Spiced 'Skin Glow' Smoothie

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Autumn foods like sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, squash, and greens are packed with nutrition that just plain makes skin glow— which is a great thing because this season of detox and transition can be tough on our complexions. These autumn foods are particularly powerful sources of beta carotene that helps increase cell turnover for smoother skin, balance oil production, speed up skin cell renewal, and protect against UV damage. If you’re looking for a place to get more of this amazing beauty nutrient in your diet during the fall and winter, try this smoothie, which also balances blood sugar with that key combo of healthy fats, protein, and abundant veggies (but still tastes sweet!). This recipe can be made with roasted sweet potato, pumpkin, or winter squash— and it’s delicious in all of its forms.

Spiced ‘Skin Glow’ Smoothie

This antioxidant-packed smoothie delivers the protein and healthy fats necessary to stabilize your blood sugar in the morning, while also targeting your skin’s seasonal need for extra healing and repair with beta carotene-rich pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato.

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (try coconut, almond or hemp)

  • 1/2 cup filtered water

  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin, sweet potato or winter squash puree

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1 serving plant-based protein powder (1 to 2 scoops)

  • 1/4 cup raw pecans

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp Eat Pretty pumpkin pie spice (p.137 in Eat Pretty) - or sub cinnamon

  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses (optional for depth of flavor) 

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth.

Nourish & Detox: Sweet Autumn Soup

Ready for a sweet and comforting fall soup that will supercharge your skin with its beta carotene content and support natural fall cleansing to prepare your body and beauty for winter? This simple soup is the recipe for you. Kabocha squash is one of the most delicious types of squash, and it’s naturally sweet. The addition of apples to this recipe lends it even more sweetness along with detox properties, making this soup perfect to complement a savory dish. Or you can eat light and fill up on the soup by itself—if you do, try adding avocado chunks for extra healthy fats.

Sweet Autumn Soup

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Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 2 organic apples, cored and chopped

  • 1 tsp fresh minced sage

  • 1 quart broth (I prefer vegetable broth in this recipe, but you can use whatever you enjoy)

  • 1 cup pure water

  • 4 cups roasted kabocha squash (about 1 medium)

  • unrefined salt

  • ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt coconut oil and sauté shallot over medium heat until golden. Add apples and sage and cook until apples begin to soften. If foods starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, go ahead and pour in a little broth to loosen it. Add remaining broth and water, as well as the roasted squash, and simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Puree with an immersion blender, or in a high-powered blender in small batches.

For more beautifying recipes, see the Eat Pretty books and my recipe page.

BEAUTY FOOD FOCUS:

Kabocha Squash. Kabocha squash is a perfect beauty food for your eyes, thanks to its fabulous content of healthy vision nutrients, from vitamin A to the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin. The major dose of vitamin A from this winter squash variety continues to support the skin cell renewal and growth that your skin needs this season, while balancing dry and oil spots. It’s a powerful food for radiance! You’ll also get B vitamins (key for gorgeous, strong hair) and iron in your kabocha squash. To roast, cut your squash in half, remove the seeds, and place on a rimmed baking sheet greased with coconut oil. About 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven gives you super-soft squash that you can use in smoothies, puddings, muffins, soups, or mashed as a side dish. You’ll want to eat it straight from the oven with a spoon.

Apples. The pectin found in apple flesh helps the body eliminate waste more effectively, making it a must-have food for natural detoxification and even lowered cholesterol. Apples support healthy digestion in other ways, by supporting a healthy microbiome, which is essential for clear skin, immunity, good moods, and maintaining a healthy weight. The skins of apples (try to eat them and leave them on in recipes as often as you can—and try to buy organic!) are concentrated sources of beauty nutrients, including one phytochemical that stops the formation of wrinkle-causing AGEs and another that reduces allergies.

