Jerked Veggie Wraps

A delectable veggie wrap that’s jam-packed with a burst of spicy, delicious Caribbean-inspired flavor!

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate a cooking demonstration for the Second Annual Taste of Laura Street event, in Plant City, Florida. A Taste of Laura Street was hosted by The Improvement League of Plant City, CDC. As stated on Visit Tampa Bay “A Taste of Laura Street – Plant City is a reality food experience where participants can taste and judge samples of local cuisine while they enjoy the historical ambiance of the former Laura Street African American Business District adjacent to midtown. Awards will be presented for Best Entrée, Best Side, and Best Dessert Dish. There will also be a traveling art gallery exhibit, and live bands featuring jazz, and contemporary music. A Taste of Laura Street highlights the story of how economic development ignited and launch self-empowerment in the Lincoln Park neighborhood during the era spanning 1920 thru 1969.

Plant City Laura Street business district once thrived with restaurants, rooming houses (hotels), movie theaters, funeral homes, ice cream parlors and barbershops. The Bing Rooming House and Ms. Bing’s Seminole Restaurant anchored Laura Street aka “The Bottom” at the corner of South Allen and Laura Street. This is an opportunity to showcase one of Plant City’s most historic neighborhoods where residents can live, work, play and enjoy authentic heritage and character.”
Photo courtesy of the Plant City Observer
Let me take this moment to tell y’all that yesterday was poppin’. The food was incredible, the live music was beautiful, and the visual art on display was spectacular. The vibes were perfect: a welcoming, yet laid-back atmosphere.
The meal that I prepared during the cooking demo was a very delicious jerked veggie wrap.  One of the perks of this recipe is that there is ZERO added sugar, aside from the fruits listed in the ingredients. The main star of the dish is the cauliflower, as that veggie is flavor-neutral, and can absorb any seasoning. It’s also pretty low in carbs, as well! For those who have aversions to cauliflower, feel free to opt out of this ingredient, or replace with an alternative, such as mushroom, chicken, or anything else! For those with sensitivity to spicy flavors, feel free to do away with the pepper!  No worries.
Want to learn how to create this magic dish? Keep on reading!
Jerk Veggie Wraps!
Ingredients
·         Jerk Marinade:
o    1 lime
o    1 small onion, or ½ medium onion
o    6 cloves garlic
o    2 tsp. fresh thyme
o    1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (optional)
o    1.5 tbsp. fresh ginger
o    Juice of 1 large, ripened orange-or juice of 2 tangerines
o    1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
o    1 tsp. kosher salt
o    1 tsp. black pepper
o    1 tsp. allspice
o    ½ tsp. cinnamon & ½ tsp. nutmeg
o    3 tbsp. coconut oil
o    1/3 cup water
·         1 head of finely diced cauliflower
·         1/3 cup water
·         1 bell pepper
·         1 ripened plantain (optional)
·         1 Florida avocado (or hass), mashed
·         1 cup of fresh pineapple
·         1 cup Fresh spinach
·         Five 10”-wide whole wheat flour tortillas
·         3 tbsp. cooking oil (i.e. coconut)
Jerk Marinade Directions:
1.       Take all of the ingredients for the marinade, and place in a food processor. Let the mixture puree for about 1-2 minutes, or until the marinade has liquefied. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, and use within three days.

Jerk Vegetable wrap directions:
1.       Preheat skillet to medium-high for a few seconds. Gradually add 1/3 cup of water and diced cauliflower and bell pepper.

2.       Gradually add in the marinade, and raise the heat to medium-high, and continue to let the veggie mixture cook down for another 4-5 minutes until the excess liquid evaporates, and the cauliflower becomes fork-tender and lightly caramelized.

3.       (Optional) While cauliflower mixture is cooking, slice ripened plantain into ½” slices and then place in a preheated skillet set to medium with 3 tbsp. melted oil. Gently add plantain slices in heated oil, then turn the heat down to medium, and allow each side to cook for 1-2 minutes, and then turn over. Repeat process about 2 more times, but slightly lower heat and continue to cook until each slice is golden brown on each side. Keep an eye on the slices, or they will burn! Once slices are finished cooking, turn off skillet, and immediately remove them from heat, patting down with napkin.

