Korean Food, Baking, DIY's & So Much More!

Vegetable Pad Thai

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Aside from Korean food, one of my other favorites is Thai food, particularly pad thai.  This all-veggie pad thai is my healthier take on it for the new year.  It’s not only delicious, it’s rather wholesome and I’ve been enjoying it several times a week for the past few months now.  I know that lots of folks have pledged to lose a few pounds as part of their new years resolution and it always makes me sad when I discover that friends or colleagues alike are practicing restriction to achieve their goal.  I’m here to urge you to lean towards a cleaner, more natural diet to maintain healthier balance.  My vegetable pad thai salad features a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors, flavors and textures.  I find that the trick to eating a variety of veggies is to pick those with vastly different tastes and textures to keep things interesting. Not only are you eating the rainbow here, you’re also picking up bold Thai flavors from its pad thai sauce that couldn’t be more simpler than blending up a handful of ingredients.

For your ingredients, you’ll be able to find most of these at your regular market with the exception of a few.  My hope is that one day, I’ll be able to pick up all my groceries in one place versus having to travel to several in one day to satisfy my needs but ah, I digress.  The most exotic picks from todays line up are shirataki noodles and tamarind paste though I found both of these from my local spot for todays recipe.  You may be able to find the tamarind paste in the international aisle and the shirtaki noodles next to the tofu in the chilled bin.  The shirataki noodles are made from the konjac yam that are naturally vegan and gluten free.  They’re often called “zero noodles” since they’re made of an indigestible fiber and have no carbs.  I don’t find them to taste of much and they have a light feel about them and since they’re pretty flavorless, it means that they can be used for as many things as you can create uses for.  An alternative to shirataki noodles would be kelp noodles that have a bit more texture/crunch.  Both are great, no-cook options.

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Tamarind paste is tart-sweet-fruity.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  I once took on the task of making my own paste and it took all of once to let that one go {it’s maddeningly sticky without much pulp within each shell and takes about a decade to extract enough for anything}.  It’s much easier to obtain a package of pure tamarind paste that’s fresh, soft and wet.  From there, you could turn it into a sweet and sticky glaze, a delicious marinade, unique candy or juice and even my vegetable pad thai!


5.0 from 3 reviews
Vegetable Pad Thai
 
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Bright, crunchy and wholesome with a piquant edge from a tangy, sweet and sour tamarind sauce.
Author:
Serves: 2 large salads
Ingredients
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • ¼ purple cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups sprouts {mung/bean/broccoli/alfalfa/etc}
  • 2 cups shirataki or kelp noodles
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 3 scallions
  • Crushed nuts {pistachios/cashews/peanuts}
  • Black sesame seeds
  • 2 lime wedges
Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tb fresh, soft wet tamarind paste
  • 3 tb sugar
  • 1 ts Korean red pepper paste
  • 3 tb fish sauce
  • ½ c water
Instructions
  1. Prepare the vegetables to your liking. You can chop/spiralize/peel them. Arrange them as desired onto a plate.
  2. Blend everything for the sauce until smooth and emulsified. Pour on the dressing and garnish with nuts, sesame seeds and lime wedges.

 

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles

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Whether you’re vegan or not, these raw vegan chocolate truffles are completely scrumptious.  They’re candy-sweet, ooey-gooey and satisfying yet they’re 100% natural, raw, vegan and paleo friendly with no refined sugars.  Plus, they’re incredibly simple to whip up.  You guys know I love sharing my 2 or 3 ingredient recipes and these are no exception.  These raw vegan truffles can be made with just 3 ingredients with 2 optional additions.

Medjool dates give these truffles a natural sugary-sweetness with a touch of caramel flavor while the soaked cashews provide a buttery creaminess.  Raw cacao gives the truffles structure and body and of course, they bring in the chocolate element.  A sprinkle of salt with help balance out the flavors and a final roll in some coconut flakes prevents them from being too sticky but both of these are optional.  I personally enjoy their stickiness and one of my favorite parts is licking the syrupy goodness off of my fingers.  A delicious aftermath, if you will.

My favorite ingredient from the lineup has got to be what’s known as “the king of dates.”  Medjool dates are wonderfully soft and tender and I love enjoying them on their own, in a variety of recipes or even in savory applications.  They’re particularly delightful when stuffed with cheese or nuts and wrapped in prosciutto.  Not only are they delicious, medjool dates are easily digested due to their dietary fiber and they also contain a bit of almost every essential mineral.  How awesome is that?  I love how perfectly they satisfy my sweet tooth in a pinch.  Here, they conspire with the raw cacao to produce a perfectly fudgy chocolate experience.  They literally melt in your mouth.