The Eat Pretty Formula for Easy Packed Lunches

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For some of us, the arrival of fall means a return to the lunchtime grind. For others, that lunchtime grind goes on Mon-Fri, 365 days a year, making it easy to lose steam and creativity. Whether you’re packing lunches for your school-aged children or yourself, getting confident with a basic, Eat Pretty-approved formula for the meal you assemble is a key jumping off point for (no exaggeration) thousands of lunchbox variations. Once you know the formula, you can get creative and listen to your body, knowing that there’s pretty much no way to mess up! And heads up: this is essentially the formula I use for every meal, every day, and one that has helped me to rebalance my hormones, find my healthiest weight, and enable my skin to glow. It’s also helped so many of my clients to do the same. So, here we go!

My Eat Pretty-Approved Lunch Formula

Ready to make lunch?

Here’s the formula: veggies + protein + healthy fat + bonus foods.

No question, more than half of your plate (or lunchbox) should be colorful, antioxidant-packed veggies. Roast them, steam them, eat them raw, dice them, spiralize them— it doesn't matter what form they come in. This part of your meal is super nutrient-dense, delivering fiber and phytochemicals that keep you glowing. Rotate these ingredients according to color, season, and/or cravings.

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Your lunchbox also needs protein. It can be plant-based or clean animal-based, depending on your body and your preferred diet. Aim for at least 10-15 grams of protein to help you feel full, burn food slowly for sustained energy, and deliver the building blocks of skin, hair and nails that is essential to your body.

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Now make sure that your lunchbox has some form of healthy fat. Fat nourishes strong cell membranes (locking in youthful moisture), and is an essential building block of your hormones (hello, better moods and clear skin). Think avocado, raw seeds or nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a healthy fat-rich dressing.

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As a bonus, you can add something special that brings it all together and makes the benefits even more amazing, like fermented pickles or sauerkraut, dulse flakes, gomasio (check out the recipe in Eat Pretty Every Day), nutritional yeast, etc. If you’re packing lunch for kids or you’re going to be in a crowded place where you want to make sure your lunch doesn’t stink too much, leave out the smelly stuff. But this category can be an important bonus on days when you want to feel and look extra amazing. And if you know your goal is to eat more fermented foods every day for better skin and overall health, pack some in your lunch!

If you’ve used the Eat Pretty, Live Well journal, you already know what an Eat Pretty plate looks like. If not, here’s the visual:

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Your Lunch Style

I find that everyone has unique preferences when it comes to lunch style (hello, bioindividuality). I prefer a salad to a sandwich. During the warmer months, I prefer greens over grains as the base of my lunch, but as fall and winter arrive I turn to grains and warm lunches that need to be reheated. What’s your style?

Foundations (start with these and then pile ingredients on top)

  • Greens

  • Quinoa, buckwheat or other GF grains

  • Shredded brussels sprouts

  • Beans

  • GF pasta— try chickpea or lentil pasta for extra protein

  • Lentils

Colorful Veggie Examples

  • Any roasted veggies you have on hand (I love broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots)

  • Cooked beets

  • Chopped raw peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Cucumbers

  • Radishes

  • Steamed green beans

  • Cooled cooked potatoes- white or sweet potatoes

  • So many more!

Clean Protein Examples

  • Hard-cooked pastured eggs

  • Wild salmon

  • Beans- lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans are all amazing

  • Shelled hemp seeds

  • BPA-free cans of wild salmon, sardines, naturally smoked oysters (I like the Crown Prince brand for sardines and oysters)

  • Clean animal proteins that fit your diet

  • Quinoa

  • Plant-based protein powder 

Healthy Fat Examples

  • Avocado

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Hemp seeds

  • Olives

  • Dressings (see below)

Dressing and Sauce Ideas:

  • Turmeric dressing

  • Classic Balsamic

  • ACV dressing

  • Green goddess dressing

  • Romesco- red pepper and almond, parsley

  • Lemon and olive oil

  • Persillade

  • Chimichurri

  • Olive tapenade

  • Pesto

Bonus Food Examples:

  • Fermented pickles

  • Kraut

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Gomasio

  • Dulse flakes

  • Nutritional yeast

 A few past recipes that fit the bill:

Seeing Beauty Salad

Chopped Chickpea-Kraut Salad

 Miso Broccoli Lentil Salad

Notes for success:

Keep track.

