Monthly Archives: June 2017

Pacifica Hike – Montara Mountain North Peak

The Montara Mountain North Peak Hike at McNee Ranch has become one of my absolute favorite hikes in the Bay Area, and I’m going to share all the deets with you! It’s about 7 miles out and back, and takes about 2-2.5 hours roundtrip depending on your speed and skill level (this is a moderate hike FYI). Begin at the Grey Whale Cove Trail, and right from the start, you’re greeted with a refreshing coastal breeze and gorgeous views of the ocean. Yesssssss, give me nature!  While enjoying the scenery, you’ll quickly realize that you’re basically climbing one very large mountain, which can get quite steep at some points. Bring on the increased heart rate! When you finally make it to the top, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the entire Bay. I’m talking San Mateo Bridge, Oakland, SF city skyline, Sutro Tower, Pacifica beaches all the way to Half Moon Bay… you’re gonna see it all at the top. Hello beautiful! And on the way down, get ready to burn them legs because some parts can get quite steep. Engage the core.  All around, this is a great workout. Like, you’re guaranteed-to-sweat-kind-of-workout. And don’t forget, definitely bring a large water bottle with you. Optional: put the water in your super-hip fanny pack and get made fun of the entire time by your fiance. Or don’t… totally up to you.

Oh, and I almost forgot!! The best part after the hike… FISH BURRITOS. I’m not kidding you, the best fish burrito I have ever had in my life is at El Toro Loco in Pacifica. You earned it!

McNee Ranch Directions:

Photo: Google Earth

On the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County, Montara State Park is approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco. There’s a large parking lot situated along the CA-1 Cabrillo Highway. We like to start at the Grey Whale Cove Trail next to the Grey Whale Cove Beach, as there is a larger parking lot, and smaller trail to start from. You’ll only be on the Grey Whale Cove Trail for about 200 yards, or about 5 minutes, because you’ll want to take the first left up the mountain heading east. This left turn is unmarked and informal (keep your eyes peeled!) but be sure to take it because it climbs directly up the mountain. This informal path is much steeper but it does shorten the total time to North Peak. The informal path meets up with a larger path, and it’s pretty straight forward to the top of the hill.

(And in  case you wanted to see what it looks like when I see a good burrito…)

Tzatziki Lamb Meatballs & Spiralized Beets

This dish is BOMB. Something about the combination of savory lamb meatballs baked with fresh mint from the garden and crunchy warm beets all topped with a creamy homemade cilantro tzatziki sauce make this dish so freaking delicious. It’s incredibly different and unique, and so tasty that I could honestly eat this for dinner at least once a week. Patrick and I found this recipe in our Inspiralize Everything Cookbook, and we fell in love with the idea of spiralized beets immediately. We made a few tweaks to the recipe to give it more flavor, and I think we’ve finally perfected the ingredients and quantities to our liking. I know it’s a weird combination of ingredients, but seriously – try it. You won’t regret.

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (serves 4):

Meatballs:

  • Minced Ground lamb: 1 lb
  • Ground Cumin: 1.5 tbsp
  • Ground Coriander: 2 tsp
  • Paprika: 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic Cloves: 4 large, minced
  • Fresh Mint: 1/4 cup, minced
  • Breadcrumbs: 1/4 cup
  • Salt: 3 cranks
  • Pepper: 2 cranks

Beets:

  • Red Beets: 2 large, peeled and spiralized
  • Salt: to taste
  • Pepper: to taste

Yogurt Sauce:

  • Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt: 1/2 cup
  • Shallot: 1/2 shallot, minced
  • Fresh Cilantro: 2 tbsp, minced
  • Lemon Juice: 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • Paprika: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 1 crank
  • Pepper: 1 crank
  • Water: 2 tbsp

Garnish:

  • Raw cashews: 1/4 cup, chopped or halved
  • Cilantro: 2 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 425. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper. Separately, prep a third baking pan or sheet with cooking spray. Peel the beets, spiralize them, and distribute over the 2 parchment paper baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then set aside.

