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}!

My Fennel Corn Salad

It's that time again! Summer fruits and veggies are coming into season and I'm overwhelmed with excitement. 

One of my favorites, next to watermelon, is fennel. It is so fun to add fennel to all sorts of salads and dishes. 

This time, I'm sharing one of my all time favorite creations. It does have cheese, so it's not vegan friendly. You can leave the cheese out, but you will lose the sour taste, which makes this salad super unique. 

It's fresh, organic, clean and extremely full of flavor. Perfect if you're having company or barbequing outside. The jalapeno is the key ingredient here, so do NOT leave it out!

I also like to add toasted sesame seeds or hazel nuts crushed up on the top. You can top with green onion as well. Or just leave it as is. Adding wild arugula or another green herb makes the salad really PRETTY! Have fun. 

Enjoy and have an amazing weekend.

check out lots of great kitchen appliances at APPLIANCE PLANET
{photo credit: feta cheese from saveur magazine}

Hydration Week & Brussel Sprout Chop

It's been a great week of serious hydration. I am happy to say that my skin looks much cleaner and my uneven and brighter. My skin definitely shines a bit more and dehydration wrinkles are minimal.

The best part of this week was the unexpected surprise - my dark spots {pigmentation} got a lot lighter. I wasn't planning on this happening, so I was very excited. 

This is my final post about it and I wanted share the details of the process because it was a really fun journey. I didn't "detox" per se or even juice "cleanse", but rather I focused on consuming less caffeine, sea salt, packaged foods and dairy and more fresh raw fruits, veggies, lots of water and green drinks without fully removing everything from my diet cold turkey. 

Here is a daily journal, in case you want to try something similar {if you do try something similar, please send me your feelings on it and if you noticed a difference.} No meat. I don't eat meat, so if you normally eat meat, you can add some fresh fish. Wes eats meat but he did a whole week of no meat. Try it. It can be fun for a change. 

Day 1

water + lemon
green juice x 2
ran 30 minutes outside 
more water + lemon

1 whole avocado {ate with a spoon} 

sprouted tofu {uncooked}
avo
brown rice 
seaweed 
little miso mayo 
no added sea salt

fresh young coconut
water + lemon x 2

kale salad
steamed artichoke {vegan dipping sauce}

water in the night

DAY 2 

little coffee {kids woke up at 5am}
lemon water 

pear, parsley, yellow beet, ginger cucumber juice

1 egg lightly boiled 
3/4 avocado
tiny tiny bit sea salt {man, i have a hard time w/o this}

lemon water
watermelon juice

raw collard wrap from PEACE PIES
1 dehydrated cookie

castor oil + steam room + whole body exfoliating brush + cold shower rinse

argan oil on face

HUGE kale, butter lettuce sprouted seed and nut salad
glass of wine
lemon water

bed

Day 3

ice water with lemon
green drink {frozen fruit, greens, stevia, citrus, ginger}

1/2 avocado
cucumber sliced

lemon water + cucumber
gym work out - 30 minutes
lemon water + cucumber

shower + steam room {oiled up my face and body} with hydrating hair mask
more lemon water + cucumber {while in the steam room}
ice cold cold shower

vegetarian sushi roll
kale chips

fruit + handful of sprouted walnuts 
fresh homemade almonk milk
raw brussel sprout chop topped with olive oil + toasted hazel nuts + peccorino

lemon water before bed

used the clarisonic on my face, covered it in argan oil

bed

---------------------------------- My Green Drink ----------------------------------

Hydrating Green Smoothie Recipe

1c frozen fruit {I did a mix of mango, pineapple & butternut squash}
1/2 cucumber
1" piece of fresh ginger
handful of parsley
handful of kale
1/2 lemon, peeled
1 lime, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 tsp honey
1 dropper stevia
1/2c - 1c liquid {coconut water or water or almond milk or grapefruit juice}

Blend all of the above in a Vitamix or high speed blender until smooth. Use the least amount of liquid and add more if needed.

-----------------------------------My Brussel Sprout Chop Salad---------------------------------

Brussel Sprout Chop

12 raw brussel sprouts or 1 bag Trader Joes shredded brussel sprouts
2 handfuls chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/8c olive oil {or barely coated brussel sprouts}
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4c peccorino cheese, or to taste
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Chop or slice brussel sprouts, very thin. Mix in the olive oil and sea salt. Add lemon and peccorino. Toss and let sit about an hour. Add hazelnuts when ready to serve. It's so tasty. 

I created this salad after having something similar out on date night at a restaurant nearby. It was an italian restaurant. This dish is very Italian. If you don't like cheese, you might not like this salad. But it can be made vegan by adding avocado and more nuts or sprouted seeds! A different taste but all together still amazing. 

Enjoy! 

p.s. my mom made this and used it as a side dish for her lemon talapia fish. she said it paired up really well!

Hydrate From The Outside :: Meredith Shows Us How

For those that know me well- you know that I am obsessed with hydration. Staying hydrated is one of the most important aspects of "getting the glow". If you are not well hydrated your body doesn't have enough water to function properly. We loose water all the time through sweating, going to the bathroom, breathing etc. Staying hydrated helps control your appetite, energy levels, and increases immunity. So... I try to remedy by that drinking a large glass of lemon water in the morning, plenty of water throughout the day, and eating a diet full of water rich fruits, vegetables and juices. I could go on about the inside stuff, but Juli and Christine covered it. 

I would be lying if I didn't admit that external hydration wasn't what really turns me on. It is. I fear the dry patch and the wrinkle and am on a lifelong mission to fight it! 