Along the way, you’re going to find meal combinations that you love (and some you don’t). Make sure you write down the combinations that are winners to your body and your palate. I keep a list on my fridge of meals that I want to remember because inevitably when it’s time to grocery shop my brain draws a blank. As the seasons change, it’s also easy to forget meals that you aren’t cooking because ingredients are not in season. So next time fall rolls back around, you’ll remember exactly what meal you loved to cook with your butternut squash, figs, pumpkin, etc.

Shift your mindset: Instead of ‘I have to,’ choose ‘I get to!’

This is big- changing the way you approach making lunches can make all the difference. Instead of “Packing my lunch is exhausting. I’m too busy to do this for myself. I don’t have time.”

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Think: “Cooking is empowering, strengthening, even a rebellious act to some degree. I can make a little time. A little investment can change the way I feel day to day, and the trajectory of my health and appearance.”

So, what’s for lunch today?

How Snacking Helps Your Beauty— plus a Simple Office Snack!

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Did you know that snacking can actually help you reach your beauty and weight loss goals? It's true; snacking often gets a bad rap, but it can be a delicious route to your best skin and your healthiest weight. The trick is to know how to snack well, to be well-versed in what to eat, and to plan ahead. The type of snacking that's best to avoid is the graze-all-day, munch-whenever-you-feel-like-it approach. It's quite taxing on your body to be digesting all day long, you miss out on the natural cleansing of your digestive tract that happens between meals, and you don't ever get to truly feel satiated (or actually hungry?) when you snack too often.

Snacking becomes a beauty essential when you have a long stretch between meals, and when you're training your body to maintain steady blood sugar for longer and longer periods of time. A snack at 4:30PM, when you've had lunch at noon and are waiting on a 7PM dinner reservation, can prevent a blood sugar crash, support healthy metabolism, and keep you from ravenously overeating late at night. I think far too many women still equate weight loss, or maintaining their ideal weight, with long periods of fasting. Can fasting help you lose weight? 100% if done in balance with good nutrition and steady blood sugar. See the current intermittent fasting trend. But quite often fasting is not sustainable, nor does it correct existing issues with blood sugar balance and cravings.

Many (most?) of the clients who come to me with weight loss goals end up eating more food during our time together. They also lose weight in the process. We work on blood sugar stability, and eating complete meals that help your body feel satisfied and free of cravings. I recommend snacks when you're going a long stretch without food; better to have a beauty-friendly snack than to end up hangry or scarfing a candy bar. Also better not to feel restricted, which amps up your cravings!

Ideally, you'll reach for snacks that include a source of protein and/or healthy fat to fuel steady blood sugar. A raw trail mix, hard boiled pastured egg, apple and almond butter, wedge of avocado topped with sea salt and seeds, or a low-fruit protein smoothie are all classic choices. But I know you're always looking for new ideas. Below is a simple snack recipe that is packed with skin-healing, hormone balancing zinc from sesame seeds, plus chia for fullness and great digestion, tons of healthy fats and just enough sweetness to satisfy a craving. Shake it up in the morning and take it to the office to avoid the vending machine!

Sesame-Date Pudding

Shake up this pudding in the morning and store it so that you'll have a snack to tide you over on long afternoons or late nights at the office. Top it with a generous drizzle of tahini, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or a chopped date or two for extra energy.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp tahini paste, plus more for topping
  • 3-4 pitted dates (depending on size and your desired sweetness), plus more for topping
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

In a high powered blender, combine tahini, dates and water until fully blended. Transfer liquid to a jar and add chia seeds. Close jar and shake to combine. Pack in your bag and store in your office refrigerator until you're ready for an afternoon snack (will take about 30 mins from the time you shake it up to fully thicken— in case you plan to eat it right away)! Shake or stir once more before serving.