4.       Once cauliflower and plantains are finished cooking, begin assembling wraps in the following recommended order: 1 tablespoon mashed avocado, 1/5 cup fresh spinach, 1 large spoonful of jerk veggie mixture, 2-3 plantain slices, then 1 tablespoon of pineapple slices. Close the wrap tightly. Optional step: Press on griddled skillet or Panini press for about 2 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear. Enjoy!

5 servings | Per serving: 464 calories/ 8.14g protein/27g fat/53.7g carbs/ 11.5g fiber per serving

Southwestern-inspired Duck Egg Frittata

This unique recipe is so delicious, your family will be begging for more! 😉

This past August, I launched a new Funky Spork series, called Farm to Spork, where I interview and highlight various players involved within our local food systems landscape. The first entity I featured was Sustainability on the Side, a business, and movement created by Jessa Madosky, and Marc Santos. is From managing a homestead operation to, to blogging, and creating jewelry from ecofriendly material, Sustainability on the Side is a Central Florida-based business that puts environmental stewardship at the center of its mission.I had a wonderful time interviewing this dynamic couple about their movement. To learn more about Jessa, Marc, and Sustainability on the Side, check out my previous blog post.

Jessa and Marc not only blessed me with a new friendship, but they also gifted me with some of their very own free-range duck eggs to sample. I was elated, because in my 30 years of existence, I had never had the privilege of eating eggs from ducks. I had been told that the flavor was supposedly richer and more pronounced than conventional chicken eggs. With all this new knowledge at-hand, I knew I had to create something delicious.

The following recipe I present to you is a Southwestern-Inspired Duck egg frittata. This decadent dish fuses some of my favorite spicy, southwestern spices and flavors. This dish was also a great dinner for Jeremy and I. Let’s be real: If eating breakfast for dinner is wrong, then I do not want to be right… 😉

But in all seriousness, I think you will really enjoy this dish. If you do not have access to duck eggs, then no sweat. Chicken eggs make a perfectly viable substitute, as well. Let’s move onto the recipe! Feel free to check out my video tutorial, below, or keep scrolling down to get a print-out of this recipe.


Southwestern-inspired Duck Egg Frittata

Ingredients:
·         One half dozen duck eggs (or chicken eggs)
·         1 packed cup of spinach
·         2 russet potatoes
·         8 oz. sliced mushrooms
·         1 diced tomato (optional)
·         1 medium onion
·         1 bell pepper
·         2/3 cup shredded cheese
·         1 tsp. Cumin
·         1 tsp. Chile powder
·         1 avocado
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil
·         2 tbsp. sriracha or any other hot sauce (optional)
·         Pinch of salt & pepper
Directions:

1.    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly puncture your potatoes with a fork, and place them in the center rack to cook for about eight minutes, and allow them to par-bake. Once the potatoes are finished, take them out and allow them to cool for about five minutes. Keep the oven on.

2.    Once the potatoes have cooled off, coarsely dice into one inch cubes, and set aside.

3.    Next, you will dice your bell pepper and dice your onion into once-inch cubes and also set that aside. You will then dice your garlic into fine minced pieces and add that to the chopped onion and pepper mixture.

4.    Heat a large skillet on medium-high, add the cooking oil, and allow the skillet to heat up for about 15 seconds. Take your diced potato, and sauté them in the skillet, covered for about 3-4 minutes. Afterwards, season them with a pinch of salt and pepper, and allow them to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned on each side and fork tender. Set them to the side.

5.    While your potatoes are sautéing, take another skillet, heat with cooking oil on medium-high, and add the remaining veggies into the skillet, and let them sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Once your veggies are finished sautéing, stir in the cumin, salt, and Chile powder to the mixture. Add the raw spinach once the veggies are finished cooking, and let them steam for about two minutes, until the spinach leaves have wilted. To speed the process you can cover them for the first couple minutes.

