You know those people that you “talk” to via email but have never met in person or spoken to over the phone yet somehow you guys just click? Where your e-conversations can take up paragraphs and paragraphs because you both have a ton in common and all the “!!!” in your emails are an expression of how excited and enthusiastic you are? Well, that’s me and Marlena, who also has a super great blog right here so check it out! It’s full of fun recipes, useful tips, and her beautiful reflections on life in general.
How did I “meet” Marlena? Well, through Google searching! Haha, no joke. I was looking for a recipe one day and those keywords on Google took me straight to her blog, which I found delightful and fun. So naturally I had to check out her “About” page and emailed her a quick hello. Since then, we’ve sprouted this wonderful online friendship, which I actually value just as much as my friendships here in LA! Marlena is truly a beautiful and genuine soul and she has such a warm heart, always checking in on me to say hi and see how I’m doing. One of the things we have most in common is how much we both love to be in the kitchen! And how fun it is to cook, create, and serve the people you love most.
She may be practically on the opposite coast but I hope one day I get to meet this girl. In the meantime, I asked her to do a little “guest interview” for me (hehe) so check it out and enjoy! And thanks sooooo much for doing this, Marlena! You rule!
Hey Marlena! Thanks for letting me ask you a couple of questions for P&B!
Hey Melissa! Thank you so much for interviewing me! I feel so honored to be on your blog and talking about FOOD not health for a change is always fun and so refreshing, which is why I love P&B so much!
How would you describe your diet?
First off I want to thank you for interviewing me! It is such an honor and I am so excited, as I really love P&B! As far as my diet goes, I would say pretty it’s pretty free. I eat what I want when I want it! I focus on green juice and green salads, usually (but not always) consuming only green juice during the day. Sometimes I’ll much on some crudités or have a raw soup during the day if I feel the urge. Dinner is always a big green salad with either avocado, goat’s cheese, or occasionally a tahini based dressing. A few times a week this precedes a cooked vegetable dish such as a sweet potato or baked roots, steamed greens or cooked broccoli. This past week I just made a delicious caponata that I’m going to be sharing on my blog! I love cooked vegetables, they are the perfect comfort food!
What made you become raw/vegan (if either applies)
Actually neither applies! I suppose I can be considered somewhat raw seeing that most of what I eat consists of raw vegetables and juices, but being 100% raw isn’t a goal of mine. I do go for periods of time where I eat only raw foods, but I don’t do it with the intention of never eating cooked food again. I like cooked food, especially in the colder months, and find that setting boundaries like that sets me up for failure in terms of how much I enjoy my diet. Veganism also isn’t a goal of mine. I did the vegan thing years ago and gained weight and plenty of digestive issues. Instead of eating meat, I was eating a lot of soy substitutes since everyone was convincing me I was in dire need of protein. Now I know better, so I do better. There are weeks at a time when I go without any animal foods, but just like I said before about being “raw”, I don’t do it with the intention of never eating animal foods again. If goat’s cheese left me feeling poorly, I would exclude it. But it doesn’t, so I don’t! Fish is something I usually will only eat when I go out to dinner. It’s not something I desire on a regular basis.
What’s a favorite go-to recipe of yours?
My favorite go-to dinner is definitely guacamole salad! Here is my summer guac recipe I recently shared on my blog:
2 very ripe avocados
The juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
1-2 packets of stevia
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 ear of raw corn (slice it right off the ear with a knife into a bowl)
1 big heirloom tomato, diced
1 big clove garlic
3-4 tablespoons red onion, diced
Plenty, and I mean plenty of fresh cilantro, chopped up very well. I usually use 2 big handfuls at least. I can’t get enough of it.
Now you can mix this up and serve it up in romaine leaves as guac wraps, or just mix it up with baby romaine and eat it as a salad (what I typically do). I usually squeeze extra lemon or lime juice on the salad, sprinkle some more stevia or sea salt to pack a little extra flavor into the salad. You could even drizzle your favorite olive or nut oil over it too. Avocados in general make extremely satisfying salads.
I often will follow this with a baked sweet potato with some coconut butter (or just plain organic butter), cinnamon, and stevia. This is extremely comforting and satisfies my sweet tooth. A recent summer concoction I’ve been throwing together pretty often is a combination of about 1/3 cup Green and Black cocoa powder, about a cup of water, a big heaping tablespoon of cashew butter or really any nut or seed butter you have on hand, a tsp of vanilla, about 8-9 packets of stevia, and a tray of ice. Blend this together and you have a super light and water rich chocolate ice cream that has no sugar! Since I honor food combining, I treat this as a neutrally combined dessert because the amount of nut butter is so small in comparison to the water and ice. My husband loves this dessert as well.
Where do you usually shop for produce and pantry items?
In Lancaster I go to Rhubarb’s which is a local health food store that’s been around for decades. I used to work there and the owner and employees are wonderful. I order my husband’s sprouted-grain bagels and my favorite dark chocolate sometimes, too. I sometimes order things offline, such as Artisana nut butters (the BEST!) because Rhubarb’s doesn’t carry them. I usually will order these through therawfoodworld.com.
What are three kitchen essentials you can’t live without?
My juicer, my big knife that makes chopping and slicing so easy (thanks mom!), and my blender. Am I allowed 4? I really love my spiralizer too! You cannot beat veggie pasta.
What are three key ingredients/foods that you always stock up on?
I always make sure I have ripe avocados, plenty of ice in my freezer during summer months for ice creams and water ice, sweet potatoes because both my husband and I love them (surprisingly, when you slice them very thin, they are delicious to snack on raw), carrots for juicing and for raw soups, and lemons because I use them for EVERYTHING…juice, salad dressings, and lemon ice.
I’m going to have to say Everyday Italian by Giada DiLaurentiis. It was the first cookbook that really inspired me to be brave in the kitchen. Italian food is particularly inspiring to me. I just love it. It is another reason why I don’t really ever want to be vegan, pretty much anything with marinara and goat’s cheese is perfection to me.
If you could meet anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I’m going to have to say Paula Deen from the Food Network (I used to be a bit of a Food Network junkie, I must say). I think she is so cute, and I love how simple and honest her cooking style is, although it is entirely unhealthy! I am not sure I would eat anything that she makes, but I would love to make her some guacamole salad and my version of Pure Food and Wine’s cinnamon ice cream! I think she would be shocked at how good natural food can be when given a fair shot.
Any plans on coming to Southern California?
I’ve had those plans for years! So yes! We’ll have to make a detox-kitchen date.