Next start working on the meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix with hands, form 2″ meatballs and place on the baking sheet that’s been been sprayed with cooking spray. Place beets and meatballs in the oven and then set two timers. For the beets, bake for 10-12 minutes (or until al dente). For the meatballs, bake for 17-18 minutes. While those bad boys are baking, prepare the tzatziki sauce. You’ll see I added 2 tbsp water into this sauce, only because I like a more runny consistency. But if you like the sauce on the thicker side, you can omit the water.

Beets should be close to done by now, so take those out when the timer goes off and then distribute the noodles amongst 4 plates. Last but not least, chop up your cashews and place on a baking sheet (I just reused the baking sheet from the beets).

Once the meatballs are done, take them out and then switch the oven to broil. Broil the cashews for 1-2 minutes (watch closely! They will burn fast!). Add the meatballs and tzatziki sauce to the plated dishes, and garnish with cashews and cilantro. Yum yum yum!

Warm Spinach & Sausage Caesar Salad

This warm green salad is very easy to make, and is hearty enough on its own for lunch or dinner. The tasty flavors of savory sausage juxtapose sweet, ripe grape tomatoes and crunchy spinach melt in your mouth. Dine al fresco with a glass of rose, and I’d say you’re set for a good day.

Estimated Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Baby Spinach: 3 big handfuls
  • Mild or Hot Italian Sausage: 1 link (I recommend New York Style Sausage Company)
  • Grape Tomatoes: 10 grape tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms: 3 large mushrooms, sliced
  • Light Caesar Dressing: 1 tbsp (I recommend Ken’s Lite Caesar)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: 1 tbsp
  • Olive Oil: 1 tsp

Pour the olive oil into a small skillet, and turn to medium-high heat. When the pan gets hot, place the sausage in the pan and cover with a glass top. Sear for about 3 minutes, flip, and sear and char the other side for another 3-4 minutes (keep glass top on while searing). Next, pour just a couple tablespoons of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium. This creates some steam for the sausage to continue cooking. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes with glass top on the pan, or until sausage is cooked all the way through. Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Slice the sausage into bite-size pieces, add to the salad, and stir together. Done!

Veggie Chickpea Curry

Totally healthy and extremely tasty. Need I say more? Clean. Colorful. Vegan. Yummy. This is a great, easy curry that is full of protein and fiber. Between the mix of cumin, curry powder, tumeric, ginger and fresh squeezed lemon juice, this dish packs a punch that pairs nicely with a side of warm brown rice.

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

  • Cauliflower: 1/2 large head, chopped
  • Baby Carrots: 4 handfuls, chopped
  • Onion: 1/2 large, chopped
  • Petite Diced Tomatoes: 14.5 oz can
  • Diced Green Chilis: 4oz can
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Fresh Ginger Root: 2 tbsp, grated
  • Cumin Powder: 3 tbsp
  • Curry Powder: 3 tbsp
  • Tumeric: 1/2 tbsp
  • Cayenne Powder (optional): 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon Juice: 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Fresh Cilantro: garnish

If you’re craving brown rice with this recipe, get that started first. Next, combine olive oil, carrots, onion and garlic in a large pot and turn to medium/high heat. With a wooden spatula, mix the olive oil around with the vegetables and continue stirring for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low/medium and begin chopping up the cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces. Once that’s all cut up, add the in the cauliflower, diced tomatoes, green chiles, fresh ginger root, cumin powder, curry powder, tumeric powder and optional cayenne powder to the pot. Give it a good stir and increase heat to medium for about 10 minutes. Next, stir in a 1/2 cup of water. Cover the pot with a glass top, reduce heat to low/medium and continue simmering for approximately 30-40 minutes. Not done yet! Turn the stove off and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Mix all together and now you’re done! Serve over a bed of brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.