Turmeric Mango Smoothie Recipe

Turmeric Mango Smoothie Recipe

This turmeric mango smoothie recipe is SO refreshing! Made with a blend of mango, orange juice and carrot with coconut water, it’s the perfect little hydrating smoothie for summer. I added ginger and tumeric for a spicy kick, and a boost of antioxidants. Enjoy this for breakfast or a snack!

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Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken and Peanut Sauce

Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken and Peanut Sauce

This noodle bowl with lemongrass chicken and peanut sauce can be prepped in less than 30 minutes! Perfect make ahead lunch for the weekend! Serve lemongrass marinated chicken over a bed of brown rice noodles, chopped fresh veggies, tons of herbs and a store bought peanut sauce!

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Simple White Bean Soup with Smoked Paprika Oil, Feta and Kalamata Olives

Simple White Bean Soup with Smoked Paprika Oil, Feta and Kalamata Olives

Have you heard of soup bling? It's my favorite way to fancy up easy soups, like this simple white bean soup with smoked paprika oil, feta, and kalamata olives. Even without the toppings, this soup is PACKED with flavor, despite it's simple ingredients list. Make extra and freeze for later! 

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Sesame Soba Noodles

Sesame soba noodles! Toss whole grain soba noodles in a creamy tahini sauce then add crunchy carrots and cucumbers to make this cold Asian salad. 

Oh hayyyyy there sesame noodles. Don't worry, we'll come back to you. But first, let's talk Olympics.

Tell me, are you watching? What's your favorite sport? It's badmitton, isn't it? ;) I'm typing this while watching women's gymnastics qualifiers. Sidebar - Simone Biles OMG!!! How does your body do these things? I literally do not understand.

I'm always super ambivalent about the Olympics when they're first starting then two days later I find myself in tears watching some random Armenian's medal dreams get crushed. Currently, I've cried at least five times including when the Dutch cyclist crashed, when Gabby Douglas stepped out of bounds during the floor routine, and when my husband made a remark about the diversity of American athletes showing off what's cool about our country. Tears. What is wrong with me? I think I need to get my hormones checked...

So back to these sesame noodles. I'm a huge fan of Asian noodle salads. It's all the things I want in the summer. Salads and substance.

You'll want to find soba noodles if you can. One hundred percent buckwheat are my jam, and gluten free too for those who must avoid, but the whole wheat or mixed buckwheat and wheat are easier to find and work just fine. Regular spaghetti also works in a pinch.

This sesame sauce is the bestest. Most sesame noodles use sesame oil as a dressing, but sometimes that gets a bit greasy. So I used tahini, which was almost like a peanut satay sauce. Actually, you could probably use peanut butter instead of tahini and it would be equally amazing.

To round it out, add rotisserie chicken or baked tofu cubes. You could also serve it over a bed of lettuce for more green.

Sesame Soba Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 2 carrots, shredded

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. While noodles are cooking, whisk together tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and sriracha.
  3. Toss noodles in a large bowl with dressing, scallions, cucumber and carrots. Serve room temperature or chilled.

More Asian noodle salads:

Curry Salmon Noodle Bowl
Curry Salmon Noodle Bowl
Vegan Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Salad with Tempeh
Vegan Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Salad with Tempeh
Kimchi Noodle Salad
Kimchi Noodle Salad

Creamy Carrot Soup with Red Curry

This simple creamy carrot soup with red curry is packed with deep flavor and spice. Enjoy on it's own as an appetizer or garnished with avocado and quinoa for a balanced meal. 

When I was in second grade, I received some devastating news.

I learned I needed glasses.

Yes, I was to be a four eyes, a pretty difficult pill to swallow for the new kid who was already pretty, well, awkward. But don't worry guys, I had a plan. Because rumor had it carrots give you perfect vision. So, I basically went a carrot bender.

