Veggie Pad Thai (Vegan)

Happy 2018, friends!

What a whirlwind it’s been… already back to work. With the temperature in the single digits, neither my dog or myself wanted to get out of bed this morning. It will be good to get back into the swing of things and to get back into more of a routine.

One thing I like about the New Year is the initiative everyone starts with to invoke some change into their lives. While I hate the tired mantra of “new year, new me”, I’m going to carry through with my new year’s intentions of improving myself, and sticking with them. A reminder – they aren’t resolutions. there’s nothing broken about me that needs fixing. Think of yourself as a fine precious metal, or a prized trophy, a timeless heirloom piece of silver … you’re still the same you were, inside and out, but by polishing yourself up, you suddenly see yourself in a different way, which is the start of something great.

#1 – Self Care

My first intention for 2018 is to make sure I’m taking care of body the best way I can. Some people take this and run with it to the farthest extreme… which might just be the quickest way to set yourself up for failure.

“I’m cutting out all carbs for 2018!”

“I’m going to the gym TWICE A DAY… until forever.”

“I’m never drinking again. Ever.”

I had probably said all of these things at least once, myself. Here’s the problem: are you actually going to stick to any of that? Unless medically necessary, is this all realistic? No. My goal for the year is to prioritize my health first by maintaining the best habits from last year, and swapping out alternatives for things I wanted to  change. Instead of indulging in a big salty bag croutons to snack on (yes, I do actually do that… without salad…), I’m going to make sure I have veggies and homemade hummus on hand at work at home. I treated myself to a fun new water bottle so I’ll be more inclined drink more water. Which brings me to my next intention…

#2 – Buy only what I need

If you have ever met me, you know that I love to shop. I will shop for anything, anyone, anywhere. I have tons of crap I don’t need, and have the audacity to say “I have nothing to wear!” as I stare at a rather large walk-in closet filled with clothes I can’t even remember I have. I’ve worked at White House | Black Market for several years now, and even still, I’ll walk in and see another associate wearing something and comment that I like it, only to be reminded that I bought it 3 weeks ago. I’ve bought duplicates by accident of salad dressings, dish soap, bread (why am I buying bread???) ziplock bags, only to see that I didn’t need them. My intention for this year is to actively keep inventory of what I have, so that I don’t overbuy, overspend and overindulge. I should hopefully have a fatter bank account and less clutter.

#3 – Do stuff that actually makes me happy

To the tune of saving money, I’ve always been a stickler about expensive trips, or big ticket items. While I consider myself a money-saver in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been so obsessed over not buying large things that I’ve overlooked all the small stuff that quite possibly could’ve totaled up to a small fortune. I want to travel with my friends, I want to build a house, and just do things that I’ve wanted to do and never tried to. I want to make my cookbook eventually, and I want a great website for you all… of which I know costs money. No more wasting time, effort and money on things that don’t make me happy.

These are all things I’ve always liked to adhere to, but my intention is stick to them for 2018. If I slip up, it’s not the end of the world… I will just regroup and pick up where I left off.

What are some of your intentions for 2018? Let’s discuss over some delicious Pad Thai 🙂

Vegan Pad Thai

prep time: 25 min

cook time: 20 min

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

For the pad Thai:

  • 8 oz brown rice pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, loosely crushed
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • (optional for non-vegans!) 1 egg, scrambled well done and finely chopped
  • sesame oil, for frying

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ~1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 small clove garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/3 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice from half of a lime
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • (also optional) ~1 small squirt of sriracha for heat

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp sesame oil. Sauté red bell pepper, carrot and onion until starting to brown, stirring constantly; about 8-10 minutes.
  2. While sautéing the veggies, cook pasta per box directions. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Back to the veggies! Next, add snap peas and cabbage and stir so they can heat — we want these to remain crisp for  texture, so they’re added last.
  4. Separately, in a mixing bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth. the consistency should be somewhat thin to spread across the noodles — similar to a salad dressing, not too thick. Depending on your preference, you can add more coconut aminos, lime juice or almond milk to keep the flavors strong while thinning out the sauce.
  5. Once  finished with the sauce, add noodles (and egg, if using) and sauce to pan and turn off the heat. Continue to stir gently… we don’t want the sauce to muddy the veggies with the sauce, so don’t be too rough. Serve immediately and  garnish with cilantro and green onion.

