Whimsical Waffles!

These gluten-free sweet potato waffles will add some whirl and twirl to your tastebuds!

This past Sunday, I was invited to do another cooking demonstration over at the Glazer Children’s Museum. The theme for the day was a mad hatter tea party. Acknowledging the morning’s theme, I had been trying to figure out a creatively cunning way to incorporate the morning’s theme into a healthy, one-of-a kind kid-friendly recipe. After going back-and-forth with several ideas, a simple concept came to mind.

Pic of me in action at the Glazer Children’s Museum cooking demonstration
Breakfast. I love and breathe breakfast. It’s my absolute favorite meal of the day.
So why not share my love of this first square meal with others?!? I eventually realized that what I wanted to create were waffles, but not just ANY type of waffle. This one had to have a healthy dose of produce and pizzazz. After mulling around with the concept for a little while longer, the ‘A-HA!’ moment came:
Why not show parents and their children how to make colorful waffles which utilize three different sweet potato varieties?
The accumulation of all these factors results in the creation of what I deem as ‘Whimsical Waffles’. Sweet potatoes served as the perfect ingredient for this recipe for a few reasons: First, due to the glucose they contain, they’re naturally sweet, and would not require any additional sugar. Second, sweet potatoes are positively notorious for their high amounts of vitamin A, among many other important nutrients and minerals. Finally, the colorful sweet potato varieties served as a great way to provide natural coloring to food, without the reliance on processed chemical-laden food coloring, often found at supermarkets.
Did I also mention that this recipe is gluten free?! If I haven’t now you know!
I would like to impart a couple words of advice, before cooking these waffles:
1.    As you will see in the directions, it is HIGHLY recommended to split the batter into three separate bowls, in order to preserve the integrity of each colored mixture.
2.    Due to the incorporation of chickpea flour, you may find that these sweet potatoes have a very hardy dense texture. I find them to be quite filling! The texture also leaves for a more pliable waffle. Feel free to place the finished waffles into a toaster or toaster oven to crisp up a bit, if that’s your preference. You can always opt out for a different four, as well!
3.    You may notice that your purple sweet potato batter gradually begins to turn into a blue-green hue. THAT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL!! You see, a little bit of a chemical reaction occurs with the purple sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain flavonoids, which are a type of anti-oxidant.  From the moment they are opened and sliced, the purple sweet potatoes begin to oxidize, when the water soluble pigments in the cooked sweet potatoes are exposed to air! Let’s just say that the kiddos and their parents were blown away by this color transformation.
Alright folks, let’s move onto the recipe, shall we?
Whimsical Waffles:
Ingredients
  • 1 small purple sweet potato
  • 1 small white sweet potato
  • 1 small orange sweet potato
  • 3 Eggs, separated
  • 3 cups of chickpea flour, separated
  • 3 tsp. Baking powder, separated
  • 1.5 tsp. Baking soda, divided into three
  • 0.75 tsp. salt, divided into three
  • 1.5 tsp. cinnamon, divided into three
  • 0.75 tsp. Nutmeg ground, divided into three
  • 1.5 cup Milk, divided into three
  • 1.5 tsp. Vanilla extract, divided into three
  • 1 can of cooking oil
Directions:
1.   Take each potato, and cut into ½” slices.
 
2.   In a large saucepan, fill it with 3” of water and allow to gently boil on medium-high. Once the water boils, add sliced potatoes, cover, and steam for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft to pierce with a fork. Immediately take potatoes out one by one, and let them sit in a cold water bath for about two minutes. Once cool to touch, gently remove skin. Afterwards, place each of them into three designated medium-large bowls.
 
3.   Preheat waffle iron and spray with cooking oil. While iron is pre-heating, mash each of the potatoes in their designated bowls until they have the consistency of a puree. Afterwards, add each of the remaining listed separated ingredients into each of the three designated bowls. This will serve as the batter for each of the colored sweet potatoes.
 
4.   Take a mixer and mix each of the batters on medium speed for about 45 seconds-1 minute, until each of them has a smooth consistency. Each of the batters will be thick.
5.   In each waffle mold, add one heaping tablespoon of each individual batter mixture into a third section of each waffle mold. With a clean spoon, gently swirl with a large tablespoon to make a marbled pattern unto each waffle iron mold and cook for three minutes, or until golden on both sides. You may notice that the purple sweet potatoes have turned blue/green. That is completely NORMAL.
 
6.   Serve with maple syrup and/or fresh fruit, and enjoy!
12 servings | Per serving: 152 calories/ 7.25g protein/ 3g fat/ 24g carbs/ 3.8g fiber per serving

Empanadas, Soup & CBD! An Evening with Pacha

Disclaimer: Please consult with a medical physician when considering the use of any product containing CBD.

When cooking a meal, typical essentials often include marinades, seasonings, and a good cooking vessel. But did you know that CBD can also be added to the ingredient list?

So, what exactly is CBD? The acronym seems to have generated quite the buzz. CBD is now sold in the form of lotions, soaps, gummies, and even water . You name it! CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a compound that is derived from the cannabis plant. Before you begin to hyperventilate, please allow me to elaborate:

Cannabis comes in the form of both the Marijuana (female) and Hemp (male) plants-Hemp being a cousin of the Marijuana plant. It is, however, important to note that while the CBD compound is found in both plants, there are a few differences. First, the CBD and the THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol ) compound differ from one another: First, CBD is primarily derived from the Hemp plant. Second, THC, a compound derived from Marijuana, is a psychoactive compound that often results in a mind-altering ‘high’-or-a state of euphoria when an individual smokes or consumes it in food (Johnson, 2018). CBD, on the other hand, differs, as it is not psychoactive, nor does it alter an individual’s state-of-mind when consumed (Johnson, 2018).

Why is CBD so popular, anyways? People utilize products with the compound for a myriad of reasons. Many consumers of the product claim that CBD can promote relaxation, and can help address medical issues, such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation (Grinspoon, 2019).

