10 Ways to Spring into Summer| by Jen Stout

“April Showers Bring May Flowers”

10 Ways to Help You Spring into Summer

 The long heavy nights, knitted scarfs, mud boots, and gloomy winter days feel like they are never going to end…how many more TV shows and movies can I watch? I tell myself that before next winter, “I’m moving somewhere warm.” This happens to be the main topic of conversation in my home. I have had enough of the frigid winter; fantasies for sandy white beaches, bikinis, sunglasses, blue skies, flip-flops and the smell of coconut oil pervade my mind. However, I live in the mountains so these fantasies may not come entirely true.

April presents the promise of spring with just a flirtation of summer. The senses become alive again; the world becomes vibrant with green grass, a deep blue sky, blooming daffodils, skipping chipmunks, chatty birds, warm kisses from the sun, rain showers, and the beginning bounties of berries and dark leafy greens. Ahhh spring, the time of re-birth and creation.

It’s time to pull ourselves out of winter slumber and into the promise of summer. This transition donates the time of schlepping off the old worn out layers to create space for a newly rested and revived self. Mother earth is energized, full of potent creative energy ready to take fruition. Enjoy these 10 tips to help you embrace the spring and bloom into summer.

  1. Get Up and Get Moving – Sleeping in cause’s lethargy, try rising with the sun.
  1. Make a Refreshing Ginger-Brew – Blend a thumb size piece of ginger, the juice of 2 lemons and 2 cups of water until very frothy, strain into a cup, add honey or maple syrup to taste and Enjoy!
  1. Hit up the Spring Bounty – Have a bowl of seasonal berries for breakfast. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all in season.
  1. Take a Yoga Class that will Challenge you and Make you Sweat - Creating heat and stimulating circulation throughout the body will help rid your body of mucus and stagnant toxins that may be lingering from the winter.
  1. Spice up Your Food – Adding chili peppers, ginger, garlic, or even black pepper to your meal will stimulate the digestive fire for quicker removal of toxins from the digestive tract.
  1. Do a Cleanse – Try an Ayurvedic cleanse which is both detoxifying and replenishing for the whole system.
  1. Make a New Playlist – Find songs that make you feel happy and make you wanna move.
  1. Tune up Your Bike - Be prepared for a spontaneous bike ride with your friends.
  1. Expose a Little Skin – Time to retire the boots and heavy sweaters and pull out the sandals, tank-tops and summer dresses.
  1. Buy Yourself a New Favorite Everyday Summer Dress – One that you can wear casually and also dress it up.

SoLowBlog Photo Me in my new French Terry Mini Dress by SOLOW, my everyday new spring favorite!

Happy May,

Jen Stout

Tastier & More Beneficial Tea… by: Jo Beth

Tea_in_different_grade_of_fermentation

Winter seems to be holding on strong and not wanting to let go. And as we transition from winter to spring and the weather gets a bit mixed up, tea can be just what the doctor ordered!

And to make your tea tastier & more beneficial for your body, try adding these items to your cup:

Raw Honey: adds sweetness

-helps improve allergies

-staves of cold symptoms

-suppresses coughs

-sleep aid

Turmeric: will add spice & color to your tea

-anti-inflammatory agent

-also helps flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, chest pain, and colic

-acts as an agent against Alzheimer’s

-improves liver function

Triphala: will melt into the taste of the tea (naturally bitter)

 -assists natural internal cleansing

-maintains regularity

-nourishes and rejuvenates the tissue

-supports healthy digestion and absorption

-acts as a natural antioxidant

Mint: adds a soothing taste

-improves weight loss

-promotes digestion

-counteracts nausea

 Ginger: will heat up your inner fire (agni)

 -encourages proper digestion

-acts as a decongestant

-encourages nutrient absorption

-helps dull appetite

-strengthens immunity

Infusión-de-Jengibre-Limón-y-Miel

So next time your reach for a cup of tea, consider adding one of these ingredients to helps boost your body & your spirits!

MUCH Love,

Jo Beth

Banana Bread by Leslie Betcher

As the weather gets colder its a great time to bake. It heats up the house, and smells great.  Here is a great twist on traditional banana bread that you are sure to enjoy!

IMGP7883 Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 medium bananas

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or blueberries

 

Directions:

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in bowl and mix. I prefer my kitchen aide with the mixer head on it.

Add your sugar, oil and bananas, mixing on low while you add each ingredient. Add your lemon juice.

Lastly add your chocolate chips or berries, and finish mixing.

Bake

Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes in bread loaf pan. Bake until golden brown on top. Once out of oven, place on cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes.

 

Enjoy!

