Project Fabricland: Diva Inspiration

My mom and I

In January, I participated for the fifth time in Project Fabricland, a sewing competition, similar to Project Runway.  Each week, students meet for three hours to sew garments based on a theme.  This year, the theme was Divas.  This included style icons such as Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, among others.  Sophia Loren has been my personal favorite icon in all aspects ever since I saw her in one of my favorite movies, Houseboat (1958).  In Houseboat, Loren plays a young Italian lady who helps a widower (Cary Grant) raise his three children; they end up forming a relationship after Grant sees Loren providing the care that his children so deeply craved, and being the charismatic person she is.  Like all Loren movies, she is feisty and an individual, and does not play a woman who falls at the needs of a man – she’s willing to through a slap here and there :).  After seeing her speak at an event, I was inspired by her honesty, boldness, humor, and dashing beauty, and therefore crafted a dress that I believe to capture who she is. Continue reading

Vegan Mocha Cheesecake (Gluten-free and Refined Sugar-free)

mocha cheesecake

When my cousin’s birthday was approaching, I knew that I had to make a “wow” dessert – one that could stand by itself, and every one would enjoy.  Inspired by my cousin’s everlasting love for coffee and cheesecake, as well as my family’s obsession with chocolate, I decided to combine these key foods to make a mocha cheesecake.  And did I mention that it’s raw, vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free (and they didn’t even notice!)?

mocha cheesecake

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Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites

Vanilla, hazelnuts, chocolate; these are a few of my favorite things.

So when it came to creating a cheesecake recipe, I wanted it to involve all of these ingredients in the most harmonious way possible while tasting like an actual, real cheesecake.  These vanilla bean hazelnut cheesecake bites are decadent, smooth, creamy, and not to mention gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free (oh, and no-bake!).

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The Best of Smorgasburg, Prospect Park

Last week, my friends and I went on a foodie adventure to Smorgasburg in Prospect Park, an outdoor market full of small pop-up restaurant stands.

Walking in, Smorgasburg appears to be its own bustling metropolis centered purely on food from local vendors.  It was truly a wonderland; I talked to fellow food enthusiasts on line, met the chefs of the stands, and best of all, I had the chance to try out innovative food with my friends.  There are over 75 stands, each with their own unique menu.  Below, I’ve put together the 5 best stands (including dairy & gluten-full ones my friends enjoyed).

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Peanut Butter Chickpea Energy Balls

Both peanut butter and chickpeas are fantastic sources of protein, but together in sweetened bites may not sound the most appetizing.  That is, until now with the most delicious Peanut Butter Chickpea Energy Balls!  I was tired of those store-bought energy bars whose taste resembled that of a cookie: I needed something that would fill me up, with ingredients as simple as possible.  Typical energy foods have a long list of weird dehydrated vegetables, and the sugar levels can exceed 20g easily.

Not these.

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Simple Green Smoothie (sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Hello soon-to-be-smoothie lover!  You may have already seen all over Instagram cute pictures of leafy smoothies, and wonder to yourself why anyone would drink that.  I have to admit, that was my reaction to them until this month.  Going from activity to activity, you need something that’s quick and will power you through – and smoothies are the perfect way to do so.  They’re easy, and the most convenient way to pack in your fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats.  For smoothie skeptics like me, along with smoothie enthusiasts, this simple smoothie recipe is the tastiest there is :).

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Sweet Potato Coconut Waffles (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

My latest obsession has been sweet potato.  People may think of them as only a Thanksgiving type food, but they’re actually quite versatile, and bring the most subtle natural sweetness to any dish.  What better way to celebrate sweet potatoes than make it into a waffle?

These waffles keep you full, satisfied, and are quite the guilt-less morning treat.  I like to refrigerate them, and pop them in the grill during the week.  Yes, you may be thinking that waffles are all around bad for your – and yes, sometimes they can be, especially when they’re gluten free; manufacturer’s might add unnecessary ingredients like natural flavor, or other heavily processed like corn syrup.

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