After 10 depressing days of non-stop rain, New Orleans welcomed the loveliest spring weather! It's been a perfectly breezy 75 degrees with no humidity. I repeat: no humidity. Pretty unheard of on this side of the world, so I took full advantage. Finally got my butt outside for a run and Josh and I have been eating every meal possible outdoors. I wore this dress from Shop Tobi on an outing in search of TexMex. It's just the most darling spring piece. Lightweight, sophisticated, and still denotes spring without shouting girly with florals everywhere. Just my cup of tea for this happy Californian weather.
Springtime brings out the best in my tastebuds. I start to crave freshness, bright colors, and simple dishes made from few ingredients. Meals are lighter. The days are longer. Flowers brighter. And, the weather? Its peak of perfection. Could we just bottle up all the positive spring vibes?
Produce gets a little more exciting and flavorful at this time of year, too. One of my favorite spring vegetables is asparagus. It’s versatile, easy to cook, and I love the flavor. My shaved asparagus salad with parmesan and crispy maple glazed prosciutto makes for the perfect light lunch or dinner. This salad is made of simple ingredients that come together in harmony to satisfy your palette and is definitely pretty enough to entertain with. I couldn’t imagine a better salad to prepare with a crisp white wine for an outdoor dinner party with friends. With the perfect balance of salty, tangy, and just a bit of sweet, you will love every last bite of this dish! I have a feeling you will be making this salad well into the summer months. Enjoy!
Shaved Asparagus Salad with Parmesan and Crispy Maple Glazed Prosciutto
1⁄2 Bundle of Fresh Asparagus
1⁄4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated (leaving some to shave on top of the salad)
3 Slices of Prosciutto
2 Tbsp. of Maple Syrup
Juice from One Lemon, plus the zest
1⁄4 Cup of Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Twist your prosciutto into sticks and lay them onto a parchmentpaper lined baking sheet and brush lightly with maple syrup.
- Bake for about fifteen minutes or until crisp. Let cool.
- In the meantime shave your asparagus by laying your asparagus onto a cutting board and using a peeler. Carefully run your peeler down the length of the asparagus about 2-3 times on each side until you cannot get any more strips off. Continue until all asparagus are shaved.
- In a small bowl combine your lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan, and salt and pepper. Whisk until combined well.
- Drizzle a small amount of the vinaigrette onto the asparagus, toss, and let sit for about ten minutes until the asparagus strips gettender. At this time if you desire, you can add more of thevinaigrette.
- Plate your asparagus and top with extra parmesan, lemon zest, and prosciutto twists. Serve immediately.
Every year, Harpers Bazaar honors ten women - five celebrities and five readers - who embody female empowerment over a span of five decades from the 20s to the 50s. Most magazines suggest that beauty is based on youth and physical appearance, that women pretty much peak in their early 20s. Harpers Bazaar, on the other hand, sees beauty beyond that and at every age. The magazine attributes one's experiences, values, and philosophies to what makes a woman truly beautiful. This year's issue featured Roman Polanski's actress/model daughter Morgane Polanski (20's), artist Olympia Scarry (30s), supermodel Carolyn Murphy (40s), Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat (50s), and former Sonic Youth leader singer Kim Gordan (60s).
About two months ago, I received a message from the Harpers Bazaar team inviting me to join four other women on a whirlwind trip to New York City. A month later, I found myself in a beautiful corner room of The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side with breathtaking views overlooking Central Park. The street was lined with brownstones and every high end store imaginable. Certainly an area of the world where I wouldn't normally be! After taking in the beautiful room and perks, I met Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, Karin Trevino, Vibeke Andersen, and Demetria Newman along with the beauty editors and publishers who each had a hand in bringing us on this trip. We quickly became acquainted thanks to flowing cocktails and a collective awe of the penthouse view of the city. I don't know how the editors did it, but there was a commonality within each of us even though we came from different backgrounds. There's simply not enough space here to write about what makes each woman admirable and beautiful, but I felt deeply honored to be in their company. Instead of going back to our rooms, we found ourselves talking about everything from relationships to life philosophies and disappointments to sharing beauty rituals and our life's ambitions at the hotel bar until the wee hours of the morning. They could've taken away the glitz and glamour of the trip, but I'd still feel fortunate to have met these women. While all physically very beautiful, each woman exudes wisdom, balance, and a strong sense of self. All traits that I personally aspire to have one day.