With this being said, in the spirit of showcasing local food systems, I would like to highlight Heather and Tarzan, two local players within Tampa Bay’s CBD industry. Heather and Tarzan (further referred to as HT) are the owners and founders of Pacha. Pacha is a company that produces CBD products exclusively derived from the Hemp plant. When I asked HT about the origins behind the name Pacha, they explained that the term Pacha comes from Pachamama, meaning Mother Earth. Pacha’s products include topical balms, pet treats, oils, and CBD isolates. When producing their products, HT takes pride in delivering high quality deliverables-with an intentionality of honoring Mother Earth each step of the way.

Check out the video, above, if you would like to learn more about Pacha!

For the sake of good food and solidarity, Pacha and The Funky Spork have teamed up, in order to create two mouth-watering infused recipes that contain one of Pacha’s very own CBD oils. We created a two course vegetarian meal. The first dish is a savory baked empanada appetizer. The second dish-the entrée-consists of a spicy corn chowder. While both dishes are incredible stand-alone delicacies, the two go hand-in-hand. As a disclaimer, please feel free to reduce the CBD dosage for either recipe. You can even enjoy without the CBD. It’s completely up to you!

Here is a link to Pacha’s Spicy CBD Corn Chowder: https://www.pachadispensary.com/pages/cbd-recipes
Video tutorial on how to make a two-course CBD-infused Dinner

Want to learn how to make the Baked CBD Veggie Empanadas? Keep on scrolling!

Baked CBD Veggie Empanadas
Ingredients:
·         One 14oz. package of pre-made empanada discs, thawed
·         1 medium bell pepper
·         1 cup fresh spinach
·         1 small onion
·         8 oz. packet baby portabella mushrooms
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         2 tbsp. tomato paste
·         2 tbsp. cumin
·         25 mg. Pacha’s CBD oil
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         1 egg or 1-2 tbsp. melted coconut oil (if vegan)

Directions
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, gently open the empanada disc package, and gently separate the discs, and lay them out on parchment paper, or on a lightly floured surface. Set aside.

2.    Dice the onion, bell pepper, and portabella mushrooms into cubes roughly about the size of an inch. Set aside.

3.    In a skillet, heat to medium high, and place cooking oil to let warm up for about 20-30 seconds. Gradually add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and mushroom. Cover and let the veggie mixture sauté for about 7-10 minutes, or until the veggies lightly caramelize. Make sure to keep an eye on the veggies and stir frequently (about every two minutes).

4.    During the last two minutes of the veggies sautéing, add the spinach mixture and immediately cover and let it sit, until the spinach begins to wilt. Gradually stir in the spinach with the rest of veggie mixture.

5.    After the veggies have been mixed, gradually add in the tomato paste, cumin seasoning, and salt, until everything is well combined. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool off for about 5 minutes, or until it is warm to the touch.

6.    IMPORTANT STEP: Once the veggie mixture has cooled, gradually add the 25mg CBD oil drops, and gradually stir until well-combined.

7.    Assembling the Empanadas!
a.    Place about two tablespoons of filling into the center of each empanada discs.
b.    Gently fold the bottom half over the mixture, until disc resembled a half-circle.
c.    Gently press the edges with your fingers of each empanada, then seal it by using a fork to make gently indents around the outer edges of each empanada-about a half centimeter from the surface of the dough. Gently pierce the middle of each empanada with a fork, to prevent stuffing from over-steaming the pastries.
[pic]
d.    Delicately place each raw empanada in a lightly greased cookie sheet, or over parchment paper. Repeat steps a-e for each empanada.
[pic]
e.    (Vegetarian step-if vegan, go to step g)Take your egg scramble into a bowl. Then brush that mixture over each of the empanadas.
f.     (Vegan step) Take your melted coconut oil and brush it over each pastry.
g.    Place your empanadas in the center rack of your oven and bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

8.    Enjoy! J

Makes 4 servings (2 empanadas each)

Nutritional Information per serving:
300 calories/ 10.4 grams protein/ 12.5 grams fat/ 38.6 grams carbohydrates/ 3.5 grams of fiber

To learn more about Pacha, visit them at:  https://www.pachadispensary.com/
Instagram: @pachadispensary
Citations:
Grinspoon, P. (2019, June 05). Cannabidiol (CBD) – what we know and what we don’t. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
Johnson, J. (2018, July 27). CBD oil: Uses, health benefits, and risks. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221.php
Link, R. (2019, June 06). What Is CBD Water, and Should You Drink It? Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-water
Thompson, D. (2018, May 07). CBD Oil: All the Rage, But Is It Really Safe and Effective? Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20180507/cbd-oil-all-the-rage-but-is-it-safe-effective#1


Platano Relleno |Stuffed Plantain

This dish is fun, delicious, and a definite crowd-pleaser. I hope you enjoy creating (and eating) this as much as I do! 🙂



For those of you who may not know, my family comes from Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Therefore, I am what you call a ‘Dominirican’. Both nations often intersected my household, through the collaborative sounds of salsa, bachata, and merengue filling the living room crevices. It was never a true Saturday, unless our Dominican Hair Stylist was playing an episode of Sabado Gigante on her large screen television. Family gatherings often consisted of dancing, and some fiercely competitive matches of Domino.

And…the food.

One of the joys of being a Dominirican is the rich and delicious array of cuisine our countries have to offer: We always enjoyed some crispy & flaky empanadas filled with piping hot goodness.  Yucca served with ajo (garlic) was always a delight. A party was never reallya party (fiesta), unless a giant calderon (rice pot) of arroz con gandules (seasoned rice with pigeon peas) was served.