Beauty Ingestible Road Test: Anima Mundi

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In my experience, the foods we eat are unequivocally our greatest tools to shape our beauty and health. Which is why I think that the growing market of ingestible beauty products (basically edibles with beauty benefits) has the power to transform our beauty routines.

In the past, I've road tested beauty ingestibles from Moon Juice, The Beauty Chef, Fountain, and Sunpotion, and shared recipes that I created to use each of these lines. Take a look at those past posts for more recipe ideas. This time, I'm sharing a brand that arrived on my doorstep in my January Beauty Heroes WELLNESS Discovery Box— a BRAND NEW OFFERING from Beauty Heroes, which includes four incredible full size products from Anima Mundi Herbals.

Take a look, and dont miss the warming Cherries & Cream Skin Tonic recipe below!

What you need to know about Anima Mundi Herbals: This brand specializes in herbal ingredients (many of them heirloom) from Central and South America, as founder and herbalist Adriana Ayales is Costa Rican. Before founding Anima Mundi (the beautiful name refers to the 'shared soul' of the world), she practiced herbalism in New York City and Berkeley. Beauty Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot describes her first experience drinking Anima Mundi products (the same ones offered in this box), "an out-of-body experience." I've newly received my Anima Mundi products, but am loving the experience of using them so far, especially sipped in the tonic recipe ahead, and by adding the turmeric-rich Curam Elixir to my morning lemon water.

How to consume: Coconut Cream Powder is incredibly versatile. You can add a tablespoon or two to smoothies, hot drinks, and just about any recipe for extra good fats— especially lauric acid for gut, brain, and skin health, as well as metabolism. Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder can also be added (1 teaspoon is a standard serving) to drinks like juices, smoothies, and teas. I could also see getting creative and adding it to dressings and sauces or sprinkling it over a decadent bowl of fruit.

Here's what I made with my Coconut Cream Powder and Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder as soon as I opened my box:

Cherries & Cream Skin Tonic

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Add cherries, both powders, and raw honey to a high powered blender. Pour boiled water over ingredients and blend until smooth. Top with additional hot water if needed to warm the tonic.

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Love it for: You will want to eat the Coconut Cream Powder by the spoonful. It's sweet, creamy, melts right into your mouth or into whatever you're making, and will be your new favorite beauty food item. The Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder has a mildly bitter taste, but it's packed with vitamin C, phytochemicals, and beauty minerals that truly nourish healthy, balanced skin from within. And love that these ingredients are incredibly high-quality and carefully sourced! They're also priced very well to include in your everyday beauty pantry.

Cost: Until it sells out, you can buy the January 2018 Beauty Heroes Wellness Discovery (4 products) here, for $49. And you can find individual Anima Mundi products in the Beauty Heroes store, as well as at animamundiherbals.com. Coconut Cream Powder retails for $20, and Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder retails for $24.


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and these Anima Mundi products was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

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This winter, eat more cranberries and pears! These two naturally sweet beauty foods are ideal for cool weather, as they reduce inflammation and detoxify naturally. Eat them raw, or use as little added sugar as possible when you cook with them, to preserve their benefits. 

Here's a perfect way to use them in a naturally sweet dish that you can cozy up to all winter long:

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

This quick-to-make dessert is packed with skin benefits from fresh pear, cranberries, cinnamon, cocoa, and walnuts. Dried plums, also called prunes (which just never sounds as appealing) are packed with iron, antioxidants, and natural sweetness, and fabulous for digestion and elimination in small amounts. Enjoy this simple treat when you have a sweet craving this season.

