Veggie packed DIY Vietnamese lemongrass beef vermicelli bowl

This Vietnamese lemongrass beef vermicelli bowl is a noodle salad dish that’s great for hot summer days when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. The dish is often treated like a salad and eaten cold. You can usually find this dish at a Vietnamese restaurant, but you can also easily recreate it at home. The best part of recreating your favorite restaurant dishes at home is that you get to be creative and customize it to your liking. As long as you have a few of the essential ingredients and the final product tastes good, there’s really no right or wrong way to make it. Make sure you load it up with veggies, herbs and lean protein to make it a healthy dish. Check out this quick recipe below!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb beef sirloin; thinly sliced or another protein of your choice such as chicken, tofu, shrimp, pork or ground turkey

FOR THE PROTEIN MARINADE
2 garlic cloves; minced
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lemongrass powder or 3 tbsp finely chopped lemon grass

TO ASSEMBLE
1/2 cucumber; peeled, seeded, and julienned (or zucchini)
4 cups shredded lettuce
handful fresh, chopped cilantro
sprinkle of sesame seeds or chopped peanuts
1 package thin vermicelli noodles; prepared as per package directions

Optional additions:
(Unfortunately, I didn’t have these on hand when I made the dish)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
4 cups mung bean sprouts, washed
handful fresh mint or basil leaves
1 red Thai Chili; finely minced

FOR THE SAUCE
1/4 cup warm water
5 teaspoons sugar (for a healthier sub, try 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp monkfruit sweetener or 6 tbsp 100% apple juice)
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
optional: julienned carrots and/or sliced chilies to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

PREPARE THE BEEF
In a medium bowl, combine minced garlic, fish sauce, sugar, fresh lime juice and lemongrass powder/chopped lemongrass. Add the the beef slices and add to the marinade. Let sit for about an hour or so. Then heat a lightly oiled pan or wok on medium-high heat. Stir fry marinated beef in batches.

FOR THE SAUCE
Combine the water, sugar, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar and fish sauce together. Stir well and let it sit.

FOR THE VERMICELLI NOODLES
Prepare as per package directions. Drain and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS
Arrange lettuce in the bottom the bowl or have it on the side. Top with vermicelli noodles. Place cooked beef on top of vermicelli noodles. Finish off with toppings of cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, mint, sesame seeds or peanuts. Drizzle the sauce on top of the dish and enjoy!

Matcha green tea latte

Have you tried a matcha green tea latte before? I recently did and I really enjoyed it! Thanks to Jade Leaf Matcha‘s support to healthcare workers, they offered a generous discount on the order and I decided to try their Matcha Latte Infusion GLOW – Collagen + Biotin. They come in individual, convenient, on-the-go packets that are ready to be mixed for a delicious drink. It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare! The infusion of collagen is tasteless which is nice so you can focus on the matcha taste and still get the added benefits of collagen and biotin which have been associated with improved overall skin, nail and hair health.

According to their website, each packet contains “grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hide collagen peptides support organ and tissue health, and plant-based biotin (a vital type of B vitamin) supports skin, hair and nail health. 5g of Collagen protein in each serving. No added sugar or other sweeteners. About 1/3 the caffeine of a cup of coffee (30-40mg), with naturally occurring l-theanine for a calm, alert feeling.”

But first, what is matcha? Matcha is high-grade green tea leaves that are ground up into a fine powder. The green tea powder is typically whisked into a hot liquid to form a drink. Matcha has a unique, earthy, almost “grassy or mossy” smooth flavor without the bitter or astringent taste that some green teas may offer.

Some of the health benefits of matcha are:
-Antioxidants
-Fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
-May boost metabolism
-Contains more caffeine than traditional green tea, but less than coffee (perfect for those who want an energy boost but might be caffeine sensitive)
-Can help calm the mind and relax the body
-Linked to lowering cholesterol and risk of certain diseases

Tips on making a matcha latte:
Making a matcha green tea latte is really simple, especially with the convenient ready to mix packets. I happened to have the powder infused with collagen and biotin, but you can really just use plain matcha to make this drink.

  1. You simply combine about 1 teaspoon of culinary matcha powder with 6-8 oz milk (or dairy-free milk of your choice). I recommend using a warm to hot liquid to mix with the matcha so it dissolves better.
  2. Add optional sweetener (1 tbsp or less of honey or sweetener of your choice).
  3. Blend! I highly recommend using a blender or a matcha-specific whisk to prevent clumps of undissolved matcha powder.
  4. Option of adding iced cubes to make it a cold drink.
  5. Sip and enjoy!

Recipe for easy chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri is an uncooked, herb-based, vegetarian sauce traditionally from Argentina and Uruguay. Alternatively, it can be used as a dressing or marinade. The sauce tastes best when you use fresh herbs and used soon after preparing, but it can also be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for 24 hours before serving.

The sauce pairs well with steak and chicken, but if you prefer to keep it a vegetarian dish, it will also go well on top of roasted vegetables or veggie tacos. It’s easily an addition that can liven up your meals! Chimichurri is not only super tasty, but it is also packed with intense flavors, antioxidants and nutrients including Vitamin A, C, K, potassium and magnesium. And the best part is, it’s really simple to make! I prefer to chop the ingredients by hand, but if you want a quicker route, you can use a food processor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
  • 1 cup flat parsley
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper

How to prepare:

  1. Wash parsley and cilantro thoroughly and remove the stems. Finely chop the herbs up and mince the garlic cloves.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together. You should see a bright green color!
  3. Allow the sauce to sit for 5-10 minutes for the flavors to kick in before serving.

How to prepare spaghetti squash

Did you know that spaghetti squash is a wonderful alternative to pasta? It’s low in calories, providing about 30 calories per cup, and it’s very low in fat. It also provides Vitamin A including beta carotene (good for eye health), B and C. This winter squash has a mild flavor, making it versatile to use for sweet or savory dishes.

Enjoy this simple recipe on how to prepare spaghetti squash in the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 rectangular baking pan
  • Enough parchment paper to cover bottom of baking pan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  • 1 fork

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Give the outside of your uncut spaghetti squash a good rinse!
  3. Using the sharp knife, start cutting from the stem to the bottom of the squash. You should have two lengthwise halves.
  4. Using your spoon, scoop out the seeds inside the squash.
  5. Drizzle olive oil into the halves. Sprinkle some salt and pepper if you’d like. Use your fingers to spread the oil and seasoning evenly.
  6. Place parchment paper on bottom of the baking pan.
  7. Place the squash halves face down onto the parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. Once ready and cooled enough to handle, use a fork to gently scrape the squash to create long strands.
  10. You can transfer the long strands into a bowl and serve with toppings. Or, if you’re like me, you can leave the strands in the squash half and eat directly from it!

Immune boosting smoothie

Hello to the last couple weeks of summer! Though summer was great, I am pretty excited for fall to come. I love the breezy weather it brings and all the fall/winter clothes I finally get to bring out to wear. Over the summer, I relocated to sunny California and the new area I am currently living in is more on the dry side. I’ve definitely felt my skin change quite a bit, so I’ve had to change up some of my skincare routine to better hydrate it. I’ve also challenged myself to drink more water which has helped make a huge difference. I especially love making my own spa water by adding some limes and cucumbers to it. It tastes so much better! Another thing I love is making my own plant-based smoothies to stay hydrated, nourished and energized.

Immune Boosting Go-To Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1 cup of organic spinach or power greens mix
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries or blueberries
  • 3 dried figs
  • 1 cup of water or lactose-free milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of chia seeds or flaxseed

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender for 15 seconds, or until it’s smooth. And enjoy!