A Peek Into Meredith's New Book

Writing a book is a major case of delayed gratification. By the time the book is published (usually close to 2 years after you sign the contract) you've almost forgotten how it happened. You are essentially in another phase of life. Still equally excited, but some of the nerves have warn off. You've sat with it, gained confidence about it, tweaked it, edited it, shown it to all your friends and family, bragged about it, bashed it, and when the book finally gets published you are pretty excited (ok, cant wait!) to share it. 

Within all of the waiting there are some spurts of major excitement- #1 is definitely getting back photos to share! 

Yesterday was a typical Tuesday, but it became A-typically exciting when I opened my inbox and found an email from Adrian Mueller with a link to his website and photos from my book shoot- which meant, I get to share some of the photos! 

We've mentioned Adrian before. He is the photographer with whom we've worked with on the last 3 books. This was the 4th time that Adrian and I have worked together - and you know, 4th times a charm ;-) Anyhow, Adrian is incredibly talented. I have learned so much about food styling and photography working with him. He is incredibly precise, meticulous, thoughtful and creative when it comes to his work. He has taught me to see things that I would have never before noticed- the details of details. I am so grateful for these experiences. 

I am so excited to share these photos with you! I really think that these might be the best yet. 

For more of Adrian's beautiful photography and some more of the work we've done together - check out his website 

Meredith's {Vegan} Pad Thai Amazingness

Meredith is amazing in general and today she completely blew me away with her Pad Thai recipe! She kills it in the kitchen and I'm so excited to share this with you. Here is her story:

Working in the food biz- doesn't always make for the most creative cooking at home. Sometimes when you think about food all day, you just want something really simple for dinner. We have a rotation of about 3 dishes that we always do variations of. 

But sometimes.... we mix it up! As I mentioned in my last post, we have a lovely intern Carly Gross here helping us this summer which gives me more ambition in the kitchen (does that rhyme?) and an extra set of hands. Not that you couldn't easily make this dish solo. It is very very easy.  

Anyways, the other night we made a lovely version of Pad Thai. It was absolutely a crowd pleaser, and not hard to put together at all.  It will certainly be a major player all summer long. 

The only special equipment need is a spiral slicer, but you could easily get away with doing a very thing julienne to the vegetables. 

We were serving 5 people so the recipe is kind of big- feel free to cut in half! 

Simple and delicious! 

We served it with an amazing bottle of chilled rose. 

Pad Thai Recipe
Serves 5

Vegetables / Salad

- 2 Zucchini’s, made into noodles with a spiralizer. Salt the zucchini for a least 30 minutes before serving. Rinse and drain. This takes the excess water out of the zucchini. 
- 3 Carrots, julienned 
- 2 Coconuts worth of meat, thinly sliced
- 2 Cups sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
-1 handful cilantro, chopped lightly
-Juice of one lime

Assembly

Toss vegetables with sauce. Garnish and serve immediately. 

Pad Thai Sauce

- 1 Cup Almond Butter
- Juice of half of a lime
- 1 Cup Coconut Water
- 1-2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated 
- 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Red Chili, diced 
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil 
- 1 Tbsp Nama shoyu 
- 1 Tbsp White Miso 
- Salt to Taste 

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. 

Curried Cashews

Toss chopped raw cashews with a few teaspoons sesame oil, curry powder, and lots of salt. This MAKES the dish. If you don't like cashews you could sub almonds. 

Garnish 

Lime Wedge 
Cilantro 
Sesame Seeds 

And look at the set-up. Meredith is SO-COOL in SO many ways! {Thanks Meredith}!

The Skinny On Wine! {according to meredith}

We all love wine but wonder if it should be a part of our diet...so, here is what Meredith has to say about it:

When you are the type of person who attempts to be an educated consumer, the world of wine poses a challenging hurdle . The amount of history and information surrounding wine are extremely complex, with hundreds and thousands of different producers and grape varietals to choose from- growing regions, climates, the list goes on.  I am not going to attempt to sort through this information in such a short article. What I am going to help you understand is a bit more easily defined- although still wrought with politics and controversy. I will
try to keep it as simple as possible.

Herein lies the problem. All wine is not created equally. When you are meticulously trying to put the cleanest foods in your body, you should also do so when choosing a wine. Grapes are an agricultural product that can be laden with pesticides, and farmed in a manner that is damaging to the environment. Fortunately many wineries are getting on board with the idea that how they manage their vineyard can
actually be a contribution to our ecosystem. Which is why supporting smaller producers is a great idea- it helps contribute to the diversification of wines instead of supporting mass produced equals.