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Makes 3 individual servings

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe pears, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

unrefined salt

Heaping 1 cup raw walnut halves

12 dried plums/prunes

4 tsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Equipment: 3 ramekins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Toss pears and cranberries with ¼ tsp cinnamon and a dash of salt. Divide pear/berry mixture among three ramekins. In a food processor, combine walnuts, plums, and cocoa powder, and add in a generous sprinkling of salt. Divide and roll mixture into three even-sized balls and flatten each to create a top crust for your ramekin. Carefully (use a spatula if needed) transfer one crust to the top of each ramekin.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.


Beauty Food Focus:

Cranberries. You’ll only find these berries readily available in stores from about October through January, so don’t miss your chance to take in their powerful skin and body benefits. The skins of cranberries contain anthocyanin pigments that protect our cells and collagen. These anthocyanins also lower inflammation, reducing redness, blemishes, and slowing the wrinkling process. Other phytochemicals in cranberries increase your skin’s UV tolerance and blood flow, giving you a radiant complexion. Cranberries support healthy digestion and lymph flow, making them perfect for the cold weather months when we’re eating larger meals. Be sure you don't just eat cranberries sweetened with refined sugars; try the Warm Pear Bake for a sweet way to eat them without added sugar.

Pears. Pears are beauty foods with so much natural sweetness, making them ideal choices for desserts or sweet snacks. Their pectin fiber helps detoxify the body, as well as support good digestion and elimination—keys for radiant skin. Phytochemicals in pear skins reduce inflammation in the body, which supports a gorgeous complexion, good moods, and a healthy weight. All varieties of pears have beauty benefits, but red-skinned pears are especially high in anthocyanins that protect your skin’s natural elasticity.

Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

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1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

Skin-Nourishing Supper: Amaranth Polenta with Mushrooms, Basil & Greens

It's time to upgrade your complex carbs with a beauty nutrition-packed pantry staple: amaranth. Amaranth is a must-have in your repertoire, especially if you're vegan or vegetarian, as it's a great source of protein (8g in a serving) and beauty minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. The sticky, porridge-like texture of amaranth makes it a great breakfast grain (try the recipe for Coconut-Date Amaranth on p. 322 of Eat Pretty Every Day) or polenta base (as I've used it in this recipe), and also makes it excellent for your digestion. Even though we think of it as a gluten-free grain, it's technically a seed, one whose texture is really going to add something new to your usual meals— wait until you try it! 

Every single ingredient in this easy dish is loaded with skin benefits, and you can sub in new varieties of greens as they come into season and mushrooms as they become available. Enjoy!

Amaranth Polenta with Mushrooms, Basil & Greens

NOTE: If you prefer to serve a firmer square of polenta under your veggies (as opposed to a soft, porridge-y version), it's best to make the amaranth well ahead of time and let it chill completely. Try making it the night before serving, or the morning-of, so it has plenty of time to cool and solidify, and all you have to do is cook up the veggies to go on top. 

This veggie-packed meal is brimming with protein, one of the essential building blocks for your skin, hair, and nails that also helps keep your blood sugar stable (further supporting gorgeous skin!). It's also a great source of key beauty minerals like iron and calcium, and lots of antioxidants from basil and greens. Try subbing in whatever greens or veggies you have on hand.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

3 cups broth or water (if using water, be sure to salt it, or add 2 tbsp liquid/coconut aminos for flavor)

1 cup dry amaranth

2 tsp coconut oil, organic butter, or ghee

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 cups chopped assorted mushrooms (I recommend including some shiitakes for flavor)

1 pint (about 2 cups) organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 

4 tsp chopped basil, plus more for garnish

3 large handfuls of roughly chopped organic greens (I used baby kale)

DIRECTIONS

Bring broth/water to a boil in a large saucepan, and add amaranth. Cover, lower heat, and simmer about 25 minutes, until water has absorbed and amaranth is sticky, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt oil/butter/ghee in a sauté pan. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of unrefined salt, and cook until mushrooms soften and release their water. (Depending on the variety of mushrooms that you use, you can pour off some of the water if it begins to collect). Add tomatoes, basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. When tomatoes have softened, add chopped greens and cook until just wilted.