Enjoy!

-S

Creamy Potato Gratin with Sage and Fontina (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

Who had a good Christmas? I did – and surprisingly, for as much as I jam-packed into those two days, it was relaxing and fun. I was tickled to watch my family open their presents, even if I did over-spend my Christmas budget. You know you may have gone a little overboard when TD Bank calls you because they think you have fraud on your card… and it turns out all the purchases were yours 😦

I got some fabulous kitchen goodies, so you know what that means! NEW RECIPES! I’m happy as a clam with my new KitchenAid hand mixer, my new Cuisinart food processor and a few other fun things. They’ll be making their appearances in my recipes in due time.

I also got a nice gift of one HaloTherapy session to the Salt Cove – it’s a new-ish place that hosts Halotherapy rooms – basically, the room is filled with Himalayan sea salt and is heated to a temperature warm enough to engage the flow of negative ions. Sounds counterintuitive, but negative ions are actually a good thing.  To keep it simple, ions are invisible charged particles in the air. Back to middle school science class, some molecules are positively or negatively charged. If one loses one or more negative ions, it becomes positive – the more negative ions, the greater the negative charge. Negative ions are found mots abundantly in nature… some of people’s favorite places. Have you ever gone to the beach and just couldn’t tear yourself away? Have you ever walked through a forest, took a huge breath, and just felt really energized? Trees, bodies of water, rainstorms, earthen landscapes… welcome to the land of negative ions.

Why are they so good, though? Here’s a few reasons:

  • They neutralize free radicals, which can prevent cancer
  • They promote cell metabolism
  • They enhance the body’s immune function
  • They purify the blood
  • They balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/ ; https://www.journals.elsevier.com/cell-metabolism/

If you’re stuck in an office filled with hundreds of computers, cell phones and Bluetooth devices like myself all day, finding a place like this is a real treat. I highly recommend you check out one in your area – they’re popping up all over the map! It’s a great place to meditate, clear your mind and enjoy some relaxation.

Back to food… while I have been doing my darnedest to stick with the paleo grind, I couldn’t help myself with Christmas. I made the most delicious Potato Gratin… for those of you who can appreciate a little starch and a lot of flavor, please check this out J I will have some healthy recipes back on deck for you guys later this week… stay tuned!

 

Creamy Potato Gratin with Sage and Fontina (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons ghee, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup organic crème fraiche
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh sage, plus 10-12 large whole sage leaves
  • 1 large block (approx. 8 oz) Fontina cheese, shredded
  • Himalayan sea salt, to taste (I used approx. 1 tsp plus a bit more)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain  gluten free breadcrumbs (these are delicious)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ~ 3 tbsp Olive oil, for frying the sage

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large but shallow baking dish with some ghee and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Mash the potatoes, along with 4 tablespoons of the ghee. Add the crème fraiche, parsley and chopped sage. Once mixed evenly, mix in the fontina and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the potato mixture in the prepared dish in an even layer.
  5. Separately, in a small bowl, use your fingers to blend the rest of the ghee with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add a pinch of salt if you feel the mixture needs a bit more flavor. Top the potatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
  6. Meanwhile, as the gratin bakes, heat olive oil in a small skillet until shimmering (but not smoking!) Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp, in both sides, about 1 ½ minutes per side.
  7. Transfer the sage to paper towels to drain. Once the gratin is finished cooking, scatter the fried sage over the top and serve.

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Enjoy!

-S

Best 2017 Holiday Gifts for the Healthy-Food, Natural-Beauty and Causeworthy-Clothing Junkies

Some might say I get a little excited when it comes to gift giving. When I was younger, I used to buy birthday and Christmas presents for people, and in typical Sarah fashion, I would do it months ahead of time. The problem with this was that I couldn’t wait to give them their gifts and demanded they open it immediately.