The differences and the quirks in wines are what make them intriguing,
appealing and exciting - a good thing. A wine should represent the climate,
vineyard, and year it is grown in- making each bottle unique. When you
support environmentally friendly wine production, you come closer to
supporting quality and diversity. What do all the labels mean and how
do you know?

First of all wine is raw.
Wine is made from pressing the juice out of grapes and allowing that juice to ferment with strains of yeast. The yeast eats the sugar and converts it to alcohol and CO2 yes, carbon dioxide. In most cases the carbon dioxide is released, but in the case of sparkling wine, it is trapped in the bottle and that is where the bubbles come from- Voila! Champagne, but that is a different story. If all wine is only fermented grape juice, what is vegetarian/vegan wine?  Aren’t all wines by definition vegan or vegetarian? The answer is no, they are not. To remove the yeasts and particles from wines they are filtered. Most often in the filtration process a small amount of animal products are used from a variety of sources; gelatin, isinglass (fish bones),
casein and egg whites are all examples of products that are used.

Note: but a lot of this is old news and many wineries are more vegan than ever before. Not necessarily by choice but rather coincidence. Just call and ask a winery if you really want to know details. 

Although it is a very small amount, if you are strictly vegan, you may want to pay attention to this fact. However, even if a wine is not labeled vegan or vegetarian- if a wine is labeled unfiltered, you have a good chance that it is animal free.  Like with all agricultural products, there are basically three levels certifying the “green” factor of a wine. 

Sustainable 

As to whether a wine is sustainable or not might require a little research to ascertain. Because of the rigorous process to become certified organic, many small-scale wineries do not have the money and/or resources to obtain this classification. Many small wineries farm in a way that is environmentally friendly and their owners are proud and happy to share this information with you.

For this reason it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars to support a smaller venture that might not have corporate financial backing, but which embraces an eco friendly ethic. It is  important to note that many wine regions sustainably farm, this number is being increasingly more and more. 

Organic

Just like with food, organic wine is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and steer away from using most conventional pesticides; petroleum-based fertilizers or harmful fertilizers; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. In order for a product to be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier must inspect the vineyard to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. This process is expensive and time consuming.

Biodynamic

Biodynamic farming is perhaps the most rigorous and intense method of farming. As applied to wine, biodynamic farming principles treat the vineyard as a whole organism rather than just concern for one singular crop. Biodynamic regards the soil as the life of the vineyard (which it is) and treats it with detailed focus and
attention; crop rotation, green manure, cover crops, wind protection etc. Thus biodynamic vineyards attain the most environmentally sound forms of production, and yield a very high quality crop. Traditionally more popular in France and Germany, biodynamic farmings has started to gain recognition and popularity in the US.

Wine can be an important part of enjoying life and food. Wine can calm your spirit and bring you in the moment to sit, relax and savor a meal with friends and family- raw, vegan, vegetarian or otherwise. Choosing wine should be as pleasurable as enjoying it, not an intimidating decision that makes you question
yourself and your choices.

And a quick note, Juli wanted to be sure everybody saw her mom's lovely
wine cork wreath creation. She's pretty creative, don't you think?

image collage above includes hand towel from anthropologie

Meredith's Marinated Mushrooms

Many people don't even realize how wonderful mushrooms can taste in their raw form after just being marinated for a short time. No cooking involved for these bad boys! Meredith shares her recipes with you and the idea behind her new book:

My current, and one of the most major projects I am working on is our next book Design your Detox. This is the first book that I am doing that is 100% my vision. It is the way I eat, the way I live, and the way I believe others would benefit from eating. Because it is so close to home, this book  is particularly exciting and challenging. I feel like I have so many things to say it is hard to edit them down! 

My philosophy is really K.I.S.S. Unfortunately, the raw food diet or any healthy diet for that matter, has gotten turned into this incredibly complicated and exclusive lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, gourmet health food is AMAZING and totally has a place; but just like other gourmet foods, it isn't always practical. I believe that you can easily incorporate super healthy raw food dishes into your diet on a daily basis. The principle of detoxing shouldn't feel like a crash diet. You starve for a week and then go back to your regular diet. Yes, when you start eating more vegetable centric meals, you will start to crave them, and a balanced meal won't feel balanced without them. The idea behind Design your Detox is to incorporate healthy meals into your diet as it suites. For some of us we try to eat healthy at every meal (optimal) , but depriving yourself of indulgences every now and then doesn't have to be permanently banned from your life. Eating more raw food shouldn't feel like an all or nothing diet . Most of us do eat some raw food- so what is the big deal? All I ask is ONE meal a day! It is SO worth it and so easy. I could go on, but since I am writing a book on the subject I will stay short. 