One of my favorite dishes is what is known as platano relleno, also known as stuffed plantains, in English. Stuffed plantains usually came in the form of a few iterations. One version of platano relleno is known as mofongo, a Puerto Rican delicacy that uses deep-fried green plantain. The version of this particular recipe uses platano maduro, ripened plantain. While unripened green plantain has a more savory, bread-like flavor and firm consistency, platano maduro is much softer, and sweeter in flavor. Ripened maduros form black spots-don’t be intimidated by that, at all!  

This version of platano relleno is made with a very Funky Spork twist. To add additional mass with a lower carb intake, I incorporate cauliflower into this recipe. While most traditional recipes call for ground beef, this version is vegetarian (and with the utilization of textured vegetable protein in place of the Morning Star griller crumbles, this version can be veganized, as well!). To top things off, this baby gets baked, instead of deep fried-reducing both calories and fat!

This dish is fun, delicious, and a definite crowd-pleaser. I hope you enjoy creating (and eating) this as much as I do! 🙂

Ingredients:
·         4 ripe plantains
·         1 small head of cauliflower
·         12 oz. Morning star griller crumbles/ pre-soaked textured vegetable protein
·         1 small yellow onion
·         2 large peppers or four small peppers
·         1 tsp. adobo seasoning
·         4 cloves garlic/ ¼ tsp. garlic powder
·         2 tbsp. tomato paste
·         2 tbsp. Cooking oil
Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, preheat medium-large pot and allow water to boil. While water begins to heat, coarsely chop the cauliflower head. Once water begins boiling, gently place diced pieces into boiling water and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender with the touch of a fork. Drain and set aside.
2.    While waiting for the water to boil, coarsely chop the onion, and pepper until each piece is about ¼ inches in size. Afterwards, finely mince the garlic cloves until they form into very fine pieces, less than the size of corn kernels, but no smaller than the size of a grain of uncooked rice. Add to onion mixture, and then set aside.
3.    Take a wok or large skillet and add the cooking oil and let it heat up on medium-high for about 45 seconds. To test heat, add one piece of onion. If you see that it starts to bubble around the edge, it’s time to add in the garlic mixture. Sautee in the wok for about 1½ minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant and becomes slightly more translucent. Gradually add and sir in the chopped onion and bell pepper mixture. Cover the mixture and let it steam for about two minutes, or until the onion begins to turn slightly translucent.
4.    Lift the lid from the sautéed onion, pepper, and garlic mixture and stir several times for about a minute, and let the veggies cook covered for about three minutes. During the last two minutes, gradually add in the plant-based meat crumbles and tomato paste, and liberally sprinkle in the adobo seasoning during this point. Once finished cooking, set aside.
5.       Un-peel the plantains and then slice them up. Afterwards, add cauliflower mixture and the diced plantain into a bowl, and mash the mixture until smooth, where most of clumps have disintegrated.
6.       Take a large flat baking sheet, and either grease the bottom or use parchment paper. Then split the plantain mixture into five sections, and take half of each section and form a flat 3 inch diameter patty. Afterwards, scoop 2-3 tbsp. of the protein mixture on top towards the center of each plantain patty. After forming and topping five patties, you will take the remaining five sections of the patty mixture and gently spoon over the entire protein mixture and patty, until they form turn into mounds: the stuffed plantains.
7.       Place the stuffed plantains in the oven to cook for 30 minutes, then allow them to broil on high for about 1-3 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown on top. Enjoy with friends [or by yourself!]!
Makes five platano rellenos/stuffed plantains

Nutritional information per serving:
474 calories/ 19.8g protein/15.8g fat/70g carbs/ 7g fiber

Bomb-Ass Black Bean Burgers


Let me make something loud and clear:
 A. GOOD. VEGGIE. BURGER. DOES. NOT. HAVE. TO. MIMIC. MEAT.


Don’t get me wrong: Sometimes if I’m out at a restaurant, I’ll happily dig into an Impossible burger. But at the same time, my hypocritical ass has to beg the question: why do our plant-based burgers have to taste like meat?

They absolutely do not.

In this recipe, I’m going to show you how to make an incredible veggie burger utilizing simple ingredients, and some killer spices. The secret weapon for these babies? Cauliflower. Yes-that cruciferous veggie gave these burgers a tenderness that often lacks in so many plant-based patties. These patties turned out incredibly flavorful, were delicious, and had a very pleasant texture. I kicked mine up a knotch by adding grilled onions and garlic vegannaise, sandwiched between two slices of buttered bread. The only thing I was missing was the avocado. But I have to say….this recipe was a success!

One piece of advice that I will offer would be to freeze/ chill your patties for about 30 min-1 hour, in order to prevent them from crumbling in your skillet (this is something I learned the hard way, through some sobering trial and error!).

Feel free to use this recipe as a template, and sub the spices or legumes for any others that may strike your fancy!  You do you, boo.

Well anyways, I’m going to go ahead and show YOU how I created these delicious morsels. Keep on reading.

Bomb-Ass Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:
  • 1 can black beans
  • 10oz cauliflower rice
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal or 1/2 cup rice 
  • 2 tbsp. adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 2 tbsp. Worchester sauce
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. paprika (smoked)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil

Directions:

1-Coarsley chop the onion, until the pieces are roughly about 1” sized pieces. Set aside.
2-In a large skillet, heat oil and let it warm up for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Gradually add in onion and garlic, and let it cook on medium-high for about 1 minute. Gradually add in the minced cauliflower and cook covered, for about 7-8 minutes, and add in the spinach and all of the spices during the last two minutes. Make sure to take the lid off and stir every minute or so. Once finished, gradually add in the black beans to the mixture with about half of the liquid reserves During this time, you will also mix in your oatmeal or rice. Let the mixture cool off for about 5 minutes.
3-Take your sautéed veggies and place them in a food processor. Let them pulse for about 1-2 minutes, or until each piece within the mixture is about the size of a sesame seed. If you have a smaller food processor, divide the sautéed veggie mixture and pulse the mixture into a couple batches. DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE TURN INTO LIQUID!!
4- Take your batch, and begin forming these into patties that are about ½ an inch in thickness. You could wind up with anywhere from 4 large patties to about 6 patties (unless you’re making a bunch of sliders!!!!). My batch yielded 6 decent sized patties. I recommend that you rub some cooking oil (such as olive or coconut) into your hands before forming these patties. This helps them keep their shape.
5-Highly recommended step: Place your patties on a sheet of parchment paper, and place them in the freezer to let them chill for about 30 minutes, or for the duration of your favorite episode of Bob’s Burgers. Doing so will greatly prevent these patties from crumbling during step 6.
6-lightly oil skillet and cook each patty on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes on medium each side. Gently turn patties over, and cook them for about the same amount of time, or until they are golden brown on that side, as well.
7-serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!!! 
Makes six hearty veggie burger patties.
Nutritional Information per serving:
157 calories/ 6.45 grams protein/ 5.2 grams fat/ 22 grams carbohydrates/ 7.4 grams of fiber


Empa-Roses

These delicious morsels will be the star of your next party!

One night, I had some friends over for a small house party, and I had EVERY intention of making vegetarian empanadas for the occasion! I had my yummy filling made and had my dough prepared. I was ready to create some magic! Well, have you ever had something completely planned out, to then find out that that said plan did NOT go your way? Yep-that’s what happened to me.

Deliciously savory empa-rose filling!
I began filling each piece of dough with the filling, and found that the dough could not fold in the shape of an empanada. In fact, the dough was beginning to crumble apart! I allowed myself to freak out for two seconds. Then, being the creative out-of-the-box person I am, I was determined to figure out how to stuff my empanadas in a way without having them crumble. After a couple minutes, I looked at the filling and my dough, and thought to myself: ‘What if I folded the filling into the dough by rolling it into a pinwheel shape?‘ And you know what? It worked out beautifully! I took the filling, and gently wrapped the dough around the filling mixture, and found that the pastry resembled a rose. That’s how I deemed these babies as empa-roses! Not only did my beautiful savory pastry roses look pretty (after making them the second time), but they were incredibly delicious. These babies were also a huge hit with my guests!

Empa-roses are a GREAT & versatile dish to make: You can make them for your next party, or for your next Tuesday night supper. The options are really endless!

Some advice:

·         Be gentle when rolling the roses, as your dough may fall apart if you over-stuff.

·         I highly recommend not scooping more than two tablespoons TOPS (one heaping tablespoon per pastry should really do!)

·         Muffin or cupcake tins will be your best friend.

·         You DON’T have to use crescent roll dough-you can sub that for any other type of dough.

·         The filling can really be whatever you’d like! These can even serve as a sweet dessert!


Here’s my recipe!

Empa-roses
Ingredients
·         One 8oz. can crescent roll dough
·         1 medium bell pepper
·         1 cup fresh spinach
·         1 small onion
·         8 oz. packet baby portabella mushrooms
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         2 tbsp. tomato paste
·         2 tbsp. cumin or 2 tbsp. of favorite taco seasoning
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         1 egg or 1-2 tbsp. melted coconut oil (if vegan)
Directions
1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, gently open the crescent roll dough can and separate the crescent roll dough pieces into the pre-cut triangles, and lay them out on parchment paper, or on a lightly floured surface. Set aside.

2.       Dice the onion, bell pepper, and portabella mushrooms into cubes roughly about the size of an inch. Set aside.

3.       In a skillet, heat to medium high, and place cooking oil to let warm up for about 20-30 seconds. Gradually add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and mushroom. Cover and let the veggie mixture sauté for about 7-10 minutes, or until the veggies lightly caramelize. Make sure to keep an eye on the veggies and stir frequently (about every two minutes).

4.       During the last two minutes of the veggies sautéing, add the spinach mixture and immediately cover and let it sit, until the spinach begins to wilt. Gradually stir in the spinach with the rest of veggie mixture.

5.       After the veggies have been mixed, gradually add in the tomato paste and cumin/taco seasoning and salt, until everything is well combined. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool off for about 5 minutes, or until it is warm to the touch.

6.       Assembling the Empa-roses!
a.       Place about one tablespoon of filling into the center of each crescent roll triangle (it’s the fattest part of the triangle).
step a
b.      Gently use the bottom portion of the triangle to fold over the mixture.
step b
c.       Fold the right corner over the mixture.
step c
d.      Once both the bottom and right triangle corner of the dough has been folded over the filling, gently take the longest corner and fold it over the dough, and wrap the dough around until the shape resembled something like a rose (or pinwheel/ roll).
step d
step d

e.      Delicately place each rose into an ungreased muffin tin hole. Repeat steps a-e for each empa-rose.
step e
f.        (Vegetarian step-if vegan, go to step g)Take your egg scramble into a bowl. Then brush that mixture over each of the empa-rose.
g.       (Vegan step) Take your melted coconut oil and brush it over each rose.
h.      Place your roses in the center rack of your oven and bake the pastries for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
7.       Enjoy! 🙂

Makes 4 servings (2 empa-roses each)

Nutritional Information per serving:
300 calories/ 10.4 grams protein/ 12.5 grams fat/ 38.6 grams carbohydrates/ 3.5 grams of fiber


Spinach-Basil Pesto

I will show you how to make my favorite kind of pesto-with a lovely twist!


Last time, I showed you how I make my Creamy Bell Pepper & Carrot Pesto. This time, I’m going to show you how to make more of a traditional pesto-but with a nice little vegan touch.

Before I delve into my yummy recipe, let’s first address a major question: What exactly is pesto? Pesto, or, more formally pesto alla genovese, is a sauce that originates from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. Some historians believe that the recipe dates back to the Roman Era, but became a more refined staple around the mid-1800s. The traditional pesto sauce consists of fresh basil leaves, crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, olive oil, and a hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (think of your classic non-grated Parmesan cheese). The following ingredients are traditionally blended together by finely hand chopping or hand-crushing them down with the utilization a mortar and pestle (pictured below).