My skin is naturally on the dryer side, and I live in a cold climate so for me moisturizing goes beyond slapping some lotion on when I get out of the shower. It is a ritual. I moisturize first thing in the morning, and last thing at night, every single day- in addition to my out of shower moisturizing application. Crazy? Not really. For me it is therapeutic. I use the 5 minutes to relax and focus on the day ahead, or chill out before I go to sleep. The full body self message is an ancient technique for maintaining wellness. I completely subscribe. 

I try to make 90% of my products as natural as possible. Fortunately the natural brands are starting to get on the science bandwagon and creating things that really work.

What are the products that make this happen? And what is the schedule?

BODY A.M. 

Coconut Oil or Sesame Oil (if I am working out or going to the gym) 
ShiKai Borage Oil Lotion (If I have to get dressed in real clothes) - I LOVE this product. It absorbs well and has little to no scent. 
Aesop Rejuvenate Aromatique Body Balm Tube (If I am feeling like spoiling myself) 

3 Step After Shower 

1- Coconut Oil 
2- Environ Derma- Lac Lotion - (This isn't the most natural product, but it is completely AMAZING) It exfoliates, and hydrates like no other. 
3- Shikai-Borage Oil- You have to follow the derma-lac with a lotion or oil for it to really work. 

Note *Always put the coconut oil on before your skin is completely dry. This helps lock in the moisture. If you have extremely dry skin-  taking long hot showers sucks the life out! I know it sucks not to take LONG, HOT showers, but it really doesn't do you any good! 

Bedtime

Coconut Oil or Sesame Oil (This application is really just for fun) + Lavender Essential Oil 
Face

My face products always fluctuate.The one face "tool" that I can't live without is the Clairsonic Mia. It exfoliates, cleanses and tones your skin allowing all the product to get in. It is an amazing investment. 

Exfoliation + Moisturizer = HYDRATION (You really can't do one without the other!) 

Some of my face moisturizers on rotation are (love them ALL) :

Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer
Mario Badescu AHA and Ceramide Moisturizer
Ren Ultra Moisturizing Day Cream 
Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn and Cucumber 
Face Mist

On hand ALWAYS. I can not travel, live or breath without face mist! I love Aubrey Organics Sparkling Mineral Water Herbal Complexion Mist. It works wonders! 

Ok. Ok. Ok. I can't stop yet. When hydration and detoxification is REALLY necessary is after travel. After a red eye flight a few days ago, and social obligations that didn't give me any jet lag time, I came up with my own version of the overall castor oil body pack. I am now completely obsessed! 

After Travel Hydrating Detox Mask 

As a life long health food store "goer" and obvious skin hydration product hoard, the fact that I seemed to miss the boat on the powers of Castor Oil came as a shock to me. It wasn't until I started writing my book last year that I became enlightened. Castor Oil is pretty much the miracle moisturizer. It is a little too thick and greasy to use socially, so I use it as an all over body hydration mask. 

Castor oil is a super high density vegetable oil with a very mild odor and color. Because of its molecular density castor oil absorbs very well into the skin, making it an extremely effective moisturizer. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal so it is beneficial for various ailments, including ab cramps, headaches, muscle pains, inflammatory conditions, skin eruptions, lesions, and skin irritations. A castor oil pack is made by soaking a piece of flannel in castor oil, then putting it on the area of complaint and placing a heat source, such as a hot water bottle, on top of the area. The powers of castor oil work from the outside in! It can even induce LABOR. 

- Get the bathroom steamy hot with a little shower steam and a space heater. (not super green, but I don't have a sauna) 

- Set up a little palate in your bathroom and bring some magazines. 

- Massage your whole body in castor oil (head included) *A little goes a long way

- Hang out naked for at least 30 minutes (or meditate). 

- Follow with a warm shower or Epsom salt bath. 

- Moisturize like normal 

With no food, sleep, or down time- I literally felt like a new person after this. I can't wait to do it again! 

Last note... taking care of yourself is the point of ALL of this- whatever that means for you. I am a firm believer that skincare is a HEALTHY obsession!! So... ENJOY-  LOVE yourself and your BODY. 

#1 Tata Harper #2 Castor Oil #3 Mario Badescu AHA #4 Aubrey Spray #5 Clarisonic #6 Aesop Body Balm #7 Environ #8 Shi Kai Borage #9 Coconut Oil #10 Ren Moisture

Kale & Swiss Chard Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad Recipe:

1 large salad bowl chopped kale & swiss chard

1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 T lemon juice
1 can anchovies

1/3 cup parmesan {optional for top}
homemade croutons {optional}

Instead of romaine, as a caesar salad usually calls for, fill a large salad bowl with a variety of dark greens. In this case we used kale and swiss chard. Whip dressing together. Pour on top of greens and mix until thoroughly covered. Let sit for about 10-15 mintues before serving. Top with parmesan and croutons to give it that traditional taste. Or you can leave out the toppings if you are dairy and gluten-free. 

Enjoy!

We had a wonderful dinner party at my mom's house on Sunday. It was pouring rain and what better to do than get togther with family and friends and chat over healthy homemade food and a bottle of wine {or 3}?

We had grilled veggies and a quinoa salad in addition to this lovely hearty kale caesar! This was all my mom's doing by the way. I am not going to take credit for it at all! I know my healthy ways have influenced my mom in many ways but with her creative ideas together we have come up with some great family-friendly staples.  

Thanks mom! And thanks for always having the most beautiful flowers for us to enjoy! {and thanks for always doing the dishes, too} Big hugs!