Not a whole lot has changed about that, so I really have to fight the urge to hold onto presents when I have them for people. It’s hard. Life is hard.

The drawback with gift-buying these days is that the preference is digital, and since everyone’s super busy, it can be hard to really know your audience when gift shopping. When in doubt, I always aim for something healthy or sustainable

So – if I’m not thinking about food? I’m probably thinking about shopping. There’s definitely a LOT going on this season in terms of fun stuff at every price-point! See below for my favorite picks for this year.

$25 and under

Pacha Whipped Soap + Scrub – $12

Pacha

www.pachasoap.com

I absolutely love this stuff. The fact that it smells amazing is, oddly enough, the least cool thing about it (but a major selling point!). The owners of this company have embarked on a mission to provide underserved communities around the world with clean water and soap, and means to help them improve their situation. You can find this at Whole Foods.

Black & Decker CitrusMate Plus Juicer – $17.99

Black-And-Decker-CitrusMate-Plus-Juicer

www.vitacost.com

This is one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you have it. For those of us that hate pulp, you can even filter that out. This is perfect for recipes, measuring your juice, and just makes an all-around great little addition for someone you know that loves to do stuff in the kitchen. This makes it super easy and quick to make some delicious Lavender Lemonade…

HUM Nutrition Daily Cleanse Skin Supplement – $25

hum1

www.sephora.com

I really like this vitamin. It’s vegan, sustainably sourced, and is free of most major allergens. It has green tea extract, chlorella, MSM, and other beneficial plant nutrients. Sephora stocks a few different types to suit different skin needs, long with some other products in this line. Definitely worth a look.

Chef’n Kale & Greens Stripper – $7.95

www.chefn.com

I use this thing all the time… and quite frankly, what was life without it? For the amount of Garlic Tahini Kale Salad that we make, this is a huge time saver. It’s even great for tedious little herbs like Thyme and Rosemary. It’s easy to wash, compact to store, and it makes a great stocking stuffer.

Youth to the People Cleanser and Cream Mini Duo – $20

kale spinach face

www.sephora.com

This little set is great for people who have allergies to a lot of other major skincare lines. While I’m a Clinique/Origins girl myself, I’ve tried this and really liked how smooth it left my dry skin. It is made with actual spinach and kale – like a salad for your face!


$50 and under

Cuisipro Fat Separator – $34.95

cuisipro

www.surlatable.com

If you’ve ever made a gravy, confit anything where you need to separate a liquid, this is a great tool to have. The little filter separates the pan drippings and solids, it cleans easily, and its BPA-free, which I feel is really important if you’re using plastic.

OXO V-Blade Mandoline – $39.95

mandoline

www.oxo.com

I have a mandoline very similar to this, and it has greatly reduced the time spent slicing potatoes, cucumbers, apples, onions, etc… as well as greatly reduced my fear of cutting my finger off (came very close, one time….) The great thing about this is that it folds up nice and flat, comes apart to clean well, and is adjustable using a little nozzle.

Gandy’s Flip Flops – $33

gandys1.jpg

www.gandysflipflops.com

This company was started after two brothers from the UK were traveling in Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami  hit – unfortunately both of their parents were killed. This was their motivation to create something that would help other orphans, specifically those impacted by the tsunami, by helping build orphanages in India and Sri Lanka. Your feet feel good, you feel good!

Kopari Coconut Multitasking Kit -$40

Kopari

www.everythingbutwater.com

This little set includes Coconut Melt, a nice blend of Kopari’s 100% organic coconut oil, as well as aloe vera, cocoa seed butter and beeswax. The Body Glow has to be the best part of this – well worth trying!

WHBM Living Beyond Breast Cancer Butterfly Print Scarf – $48

whbm scarf

www.whbm.com

I may be a bit partial to White House Black Market (I’ve worked there part time for almost 7 years), but I’ve been really touched by the company’s involvement with and contribution to Living Beyond Breast Cancer – an organization that helps women assimilate back into normal life once in remission from Breast Cancer. I’ve had a few family members and close friends that have experienced this, and it really touches me to know that there’s an organization out there that serves this purpose.

