This Friday’s foodie friend is Monica from The Movement Menu! She is an inspiring foodie, blogger, and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful tips and delicious whole food recipes. She’s also giving us a sneak peak at her recipe for Baklava Donuts from her upcoming cookbook, Paleo Baking, which will be released in the early fall! More on that below, but first, let’s get to know more about Monica!
Tell us a little about yourself—Welp… I can do this. I’m a go-getter… anyone who knows me will tell you that if I have my eye on something, I’m going to do it. It doesn’t matter how tough the journey may be or how long it will take me to get there, I’ll achieve it. That’s just the way that I roll. I’ve set out to be my own boss since I was pretty young. Growing up, I knew I wanted to lead people towards achieving the greater. A few years ago, it became clear to me I wanted to do so by leading by example & then came the birth of The Movement Menu.
In addition to food blogging, I consult for health food brands about 20 hours a week and just finished writing my first cookbook: Paleo Baking! I bought my first house when I was 23 years old, which was a huge accomplishment. My (now husband) and I bought it before we even got engaged. People thought we were insane to do things so “unconventionally”. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve lived here 3 years now and are coming up on our 1 year anniversary in July!
I also have a really strange obsession with donuts. In fact, I dedicated an entire chapter in my new cookbook to them. Coupled with my strange obsession for donuts, comes my obsession with French bulldogs. We plan on getting one as soon as we can! I try to be funny, as often as possible. Nothing brings me more joy than making people feel good, via laughter and good eats!
How did you come up with the name of your blog, The Movement Menu, and what kind of recipes do you share there? Before The Movement Menu, I created a blog called Culinary Calisthenics, which I was very much into. However, a mentor of mine in the industry gently let me know that I needed to change the name ASAP. He assured me people would continuously butcher the spelling and would not be able to easily access my website. I came up with The Movement Menu because I want people to get moving. I want people to get off the couch and start moving around in general: in the kitchen, walking around their neighborhood, etc. It’s also in reference to movement internally—yes, I am referring to bowel movement. The idea is that eating this way will get you moving, all over! 🙂
You eat mostly paleo and gluten-free, what differences did you first notice in your body when you changed to this new way of eating? To be honest, I started eating paleo on a whim. I didn’t do it to improve my health or lose weight. However, I discovered the paleo diet after being a vegetarian for 1 year. The difference it made with my sleeping schedule, overall energy production & mental clarity was INSANE (in the best way possible). After realizing how awesome I felt on this new “diet” which is now a lifestyle of mine, I never looked back!
What is your favorite paleo/whole 30 meal? My favorite Whole30 meal would have to be salmon poke! I love serving it in an avocado! Check out these poke recipes on The Movement Menu— Hawaiian Poke Bowls and Ahi Poke Avocado Boats!
You say that you’re really into food and fitness. What does one of your typical workouts consist of? I am obsessed with weight lifting. I usually work out solo and spend about 45 minutes to 1 hour, 3-4 times a week lifting weights. My favorite muscle groups to workout are my shoulders and my hamstrings & glutes!
Some people seem to get stuck in a rut with blogging, especially after doing it for so long. You’re obviously continuing to grow your brand and are making strides in the right direction, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Can you share 1 or 2 tips that has helped you to push through those times when you’re feeling discouraged or stagnant? Ah, this is a fun question to answer. I have moments where I feel like I want to give up frequently, even after blogging for 2 1/2 years. You have to remember to be consistent and open up to your audience. Chances are, a high percentage of your readers aren’t just there for your recipes. They’re there for YOU. Open up whenever given the chance and make sure you’re churning out content as often as you can, without losing quality of course.
If you could invite anyone in the world over for dinner, who would it be and what would you make them? If I could invite anyone over for dinner, it would be Phil Rosenthal. He is the writer of Everyone Loves Raymond and had a mini series on Netflix called I’ll Have What Phil’s Having. He just seems like THE most down to earth, adventurous, knowledgable and absolutely hilarious person. I’d make him whatever he wanted, duh!