The most fulfilling part of a book is getting to taste, and eat- crazy simple, crazy good meals! Here are two recipes that I worked on last week. One is 100% raw and the other incorporates some cooked quinoa. 100% raw is great if you live in a tropical environment, but Maine winters make the challenge feel a little absurd. High protein, gluten free grains like quinoa are warming, balancing and very nourishing- especially in the winter.

Carrot Ribbons, Black Sesame, Shitake
Serves 2-4 

Carrot Ribbons

4 Large Carrots, peeled and run through spiral slicer (Should yield about 8 cups)
½ Head of Small Red Cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
3 Tbsp Black Sesame Seeds
Juice of Half a Lemon
Pinch of Sea Salt

Shitakes

3 Cups Shitakes, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Tamari or Nama Shoyu

Sesame Sauce

½ C Tahini
¼ C Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Miso
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil (or Olive Oil)
1 ½ C Water
¼ tsp Sea Salt

¼ Cup Cilantro Leaves
Black Sesame Seeds

Carrot Ribbons- Toss carrots, cabbage, sesame seeds lemon and salt in a large bowl. Allow to marinate while making sauce.

Shitakes- Toss shitakes with Tamari and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Sesame Sauce- Blend or whisk all ingredients until thoroughly combined, and emulsified.

Assembly- Toss carrot ribbons and shitakes with half of the sauce. You can serve immediately or allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.


 Black Quinoa, Radicchio, Shaved Fennel, Cremini

Serves 2 - 4

1 Cup Black Quinoa, cooked and drained
1 Small head radicchio, chopped
1 Small Fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved on mandolin 
2 Tbsp pine nuts
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped 
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste  

Cemini Mushrooms

1 Cup Cremini Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Tamari
½ tsp Olive Oil

Assembly-  While quinoa is still warm, toss all ingredients together. Allow to marinate for a t least 10 minutes before serving so that the flavors combine.

Mushrooms – If possible, marinate mushrooms separately with Tamari and Olive Oil for approximately 10 minutes. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Meet Meredith :: PureMamas Contributor

I'm so so so excited to introduce everybody to Meredith. Not only is she one of the coolest, most stylish, interesting, talented and healthy girls I know, but she is now an official PureMamas contributor. I'm so excited in fact that I just couldn't wait until Monday to tell everybody. 

Stay Tuned for some amazing fresh juices, salads and wonderful surprises from Meredith in the upcoming months!

I hope you're as intrigued as I am. For now, sit back and get more acquainted with Meredith via our intimate Q&A. 

Juli: So what got you into Raw or Vegan food?

Meredith: I have toyed with vegetrianism since I was about 12 and went cold turkey (no pun inteneded) when I was 16. I've always been drawn to the diet and lifestyle. It just made sense.

I was born and raised in South Carolina which was definitely not vegetarian friendly. I am sure that the influence was due to my close family and cousins all being strictly vegetarian, but it definitely resonated with me. I've always loved to cook so the challenge was fun for me.

I did my high school senior paper on vegetrianism and through that I learned more about vegan, and raw food. In college I ate mostly vegan, but also became very interested in gourmet cuisines and culinary arts- because I do appreciate all types of food I've always tried to steer clear of labels.

As a senior in college, while living in France, I actually became totally obsessed with raw food cuisine. By day I would shop the streets of Paris, and by night I would be on the internet researching raw foods! Not only was it fitting to my preferred way of healthy eating, but I also thought that it was a really interesting way to prepare food. I saw that there was so much potential to make it really cool.

With no solid plans after my college graduation, I asked for raw food culinary lessons at Living Light Culinary Arts in California. Everyone thought that I was crazy. "Hippie" Culinary school in a random town in Northern California was a complete stretch. I went, had the most amazing time of my life, and absolutely everything that has happened since then has been serindiptous. I stayed in California for a while and  committed to making a career out of raw food. 

Juli: Do you only eat vegan food?