Photo courtesy: Artur Rutowski
My recipe has a few exceptions which deviate from a traditional pesto alla genovese. First, this recipe is completely dairy-free and therefore vegan. But don’t worry about missing out on the cheesy bite. Nutritional yeast and lemon juice serve as the perfect substitute for the traditional hard cheese required. As you can see by the recipe title, this recipe also incorporates the utilization of fresh spinach. I understand that not everyone has access to fresh basil leaves, be it because of availability, cost, or a combination of the two factors. The spinach, while light in flavor, serves as a perfectly viable alternative if you have zero access to fresh basil. Finally, this recipe has a 21st century instantaneous twist by relying on a food processor (but if you DO have a mortar and pestle-the traditional mixing tool, it works perfectly, as well! It will just take a tad bit more time and elbow grease to prepare  🙂 ). Nevertheless, this remixed version of the traditional pesto recipe is super simple to prepare. Most of all, the flavor is absolutely delicious! Just like my bell pepper-carrot pesto, this yummy sauce goes wonderfully with pasta or over a baguette, risotto or any other vessel you like to serve your pesto with.

Do you want to know how I make my version of pesto? Keep on scrolling!   

Spinach Basil Pesto

Ingredients:
·         2 packed cups of fresh spinach leaves
·         2 packed cups of fresh basil leaves*
·         3 cloves of garlic
·         ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
·         2 tbsp. lemon juice
·         1 tsp. salt (coarse or kosher is preferred)
·         ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
·         ¼ cup of pine nuts or roasted sunflower seeds
Directions:

1.  In a small skillet, set it on medium high and allow it to preheat for a couple seconds. Take your pine nuts and place them into the skillet and allow them to toast up for about 2-3 minutes until they form a light golden brown around the edges. Stir the nuts frequently in the process. Once the nuts area toasted, remove from heat and set aside. You can skip the toasting step if you are utilizing pre-roasted sunflower seeds. Simply set those to the side.

2.   Take each garlic clove place each clove on the cutting board. Gently place your knife over the garlic clove with the blade resting parallel to the garlic clove (away from you), ball your fist, and smash the knife. Doing so breaks each clove down, while also cracking open the skin. Repeat until all the cloves have been mashed and skin completely unpeeled. Then, coarsely chop each of the cloves until the pieces are roughly about the size of small grains of rice. Set aside.

3.  Blending method 1-Food processor: Take all of your ingredients and add them all into a food processor. Let the mixture pulse for about 2 seconds each time and repeat about 6 times-1 minute until the pesto has a smooth consistency, but still chunky enough to the point where you can see pieces of the spinach and garlic. Stir the mixture in between each pulse.  (do not exceed pulsing over 2 minutes).

4. Blending method 2-Mortar and pestle: First, grind your garlic and salt down with the mortar and pestle for about 30 seconds-1 minute, or until it turns into a chunky mash. Then gradually add in your toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds and mash it down until the garlic/nut mixture forms a paste. Afterwards, gradually add in the basil and spinach, handful by handful and grind that into the mixture until the leaves are very tiny. Gradually, add in the rest of your ingredients, with the olive oil as the last ingredient to add in, and keep mixing everything for a few minutes (3-6), and continue mashing until the pesto has a smooth consistency, but still chunky enough to the point where you can see pieces of the spinach/basil and garlic.

5.     Enjoy over your favorite edible vessel! 🙂

* Note: If you are unable to access fresh basil leaves, substitute the 2 cups of fresh basil for 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves.

Makes approximately 1 cup of delicious pesto (8 ounces)-6 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving):

156 Calories/ 6.2g protein/ 12.5 grams fat/6.9 grams of carbs/3 grams fiber

198% DV Folate, DFE/ 264% DV Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin)/ 202% DV Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) 115% DV Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)/ 300% DV Vitamin A/ 373% DV Vitamin K/ 17% DV Vitamin C


Ginger Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps


This recipe is incredibly simple, yet delicious. I posted the veggies that I used from the Temple Terrace Farmers Market. Whenever possible, support your local economy!


Earlier today, I had the privilege of facilitating my first cooking demo, EVER! This took place at the Temple Terrace Market’s EBT booth. They have this awesome initiative where EBT (food stamp) recipients are incentivized to purchase double the value of the local produce offered at the market. It was truly a blessing to fuse my passion for cooking a dish with LOCAL ingredients for our beloved community to enjoy.



One of the objectives of today’s experience was to create a recipe utilizing the ingredients available at the market. With that being said, after putting my thinking caps on, I thought it would be a fun idea to take the provided veggies and give it an Asian-inspired twist by turning it into a delicious stir-fry. Because lettuce was also a provision, it gave me the idea of turning the stir fry into delicious wraps. I must say that today’s cooking demo was very well-received!!! Want to learn how I made today’s dish? Keep on readin’!

Ginger Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients:

Stir Fry Veggies
·         1.5 cups fresh kale, coarsely chopped  
·         2.5 cups coarsely-chopped fresh broccoli
·         4 cloves garlic
·         1 onion
·         ½ small red cabbage  
·         1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
·          1 Head of romaine or butter lettuce
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil (grape seed, coconut or avocado)

For the Marinade:
·         3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
·         3 tbsp brown sugar   
·         1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
·         2 tbsp chili paste