We were given the star treatment over the course of three days: daily hair and make-up by the Estee Lauder team, personal time with the hilarious and supremely stylish executive fashion editor Avril Graham, style sessions by Theory, rides around town by Carine Roitfield's driver, a very personal tour of the Estee Lauder's office (who, I learned, is one badass original #hustlebird), and interviews followed by a string of photo shoots. Positively spoiled with 'is this real life' moments. The final day concluded with an awards luncheon at five star Michelin restaurant Le Bernadin Prive. The whole thing was mind boggling: Chef Eric Ripert cooking the most delicious meal of our lives, The Harpers Bazaar + Saks Fifth Avenue + Theory + Estee Lauder teams all there for us, talking about hair and projects with Morgane Polanski, laughing at Laura Brown's hilarious jokes, and then walking away with the grand prize honor from Glenda Bailey, Harper's Bazaar's editor-in-chief. What?! I couldn't contain my tears.
It was an unforgettable experience. It's been over three weeks, but I've been trying to convince myself it really happened. Wondering how I could piece the story together to give it justice. Though not easy and nowhere near perfect, I feel like life is already so good. Like it's been so kind to me that everything feels like icing on the cake. This experience, while unexpected, I know would have never been possible without this blog and your readership. A big heartfelt thank you to the Harpers Bazaar team for celebrating beauty beyond age and the physical. And, a big, big, big thank you to you for being on this journey with me. My heart is so full.
A fresh notebook. A blank slate. All white everything. A “cleanse” is so appealing for the same reasons a fresh notebook is: it promises to reset, starting at ground zero, eliminating dietary clutter and simultaneously enabling the cleanser to do everything over in a way that it could have, should have and would have been done. It’s a second chance, a way to cancel out overindulgences.
I love the idea of cleansing as much as the next girl, but let’s be real: it can be a dangerous, perfectionist way of thinking. The one time I did a juice cleanse, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through all four days. I actually felt great when I did, but reintroducing food into my diet was a challenge because I wasn’t sure how to break the cleanse. I didn’t want to ruin my new, pristine foundation or undo all the hard work and restraint it took to get there.
That’s why I love Sakara. It’s a way of treating your body right without any of the denial or restrictions that come with a more traditional cleanse. It felt more your health nut friend whipping up healthy meals throughout the day just for you, virtuously explaining the benefits of each. After eating exclusively Sakara all day, I found that I was more in tune with my body — my mind was sharper, my body felt nourished and I was free of all eating-related guilt. The food is colorful, satisfying and raw, and each meal is infused with superfoods that reap major health benefits. I tried a one-day plan which was just enough to reset bad habits. As someone who tries to eat consciously and healthfully, I think what I loved most were the thoughtful food combinations, time spent preparing and convenience of not having to worry about where my next meal was coming from.
The Convenience Factor
For me, and I imagine many others, two of the biggest obstacles for eating clean on the regular is time and energy. I used to cook and prepare foods so much more often than I do now, in part because it’s tough to get to the market during the week, haul the food home, wash everything and prepare it, and finally cook. And then, of course, there’s the mess. By the time everything is done I often find I’m no longer hungry, so delivery and take out are more of a reality than I like to admit. Sakara eliminates literally all anxiety about food shopping, preparation and cleanup, making every aspect of eating well easier.
Whitney and Danielle have designed the menu in a way that thoughtfully combines both the flavors and the healing properties of the key ingredients in each meal, and they describe this balance in colorful detail on each package. To my delight, these descriptions got more scientific than most food labels -- like discussing the detoxifying behavior of the enzymes found in beets (glutathione-S-transferase), for example.
Novelty of Prepared Raw Foods
’ll never forget the first time I’d experience prepared raw foods at Pure Food & Wine in New York. I was floored. How could this “cheese” be made out of nuts? And everything is vegan and gluten free, even the crackers? Finding out that plants can be minimally processed to create something other than a stir fry or a plate of raw veggies was eye opening to me, and made eating healthfully more fun and interesting. Sakara definitely takes this to heart, serving minimally processed foods and turning convention on its head. Sweet potatoes for breakfast? Rock on.
A Typical Day on Sakara
Here’s what a typical day on Sakara looks like. I was lucky enough to experience the first day of their spring menu -- and it was positively delicious. I was worried I’d be hungry for a good part of the day, since the three meals didn’t appear to be that much food, but I felt nourished and energized all day long. I did get hungry between lunch and dinner, and discuss that more below. I happened to start on a Monday, so going into it, I was feeling bloated and foggy from the weekend’s Passover festivities… perfect testing grounds for the food-as-medicine approach.
