Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vegan Tom Kha Soup

This just might be my new favorite soup. It's creamy, spicy and has the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Try it with a scoop of fragrant Jasmine rice for a filling plant based dinner. So delicious!


1 Tb coconut oil or safflower oil
2" fresh ginger minced
4 cloves of garlic minced
3 shallots thinly sliced
1 Serrano pepper or 2 red Thai chilies thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Heat oil on medium in a large soup pot. Saute ginger, garlic, shallots, hot peppers and mushrooms for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
2.5 cups good veggie broth
1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk ( I used organic full fat )
3 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos ( I used coconut aminos)
2 tsp sriracha ( optional )
1 Tb coconut sugar or brown sugar
4-6 kaffir lime leaves
2 small stalks of lemongrass, smashed but left whole
2 cups chopped bok choy ( optional )
1 cup diced extra firm tofu
Bring to boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup Thai basil
 handful of chopped cilantro ( optional )
handful of sliced green onions
Simmer for 1 more minute 


Monday, August 3, 2015

Island Home Inspiration

-image source-

Over the last year I've been slowly painting and replacing things throughout our small island home. The walls are primarily white now and so are most of our linens, pillows, bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, dishes, couch throws, etc. Not the best color palette when you live on an island full of red volcanic dirt and a black kitty cat but I've been craving this for years. Light, white, and open were on my "must have" list and I think I've finally achieved it.
 I used a lot of wood, white marble, local beach finds, glass, luxurious scented candles and potted orchids for simple decorations. I cleared most of the clutter ( my husband's clutter of course ) with pretty storage boxes made of lauhala, woven bamboo, and aluminum from Bali. That being said, I'm really loving the clean and organized look of everything.
I'm a total minimalist but my husband is not. It's always been a battle when it comes to our living space but I think we've finally found a happy medium. It's island style without the clutter and kitsch. I'll take some pictures soon but in the meantime here's some images from my home inspiration folder.

White kitchen

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Favorite Restaurant Salad

Flatbread Pizza Co. UGH, this place ALWAYS temps us when we're passing through Paia Town. Half the time we stop in, I'm wet, sandy and crispy from way too many hours spent at Ho'okipa Beach Park. Thankfully, this is Maui, and being make-up free with wet salty hair is the norm. Where shoes are replaced by rubber slippers and my 4 yr old Acacia pareo will pass as clothing. Ha! Gotta love this lil' island I call home.
Anyway, this restaurant is usually broiling hot thanks to the large open Kiawe pizza oven in the center of the dining area so instead we like to sit near the entrance at the bar. A glass ( or 2 ) of Rose, a vegan pizza, a custom made salad and I couldn't think of a better way to spend lazy afternoon.
Now, speaking of that salad. Flatbread Pizza Co. makes one of my favorite salads of all time! Starting with tender local greens, Ono Farms shredded green papaya, local shredded carrots, Kahanu Aina organic sprouts, sesame seeds and a housemade local pineapple vinaigrette, you are free to add as many "extra" toppings as you like. I personally like adding blackened Bell peppers, Kalamata olives and a creamy local avocado when available. My husband adds even more ( mushrooms + local Surfing Goat Dairy cheese ) For years I've been trying to come up with the recipe for this incredible dressing and I think I've finally figured it out? Or at least close enough to now replicate this delicious salad at home.

Maui Pineapple and Sesame Vinaigrette
-makes about 2 cups-

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower or any neutral flavored oil
2 TB sesame oil
1 clove garlic
3 TB tamari or soy sauce 
1/2 tsp ginger juice**
1 small Maui onion or any sweet onion like a Vidalia
Blend everything ( except oil ) until very smooth in a highspeed blender. Slowly add oil until completely emulsified.

**I like to juice a bunch of fresh local ginger at once and keep it in a small glass spice jar in the fridge to add to drinks and dressings. Keeps for a week or more.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Guilt Free Vegan Pancakes

Lately on Instagram I've been seeing loads of decadent looking vegan and gluten-free pancakes popping up all over my feed. What's up with this? So not fair.
Normally I'm not one to cave when it comes to mainstream comfort foods but when I came across THRIVINGONPLANTS  pancake recipes on Insta I finally had to give it a go. FYI - She has a blog too, Thriving on Plants
Three simple ingredients ( ground oats, banana and nut milk ) make up the base of this super easy, super delicious, perfect for Sunday brunch meal. I added a few little tweaks to Cherie's basic recipe just to give it a bit of a kick and WOW so good.
Here's a tip: For the oats flour, all I did was dump a 1.5 cups of dry quick oats in my Vitamix and gave it a whirl. Easy.

Vegan Pancakes
1.5 cups quick oats
( look for oats that are gluten free if possible )
1 ripe banana
1 cup almond milk
2 TB coconut sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients until combined in a blender. Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and cook until golden brown ( flip and repeat ). 

Topping Ideas
maple syrup
coconut syrup
hemp seeds
cacao nibs
ground flax
vegan butter


Friday, June 5, 2015

I Love

my beautiful Balinese offering box

my prolific tomato plants

my custom labeled candle from Le Labo 

my cute wedding ring holder from Cost Plus World Market


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Island Style

I love this dress. The color, the silky fabric, the low cut back, it's perfect island wear. I found this on a recent trip to Florida at Drift in Neptune Beach. Seriously, Drift is the cutest boutique ever! If you're ever in coastal North Florida, you must check it out.
I also discovered the best little bralettes by Essentials for Zula. I found them at a gorgeous new shop in Makawao called Driftwood. This store will be the end of me. Amazing stuff!! I purchased a white bralette at Driftwood and loved it so much I ordered the black online. It's perfect for a low cut dress like this one.

Dress// Knot Sisters purchased at Drift in Neptune Beach, FL
Bralette// Essentials for Zula 
Earrings and Ring// Hula Hoops Maui
Rubber Slippahs// Acacia

Photos by Carlos Barberis of BECfoto


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Colorful Venice Beach, CA

It's been over two decades since I've strolled down Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach. Always turning right instead of left when visiting family in north Venice ( an upscale beachfront neighborhood with manicured promenades crawling with yoga pants and baby strollers ) we decided to turn left this time. It was Mother's Day and my husband was dying to see, "wacky Venice Beach" and my 73 year old mother couldn't have been more happy to join. As far as I can remember, little has changed. The "creatives" are still out in full force and the boardwalk of Venice Beach is still as colorful and as out there as ever.

Me on my phone while Mom takes it all in.

Photos by Carlos Barberis of BECfoto