Directions:
1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until everything looks well-combined. Set aside.
2. Coarsely chop the onion until each piece is about ½” in size, and then add them to a covered medium-sized bowl. Afterwards, finely mince the garlic cloves and ginger until they are very fine pieces, less than the size of corn kernels, but no smaller than the size of a grain of uncooked rice. Add to onion mixture, and then set aside.
3. Take your broccoli and kale and coarsely chop each veggie until each piece is roughly 1” in size. Set aside.
4. If you are using romaine lettuce, cut off the base of the lettuce, then cut the lettuce bunch in half at the width (not length). If you are using another lettuce, like butter lettuce, cut the base, and gently open each leaf. Place the lettuce leaves in a large bowl or plate and set aside. Afterwards, take the cabbage half and chop into fine slices that are no more than a centimeter in width. Place cabbage into a bowl and set aside.
5. Take a wok or large skillet and add the cooking oil and let it heat up on medium-high for about 45 seconds. To test heat, add one piece of onion. If you see that it starts to bubble around the edge, it’s time to add in the onion/garlic/ginger mixture. Sautee in the wok for about two minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant and becomes slightly more translucent.
6. Gradually add and sir in the chopped broccoli and kale mixture. Cover the mixture and let it steam for about 3 minutes, or until the kale turns a vibrant green. Lift the lid off and stir several times for about a minute, and gradually add in marinade by gently stirring it around. Let the veggies cook covered for about 3 minutes.
7. After the three minutes, lift the cover, and slightly adjust the temperature and let the stir fry mixture continue cooking for about 3 minutes uncovered, until most of the liquid evaporates and slightly thickens. Turn off the stove and remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool down for about a minute or so.
8. Take your lettuce leaf and with a medium spoon, take some of the stir-fry mixture and spoon it over the lettuce. Take a small handful (about a teaspoon) of chopped red cabbage and top over the stir-fry teriyaki and roll the lettuce wrap, until it resembles a small taco. Eat up, and enjoy!
9. Optional, serve with a side of rice. Enjoy!! 🙂

4 Servings

Nutritional information per serving (without rice):
149 calories/ 4.6g protein/7.8g fat/18.5g carbs/ 4.9g fiber


Creamy Bell Pepper & Carrot Pesto

I will show you how to make my favorite kind of pesto-with a lovely vegan twist!


I LOOOVE pesto…it’s GOT to be one of my favorite type of sauces, hands down. This recipe was really inspired as a result of preventing food waste. About a week ago, I had some bell peppers slowly beginning to wilt in the back of my fridge. I had been trying to figure out how to utilize them, and BAM! I came up with an idea: How about I try ‘sun drying’ the peppers, similarly to how you would with tomatoes? My thought process then evolved into seeing if it was remotely possible to make a pepper pesto. My thought was Why not?

Let me tell you, this pepper pesto has turned into my crack. Slow roasting the peppers brings out the natural sweetness in the peppers. Team that with the creaminess of roasted carrot and garlic, and your taste buds are in Heaven.  The dairy substitution of nutritional yeast and Miso paste gave this a wonderful, rich and savory sense of umami. I actually find this pesto to have an almost cheesy quality to it (something that I was not intending to aim for!). It goes wonderfully with pasta or over a baguette, risotto or any other vessel you like to serve your pesto with! 

In lieu of the sun, I utilized my trusty oven for these peppers. As you’ll see, I let these babies roast for a while. Don’t let the 8 hour oven time intimidate you-these peppers can either be slow-roasted overnight or while you’re at work. This sauce does take some time to prepare from start to finish…but I PROMISE you that it will be worth the wait!


Let me show you how I made this!

Creamy Bell Pepper & Carrot Pesto

Ingredients:
·         5 large colorful bell peppers, or 8-10 miniature bell peppers
·         3 cloves of garlic
·         2 carrots
·         3 tbsp nutritional yeast
·         1 tbsp miso paste
·         2 tbsp lemon juice
·         4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
·         ¼ cup of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
Directions:
1.       Roasted peppers-Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Take each bell pepper and slice directly in half, lengthwise and remove the saps and seeds.  After slicing and de-seeding, take a large baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Place your pepper halves on the parchment paper and drizzle 1 tbsp of the evoo and massage over each of the pepper pieces until they are all oiled. Place baking tray in middle rack and allow the peppers to slow-roast for 7-8 hours, or until the peppers start to wrinkle. Be sure to check them after 7 hours to ensure that they do not burn!

2.       Roasted Carrots and garlic-Preheat oven to 400. Coarsely chop carrots until they are about 2 inches in size. Take your carrots and unpeeled garlic cloves, lightly drizzle with evoo and let them roast for about 20-25 minutes, until the carrots are fork tender. Afterwards, remove them from the oven and gently unpeel garlic clove. Should be relatively fork tender. If its not quite fork tender, leave the cloves in the oven for about 5-6 more minutes. Place your seeds in the oven to roast for the last 5 minutes.

3. Mixin it all-Take all of your roasted veggies and the remaining ingredients and add them all into a food processor. Let the mixture pulse nonstop for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture has the consistency of a smooth  hummus-like consistency.

4.       Enjoy over your favorite vessel of choice! 🙂

6 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving)
194 Calories/ 4.9g protein/ 13.6 grams fat/14.3 grams of carbs/4.4 grams fiber

Beet Burgers with Rhythm!

In this recipe, I’m going to show you how to make beet burgers that are so fly, that you’ll get a rhythm & beat to your feet!


I’m going to keep it real with you: I was not feeling well at all, this past week. My full-time job has been very mentally demanding, and life has been throwing all sorts of challenges my way. With that being said, my immune system crapped out on me, and hence, I developed a fever. Moral of this short story? When your body is not feeling well and feeling off, LISTEN to it. Your body is your temple, so you must be kind to your shrine. Give it rest when it needs it and be intentional about nourishing yourself with healthy whole foods.

Since my body was telling me to pause and listen, I had no choice but to obey. This meant trying to determine the type of meal to prepare for my recovery dinner. To provide as many nutrients as I could, I wanted be purposeful in feeding myself whole produce foods of various colors. With that in mind, I looked at the bunch of fresh beets quietly sitting in my fridge, waiting to get devoured.