Eating soaked nuts is better for your digestion versus consuming them in their raw state and because the phytic acid present in the nuts is being broken down, the nutrients are much more easily absorbed into your body.  Pair that with the dates and you’re in for a treat that not only tastes great, it’s also good for your body when enjoyed in moderation.


5.0 from 4 reviews
Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles
 
Author:
Serves: 1 Dozen
Ingredients
  • 2 c medjool dates
  • ½ c soaked raw cashews
  • 3 tb raw cacao
  • Optional: pinch of salt & shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Soak your nuts for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain.
  2. In a blender/food processor, combine everything together except the coconut, if using,
  3. Blend until well combined.
  4. Scoop onto wax/parchment/silpat and chill for 30 minutes {optional}.
  5. Roll in coconut and serve, chilled or at room temperature.

 

3 Ingredient Homemade Face Lotion

I’m pretty in love with my homemade facial lotion.  Clocking in at just 3 ingredients, it’s straightforward, ultra nourishing and feels like butter.  It also combines some of my favorite ingredients.  My newfound discovery of candelilla wax makes this vegan friendly while my holy grail product, frankincense adds a luxurious richness.  Argan oil is already known as “liquid gold” and it rounds out my DIY face lotion.

Though I love making and using DIY’s, next to my lip balms, this is definitely one of my most favorite creations.  I love that it’s wholesome and natural with only 3 simple ingredients.  Not to mention, it’s super easy to do and one jar can last me several months.  No more shelling out top dollar just for a brand name anymore.  You can feel good about whipping up your own batch of homemade face lotion and you could even double it to share a jar with a loved one all in one fell swoop.  You can also easily swap out one ingredient for another and tailor each jar for your own individual skin type and needs.

Until recently, I was using beeswax for most, if not all of my DIY’s but after I aired my first lip balm video, I received a ton of requests for a vegan version and that’s how I discovered candelilla wax.  Since so much less is needed for each recipe, I still have a lot left of my 1 pound bag and it stabilized my facial cream beautifully.  It melts a lot quicker and lends a glossy finish to the product.

If I had to consider anything as my holy grail product of the year, it’s frankincense.  It was originally intended for my diffuser but quickly became part of my beauty regimen.  It’s said to promote healthy cell regeneration to reverse the signs of aging and reduce the appearance of marks and scars.  I began by adding a few drops to my bottle of argan oil and noticed more even skin tone and texture.  I loved it so much that I decided to really amp it up by creating a night cream that my skin could really drink up overnight to receive the maximum benefits.  Let me know if you’d like me to formulate a lighter version for day time.

5.0 from 2 reviews
3 Ingredient Homemade Face Lotion
 
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Author:
Serves: 4 oz
Ingredients
  • 1 tb candelilla wax
  • ½ c argan oil*
  • Optional: 5 drops of pure Frankincense essential oil
Instructions
  1. Melt your candelilla wax in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
  2. Mix in your argan oil. Reheat if needed.
  3. Allow it to cool slightly then add in your essential oils.
  4. Whisk vigorously or use an electric beater to cool down the mixture until it thickens. It should resemble a creamy, milky pudding. It will set further as it cools.
Notes
*or almond, jojoba, or avocado oils

 

2 Ingredient Vegan Lip Balm

As I mentioned in the first video of easy lollipops for my DIY holiday series, we’re big on exchanging homemade presents in my family, no matter the occasion.  I love to gift useful things outside of my main focus on edibles.  You’ll often find soaps, candles or whipped body butters tucked in between homemade cookies and breads all cozy together in a basket.  Not only can I tailor make these based on the individual, they’re incredibly easy yet thoughtful ways to show someone you care.

My vegan lip balms were born from my 2 ingredient beeswax based lip balms but are specially geared for those in my life that practice a vegan lifestyle.  The good news is that they’re just as easy needing only 2 ingredients as its base and just 5 minutes of your time.  Plus, they’re just as versatile and beautifully emollient as my classic version.  Candelilla is used here instead of beeswax and it’s a plant based wax.  I found that I prefer it over carnauba wax while testing this recipe in my kitchen as it was a bit more difficult to work with.  With candelilla wax, you actually use less since it’s harder than beeswax and it begins and ends as a smooth product and ultimately sets up glossier and more opaque than a traditional lip balm.  As a result, beeswax cannot be exchanged in equal proportions.

