Usually, I'd recommend this recipe if you do have a cold or allergies. This mango turmeric latte is a fantastic and delicious way to infuse your body with immunity-boosting vitamins A, C, and E. However, if you're like me, you might also be suffering from imaginary symptoms ever since the media (and now everyone else) started talking coronavirus non-stop. And that's understandable, of course! It's a terrifying illness, but if you're not actually sick (and I'm no doctor, so if your symptoms persist they might be real and you should see a doctor), but if, your sore throat is coming and going the way mine has been, then, maybe, could be, just might be all in your head. I know my sore throats have been coming and going these past few weeks, so I suspect the culprit is stress held in my jaw. I'm going to write a separate post about meditation and relaxing, but I've also found it helpful to kind of "burn" out my symptoms with this tasty turmeric treat. Plus, mangos regulate blood pressure, improve digestion, boost your immune system, and alkalize the whole body among many other benefits! Win win! Scroll down for some helpful reference images and the quick easy recipe below!
Recipe credit (with some of my tweaks): How To Be Vegan and Keep Your Friends
Pantry tip: most of you probably know this one, but fruit and veggies are not the same as meat, so if there's a rotten spot, you can usually just cut it out and eat the rest. Definitely exercise judgment. In this case, I was able to cut off the moldy spot and the rest of the mango was still perfectly ripe and delicious! Nice to know when you can't just run out to the grocery store.
The ingredients sound a little intimidating, but you literally toss them all together, warm them up a bit, and then set it aside to cool a bit before you put the chunks of mango in. Easy peasy vegan squeezy!
200 ml of oat, coconut, or soy milk
1 tablespoon turmeric
a dash of sea salt
a dash of cardamom
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
half mango/ whole mango
Pour a mug full of oat milk, coconut milk, or vanilla soy (my favorite) into a saucepan (or measure out 200 ml). While it heats to just below boiling, add a big spoonful of turmeric, a pinch of cardamom (optional), a pinch of sea salt (or regular salt), another spoonful of honey or maple syrup (preferred), and then warm the mixture up. Don't let it boil!
Set it aside and chop up your whole mango. (The original recipe calls for half a mango, but I like this drink a little thicker. Think warm mango lassi. Mmm.) Add the chunks of mango to the sauce pot and then blend. I make a lot of soups, so we have a Cuisinart stick blender. There are cheaper options on Amazon, but we've had this guy for four years and counting. I highly recommend it!
And that's it! Enjoy! Feel better! Stay home and stay healthy.
About two months ago, I was at dinner with friends and clients of Ryan's. I mention the company I was keeping right off the bat, because I do believe we were in a steakhouse, but... I can't actually say for sure. I can remember that night that Ryan went from work to the restaurant, while I tried to clean myself up and care for the kids at the same time until the babysitter arrived to set me free. So yeah, the details are a bit of a blur. Anyway, I do remember there were plenty meat and seafood apps being passed around by the time I arrived wearing a pretty thrifted dress and my favorite Rouje lipstick smeared in the general vicinity of my lips. (I'm wearing it again above. It's the prettiest red!) That night, I still identified as flexitarian, which is someone who mostly doesn't eat meat-- partially, because they're afraid of offending their friends and family and partially because switching from a meat-eating diet to a vegetarian diet is HARD. Or it feels like it is. (More on that in a sec.)
Have you ever heard the joke about how to tell if someone is a vegan? Don't worry: they'll tell you. Bada bada boom. Well, this is the story of how I began my own transformation into a proud and loud vegan-in-the-making: long story short, at one point a platter of octopus appeared on the table. I had literally just watched this gorgeous YouTube video (below) about an octopus dreaming. One of my friends noticed I wasn't sampling the dish. "Are you not eating seafood anymore?" she asked. I had just ordered salmon, so I felt foolish and conflicted. BUT I COULD NOT EAT THAT BEAUTIFUL DREAMING CREATURE.
I didn't say any of that. I hate making people feel bad. But here's the thing: I'm not eating animals, because I don't want to feel bad. I love animals. For one thing, as a mommy, I'm constantly watching funny animal videos or talking animal movies like The Lion King with my kids. Following that night, the first thing I did before I made any grand veggie plans, was to finally crack The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. A book that had been on my night table for ages. I was scared to read it. I was scared it would make me feel bad. It didn't. What could after reading about a billion animals dying in the Australian wildfires? (By the way, The Soul of an Octoupus is a non-fic page-turner. I highly recommend it for carnivores and omnivores alike. Montgomery writes scientific facts with the heart-warming coziness of a best friend gossiping over coffee. Although if you ever eat octopus again after reading it, there is definitely something deeply wrong with you.)
Like I said, I didn't say any of that. I hate making people feel bad. Who wants to be cornered? I assume if you clicked on this link, you're down with chatting about a vegan diet. And I'm not eating animals not to be holier than thou or to make other people feel bad about themselves, but because I myself don't want to feel bad. I don't know how much of a difference my own actions make in the grand face of climate change, not to mention global fires either directly or indirectly caused by modern agricultural practices, but I do know not eating animals makes me feel better. Both literally and figuratively.
I can already report that my bloating and digestive issues have vanished since I've switched to a plant-based diet (with the occasional vegetarian digression). Ever since I confronted the conundrum of my flexitarian status that confused night and just decided to go for it, instead of feeling restricted by my diet, instead, my life has improved as a whole. My mood. My sleeping. My skin. My recent weight gain reversed without once feeling like I was dieting since I'm eating three yummy, brightly-colored meals a day plus a snack and dessert. (I don't believe in dieting. Life is to be enjoyed. And diets don't work anyway.) That said, Ryan was still carrying a bunch of sympathy weight from my last pregnancy and couldn't fit into almost any of his suits. He was feeling frustrated, because the old-fashioned route of diet and exercise wasn't working at all. After six weeks of only eating vegan part-time, he's already lost 15 lbs. of the baby weight!
The key difference in our transformation to a veggie diet was not only the will but the way-- aka knowledge. It was watching a documentary called The Game Changers and learning some cogent facts about a plant-eating diet, namely that it is not inimical to an athletic program. It was realizing I now have a ton of veggie snacks in my arsenal/ plenty of options, and, most of all, it was making the decision to learn to cook. Ryan (still a flexitarian but eating more and more vegan meals) and I feel better about ourselves and about the planet. And according to a UN climate change report, even cutting back on animal protein means we're reducing our footprint by a whopping 40%.
Below are the five basic meals I've learned to cook in the past two months that have helped me keep up the change plus one of my favorite vegan snacks: a coconut yoghurt and dark chocolate chip banana split! These are all super easy recipes that even a kitchen klutz like myself had no problem following. (P.S. Don't forget the hot sauce.) Or check out my Pinterest page for more winter veggie comfort meals.
1. Easy spinach lasagna
2. Vegan slow-cooker chili (As we call it. You can also add Greek yoghurt and make it vegetarian.)
3. Vegan lentil stew (Slightly different version from the one I found on Instagram @plantbased.recipes but excited to try this equally budget-friendly & delicious version!)
4. Vegan jambalaya
5. *Cheesy cauliflower casserole
*The dish above rendered the smallest portion of the five basic meals I've learned to cook regularly. One of the nicest things about vegan, besides how budget-friendly and waist-friendly it's turned out to be, are the large portions from each dinner that can be safely stored all week! We're going to try a slow cooker version of the cauliflower casserole above next time instead: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/277917/slow-cooker-cheesy-cauliflower-casserole/
If you've also made the switch to a veggie diet, I'd love if you shared your own triggering moment. What caused you to make the switch? If you've been considering it, but haven't made up your mind either way, I'd also love to hear from you! And don't be shy: like I said, I'm not interested in making people feel badly. Unless you eat sweet, curious, brilliant octopuses. Then yep, I'm trying to make you feel bad. (Also, cool fact I learned from reading Sy's book: the plural is octopuses!)
This one is hands down the favorite in the house! We're always trying to find recipes that are
a little healthier than the traditional alternative and have vegetables and herbs for our kids to
get excited about. This pasta has the added bonus of being incredibly easy to make – and you
can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes flat! My daughter has always been an adventurous eater. (Keeping her out the parmesan during the cooking process is the only real challenge.) However, my son should just carry a sign around that says, “If it isn’t a chicken nugget I won’t eat it!” Well, even he gets excited about this one, and wants to help pick the basil!
1 bunch fresh basil
1-2 garlic cloves (Careful – these are raw so super pungent - and if you over do it you will have a super spicy pasta on your hands!)
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan (or as much as you want!)
Juice of ½ Lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 - 16 OZ bag of spiral macaroni pasta
Cook the pasta according to the package.
While the pasta is cooking, mix all the other ingredients into a food processor and blend.
Drain the pasta, then mix in the sauce.
Garnish as needed with basil leaves and parmesan.
I don't know about you, but I've tried and failed to go vegetarian off and on my whole adult life. One major issue is that I always end up anemic! Every. Time. I finally took the problem to the Facebook hivemind, and some vegetarian friends informed me I need to slowly wean my body from meat and that I should also consider adding a liquid iron supplement to my diet. In the meantime, I've stopped calling myself a vegetarian but continue to eat mostly vegetarian with some vegan meals thrown in.
After all, vegan or not, for every pound of beef you don't eat, you save the planet a whopping 2,500-5,000 gallons of water! Don't worry about going officially vegan/ vegetarian if the word or concept or lifestyle freaks you out. Start off by eating less meat and see how you feel. Have you ever noticed how if you're feeling bloated or sluggish how great a vegan meal can make you feel? Plus, as a non-chef myself, I am delighted to report that non-meat recipes are not only easier to digest but also SO much easier to make and, even better, to clean up. I could go into other benefits: weight loss, clearer skin, more energy, a brighter outlook, but I think we all know that stuff at this point. It's the nitty gritty daily dietary changes that can be hard to make without some easy, go-to dishes under our belt. So don't be too hard on yourself (or that's what I tell myself). It takes a while to change habits! And like I mentioned, every meal you don't eat meat you're saving an amazing amount of water! Now here's two easy recipes to help make your resolutions a reality. The first recipe I like to call...
A Green Smoothie That Doesn't Taste Like a Disgusting Bitter Salad Because Mmmm Peanut Butter
I found the original recipe of this green smoothie in a healthy living magazine. You can really tinker with this one and end up with dozens of delicious variations. My favorite is this addictive variation with peanut butter, greens, coconut water, and frozen fruit!
1 bag of frozen berries
(I like the blue kind, because the final mixture ends up purple, and I can tell my toddler it's Twilight Sparkle Ice Cream and get her to consume kale, guys. KALE!)
2 tablespoons of almond butter
(Peanut butter works equally well and is highly, HIGHLY motivating towards prodding you to actually make this thing. Do not skimp on this part!)
2 handfuls of fresh kale leaves
1 small container of coconut water
*Optional 1 handful of sunflower seeds & a pouch/ dollop of applesauce: I just like the texture and flavor!
Mix on high until well blended. Add a handful of ice cubes if desired and mix again until smooth. So filling. So delicious. So healthy. Enjoy!
Mémé's Traditional Vegan Soup
A French Peasant Supper Staple! Easy! Delicious! And surprisingly vegan (if you don't count the cheese plate that always follows it)!
1 yellow onion
2 leeks Or add another onion if leeks are unavailable.
1-2 small potatoes
*This is the big, traditional (and kinda stinky) peasant ingredient. You can use less or more depending on how big you want the soup to be or how much you like cabbage. Both my French father and my American husband have ended up cutting cabbage out of the recipe entirely. My French dad uses zucchini instead, and my American man uses only the sweet potato.
1 sweet potato
Another addition from my American husband. My grandmother didn't use it, but you can of course season this to your taste. I personally LOVE my husband's version, because it's tasty enough to eat without needed cheese. My grandmother's version was less filling, but French people tend to have a cheese plate after supper.
Just three steps! Chop! Boil! Blend! Chop the veggies up in smallish chunks. Throw them in a pot and top them with filtered water. Let it boil until soft. After, blend the soft veggies with whatever you have at hand (I LOVE our electric hand mixer. Best $29 investment ever.) Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste! This recipe usually lasts me 3-5 days with a quick lunch here and an easy dinner there! Best of all: it tastes even better the day after you make it. I've also recently started adding dried red pepper flakes. My husband will sometimes adds sherry vinegar to his.
Do you have any easy go-to vegan dishes you'd recommend? We're always looking to add more to our repertoire!
Hope you guys enjoy!
After spending a beautiful afternoon apple-picking, we decided to get adventurous with our
bounty – and WOW – did we ever find the perfect autumn comfort dish. Thanks to our friend
Onna (check her out at http://fullandhappy.com/about.html), we were able to find a perfect
dish for our apples (besides the apple pie of course!) that also uses another one of our fall
favorites: Butternut Squash.
This soup will have your whole home smelling like fall. One amazing find we made on our apple
picking adventure was a homemade Sweet Hot Pepper Relish. This dish is so packed with
flavor, we though a little sweet heat would be the perfect compliment. Was it ever!
Ingredients (serves 4 adults easily):
2.5 pounds butternut squash (1 large or 2 small squash)
1 Tablespoon salt
½ cup of olive oil
4-6 apples, peeled and diced (any will work - but Granny Smith is the best IMO)
2 leeks, the white and light green parts
12 sprigs fresh thyme, picked – or however many you like!
¼ cup sherry wine, marsala wine, or dry white wine (you should be drinking white wine
while cooking anyway so just pour some out of your glass!)
2 cans of regular coconut milk
32 oz of Vegetable stock
¼ cup raw sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dollop of Sweet Hot Pepper Relish (if you can find it)!
Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the
seeds. Generously rub the flesh with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roast face-up at 425 for about 40-45 minutes, the key here is to make sure the flesh has
a nice browning on the outside.
Peel and dice the apples, and chop the leeks
In a large stock pot saute the apples and leeks in olive oil until they are lightly browned,
and the apples are soft – about 8 minutes
Add the Thyme and white wine to help scrap the tasty bits off of the bottom of the pot
Add the coconut milk, and lower the temperature to simmer for 15 minutes
Once the squash is roasted, take it from the oven and scrape out the flesh and put it
into the pot (if it is cook properly you should be able to do this with a spoon easily
Add the sugar and vegetable stock and simmer for another 15 minutes
Once it is cooked, blend it with a hand blender, or in a standing blender
Super Surprise: This soup (if you use 6 apples) will be nice and thick. That means once it is in
the fridge (if you have leftovers) it will thicken even more and make a delicious apple saucy
Pairing suggestion: for the kids, and our kids loved this dish – a grilled cheese with a nice cheddar is divine!
The Fridge Clearing Special!
We always buy too many beautiful vegetables! Thinking we are going to eat SUPER healthy that week, so we stock up on everything that looks wonderful in the organic vege isle. What always happens is life gets in the way of cooking some nights, then later in the week we have ourselves a vegetable crisis! Every time we open the fridge the vegetables stare at us, begging to get eaten before they go bad.
It is all very stressful.
We found a great recipe from our friend Onna that helped us, in one beautiful and delicious dish, use ALL our vegetables! And we did it thanks to the super hero of all spice mixtures – curry!
This Thai Curry dish is super easy to make, and goes great with any flavored or plain rice you have in your cupboard. We used a basil-chili rice for the adults, and good old-fashioned Basmati for the kids. We tapped our box (shhh!) of California pinot grigio, and turned a Friday night into a Thai adventure.
We make this with two cast iron pots – one for the curry and one for the vegetables. Meat eaters can throw anything in here also and it would be just as great. The recipe below is all of the vegetables we had on hand, but literally any vegetable would taste great in this mixture. Making it separately also allows the non-fans of the curry to have the charred veges with whatever sauce they want (which helped with our kids since we went with a spicier curry).
Combine and enjoy! One thing to add (if you have it around) would be some fresh cilatrno or a squeeze of lime juice. The leftovers of this dish the next day, in my opinion, are even better than the original – so go ahead and cook all those veges in your fridge now and have lunch ready tomorrow!
