Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vegan Pad Thai and Thai Travel Dreams

I love Thai food. There aren't really that many great vegan (not drenched in fish sauce) options in my immediate area. If I'm in NYC, I love to eat at Pukk, but if I'm craving Thai food at home, I make my own Pad Thai. I use A Taste of Thai rice noodles and A Taste of Thai Pad Thai sauce (Yes, I cheat. It's so much easier than making my own!). As the noodles are cooking, I lightly fry the tofu. Once the noodles are ready, I add them to the frying pan and stir in chopped peanuts. Once it's all hot and cooked, I turn off the heat and add the sauce. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure Pad Thai sauce usually consists of palm sugar, tamarind juice, a salty soy sauce (traditionally a salty fish sauce) and some chili powder or paprika for heat. Usually I also add in scallions, but I didn't have any on hand the other day. Right before it's ready to go on a plate, I add chopped cilantro, bean sprouts, and some freshly squeezed lime juice. It's pretty easy to make when the sauce is all ready before hand, and it's really good!

Now if only I could afford to eat vegan Pad Thai in Thailand...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eco-Friendly and Vegan Beauty Products

I'm a sucker for splurging on lotions and hair care products, but it's not always easy for me to find vegan options. I know they can be pricey ($38), but I really like the travel set from Jonathan Product. It's got all the hair care products you could ever need already in a little airline-approved travel bag. And, of course, it says 100% vegan on each little bottle. I love that!
Juice Beauty is made with 95% organic ingredients and is 100% vegetarian, which sounds like it would be 100% vegan, but some of their products contain animal derived ingredients (beeswax). One totally vegan product that I've been using lately is Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk, which has red raspberry and white grape juice in it. It smells like yummy creamy raspberries, it cleans so well, and it leaves my skin feeling so soft.
Astara prodcuts are made with "natural, raw botanicals, potent anti-oxidant plant extracts, nourishing vitamins, energizing flower essences and uplifting essential aromatic oils", according to the Astara website. I like their Daily Refining Scrub, it's an excellent facial exfoliant, with lots of scrubby bits that make your face feel squeaky clean.
Fresh products are pricey but so worth it. This sugar face polish, made with "no animal by-products", is so indulgent. It smells like brown sugar and strawberries (which are two of its main ingredients), and it's a mask and an exfoliant. The brown sugar just melts into your skin while your rubbing it on your face, and when you take it off your skin is smooth and dewy. And the smell is heavenly!
These vegan exfoliants have the added bonus of being natural, which is better for the environment. Click here to read about what's happening to synthetic plastic beads found in other exfoliants (gross!).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Macadamia Blondies and the Beach

The months of July and August are like a long, extended vacation for those of us lucky enough to live at the Jersey Shore. For some of us, the beach is just steps away from our homes, and it seems like the beauty and sunshine are ever present. Labor Day weekend can be bittersweet, as the water temperatures are warmer than ever, but the end of the summer season is close at hand. Lucky for me, I live here year round, and September brings smaller crowds to the beach! Here is a bunch of photos I took over Labor Day weekend, followed by a pic of the super scrumptious Macadamia Blondies from Vegan With a Vengeance.

I didn't make the caramel sauce that was supposed to go with the recipe, but I found the blondies to be perfectly sweet enough, with a buttery smoothness from the macadamias. I loved them, and I'll probably make them again soon!