As an FYI for anyone thinking of doing the same, apparently no amount of carrots can cure a -10.5 prescription. So while I'm still blind as a bat without my contacts, I can thank carrots for making me the genius I am today (kidding!). Or at least, maybe helping me score a few points higher on my spelling test! That's because carrots are packed with nutrients that nourish the brain.

Most notably, 1 cup of carrots contains over 100% daily needs of vitamin A. The hippocampus, part of the brain that's responsible for creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), is loaded with receptors for vitamin A. There's good evidence that vitamin A plays a big role in neurogenesis, which some think plays a preventative role in depression. Studies have linked lower levels of carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A, with depression.

Carrots are also a rich source of a compound called luteolin, a flavonoid, which has been shown to prevent age related cognitive decline and inflammation in the brain. The same compound has been studied for anti-cancer benefits as well.

Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, it's best to enjoy carrots with fat. Preferably fats that also have mood boosting benefits of their own, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut milk! This rich and creamy soup uses all three for flavor and creamy, sumptuous texture. Serve it with a scoop of protein and fiber rich quinoa for a well rounded meal.

Creamy Carrot Coconut Soup with Red Curry

Serves: About 6

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 10 medium carrots, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 avocado, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • Chopped almonds, toasted
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add curry paste and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover, salt and black pepper, cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes until carrots are tender.
  2. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree soup. Stir in coconut milk and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Divide between bowls. Garnish with a scoop of cooked quinoa, avocado slices, almonds, cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.

More recipes featuring carrots: 

Gluten Free Carrot Pecan Muffins
Gluten Free Carrot Pecan Muffins
Fermented Carrot Pickles
Fermented Carrot Pickles
Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange
Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange

Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Alternate title: Life Changing Muffins.

This is no exaggeration friends. These bad boys are made with a combination of whole grains and almond meal and naturally sweetened with only dates, banana and shredded carrots. Although they're not cakey like store bought muffins, they're hearty and dense - a stick to your rib type of muffin.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, and since then, I've adapted it many more times. Just keep the basic dry and wet mixtures the same, then swap in different shredded fruit, vegetables and nuts. You could also swap apple sauce for mashed banana if you like, but add a few extra dates to compensate for the sweetness. Although these muffins are gluten free, you could also make them gluten full by swapping whole wheat flour or spelt flour.


Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Makes 12

To make these vegan, use plant yogurt and swap 3 tablespoons ground chia seed mixed with 9 tablespoons water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 roughly chopped carrots, about 1 cup
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and blend until they form a flour. Pour out into a large bowl. Add almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapicoa starch, baking powder, baking soda, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Place carrots in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to dry mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add dates to the flood processor and blend until roughly chopped. Add bananas, eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, and ginger and blend until pureed. Stir wet ingredients into dry until fully combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the wells of a lined 12 cup muffin tin. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Store covered at room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator after a couple days.

Sweet & Spicy Tofu Millet Bowl with Garlicky Kale and Citrus Tahini Sauce

This sweet & spicy tofu millet bowl with garlicky kale and citrus tahini dressing makes a perfect lunch! 

You know what I realized I don't have enough of on this blog? Asian inspired grain bowls.

KIDDING! I've posted 11. Just counted.

Buuuut, I still think this one deserves it's own special place on the blog. First, there's the sweet and spicy baked tofu. Make sure you leave plenty of time for it to marinate, so it soaks up all the delicious flavors. If you think you don't like tofu, trust me, this recipe will change you.

Then there's the garlicky kale. Kale and garlic are like peanut butter and bananas. I love how the sweet bite of sauteed garlic permeates the bitter greens.

Of course, avocado is mandatory. Except when you're about to take photographs and slice one open and it's brown inside. Then said avocado becomes optional.

We can't do a grain bowl without crunch. For this bad boy, we've got toasted pumpkin seeds. If you're ever looking for something to fulfill a salty, crunchy craving, try salted toasted pumpkin seeds. The little pocket of air in the middle expands, giving them some major crunch.

