If #RAW is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

Today I finally got the chance to go to #Raw, a vegan cafe in Florence, and once again I was blown away by the vegan presence here in Italia. Let me just start out by saying that they served me coconut water straight out of the coconut… I mean, does it get any better than that? Not to mention that it was hands down the best coconut water I have ever tasted.

The inside of #Raw is a minimalistic, trendy atmosphere laden with bamboo furniture and plates as well as hanging plants and cotton pillows. It’s light, fresh, and welcoming and I will be spending a great deal of time there.

Today, I ordered a vegan falafel veggie wrap with avocado and a light peanut sauce. It was completely raw and completely delicious! I usually am not a huge fan of raw bread substitutes, but this wrap was one of the only exceptions I have found thus far. I absolutely loved it!

The menu at #Raw is the stuff of my dreams, there are beautiful salads, smoothie and chia bowls, a vegan burger, a full smoothie and fresh juice menu, vegan deserts and baked goods, and much more… It’s safe to say #Raw is a vegans paradise in basically every way possible, and I can’t wait to try everything on the menu!

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Chickpea-Spinach Burger of my Dreams

It’s official, Florence will never cease to amaze me with its vegan friendliness. Today I had the most interesting, intelligent, and downright awesome meal at a darling restaurant called simBIOsi, and I will 100% be back for more. SimBIOsi offers the most beautifully unique collection of dishes and wines all made from local and organic ingredients, served to you in an equally beautiful and unique atmosphere.

Today, I tried the chickpea and spinach “burger” that comes with vegan pesto and a side of potatoes. The “burger” patty was unlike anything I have ever seen or tasted before, it almost felt like a hybrid of a giant falafel and a crispy veggie burger – whatever it was, it was magnificent. The rosemary potatoes and vegan pesto that came with it were equally as delectable and the three elements complemented each other to no end. Needless to say, I was in heaven and I will be returning as soon as possible.

Just when I thought a menu including a vegan chickpea and spinach burger with rosemary potatoes and vegan pesto couldn’t get any better, I flipped to the wine list. The wine is also all organic and local, we decided to try their “Orange Wine” because we had never heard of Orange Wine before. Our glass of wine followed suit with the rest of our experience in its delightful and unexpected flavor, and it was the perfect refreshment to go along with our decadent meal.

All in all, it’s no question that this was undoubtably one of my favorite meals in Italy thus far – definitely the most unique. I absolutely cannot wait to return to SimBIOsi, there were countless other dishes that I am dying to try (like a handful of “potato” ravioli, vegan pesto, and zucchini dishes). I think this is the beginning of an extremely symBIOtic relationship 🙂

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An Acai Bowl Abroad

If there’s one thing you can probably deduce from the food section of my blog (aside from my flaming veganism) it’s that I am nothing short of obsessed with smoothie bowls. From my point of view, they’re just the most perfect food: delicious, nutritious, versatile, customizable, and the list goes on..

Anyway, you can probably imagine the separation anxiety I have been feeling from my soul-mate-meal since I have come to Italy, leaving behind my blender and my go-to Bay Area smoothie bowl spots. There’s nothing like a big, satisfying bowl of health and deliciousness to start the day off right, and I was about to go crazy if I went another day without one.

Luckily, this morning I was able to find a great smoothie bowl right in the heart of Florence at Shake Cafe! I tried the classic Acai Bowl with almond milk (substituted for cow’s milk) and every topping offered. They also offer a green bowl, a tropical bowl, a chia bowl, and a power bowl (you know I’ll be trying them all, so stay tuned for the verdict)!

The Acai Bowl was absolutely wonderful, it had the perfect amount of flavor, everything about it was fresh, and the topping-to-base ratio was just right. Not to mention how cute and photogenic it was for the 5 seconds before I devoured it. Anyway, Shake Cafe, you’ve done it again and I will most definitely be back for much, much more!

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P.S. Do you know of any great smoothie bowls for me to try in Florence or the San Francisco Bay Area? Comment below or shoot me a message and I would love to check them out!

P.P.S. Want more of my smoothie bowl obsession? Check out my posts: Low Sugar, Low Calorie Smoothie Bowl HackQuick n’ Easy Sweet Green Smoothie BowlStrawberry Dragonfruit Smoothie Bowl

Dairy Farm Pit-Stop Pizza

There are times when you have the freedom to pick a perfectly vegan friendly restaurant, and then there are the times that you wind up eating at a dairy farm in the middle of Italy.  Luckily, these friendly Italiano’s were able to whip up a cheese-free veggie covered pizza just for me, and it was absolutely sensational.

This should serve as a reminder to us all that it’s quite possible to enjoy the wonderful delicacies that Italy is known for without “cheating” or breaking your vegan morals! Bon appetite !pizza

Vegan Rosemary Flatbread Crust

When I think of some of life’s greatest pleasures, it’s hard not to think of pizza. Unfortunately, it can be tough to find a truly satisfying and delicious vegan pizza, which is why today I decided to take matters into my own hands! The final product was this addicting Rosemary and Brown Rice Flour Flatbread Crust topped with a modified version of my garbanzo avocado mash (see my recent post Worlds Best Garbanzo Avocado Mash), heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, and black sesame seeds.