What is your favorite kitchen tool? I’m going to have to say an awesome chef’s knife!
Favorite snapchat accounts? Melissa Hartwig cracks me up A LOT. Her channel is hartwig_melissa … also Kate Hudson and John Mayer are hilarious.
What is the most popular recipe on The Movement Menu? The most popular is the Trader Joe’s Fried Cauliflower Rice!
Your cookbook, Paleo Baking, is coming out in September! Can you tell us a little more about it? Since it’s a baking cookbook, I’ll have everything from decadent layered cakes, to quick & easy cookies and bar recipes and plenty of my favorite: DONUTS. Oh, did I mention there will be an entire savory chapter?! You can expect to find recipes for curried chicken pot pies & pumpkin alfredo poutine (yes, get excited!)
Monica was kind enough to share one of the recipes from her upcoming cookbook below to whet our appetites for the release in September! Don’t these Baklava Donuts look AMAZING? I can’t wait to whip up a batch myself! They’re made with wholesome ingredients and are free of grains, gluten, and refined sugar! Delicious and healthier donuts?!?! Yes, please!
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Monica! For more information, visit her blog at The Movement Menu. You can also find her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and on Snapchat @themovementmenu. To purchase her cookbook, which will be available on September 13th, 2016, you can head on over to Amazon to pre-order!
- 11/2 cups (145 g) raw cashews
- ⅓ cup (75 g) ghee
- ½ cup (112 g) arrowroot flour, divided
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (110 ml) pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup (118 ml) raw honey
- 11/2 tbsp (17 g) creamy cashew butter
- 3 tbsp (43 g) brown butter (page 32) or ghee
- 1 tsp water
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (29 g) walnuts, crushed
- ¼ cup (30 g) pecans, crushed
- ¼ cup (30 g) raw pistachios, crushed
- 2 tsp (5 g) cinnamon
- 2 tbsp (24 g) maple sugar or coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325oF (162oC) and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Grease a donut pan with coconut oil spray or melted ghee. Pulse the raw cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender, a few seconds at a time, until they resemble a coarse flour. This should take about 1 minute. Be sure not to turn the cashew flour into cashew butter. Watch the texture closely.
- In a small saucepan, melt the ghee over a low flame. Set aside to cool while you prepare the donuts. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cashew flour, ¼ cup (56 g) of the arrowroot flour and sea salt. Don’t worry if there are small chunks in the cashew flour. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs into two bowls. Place the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. In the bowl of the egg yolks, add the maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and melted ghee. Whisk everything together until well incorporated. Add this mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a fork until everything has been well combined. Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and blend on medium-high for 30 seconds until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites on high until they form soft peaks. Stir the baking soda into the donut batter and immediately add half of the egg white, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add the other ¼ cup (56 g) of arrowroot flour and stir until completely incorporated. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Spoon about a cup of batter into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with about a ½-inch (1.25-cm) hole cut off the end. Carefully pipe the mixture into the donut molds. Bake the donuts for 18 minutes, making sure to check them by inserting a toothpick into the center after 16 minutes, just in case. They will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the donuts from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack. Grease the donut pan again and repeat with the remainder of the batter for another batch of donuts.
- In a small saucepan, bring the honey to a low boil and simmer for 8–10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally until the honey is a deep amber color. Remove from the heat and add the cashew butter, brown butter, water and vanilla. Let it cool slightly until it is thick enough for dipping. Mix all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Submerge the tops of the donuts into the glaze. Place the donuts on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and sprinkle the topping over each one.
Previous Foodie Friends:
June 10, 2015—Q&A with Me!
June 3, 2015—Allyson from Reclaiming Yesterday!
May 27, 2015—Aleyda from The Dish On Healthy!
May 20, 2016—Christine from Yommme!
May 13, 2016—Minna from Living Minnaly!