6.    While the veggies are sautéing, take your duck eggs, crack them into a medium bowl, and whisk until the yolks and eggs whites are well mixed. Once mixed, scramble eggs in a large skillet on medium-high for about 3-4 minutes, or until the eggs are well scrambled. Stir frequently. To save on water (and dishes) use the same cooking skillet for the potatoes, veggies, and eggs. 

7.    Take a greased casserole container or very large pie dish and begin layering it with the potatoes, the veggies, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese, the scrambled duck eggs, sriracha, and the final 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.

8.    Place in the 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and allow to cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese becomes well-melted.

9.     Serve up with some sliced avocado, and enjoy!

Six Servings

Nutrition Information per serving:

282 calories/ 9.63 grams protein/ 15 grams fat/ 30 grams carbohydrates/ 5 grams of fiber


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


Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

This warm & comforting dish is full of flavor and goodness.

I recently had some friends over for dinner. Prior to the big evening, I had been trying to figure out what to cook for these incredible humans. I knew that I wanted to cook them something special, especially since they had welcomed a beautiful new baby into this. planet. After rubbing my chin, deciding what to create, I thought about some of my personal favorite dishes.
The dish that came to mind was tortellini. Tortellini is one of my all-time favorite foods. This Italian-based pasta is actually closer to being a dumpling, as it typically contains a filling. Not only did I want to incorporate my favorite food into the evening’s meal, but I really wanted to make it…extra special. As I continued to brain storm, the idea of incorporating a warm & savory browned butter sauce, and fresh vegetables became an absolute must. I’m proud to say that the evening dinner was a major hit for all of us-there was definitely some plate licking going on!
While this dish is certainly not going to fall within the low-carb or keto categories, it is very delicious. Think of this like a delightful meal that will be worth biting into. The rich & creamy texture of the tortellini dances beautiful with the fresh vegetables and aromatic butter sauce. This tortellini recipe is perfect for a special evening with friends, or for your next #selfcare day.
Now, let’s move onto the recipe, shall we?
1 16-20oz package tortellini
1/3 stick butter, softened, and two tablespoons butter, separated
6 oz. Asparagus
1 pear
Two packed cups fresh spinach
2-3 fresh sage leaves
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Directions:
1. Take a large pasta pot, fill 3/4 way with water and set it on heat to begin boiling. While water is heating, dice pear into 1/2″ cubes, then set aside.
2. Take the asparagus and chop off the bottom 1/2″ of each stalk. Afterwards, take a skillet, heat to medium, and melt 1 tbsp. butter. Afterwards, place asparagus in skillet, and let brown for 2-3 minutes on each side (covered), and then turn. Asparagus should have light grill marks and a tender bite. Once asparagus is finished cooking, remove from heat, and cut into 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.
3. Use the same skillet for asparagus and add 1 tbsp.  of oil. Add diced pears and sauté for about 4-5 minutes on medium-high or until the pear begins to lightly caramelize.
4. Once water begins boiling, gently add tortellini to pot. Let the tortellini cook for 4-5 minutes or until the pasta begins to float to the top. Pasta will be al’ dente. Drain afterwards and place back in pot. Set aside.
5. Take a small sauce pan, set to medium heat, anyplace 1/3 of softened butter stick into pot. At this point, add and gently mix garlic powder and sage. Allow to continue to cook on medium for about 4 minutes or until the butter begins to boil rapidly and brown. Remove sage from pot.
6. To the pasta, add the brown butter sauce, spinach, asparagus, pear, and cheese, and sit until spinach begins to wilt and cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Makes 6 servings 
Nutrition information per serving:
341 Calories | 11g Protein | 20g Fat | 30.5g Carbohydrates | 2g Fiber


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

Taste of The Earth Cooking Demo: Reflections + Gratitude


My heart is so full… This past Monday evening, on July 8, 2019, I had the privilege of facilitating my first ever community cooking demo at a library. The name of the event was called ‘A Taste of the Earth: A Plant Based Cooking Demo’. This all began back in the early spring, as one of the very kind librarians of the Bruton Memorial Library reached out to me, after seeing a recent article about my cooking in our local newspaper, known as The Plant City Observer. The library had begun the process of planning for their adult summer programming, and liked the blogging content that I was creating, and was interested in seeing if I would like to facilitate a cooking demo, that utilized seasonal, local ingredients. I could not say no to that opportunity!