I want to share this vegan pizza crust recipe with y’all because I’m pretty sure it’s the best thing to ever grace my oven, and it will definitely be a staple for me from now on. It has the perfect combination of rich flavors (rosemary is my favorite in this) and crunchy yet doughy texture. It’s also easy and quick to make, and you have the freedom to customize the toppings to your hearts desire! I tried to keep it to as few ingredients as possible, but feel free to add or take out any spices based on your tastes and what you have in your pantry.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp active yeast
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 tsp active yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tbsp of all purpose flour, let sit for 5 minutes to let yeast activate
  2. Add in 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour as well as all of the seasonings and 1 tsp olive oil and mix and kneed until dough is soft and slightly sticky
  3. Roll dough into a ball and let sit for 15 minutes, preheat oven to 435 degrees
  4. Add about 1/2 tsp olive oil to the outside of the ball of dough, and use your hands and a bit of flour to spread the dough thin on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – remember that the dough will rise slightly in the oven so spread it thin, leaving it just slightly thicker around the edges (think 13-14 inches)
  5. At this point you can add sauce and toppings to your pizza, or you can bake it with no toppings and wait until after the crust is cooked to add toppings (depending on if you want the toppings to be hot or cold)
  6. Bake for 17 minutes or until dough becomes golden brown on the edges
  7. Remove from oven, add toppings, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and it’s even better knowing that each ingredient has nutritional value that will benefit my body. I might consider adding hemp hearts or changing up the spices in the future based on what toppings I intend to use, but I can’t imagine an outcome much better than this rosemary and brown rice flour combo!

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As I said above, I used my yummy Worlds Best Garbanzo Avocado Mash as topping tonight. I modified the mash by adding some baby arugula, another half of an avocado, chili pepper, and pink Himalayan salt.

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Stay healthy and stay compassionate y’all! B-)

Quick n’ Easy Sweet Green Smoothie Bowl

Generally, I don’t have time to put together a delicious home cooked breakfast on my way out the door in the morning. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m the girl who presses snooze 5 times on the alarm clock and then ends up rushing out the door with no time to spare. This morning, however, I found myself with an extra half hour on my hands and felt my blender calling my name.

When it comes to breakfast, I don’t like to fill up first thing in the morning because I find that a super full stomach tends to drain my energy and slow me down. So on this workday morning, it was my mission to create a light, refreshing, and simple smoothie bowl that would give me energy for the day and pack tons of nutrients into one pretty package.

The result was this Nutty Zucchini and Tuscan Kale Low Sugar Smoothie Bowl! I loved this recipe because it had the perfect texture to leave me feeling both energized and satiated, plus it tasted amazing and was packed with veggies. In the toppings, I included wonderful sources of plant based protein and fats, it ended up with the perfect amount of fortifying substance that prepared me to tackle the day. There’s no better feeling than beginning your morning knowing you have already done your body a favor and everything else you do for it is just bonus!

This bowl made the perfect amount for one medium size smoothie bowl, no more and no less. I hate having extra in the blender because I rarely end up eating leftover smoothie, so a recipe that yields the perfect amount for one bowl is a keeper for me! Here’s the recipe:

In the blender:

  • 1 1/2 Frozen Chopped Zucchini
  • 1 Extra Large Handful of Tuscan Kale
  • 1/2 Small Banana
  • 2 Large Cauliflower Florets
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (or nut milk of your choice)

Blend these together on high for 2 minutes or until the color is even and the consistency is just thicker than a regular smoothie

Toppings:

  • Banana
  • Raw Almonds
  • Organic All Natural Cashew Butter
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Hemp Seed Hearts


Lucky for me, this morning was gorgeous in the Bay Area and I was able to sit outside on my front porch and enjoy the early morning light while I ate my smoothie bowl. I like to power down my electronics and savor my food whenever I can, so this morning was a special treat. I would love to hear about any modifications or additions that you used to improve upon this recipe! Keep it green & keep it whole 🙂

Worlds Best Garbanzo Avocado Mash

According to my friend, this recipe is “award winning” so hold onto your hats everyone because this one’s about to blow you away. If you know me, you know that avocados are very near and dear to my heart. I LOVE them, and I know I’m not alone in that. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to mix it up a little bit when it comes to guacamole, which is why I decided to try a garbanzo avocado mash – and boy am I glad I did!

Basically, this is a hybrid of hummus and guacamole. It’s perfect as a dip for chips or veggies, but I also like to stuff it into a pita pocket as a super filling lunch on the go! Once again, it’s unbelievably simple to prepare and you can easily customize it to your tastes.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4th Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • I also like to add a little heat to everything, so I added a bit of Tajin Seasoning in with this one, but chili powder or any spicy seasoning of your choice will do the trick!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any simpler, here’s how you prepare it:

  1. Strain and rinse the garbanzo beans,  then in a big bowl mash them with a fork
  2. Add in the avocado, continue to smash
  3. Finely chop the carrot and the garlic and add them in, squeeze in lemon juice
  4. Add in everything else, smash until combined evenly
  5. Watch it disappear

Aside from the fact that this stuff is literally addicting, this stuff is seriously good for you. Garbanzo beans have protein content similar to that of lean meat, which pretty much makes them a vegan super food. They’re also a great source of dietary fiber as well as various vitamins and minerals. Combine ’em with the healthy fats and vitamins in avocado and you’ve got yourself a dose of macronutrient perfection!

I love this recipe because you could easily add more veggies (maybe tomatoes or peppers), seasonings, lime, or anything you like into the mix to give it some extra pizazz. You could also just slather it all over everything you eat, and fill your sandwiches, pita pockets, and burritos with it the way I did! Lots of options, lots of nutrients, lots of love for this stuff.