Natural Sugar Recipe: Banana and Avocado Smoothie

photo 4It’s no secret that food is much more appealing when it’s vibrant and colorful, and the foods that know this better than the rest are fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, I’ve never been that into either of those things. In fact if it came down to either reaching for the apple or bag of chips in the room, I’d have my hands coated in Cheetos dust within ten minutes. But obviously that’s a habit that needed to change, and since giving up refined sugars, I needed to find a way to spruce up natural sugars to incorporate into my diet.

How did I do it? I went to social media. (Raise your hand if you’re surprised.) I stalked Pinterest, I stalked bloglovin, and it turns out there are LOTS of people out there taking on the same challenge. And after coming across Fresh, Fit and Fearless, I read a little, shut my laptop and headed straight to the kitchen. Lila’s Banana Avocado smoothie recipe served as the healthy inspiration I needed to actually enjoy breakfast with all the right ingredients. The only modification I made to the actual smoothie was adding Kale, as well as my toppings.

While banana and avocado might seem like an odd combination, trust me when I say that it’s delicious, and also genuinely good for you.

To start, both bananas and avocados are loaded with Potassium, a natural migraine-fighting powerhouse, and if you know me, you know my migraine headaches will set me straight to a dark room. So it’s no surprise that I was into this  recipe for that reason. More generally though, avocados  are low in sugar, high in fiber, and are packed with monounsaturated fats  that help reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. Bananas on the other hand are loaded with fiber to help to control your heart rate, blood pressure, and digestive system. The list could go on and on.

So for now, try out Lila’s Smoothie bowl and tell me what you think! You can leave a comment, or give me something good on the Tweeter @julesandjava. Happy eating!


Why I Can’t Diet

Junior year of college, I worked at Victoria’s Secret. I thought, HOW COOL it would be to work at one of my favorite stores, selling lingerie and getting that sweet discount for myself and the no-boyfriend I had throughout the year. *crickets* It was a great gig through which I made great friends, but there was one common frenemy amongst us all: the Angels. Yeah, you work it Behati. And Adriana, my girl: it doesn’t matter if your mate requires an engineering degree to take that contraption I’m supposed to know more about, off. He’s going to do it anyway! Why? Because you’re all ungodly gorgeous. So gorgeous, that my constantly having to walk past you from Bra Room 1 to Bra Room 3 is reason enough to purposely avoid the #3 special at Star Buffet on my lunch break. (Chinese, if you haven’t guessed).

Which sucked, by the way. I love MSG.

Anyway, I lost a lot of weight that year. And before you lose your shit and tell me I’m beautiful the way I am and shouldn’t compare myself to the likes of Victoria’s Secret Angels, I’m saying that they simply acted as catalysts for a healthier (much healthier) lifestyle. I sought after a nutritionist, improved my work out, fed the work out, and noticed major positive changes happening what seemed like all at once.

But all that was before I discovered the following:

1. Chipotle.

2. That one does not simply walk into Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s without dropping last week’s paycheck.

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte: It’s back, and it’s earlier than ever. Knock-off natural pumpkin flavor is kind of what I’m living for these days.

4. I have a personal vendetta against all that is gluten-free. Suddenly everyone and their mother is allergic, can’t even define what gluten actually is, and I’m the one getting funny looks because I’m ordering pasta sans health buzzwords? Please.

5. That according to my doctor, I’m terribly underweight and should do my best to gain some more. *April Fool’s*

6. Taco Bell breakfast is actually delicious. Judge me or join me.

7. The Ramen Burger (recipe to follow)

8. Essentially this is all because I live in New York City and can’t walk down a block without running into at least three foodie establishments.


Naan Pizza

UnionMarketIt’s safe to say that I heart Brooklyn. Though I found myself asleep until noon today, I managed to make it out to see the light of day at Union Market. Don’t judge; I was schlepping over-sized luggage all of yesterday from subway stop to subway stop, which seems like nothing but feels like everything when what you’re carrying weighs out at 100-something pounds.