Because all grain bowls need some fermented goodness, I added a scoop of fermented sauerkraut. I used an Asian arame and ginger kraut by Wild Brine but any ol' kraut will do.

Last but not least, there's tahini dressing, the king of all dressings. This one is spiked with miso (more probiotics!), citrus and sriracha.

Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Tofu Millet Bowl with Garlicky Kale

Serves 4

Inspired by this recipe in Bowl + Spoon, a beautiful cookbook by the lovely people at The Sprouted Kitchen.

Ingredients

Tofu: 

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Bowl:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup millet
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounce bag of chopped kale, or 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fermented sauerkraut (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large naval orange

Instructions

  1. Wrap tofu in a clean dish towel. Place on a plate and weigh with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet. Let sit to drain water about 30 minutes or longer. The longer it sits, the more water it will drain and the more room to soak up marinade. You can leave it in the fridge to drain if desired. Or, you can drain it quickly using a tofu press. Chop into 1 inch cubes.
  2. In a large plastic container, whisk together sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, vinegar and sesame oil. Place tofu inside, cover and shake to combine and coat. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate at least 30 minutes or all day/overnight.
  3. When ready to make bowl, first whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Drain tofu and spread evenly on a large baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Place in oven and bake 20 minutes total, flipping halfway, until browned. Set aside until ready to use.
  5. While tofu is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small pot. Add millet and toast for a couple minutes. Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer 15-18 minutes until water is absorbed. Let sit covered a few minutes, then remove lid and fluff millet with a fork.
  6. While millet is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sided pan. Add garlic cloves and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and 1/2 cup of water. Cook until wilted and tender, about 10-12 minutes total, adding more water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide millet evenly among four bowls. Top with sauteed kale, tofu, carrots, pumpkin seeds, kraut, avocado and drizzle with dressing.

More Asian-inspired grain bowls: 

Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Sriracha Sauce
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Sriracha Sauce
Crispy Kale, Black Rice & Coconut Salad
Crispy Kale, Black Rice & Coconut Salad

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup + Best Ever Homemade Broth

Make the most of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey with this BEST EVER homemade broth for leftover turkey noodle soup. Learn my trick for creating the most flavorful broth. 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by #PastaFits through my participation in the Healthy Aperture Network, which is awesome, because I love pasta. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! 

It’s time for a Thanksgiving confession:

I don’t love Thanksgiving turkey.

There. I said it. Does this make me less of an American?? Are they going to revoke my citizenship? Will I be deported? If I do get deported, do I get to choose where I go? Is Bali an option?

Despite my lack of affection, we still roast a turkey every year. In my mind, it’s for one reason – soup.

Leftover turkey soup is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. Frankly, it’s the only reason I eat Thanksgiving turkey. Less room in the fridge for turkey means more room for soup! We’ve hosted the past four years, not because we love squeezing a dozen people into our old craftsman, but because we end up with all the leftover soup. Sorry family. We still love you (we just love soup more).

This year, sadly we’re not getting a Thanksgiving. Although it’s not too sad – we’re headed to Hawaii for Scott’s big sisters wedding! Hawaii > stuffing. But only slightly.

This year, whipping up Thanksgiving inspired recipes for the blog has to take the place of the actual holiday. I’ve already got some Thanksgiving worthy Brussels sprouts, a classic Italian holiday dish, AND a non-pie pumpkin dessert on the way! When #pastafits asked me to create a healthy pasta meal for the holidays, I essentially used it as an excuse to make soup.

Normally, we make matzo ball soup the day after Thanksgiving, which I love, but after a day or two I’m ready to get some fiber back in my system. That’s where whole grain pasta comes in. With 6 grams in a serving, it’s a nice way to get your gut in order after the stuffing-extravaganza that is Thanksgiving (as it should be!). Comforting, yet vegetable packed and nourishing turkey noodle soup is a nice break from sweet potato casserole.

What makes this soup is the broth. It’s spectacular. I learned how to make broth from my mom, who I would consider a soup making pro. Sorry mom, but I’ve learned some things. I see your broth and I raise you one. My secret is roasting both the bones and vegetables before making the stock. It adds a richer flavor and a hint of sweetness. Once the bones and vegetables are roasted, you use a little wine to deglaze the pan and scoop up every last bit of yummy goodness. I used red wine, which gives it a darker color, but feel free to use white. The other secret ingredient - dill. How do people eat chicken noodle soup without it? It's a blasphemy!

When making noodle soup, be sure to boil your pasta separately. Cooking them in the broth will make your leftovers mushy and sad. If you freeze leftover soup, just boil up a small pot of pasta when you’re ready to eat.

What's your favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Share in the comments below! 

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup + Best Ever Homemade Broth

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Best Ever Broth: 

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass, picked clean of meat
  • 4 quarts water (or more)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red or white wine
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs of parsley
  • 4 sprigs of dill

Noodle Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 cups turkey broth
  • Leftover cooked turkey
  • 8 ounces 100% whole grain pasta
  • Lots of chopped, fresh dill, for garnish

Instructions

  1. First make the broth. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break turkey carcass into pieces and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast for 45-60 minutes until bones are dark and caramelized. Place bones in a large pot and cover with 4 quarts of water (or more to cover bones). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, skimming any foam that forms at the surface.
  2. Meanwhile, toss onion, celery, and carrots with a tablespoon of olive oil. Spread evenly over the same baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until browned. Scoop roasted vegetables into the simmering broth and add dill, parsley and peppercorns.
  3. Place baking sheet over the stovetop and add wine, scraping up browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Let simmer to reduce a few minutes, them pour into the broth. Continue to simmer 60-90 minutes until flavors have melded. Season with salt and set aside.
  4. In another large pot, heat tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add 10 cups broth and leftover cooked turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-30 minutes until flavors have melded.
  5. While soup is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to soup along with lots of fresh dill for garnish.

Vegan Roasted Fall Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Roasted fall vegetable pesto pasta is an easy and comforting weeknight dinner. Use any seasonal vegetable you like, but this combination of carrots, delicata squash and brussels sprouts is especially tasty! 

Happy Monday! About the time this gets posted, my flight is set to land in the US after an incredible trip to Vietnam. I hope you've been keeping up with our adventures on instagram. If so, you know we've been doing our fair share of eating, especially street food. Planning to do a couple recaps of our trip so I can self-indulgently share pictures and all the delicious food we ate, but until then, I'm trying to focus on spitting out this post before we hop on our plane. Unfortunately, my brain feels somewhat like the rice noodles we've been living off the last week and a half!

Trying so hard to muster up some enthusiasm for this post, because truly, this is one of my favorite go to dishes for fall. Almost every other week when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I roast up a big batch of seasonal vegetables and toss it with cooked whole grain pasta and pesto sauce. It's so tasty and I never get bored of it! But right now, after 2 weeks of indulgence (and so, so many rice noodles), all my body wants is a big green smoothie and a massaged kale salad. Basically anything fresh!

So, let's skip the gushing and go straight to the recipe. Use any type of seasonal vegetable you like - mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips and broccoli all work well, but I love the sweet and bitter combination of winter squash and carrots with slightly bitter Brussels sprouts. Plus, there's that whole carb on carb thing. Any type of winter squash will work, but if you see delicata squash, snatch it up! It's thin skin is edible, saving you time and fingers.

I whipped up this quick vegan pesto since we had a ton of basil in our garden (the only thing still living), but feel free to use any store bought pesto. To add more protein, toss in a can of white beans.


Roasted Fall Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Serves: About 4ish but depends on how hungry you are

Ingredients

  • 1 delicata squash, halved, seeds scooped out and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots, in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 12 ounce brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounce 100% whole grain penne or fusilli
  • [b]Vegan Pesto:[/b]
  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons nutrition yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss squash and carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking dish. Place in the oven and roast for 35 minutes until browned and tender.
  3. Toss brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet, place in the oven and roast 25 minutes.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  5. While pasta and vegetables are cooking, place basil, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped, then stream in olive oil and continue to blend until pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add roasted vegetables and pesto. Toss to combine and serve.

More easy pasta dishes: 

Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Pasta with Tempeh Sausage,Broccolini and Creminis
Pasta with Tempeh Sausage,Broccolini and Creminis
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
Gazpacho Pasta Salad

Fermented Carrot Pickles

Fermented carrot pickles are an easy to make and inexpensive source of health promoting probiotics!

Ever since I learned how easy it is to ferment, I’ve been on a bit of a pickling kick. If someone who didn’t know me saw my kitchen, they might suspect I’m practicing witchcraft with all the mysterious bubbling jars on my counter. When I find myself with an excess of produce, I find myself quoting Bryce and Lisa from Portlandia – “We can pickle that!”

My latest victim? Carrots! When I accidentally picked up an extra bag, forgetting that I already had some at home, I knew exactly what to do. Snag the recipe and learn all about the health benefits of fermented foods today on Healthy Aperture! 

Vegan Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Salad with Sesame Tempeh

Vegan Vietnamese brown rice noodle salad is packed with bright, fresh flavors from crunchy raw vegetables, fresh herbs, spicy sesame tempeh and a tangy sesame vinaigrette.

Happy Monday! Sending this post out from the airport on my way to Lodi, California, where I'm spending the next three days traveling with California Almonds. Very excited for this amazing experience, and to learn about my favorite nut along with some incredible RD bloggers. Follow me on instagram for updates!

This trip is the start to a season packed to the brim with travel. Next week I'm headed to Chicago, where I'll be spending a few days exploring the city with my mom before my cousins wedding. The week after that, we're headed up to Philadelphia a dear friends wedding. Then I'll have a few weeks at home before I head to Nashville for FNCE, the national conference for dietitians. From there (and I mean literally from there, like, the day after FNCE ends) I'm headed off for the two week trip of a lifetime with my hubs to....

VIETNAM!!

Hence this Vietnamese rice noodle salad, which I'm sure after eating authentic Vietnamese rice noodle salads I will look back on and cringe.

I won't lie, looking at my calendar, rapidly filling appointment slots and wondering when I will have time to keep up with this little blog of mine, it's a bit exhausting. But I mean, getting a free trip to California, having mother-daughter time in an awesome city, seeing lifelong friends and making new ones, going to freaking Vietnam...I really can't complain!

Right after my husband, travel is the love of my life. Nothing makes me feel more alive than exploring a new place and soaking up every last drop. Even if it's in our own state, it brings a joy to my life that I can't quite describe.

There's a saying attributed to the Dalai Lama to "once a year, go someplace you've never been before." I love this advice. Traveling, more than taking a vacation, expands your life in so many ways. It builds confidence, makes you a more compassionate person, opens your mind, makes you less materialistic, and (I think) sexier.

Travel can make you healthier. Looking back at my life, I truly believe traveling as a child was the single greatest factor in me becoming a dietitian and making my wellness a priority. Really. If you think travel is all about indulgent restaurants and skipping workouts, well, you're right, but there are other ways travel can make you a healthier person.

It's helps you see past the insanity of fad diets. When you travel around the world, you see a wide range of traditional diets. You also see how the people eating these different diets are generally pretty healthy, much healthier than we are here in the States. For example, in Peru, potatoes were a major part of every meal. At the farmers market, there was an entire potato section which consisted of two 30-foot long tables overflowing with dozens of different types of potatoes. I also saw native Peruvians absolutely whooping fit Americans on the Incan trail. Our guide said Peruvian guides hiked to Machu Picchu and back in one day. It takes other travelers three days, one way. It's kind of hard to give in to the low carb propoganda after seeing that.

Travel expands your taste buds. Picky eaters...not exactly the healthiest. Travel exposes you to new foods and flavors. When you're a more adventurous eater, eating healthy food is less about dieting and more about trying new and delicious foods.

Travel makes you appreciate what you have. In many countries, poverty is much more visible than we're used to. Seeing how people not only live, but in many ways thrive, with much less material possessions than we're used to, makes you truly appreciate what you have. When  you truly feel grateful for the food in front of you, it seems wasteful not to enjoy and savor it mindfully.

Travel motives me to be healthy later in life. Scott and I are planning our lives to ensure we're able to travel as much as possible, as late into life as possible. I am fully prepared to be that little old lady, cane in one hand, Scott's hand in the other, navigating the streets of some small European town.

You don't even have to travel to exotic places to get these benefits. Exploring new places in your own backyard can be just as beneficial, and fun! Some of my favorite trips have been less than a couple hours drive - camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, hiking with friends in the upstate, and exploring historic sites in South Carolina. You can even learn a lot from exploring your own town with fresh eyes!

Do you love to travel? If so, how has it enriched your life and made you a healthier person? 

Vegan Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Sesame Tempeh

Serves 6

Adapted from Thug Kitchen

Ingredients

Ginger-Sesame Tempeh:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil

Salad:

  • 8 ounce package thin brown rice noodles
  • 1 head of butter lettuce, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
  • 1 large cucumber, julienned
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Toasted Sesame Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. First, make the tempeh. Cut the tempeh into 16 slices width-wise. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the tempeh ingredients. Pour over the tempeh in a shallot bowl, flip to coat evenly with marinade. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

  2. When ready to cook, warm 1-2 teaspoons in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add tempeh slices and cook 3-4 minutes, flip, then cook 3-4 minutes on the other side. Remove and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. To make the salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook according to package directions. When they are done, drain, rinse under cold water until cool, then set aside.
  4. While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  5. Divide the salad greens between four plates or large bowls. Top with a scoop of rice noodles in the center. Place the carrot, cucumber, herbs and green onion in piles around the noodles. Drizzle with dressing, top with cashews and serve.

More recipes inspired by my travels:

Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad
Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce
Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce
Spanish Chickpeas and Greens
Spanish Chickpeas and Greens

Edamame Nori Rolls with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Edamame nori rolls with tahini dipping sauce are an easy and nutritious alternative to sushi. Perfect for lunch paired with a salad or as a snack!

As we established in my very first recipe post (besides my lack of camera skills), I lack the hand-eye coordination to make homemade sushi. Early on in my cooking career, I decided I was going to become a sushi master so I could enjoy my favorite food on a regular basis. Then I actually attempted to make sushi. It's a lot harder than it looks! After creating a few overstuffed, buritto-like sushi rolls and watching an episode of Antony Bourdain in Japan where they showed the amount of training goes into making sushi, I decided to leave it to the experts.

Until now, my one way of getting "homemade" sushi has been through my various renditions of sushi un-rolls, essentially a grain bowl topped with my favorite sushi fillings. But recently I discovered nori rolls, another way to faux sushi. Nori rolls eliminate the difficult to perfect sushi rice and replaces it with a vegetable based spread. The spread holds everything hold together and makes it more nutritious by eliminating the white rice and sugary dressing.

Despite being raw and vegan, this roll is super filling, with protein from the edamame and healthy fats in the dressing. We enjoyed a few rolls along with arugula drizzled with the extra dipping sauce and it lasted well into snack time, but you could also have a roll or two a snack. To save time, swap out the dressing for premade edamame hummus (I love the one by Eat Well Embrace Life) or guac.

