going to create awesome whole grain recipes for dinner featuring ancient grains like quinoa and farro. (The quinoa salad she shared on the show was all kinds of amazing.)

We'll each be sharing recipes and quick ideas on our blogs and on doctoroz.com, as well as on social media (if you're not following me on Instagram or Twitter, do it now! And follow Dr. Oz, too!)

Everyone on the challenge will be taking pictures and sharing their ups and downs and successes and questions using the hashtag #28DayShrink.

The fun starts May 1 and continues throughout the month, so be sure to join us!

And now...for the recipe!

This is a version of the recipe that I shared on The Dr. Oz Show today. It's a Banana Dessert Sushi (aka MUFA Rolls!) that tastes as good as it looks. Super easy to make--it's simply a banana rolled in your favorite nut butter and a variety of seeds and nuts.

You can get really creative, too!

Add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, or sprinkle on some raw cocoa nibs or cocoa powder.


P.S. I recommend making a few in advance and keeping them in the freezer for a healthy snack or sweet treat to enjoy throughout the week!

Banana Dessert Sushi (MUFA Rolls)
Yields 2 servings (1/2 banana per serving)

Ingredients
1 banana
2 tablespoons unsweetened natural nut butter (such as cashew butter, peanut butter, or almond butter)
1/3 cup TOTAL of your favorite crushed or chopped nuts and seeds (such as almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, etc.)

Optional additions: unsweetened cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, raw cacao nibs, sea salt

Directions
Spread entire banana thinly with your choice of nut butter

Spread chopped nuts and seeds on a shallow plate and roll banana over it, pressing lightly so that the nuts and seeds stick to the banana. Slice covered banana into 1" thick slices. Eat immediately OR place in the freezer until solid, then transfer to a zipped bag to store.

Note: Each daily serving is 1/2 banana (or approximately 3-4 sushi pieces). I recommend making 2-3 whole bananas at a time, then storing in the freezer to enjoy a few bites at a time as a snack or healthy dessert. 

Chunky Avocado Toast with Crispy Chorizo & Fried Capers

I ate a really fantastic chunky avocado toast on the beach in Miami a couple weeks ago, then came home and promptly recreated it.

(With a few additions.)

It was the chunkiness of the avocado toast that I loved the most. Most avocado toast recipes feature either a spread of mashed avocado OR very thin slices.

Both are lovely (I mean...it's avocado. Hard to go wrong...), but I loved the big chunky version with thick and creamy cubes piled high on bread, then garnished into something beautiful.

There are a few elements to a truly spectacular avocado toast. Let's go over them:

1. The Toast (obviously).
I like a whole grain bread, preferably with seeds or nuts. One of my current favorites is a low-carb flax bread that actually tastes amazing (My husband requests it over regular bread--for reals!) You can go with something hearty and thick, or even a regular sandwich slice. But skip the toaster! Instead, drizzle a little olive oil or butter on a hot skillet and fry the bread until it's toasted and golden on all sides. Sprinkle it liberally with salt before moving onto the next step.

2. The Avocado
It needs to be ripe! This takes equal parts practice and luck. The avocado should be soft to the touch, but not mushy. Dark, but not TOO dark. You want it as ripe as it gets before it turns brown. The one in this picture is close, but could be even softer (I was impatient). Chop it up into thick chunks; they don't have to be even. Pile them high on the fried bread.


3. Garnishes
I went with chorizo, which is my most favorite thing in the whole world. Thin slices of the Spanish kind, fried until crisp in a bit of olive oil. I then tossed some capers into the hot oil and let them pop and crisp all over. I sprinkled and tucked these in, over, and around the avocado.

4. Salt and Oil
Now you have to bless the whole thing with a bit more olive oil and a generous sprinkle of good and flaky salt. (I love Maldon salt, which has giant crystals that you crush with your fingertips.) For this version, I drizzled on the hot oil that I used to fry the chorizo and capers. I think you should do the same!