-Leslie Betcher

Clean Living: Candy Apples with a Twist!

What You’ll Need:

Unknown • 1-2 Honey Crisp Apples
• All-Natural Peanut Butter – crunchy preferred (Anna’s)
• Ginger Thins – finely crushed
• Honey or Agave Nectar – 1 tsp
• Salt
• Cinnamon
• Rosemary

 

 

 

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut 1-2 apples into thin wedgesUnknown-1
Step 2: Coat peanut butter onto one side of the apple meat
Step 3: Dip apple (peanut butter side down) onto the finely crushed ginger thins and
arrange on a plate
Step 4: Drizzle a small amount of honey or agave nectar across the plate lightly coating ! the apples
Step 5: Sprinkle cinnamon on top
Step 6: Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes
Step 7: Sprinkle a dash of salt and rosemary onto each apple slice

Last but not least enjoy!!!

- Recipe Provided by Kelly Keiser

Guilt Free: Chia Seed Pudding

Rich in amino acids and vitamins this is a treat you can feel guilt free about indulging in, and it’s so easy to make!

Unknown-1

ingredients:

1/4 cup of Chia Seeds

1 cup of Coconut Cream

1 banana, sliced

A bit of agave

*All ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s

 

 

Directions: Stir it all together, refrigerate it for 2-3 hours, and voilà! You can eat it for dessert, breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Fun Fact: Chia seeds absorb 10 times their weight in water…. You know what that means?  That’s right you will feel full longer! 

-Recipe Provided by Molly Nourmand

 

Healthy Travel with Ally Tarter

Traveling Healthy

aliEveryone loves and looks forward to vacations, I know I do at least, but one thing I have struggled with in the past is maintaining my healthy eating and active lifestyle while on the road. Depending on where we go, I love to indulge in the local foods and relax on the beach and not think about having to keep up my work out routine.

This year when we booked our annual trip to Turks and Caicos, I challenged myself to 472cfb3d9ff76ab207c80b35a9ba0667continue my healthy eating and find ways to not lose all the hard work I have put into my current work out routine (but really, going to the gym on vacation what could be more lame!!?)

Turks and Caicos is actually full of activities that allow you to be active, burn calories while still feeling like you are on vacation.  The key is to search out some fun things you can do in between catching up on your favorite books while lounging in the sun.

Most hotels offer a variety of options on site that are free.  A few days we took out stand up paddle boards (SUPs) and/ or canoes and went out over the reef (they have the 3rd largest reef) and watched the plethora of marine life underneath, including a SHARK! Ok ok it was a Reef Shark but a shark none the less!  And to add to the calories we would normally burn we were working against 30 MPH winds! 85ce3bec1ab7eea2d1c8f8db7eb80918But it was a ton of fun, we got some exercise while also enjoying the incredible crystal blue water. And no matter where your vacation takes you, most hotels have a pool, which are perfect for swimming laps. We also took long walks exploring the island and checked out local areas where we saw homes, schools, kids playing at the park and heard a church choir practicing!  It was great that we were being active, burning calories but taking in the local smells, sounds and sights. This time of year is a slower time for tourism for the island but luckily there was a group of 12 Canadians that were at our boutique hotel so we all played a few games of volleyball.  The Texans (us) were for sure out numbered but we got a mean suntan, had a ton of fun and I enjoyed the soreness in my legs the nest day…oh yah and added up a few “Ehs” in our vocabulary.

Food for me is my Achilles heel.  I love me some food!!  (And not the healthy kind) Growing up in Texas I have an appreciation for all that is fried and for anything Tex Mex.  I have had to work hard to learn to eat “clean” and focus on proteins, veggies and fruits.  Put it this way, I had never had an avocado until I was in my 30s!  So vacation proves to be challenging when I am not in my normal routine of cooking…who am I kidding… my husbands cooking HA!  But I found this trip to be much easier to stay on track.  When traveling, figure out what fishes are local because you know they will be super fresh and tasty, same goes for local fruits and veggies.  We ate a ton of Snapper, Conch and other fresh meets paired with steamed veggies.  Another tip is to find a hotel that has a kitchenette/kitchen which is why we love our hotel. We went to the local market and stocked up on tons of food and made lunch in our room each day when the heat was at its height and also a few dinners to help on not over indulging in the richness of restaurant meals.

Basically, it is possible to not “throw in the towel” when you go on vacation.  Find fun things to do that will not only allow you to explore your surroundings but also burn some calories and work your muscles.  Second, pay attention to what you eat.  Of course induldge where you see fit but also be smart, try making a few meals if you have a kitchen in your room, or you can always ask the restaurant to just steam your food and forgo the cream and butter sauces but still enjoy the tastes of local foods. I know I came back from this trip happy that when I stepped on the scale there were no added pounds…just a ton of fantastic memories and a heck of a tan!

