It’s Good Because I Cook With My Heart!

I invented the perfect summer drink! My friend Katie and I named it “The Hammock” to honor the memorable night of  setting up the backyard summer space (which has been very promising with the wonderful weekend we had there – just the beginning of memories, friendship, and neighborly get-togethers)

I promised I’d share the newly created recipe:

  • Tanqueray Rangpur (lime + other botanicals) Gin
  • Thatcher’s Organic Cucumber Liqueur
  •  Lime juice of one lime wedge
  • A few sliced cucumbers
  • Splash of diet 7up (or your favorite citrus carbonated soda)
It’s SO refreshing and the diet soda keeps it sweet without adding unnecessary calories.
Tonight I mixed it up by adding a splash of diet lemonade and diet grapefruit soda instead of diet 7up. As long as you know the flavors that play well off of each other, you’re free to get creative!
Here’s to the already-wonderful-kick-off of the best summer ever!
(I swear it tastes better with heart-shaped ice cubes!)
I also spent my day off inventing a healthy Pad Thai recipe. Pad Thai is usually high in calories and fat but is still an excellent dish. I’ve found that there are few places that can capture that authentic Thai flavor in this dish.
The key to making a true Thai dish is creating and maintaining it’s ability have a perfect balance of five fundamental taste senses: hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty and (optional) bitter.
I wanted to stay true to the authentic Pad Thai flavor without compromising the nutritional content.
I don’t have exact measurements for what I included in this dish. A lot of making thai food is tasting-as-you-go and being sensitive to the fundamental flavors to gauge what you need to add more of.
I started off by sautéing 5 cloves of chopped garlic in a little bit of vegetable oil for about 10 seconds until the garlic starts to brown. I added about 1 1/2 c. of egg beaters and scrambled the eggs with the garlic. I sliced three shallots – which is a good alternative to onions if you’d like a milder onion flavor that enhances the garlic in the dish – and added them to the eggs with one sliced red bell pepper. I mixed in 12 oz. of extra-firm tofu – cut into 1″ squares – and 12 oz of shrimp. Feel free to add your favorite stir-fry vegetables. I mixed in broccoli, sugar snap peas, sliced carrots, and a whole package of bean sprouts.
As your vegetables are cooking you’ll start to work on your sauce. I added about 1/2 c. of 100% orange juice, 1/4 c. rice vinegar and the juice of half a lime (sour), about a 1/2 c. of fish sauce and a splash of low-sodium soy sauce (salty), about 1/4 c. of brown sugar splenda – which I know is terrible for you but we’re thinking cutting calories here (sweet), 2 T of sesame oil and 2 T all-natural peanut butter which gives the dish a warm, nutty depth to the flavor. I included about 1/2 c. sriracha chili paste (spicy) – you can adjust how much heat you’d like.
Work with all these ingredients, tasting as you go, until the sauce is the flavor you like. For authentic Pad Thai you’re looking for a BALANCE of all of the flavors – you don’t want one to overpower another – but you’re FREE to do whatever you want! Make what you love and enjoy it!! 

All the while, your sauce should be boiling and reducing while your vegetables and tofu are basically being “infused”. After you’ve found the balance and created your perfect flavor, you’ll mix in a bunch of freshly chopped cilantro and green onions. Top your healthy Pad Thai with crushed peanuts, a lime wedge, and the satisfaction of knowing you made an excellent dish that’s nutritious AND delicious!
To my adventurous friends who will try this at home, I hope you have as much fun as I did channelling your culinary creativity and being good to your body!! 
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