Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper


Yes, you read that correctly. Bird nest; and I’m not talking about twigs and feathers here….this is a nest made from the magical saliva of the swiftlet bird found in Indonesia and South East Asia. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And no, it doesn’t taste like the saliva you are thinking about. I would describe it as gelatinous glass noodles with a hint of sugarcane. It’s fantastic! These nests are highly prized in Chinese medicine – fit for the emperor of China with a long list of healthy benefits.

“These bird nests are rich in several amino acids, proteins and minerals and are believed to stimulate the regeneration of cells, enhance skin complexion and support your immune and respiratory system.” – Blessing Birdnest

Blessing Birdnest is a family business that originated in the 1980’s in Cepu, Central Java, Indonesia. A few years ago they developed a unique process for making bird nest drinks, using only the finest grade nests, water and sugarcane. A delicious taste with no added preservatives. This fountain-of-youth drink is available for people in the US! It is FDA approved and imported to southern California.

Blessings Birdnest practices responsible harvesting, ensuring the safety of their employees as well as the birds. They harvest each bird nest after the eggs hatch and the baby birds mature, to promote natural regeneration. They are deeply committed to maintaining a sustainable environment for the birds.

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It’s been a hot summer here in California, so I was eager to experiment with a refreshing summer recipe that complimented its eastern Asian origin.

Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper
2 cups (16oz) water
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 passion fruit
Ice

Directions
-In a small pot, boil 2 cups (16oz) water
-Cut lemongrass stalk into thin strips and place in boiling water. Boil until fragrant and water turns a light amber color.
-Strain water into 2 glasses over ice and discard the lemongrass stalks
-Add half a bottle of Blessing Birdnest drink to each glass
-Top with a spoonfull of passion fruit pulp and an extra stalk of lemongrass
-Add more ice if needed

Blessing Birdnest


Double Chocolate Fudge Molasses Brownies with Espresso Drizzle


I’ve got to brag a bit, I do believe these are the best brownies I’ve EVER made. It’s like a dark chocolate fudge crossed with a decadent chewy brownie resulting in the yummiest of all fudgy brownies! This is not your traditional box brownie…no this is an entirely different level. And to push it over the edge, drizzle a bit of chocolatey espresso nutella sauce on top!

Brownies
3/4 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
6oz bittersweet chocolate (melted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped or chips)

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350F
-In a glass bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add sugar and molasses and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir.
-Remove from microwave and stir in 6oz of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Chocolate should melt while stirring. Add more time in microwave if needed.
-Allow mixture to slightly cool before whisking in eggs (as not to scramble them).
-In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients –> flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
-Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix slowly until combined.
-Pour batter into a 9X9 buttered baking pan (or pan of similar size). Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolatey Espresso Nutella Sauce
1 shot hot espresso
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 spoonfuls nutella
*Stir until chips have melted and drizzle on top


Interview with Ecohabitude

I’ve been working with the wonderful people at Ecohabitude for the past month as a guest pinner for their eco-friendly weddings board on Pinterest. Anna and Tatyana interviewed me for a little meet and greet for their website and blog. Head over to their website to find green, eco-friendly and socially responsible brands and products. They’re pretty awesome! Here is a copy of our fun interview and some links to my  curating project highlighting a few of their fabulous products.

How did you get into blogging and how do you pick your topics?

I first started blogging as a way to share bits and pieces of my life, travel, projects and recipes – basically a journal of sorts where I could savor and celebrate all the good stuff that makes me smile.

When it comes to picking topics, I usually write about things that we (my husband Daniel and I) are up to, where we recently traveled or a recipe that I wanted to share. Every once in a while I will post DIY projects for our home or a topic relevant to the time of year. I just let the topics come naturally…

What tips do you have for someone who is trying to make lifestyle changes so that they are more socially conscious and eco-friendly?

A few ideas you can start with are conserving water, driving less and walking more, turning off the lights when you leave the room, buying recycled products, eating locally grown produce, creating less waste, planting more trees, using less toxic chemicals etc. Live with a greater awareness of the resources that you use in your daily life. Shop for socially conscious products (here on Ecohabitude) and brands that are eco-friendly. Ultimately, when you are mindful about the way you live, everything will benefit from it.

