Cinnamon and Allspice-scented Quinoa with Dried Figs and Blackberries

An updated version of the heart-healthy but more important filling aspect classic oatmeal has to offer to begin a busy day , Quinoa can be a great alternative for your morning routine.

In this particular utilization of the grain, the allspice and cinnamon infusion create a rich earthy spice combination welcoming nature on your taste buds.

Like a robust cup of black unsweetened tea, this flavor lacks the bitterness, but provides the gritty taste with a smooth texture.

                                                                                                  1 cup quinoa
                                                                                     about 10 spheres of Allspice
                                                                                       a  couple Cinnamon sticks
                                                     a handful of chopped dried Figs(preferably Trader Joe's brand)
a handful of fresh blackberries
a dash of cinnamon, for garnish
For 1 cup quinoa, add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Bring the heat to low for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. For further instruction, take a look at the recipe I based my own creation on. Epicurious.com is a wealth of knowledge for the gourmet foodies in all of us.

 The sweetness of the fresh blackberries and chewy texture of the dried figs balance the robust flavors exuded from the meal. Sending you straight into a holiday fantasy, roaring fires, and frosted windows await upon sprinkling the dash of cinnamon and consuming your first bite. Cheers to the new Breakfast of Champions.



Zico Mango flavored Coconut Water

Coconut water, orange juice, and honey make up the "Hangover Rx" at True Food Kitchen  at Fashion Island.(Newport Beach, CA) Showcasing the abilities of this refreshing drink, coconut water is a great remedy for those looking to bring in the New Year with extra pazazz in their system, or simply just to receive a boost of energy. Coconut Water also has been proven to be a great recovery drink after an intense workout aiding in muscle building, while providing a desired alternative to water.
Though the Waterboy fought for H20 over Gaaatorade, I'm sure he would be satisfied with Zico's Mango infused Coconut Water. Neither sweet, nor bland, this version provides the tang of a young coconut, without being overpowered by additives or artificial sweeteners like other sports drinks.
Just stepped off that treadmill? Sip on Zico's product. 


Review of Thanksgiving dinner...not your normal feast.

As common knowledge to our nation, staples included within the Thanksgiving feast contain the epically roasted turkey, mashed potatoes or variations on sweet potatoes, thick gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, and the celebrated pumpkin pie. However, this conception isn't the system employed by my Grandparent's every November. Our entire family on my Mom's side looks forward to consuming rather...odd choices for better words on the matter upon sitting down to eat at 10:00 at night. Here's to the decided menu for Thanksgiving 2011;a cultured and adventurous palette was indeed utilized.


"The Bits have a Bit(e)": Labeled cheesy hot bits, these appetizers are a staple at the Gaubtaz's Thanksgiving dinner. A combination of crumbly and melt in your mouth goodness, the spice of cayenne pepper hits every part of the palette while the pecans add an additional piece of nutty texture to every swallow. Followed with a small flute of Martenelli's Apple Cider, my appetite was initiated in preparation for the full meal.

The Main Meal

(Clockwise from the Left) 'Roasted Tofurky', 'Tomatoes, Okra, and Corn', 
'Tipsy Sweet Potatoes',  and'Creamy Squash'.

Roasted Tofurky with Whole Wheat Stuffing and Vegan Gravy

My first Thanksgiving without the actual bird, I successfully found a Tofurky to roast with a
simple glaze of olive oil, soy sauce, Italian seasonings, and chopped white onions. Upon first bite, the Tofurky
provided the nostalgic taste from past meat consuming holidays, but differed with a rubbery texture.
The stuffing tasted similar to a rice pilaf, a bit salty for my liking, but the long grained goodness paired
well with the "meat". Combined with the gravy, though a bit a lumpy, the wholesome flavor added depth to
the presentation. Overall, Vegans can still celebrate with the pilgrims.

Okra, Tomatoes, and Corn(Picture above)

Sometimes the most basic peasant dishes can transform your taste buds with a few simple ingredients.
The most infamous implementation of this concept is Ratatouille, consisting solely of vegetables,
spices, and stock and paving the way for simplicity to excel. Though it wasn't Ratatouille,
the three vegetables paired well together adding lightness to the plate and representing the phenomenon of
simplicity well.

Tipsy Sweet Potatoes

Sweet in the title of this delectable side dish is an understatement. Equipped with a pecan brown sugar topping, this drunken vegetable casserole has one and
a half cups of bourbon with added spices, dark brown sugar, and butter adding to the heart attack. I was feeling content as I moved my way to the next aspect of the meal.

Creamy Squash(Picture Above)

What had potential to be authentically delicious in its natural and bare preparation, the miniature green and yellow squashes were sloshed in a sour cream and yogurt coating which unfortunately separated upon contact with heat. Neither appetizing or visually appealing, this side dish showcases that it's the effort that counts.   

Cranberry Orange Salad

Can this really be labeled a salad? With only two components consisting of one full leaf of romaine lettuce and an overly large dollop of pulpy orange cranberry concentrate, I recommend not combining lettuce and orange peel liquid if that were a question.

Finally, the dessert. No, it isn't pumpkin pie.

For the poor unfortunate souls like myself who aren't given the privilege of the traditional ending to a Thanksgiving feast,   we receive this: egg yolk, cream, Grand Marnier, Marsala, and Lemon Zest, FROZEN. Nothing screams thankful more than this dish.

And this sums up our dinner. Mind you, we don't actually sit down to eat until ten o'clock at night. Always an interesting story for after this fateful day in November.