Me doing a presentation on the benefits of eating locally & seasonally to a crowd of 40+ attendees


And I must say, that the cooking demo was truly a success! I spent the first portion of the evening discussing the benefits of supporting local, seasonal food. The second portion of the event consisted of me instructing attendees on how to prepare two delicious meals that utilized seasonal, Florida produce: One dish was my famous Mango Stir-fry, and the second dish was a refreshing Watermelon nice-cream (check out each of those two hyperlinks, which go directly to both recipes).

My yummy Mango Stir-fry
Thanks so much to everyone who came out to support tonight’s seasonal plant-based cooking demo at the Bruton Memorial Library, located in downtown Plant City, Florida. I want to thank all of the incredible librarians that made this happen, and the rest of my rad community. I couldn’t have done this without any of you!! I appreciate you all so much, and hope everyone had a wonderful time!

This wonderful event had a couple takeaways:
1. There is a giant demand for community members who want to eat fresh, seasonal & healthy food.
2. Community is everything. Everyone came together to help me serve food, and break down, post- event-and that in itself means everything.
3. Despite all of the technology we have at our fingertips, nothing beats hands-on learning!



For beginning The Funky Spork back in December of 2018, it’s fair to say that I’m still a newbie when it comes to my blogging (via this platform). NEVER would I have thought that my love for Instagramming my quirky recipes would somehow develop into my own business, where I now facilitate healthy cooking demos for the community! Even though my business is currently my ‘side hustle’, I’m excited to see how my passion for cooking and creating yummy food art evolves over the course of time. What a blessing this adventure and journey has been. 🙂

Me and my friend Jennifer Steed, Co-founder of Steed Farms, a local Plant City-based Community Supported Agricultural System (CSA)


Mango Stir-fry

This summer recipe is incredibly simple, yet delicious. Whenever possible, support your local economy!



Mango Stir fry-yes, Mangos and Stir fry go well, together. This is a delicious concoction that I have been cooking up for the past 15 years, dating back to the time when I was a very poor undergrad student. The sweetness of the mango will dance perfectly with the garlicky, slightly tanginess of the rest of the vegetable medley, and tastes absolutely perfect when served over a bed of warm rice, and sliced Florida Avocado. If you’re feelin’ up to it, you can pair this dish with a ‘white meat’ protein, such as fish, chicken, or grilled tofu.

The dish is light, delicious, and packed with flavor and nutrients!

Ingredients:

·         4 cloves garlic
·         1 small red onion
·         2 bell peppers
·         2 ripened mangos
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil (grapeseed, coconut or avocado)
·         ¼ tsp. salt & ¼ tsp. black pepper
Directions:
1. 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 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 bell pepper and coarsely chop each veggie until each piece is roughly 1” in size. Set aside.
4. Slice your mangos in half, peel the skin off, and dice each mango until the pieces are roughly 1” in size. 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 garlic mixture. Sautee in the wok for about 1½ minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant and becomes slightly more translucent.
6. 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. Lift the lid off and stir several times for about a minute, and let the veggies cook uncovered for about three minutes.
7. Lower the temperature to medium, and gradually add in the diced mangos. Stir, and let the mixture continue cooking for about two minutes uncovered, until the mixture begins to lightly thicken, and the peppers begin to lightly caramelize. At this point, season the stir fry with the salt and pepper. Turn off the stove and remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool down for about a minute or so.
8. Serve with a side of rice. Enjoy!! J

4 Servings

Nutritional information per serving (without rice):
197 calories/ 2.69g protein/7.6g fat/33.6g carbs/ 3.9g fiber


Taste of the Earth: A Seasonal, Plant-based Cooking Demo [this July!!]



Looking for something fun to do this summer? Why not consider going local! Eating locally and seasonally is one of the best things that we can do for our environment, our local economy, and our health. Join me for an interactive evening based around learning about the benefits of eating seasonally, locally and plant-based, while getting to learn how to prepare a delicious healthy meal made with locally-grown produce. Bring your appetites, family, and your friends!



