Friendly Foodie Gatherings

It’s no secret I love holidays,  and now that I’m marrying into a Greek family, I’ve discovered this little thing called Greek Easter. It is seriously a feast! Yes, I know that’s not the reason for the season, but it is certainly a highlight for me (hashtag glutton). Anyway, since my family is stateside and Greek Easter is only this coming weekend, this past Easter weekend was festive but we’re saving our selves (and room in our bellies) for the big event.

view

(gorgeous view and beautiful Easter weather)

When it comes to gatherings with friends and family, it’s always nice to offer to bring something. To me it’s a win-win, because it lessens the burden on the host while also giving you the opportunity to provide a healthy something to share. My favorites:

  • Fruit salads / platters
  • Crudites with hummus
  • Butternut Squash Croquettes (these are real crowd-pleasers)
  • A homemade meze platter with roasted vegetables, olives, nuts, etc.
  • Free-range biltong (for informal or sporty gatherings)
  • Hearty salads – this Emerald Salad is a family favorite
  • Libations! Make a healthy sangria with no added sugars, or bring a bottle of bubbly and orange juice for mimosas

On another note, Easter is always pretty special to me, as it marks the weekend I met Matt. This weekend was mine and Matt’s 4th Easter together! Crazy how time flies 🙂

Enjoy your Tuesday!

 

xo,

Natalia

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Quick and Healthy – Aji de Gallina

My mom’s side of the family is from Lima, Peru, and while I was born in Lima, we’ve been stateside since I was nearly 2. Even though my dad is American, we grew up speaking a lot of Spanish at home (fortunately he learned), and when my mom cooked, you could be sure it was going to be a delicious Peruvian meal.

Peruvian food is amazing and my mom’s cooking definitely does it justice (the woman is talented!). Between her ceviche, empanadas, causa, PISCO SOURS… I could go on and on. But my favorite, will always be: aji de gallina. Aji is a spicy yellow pepper found in South America, and it’s pretty much in all Peruvian dishes. The flavor is unique and the color just brings a special brightness to its dishes. Aji de Gallina is a delicious creamy spicy chicken dish, and the rich sauce normally requires a range of ingredients like breadcrumbs/white bread, evaporated milk, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and more. Last night I decided to make a MUCH less complicated version that was also gluten and dairy free. It was far from traditional, but still tasty and gave me my Peruvian fix.

aji de gallina

(I know… I know… I really need to stop with iphone pics and start using the camera. Working on it!)

My Aji de Gallina

serves 3-4

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 TBS of coconut oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • aji amarillo paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper

1. Place the chicken breasts in a pan and cover with water. Add half of the stock cube and bring to a simmer. Cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Then remove the chicken from the water and set aside to cool. Once cooled, shred the chicken into bite size pieces. This can be done ahead of time, or with leftover chicken.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic, add to the pan and saute on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the coconut milk and aji amarillo paste – this is the tricky part because aji amarillo paste varies in potency. Use your discretion here based on how spicy your paste is. Mine was fairly mild, so I added 3 tablespoons, but I’ve had aji pastes where 1 teaspoon would have been enough.

3. Add the other half of the stock cube to the sauce and stir until well combined. Add the chicken and bring to a simmer for a few minutes so the flavors can marry. Taste and season with salt and pepper, you may even want to add more aji at this point.

4. Serve with potatoes or rice and garnish with black olives. Enjoy!

Quick and easy peasy. While my mom’s is way more traditional and complex, this was the perfect healthy weeknight dish that hit the spot and had me thinking about my family 🙂

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights

Happy Friday!

 

Any plans for Mother’s Day? Mother’s are so special, and definitely have one of the hardest jobs. I’m lucky to have a mama who always let’s me know she’s close even though she lives in another hemisphere. She’s a special lady, with one of the biggest hearts, and is someone I continue to learn from everyday. Here are a few delights that I have on mind in honor of Mother’s Day:

parents

(my parents <3)

1) This recipe for Raw Chocolate Brownies. My mom would probably roll her eyes and say “let’s just make the real thing”, but I have a feeling she wouldn’t turn these down… Chocolate is chocolate.

2) Tulips, mine and my mom’s favorite. I know it’s Autumn here in South Africa, but to me Mother’s Day means spring flowers, specifically Tulips. How gorgeous is this arrangement? Tulips, green snowball viburnums, peonies, and geraniums.

3) This cocktail… Blood Orange Tyme Paloma. I love a good Paloma, but this is a lovely spin and perfect for a sunny lunch.

4) Ceviche. I would love to share my mom’s recipe for this delicious Peruvian dish, but she has yet to share it with me! It’s such a tasty, fresh, and healthy dish, I could eat it daily.

5) This video. No words, just watch it.

 

Before I go… A little cuteness overload. Check out our little house guests! Their new mom (Matt’s mom) will be collecting them this weekend, but she might have to pry them out of my arms.
puppies

 

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to give your mamas some love 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia