Super Food Pad Thai

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Super Foods Pad Thai
Pad Thai traditionally uses shrimp or chicken with tofu and speciality sauces. This speedy
plant based version packs in tons of anti-oxidant veggies with eggs and nuts for a protein kick. Easily adaptable for special diets. Simply omit the eggs if you are vegan and swap rice noodles for other grains or veggie noodles if you want.  Clean, high alkaline ingredients make this a great detox dish. Omit salt and increase citrus if you are avoiding salt/soy.
250 g rice or buckwheat noodles (Sub mixed veg noodles if paleo or grain free)
4 T tamari or coconut aminos
2 T peanut, almond or sesame butter
1 Lime, juiced
3 tbsp rice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 t turmeric
1 1/2 bunches spring onions, cut in 2 cm slices (white and
green pieces), divided
1 fresh Red Chili Pepper, sliced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
1 inch of  Ginger, grated
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 T Cooking Oil (avocado, peanut, or coconut)
2-3 Eggs (omit if vegan)
2 cups spinach, chopped
300g or 2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
300g or 2 cups kale (massage briefly with a bit of oil first)
1/2 cup or 100g chopped peanuts or almonds (toast first for max flavor)
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving
1)Cook the noodles for 3-5 minutes in boiling water
2)Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside
3)Combine tamari, nut butter,lime juice,vinegar, and turmeric in a small bowl.
Mash and stir to a uniform paste/sauce
4)Slice the spring onions and chili pepper, grate the ginger and garlic.
5)Heat oil over medium high heat.
6)Add garlic, chili, 1/2 of the spring onions and ginger
and fry for 1 minute, push aside
7)Crack eggs in pan and scramble until dry
8)Add the noodles to the pan and stir fry. Meanwhile,
chop the spinach, kale and shred the cabbage.
9)Add the sauce and the greens and cabbage. Stir fry for a minute or 2 to just wilt the veggies (if you want completely raw vegetables omit this step and add at end)
10)Chop (and toast) the nuts and cut the lime into wedges. Top with nuts and garnish with lime. Eat!!

Coconut Poached Fish with Tropical Cauliflower Rice

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 Poached Fish
7-800g  (approx 1.5 lb) White Fish (tilapia, nile perch)
Salt & Pepper
1 can Coconut Cream/Milk  reserve 1-2 T for Cauliflower Rice
1 Lime, zested and juiced
2 cloves Garlic,minced
½-1 Red Chili Pepper, chopped, remove all or some of the seeds to suit your taste for heat
1 Red Bell Pepper, removed seeds and sliced into strips
1 tbsp. Coconut/Cooking Oil
1 bunch Spinach, shredded
Cauliflower Rice
1 small Onion,chopped
1 Lime, zested and then cut in quarters for serving
1 head of Cauliflower florets,grated or riced in processor
1 T. Coconut/Cooking Oil (h)
1-2 T  reserved Coconut Cream
1/4 cup or more Shredded/Desiccated Coconut (unsweetened)
1 bunch Spring Onions, chopped
1) Cut the fish into smaller pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
2) Zest and juice the lime and mince the garlic.
3) Combine coconut cream, lime juice and zest, minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a bowl
and whisk.
4) Pour mixture over fish in a shallow dish and place in the fridge.
5) Prepare the chili and bell peppers. Chop the chili pepper and slice the bell peppers.
6) Heat oil in a pan.
7) Sauté chili and pepper slices until they become tender.
8) Pour fish and marinade into pan and poach fish fillets (6-10 m
minutes) until almost done.
9) Shred the spinach and add, cook until they begin to wilt and
fish is opaque.
While fish is poaching prepare cauliflower rice:
10) Chop the onion, zest the lime,  and process or finely slice the cauliflower to ‘rice’.
11) Heat 1 T of coconut/cooking oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the onion for two minutes, add lime zest and cauliflower rice, cook for 5-10 min until cauliflower is soft
12) Pour in coconut cream and grated coconut.
13) Chop the spring onion and cut the lime into quarters.
14) Serve fish on top of cauliflower rice and enjoy

Aging, Detox, and Stress

Uplifting topic, right?

I wanted to share three resources that I have found that have helped me a lot in the past year.

So, aging, yuck. There doesn’t seem to be anything good about it, except the wisdom and as my friend Becky told me “the fact that you stop giving a shit too, so that’s good.” I know in reality I’m still young and that ten years from now I might back and wish I was this age again. So I try to be in the moment and embrace each age for its awesomeness. Age is just a number, right?

So, to set the scene, it was the morning after a late, late night out celebrating a great friends 40th birthday. Champagne, cocktails, wine, yummy food, and friends. It was great. The next morning, I was mindlessly scanning my email, while the kids ate breakfast and found a new email from goop. Goop, if you don’t know it, is Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle publication. It’s one of those things I love to hate or hate to love. Sure, Gwyneth Paltrow can rub people the wrong way with her perfect diet, and her conscious uncoupling that wasn’t a divorce. But, she and her team spend a lot of time researching just about every fantastic thing under the sun. It’s then curated into her site and newsletter with stuff to buy, read, cook, do, places to go, etc. Some of it is SO beyond what us mere mortals can do or afford BUT a lot of it is really cool and helpful.

So I was feeling old, tired, and hung over. Naturally, I clicked on the article “The Secret to Staying Young” and you should too. It’s actually super positive and made me feel encouraged. She covers every topic in the aging process and what we can do to make it better. The article covers longevity, genetics, lifestyle, and Alzheimer’s. Check it out! Linked below:

http://bit.ly/2nhaET5

Next up, detoxing. I’ve never really done anything like a detox. I live a pretty clean and healthy lifestyle, most of the time, so I don’t worry too much. But, I have struggled with chronic sinusitis, anxiety, and sleep issues at different times in my life so I decided to give one a try. I found one that included plenty of eating because I just can’t restrict my eating, unless I’m super stressed or upset and then it’s not a good restriction. Anyway. I did the Nikki Sharp 5 Day Detox app and it was amazing! I loved not having to think about my own meals for five days. The app times everything and gives you recipes for each meal/snack. It was a really reflective week and I felt incredibly calm. I loved using foods differently and learned a lot about my own eating habits. For one, I know I don’t need as much meat as I tend to eat and I’ve learned to be more mindful about the whole process. I feel energized and clean. I really don’t want to taint my body with coffee and alcohol again, but I know I will!

I can’t think of anything negative to say about the experience. It was easy to use, the food was delicious and plentiful.I felt hungry a couple of times, but infused water or peppermint tea helped with this. I will say though, that cooking for my kids was kind of annoying but hey, they’re worth it. I felt tempted as I took some muffins out of the oven but I got over it! I did not do this detox for weight loss but I do feel slimmer in the abdomen. This detox would be  great as a lifestyle re-set or a kickstart for a healthy weight-loss plan. I see myself doing this after the summer or Christmas just because it feels so good! I feel I must add in here that I am not a paid-spokesperson and my blog has about five followers in addition to my mother so obviously this is not a sponsored post.

http://www.5daydetoxapp.com

Lastly, in September of last year I got lucky and clicked on another amazing goop link and I go back to it often. It’s about stress containers in our bodies and includes quick videos on how to release them and be aware of the emotional patterns that may create them. It’s an incredible resource that you can use in a short amount of time. My jaw is a place I hold tension in (especially at night) and their video has helped me a lot!

To summarize it, your body holds stress in all the major parts of your body. The jaw, neck and face, the shoulders and chest, diaphragm and lungs, gut, your pelvic floor and hips. In the videos they give you easy exercises to release the tension and a mantra/short meditation to go with it. I can’t say enough about how great this link is, whether you are a beginner to the concept of mind-body connections or a seasoned practitioner of yoga and meditation. Link below:

http://bit.ly/2cIQ0tp

I hope you enjoy reading and clicking. I welcome any and all feedback/advice on these topics!

 

 

Swedish Meatballs:Redesigned and Inspired

A year ago, when I was developing recipes for Dinnertime, I had a lot of fun developing paleo modifications for comfort classics. I have a husband that will eat almost anything that I put in front of him, he knows he’s lucky to get meals home cooked with love! He grew up with a mother that is a phenomenal cook and he has good taste. That said, he prefers meat and potato centered dishes. The higher the dairy and fat content, the better, in his eyes. So I really love taking a dish like Swedish Meatballs and making it healthier and free from dairy. I love it even more that he didn’t mind the changes at all. I know I’ve succeeded if he has seconds of a dish I have changed so much it actually deserves a whole new name.

When I first started eating dairy free, I struggled with the idea of everything tasting like coconuts or cashews. I have gotten over that fear and I am a little obsessed with coconuts, but I promise you this dish isn’t too coconutty… Traditionally, Swedish Meatballs are served with a ligonberry jam or sauce. Sure, I could drive to Ikea and get Ligonberries but I love replacing imported ingredients with locally abundant (i.e. cheaper) options. With fresh pomegranate seeds, you don’t need any sugar and they give the dish the perfect tart and sweet crunch it deserves.

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Swedish Meatballs over Cauliflower Mash 

800g or 1.7 lbs, Ground Beef (Grass Fed, organic if possible)

2 eggs

1 T parsley

1 t salt

1 t pepper

¼ t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

pinch of cloves

½ sweet onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ T coconut oil

Gravy

1/2 sweet onion, minced

1 garlic clove, mined

1 can coconut cream

2 cups beef broth or water

2 T oil or ghee

salt and pepper to taste

2 T arrowroot or tapioca flour

2t oil

1-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium head cauliflower, chopped in florets

1-2 T Coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pomegranate, seeded

  1. Mix beef, eggs, and seasoning in a bowl
  2. Heat ½ T of oil in a pan
  3. Sauté garlic and onion until soft and add to meatball mixture, combine with your hands
  4. Form into balls with 2 T of meat mixture and place on a plate
  5. Heat ½ T of oil at at time to fry meatballs in batches (about 10 at a time for 5-8 minutes)
  6. Drain meatballs on a strainer or on towels when finished cooking
  7. Make gravy by cooking onion and garlic in same skillet for one minute
  8. Add coconut milk, broth, ghee and salt and pepper
  9. Whisk and cook for 5 minutes
  10. Remove a ¼ cup of liquid and whisk in arrowroot, return to pan and simmer to thicken
  11. Add meatballs to pan and simmer gently while you make cauliflower rice
  12. Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, stir for one minute on medium heat, set aside
  13. Steam cauliflower until a fork easily pierces the florets (this step can be done ahead of time)
  14. Blend cauliflower, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste and/or desired consistency
  15. Top cauliflower mash with meatballs and gravy
  16. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds

Mindful Parenting

At the end of January I got lucky and happened to see a text on my daughter’s preschool chat about a wellbeing event at LightHouse Arabia. I usually miss the good stuff so I was excited to see the event had not passed already.  The event cost only 75 dhs (20USD) and the fee was actually an optional donation to charity.

I am a mom of three and every day I wish I had done a bunch of things differently.  I want to be the calm mom and the strict mom. The mom that has polite well-behaved children, the ones that do chores without being asked. I want kids that are nice to each other and respect adults. I want them to do well in school and sports and to have nice friends. I wish they would eat more vegetables and enjoy my cooking, without complaints, every day. While I am making a wish list, I wish they would go on pinterest for inspiration and make their own goddamn lunches too.

I hope for lots of things for my children but what happens, everyday, is I get so caught up in the immediacy of it all that I end up just being a mediocre version of myself. I yell, I say things I wish I hadn’t and I settle for the minimum. Sometimes I don’t care if anyone brushes their teeth. But because I am me, and because I strive for success, I’ll feel guilty about it all later. And in this cycle I read and I write and I try to learn as much as I can. I try to have fun with them and enjoy the little moments, because they go so fast. I heard an interview with an amazing mother recently and she said everyone should be the mom that comes naturally to them and if you do that, your kids will turn out fine. It’s true though, we spend so much energy trying to be a different, better kind of parent that we can lose our strengths in the struggle.

Anyway…I do not have much wisdom for you, except that I learned a lot from the workshop that I went to and I thought I would share some of it here, on the blog to help others. It was super nice to take a break from my family on a Saturday and listen to well-trained professionals. The event was relaxing, peaceful and so welcoming. My kids did a couple of workshops for kids (technology and baking) and they loved them. I even got a free chair massage and free juice!

The first workshop I attended was Positive Discipline Strategies for Parents. I try to apply positivity to every aspect of my life, but being positive with discipline is super hard for me. Why? Because I get tired and annoyed and it’s so difficult to be constructive in those moments! Almost every friend groaned when I told them I was going to this workshop. They said, “I know how to do this, but I just don’t do it!” Exactly…

I have to say, my discipline strategies have not improved overnight from this workshop but I have been able to apply some of the principles to my everyday. These are the things that stood out to me:

Only pay attention and praise the behavior that you want to see more of instead of focusing on the bad behavior. This makes sense and it does work but it’s still challenging for me! What did help me though, is that the presenter focused on effective praise being much simpler than we think it is. You don’t have to offer rewards or gifts. A simple “thank you”or “you did such a great job with that” is enough.

The workshop included much more but the biggest takeaway I got from it was about how to engage with your kids one on one. This is my struggle with three kids. They all want me and demand things from me and I sometimes end not giving anything to all of them because I am so busy fending them off while I try to help one etc.  Studies show that just ten minutes, alone with each child, doing an activity of their choice is the best way to spend quality time with them. This is not driving in the car or even reading to them. This is child directed time. Don’t interfere too much, don’t ask too many questions, only narrate what they are doing. Example, “you put all the blue blocks together and all the red ones over there.”

I started doing this each day and my kids love it. It’s given more structure to our evenings and helped with everyone’s expectations when they know their time is coming. With my youngest she wants to play mommies and daddies or Sylvanian bunnies. My middle one wants to play Go Fish or “Gold Fish” as she calls it. My oldest one usually wants to play a game of cards or a board game. The important thing is that they pick the activity and they lead the way.

Next I went to a workshop about the appropriate use sof technology for kids. I learned a lot here and this topic opens up a huge can of worms. The internet is big, guys, and we can limit their use of screens and devices and the content they access BUT it is so important to be involved with their education in technology. I also learned the hard way this year that I need to teach my children what to do if they come across something inappropriate or unsuitable for children. My instinct was just to shelter them completely and while I will NOT be giving my kids unlimited and uncontrolled access to devices or the internet, it is important to teach them how to use these things. Like everything else in life, it is so important that these lessons come from parents and that we just keep talking and communicating. They need to know they can come to us if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or curious.

Lastly, I want to tell you about the Smart Heart Board Game. My two oldest children came with me to play a life-size version of this at the workshop. They loved the game so much that I bought it from the creators. The game involves just enough competition to keep my oldest engaged and they actually like playing it together. The typical birth order issues do come out and there is some bickering but it all ends well! Even my three-year old can play, if I help her. We’ve only had the game two weeks and everyone has their own special game piece and we play everyday.  I love it because it encourages talking, sharing and empathy, all the things I try to teach, but it does it in a way that is not too obvious. I now follow LightHouse Arabia on instagram so I don’t miss anymore amazing community days. For more information see links below!

http://www.lighthousearabia.com

https://www.smartheartboardgame.com

 

 

 

 

 

Thai Style Sweet Potato Zoodles

 

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Recently, I discovered the most amazing recipe for sweet potato noodles: (http://kristineskitchenblog.com/sweet-potato-noodles-with-peanut-sauce/) and I binged on them, big time. I made them for ladies nights, my kids, and for visitors. I ate them hot, cold, for dinner and lunch. Then I did allergy testing and found out I am intolerant to just about everything (whole other blog post) so I decided to work with the recipe to find a way to keep eating them. These noodles are gluten, soy, and peanut free.  Thank you to Kristine’s Kitchen Blog for giving me an amazing template to work with! * Note I usually double this sauce so that I can have extra to add to more zoodles or other vegetables. That’s sort of a lie, I just like things really saucey 🙂

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 inch piece of ginger, grated (adjust to your own taste)

2 limes, juiced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or hot sauce

2-4 T coconut milk if desired to thin sauce and add more Thai flavor

Assorted Zoodles ( I usually use 2-3 Sweet potatoes and 1 zucchini, I have also used butternut zoodles and beetroot zoodles, I play around with what I have on hand) but use about 5-6 cups of veggies

1 T coconut oil

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Toppings: chopped cilantro, green onions, and toasted sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds

  1. Mix sauce ingredients together, dilute with coconut milk or water if desired.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or a large sauté pan.
  3. Stir fry until soft and water is released from veggies.
  4. Add the sauce and chickpeas, cook for several minutes to warm everything and blend the flavors.
  5. Add toppings and eat!

Coconut Corn Chowder

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Winter in Dubai…it’s mild, and fleeting but these cloudy and windy days are a great excuse for a warm soup.

This soup is a vegan take on a classic comfort soup. Using coconut cream and
chili, this soup has hints of Thai flavors. Served with smashed chickpeas and
roasted garlic on toast (or as a salad).
Chowder 
1 T coconut or olive oil (ghee can be used as well)
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Chili, chopped, to taste (use half or no seeds if you want it less spicy)
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 sticks Celery, diced
1 large sweet or white potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp Cooking Oil or Butter
1 pinch of chili powder, optional
2 tsp dried thyme
½-1 tsp. Salt
300-500 ml Water
1 can Coconut Cream
2 cans Sweet Corn (sub bell pepper or chopped leeks if paleo)
1 bunch Spring Onions, chopped
1 bunch Parsley, chopped
Smashed Chickpea and Garlic Toasts 
1 head of Garlic, cut in half
2 tbsps. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Vinegar
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
Nice thick bread of choice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, cut the whole garlic in half, drizzle
with olive oil and wrap in foil
Place on a tray and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, while chopping
ingredients and preparing soup
Chop the onion, green chili and three cloves of garlic. Dice the celery. Peel and
dice the potato.
Heat the oil or ghee  in a large, heavy bottom saucepan
Sauté onion, garlic, celery, chili, chili powder, thyme and salt until they brown
Add potato and water, bring to boil and simmer until potatoes soften
Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and chickpea toasts;
Remove garlic from oven and squeeze out roasted garlic
Whisk garlic with oil and vinegar
Drain, rinse and partially mash the chickpeas with a fork
in a bowl.
Chop the red bell pepper.
Add the bell pepper, and mix with the roasted garlic dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice and toast the bread
When the soup is done, blend or emulsify soup if desired, return to pot
Stir coconut milk and sweet corn into soup and gently simmer until warm and
thick
Add salt and pepper to taste
Garnish soup with chopped spring onions and fresh parsley
Smother toast with chickpea mixture or eat over lettuce if eating low carb, paleo, or grain free.