Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetarian "Meatballs"!

As I type this, I’m overwhelmed with happiness! Today I ran my first race ever - a 10k! - and I finished it without stopping or walking, #feelingproud! I’ll talk more about the race and the details in another post, for now, I just wanted to share the good news and this delicious recipe of Sun-dried Tomato Vegetarian “Meatballs”. 

I usually prepare this old recipe of mine (which I adore!) when we want to eat meatballs. But, the thing I love about The Recipe Redux is that it pushes me to think outside my comfort zone! This month’s theme was about showing how we dehydrate or enjoy using dehydrated fruits or veggies in a healthy way. I’m just glad I now have this recipe to alternate with the other one!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did :)

Serves 18 “meatballs”, ready in 40 minutes.

-180g of soy meat
-1 egg
-2 tablespoons of water
-1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs
-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, then mince them in a blender or food processor
-1/3 teaspoon salt
-A pinch of pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg, water, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well and then add the sun-dried tomatoes. 

3. Incorporate de soy meat and combine the mixture with your hands. 
4. Form little balls and place them on the parchment-covered baking dish.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve as you wish! I added some low-sodium tomato sauce and poured a portion into some whole grain linguini. Delicious!

Adapted from About Food


California Roadtrip Vacation!

{California Roadtrip Tips, Advice, What to do, What to eat and Where to stay}

If you follow me on Instagram, this is old news. I went to California with le boyfriend and we road-tripped the coast for 10 days. We had an AMAZING time, seriously!

I’m proud about the fact that I planned every single detail of the trip using only Google Maps and Pinterest…and it turned out to be perfectly timed and fun. This is why I decided to share bits of our experience so that you can find this helpful if you ever decide to do a similar trip (which I totally recommend!)

Day 1: 
-What we did: we left Montreal in the evening and arrived in LA at about 10:30pm (local time). 
-Motel: we slept in a motel near the airport called “Lotus Motel LAX”. We didn’t really like this place since it was very old and bit dirty. It was fine for a single quick night but I would never consider staying there longer than that.
-Food: airport food, nothing special

Day 2: 
-What we did: we woke up early, ate breakfast at IHOP and headed south to San Diego. We visited Old Town and a little bit of the city. The sky and the sunset were AMAZING. 
-Motel: no motel for that night! We stayed at my mom’s best friend (since high school!) and her family’s house. 
-Food: we had delicious Mexican food in Old Town! 

Day 3:
-What we did: we woke up early again and left to visit Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Long Beach. 
-Motel: Days Inn Motel. We really liked this motel, it was clean and spacious. Nothing fancy since it’s still a Motel but perfect for one night. I wouldn’t mind staying there longer if I had to! 
-Food: we ate at Duke’s Barefoot Bar in Huntington Beach and I had the Veggie Mango BBQ Burger. It was DELICIOUS!

Day 4:
-What we did: we went to Disney! Specifically, Disney California Adventure. We loved it and are already thinking about going to Orlando some day!
-Motel: we slept at Hollywood Travelodge that night and we also loved that stay. Clean, well equipped and spacious. Plus, it’s located in Hollywood and very close to most touristic places.
-Food: we ate in an italian restaurant in Disney. The food was good but the price? Super expensive! If you’re planing on going to disney make sure you bring your sandwich and snacks! I also had a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich because it was just a must.

Day 5: 
-What we did: we were tourists in LA! We saw the Hollywood sign from The Griffith Observatory and from Lake Hollywood Park (the latter was even better, a lot closer!). We also went to the Walk of Fame and thought it was nothing special, there are people trying to sell you stuff everywhere and the street is just a plain normal street you can see anywhere else in the world. We also met with some friends who were also visiting the area and went together to Rodeo Drive, it was a nice walk. We wanted to go to the Getty Center but it was too far and expensive, we didn’t think it was worth it. 
-Motel: same as the previous night, Hollywood Travelodge!
-Food: nothing special, a random rest somewhere in Melrose Avenue.

Day 6:
-What we did: we woke up early and continued our roadtrip! We stopped at Venice Canals, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Avila Beach, Montana de Oro State Park and arrived late in the evening to San Simeon. We loved this day but if we had to re do it, we would probably do it in 2 days instead of 1. Each of our stops were of about 20 minutes each, so we didn't really have time to go in the sea or chill in the sand. 
-Motel: San Breeze Inn San Simeon. It was a very nice motel, just as the previous ones. Plus, the breakfast included waffles!
-Food: we basically snacked during the entire roadtrip since we didn’t want to waste time sitting at a place (I know, I know…not a good thing to do!). We ended up having a big meal when we got to San Simeon in a (rather expensive) restaurant near the motel.

