I turned 35 last month. This was not necessarily a milestone birthday, but one that seemed to have more of an impact on me than say, 30 did. 30 was good. There was no monumental freak out or feeling of having to suddenly have my life together. I’ve never functioned on a timeline anyhow, and saw no new reason to then (or now). I spent that day lazily sipping champagne by a pool in Palm Springs, and any time that I can combine bubbly and sunshine works for me, birthday or not.
This year was decidedly different with more of a focus on being near the people I care about, than cocktails and lounging per se. It was a quiet day, but a very happy one nonetheless. I think I’ve been reflecting a lot more lately, and in general, have become more deliberate and thoughtful in my actions. This has been a good thing for me of (typically) very little patience. Is this what growing up means?
I am more concerned about wellness than ever before, and while there will always be a place in my life for things like extra cheesy pizza and creamy piles of pasta, a greater emphasis has been placed on my morning green juice and finding slightly healthier ways to enjoy my favorite foods like the Chinese Chicken Salad pictured below. (I tweaked the recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook, which I highly recommend!)
I have to admit that I make some of these choices based on vanity. The truth is that my metabolism is no longer as forgiving post carb0-load as it was when I was in my 20s, and those champagne-fueled nights show up everywhere – most noticeably on my skin. I am 100% down with aging gracefully – and quite frankly feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before – but if there’s anything extra I can do to keep it from looking dull and tired (regardless of whether or not drinks are involved), then of course, I am down for that too.
That’s where my friends at Andalou Naturals come into play. You might remember me mentioning them in previous posts here and here. I am a fan of all of their products and their new Quenching Skin Care line is no exception to that. For the past several months I’ve been using a combination of the Firming Cleanser, Mask, Day Cream, and Serum. The coconut-infused products not only smell like a tropical vacation, but have made my skin visibly clearer, firmer, and smoother overall.
Because I’ve been traveling a lot as well (I’ll be sharing more on that in posts to come!), I’ve been supplementing my routine with these Beauty 2 Go packs. The masks are incredibly effective, and I love that they contain ingredients that I often cook with such as pumpkin, turmeric, and rosewater – my personal favorite.
Speaking of cooking, the recipe here is one that plays to the idea of beautifying from the inside-out, while utilizing some of the ingredients mentioned above. In the very least, I was inspired by all of the coconut. This bowl is a concept that I worked and re-worked all summer long, adapting it to what vegetables were fresh at the time, and changing up the sauce with add-ins like fresh tamarind and varied herbs, as my moods dictated. The sauce can be eaten cold or warm, and should you want to take this into the fall, would be great with a little extra spice thrown in, and paired with some grated raw butternut squash and heartier greens in place of the more summer-y vegetables. The noodles should definitely stay though; starchy (albeit, healthier in this case) foods forever (See above!).
- 1 cup coconut cream
- ½ cup creamy almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice (about ½ lime)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ¼-inch piece ginger, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Noodle Bowls (Per Serving):
- 2 bunches bean thread (cellophane) noodles
- Toppings: shredded green and red cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced snow peas, thinly sliced green papaya, herbs such as basil, cilantro, and mint
- (All toppings and sauce portioned as desired.)
- Make the sauce by placing all ingredients in a blender and pulsing until smooth. Set aside. (I do this first to let the flavors meld a bit, but feel free to prepare your noodles first if you like.)
- "Cook" the noodles by placing them in a large mixing bowl, and covering with hot water. I let mine sit for about 5 minutes to get a cooked, but still a little bit chewy consistency. Drain.
- Assemble the bowls. Start with a small pool of sauce at the bottom of each bowl and top with noodles and chopped vegetables and herbs. Drizzle a bit more sauce over the top if desired, or mix so that everything is coated. Enjoy!