This is also an easy way to sneak in sea vegetables, a nutritious food we don't often eat outside of the occasional sushi roll. Sea vegetables, like nori, are a rich source of unique nutrients because it grows in the sea rather than on land. It's the best food source of iodine, a critical nutrient for thyroid health. Sea vegetables are also a rich source of sulfated polysaccharides, a starch compound with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and an ability to help thin blood.

Have fun playing with this recipe and filling nori with your favorite sushi or sandwich ingredients. Some other ideas:

Cucumber + avocado + smoked salmon

Cucumber + mango + red pepper + guacamole

Cashew mayo + tempeh bacon + tomato + lettuce

Smoky tempeh quinoa salad + lettuce

Mashed sweet potatoes + guacamole + spinach + tomato + red onion + feta

Edamame Nori Rolls with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Serves:

Serves 4 as a main

To save time, swap premade edamame hummus for the homemade edamame spread.

Ingredients

Edamame Spread:

  • 12 ounces frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Tahini Dipping Sauce: 

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons water

Nori Roll:

  • 8 nori sheets
  • 4 radishes, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup kimchi or fermented kraut (optional)
  • A few handfuls of arugula, microgreens or pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients for the edamame spread together in a food processor. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the tahini dipping sauce and season with salt as needed.
  3. Spread each nori roll with edamame spread, covering one side entirely with layer of edamame spread. Place radishes, carrot, cucumber, kimchi or kraut and a few small handfuls of arugula in a line on one side of the wrap. Roll up tightly, like sushi. Using a sharp knife, cut in half on the diagonal or into small sushi rolls.
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Toasted Nori Snacks with Smoked Trout and Avocado
Toasted Nori Snacks with Smoked Trout and Avocado

Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange

These chipotle roasted carrots with orange are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Serve drizzled with lime juice alongside grilled meat, sandwiched in a fish taco or on a bed of arugula with avocado and pumpkin seeds. 

Sweet and spicy is a flavor combination I simply can't get enough of. That's why a put a pinch of cayenne in my hot chocolate, drench my sweet potatoes in spicy sauce, and geek out over Thai food. Probably also why my stomach is rumbling as I type this despite the fact that I just ate lunch.

The sweet in this dish comes from roasted carrots and orange juice. Carrots have a hint of natural sweetness and roasting brings that out. When you add orange juice to the mix it brings it to a whole new level. The roasted ginger and orange carrots on my quinoa and avocado salad taste almost like candy!

The spice comes from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Have you ever cooked with these before? It's found in the Mexican food section in most grocery stores. Chipotles are simply smoked and dried jalapenos and they lend a smoky, spicy and complex flavor to foods. The adobo sauce is made from onions, spices, tomatoes and vinegar. Chipotles are pretty spicy, so most recipes won't need more than one, two at the max. I keep extras stored in a small container in the freezer and defrost as needed.

These are great as a side dish for any simply grilled meat, sandwiched into a fish taco or eaten cold from the refrigerator with a drizzle of lime juice! We ate this batch on a bed of spicy arugula microgreens with sliced avocado and pumpkin seeds. The creamy, buttery avocado cuts the spicy carrots.

Another thing - don't peel the carrots. I never do, unless I'm serving them as a crudite, and then it's only for presentation purposes. Phytochemicals tend to accumulate around around the peels so you get more nutrients, and save time!

Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs carrots, preferably rainbow
  • 1 chipotle pepper, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 orange and zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Microgreens for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops off the carrots, then cut in half lengthwise. Cut the thick part into quarters, lengthwise and the thinner part in half lengthwise.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the chipotle, olive oil, orange juice, zest, cumin and season with salt and black pepper.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together carrots and sauce. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes until tender.
  5. Serve garnished with microgreens.

You might also like:

Orange Ginger Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Soy-Miso Dressing

Orange Ginger Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Soy-Miso Dressing

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Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Vegan Cilantro-Lime Dipping Sauce
Chipotle Roasted Kabocha and Kale Salad 

Chipotle Roasted Kabocha and Kale Salad 

Healthy Skin Carrot & Citrus Juice

This weekend I taught a smoothie workshop for an awesome group at the Pure Barre studios in Greenville, SC. The topic was definitely well received. I get questions about smoothies almost as often as questions about carbs, popular diets and the latest topic on Dr. Oz. The people are hungry for smoothies!