Day 7: 
-What we did: road-tripped and enjoyed the views very much this day. We stopped every time we saw a beautiful landscape (ever 2 minutes!). Some of the places in which we were include McWay Falls, Point Sur, Bixby Creek Bridge, Point Lobos, Carmel and arrived to Monterey in the evening. Apart from the beautiful landscapes on this day, we also enjoyed very much seeing animals in their natural habitat (like, literally just 10m away from us, happily swimming in the sea). We saw sea lions, elephant seals, whales, dolphins, otters and deers! 
-Motel: that night we slept at Discovery Inn Monterey Bay, it was a very nice motel but the breakfast the next day was just sad…it was like 1/4 of a muffin and coffee.
-Food: same as the day before! (insert a embarrassed face here!)

Day 8: 
-What we did: we woke up early and headed straight to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We adored the jelly fish and seeing the animals get fed. We were only there for about 3 hours and then left to San Jose. Le boyfriend’s sister was visiting her boyfriend in San Jose so we did a quick stop there to have coffee with them. Later that night we arrived near San Francisco to my dad’s lovely cousin’s house.
-Motel: so for the rest of the trip we stayed at her house! BTW, she has grapes growing in her backyard, isn't that awesome?
-Food: my dad’s cousin received us with a delicious pasta, salad and some red wine. 

Day 9: 
-What we did: we woke up early and took the BART to San Francisco. When we got there we met again with le boyfriend’s sister and her boyfriend and rented bikes! We biked along the coast and then through the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to Sausalito. We then took a ferry back to the city and returned the bikes. We had to be at 3pm near the piers since we had scheduled a visit to Alcatraz! (If you're interested in doing that, make sure you reserve at least 1 to 2 months in advance!)
-Food: we had lunch at a decent restaurant near the piers. I don’t remember the name but it was nothing super special.

Day 10: 
-What we did: we visited Muir Woods to see the redwoods and sequoias! It was very nice and we enjoyed it. Later that day we visited Lombard Street which is kind of amazing itself but you don't really see the street as the pictures you see online…I mean, those pictures must have been taken from the top of a building or a helicopter. 
-Food: after walking around, we decided to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. We only ordered entrees and they took ages to bring the food, therefore they gave us everything for free! So that was nice to our wallets :)

Day 11: 
-What we did: we spent the entire day driving back to LA to get on a plane before midnight. 

Other thoughts:
-We bought plane tickets and rented a car through Cheaptickets. We found an incredible deal and so we went for it. The bad news for us was that when we got to the place where we rented the car, they charged us a 600$ fee that they hadn’t mentioned before (including things like liability and under 25-driver fee). That was unexpected but we got over it a few minutes after. 
-The only thing I wish I had done on this trip is visiting Yosemite Park. But you know, I now have an excuse to go back :)


Arepas: traditional Venezuelan corn bread

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know I’m from Venezuela. We have quite a few traditional foods and Arepa is one of the most iconic ones. Since Saturday was International Arepas Day, I decided to prepare some and share the recipe with you guys.

If you haven’t heard of them, Arepas are a delicious corn flour bread that people fill with different things: butter, cheese, ham, avocado, meat, chicken, eggs, to name a few. There are many versions of Arepas but I’ll share with you the most traditional way to prepare them. Some people like to fry them, others make them sweet and others even use a different flour. Sometimes I add oats for additional fibre but that's very unusual. They are normally eaten for breakfast or dinner, and rarely during lunch. 

I hope you enjoy them!

Serves 6 Arepas, ready in 30 minutes (I made 3 times the recipe so that I could freeze some for another day)

-1 cup of pre-cooked corn flour (the most used one is called “Harina P.A.N”, some versions are yellow and others are white. Personally, I think both taste pretty much the same so I use which ever I find at the Latin or Arab market).
-1 and 1/2 cups of warm water
-1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium bowl, add the flour and salt.

2. Slowly add the water and combine the mixture with your clean hands. Yes, use your hands! Make sure that the mixture is evenly combined and that no crumbs of flour are forming.

3. Spread some olive oil on a grill-pan and heat over medium heat (around 6 out of 10). Also preheat the oven to 375*F.

4. Start forming small balls of the mixture with your hands and then smash them carefully to form circular patties.

5. Add these “patties” to the heated grill and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden or lightly toasted.

6. When they’re ready, transfer them to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the patties look firmer.

7. Your Arepas are now almost ready to eat. Now, you only need to cut open your Arepas in half and fill them with your favourite toppings. Eat them with your hands and...

Buen Provecho!