Fill each plate with a serving of polenta, and top with the veggie sauté and additional fresh basil.

 

Chia Seeds Inside + Out

I've been buzzing about the beauty benefits of chia seeds for a few years now (you can check out the Pantry chapter of Eat Pretty for an in-depth overview of this beauty food), since they support healthy digestion and elimination, help with fullness and satiation, and encourage regular detoxification (all radiant skin essentials!). Chia seeds are great sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin, as well as skin-clearing, immune-supporting zinc. But this is the first time I'm experimenting with the topical benefits of their oil!

My January 2017 Beauty Heroes Discovery Box just arrived, and inside is the beloved Maya Chia The Super Couple face oil serum, as well as a special edition Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm with a fresh-smelling lavender, vetiver, and cardamom scent created just for Beauty Heroes. Opening this monthly box, and using the carefully-crafted natural and organic products inside, continues to be one of my very favorite self-care moments each month. I've been introduced to more beautiful products than I can count through my monthly Beauty Heroes box. 

But back to this month—when I saw these two Maya Chia products, I wondered first about the term 'supercritical' and the chia oil extraction process it references. How does it differ from, say, the cold pressing process? It turns out, a lot. First of all, the 'supercritical' extraction process is licensed only to Maya Chia in the US. It's a super-gentle, oxygen- and solvent-free extraction process that, "unlike cold pressing, where valuable antioxidants, omegas and sterols can be lost during the cold pressing process – the supercritical extraction method yields all of the biologically ‘active’ components (all the good stuff for your skin) of the amazing chia seed," according to Maya Chia.

The rest of the ingredients in these formulas continue the trend of being super high quality—they're are either certified organic, organic, or wildcrafted, (with the exception of myrrh). You might be surprised that the facial oil serum has a bright orange color- a product of the high levels of the antioxidant astaxanthin that it contains. Astaxanthin is quite a powerful ingredient for fighting free radical damage and slowing the aging process. So far these formulas feel amazing—I layer them at night—on my wintertime skin.

Remember: always apply your facial oil serums over skin that you've misted with a toner or hydrosol—that moisture layer helps the serum to properly hydrate your skin at the topical level. And for moisture and chia seed nourishment from the inside out, try my Ginger Grapefruit Chia Seed Pudding!

NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or one of the aforementioned products, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and these products was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

Eat Pretty Every Day Sneak Preview: Gingered Purple Kraut

With Eat Pretty Every Day hitting shelves in just two weeks (!), I wanted to give you another sneak peek at some of the beautiful things that you'll find inside. I've included 24 favorite seasonal recipes in this new book, each with its own essential beauty nutrition benefits.

Today I'm sharing one of my personal beauty food staples: Gingered Purple Kraut, a probiotic-rich fermented food with just enough spice (from fresh grated ginger) and just enough tangy crunch to top any meal, and time of the day. I pair it with scrambled eggs, use it to add interest to a sandwich, and pile it on top of veggies and grains for incredible skin benefits. This recipe is part of the summer chapter of Eat Pretty Every Day, and I'm sharing it here with you first.

Fermenting is one of those kitchen skills that takes confidence—but surprisingly little skill. This recipe only has 3 ingredients! One of the most important things to remember when fermenting kraut is to keep the cabbage under the surface of the water by checking on your ferment every few days, and regularly pushing it down below the surface, or adding more brine to cover the cabbage if needed. Beyond that, just let it sit for a few weeks and do its thing. The benefits for healthy digestion are many, and you'll be so proud after developing the skill of fermenting at home.

Enjoy this Gingered Purple Kraut, and don't forget to get your copy of Eat Pretty Every Day for 364 more pages of beauty inspiration!