The fun will be taking place at the The Quintilla Geer Bruton Memorial Library, located at 302 McLendon St, Plant City, FL 33563For more information about the event, click here: http://hcplc.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=176162&df=calendar&lib=25&et=18&ag=726%2C724%2C728&nomobile=1&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2019/07/01


Interested in booking me for a healthy cooking demo for your organization? Would you like to collaborate? Send me an InMail, or contact me at: thefunkyspork@gmail.com


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


Cauliflower Veggie Fried Rice


How ‘bout a heaping serving of your favorite takeout-inspired fried rice, with a low-carb remix..?


Carbs.

Contrary to popular belief, they are one of the three macronutrients that are vital to your health.

However, there are some days that I want to cut back, and eat something well…lighter! This recipe is incredibly simple, yet delicious. The combination of the soy sauce*, peas, and egg** really give this the classic Chinese-American fried rice flavor. Incorporating the cauliflower rice gives this dish a beautiful texture, and very subtle flavor which creates a wonderful palette for the senses.  I posted the veggies that I used, but you can really use whatever veggies you’d like!



I really don’t know what else to say. So let’s jump ahead to the recipe, shall we?
Cauliflower Veggie Fried Rice

Ingredients:
·         16 oz. cauliflower, riced-or-1 small head of cauliflower.
·         1 large carrot
·         ¼ cup water
·         1 large red bell pepper
·         1 large egg (** or 4 oz of extra-firm tofu, drained, if vegan)
·         1 small red onion
·         2-3 green onion stems
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil (grapeseed, coconut or avocado)
·         2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce * or coconut aminos
·         3 cloves fresh garlic
·         1-2 tbsp. sriracha (optional)

Directions:

1. If you are ricing cauliflower: coarsely chop your cauliflower head until the pieces are about 2” in size. Then place cauliflower chunks into food processor and pulse for about two seconds. Repeat until the cauliflower pieces are roughly the size of a grain of rice. For best results, break up chopped cauliflower batch, so you don’t jam up your food processor. Once the cauliflower is riced, set aside. If you have already purchased pre-riced cauliflower, then skip this step, and omit the ¼ cup of water in step 2.

2. In a medium-sized sauce pan, turn the heat on medium, and place the freshly riced cauliflower and ¼ water in pot. Let the mixture cook on medium, covered, for about 8-10 minutes, or until all of the water has evaporated and the cauliflower gets the texture of cooked rice (like an al-dente). If cooking with pre-riced cauliflower, cover and let cook for 7-8 minutes on medium, covered, or until the rice also gets an al-dente texture. Set aside.

3. While the cauliflower rice is cooking, coarsely chop the bell pepper, carrot, red & green onion until they are about the size of one inch cubes. Once diced, heat up large skillet or wok, add cooking oil and let it heat for about 30 seconds on medium-high. Gradually add the chopped veggies (except green onions) to the skillet, and cover veggies and let them cook for about 8 minutes, covered, or until the onion begins to lightly golden brown. Be sure to stir the veggies frequently.

4. Vegetarian step (skip to step 5 if vegan)-During the last three minutes of the veggies sautéing, leave a portion of room empty in skillet, crack the egg in that space, scramble the egg, until it is fully cooked. Gently stir egg mixture around the remaining veggies.

5. Vegan step- During the last five minutes of the veggies sautéing, leave a portion of room empty in skillet, gently crumble the tofu into large scrambled egg-like chunks, and scramble the tofu, until it is it begins to lightly brown.. Gently stir tofu mixture around the remaining veggies.

6. Once the veggies and cauliflower rice finish sautéing, gently incorporate the rice mixture into the veggie mixture. Stir frequently, and gradually stir in the soy sauce, sriracha, and add the peas. Cook the mixture down on medium heat, covered, for about two minutes, or until the peas are warmed.

7. Once the veggie stir fry is finished cooking, sprinkle the green onion mixture on top, serve, and enjoy! 🙂

4 Servings

Nutritional information per serving:
154g calories/ 5.7g protein/8.5g fat/17g carbs/ 4g fiber
Have you made this? Did you alter this recipe in any way? Comment below!