Anyway, it was at this grocery store that I had a religious experience. Of course I use “religious experience” very loosely. It’s just my way of saying that I found a small scale Wegmans where there are no Wegmans. The Western New Yorker in me couldn’t help but feel some kind of giddy.

Walking in, I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know why I had even walked there in the first place. It’s not that I needed anything, I just wanted to see what was inside.

After walking through all three aisles, sampling some truffle cheese (MY GOD it was delicious), iced coffee, and olives, I picked up a package of Naan, a type of leavened bread typical of Indian cooking.

What am I going to do with Naan? I got creative. In other words, I opened up my Pinterest app. “Arugula, pear, and goat cheese pizza” is what I landed on. Not really a fan of goat cheese, so I customized.

Thus, the fig, pear, arugula, bleu cheese and bacon pizza.

It’s so easy! Essentially all you have to do is slice up the fruits, sprinkle the bleu cheese, fry up and slice your bacon, and add arugula to your liking. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browning. I paired it with a Black Cherry soda, which I didn’t exactly plan, but turned out to be the perfect match. Naaaaaaan


Portobello, Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza

Pizza is the perfect lazy Sunday meal, and I know this because I was feeling REALLY lazy yesterday. It’s hearty enough to make you feel full, easy enough to put together, and gives you the opportunity to truly customize and get creative. The pizza I had initially intended to make was one covered in Mac and Cheese, but because I’m feeling a little doughy myself lately, I went with a slightly healthier option. Thus, the Portobello, Pesto, and Mozzarella pizza. All you need is everything I’ve mentioned, plus a pre-made dough if you’re as lazy as me.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 6.09.29 PMOh! I forgot to mention that you’ll need wine. You won’t need it for the pizza, but I typically like to cook with a glass of a bold red in my hand/ on my stovetop. Feel free to skip this step if you’re a bore. While you’re at it, spread your pesto sauce across the dough.

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Next, add the mushrooms.

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If there is someone standing next to you, telling you that you’ve sprinkled on too much mozzarella, tell them to step away. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Once you’ve created distance, put your pizza in the oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes, or until the cheese turns a brownish color. I then like to let my pizza sit in the oven on broil for two minutes, so that the cheese becomes bubbly and golden.

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Food, Wine

Girl Scout Cookie Wine Pairings

cookie-boxesWhen you can’t leave the grocery store after an hour and a half of grocery shopping without being bombarded by little green minions – When you are hounded down by everyone you know with a daughter between the ages of five and twelve – When you justify a little extra loving on your love handles not even a month after committing to a diet and swanky new gym membership (lol, resolutions) That’s when you know it is officially Girl Scout Cookie season.

I was the little girl in the vest once. I committed. I really committed. But, I came in second place.

And that’s when I turned to wine. (Kidding. That’s not cool unless you’re European, I think.)

Anyway, here is a list of wine pairings to go with your guilty pleasures. Enjoy.

Do-Si-Dos: Moscato, moscato, moscato. Here, try this one: Villa Bellangelo 2012. It won “Best in Class” at the Riverside International Wine Competition and goes for $18.00.

Tagalongs: Even if you don’t like peanut butter (I don’t believe you exist), pairing the Tagalong with a Chardonnay like Dr. Frank’s 2011 Chardonnay Reserve turns any non-peanut butter lover into a real person with nuances of almond, pear, and vanilla.

Thin Mints: (My favorite!) To truly grasp the delectableness that is chocolate and mint, try pairing it with a Malbec-Syrah that is rich in spice and red cherry notes. A personal favorite would be a Thirsty Owl in Cayuga Lake. It sells for $20 a bottle. No need to break bank for good wine, ya’ll.

Trefoils: The simplistic shortbread cookie needs a simplistic wine, and that I believe you can find with a Pinot Noir. I tried this out with a  2011 Pinot from Ravines in the Finger Lakes, and the trefoil ended up tasting more like an apple tart than the layers on layers of butter that it actually is. Who would have thought?