Sadly, we have not yet managed to fit apple-picking into our jam-packed weekends so far this fall... Only joking. No, I'm not joking about not making it out to the Pennsylvania countryside for apple-picking, but, actually, lately we've been really lazy and cozy on the weekends. I don't know what it is about this rainy weather, but it makes me want to do nothing but curl up at home with The Office and with snacks. ALL THE SNACKS. There is only so much microwave popcorn or carrots and hummus or carrots and cheese that a woman can consume, and so I've been looking around for new ideas. That's why I loved this blog post:
It Was Hard To Snack Healthy Until I Learned These 22 Delicious Metabolism-Boosting Ideas
The first idea that grabbed my attention happens to be my favorite all-time snack and perfect for fall: apple, peanut butter, and granola delight!
1. Take an apple, a jar of peanut butter, and a box of granola. What do you get? Sandwiches!? It's also super easy to make like all sandwiches are, but this one has a fun, fresh kick to it, and is a nice bread replacement if you tend to eat too much bread or too many crackers as I do.
2. Just slice the apples into flat, round, cracker-shaped slices and spread peanut butter on the flattest side. Sprinkle granola atop if you love crunch. (And oh, I do!) You could also skip this step and use crunchy peanut butter, I guess, but I love granola! Here is the low-down on whether or not granola is good for you. (Also, FYI another of my top 5 favorite snacks is a quick bowl of granola, greek yoghurt, and banana slices.)
3. Top your peanut butter and granola with another apple slice, and that's it!
Now we just have to find a nearby orchard and we can even make this snack with apples we picked ourselves. We're new to Philly, and I'm excited to explore new, good spots for apple-picking. I'd welcome any recs as well! What's your favorite thing about fall?
Around the World through our Stomachs!
Having a family with roots all over the world, we try to find new and fun ways to teach our
children about the world and different cultures. Eating your way around the world is a great
way to do it! We tried Shakshuka (pronounced “Shack-Shooka”), and we are so proud of how
well it turned out (because it is actually a very simple recipe!). This dish makes a great fancy
brunch for adults, or even a cozy dinner recipe. Shakshuka is a very popular North African dish,
that is also popular in Israel. The traditional recipe has cayenne pepper and/or red pepper
flakes. We did not go there because we are trying to get our kids to enjoy it too, and spice is
the only flavor they are not on board for yet. I would not be shy about hot sauce or other
spices if you have the palette for it – spice really turns this dish into something special.
1 large Yellow Onion diced
Fresh bunch of cilantro
1 large red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves (at least that is how many I use!)
1 can (28 Oz) of crushed or whole plum tomatoes (having the chunks is key so stay away
from straight tomato purees)
LOTS of Feta cheese (sorry, I use LOTS but a couple crumbles works too – it gives the
whole dish a nice salty flavor without having to overdo it with salt)
Shredded parmesan (as much as you like!)
6 large local eggs
Spices & oils
o Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
o 1 teaspoon ground cumin
o 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
o NOTE: I actually use more cumin and paprika than this because I love the earthy
sweet flavor, and this is what gives the dish its character. That said you can
always add more spice, but you CANNOT TAKE IT OUT, so I would recommend
you starting with a teaspoon of each, and taste it. If you think you want more
afterwards then go for it. You can also sprinkle some on individual bowls if some
people want more. If you like a bit of heat then you can add a dash of cayenne
or red pepper flakes. If my kids were not eating this, I would load up on the
If you have not gotten a big cast-iron pot/skillet you need to. We cook everything in
these pots, and you can usually find one cheap if you do not want to splurge on a fancy
one. They are naturally non-stick, and pretty much indestructible. The one in the
picture below is over 10 years old and still looks brand new.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the onion and bell pepper
and cook. The key here is to cook them slowly for 20 minutes so they really breakdown.
Add the Garlic, paprika and cumin around the 15 minute mark.
Turn on your oven to 380 degrees
Add in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until nice and thick.
Mix in the feta
Crack the eggs over the top of the mixture and put the whole thing in the oven until the
eggs set. This takes about 7 minutes. You want the yoke to be a bit runny (or at least I
do) so you can mix it all together.
Top with the parmesan and cilantro
We actually just put the entire pot right on the table on a hotplate and let people scoop
out the yummy goodness. I eat it with a baguette, as it's a great utensil, and trust me you
are going to want to sop up every bit in your bowl!
My goal in life is to raise children who love cooking as much as my husband does. I'm a terrible cook and only started to learn for my kids' sake. How many frozen pizzas or mac n'cheeses can one mom serve in good conscience?
So after some negotiating and promises of video games, our daughter agreed to spend five minutes
watching my husband cook! (Here's to the small victories!!) What happened next was a half hour (as in 30 whole minutes) of her asking Ryan about various vegetables, tasting and discovering new flavors, and a running conversation that touched on all aspects of life.
I now know that my daughter loves the taste of raw onions and can eat raw sweetcorn by the mouthful. That is the magic of cooking.
It slows everything down, takes life offline, and gives families a common task to accomplish while drinking wine and eating delicious things.The recipe below is my vegetarian take on a summer classic. I have pinned the bacon-filled recipe also for those who are interested. We're always trying to find vegetarian recipes to share with our kids, and I've found including children in their preparation makes them more adventurous. I actually found some vegan bacon, which was beyond tasty. Added bonus: it gave the soup some texture. Corn soup is a very understated flavor, and makes for a great palette for all sorts of flavors!
Sweet Summer Corn Soup with Fake Bacon
8-10 fresh ears of local corn. Frozen works too, but part of the fun is shucking the corn!
4 TBSP of butter (if you use bacon then cut this amount in half)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch chives
Garlic to taste (I used 3 cloves)
1 bunch green onions
4-5 Yukon Potatoes
4 cups of water
Whatever spices you want (I like fresh Thyme, but dried works also)
1 Cup of Whole Milk (or half & half)
Anything else you want! Try honey or sugar if you want to sweeten it, or jalapenos and
Optional: Cajun spice if you want to give it a kick.
Soup is always so easy!
1. Shave the corn kernels off the cobs into a bowl
2. Dice the garlic, yellow onion and green onions (with the green onions, just dice the
white part – you can use the green part as a garnish)
3. Put the butter into a large pot and melt.
4. Add the garlic and onions and cook on medium-high for 5 minutes or so, until they start
5. Add the potatoes and the water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat
to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally.
6. Once the potatoes are soft enough to crush with a fork, use a hand mixer to blend. A
standing blender works just as well, it is just more dishes so go with the hand mixer if
you have one. Once you have blended, it is time to add the milk and/or honey.
7. Add salt & pepper as desired. Chop the chives and sprinkle on the soup. A giant hunk of
delicious cheese (cheddar, gouda, parm etc) would also be amazing if you are in the
8. Serve with a nice French baguette, some garlic bread or grilled cheese.
People are often so negative about the news. They don't want to read it or discuss it. A friend joked the other day that he prefers social media because "the world is basically a horror show." I have to say, in my own joking way, that there's one major benefit I've derived from reading the news: perspective about your booty. In the past, I think I would have been upset that, suddenly, last night when preparing to go dance salsa with my friends, I could no longer fit into 80% of my skirts and pants, but this morning when I weighed myself, I was not too surprised to see that, yes, I'd regained some of my baby weight. What did surprise me: I'm wayyyy, wayyy, wayyyy more excited this morning about this federal judge's ruling to reunite children with their families than I am upset about my weight! So read the news! Care! It will put your booty woes in perspective. But yes, if you would also like to fit into your pants as well, because, well, buying a whole new wardrobe is not in the budget, then check out the benefits of starting off your day with celery.
We bought our juicer back in 2012 when they were still kind of a novelty item, but we definitely got our money's worth over the years. Now, they retail starting at $50! Check this one out. It's Amazon's choice.
Not only does celery juice have so many health benefits that you can read more about here but incorporating as many vegetables and fruits into your diet as you can-- but especially vegetables as fruits can contain a lot of sugar-- is a quick, easy way to fit back into your pants. I've pinned a bunch of delicious veggie options. Check it out below!
Isabella & Ryan
This is the one section Isabella is currently collaborating on with another. She's learning to cook, while her husband is already an excellent chef. You can follow Ryan on Pinterest: @rmccaffr