Just like “Everybody Wang Chung tonight!” what action would your name be if it were a verb?

Ha-ha. I love that song by the way…

Hmmmm, it’s a bit difficult to describe myself as a verb, but I’ll take a crack at it. The verb “Create” is pretty accurate to who I am and what I love doing. Whether it’s creating memories, relationships, recipes or projects, I like to make things. The process of creating is beautiful to me. It’s my chance to leave a mark on this world when I create something.

What’s currently at the top of your lust list and why? 

Ooooh a lust list! I have so many! Can I share a few?

Beech Backpack A British Association for Fair Trade shop, handmade, recycled leather (factory offcut) backpack that supplies 60 Indian families with jobs.  All tailors are paid a fair commission and work from home. Compensation for their machinery, tools and electricity is provided. This company does not use any child, elderly or forced labor. ← I love knowing that the items I buy come from a company that treats their employees fairly and supports a community of craftsmen. This looks like the perfect backpack for more adventuring! Love those pockets!

Solid Shea Butter bars are so silky and moisturizing. I have dry skin so it’s important to keep moisturized. I like natural lotions and butters. “Whatever sits on your skin, gets in” so natural products are best.

Eno Hammock I’ve been drooling over this hammock for quite awhile. Light and compact enough for backpacking, it’s the ultimate access-pass to relaxation and has plenty of room for 2 and a tree-friendly hammock suspension system. I’d love to take this with me on our next camping trip.

Black Pepper Essential Oil spicy, warm and soothing! Black pepper essential oil also has a high concentration of minerals and vitamins (fabulous for cooking too).

Kai Perfume Oil an intoxicating scent of gardenia wrapped in white exotics made with essential oils in a convenient and easy to use roll-on vial.  It’s paraben, sulfate, phthalate, phosphate, gluten and cruelty free! My go-to scent that I currently ran out of! It’s delicious! I get a compliment every time I wear it. Smells like a tropical rain forest in bloom!

If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life?

Traveling the world, as a photo journalist/chef sort of less-foul-mouthed Anthony Bourdain or Globe Trekker. I love learning about the world we live in, people, different cultures, relationships, food, ways of life etc. It all fascinates me! I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

What’s your favorite line from any movie?

OK it’s a bit long, but stay with me…this one is so good.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – Benjamin Button 2008

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Vanilla Bean Coconut Bliss Balls

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These were gone as fast as I made them! Vanilla bean coconutty bliss balls. Smooth, sweet bites of  tropical summer! They’re dairy free + paleo and vegan friendly too! Throw all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until thick and creamy. Roll into spoonful-sized balls and top with extra shredded coconut. Serve at room temp or slightly chilled.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut butter (not coconut oil…there is a big difference)
1/4 cup hemp mylk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
*Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and combined. Set aside.
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Thai Inspired Noodles with Mango, Basil & Peanuts

  Thai inspired noodles with mango, basil and peanuts
Ahhh I’m hungry…what do we have? I was looking for something citrusy, summery, zesty, sweet and tangy with a bit of kick. OK, this will do! Cold buckwheat noodles with mango, tomato, basil, garlic, lime, crushed peanuts, bell peppers & carrots topped with a creamy, salty/sweet/spicy peanut sauce. Awww yes, that’s what I want. Flavor explosion! Fast and easy sort-of-Thai-inspired cold summer noodles. The Bub and the Hub give it a thumbs up.

Serves 3
Ingredients

3 cups of buckwheat noodles
3 mangoes (thinly sliced)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
10 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp peanuts (crushed)
1 bell pepper (sliced)
1 carrot (thinly sliced)
*1 lime (quartered for squeezing on top)
Directions
Throw it all together in a big bowl.

Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ginger (minced or powder)
1 tsp sriracha
Directions
*Whisk Whisk Whisk it up! Pour on top.

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Bubbalove wanted to help model the dish. Super chef in the making right here.^
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