Now tell me...what do you like to eat on your avocado toast?


Chunky Avocado Toast with Crispy Chorizo & Fried Capers
Serves 1, multiply as needed

Ingredients
2 slices whole grain bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced Spanish chorizo
1 tablespoon capers
1 medium sized ripe avocado (such as Hass)
Kosher or flaky sea salt and fresh lime juice, to taste

Directions
Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the slices of bread and fry in the oil until golden and toasted on all sides. Remove bread from pan and set aside.

Add the diced chorizo to the hot pan, and cook until crispy. Add the capers in right at the end, and saute just for  a few seconds until they crisp and pop. Remove from heat.

Peel and dice the avocado into large chunks. Pile on the toast, then top with the fried chorizo, capers, and any oil from the pan. Sprinkle with salt and a good squeeze of lime.

Serve immediately.

Thin Chocolate Bark with Coconut, Almonds & Smoked Salt

Have you ever tried barkTHINS? I added them to my grocery basket the other day all the while fully knowing it was probably a mistake.

I generally avoid store-bought treats and snacks (OK...OK...apart from the occasional bar of dark chocolate or pickle-flavored potato chips) in an effort to protect myself from my own lack of self-control.

My job involves making lovely decadent things (like cake!) and going to events and trips where they serve lovely decadent things (like cocktails!) AND it also involves going on television, where I naturally want to look my best.

I mean...I'm not a skinny girl. I never have been, nor have I ever wanted to be. I dig my curves, but I also fully understand the point where I look best. For me, sticking to that point generally involves saying no to the bread basket, and avoiding bags filled with crunchy snacking chocolate thins.

But whatever. I bought those damn barkTHINS "snacking choclates" anyway, and sure enough. They are amazing!

It's basically just thin chocolate bark (duh) filled with different things. The ones I got were filled with almonds and sea salt. They are good, though I did want more salt. (I always want more salt.)

And maybe more almonds.

And I remembered that the store also had a version made with coconut, but the coconut was sweetened which meant the carb count was higher, so I didn't buy them, but in my head I was totally like "I'M GOING TO MAKE THIS MYSELF WITH UNSWEETENED COCONUT!"

And so I did!

Travel Diaries: Surfing with the ladies in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

CHICABRAVA, an all-women's surf retreat in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, definitely sounded intriguing. Billed as an empowering program for women, it promised personalized in-depth surfing lessons, along with yoga and other physical activities in the company of cool women from around the country.

It sounded amazing, but also somewhat intimidating. I loved the idea, but was it right for me?

What do you think of when you think of surf camp? In my head it was all super fit, tan, lithe, and blonde surfer chicks.

While me? I'm more of a "too much wine and too much cake and sleep in and skip the gym" kind of lady. I'm curvy and soft, and while I have the ability to pose and dance and strut in heels with modicum of grace, attempts at significant physical activity--say hiking or running or any kind of group exercise class--typically result in an embarrassingly uncoordinated calamity.

I mentioned it to my best friend who thoughtfully responded, "Alejandra, I don't think you would be good at that..."

I agreed, but I also couldn't stop thinking about it.

Naked Strawberry Almond Cake with Honey Rose Cream Cheese Frosting

My dad's birthday and Easter fell on the same weekend this year, so it called for a major cake.

This is my major cake. A big tall stack of cake goodness that looks as inviting and gorgeous as it tastes.

You start off with a simple almond cake. It's moist and rich with almond flavor thanks to the generous amount of almond paste (nearly a full pound!) in the batter. It bakes into two layers that you then split and layer with the good stuff.

A Big Messy Sexy Veggie Board

Messy is sexy when it comes to food. Big abundant piles of delicious things. Nothing too precious or precise. People should feel like they can just dive in without messing anything up. Food should be welcoming and available and satisfying and imperfect.

That's what I had in mind when I set out this veggie board for a party I hosted this past weekend.
Back to Top