Whenever the topic of smoothies comes up, so does the topic of juicing. "What is juicing?" "Do I really need a juicer?" "Is it healthier than a smoothie?" "Why on earth does it cost $10 at Whole Foods?"

Here's my take:

Overall, I'm team smoothie. As a general rule of thumb, I like to feel full and satisfied when I eat. Weird, I know.

There are some downsides to juicing. Without the fiber in fruit, juices have more of a glycemic effect, especially if using mostly fruit. It's also expensive to do regularly, especially when you see how much produce goes into one little glass of juice.

However, juicing does have it's benefits. It's a great way to use up fruits and veggies that have been hanging around too long or an overabundance of summer produce. I often juice as a way to squeeze in extra nutrients to prevent myself from getting sick. For my clients with digestive illnesses like Crohns or Celiac, it's a source of easily digestible nutrients their body so desperately needs.

I like to think of juice as a supplement rather than a meal or snack. It's a way to strategically get the specific nutrients your body needs. Going for a long run? Beet juice would do your body good. Want to boost your iron intake? Throw in some greens with lemon to aid in absorption. Coming down with a cold? Throw a knob of immune enhancing fresh turmeric or ginger.

I created this juice as a supplement for my skin, to help calm breakouts, reduce redness and improve elasticity. There's actually a (kind of) funny story of how it came to be.

Early last year, my normally clear skin started breaking out, horribly. Like, worse than middle school. After reading this article, I put two and two together and traced it back to when I started putting pure lavender oil on my pillow at night. Apparently, my skin is sensitive to lavender, which is was my favorite scent. Probably why I had it in just about everything - laundry detergent, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner.

Needless to say, when I rid my house of lavender, my skin cleared up pretty quickly. But whenever I accidentally come in contact with it (pretty frequent since it's a common ingredient) I break out. To give my skin some TLC, I started whipping up a batch of this juice packed with beautifying produce. Here's a look at what's inside:

CUCUMBER // I'm sure you've heard of putting cucumber slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness, but eating/drinking cucumbers is beneficial for skin as well. Cucumber is a rich source of silica, a mineral needed for healthy connective tissue and skin elasticity.

CITRUS // As we all know, citrus is a rich source of vitamin C. The vitamin is needed to produce collagen, which gives skin it's elasticity. It also helps to reduce redness associated with breakouts.

CARROTS // Carrots contain vitamin A, a vitamin which plays many roles in maintaining skin health. It promotes cell turnover, decreases acne, and prevents wrinkles.

TURMERIC & GINGER // Both ginger and turmeric, which are related, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to calm a breakout. Both also improve blood circulation, giving your skin a healthy glow.

While drinking a glass of this doesn't immediately turn me into a Neutrogena model, I do notice my skin looks calmer, less inflamed and with better tone. Even more important for healthy skin is to stay well hydrated, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, incorporate fermented probiotic foods and to limit sugar and dairy, both of which are linked to acne.

Any tricks you use for healthy skin? 

Healthy Skin Carrot Grapefruit Juice

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers

  • 2 large carrots

  • 2 grapefruits, peeled

  • 2 navel oranges, peeled

  • 1-inch nub of fresh ginger

  • 1-inch nub of fresh turmeric

  • 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. Juice all ingredients in a juicer. Pour into two glasses and serve or store in a sealed mason jar until later.

The Best Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs Recipe

The Best Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs Recipe

You have to make the best vegetarian lentil meatball recipe! Packed with veggies for nutrition and to add flavor to these meatless meatballs. Try these with sautéed veggies and pesto, or pair them with your favorite marinara sauce and pasta for a hearty meal!

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