Here are a few tips I gleaned from working with candelilla wax in my kitchen.  It has a melting point of about 70°C and melted much faster than my beeswax did.  It also isn’t sticky like beeswax and I really liked the substantial backbone that a more solid oil like coconut oil provided for the vegan wax to latch onto.  When I blended it with too little oil, it was rendered pretty useless as it remained firmly in its stiff, shiny state.  Too much made it way too soft, which made it more suitable as a salve.  {I used the latter as a glorious cuticle butter}.  The golden spot came out to 1 part candelilla wax to 4 parts oil.  If you like a creamier or glossier balm, try a ratio of 1:5.  When pouring the actual liquid balm into your desired molds/vessels, it helps to do so on top of a work surface covered with wax paper/parchment or silpat.  This way you can peel off any drippings to re-melt and use.  I personally only tested this with virgin coconut oil but hear that avocado, mango, cacao and shea butters work well too.

5.0 from 1 reviews
2 Ingredient Vegan Lip Balm
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 Dozen Lip Balms
Ingredients
  • 1 oz candelilla wax
  • 4 oz virgin/cold pressed/unrefined coconut oil*
  • Optional: desired essential oils
Instructions
  1. Melt the candelilla wax over a double boiler or in 30 second increments in the microwave. When in doubt, go low and slow.
  2. Stir in the coconut oil. If it doesn't completely emulsify, heat it for a few more seconds.
  3. Add in essential oils now, if desired.
  4. Carefully pour into desired molds/pots/tubes.
  5. Allow to set before capping/using.
Notes
*5 oz for a creamier/glossier look/feel.

 

 

2 Ingredient 5 Minute Lollipops

You guys asked for it and you got it!  From one of my most popular videos to date for 5 minute glass candy, I bring you an even simpler version for lollipops that only have 2 ingredients and take 5 minutes.  The base of this easy diy candy is so simple, I’ve even used it as an easy decoration for my blood splatter cupcakes, acting as glass daggers.

The other good news?  The smallest amount of both ingredients yields a half dozen shiny lollipops that are endlessly customizable.  Last year, I created party favors with this same recipe by pouring the candy, infused with a bit of rose water into silicone molds and pressing candied rose petals into them.  They were effortlessly elegant and looked so polished.  You can pretty much color or flavor this candy any way you want.  Dried fruit, chocolate drizzle or edible glitter are a pretty good start and from there, the options are endless.  I would love to see yours.  Just #DIYLIDAY and I’ll post your pictures on Facebook.

Today, I’m keeping things clean with the basic sugary-candy flavor and a fun sprinkle of snowflakes for the season {though, 70* seems to be the average temperature around here lately}.  After I made them, I also realized that they would be such fun favors for a Frozen-themed birthday party too!

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No matter which route you take to decorate these and make them your own, please consider 2 important factors when making candy at home.  First, the sugar syrup gets crazy hot.  Please use caution when handling it.  It’s best to not walk away and stay with it while it cooks.  It will bubble up voraciously so please use a heat proof/microwave safe vessel that is large enough to accommodate the cooking syrup by 2-3 times its original volume.  Consider that not all glass is made equal.  Make sure that what you’re using is safe to cook in.  Second, the coveted hard candy texture is only achieved by reaching 300*.  The best way to gauge this is through a digital thermometer.

If you don’t have a microwave or have an aversion to using one, you can successfully duplicate the results over the stove top by cooking the syrup low and slow.  Make sure you don’t stir it after the initial mix to blend the sugar/corn syrup together.  Tilting and swirling the pan is the best method here.  This candy also has a tendency to set fairly quickly so work with careful speed and precision.  A silicone mat/parchment is your best friend here.  I do not recommend wax paper for this job.  Beyond these points, my recipe is a fairly straightforward process that can be fun to make and share with your loved ones this holiday season.  Enjoy!

5.0 from 3 reviews
2 Ingredient 5 Minute Lollipops
 
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Author:
Serves: 6 Lollipops
Ingredients
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • ¼ c light corn syrup*
Instructions
  1. Stir the sugar and corn syrup together in a microwave safe vessel. Make sure it will accommodate 2-3 times its original volume. If using extracts/colors, add those in here as well.
  2. Microwave for 2 minute intervals and watch the mixture closely. It will bubble voraciously. In my 1.45 kw microwave, it took 4 minutes to reach 300* The best way to gauge this accurately is through a candy thermometer.
  3. Pour the candy over lollipop sticks on silpat/parchment {not wax}.
  4. Work quickly and carefully. Press in decorations, if desired.
  5. Edible glitter, dried fruits, drizzled chocolate and etc are all nice add-in options.
Notes
*or Lyles golden syrup, I only recommend these two for this recipe.

 

 

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