Ally Tarter is an instructor at Bar Method, an avid hiker, breach frolicker and Brandtarter Ambassador for SOLOW STYLE.  She has been known to break into dance when she hears It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, and will eat almost anything with a little Jiffy Peanut Butter on it.  In addition to being pretty perfect in our eyes, Ally’s sense of humor and positive outlook help her friends, family and students appreciate the strength and beauty in their bodies and in their lives today, and always.

Picture courtesy of Ally Tarter and Pinterest.

PS: If you liked this post, be sure to  

Vegan BBQ

06fa1af431891cbd86da5cca10b1e4dbAs the longer, warmer days of summer approach, culinary efforts invariably turn to BBQs and dining alfresco.

But if you aren’t a meat eater, the pickings can be slim (to none) at summer grill fests.  Believing there must be good alternatives, surely, we did some research. Low and behold we found a bevy of delicious, smoky and very bbq-esque alternatives for the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd. A few of our favorites are listed below…and who knows, with recipes this good we might convert a few meat eaters along the way.

 

Salsa: No BBQ (or, if you ask us, gathering of any kind) is complete without a few good appetizers, and this summer pico is one of our favorites.  Brought to us by brand ambassador and yogi Jo Beth Richards it takes a second to whip up, and can be added to a whole host of recipes:

Nothing says summer like a cook out, hanging out on the porch or patio enjoying the sweet night air with sweet friends! This Summer Pico is the perfect addition to any cookout, summer lunch, or just alone as a snack. Garnish a salad, place on tacos, eat with some yummy blue corn chips or just have a spoon full all to yourself! And it is SO easy to make…

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 8.32.49 PM

Jo Beth’s Summer Pico

Ingredients:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
½ of one large red onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl & enjoy!

 

 

veganbbqGrilled Veggies

Portobello mushrooms with their meaty texture and umami flavor are a favorite, along with artichokes, sunchokes, summer squash & zuchinni, onions, and orange, red and yellow bell peppers. Marinated in balsamic vinegar with fresh herbs, olive oil, sea salt and pepper, these are delicious grilled.  Or try pesto sauce–basil is the essence of summer after all!  For easy clean up and full flavor, use a zip-lock bag and mariante over night. We also like to cook pineapple on the grill. The sweetness is a perfect balance to the vinegar saltiness of the vegetables.

BBQ Bowl with Tofu:  We found this recipe on the Sweet Life, a great foodie blog full of easy tutorials, beautiful pictures (aka, food porn) and delicious recipes. The BBQ sauce recipe snagged our attention and several hours later we emerged with a long list of “must make” recipes.

Barbecue Sauce (adapted from Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia Simpson)

bbq31/4 cup white onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp liquid smoke
pinch of cayenne
makes about 2 cups

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent. Let cool. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

Barbecue Tofu:
bbq4Cut tofu into 1” cubes and place in a shallow container. Add 1 cup of barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Allow tofu to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove tofu from excess barbecue sauce, saving extra sauce, and transfer to a small bowl. Add nutritional yeast and mix to coat. Place tofu on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip tofu over, top with remaining barbecue sauce, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until browned and chewy.

bbq2Finally, prepare the bowl:
1. Heat up black eye peas in a saucepan over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and stir to coat.
2. Steam kale until slightly soft. Mix with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
3. Assemble bowl by placing rice on the bottom. Top with black eyed peas, BBQ tofu, and steamed kale. Finish with a few slices of avocado.
4. Add extra barbecue sauce, hot sauce, or nutritional yeast to taste.

Cooking Tofu on the grill:
The last recipe called for baking the tofu, which is much easier than handling it on the grill.  Anyone who has tried it before will tell you that tofu and the grill rarely get along well. Tofu can break apart and make a big, burned mess. Not so yum. We found some tips for keeping your tofu together and avoiding a grill disaster.

  • Prepare your barbecue with a non-stick cooking spray or by rubbing it with oil.28413a04d2fde286b2adc6f13f5b8cc5
  • Use firm, or if possible, extra firm tofu and always press it well before grilling.
  • Freeze and then thaw your tofu. This will allow the tofu to absorb more of the marinade flavors.
  • Marinate tofu in for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Try a zip lock bag in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Use a little sugar to caramelize and give tofu a nice and crispy and crunchy on the outside (or try rice wine vinegar, honey or maple syrup in your marinade.)
  • Use soaked bamboo skewers rather than placing your tofu right on the grill.
  • Grill over a pre-heated grill for 6-7 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with extra marinade.

