Paleo Eggplant Frittata (Gluten-free & Dairy-free)

eggplant frittata I came up with this recipe on a whim when I was living in Spain and the gas lighter for my stove stopped working suddenly. I tried using a cigarette lighter, but I just ended up burning my fingers so I gave up and resolved to just bake my lunch instead. Shortly after I made this dish, my roommate successfully used the cigarette lighter to light the stove. Needless to say, I felt slightly embarrassed as I explained my earlier woes. She attempted to teach me, but I accidentally burnt my fingers yet again. Has anyone else ever had trouble with this or am I just seriously challenged? Anyway, back to the recipe. First, I decided to do a version of baked eggplant in tomato sauce. When it was finished, I looked at the dish and decided it would be even more delicious with some eggs on top. I added eggs, popped it backed into the oven, and voila—a paleo eggplant frittata was born. For those of you with food sensitivities, the recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free. And, if you’re wondering where to buy spices and seasonings, I usually purchase Simply Organic or order them bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.


Paleo Eggplant Frittata (Gluten-free & Dairy-free)

Serves: 2

Total Prep Time: 5 min

Total Cook Time: 40 min


Ingredients:

1 (32-ounce) jar Tomato Puree or Tomato Sauce

1 medium-sized Eggplant

½ tsp. Garlic Powder

½ Onion Powder

¼ tsp. dried Basil

¼ tsp. dried Oregano

1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 eggs

Himalayan Pink Salt (or Sea Salt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut eggplants into thin circular slices. Pour just enough tomato puree or sauce to cover bottom of baking dish. Arrange one layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle with salt. Then drizzle olive oil on top. Pour more tomato sauce or puree. Then arrange an additional layer of eggplant slices on top and sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Keep repeating until you’ve used all the eggplant. Cover final layer of eggplant with tomato sauce or puree and then add basil, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. Put baking dish in oven for 30 minutes or until eggplant is cooked and tomato sauce thickens. Remove dish from oven and turn off oven. Crack two eggs and pour evenly on top. Put dish back into oven for approximately 1 minute. If you want the eggs more cooked, leave dish in oven for additional minute. Remove dish and let cool. Cut your eggplant frittata as desired and serve.

Wardrobe Staples: The Bodysuit

women's bodysuit Bodysuits are a staple addition to every girl’s wardrobe. They are extremely versatile and can be paired with almost anything. They’re especially useful when you need a fitted top to wear with a pair of shorts or long skinny jeans. But, what I like most about bodysuits is that they can give the illusion of wearing a dress when you pair them with a skirt. Whether you prefer long sleeve, strapless, spaghetti strap or any of the other styles available, you really can’t go wrong if you have one or two of these in your closet. If you don’t have any (and you’re not sure where to start), I would suggest getting one in black and white.

women's bodysuitThe bodysuit pictured is from American Apparel. It is extremely comfortable and the material is high-quality. However, you can find bodysuits at almost every major and minor fashion apparel store. Do you like bodysuits? How do you prefer to wear them?

Want more fashion tips? Check out my last fashion post.

Summer 2015 Beach Look

You know what they say: summer isn’t over until it’s over. However, depending on where you are on the map, there may or may not be many beach days still ahead of you. For those of you who are still frolicking on the beach, I’ve provided the details of this look below.

shinnola-5

White Cover-Up: H&M

Swimsuit: Victoria’s Secret

Hat: Bebe

Check out my last fashion post: Easy Summer Boho-Chic Look

Friendship & Travel: Goodbyes Don’t Have to Be Forever


 ritual-african-dance-alain-helstroffer

There is a magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.

Throughout my travels, I’ve gained many friends, some of which have been invaluable to my personal growth. Nonetheless, I’ve lost many friends along the way as well. Some friendships ended abruptly when I moved to a new country while others slowly waned over time. I’ve been told that there is an art to maintaining friendships. Even so, while some friendships can be preserved through some level of dedication, most friendships will run their natural course and thereafter can’t be salvaged. Still, true friendships never die in spite of distance.

“It’s never long distance between friends.”

During my sophomore year at Yale, I was contemplating whether I should complete a yearlong study abroad program in Spain. Some friends remarked that they would never be able to do such a thing. “Aren’t you worried that you’ll miss out?” was the common refrain. Truthfully, part of me was concerned, but I went abroad anyway. And, when I finally returned, I realized that I hadn’t missed out on anything at all. Yale was the same as I had left it.

Most of my friends tried to welcome me back into the fold; however, some had moved on to cultivate new friendships. Naturally, we had grown apart, and that was okay. A few of them had changed, but for the most part, I was the one forever changed by my experiences abroad. The true friendships, however, did endure.

Never let the fear of missing out hinder you from traveling. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, travel as far and as often as you can. True friends are steadfast, and your friendships will continue to grow even over the longest distances. Today, as I continue to travel, I find it difficult to maintain contact with friends. However, each time we speak, we are able to pick up where we left off. The words come easy and natural, and the conversations warm my heart and give me a sense of well-being.