Samoas: A cross between Keebler Fudge Stripes and a Coconut Macaroon, Samoas need only be paired with a Tawny Port. I say this because there is something really amazing about the toffee and caramel of the Port that enhances the flavor of the coconut cookie. If you aren’t a Port person, go ahead and try a Sauvignon Blanc as a plan b. Another local(ish) favorite pairing for the Samoa cookie would have to be a Fox Run Vineyards Old Tawny Port that rings in at $40.


5 International Versions of American Fast Food

mcchickenmacIntroducing the Chicken Big Mac of McDonald’s Arabia. I know this isn’t too much of a variation, but it perfectly combines both of the most delicious things on the McDonald’s menu that’s not their french fries.

Wendy's, SM Sta. Mesa

Two of my most beloved food items come together at a Wendy’s in the Philippines. They take the already Frosty goodness, and mix it with coffee jellies at the bottom — sort of like bubble tea, but better.


The Pizza Hut Middle East menu is serving up a “Royal Crown Crust” pizza that features a cheeseburger “gems” crust. What again does this say about the way American fast food marketing is portrayed all over the globe? It says we have a serious problem with wanting everything at once. I believe they call it the “Chinese Buffet Effect.”


Only served at Taco Bells in India, this is the Double Decker Potato Taco. I don’t know about you, but I definitely think this one got lost on its way to Ireland.


In 1998, Burger King UK introduced the “Left Handed Whopper” for all fools dumb enough to go out of their way to buy one on the April Fool’s Day it was launched. They claimed all of the condiments were turned 180 degrees, to make eating it easier for left-handed people/best-handed people. Of course I believe more things should be more lefty-friendly, burgers are not one of them/possible.


Foods for Weightloss

JuevosI don’t know about you, but I am the worst dieter in the world. I’ll get really excited about a promising one I find online, only to realize that I don’t want to drink maple syrup with lemon juice every day with a bunch of oranges and not much else. (Really, I’ve tried that) And this is mostly because like the good majority of people, I have this crazy delusion that a diet translates directly into completely avoiding the foods I love. (Who doesn’t love a Guinness BBQ burger?) If you didn’t know what that was ten seconds ago, I can assure you that you’ll be googling it before this is over.

The funny thing I’ve learned about dieting, after numerous trial and errors, is that it isn’t so much about being sad over a salad — it’s about portion control and eating weight loss complementary natural foods.

1. Eggs: Protein helps you feel fuller, longer. You will more than likely consume less during your day if you start your morning with a protein-happy meal. Eggs have also been proven to prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to food cravings.

2. Beans: Beans, beans, they’re good for those skinny jeans you really want to fit into. Beans are full of cholecystokinin, which is a fancy word for appetite suppressant. Even better: they’re heart healthy — but you knew that.

3. Salad: If you start your meal with your salad — you’re less likely to eat the full portion of your entree, which if you’re me, is typically loaded with carbs. The problem with being Italian is that we eat our salad after our pasta, with our meat and vegetables. So if you’re ever wondering why many old Italian men have guts — it’s not the beer.

4. Green Tea: Put away your caffeine pills, psycho. Green tea doesn’t help you lose weight because of the caffeine — it helps you with antioxidants that speed up your metabolism. Caffeine pills cause heart attacks. Google that after you google the burger. NSA will probably judge you for it.

5. Pears: Junior year of college I lost ten pounds, and it just so happens that it was during the same time as my obsession with pears. At six grams of fiber per fruit, pears can lower your blood sugar and curb your cravings for things such as candy, cupcakes, cake pops, etc.

6. Cinnamon: If you’re going to use sugar in your coffee, make sure it is raw. But, if you want to try something new and healthier for you — stir in some cinnamon. It is the easiest way in the world to consume something you don’t normally find in your every day diet — and it tastes fantastic in a medium blend coffee. The spice completely kicks your post-meal insulin spikes which make you think you’re hungry, and has also been proven to help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

7. Red Pepper: The spicier, the better. Capsaicin is the magic ingredient in hot red pepper that suppresses your appetite, making you feel fuller, longer. My favorite way to incorporate the pepper into my diet is to have a huevos rancheros omelet in the morning.

There’s no point in buying the “low-fat” this and “sugar-free” that, when you can buy natural foods with better ability.

Happy dieting!