5875220584_4b6a15be75

Once you have grilled your tofu, try stacking it with some grilled vegetables and pesto.  Add mint for complete summer nirvana for the palate.

The marinade for this tower of veggie goodness includes: white wine vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper and canola oil.

Recipe courtesy of Cookincanuk.com.

 

 

 

Voila, a vegan bbq is an oxymoron no more!
Tell us your grilling favorites in the comments section.  Try the recipes and let us know how they turned out.

 

If you liked this post, be sure and

 

Solow Guest Chef

VMeet Solow Guest Chef: Vavine “V” Tahapehi

FeedingChickensTell us a little about yourself:

I am a Venice-Beach-based Aussie foodie, and inventor of a food product called “Cup Cup”. I also moonlight as a private chef and help out at my friends’ fantastic new restaurant, The Hart and the Hunter in the PaliHotel in Los Angeles.. I live with my Aussie musician husband–Matt Ellis (in whose band I also sing) and my rescue-mutt Banjo.  I grow my own herbs and vegetables and raise chickens for fresh eggs with yolks so orange you can’t believe it (we have seen them, and no, we can’t.) I worked for “Farmer of the Year” award winner James Birch, of Flora Bella Farm – a well known, organic farmer from Three Rivers, California, who provides most of the top-tier Los Angeles restaurants with produce. Under his mentor-ship I learned much about growing produce in California and volunteered in setting up school gardens.

Our little home in Venice is perpetually filled with good food, good music and good friends (not to mention the passing pot belly pig and gaggle of chickens.)

***

As a private chef, V has experimented with developing vegan versions of some of our favorite recipes for her clients.  Her banana bread is the best banana bread we have ever tasted (hands down–vegan or not) so we asked her (there was some begging) to share it with us.  Here is the recipe.  Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think (better yet, bring it over and we can share!)

V’s Banana bread:

VeganBananaBreadIngredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup maple sugar
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
4 large, very ripe, mashed bananas
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
Crushed Marcona almonds

 

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray dozen mini-muffin pans with oil. Should make four pans – or do in batches.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk and cider vinegar and let stand for 2 minutes, allowing time for it to curdle. Add the mashed banana, canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, whisking until well combined.
4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined.
5) Pour the batter into each muffin receptacle, just above 2/3 full.
6) Sprinkle crushed Marcona almonds on the top of each muffin batter.
7) Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Allow the muffins to cool on a wire cooling rack for 20 minutes before serving.

*Black and white picture of V and Matt by Paddy Wilkins.

If you liked this post, be sure and

 

 

Coconut chia breakfast porridge

From Brand Ambassador Nicki Gibson comes her answer to a healthy breakfast packed with nutrition.

Chia Breakfast Porridge

Creamy Coconut Chia Buckwheat porridge

Bobs Buckwheat cereal
Any diaryfree milk replace of your choice i.e hemp, coconut or almond
Chia
Milled flaxseeds
Coconut shreds
Spices: cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg
Berries
Almonds or walnuts
Feel free to add a banana in there for sweetness

1 cup Organic Creamy Buckwheat
3 cups Water
1/4 tsp Salt
: Bring 1 cup water, 2 cups milk replacement for extra creaminess and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Creamy Buckwheat Cereal, turn heat down, cover and cook for 10 minutes. At this point add banana if desire the extra sweetness then add coconut shreds, chia seeds and flaxseeds as well as the 1/4tsp cardamom, 1 tsp cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg. Lastly, blueberries and nuts to increase your breakfast nutrition and pleasure. Makes 2 1/2 servings.

This is a uber nourishing breakfast, and great fuel to keep you grounded in these colder winter months! “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”

New Year: Healthy You

Brand Ambassador Jo Beth Richards shares her recipe for a mega dose of Omega 3′s!

Lemon Herb Salmon

1 Salmon Filet (approximately 12 – 14 oz.)
1 lemon
Bunch of fresh Rosemary
Bunch or fresh Thyme
2 tbsp Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by coating the bottom of a baking dish (such as a small sided casserole) with a thin layer of olive oil (1-1 ½ tbsp). Place the salmon, skin side down, on the Olive Oil in the dish. Finely chop the fresh rosemary and thyme. Slice lemon horizontally in to 4-5 slices. Drizzle salmon with remaining Olive oil. Rub the fresh chopped herbs onto the salmon. Place 3 -4 slices of the lemon right on top of the herb rubbed salmon, so that they slightly overlap one another. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. And Enjoy!

MUCH Love,
Jo Beth