Healthy Macadamia Nut Pancakes

With simple, healthy and unprocessed meals in mind, I’ve included my favorite pancake recipe below. I’ve made these pancakes for friends on various occasions. And, while I personally enjoy them with a small amount of Grade B (dark amber) maple syrup drizzled on top, one friend has told me that they’re “so good they don’t need anything!” You can be the judge of that.

IMG_4227

 Makes: 7 or 8 small pancakes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Total Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts or 2 tbsp. macadamia nut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe small banana
  • Coconut oil (for pan)

 Equipment:

  • Food processor

Directions:

Pour cup of macadamia nuts into food processor and process until the nuts turn into a smooth butter. This should take no more than 2 minutes.

6941688852_618e5425c6If you already have macadamia nut butter, you can skip this step. Peel banana and mash with fork. Mix 2 tablespoons of macadamia nut butter with banana and add egg. Grease pan with coconut oil and heat to medium-high heat. Pour large spoonful of batter into pan and let cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Observe the edges for a good indicator of when to flip. Once you flip, let other side cook for another 30-45 seconds. You can drizzle them with honey or maple syrup or eat as is. They’re so good that you don’t need any toppings. For variation, you can replace macadamias with nut of choice or add fresh blueberries to the batter.

Easy Summer Boho-Chic Look

This beautiful white summer dress was one of the looks for my last photo shoot. I fell in love with the bohemian style, which is perfect for summer. The look can be worn for a stroll around town or a day at the beach. The dress is slightly see-through so if you aren’t heading to the beach, the sheerness might be a concern. However, a pair of shorts or good ole’ fashioned slip will take care of that.

shinnola-1

If you want to achieve a similar look, I’ve provided some details below:

Dress: Zara 

Headband: Etsy

Wanderlust

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

I am among those who believe that traveling is one of the few necessities of life. My passion for traveling is perhaps almost as deep as my passion for good food. I enjoy traveling alone as much as I do with others. Still there is something to be said for wandering through a foreign city alone. I’ve learned the most about myself on those occasions, and I am all the better for having done it. For those of you who are consumed by wanderlust, but haven’t yet gathered the courage to travel to one of those far-off places you’ve been longing to explore, I am hopeful that my own travel stories might inspire you to take the first step.

Wild Alaskan Salmon Poached in Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10  minutes


Ingredients:

  •  2 Fillets of Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
  • ½ tsp. Braggs Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • ¼ tsp. Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp. Oregano
  • ¼ tsp. Basil
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • ½ cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch of Mesclun lettuce
  • ½ Avocado
  • 1 small radish (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil

IMG_4290Directions:

Wash both salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Next, season the fillets with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil. Then, add apple cider vinegar and water to pan on low heat. When the mixture begins to simmer, add the fillets to pan skin side down. Place cover on top of pan and let the fillets cook for about 7 minutes.

For the salad, rinse the Mesclun lettuce, cilantro and cherry tomatoes. Chop the cilantro into small pieces and the cherry tomatoes into halves. Add all ingredients to a salad bowl. Season the salad with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Arrange the salad onto plates and place fillets on top of salad. Chop avocado, sprinkle with salt, and place on top of fillets. Dinner is served.

My Argentinian Experience: Part 1

Screen shot 2015-07-13 at 11.37.29 AM

My first trip abroad was in high school. At 16 years old, I applied for a summer program through the University of Dallas to study Shakespeare in Italy. During the program, I visited Rome, Venice, and Bologna. By the end of my trip, I was enamored with all three cities and with Europe in general. Needless to say, from the moment I left, I dreamt of going back. I knew that when the next opportunity to travel abroad presented itself, I would grab it by the horns. During my sophomore year at Yale, one such opportunity did arise and it proved to be one of those rare special experiences that seemed to change my life forever. Funded by a summer scholarship, I embarked on a two-month journey to Argentina with the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Program.

I had been eagerly anticipating the trip from the moment I was accepted to the program. However, when I arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires, I quickly began to develop second thoughts about my decision. As I walked through the airport, I saw and felt the intense stares that seemed to shoot at me from every angle. As the stares grew, my enthusiasm and self-confidence shook. In those moments, more than ever before, I became conscious of my blackness. I searched for someone who looked like me, whose skin bore some semblance of the same mahogany brown tones in order to convince myself that I was just being paranoid. As I strained my eyes, a little child passing by looked at me with a startled expression and signaled to the woman holding his hand. At this point, it took everything in me to prevent my tear ducts from spilling over with a thousand single teardrops that would instantly expose all of my feelings of weakness and vulnerability to everyone intently looking at me.

By the time I was able to locate the Harvard group, I had seriously contemplated no less than a dozen times the possibility of obtaining a flight to return to the USA that same day. However, when I surveyed the group—to my pleasant surprise—I noticed that there were three other black girls in the program. Almost immediately, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I didn’t know any of the girls personally, but I already felt connected through my earlier experience. I convinced myself that if I stayed, I wouldn’t be alone in navigating the unwelcome stares and challenges of living as a young black woman abroad.