Not only do beets have a naturally beautiful velvet color, but they are also a nutritional powerhouse. These low calorie gems are rich in vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Magnesium and Iron. Did I mention that you can even eat the leaves and stems?! With all these vitamins and minerals, my body was surely going to be closer to healing, than ever!

After trying to figure out how to incorporate the beets, an idea came to mind: What if I turned them into burgers?!? I had seen previous recipes attempt to do the same. I like veggie burgers, and I like beets. Why not give it a shot by marrying the two?



This recipe was inspired by Jenné Claiborne’s Sweet Potato Soul rendition. Mine, however, was remixed to my personal liking. Listen, before any of you make any gagging faces or click away from this link, I urge you not to! These burgers came out tender, filling, and absolutely delicious. Even my very picky fiancé loved these! It actually did not have a very overpowering earthiness that beets can unfortunately be infamous for. The essence of the beets was complimented beautifully with the rich flavor and texture of the black beans and cumin. The oatmeal was an excellent way to bind these patties together. Rather than pan frying the patties, I personally prefer baking mine, as veggie burgers can sometimes be known to crumble in the skillet.

GIVE BEETS A CHANCE.



Beet Burgers

Ingredients:
  • 1 large beet or 4 small beets, unpeeled
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 16oz can of black beans, drained (reserve ½ liquid from the can)
  • 1 cup oatmeal (uncooked), or 1 cup of rice, cooked (if gluten free)
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, diced
  • 1 tsp Fennel, crushed
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp black Pepper
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbs sriracha (optional)

Recommended Kitchen Appliances:
  • 1 food processor
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 sharp chopping knife
  • 1 large baking sheet & mixing spoon
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper
  • 1 large skillet & spatula
  • 1 vegetable/potato slicer

Directions:

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, if you plan to bake your patties. (optional)

2-Take your beet(s), and slice the skin off over a cutting board, using your potato slicer. After slicing the beets, dice the beet(s) and the onion into small chunks, no bigger than about ½” in size. Set aside.

3-Take your carrots, cut the ends off and chop them onto course pieces (about 1”-2” in size). Then, take your very course pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse the carrots and hold for about two seconds. Repeat the pulsing process until your carrot pieces should be roughly about the size of corn kernels (about 2-4 times total). Add the carrot to the beet and onion mixture and set aside.

4-Take each garlic clove place each clove on the cutting board. Gently place your knife over the garlic clove with the blade resting parallel to the garlic clove (away from you), ball your fist, and smash the knife. Doing so breaks each clove down, while also cracking open the skin. Repeat until all the cloves have been mashed and skin completely unpeeled. Chop the garlic into fine pieces and then set the garlic aside.

5-Take your skillet, drizzle the cooking oil, and let it warm up on medium. You can test to see that the oil is hot enough by placing a small beet chunk inside. If you see small bubbles on the side, then oil is hot enough. It should take no more than 45seconds-a minute to heat up. Once it is warm enough, add your minced garlic and let it sauté for about a minute until the garlic is translucent. Gradually add in the beat/carrot/onion mixture and cover, and allow to cook down for 15 minutes, or until the beet pieces become fork tender. Be sure to stir veggie mixture several times throughout this process.

6-After the veggies finish cooking, allow them to cool down for one minute, and then gradually add in the black beans and the reserved canned liquid. Gradually stir in the oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, and the rest of the ingredients and spices.

7-Take your entire mixture and place in the food processor. Pulse the mixture and hold down for two seconds. Repeat this process about 5-6 times, or until the consistency of each pulsed piece is roughly the size of a grain of rice. If your food processor is too small to add in the entire batch at once, separate it into thirds, and then combine everything into a large bowl and gently mix until everything looks to be uniform.

8-Take some of fresh cooking oil and massage it around your hands. Divide the batter into six equal parts and with your greasy hands, gently form each section into a patty that will roughly be about 3”-4” in diameter. You can then cook the beet burger patties one of two ways:

8a-Skillet: Heat your skillet on medium high and lightly oil. Once it’s warm enough place your patties on the skillet and let each side cook for about 3 minutes. After the three minutes, gently flip over with your spatula and allow them to cook for 3 additional minutes, until they have lightly browned. Depending on the size of your skillet, I do not recommend cooking more than three patties at a time. Unless you have a very large skillet, I’d recommend just cooking two at a time.

8b-Oven: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and gently place each patty on the baking sheet. Let these babies bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, and flip halfway.

9-Enjoy these babies with your sandwich vessel of choice. I highly recommend topping these with avocado and a nice side of baked sweet potato fries. 🙂

6 servings

Nutritional Information per serving:

181 calories/ 5.9 grams protein/ 10.5 grams fat/ 19 grams carbohydrates/ 5 grams of fiber

Did you make this recipe? What did you think?!? Comment below!

Girls Night Out-With a ‘Rican Twist! (Vegan Jibaritos)

Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders

One of my amazing girlfriends’s recently had me over for a ‘girl’s night in’, a couple Friday nights ago. It was one of the best times that I have had in a while. There was so much laughing, joking, dancing, and eating. More than that, we shared a beautiful moment of bonding. With the hustle and bustle of life, it can be really hard to for me to see my friends on a regular basis. So that particular night was really a sacred time and space for us ladies to let our hair loose, and have a good time!

Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders

One of the highlights of our girl’s night in was getting to eat some damn good homemade Puerto Rican ‘street’ food. I wanted to show my friends how to make a classic Puerto Rican dish, called Jibaritos. Jibaritos (Hee-ba-ree-toes) is a Puerto Rican-style sandwich that uses tostones (fried green plantains) as the bread. Typical Jibaritos are simple, and traditionally contain skirt or flank steak, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, and a ketchup-mayonnaise sauce (referred to known as ketcho-mayo).

Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders

Since going plant-based, I showed my friends how to make these sandwiches with a healthy, vegan twist. Instead of steak, I used Lions Mane mushroom, and substituted ketcho-mayo with a garlic guacamole. To cut out on unnecessary fat and calories, I opted for baking my tostones, as opposed to frying them. And I must say that my remixed version of the Jibaritos sandwich was a delicious success!



You may be wondering what the heck Lions Mushrooms are. A good friend of mine who is launching a local gourmet mushroom farm gifted me with a couple pounds to try out for my recipes. When raw, they almost resemble miniature white fuzz balls (see photo below).

Fuzzy Lions Mane Mushrooms (left), green plantains (right). Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
When sliced and cooked, these fuzz balls have a resemblance akin to dark meat chicken, and emit a beautiful caramelized color and robust meaty flavor when cooked. Far from unpleasant, these delicious mushrooms make a great alternative for any recipe which calls for the use of sautéed chicken or pork (see pic, below).

Mouth-watering cooked Lions Mane mushrooms. Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are not as common to find around, so if you don’t find any available nearby, you can always opt for fresh oyster mushrooms, which have a relatively similar flavor and will work just as well! If for SOME reason you cannot find oyster mushrooms, you can always use sliced portabella mushrooms. Just keep in mind that they won’t have the fibrous meaty-texture like the Lion’s Mane or oysters do. But the flavor will still be tasty!

Before I move onto the recipe, itself, I wanted to share a couple words of wisdom. Folks, no matter how busy your life schedule gets, please do yourselves a favor, and never forget to regularly carve time out to spend with your friends. Be intentional about cultivating the relationships you have with those around. Be purposeful in surrounding yourself with individuals who will uplift, inspire, challenge, motivate and accept you for YOU! We can either choose to allow the relationships around us lift us up, or tear us down. Make every moment and relationship count.

Photo courtesy Victoria Saunders
Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders

Jibaritos Recipe

Ingredients:
  • Two large green plantains
  • Approximately 16 oz of fresh Lions Mane or Oyster mushrooms
  • Two ripe hass avocados
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 sliced tomato (optional)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (optional)
  • 2 tbsp veganaise (optional)
Recommended Kitchen appliances:
  • 1-8.5”x10” baking tray
  • 1 tostonera (plantain smasher), or a plate flat enough for smashing
  • 1 skillet (minimum 10” diameter)
  • 1 set of tongs
  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 large fork or smasher
  • 1 sharp cutting knife (one you like to use for chopping produce)
  • Parchment Paper
  • 1 cutting board
 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is pre-heating, take each of the green plantains and with your knife, slice off both ends of each plantain, and gently slice open the peel, lengthwise on each side. The skin peel is about 1/8”- 1/4” deep, so at this point, be able to have sliced the peel open and can take each plantain out of their tough exterior skin (images below). 

Photo Courtesy WikiHow.com

2. Take each plantain and split them directly in half. Then, take each half and carefully slice down the middle, until you get two halves from each piece. Those will serve as the ‘bread’ for your sandwiches (image of slices, below).

Photo Courtesy Carribbeanpot.com
3. Take two tablespoons of the cooking oil and gently massage each of the plantain halves with the oil until they are well-coasted. Take your baking tray, and line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Once the plantains are coated, line them individually on the parchment paper and let them bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

4. While the plantains are baking, this serves as a good opportunity to begin preparing your onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Take each garlic clove place each clove on the cutting board. Gently place your knife over the garlic clove with the blade resting parallel to the garlic clove (away from you), ball your fist, and smash the knife. Doing so breaks each clove down, while also cracking open the skin. Repeat until all the cloves have been mashed and skin completely unpeeled. Set the garlic aside.

5. Take your onion, and slice into approximately ¼” thick slices. Set aside.

6. Take your mushrooms and cut into ½” slices. If you are slicing the Lion’s Mane, slice with the grain. Set aside.

7. Take your plantains out of the oven and either place them on the cutting board or another flat surface. Take your tostonero or plate and gently smash each of the tostones until they are about ¼” thick. Place each of the smashed plantain pieces back into the tray and take the salt and season them during this time. Place tray back into the oven and allow them to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

8. While the tostones are baking the second time, heat your skillet on medium-high. Place the remaining two tablespoons of your cooking oil into the skillet. Place 1 ½ of the mashed garlic cloves into the skillet and allow them to sauté for one minute, until the smell becomes fragrant. Gradually add the mushrooms into the skillet by gently placing them down flat-wise with the tongs. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with half of the adobo seasoning and then place the sliced onions around and on top of each mushroom. Let the mushrooms cook for about three minutes, and season the top halves with the rest of the adobo seasoning. After three minutes, gently flip each mushroom and onion piece over and allow to finish cooking for three minutes, until the other side also has a caramel brown coloring to it. If the tostones have not yet finished baking, turn the heat down to low, to keep the mushroom/garlic/onion mixture warm.

9. Slice each of the avocados in half. Place the avocado halves and remaining 1 ½ garlic clove chunks in the medium bowl and with a masher or fork, mash mixture until the avocado mixture is smooth-similarly to a guacamole. Lightly season with salt (optional). To prevent the avocados from turning brown, place the avocado seeds into avocado mixture.

10. (Optional step) in a small bowl, take your ketchup and veganaise mixture and mix well until the mixture turns into more of an orange hue. Then you have created a vegan ketch-mayo! 

11. Once the 15 minutes are up, check on the tostones (the mashed baked plantains). They should be golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool down for a couple minutes. Take each long half, and layer with the mashed avocado, and then take the mushroom/onion mixture and gently pile on each ‘sandwich’. Layer with some spinach, tomato, and even the ketcho-mayo mixture.

12. Eat, and enjoy the hell out of this potentially messy sandwich eating experience!! 🙂

4 servings

Nutritional Information:

397 Calories/ 7 grams protein/ 24 grams of fat/ 46 grams of carbohydrates/ 9 grams fiber

Did you try this recipe? Did you do any substitutions?? Comment below!