Breakfast: Sweet Potato
The sweet potato was creamy and it was really lovely to eat blueberries -- it has been a while! Summer is here. Ahhh. The almonds added a really nice crunch and even though bee pollen was the super food, I couldn’t actually taste it. Which was good, because I hate bees and am actually allergic to airborne pollen so I was a touch nervous about that.
The package says: “You get three chances per day to fuel your body and we are staunch believers in optimizing each. Say hello to today’s breakfast of champions: sweet potato topped with juicy goji berries, energizing cacao nibs, and hydrating blueberries. Then we added bee pollen: one of the most completely nourishing foods on the planet that contains most of the nutrients known today. Bee pollen is 25% complete protein, with 18 amino acids, 28 minerals and 14 fatty acids.”
Superfood ingredients: sweet potato, almonds, maca, cacao, blueberry, bee pollen
Lunch: Beet Burger
The bread and beet burger were phenomenal! The beets packed some heat, but it was perfect in contrast with the dense, seedy bread with a texture like you wouldn’t believe. I usually crave something sweet after lunch but today I didn’t. Maybe it was the spices? Win.The package says: “Beets grow underground like roots, and they have a similar effect inside your body, rooting you to the earth. It’s easy to get caught up in life, but eating grounding vegetable can beet that vibe, and today’s lunch helps move you in that direction. The betalin pigments in beets support activity in your body’s detox procss -- especially in the liver. The enzyme family glutathione-S-transferase (GSTs) hooks harmful toxins up with glutathione for neutralization and excretion from the body. We mixed these healing beets up with agar agar (mineral-rich seaweed know for it’s diuretic properties), heart-opening spices and, as always, a whole lot of love.”
Superfood ingredients: oats, beets, black beans, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cabbage, chia seeds
DINNER: La Boca Chica Salad
For a serial snacker, there seemed to be a long time between lunch and dinner. But that was also partially my mistake. I ate lunch on the early side and then left work to go straight to yoga, having dinner on the later side. That being said, at about 9:00PM on a Monday night I didn’t think I’d be excited about a plate of mostly greens, but I felt so light and airy afterward that I immediately vowed to do eat more greens with dinner every chance I got. There were also sweet elements in the salad, satisfying my dessert cravings. I actually ended up doing some picking up around the apartment, laying my clothes out and doing dishes that were left over from the weekend. I liked feeling like I had more time in my day, and feeling more fluid energy-wise through the end. The package says: Blueberries, plantains and puffed quinoa to boot, this meal is not missing a (salsa) beat when it comes to giving you the nutrients your body craves. For the lovers, dreamers, and ascenders, we’ve dressed this meal up with our favorite green algae: spirulina. This water plant contains 12x more protein than meat and the phytochemical phycocyanin (Spirulina is the only known source.) Phycocyanin chases down the toxins in your body, neutralizes them with its high oxygen content and flushes them through your liver. Just like the expression decir algo con la boca chica, this meal has got more going on than might meet the eye.
Superfood ingredients: plaintains, blueberries, sesame seeds, spirulina, quinoa, goji berries
It smelled like roses and tasted like cool, extra-hydrating and extra-refreshing water. Also the bottle is adorable. I like! I wonder if the Night Water will be this good.
The chlorella water looks black in all the photos but is actually a deep green, which I was excited and then immediately anxious about. It must taste bad if it’s so green, right? Wrong. If anything it tasted extra fresh, but if I had my eyes closed and was drinking the chlorella water, I’d believe I was drinking it plain.
All in all, I’d hands down do it again. My body enjoyed this far more than a juice cleanse. There were those few hours I was hungry between lunch and dinner, but I think it’s good to feel hunger pangs before sitting down for a thoughtful meal, eating it mindfully. It’s listening to our bodies. Sakara is great for anyone who is looking to flush out toxins, reset, recharge and look and feel her best. Just one day was enough to undo the effects of an overindulgent weekend and step into a new week feeling lighter, brighter and better situated to handle whatever came my way.
Who:The Sakara Life
What: An oganic meal delivery, weight loss, and healthy living program based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense and delicious ingredients.
Why: To reset your system and jumpstart healthy living