Meredith: No. I have gone through periods of being strictly vegan, but I find that a balanced approach is much better. I don't really believe in "faux" foods and would much rather have the high quality real thing than something made with soy, or highly processed. The beauty about raw food is that the cheese, and milk alternatives are totally natural and easy to make at home. The nutritional benefits are totally different, and I don't consider those an alternative or compromise! I usually go for goat or sheeps dairy, and I don't eat any red meat or chicken, but will eat high quality fish occasionally. 

Juli: What is your favorite drink?

Meredith: Green Juice and Wine. Wine and Green Juice. I don't know which comes first. (Well, the Green Juice does because I don't drink wine in the morning! ha) I am a certified wine educator, so wine is definitely a passion. 

Juli: What else do you enjoy outside of food?

Meredith: Fashion and Design/Art. Until I went for raw food I always imagined that my career would be in one or the other. My enthusiasm for those things is probably equal to food.  

Juli: I hear you've co-authored a few books? What were they?

Meredith: In 2008 I moved to New York and partnered with Matthew Kenney. One of our first projects together was Everyday Raw Desserts. Wow. I have learned SO much since then. Writing recipes, organizing photo shoots etc. was an amazing challenge, but a lot of fun! We then wrote Everyday Raw Express which was really great, because the concept of that book is something that I feel strongly about. My first official co-author was Raw Chocolate (but he will tell you I was the main player in all of the above ;-) 

I am currently working on a book Design Your Detox that is about easily incorporating detoxifying foods into your diet . Including healthy foods into your diet shouldn't feel like an all or nothing challenge, even one healthy meal a day can make a huge difference! 

Juli: Any other projects in the works?

Meredith: TOO MANY.  We have Matthew Kenney Academy in Oklahoma City that proves to be very successful. We have students who come from all over the world to learn this type of cuisine. It is truly amazing. The students produce some of the most mind blowing food. The school is positioned to expand this year. 

We are also opening a restaurant in Highland Park Chicago this spring, In the Raw. I am personally very involved with this project. It is a stylish casual concept that will offer an extensive program of juice cleanses. 

What else? A lot. I am shocked every day by how many people are interested in raw food. I could have never imagined that the potential would be as great as it is. 

Juli: Why is raw fresh food important to you?

Meredith: I like to feel good (Don't we all) Food is crucial to your feeling of wellness. When you start eating more fresh raw food you will be amazed at how much better you feel, and more energy you have. People are numb with bloated stomachs and have a lack of passion and energy.  Aesthetics also play a part in it for me. To me fresh food is more vibrant, alive, beautiful and interesting! Think about the vibrant colors in a fresh salad vs. a monotone piece of cooked meat! Raw Vegan Food is ABSOLUTELY more beautiful to look at!

Juli: Where do you live and with whom?

Meredith: I currently live in an amazingly beautiful coastal town in Maine with my boyfriend and cat. My home is an old restored bank turned law office, that was built in 1876. My closet is an airtight vault so if anyone fights it makes a good threat. :-) Maine is full of amazing food, and is an easy place to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Juli: What makes you happy each day?

Meredith: It sounds cliche, but the little things.  I simply love waking up and having my tea and breakfast in the morning, juice in the afternoon, and wine with a delicious meal at night. Good company and a healthy routine is such a blessing! I feel very lucky in that department. 

Juli: If you could go and do anything in the world right now where/what would it be?

Meredith: I would basically pick up my exact life and put it in Kelly Wearstler's designed Malibu Beach Home, or a modern Venice Beach bungalow. I love southern California and it fits my life and work very well. 

Juli: Do you want to be a mama one day?

Meredith: Ah... this is a loaded question. Right now my baby has a lot of fur and a tail, but I imagine someday I'll want one that looks more like me :-) The concept of family is very important to me. I definitely believe strongly in the value of a family unit. 

Juli: If so, name one important lesson you want to teach your child. 

Meredith: My mom was the worlds best. She always treated us like people. I believe that it it is important to honor your children by educating them through your influence, and not be dictator.  

Juli: Lastly, do you have a blog, interest or twitter account you'd like to share with us? 

Meredith: I have a tumblr that I keep up with called BEInspired, it is all the random things that I like. I enjoy doing it 

More professionally we have our company's website

And of COURSE... I tweet too. If you want to follow me, HERE I AM

Juli: I LOVE YOUR BLOG BY THE WAY! It's so pretty and stylish! Thanks for sharing all of this info with us! Can't wait to get your first juice post up!  +