Try This—Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

“when the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, four. I don’t think I can eat eight.” —Yogi Berra

Now that’s the kind of portion control I can get on board with, especially when it comes to pizza or rice noodles. I went to the Asian supermarket on Saturday and picked up 12 bundles of rice noodles. Rice noodles are a pantry staple in my house. I literally can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Super quick to prepare and the possibilities are endless. I’ve been ODing on Pancit lately, and I just have to share my favorite recipe with you. Pancit (pronounced PUN-SIT) is a Filipino dish that I’ve loved since I was in high school.

When my older sister was at Cornell University, her dorm mate was Filipina and she used to cook the most amazing food. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old, so her dorm mate made all of these traditional Filipino dishes for me with no meat. Did I mention she was super sweet?! Anyway, my absolute favorite has always been Pancit, but up until recently, I’d never tried to make it on my own. Then I found this recipe courtesy of the Veggie Chick, and it’s about as close as you can get to the Pancit I remember. You must try this!!!

Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 package (15 ounce) extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces and pressed with paper towel to remove all moisture
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 head)
  • 2 cups baby broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt

Directions

  1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl; cover with warm water and let sit. When the noodles are soft, after about 20 minutes, drain and set noodles aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until browned, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the tofu from the wok. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the carrots, cabbage and broccoli. Stir fry until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tamari, ginger, veggie bouillon cube, vegetable broth and sea salt. Stir until the bouillon cube is dissolved. Add the cooked tofu, rice noodles and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Serves 8. Best served immediately. Stays fresh in the fridge for 1 day.

Recipe: the Veggie Chick for more plant-based cooking inspiration go here.

Food Trends to Watch For in 2018

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Fact: The closest I came to dieting in 2017 was when I deleted some of the food photos from my phone gallery. I’ll admit, when I’m talking about dieting here, I’m almost never talking about weight loss. What I am talking about is the way diet totally effects how we feel.  I’m here to tell you that skinny vegetarians can feel like crap too. Take it from me. I’m also here to tell you that big girls can be amazingly fit. Case in point: this fierce yogi. So, with less of an emphasis on weight, nutrition and health take center stage. This year, we can expect to see some super nutritious additions to last year’s growing list of healthy food trends. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally ready! Seriously, after a steady diet of cake, sweet, sugar, pastry, and cocktail since Halloween, I’m determined to start this new year off right. Let’s take a look!

2018 Food Trends

Whole Foods Predicts…

Whole Foods just released their annual report on food trends, giving us a clue as to what we’ll be seeing a lot of this year. Plant based products, floral flavors, mushrooms (anyone ready for a mushroom coffee?!), airy snacks like jicama crisps, root to stem recipes (zero food waste, hello!), and both Middle Eastern (mmm, Halloumi Burgers) and Filipino cuisine are all set to have a huge impact on 2018.

the dairy aisle gets some help from Sweden

Last year, while I was in Stockholm, I had one of the best lattes ever, y’all. I went to this coffee shop called Snickarbacken7 in the Norrmalm neighborhood. Anybody that knows me knows that me ordering a latte is always a production. Vanilla soy latte, one pump of vanilla and light on the foam. I’m trying to buy coffee, not air bubbles and simple syrup. Does that make me picky? Anyway, Snickarbacken7 didn’t have any soy milk, and I was so over almond milk and coconut milk lattes the second I tried them. The barista offered me an oat milk latte instead. YOOOOOOO!!! Oat milk is absolutely amazing. Creamy, subtly sweet, and easily my new favorite dairy alternative milk. Look for the Swedish company Oatly to hit US shelves in February.

Move over, matcha, Make Room for Moringa.

While matcha has made it’s rounds in everything from lattes to must-have beauty products over the last few years and while it doesn’t show signs of stopping, get ready to see a lot more moringa. Moringa is made from the leaves of the moringa tree, a plant native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder that has a deliciously earthy flavor, not so different from matcha, but with comparable anti-inflammatory properties to turmeric. This year, you’ll see moringa in smoothies, nourishment bowls, health bars, and even lattes. Moringa powder is readily available on amazon making it easy for a home cook to experiment with it’s unique flavor.

The next big thing after Instant Pot

In 2017, our Instagram feeds were flooded with delicious Instant Pot creations. That versatile little kitchen appliance combined the capabilities of a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and skillet into one convenient device. The Instant Pot gave us healthy meals in a fraction of the time, using a fraction of the energy. What it didn’t give us was fried food. Um. We need fried food. Enter the air fryer. What sets fried food apart is that familiar crunchy texture we all love. What makes it unhealthy is the loads of oil we have to use to get that tasty crunch. The air fryer remedies all of that by evenly circulating air around your temptation of choice, giving you that fried food comfort without all the guilt. These gadgets aren’t exactly new, but more and more companies are joining the trend and offering more affordable options. If you wanna go for broke because fried food is your happy place, you can opt for the pricier, latest version of the Phillips Air Fryer. A more frugal version is yours for under $100 here.

I’m so excited for this year! You guys! 2018! Can you believe it?

I Tried Huel, the Future of Food, and You Should Too

My fight against low energy rages on. I’m pretty sure the key to feeling energized isn’t in the massive amount of coffee I drink (what a wonderful world that would be). The key to getting your groove back is in a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising. We’ve all gotten that memo. When I’m eating right, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly, my body just feels better, ya know? I am absolutely determined to find that fountain of youth, y’all. As always, ambition gets the best of me, and I go totally extreme in my efforts. So this happened. I spent a long 5 days on a liquid diet, and maybe after you read this you will too. Hear me out.

I should tell you again that I’m not one of those people that lives to eat. I’m more like one of those people that eats to live. The idea of meal replacement shakes doesn’t send me running for the hills, though I tend to avoid them because of all the toxic additives that many of them contain. Then I discovered Huel. Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, proteins, essential fats, carbs, fiber, and phytonutrients without all the chemical additives. I mean, they bill themselves as the future of food. Lofty claim, right? But hey, it’s vegan, it’s sustainable, it’s cost effective, it’s time saving, and you get a free t-shirt with your first order. So I thought, why not give this stuff a try.

I’m an all or nothing kind of lady. I figured if I was gonna try Huel, I was gonna try Huel, straight up, no chaser. I mixed the powder with nothing but water for the first 3 days and ate nothing else. Seeing is how I’m one of those people that eats to live I figured I wouldn’t miss food all that much. I was wrong. I’m gonna be bluntly honest here. Huel tastes like…well, imagine this: you take food, then you subtract flavor, texture, and go ahead and get rid of all that makes food indulgent or delicious in any way until you’re left with nothing but science. Then you’ve got Huel.

Ok, so I’m totally exaggerating, but if you’re expecting the future of food, think again. I will admit, however, that the taste isn’t offensive at all (it actually has a kind of oat taste to it) and the texture isn’t so bad either, but I did find myself missing food. As for my energy level, to be honest, I felt really good. I haven’t felt hungry at all and I was able to keep up with my daily yoga without feeling overly tired or strained. Full disclosure: I abandoned the whole just water thing after the first 3 days, and opted for breakfast smoothies with Huel. Best decision ever. These smoothies have been down right tasty. You can even cook with Huel, baking it into a healthy cookie recipe, or even a savory stove top dish. The website offers a variety of recipes that include Huel, so there’s that. Anyway, Huel is definitely worth a try. If you’re looking to improve your diet, increase your energy level, maintain a healthy weight, or even drop a few pounds you should give Huel a go.

Check out the video below for a look at a fabulous kitchen, a beautiful man, and some tips on using Huel.

Try This—Jicama!!!

I should probably admit that I’m kind of a picky eater. I’m almost always certain to pass on funny looking veggies I’ve never heard of at the farmer’s market. Seriously, no matter how many rave reviews jackfruit, or whatever, gets on cooking sites, just looking at that thing gives me the shivers. I’m the one at the kitchen table using the prongs of my fork to separate that unidentified ingredient from the rest of the meal, holding it up to the light, crinkling my nose, and asking, “what is this?” I’ll even go so far as to do a ton of research on the superfood du jour, but not even a stellar report card of health benefits can convince me to take the plunge.

Anyway, as with most of the new foods I end up trying, the story starts with a stir fry. I love stir fry. No other meal can trick me into putting fermented whatever-the-hell into a dish I’m about to consume, no questions asked. It is stir fry that got me to try mung bean sprouts, bok choy, water chestnuts and countless varieties of mushrooms. So on my latest run to the Asian food store, I got my hands on jicama.

I’d been hearing a lot of good things about jicama. I decided to just bite my bottom lip and add it to my weekend stir fry.  Omigod! Probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time… My decision to pack tank tops when flying to England was decidedly the worst decision I’ve made recently because cold. Anyway, jicama is the truth, y’all. It’s like a mix between an apple, a russet potato, and a turnip. I mean, who knew? Okay, so maybe I’m a little late to the party, as I’ve seen a ton of recipes floating around Pinterest, but still, better late than never!

For the rundown on jicama, check out these useful infographics below, courtesy of draxe.com, then keep scrolling for some serving suggestions courtesy of thekitchn.

Jicama (HEE—KAH—MAH)

Serving Suggestions

  • First, know that a jicama stick can stand up to a carrot stick any day — excellent on its own, or with a dip or vinaigrette.
  • Jicama makes an excellent salsa — a perfect match for a tortilla chip or to top a taco. Cut jicama into slim sticks, then dice it finely. Combine the jicama with corn or diced tomato, black beans, a little red onion or scallion, minced jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.
  • Cut jicama into thin strips or matchsticks and make a slaw with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and avocado.
  • Tuck jicama matchsticks into fresh spring rolls.
  • Stir-fry jicama; its flesh stays crisp when cooked briefly, adding a refreshing crunch to any strir-fry. Try it with broccoli, garlic, ginger, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds or cashews.

 

Your Beauty Diet: The Very Best Skin-Nourishing Foods

You guys!!! I’ve been so busy since I got back from Europe. The new school year is starting, so I’ve been helping my sister set up her classroom down in Philadelphia. I’m always amazed at how much work teachers have to do and how many classroom resources they have to pay for themselves. Shout out to all the educators out there! Side bar: if you want to donate to her classroom, please don’t hesitate! You can donate here and if you’d like to know a little more about her classroom check out this link.

Anyway, I’m just getting back into the swing of things since the trip. I came down with a horrible cold as soon as I got back, and that really took the wind out of my sails. If you’ve been following for a while you know that I rarely, and I do mean rarely, get sick. I’m totally married to taking preventative measures against cold and flu season, and on the rare occasion that I do get sick, I’m all about those quick, natural remedies. All this travel had my immune system in a tailspin though, and what’s worse is that all that sick and tired started to surface on my skin. You know that weary-eyed, dull look you get when you’re sick? Well let’s just say that cold added about 20 years to my Gesicht. Not cool.

Beauty is only skin deep, right? Meh. Not always. The foods we eat definitely impact our beauty from the inside out. We are what we eat for real! So when trying to bring your sexy back, diet is a key component. Here is a list of the best beauty foods to incorporate into your lifestyle.

THE BEST BEAUTY FOODS

  1. Lacto-fermented foods are excellent for improving digestion as they are predigested by bacteria so nutrients are more available for the body to use. The process also creates natural probiotics, key for good gut health. Studies also show that lack of certain acids such as hydrochloric acid in the gut contributes to skin problems from rosacea to acne.Lactic acid bacteria can help increase these acids. Other important beauty foods to eat are prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichoke, bananas, green veggies, asparagus, onions and garlic that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Foods rich in digestive enzymes such as papaya and pineapple can also help nourish gut and skin health.
  2. Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation contributes to a host of skin problems including dryness, pimples and loss of skin tone, as it breaks down essential collagen. Anti-inflammatory foods include lacto-fermented foods and those rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. Grain-fed meats contain inflammatory fats whereas grass-fed meats are rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega -3s. For beauty and health, avoid highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, pasteurized dairy and gluten that can all contribute to inflammation.
  3. Alkalising foods. Many naturopaths believe that too much acid in the body may lead to skin and health issues from arthritis to eczema. The modern diet is full of acidic foods such as red meat, alcohol, refined grains and sugar. To see and feel the benefits, reduce these and eat lots of alkalising foods: lemons, green leafy veg, fruit, herbs, spices, herbal teas.
  4. Antioxidant-rich foods have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the skin from free radical damage that ages it prematurely. Free radicals are unstable molecules that naturally roam our bodies looking to partner up with healthy cells, which they then damage. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits, veggies, spices, green tea and legumes. While oxidation is a normal part of our body’s processes, it is exacerbated by exposure to toxins and pollution, eating processed foods, stress, cigarettes and alcohol so try to cut down on these for your health, and your complexion.
  5. Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C helps support collagen production and boost the skin’s immunity. Lemons, camu camu (a cherry-like fruit), acerola cherry, green leafy veggies, berries, papaya, kiwi fruit, broccoli and cabbage should all be on your shopping list if you want a beautiful complexion.
  6. Vitamin A. Beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cell turnover, improving dry flaky skin. Carrots, sweet potato, leafy greens and seaweeds are rich in vitamin A. Cod liver oil is another great source and also contains skin-loving vitamin D.
  7. Spark up your skin. Minerals are key catalysts for many biochemical reactions, helping to make enzymes, antioxidants and hormones. They are essential for skin’s hydration, resilience and overall texture and health. Oats, buckwheat and chickpeas contain silica, for example, which can help to promote skin elasticity. Zinc in pepitas is another anti-inflammatory helpful in repairing and building the skin, particularly if you are prone to acne or oily skin. Soak grains, seeds and legumes to reduce anti-nutrients, aid their digestibility and unleash their goodness.
  8. Support the liver. Foods that support the liver are very important to wellness and beauty because this organ is involved in every metabolic process. Max sulphur-rich foods, including those from the brassica family – cabbage, broccoli, kale – in your diet and enjoy nourishing, slow-cooked bone broths.
  9. Eat liver-supporting herbs such as milk thistle, rosemary, fennel, dandelion and burdock root.
  10. Eat fat. Eat essential fatty acids. The ideal ratio is 1:1 – 5:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but in the Western world it looks more like 20:1 – 50:1. While omega-6s are essential, their dominance causes inflammation in the body, so avoid processed packaged foods and refined vegetable, seed and nut oils.Eat fresh seeds and nuts for omega-6s and dose up on omega-3s by eating fresh fish (especially cold-water fish), flaxseeds and chia seeds. Be sure to eat freshly ground flaxseeds and chia seeds as they oxidise very easily. Krill oil is also a great omega-3-rich supplement. Other skin-boosting unsaturated fats are olive oil – avoid heating it as it oxidises – and the fats in avocado.Cook with saturated fats such as red palm oil and coconut oil: these are stable and rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are great for digestion, brain and skin health.
  11. Eat protein. Insufficient protein in the diet can lead to sallow-looking skin and lack of muscle tone. Protein is vital for collagen synthesis, tissue growth and repair. It’s important for balancing blood-sugar levels and it builds muscle, increasing basal metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn fat. Good protein sources are fish, grass-fed meats, fresh nuts and seeds and cultured dairy.

Your body will thank you for introducing all of these cleansing foods into your diet. I’ve been really good about changing the way I think about and choose the foods I eat. The payoff is immediate. More energy, a total relief from abdominal discomfort, and now that I think of it, I’ve also been less stressed out and anxious than I’ve been in years. Cherry on top? A youthful glow to my skin. What more could a lady ask for?!

Source: The Beauty Chef