Antonym Certified Organic Baked Blush – $36

Antonym blush

www.antonymcosmetics.com

This blush has a great shimmer to it, is cruelty free and Ecocert certified. The naturally-derived mica flecks give a nice shimmer without nasty aluminum, or other harsh chemicals. I prefer the Peach color for lighter skin tones, but according to reviews, the copper tone is a really nice tone on darker skin. It comes in a fun wooden container, so makes a great gift.


$100 and under

Taaluma Totes – $60-100

taluuma

www.carryacountry.com

The concept of these tote bags is pretty  cool. Wool and cotton from all around the world is brought back to the US, where disabled adults are employed to construct each bag. As if that didn’t make you smile, proceeds from the sale go back to the fabric’s country of origin in the form of a micro-loan to farmers and small business owners. YET – there’s more – the repayment funds go towards purchasing even more fabric, so as to promote sustainable economic growth. Carry your bag, carry the world.

Gloss Moderne Clean Luxury Masque – $65

gloss moderne

www.glossmoderne.com

This super conditioning mask is great for curly hair – it doesn’t weigh your hair down and keeps everything super sleek with zero frizz. The smell is to die for – the company’s signature scent was created by a popular perfumery. The best ingredient? Cocoa Butter 🙂

Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Oval Covered Casserole – $100

le creuset casserole

www.lecreuset.com

This is another one of those things where, when you have it, you use it all the time and you can’t remember what life was like before you had it. A covered casserole dish is a great alternative to cooking things in a traditional dish with foil – the best part is, there’s no waste to remove and throw away. This one is big enough to fit all of your holiday side dishes, your fall mac and cheese dishes, your picnic salads… the whole nine yards.

Cuisinart Wine Opener – $99.95 – currently on sale for $79.96

cuisinart wine opener

www.williamssonoma.com

Remember those days in college when you would only buy screw-top wine bottles because you didn’t have a wine opener? Remember those days when… I still do that… because I’m lazy, shred a cork every now and again, and this screw-top Malbec was on sale? For days where I like to be a bit fancier, I really enjoy using a good ol’ shortcut… and this puppy can open up to 120 wine bottles on a single charge. It’s like a power tool! But, it’s safe! And for the kitchen!

 

Lilah B Perfection Eye Quad – $58

lilah b

www.lilahbeauty.com

This eye palette comes in 4 different combinations to cater to warm and cool skin tones. The best part? It contains aloe, marigold extract and coconut oil to give a creamy color that keeps your eyelids hydrated.

 

Trudeau Graviti Electric Salt and Pepper Mill Set in Copper – $79

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 9.06.41 PM.png

www.williamssonoma.com

These are absolutely beautiful, and are super simple to fill. All you do is flip them over, no work required! It grinds on its own. They stop as soon as you flip them back upright. They’re so pretty, you won’t want to hide them away in your cabinet.

Here you have it — my favorite picks so far for gift buying this year. Keep an eye out for more updates — definitely more to come! Be sure to share with your friends and follow on instagram @ thedivinekitchen for more fun!

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Paleo Mayonnaise

  • All ingredients should be as close to room temperature as possible!
    • 1 large organic egg yolk
    • ¼ tsp finely ground Himalayan sea salt
    • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard (I’m a fan of Grey Poupon… always)
    • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
    • 1 tssp apple cider vinegar
    • ¾ cup avocado oil

     

    *Note: whisking can be done in place of a food processor– fair warning, you will need some muscle.

    1. Add egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and salt to your food processor. Pulse until the mixture is uniform, and bright like the egg yolk.
    2. Stream in about a third of your oil through the top and blend until emulsified, about one minute.
    3. Once mixed, continue to blend in the oil in a slow stream until fully emulsified, and blend for another 30 seconds once all of the oil has been added.

    Enjoy!

    -S